yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee



Lexington Progress May 26, 1960

Several dozen graduates and students out of former rolls running into the hundreds will gather at Scotts Hill Saturday for what leaders say may be the last reunion to be held.

The old college was organized by B. A. Tucker, early Decatur County School great, about 1894. It became nationally famous during its brief existence and drew many "boarding" students from several states.

Everything was taught from ABC's through three complete college courses leading to degrees in science, literary arts and business. At its peak there were 300 students enrolled but never more than three "professors" and a few student teacher helpers.

Mr. Tucker died [aged 41] of what was afterwards believed to be appendicitis early in 1903. His dominant personality gone, the school began to fold up though some of his brothers and others kept it going for another year or so.

The reunion Saturday will draw up to a hundred old grads and students from several states. The gathering will be informal featuring short talks followed by the usual dinner party together.

E. D. Deere of Lexington will be master of ceremonies. Others expected to speak briefly include: C. S. Austin of Nashville, and John C. Graham of Akron, Ohio, graduates of the class of 1903; Tom White, nationally known banker of Hope, Arkansas, graduate in 1902; C. Perry Patterson, retired professor of government of the University of Texas at Austin, graduate of the class of 1900, and then a teacher in the college: Judge Wes Mayberry of Waynesboro, Tennessee, and Mrs. B. A. Tucker Hansen, wife of the college founder, of Powell, Wyoming.

The efficiency and devotion of students to its name through the years have been the wonder of all who have known about this institution.

The "college" began in an humble old schoolhouse near the business block in the little town but a year or two later was transferred to a more pretentious building erected on "college hill" nearby through the efforts of Mr. Tucker. But even the latter house was a modest frame structure with only a large assembly hall, two classrooms and an office.

Heat was from box stoves which burned usually green wood cut on or near the campus by students working their way through school. Water came in buckets from down under the hill. There never were any sanitary toilets and the library never numbered more than a few reference books and one unabridged dictionary.

Yet alumni boast of a select student body of only those who wanted to get an education and were anxious to sacrifice to do it. There were no organized athletics and the daily chapel service drew also townspeople who were greatly impressed by the daily Bible reading, prayers and spirited singing mostly of church songs.

The gathering Saturday is open to the public and to youngsters in present schools to look on and all but be amused at the tales of their ancestors about such schools. Those who come Saturday are requested to bring basket dinners to spread with each other. The meeting begins at 10a.m.

[Note: According to Gordon H. Turner, Sr., in his The History of Scotts Hill, Tennessee, there was a luncheon for four surviving graduates at the Scotts Hill Senior Center in 1974.]

Go to The Old Scotts Hill College as I Remember It 60 Years Later, written by Prof. Caleb Perry Patterson of the University of Texas

Go to The History of Scotts Hill Schools, which includes section on Scotts Hill College

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