Bugscuffle School

Photo and history submitted by Jack W. James
from his book, "The History of Lavaca Arkansas-Military Road, Oak Bower and Beyond."


Second photo submitted by Maxine Brown


Two of the women standing on the end are Elba Ingraham and her dau-in-law Maud Ingraham.

The one-room Bugscuffle School, located on Bugscuffle Road just west of Oak Bower/Lavaca is a wonderful memory to local residents. The little stump sitter in the top photo is identified as Bleaker Green.

History of the Bugscuffle School

Just over one mile west of downtown Lavaca on Highway 253 is a street called Bugscuffle Road. In the late 1800s, a Mr. Tate donated land for a school and a cemetery that was located at the present site of the Central City water tower.

The origin of the name Bugscuffle, like others in the area, is debatable. It has been written that Homer Coker once commented at a pie supper held at the Tate School that there were so many bugs present that it was "just a regular bugscuffle." Another story is told that a man passing by the Tate School noted that the kids were "scuffling in the dirt like bugs." However the name began, it stuck and the street and school took the title Bugscuffle.

The Bugscuffle School was only a one-room building with a wood stove centered in the room, with a pipe that ran through the room and out at the back of the school.

The student's desks were simple slat planks with no desks. Students had to hold their books and supplies in their laps. The school was divided with boys sitting on one side of the room and the girls on the other.

It has been told that the bathroom facilities for the school were the forty acres of woods that stood behind the building. Local residents boasted that Bugscuffle had segregated restrooms: the boys used the east twenty acres and the girls the west twenty acres. Water for the school was carried over a quarter of a mile to the building. Everyone drank from the same bucket of water and used the same dipper.

Too early for the bus system, some students walked several miles to school or rode on horseback. School let out in the fall so the larger and older children could pick cotton and harvest fields.

The school consisted of classes of a first reader, second reader, third, fourth and fifth combined history and geography. After completing these courses, you were out of school. At the end of each year a progress program was held where each child was expected to make a speech.

The Bugscuffle School enrollment was up to forty students at one time. Some of the families represented at the school included: Anne Johnson, Maness, Ingraham, Graham, Pence, Moore, Knox, Flanagan, Gothard, Little and Hickman. Some of the teachers were: Lena Newman, Minnie Ridden, Janie Cesson, Pearl Stafford and Mr. Browley.

One teacher had a reputation as "the hanging teacher." If a child misbehaved she would take a scarf, tie it around the offender's chest beneath their arms and hang the offender on a nail in the wall about six feet up.

The Bugscuffle School, started in the late 1800s, consolidated with Lavaca School in about 1920.