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Article Calendar

November 2020

UT Extension Holiday Plants Lunch & Learn set for December 2, 2020

UT Extension Smith County hopes you’ll join us for our upcoming Lunch & Learn session on Wednesday, December 2, 2020, at noon at the Smith County Chamber of Commerce.

Wilson County UT/TSU Agent Lucas Holman will lead the discussion about Holiday Plants.

Space is limited to the first 15 participants who register and pay the $5 fee for lunch, so call the UT Extension Office at 615-735-2900 to reserve your spot today!

The Holiday Plants Lunch & Learn will also be available to watch live on Zoom, for anyone who would prefer to attend virtually. Register at https://tiny.utk.edu/holidayplants to get the Zoom link.

Smith County High School Basketball 2020-2021 Season Preview

Smith County High School Owls Basketball 2020-2021 Season Preview

After only winning three games last year, the Head Coach Trey Sanders and the Owls will look to improve this season based on the experience their young team gained last year.

“With us playing a bunch of freshman and sophomores last year, it really helped them get ready for this upcoming year. They got some good experience in games last year and they will thrive off of that,” Sanders said.

This experience from last will provide a good foundation, as the Owls will look towards some of the younger players to step up in this next season, especially in a season that could see players needing to be quarantined or injuries that could occur throughout the season.

“Last year the young guys like the freshman and sophomores just played a role and this year we expect them to set up and take a bigger role,” Sanders said.

Sanders believes that his team’s experience could come in handy in his team making a jump in the district this year due to how they improved as the season progressed last year, and that the team gained a winning mentality towards the end of last year.

“I think we can be a top four team in our tough district this year but it will take a lot of work on our part,” Sanders said. “It really helps that the team bought in defensively last year and we hope to pick up right where we left off.“

While the Owls hope that they can make a jump this season and win a few more games that last year, the coronavirus brings a number of challenges on top of winning games.

“You never know what’s going to happen,” Sanders said.  “I mean hopefully we will be able to play a full season. With everything going on you just have to play it one day at a time. As well as playing with the players we have. I have players hurt and quarantined as well. So we just have to prepare with what we have available.”

Smith County High School Lady Owls Basketball 2020-2021 Season Preview

The Lady Owls and Head Coach Todd Hess will look to build off of last season in which they won four games. The Lady Owls are returning a number of players from last year, as they did not lose any players due to graduation. With a young team, it is hard to gauge expectations but the Owls will hope to take a step in the right direction this year.

“Believe it or not we might actually be younger,” Hess said. “This district is an extremely tough district, but of course you want to be in the situation where you’re in the top four teams so you can have birth to the region. In this district you have to bring it day in and day out or you’ll get embarrassed so you have to bring it to every game. Especially in this tough district where I truly believe that someone will bring the gold ball back to our district.”

The Owls will look to their lone senior and two year starter Alexis West as a leader this year. Hess spoke about the team’s ability through all of the classes, and believes there are players that could step up into different roles as the season progresses, which may be needed as the coronavirus is always changing the landscape.

“With Covid, you never know who will be available to play so you have to get everyone ready for any situation,” Hess said “You might even have to get players who are exactly ready to be in a role but this year you have to be ready for anything and everything.“

Hess also spoke about how over his career as a coach, the coronavirus is bringing challenges that he hasn’t ever had to prepare for, especially when you never know when your season could end.

“It’s a challenge, but a great challenge in that it really gets you ready for any situation because you never know what’s going to happen,” Hess said. “You just have to be ready at all times and be careful at the same time.”



vs Trousdale County


@ Pickett County




vs Macon County


vs Red Boiling Springs


@ Gordsonsville


@ Upperman


vs Livingston


@ Trousdale County


vs Gordonsville


Westmoreland Christmas Classic


Westmoreland Christmas Classic


@ Merrol Hyde




vs Cannon County


vs Watertown


@ DeKalb County


@ Macon County


vs Upperman


@ Livingston


@ York


@ Cannon County


@ Watertown


vs DeKalb

Gordonsville High School Basketball 2020-2021 Season Preview

Gordonsville High School Tigers Basketball Season Preview 2020-21 Season Preview

The Gordonsville Tigers basketball team will be returning a large number of players from last year’s team, which made it to the District Championship game before losing to Clay County, and the Region 3A semifinals before losing to Monterey. With the talented roster coming back, head coach Greg Bibb will be looking to improve on last year’s results in his second year with the team.

