Jessieville School District
Contributed and written by Jimmy
D. Johnson, Reprinted with permission 2003.
Roscoe DAVIS - 1950
Principal - also taught 7th and 8th grades - Coach
of Senior and Junior boys
Jessieville School was formed as Jessieville School District
No. 45 in 1931 by a petition by the citizens of the area to the
state Department of Education and the Garland County Board of
In 1930 Mr. Elbert JOHNSON, Forrest NEWKIRK, and John BALDWIN
along with the help of several other citizens of northeast Garland
County began a public forum, which led to a petition drive to
consolidate the four small school districts of the area into
one large district. The new school would offer a high school
education for the local students. Up until this time all four
schools had only offered an eighth grade education.
The four Districts that consolidated were, Ballew Springs, Central,
Bethlehem and Marble. Ballew Springs was located just South of
Coleman's Rock shop on the West side of No. 7 highway. Bethlehem
was down on Little Blakely where Vernor and Inez SHAW live. Central
was about 2 and 1/2 miles north of Jessieville on the East side
of No. 7 highway where Rector WARD lives. Both the SHAW's and
WARD's remodeled the schoolhouses and lived in them. Marble was
located just South of Marble Baptist Church at the junction of
Beaudry Circle and Talley Cemetery Road.
The five Board Members of the new District were, E.C. SHAW -
President, A.F. NEWKIRK - Secretary, R.F. BLACKMON, E.L. JOHNSON
and J.A. BALDWIN. All were transferred from their respective
small schools. E.C. SHAW from Bethlehem, A.F. NEWKIRK from Central,
R.F. BLACKMON from Ballew Springs, E.L. JOHNSON and J.A. BALDWIN
After consolidation in 1931, plans were implemented to begin
a new school building to house all the students. While arrangements
were being made and construction gotten under way all four schools
continued to have classes for Primer (Kindergarten) through eighth
grade. Grades nine through twelve were sent to Fountain Lake
for three years, although not many attended. Some, but not all
of the Jessieville students who graduated from Fountain Lake
were, Vera MUSE, Jeff NEWKIRK, Ester NEWKIRK, Herman JOHNSON
and Lois JOHNSON.
In 1934 the school remodeled the old Jessieville Baptist Church
House and had High School classes there for two years. Some,
but not all the students who graduated from Jessieville in the
Church House were, Orpha BALDWIN, Eva PENNINGTON and Nina JOHNSON.
Mr. Henry BRAUGHTON was Principal. Miss Ovie SORRELLS and Lois
JOHNSON were teachers. Because some of the graduates did not
receive full credit for one of their courses, they attended Fountain
Lake for two months, took a test and received a diploma from
During this time, work was going on the new Rock School Building.
The U.S. Forest Service moved their headquarters and work center
and donated the land to the school for the new building. The
work on the new building was completed in time for school to
open on July 19, 1936 for an eight month term with 180 students
enrolled. It had taken almost five years, countless hours of
work, headaches and red tape to secure a loan and the co-operation
of various Govt. offices; but the ambitions of the community
and Board members were accomplished. I am told the Board members
spent more time on school business than they did on personal
things during this time. We must not let ourselves forget the
work and sacrifice these men donated to our School and community.
The completed new Rock Building cost the School District only
$6,092.18. This was accomplished by the Board securing the donation
of the rocks from Mr. Walter HEBERT (Pronounced A Bear), and
Mr. Harve GRAVES. Sand and gravel were donated from various sources
and all the labor was donated by the W.P.A. a Govt. work project.
The W.P.A. also donated about 20% of the other material.
The Faculty for 1936, the first year in the Rock Building
Jeff D. NEWKIRK, Principal, Science teacher and Basketball
Coach. D.O. BLACKMON, History and Math. Kitabel SHANNON, English.
Elementary teachers for 1936.
Orpha BALDWIN- Primer, First and Second.
Lois JOHNSON- Third and Fourth.
Herman JOHNSON - Fifth and Sixth.
The first graduates from the new Rock Building in the Spring
of 1937 were.
Madge AULT, Glen CASEY, Allen GREEN, Ray GREEN, John NEWKIRK
and Beatrice WRIGHT.
About 1944 during WWII, both buses owned by the school were
completely worn out beyond repair. Since the War required all
available material, new buses could not be found. In order to
get the students to school, the Board hired Mr. John TEAL to
haul them on his grocery truck. He put a tarp over the top, made
seats from boards and made two trips both morning and evening.
There was no heat in winter and lots of dust in summer. Many
students left home before light and arrived back after dark.
I believe this lasted about one and one half school years. (I
rode the first route in the morning and the last in the evening.
