Greene County, Arkansas
Morning Star School
The Morning Star School was opened about 1899. Although located not many miles from Paragould, a loyal group of people established homes there, and developed their own independent community. At the time the roads east of Paragould were very poor and transportation was by horse and wagon, so the school and church became the heart of the community and tied together the social, political and business activities.
The one-room, one-teacher school was heated with a wood stove and there was no electricity. Water was from a hand pump set on a concrete slab in the school yard. The teacher was obligated to sweep the classroom floor and keep the schoolroom clean.
In those days a teacher in Greene County was permitted to teach only three years in the same school. They were paid in warrants, which were cashed at a discount and sometimes holders recieved only half of the value.
The Cotton Belt Railroad passed through Morning Star. Teachers living in Paragould commuted to and from school on morning and evening trains. Many prominent Greene County people taught at Morning Star School. Among them were: W. A. Branch, who became County Superintendent; his daughter Lorene Williams; Robert Rose and Maudine Rose. Rupert Blalock, a Paragould businessman started his teaching career there. Vaniece Lewis, a "graduate" of the school, returned as a teacher.
In 1938 the rural county schools were consolidated into districts. The small communities were unhappy to see their neighborhood schools closed, but realized it would broadeneducational opportunities. Morning Star was consolidated with the schools at Bard, Big Island, Coffman and Light, to become Lakeside School. In ten years Lakeside became a part of the Tech School District.
In time the old Morning Star School building was razed, the pump taken out and the railroad abandoned, yet the spirit that bonded the community together still lived.
On July 2, 1988 a reunion was held to honor the former students, patrons and teachers of Morning Star School and commemorate the closing of the school doors for the last time, fifty years ago. The reunion was held at Christ United Methodist Church on Highway 412, east of Paragould.
It was fitting the reunion and memorial service were held at Christ United Methodist Church, because the church auditorium was once the auditorium of the school, was moved and added to the present building.
Transcribed by: Sandy Hardin
Pictured is a class around 1936-37 at Morning Star including Eugene Widmer, Charlie Boggs, The Rev. J.B. Harris, The late Jack Leisure, James Yarbrough; (middle row) Reva Lee Heard Burton, Gladys Harris Mercer, Margarert Denim, the late Annabelle Scrivner, Anna Heard, The late Urna Rudi, Wava Cohran Lewis, Geraldine Noel Walker, Alma Widmer Cox, (back) Clarence Casebolt, The late Minnie Sullivan Wadle, The late Mozelle Harris Blaton, Mary Sullivan Hobbs, The late Robert H. Rose, Teacher, Francis Noel, The late Annabelle Scrivner Wilson, The late Martha Lee Brummett Long and R.C. Cleave Yarbrough.
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