Despite the good performance from the Tigers in Bibb’s first season season, Bibb and the returning Tigers seem optimistic that the team could make improvements in his second season.

“I think last year was a situation where we had to learn each other,” Bibb said.  “(Last year) we had a summer, but it takes some time. This year we know each other and the attitudes are better, but you never know where you are until you hit adversity and then that is where the true test lies.”

“With the leadership and experience we have coming back, we expect a lot from them,” Bibb said. “But we are still going to have to work hard this season.”
This experience will be beneficial for the Tigers as they try to make their way through a very tough schedule this season, both in their district and with out of district opponents.

“We schedule a tough out of district to help for district play,” Bibb said. “ In my opinion, it’s the hardest district for both boys and girls, and that’s why when we play a tough non district opponent like a Watertown or Eagleville we have to match or exceed their effort and it makes you a better team throughout the year.”

The Tigers will hope that they are able to grow and learn from their tough schedule this year, as they have set a lofty goal for this season.

“I think it’s everyone’s goal to win the state championship,” Bibb said. “ We want to win the district and to win the region. I make the kids write down personal goals and team goals to see where they are currently, and to see how they progress throughout the season.”

Gordonsville High School Tigerettes Basketball 2020-2021 Season Preview

The Gordonsville Tigerettes will look to improve on their season last year, and the team has seen growth the past few years under head coach Jake Dillard, and with a number of returning players this year, the team will hope that the improvements continue this season .

“Each year we’ve gotten better and last year was our first district win and our goal is to get better every
Day,” Dillard said. ”I’m not a goal oriented person as in let’s set all different goals my main goal is to get
better every day, because if we get better every day that is the main focus.”

The large number of returning Tigerettes from last season will look to help the teams growth continue, and with a large number of juniors that will be returning next year Dillard will hope that this growth continues next year as well.

“We do have a lot coming back and it makes it easier when they know what you need and expect from them from last year,” Dillard said. “Another good thing is that this group has played with each other for a long time, so they know how to help each other.”

After getting their first district win under Dillard last season, the Tigerettes will have to fight to be competitive in a very tough district schedule.

“They know it’s tough, they know what it is night in and night out,” Dillard said. “They know you have to bring it every day and it makes you better and I wouldn’t want to be in a different district and they know they have to get better, so they don’t need to be afraid to go get it and compete”

On top of the hard district, the Tigerettes will also have to maneuver through the challenges that the Coronavirus brings this season. The team has already faced some of these challenges this year, as they have already had to quarantine which cut into the ability to practice.

“It’s just being able to be with your kids,” Dillard said. “We’ve been quarantined for weeks and we have only had our fourth practice, but we are not the only ones facing this. Everyone has to deal with it and we just have to take it day by day and get ready with who we have at the time.”

2020-2021 Season Schedule 

Tue, Nov. 17: East Robertson
Sat, Nov. 21: at Sequatchie County L 41-64
Sat, Nov. 21: Cannon County L 28-52
Tue, Nov. 24: at Van Buren County
Fri, Nov. 27: at Watertown
Tue, Dec. 1: at Eagleville
Fri, Dec. 4: Smith County
Tue, Dec. 8: at Clay County
Thu, Dec. 10: Van Buren County
Fri, Dec. 11: Jackson County
Tue, Dec. 15: Red Boiling Springs
Fri, Dec. 18: at Pickett County
Sat, Dec. 19: at Smith County
Mon, Dec. 28: at Winterfest Shootout
Tue, Dec. 29: at Winterfest Shootout
Wed, Dec. 30: at Winterfest Shootout
Tue, Jan. 5: at Trousdale County
Fri, Jan. 8: at Monterey
Tue, Jan. 12: Clarkrange
Fri, Jan. 15: Clay County
Tue, Jan. 19: at Jackson County
Fri, Jan. 22: at Red Boiling Springs
Tue, Jan. 26: Pickett County
Fri, Jan. 29: Trousdale County
Tue, Feb. 2: Monterey
Fri, Feb. 5: at Clarkrange
Mon, Feb. 8: Watertown
Fri, Feb. 12: Eagleville

Gordonsville High School’s 2020 Angel Tree and “Stuff a Backpack” Holiday Programs

Gordonsville High School faculty, staff, clubs, and friends are sponsoring the “GHS Angel Tree” drive again this year for the GHS 7th-12th grade student body. ALL current GHS students are eligible, whether virtual or in-person this semester.