In 1945 or 1946 a school lunch program was established with the
lunch room being in the basement where the rest rooms are now
located. Up until then all students brought their lunch from
home, most in little striped Rex jelly buckets. There were no
soft drinks available at school. A few years later the U.S. Army
gave the school a barracks building at Camp Robinson near Little
Rock. The men and boys of Jessieville tore it down, pulled the
nails and loaded the lumber on Mr. Floyd WARD's log truck, he
then hauled it back for us. A new lunch room was constructed
from this material.
In 1949 Jessieville was enlarged by the addition of the Schools
at Rock Springs (Star) Mt. Tabor and Avant. The High School students
immediately enrolled at Jessieville. The grade school came a
short time later. This addition made Jessieville the largest
District in area in Garland County and added to her financial
structure as well. In the late 1940's or early 1950's Jessieville
did not have enough students enrolled to meet State requirements
to maintain a High School. Mr. Roy MORGAN the County School Supervisor
brought the bad news. Jessieville High School would again be
sent to Fountain Lake. In an attempt to avoid this the Board
sent Board President Mr. Raymond JOHNSON to Little Rock to meet
with the State Board . Mr. Arch FORD director of the State Board
of education was a former Superintendent at Mtn. Pine and familiar
with Jessieville. He reasoned, because of the enormous area the
District covered and the distance many students would have to
travel, the High School should remain at Jessieville. Jessieville
School District No. 45 was changed to Special District No. One
(1). Jessieville was the first Special District in the State.
Jessieville remained in this status until 1972 when she again
became an Independent District.
Jessieville had begin as a class "C" High School. She
later obtained a class "B" rating and in 1957 her rating
was raised to class "A".
A new Elementary building was constructed about 1950 near where
the present one is located. In 1953 construction was begin on
Jessieville's first gymnasium. Up until this time we only had
an outdoor basketball court. We practiced outside in the cold
and even played some games on the dirt court. The court was later
blacktopped. The new gym was completed in time to play four games
in it in 1954. The first games ever played in a gym. at Jessieville
were with Mt. Ida. I do not remember the outcome of the other
games; but the Senior boys lost by four points. (I was on the
Sr. boys team). In the Spring of 1955 a tornado took the top
off the new gym. The rain ruined the hardwood floor and much
of the inside. The lunchroom was completely blown away with damage
to other buildings. All the buildings were replaced, then in
February 1961 the gym burned to the ground. The present Glazner
gymnasium was then constructed in 1961 and 1962.
In 1951 the Jessieville Sr. boys basketball team went to the
finals of the State class "B" basketball tournament.
They lost to Valley Springs.
The team members were;
Junior McEARL - Center
Douglas RICE and Willie CLICK - Forwards
Dale CASTLEBERRY and Grover GRAVES and Ralph SHAW-Guards
Leon WARD, Jerry SPEERS, Junior BLACKMON, Clim SHAW and J.C.
OATES moved up from the Jr. team to play in the tournament.
Mr. Roscoe DAVIS was Principal and Coach. Record for year, Won
22 - Lost 6
In 1955 the Jessieville Sr. boys again went to the semifinals
of the class "B" State basketball tournament where
they lost to Delight who won the championship.
Team members were;
Allen Dean McEARL, Jimmy CASH, Bobby RICE, J.W. CASTLEBERRY,
Euel Dean WARD, Preston AULT, Billy COCKMAN, Leon EVANS, Charles
BEAN and Kenneth NATIONS. Coach - Roscoe DAVIS.
Record for year - Won 2-2 - lost 5
This is but a brief record of the early history of Jessieville
High School. I am sure others could add much more. I have written
from memory, interviews with many, records & countless phone
calls. I was able to find only one (1) of the students living
who graduated from the old Church House, Nina (JOHNSON) MOORE
who is eighty years old. I was not able to find any of the Jessieville
Students living who graduated from Ft. Lake, although I had talked
with Mrs Lois (JOHNSON) HUNTER about this before her death. Some
of the information came from the first school paper published
in August 1936.
Written by Jimmy D. JOHNSON
A 1954 graduate at Jessieville
Arnold C. FRANKLIN, Jr. - 1950
Quinton H. WHITE - 1950
9th & 10th grades
Junior girls Coach
Lou Anna HILTON - 1950
5th and 6th grade
Lois HUNTER - 1950
3rd and 4th grade
Lela Grace SHIPP - 1950
1st and 2nd grade
From: Ike MURRY
- Attorney General for the State of Arkansas
To: Mr. Raymond L. JOHNSON, President of School Board for Jessieville,
Dear Mr. JOHNSON:
In your letter of October 22, you stated that under Initiated
Act No. 1, adopted at the general election in 1948, Jessieville
High School District No. 45 was created into a new district and
that your county examiner says that it is no longer Jessieville
School but that it is "Garland County District No. 1."
