Episode #4: Learning Dysartsville

Few people in this community remember that a Dysartsville Post Office used to be next to a service station on the juncture of Highway 226 and Vein Mountain Road, where a large Boy Scout Camp sign is now posted. Of course that was back in the mid 19th century when Dysartsville was a destination for all the gold miners flocking into the area, and there was money for public buildings. Those days are long gone. Now our little community club suffers from lack of attention.

Even fewer people know that at the corner of Vein Mountain Road and Macedonia Church Loop, there was a log school built in 1888 and replaced in 1908 by a frame structure, operating until it burned in 1930. J.J. Sprouse of this blog’s Brackett Town Saga was instrumental in enhancing the financing of this early subscription school when the state tax only covered a school term for 3-4 months. Gretchen Griffith writes in her Lessons Learned on page 16 that “The earliest state supported schools were funded by a tax levied and collected by the sheriff of the county. Schools were built through the North Carolina  Literary Fund starting in 1825,” and the school year ran “as long as the money held out.” For instructing 20-30 children ranging in ages from 5-19, teachers received $15-$25 per month. Surely these angels of knowledge received extra gems in their heavenly crowns for their earthly  labor. According to pg 54 of Images of America, McDowell County, NC 1843-1943, compiled by James Lawton Haney and the McDowell County Historical Preservation Commission, Brackett Town was a progressive community and in 1909 became the first in the county to approve a school tax for public schools.

And how many of my neighbors knew that there were three schools on Vein Mountain Rd that were consolidated when the Dysartsville school was built in 1926 on Trinity Church Loop?

One was the Macedonia School mentioned, and another one was located at the opposite end of Vein Mountain next to the cemetery on 226 across from the mythical service station. My friend Mary Sue Dillard remembers that when Elijah and Bill Blankenship bought the house, there was a second story which they removed. It had been a two story school for all grades.

Sandy Flat School in October of 2013

Sandy Flat School in October of 2013

The third school was Sandy Flat at the corner of Vein Mountain Rd. and Guffey Road. This building became Mary Sue’s home. The state was selling old school houses in 1930, and her granddaddy bought one so Mary Sue’s family could move here from Rutherford County. There were only four rooms, so they had to live in a house across the street (now just a burned out chimney) while daddy built on a dining room and kitchen. “He was never a carpenter, but if he wanted something or other, he done it.” He also made two rooms upstairs in that old Sandy Flat school, and Mary Sue’s mother boarded two school teachers, a man and woman who worked at the new Dysartsville School.

This was Depression time, and these folks had a can-do attitude.

At the same time, neighboring Glenwood community was also consolidating their smaller schools. A two-room public school had opened in 1904 with two teachers, Lafayette Bright and Bertie Crawford, according to Images of America. A third room was soon added, and in 1913 the rooms were partitioned to accommodate more students. In 1915 and annex was added, and in 1920 an eleven grade brick school was built.

On 2-8-2017, I had to add a description of the school buses that I read about in the Glenwood School 1904-1972 history published in 2006 and 2013 by The History Press in Charleston, SC. , pg 37. Evidently the design of the interior encouraged altercations among the riders. (I can hear my own children who complained from the back seat. “Mom, she’s looking at me. And punching and pinching broke out like war.)

In the 1940s, the “jitneys” had two high parallel benches along the outside of the bus for the older riders. In the middle of the bus, the younger children sat back to back on two lower benches. There were often fistfights that required stopping the bus. See prior posts in the Brackett Town Saga about the adventures of the Sprouse school bus drivers, sixteen-year old students.

A little known Cowan school had been built on Bill Cowan’s property where Pierce Road off Landis Lane meets Walker Road, according to a new friend Walker Toney. On page 62 of the Glenwood School history, compiled by James Lawton Haney with help from Richard Buchanan, Jeanette Rumfelt Jarrett, and Nora Sprouse Worthen, there is a photo from ca 1924 of several students, many of them with the last name of Walker. The teacher’s name was Annie Cowan Mashburn. I need to see if she was related to a gentleman I met last week at the Mashburn’s Bostic General Store in Rutherford County. He had been the undertaker for years, servicing his clients in a building next door to the store before laying them out at their homes before burial. Until he convinced his wife it would be more convenient to bring them all to their home across the street. They made an apartment to live upstairs in the family’s lovely Gothic revival homeplace and continued until he sold the business. But it worked so well, that the new owner was slow to transition into his own building. Edward Mashburn deserves his own blog post so I will have to work on it.

(The old Dysartsville School is now an assisted living facility because the students were later consolidated into the Glenwood system in the 50s. The photo above was taken a few weeks before the power company demolished Sandy Flat.)

 

Copyright October 2016 Georgia Wilson Edited 2017

 

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One Response to Episode #4: Learning Dysartsville

  1. Interesting school stories, Georgia. I researched old Kansas schools for Dawn of Day, especially the schools my mother attended and where she taught. Didn’t use any of it in the story, but I have photos! So sad that Sandy Flat was demolished. Excellent history lesson, Mystical Wanderer.

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