A visit to Boykins School No. 1

Published 11:36 am Monday, October 15, 2012

Photographed at Boykins School No. 1 around 1900 were, from left in front, Ernest Ferguson, Ryland Bryant, Norman Beaton, Dorothy Hill, Louise Pruden, Mattie Bradshaw, Marjorie Grizzard, Eva Edwards and Tena Ferguson; second row, Kenny Pruden, Aubrey Williams, Minnie Beaton, Cora Edwards, Jenny Bryant, Lizzie Camp, Eva Gardiner, Claude Beaton, Cora McKinstry, Bessie Johnston, Leola Hill, Norma Johnston, Horton Grizzard and Nora Hart; third row, Willie Beale Jimmie Fuller, Rod Williams, Edna Gardner, Ethel Hart, Annie Francis, Liya Williams, Eva Johnston, Walter Gray, Andrew Knight and Grace Knight; fourth row, Fannie McKinstry, Essie Edwards, Annie Gray, Alice Beale and Valarie Wheeler; and in back, Joe Ben Johnson, Janie Harris, Millard Vick, Charlie Beale, Fleetwood R., Porter Johnson, Harry Ferguson, Herman Vick and J.P. Johnson. SUBMITTED

EDITOR’S NOTE: Lifelong Boykins residents Kitty Lassiter submitted this article written by her late mother, Grace Bland.


BOYKINS—For the program of the Boykins Woman’s Club anniversary banquet on Jan. 21, 1965, local talent presented “Ye Olde School Days.”

As an introduction to the play, Grace Bland was asked to present some reminiscences about school days of old. Her notes have been recently discovered and are herewith quoted:

“I don’t know exactly what my part on this program is, except to carry you back about 70 years.

Some of you may have gone to school in the three-room building, which is now the home of Mr. and Mrs. Frank Lee, but I’m sure I’m the only member of the club who went there when there were just two rooms in the 1880s.

The room on the south side was built soon after I started. Miss Josie Weston, I think, was principal and Miss Lill Beaton was the primary teacher. It would be interesting to know the salaries of those teachers — probably $25 or $35.

We had no janitors — the boys made fires and the girls swept the floors and dusted. We carried our lunch in tin buckets.

We had a very sanitary way of getting our drinking water. A pail of water sat on the little side porch with one dipper — everybody helped themselves.

Sometimes, when too many wanted water at the same time, a boy was asked to pass the pail down the aisle and everybody drank out of that same dipper. I guess we had to drink all of it. Surely we didn’t dump the leftovers from the dipper back in the pail.

Of course, school was not graded, but we studied reading, writing and arithmetic. We had “little” geography, big geography and even physical geography.

Baby Ray was often the topic in first-, second-, third- and fourth-grade readers. Spelling, dictionary, algebra and Latin were taught in the last year or two. Of course, grammar was with Minnie Beaton, who was Miss Lill’s daughter.

I believe dictionary and one class of arithmetic were the only classes I ever had in the principal’s room. There was a class in elocution and many medals were awarded for speech making.

I remember writing sentences repeatedly using the correct usage of “me” or “I” until we were absolutely correct. And, of course, we wrote on slates with chalk, which could be readily erased.

Believe it or not, I was a real athlete. We played Round Cat — very similar to baseball and used a rubber ball and a flat bat. We could knock that rubber ball over the fence and often lost it.

The larger boys had a baseball field in the road in front of where Carroll Edwards’ store is now. If anybody came along this road, the boys would have to stop until they passed. Of course, they traveled by horse and buggy or cart.

All the children walked to school. We walked two miles, played hard each recess and then two miles back home. No wonder I had a leg ache


Guess I remember more about the last year I was at school in 1905. It was also the last year of the little three-room school. I hated mighty badly not to go to the new brick school in 1906, but Andrew went off to school, so I had to go, too — I couldn’t go to school alone.

I remember I got a bicycle — Rufus had traded his for a girl’s and gave it to me. I was a millionaire. I had always wanted one. Andrew had one, of course, and we had a good time riding to school.

One of the Friday afternoon features of that year was reciting poems. I remember Andrew — who did not care too much about memorizing one, getting up and saying “Jack be nimble, Jack be quick, Jack jumped over the candlestick.”

We were graded on this, and I think Andrew must have gotten a zero on that one, but you have to give him an “A” for effort.

Principal Dave Kindred called Andrew “Candy” because he liked it so well. He always had some candy in his pocket, and sometimes the principal would keep Andrew in at recess and feed him candy.

Well, so much for times at the Boykins School Number One.