You further state that all of the surrounding schools have names,
and you ask if your school can still be known as Jessieville
School, District No. 1. You state that it is embarrassing to
the pupils, the ball team, and others to go into other counties
with no name on the bus rather than the number of the district.
Initiated Act No. 1 to which you refer in Sec 1 contains
"The new district in each County shall be known as the "_________
County School District No. ______."
It would seem under this requirement that Garland County
School District No. 1 would be the legal designation of the district.
However, the School Board has control and management of school
property and broad powers over the affairs of the district, and
I see no objection to having the name "Jessieville High
School" painted on the bus along with the name "Garland
County School District No. 1"
Very Truly Yours,
Assistant Attorney General
Photo taken in 1936
The following excerpts
are from the first Jessieville Times School Newspaper - August
Jeff D. NEWKIRK, Principal
D.O. BLACKMON, Social Science
Kitabel SHANNON, English
Orpha BALDWIN, Primary Teacher
Herman JOHNSON, Elementary
Lois JOHNSON, Third and Fourth
Editor - Beatrice WRIGHT
Asst. Editor - Madge AULT
Business Manager - John NEWKIRK, Johnnie HUSTON, Ray GREEN
Sports Editors - Helen HOWARD, Glen CASEY
Social/Personal - Allen GREEN, Beatrice SMITH, Wylie VAUGHN
Joke Editors - Bertha MURDERS, Howard NEWKIRK
Sponsors - Miss JOHNSON, Miss SHANNON, Mr. BLACKMON
SOCIAL AND PERSONAL
An event of much interest to the people was the pie supper and
candidates speaking of July 22 at the school. The speakers talks
were very interesting.
The 63 pies brought the amount of $25.00, which was divided between
the singing convention and the school. There was a large crowd
and they all seemed to enjoy the entertainment.
A revival was begun by Rev, Joe MILTON at Beaudry Sunday night.
The meeting will continue until further notice.
The weeks revival at Bethlehem closed Sunday night.
Mr. And Mrs. Bill BURRIS have returned from Forrest City where
they have spent the last few weeks.
Mr. And Mrs. Jamie MIDKIFF are spending their vacation at Jessieville.
Relatives from North Carolina are visiting Mr. And Mrs. HATLEY.
Elmer CRUMPTON was with Flora TUCKER at the dedication program
on Friday night.
John NEWKIRK is visiting the JOHNSON home frequently, also Johnnie
HUSTON is visiting the CASEY home.
1st and 2nd GRADE NEWS
We are very glad to have started this term in a new building.
We have been working hard the past month. The teacher seems pleased
with our work.
Our teacher is making our room an interesting place where we
spend eight hours each day of our life. She draws for us and
then sometimes she has us draw for her. We all like our teacher
The beginners are now reading "Sleepy Head." We enjoy
reading our new books. We can add small figures, which we are
proud of. The teacher tells us that we are her spellers. We have
learned how to spell cow, cat, dog, rat, and a few other words
since school started.
The first grade has just finished the story of the 3 rabbits,
Hop, Skip and Jump. We like arithmetic in preference to other
subjects. The teacher told us we are going to learn how to count
money and tell the hour of the day. When we learn how to exchange
money we can go to the store for mother.
The second graders are reading of "Mr. Rabbit and the Wishing
Pond." We have learned why Mr. Rabbit has long ears and
a short tail. It is a very interesting story. In number work
we are learning to subtract. The teacher has us to copy our spelling
each day. We not only get the spelling but also the practice
We have new pictures on the bulletin board every week. We clean
our homeroom. We keep the blackboard clean. When you come to
visit us just remember we behave well to our size.
3rd and 4th GRADES
Yes, here we are. We are proud of the large number, 46, that
we have enrolled in our room. We have had a high percentage of
attendance which shows we are very much interested in our books.
In reading we have read several stories and poems about the Indians.
As we went along with this we made some Indian pottery and drew
some pictures. After we finished reading "Paper Boats"
we found much fun in cutting and making some of them. We have
been studying titles, parts of a letter, letter writing, and
stories in English. We tiny tots never tire of adding, subtracting,
multiplying and dividing. We have much fun while playing "Bean
Bag," which teaches us to add numbers. We have been to Iraq,
traveling up and down the Shattal, Arab, Tigus and the Euphrates
Rivers. On our journeys we learned that we must not think that
people who do not dress and act as we do are odd. Our ways may
seem just as odd to them.
We have brought several ?? to the windows. We like to watch them
grow and turn themselves up to the beautiful sunlight. Making
and painting our bird boxes was fun too. We think the thing we
like best is to sing. We have learned a health song "Smile
a While," and "Mary Had a Little Lamb, " "Paper
Man," and one or two others.
We already have several books which have been given or loaned
to our library. It is our greatest delight to read "The
Three Bears," "Little Brown KoKo," and the other
stories which we have already collected.
5th & 6th GRADES
We, the fifth and sixth graders, are well pleased with our new
school and the progress that we are making. We have been so interested
the first four weeks that they seem to have passed as one.
This fourth week is really our hardest week yet because we are
preparing for and taking tests. Some of these are not going to
be easy to pass.
We find that studying the same grade with a large group of pupils
is quite different from that of last year. The work is not harder
but far more interesting.
The following Class Officers were elected:
Pres. - Alvin NEWKIRK
Vice Pres. - Connelly NEWKIRK
Secretary - Glenda SPURS
Treasurer - Joyce SPURS
Program Committee - James HATLEY, Bertha JOHNSON, Johnnie ELLISON
7th and 8th GRADES
Here we are back in school again and in a new building too. We
like our teachers and classmates.
We elected school officers Friday;
President - Jake AULT
Vice Pres. - Ruby MURDERS
Secretary - Serilda CASEY
Treasurer - Murrel AULT
Reporter - Jewell ELLISON
Now we might as well tell you our teachers names:
Mr. NEWKIRK, Miss SHANNON, and Mr. BLACKMON. Mr. NEWKIRK is our
Science teacher; Miss SHANNON English; and Mr. BLACKMON, History
We ae working hard to make this the best school in Garland County.
We, the pupils of the 9th grade are very happy to be back in
school again. There are 15 enrolled this year.
We have been studying hard this past 3 weeks as we are trying
to make this our best year. In English we have been studying
the parts of a letter; In science we have been studying the work
of Man and his environment; in Math we've been reviewing formulas;
and in Civics we've been studying the guarding of property's
Friday afternoon we elected class officers. They are as follows;
President - Johnnie HUSTON
Vice Pres. - Myra ROBBINS
Sec. - Treas - Opal JOHNSON
Reporter - Gloria SPEERS
Sponsor - Miss SHANNON
We found out Friday night that we have a very talented teacher
when Miss SHANNON gave us the piano solo and also a very popular
Principal when we heard the praises of Mr. NEWKIRK. The other
teachers are fine too and we think our school has the finest
We among others enjoyed the talks of the many speakers at the
Dedication Friday night.
10th GRADE NEWS
We, the tenth graders are very glad to be back in school after
a long vacation. We are now beginning our real work and we expect
to do our part in making the first term in our new schoolhouse
the most successful term the district has ever known.
We have 9 pupils in our class. Our attendance has been good for
this month and we hope it will continue throughout this term.
In English we have been making formal speeches for the past two
weeks. During this practice we hope to overcome our incorrect
English used in speaking.
Our Class Officers are:
President - Helen HOWARD
Vice Pres. - Beatrice SMITH
Sec. - Treas. - Beth MURDERS
Reporter - Flora TUCKER
11th and 12th GRADES
We are now at the end of the first month of school. We have an
enrollment of seven, one 11th and six 12th grade pupils.
In English we have been analyzing sentences and are now studying
literature. We are reviewing for tests in Economic Geography,
Algebra and higher Arithmetic.
We are all very glad to meet back this year and have the opportunities
that we have. We open up with a new school building this year
so every one should be able to study and do better work.
The Lions Club of Hot Springs, Arkansas presented a Websters
Universal Dictionary to the library, which was very highly appreciated
by all the teachers and students.
Anyone who will donate or lend us books will be in our next paper.
The following men - Messrs. Earl WITT, Roy C. REOF, Elza T. HOUSLEY,
Mr. Elmer TACKETT, Clyde WILSON and George MATTAR contributed
ten dollars to the Jessieville High School to help secure books
for the library.
CAN YOU IMAGINE
1. Albert BROOKS getting a date with a girl?
2. Mr. PERKINS making some new rules on the school bus when he
was only 15?
3. Jeff NEWKIRK going by Hoyt GIVENS every Saturday?
4. Madge AULT taking a nap every Monday morning at school?
5. Beatrice WRIGHT short and fat?
6. Jeff NEWKIRK smoking a cigar?
7. Mr. JOHNSON falling in love?
8. John NEWKIRK refusing to play ball?
9. Helen HOWARD an old maid we3aring specks?
10. Myra ROBBINS with coal black hair and with a C.C.C. boy?
The teachers and pupils have organized an Athletic Association
at Jessieville. We elected;
President: Glen CASEY
Vice Pres. - John NEWKIRK
Secretary - Beatrice WRIGHT
Treasurer - Johnnie HUSTON
We have been practicing softball and plan to meet some team at
Hot Springs in the near future. We shall have both boys and girls
teams and we plan to take part in all games possible. We are
looking forward to a successful softball and basketball season.
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