This assistance program is designed to help lessen some of the financial burdens and stresses that can occur during the holiday season by providing gifts, non-perishable foods, and toiletry items to those in the GHS family who are in need and have requested assistance.

A parent/guardian simply needs to fill out the confidential request form listed on the website ghsangeltree.weebly.com  and someone from GHS will be in touch with them to finalize their request. More detailed information is available on the form. REQUESTS WILL BE ACCEPTED UNTIL NOON ON MONDAY, DECEMBER 7TH.

Each year, the program spends roughly $150 per student on gifts. (This does not include the “Stuff a Backpack” items or the food provided.)

If you would like to make a monetary donation, you can drop off cash or a check made out to GHS (memo: GHS Angel Tree) at the front office during school hours. Please drop off all monetary donations by noon on Monday, December 7th in order to provide the shoppers ample time to buy the gifts!

If you would like to sponsor a child, please email Rene Keeton at meredith.keeton@smithcoedu.net to get an information sheet. The sheet will NOT include any identifying information of the child, but will include things like gender, age, sizes, wants, needs, likes, etc.

All gifts need to be at GHS no later than noon on Monday, December 14th in order to provide enough time to get the gifts sorted and ready for pickup.

However, if you would like to offer your own holiday cheer, Gordonsville High School is currently sponsoring the annual “Stuff a Backpack” Community Outreach program for their students who may need more support this season.

If you would like to donate a “stuffed” backpack (or 2, or 3) GHS would truly appreciate it!

This assistance program is for local businesses, churches, organizations, and others to help provide essential items for our students and their families in need.

Please only put the following exact items on the packing listed in a standard school backpack (preferably not the smaller drawstring bags):

GIRL BACKPACK:  1 regular size bottle of shampoo and conditioner, 1 box of regular tampons & 1 box of regular pads, 1 regular size deodorant, 1 regular size bottle of body wash, 1 regular size bottle of body spray, 1 hairbrush, 1 pack of scrunchies/pony tail holders, 1 regular size tube of toothpaste, 1 soft toothbrush, 2 sticks of Chapstick, 2 pairs of warm socks, 1 beanie/warm scarf, 1 pair of warm gloves, 1 small fleece blanket.

BOY BACKPACK:  1 regular size bottle of shampoo and conditioner, 1 regular size deodorant, 1 regular size bottle of body wash, 1 regular size bottle of body spray, 1 comb, 1 regular size tube of toothpaste, 1 soft toothbrush, 2 sticks of Chapstick, 2 pairs of warm socks, 1 beanie/warm scarf, 1 pair of warm gloves, 1 small fleece blanket.

Items found not to match the packing list will have to be removed and replaced. This ensures everything is equal among recipients.

If you would like to provide more than is listed, that is greatly appreciated, but please put any extra items into an extra backpack/box and turn in to the GHS office. Extra items will be added to the GHS Comfort Closet for future use.

All completed backpacks need to be turned in to the GHS office no later than 3:00pm on Monday, December 14. Backpacks will be sent home with the Angel Tree gifts later that week.

If you would rather donate money, that is appreciated as well. Cash or checks made out to GHS (Memo: Stuff a Backpack) can be dropped off at the GHS front office during school hours at 110 Main Street E., Gordonsville, TN  38563.

For assistance or to answer any questions on the Angel Tree or Stuff a Backpack programs, please call Gordonsville High School at 615-683-8245 or email Rene Keeton, meredith.keeton@smithcoedu.net. You may also visit the website at ghsangeltree.weebly.com.

Smith County School Board Approves 2021-2022 School Calendar

The Smith County School Board approved the 2021-2022 School Calendar during the board’s November meeting on November 17th.

After summer break, students will return to school for a half-day on August 4, 2021. Fall Break will be October 18 – 22, 2021, and Thanksgiving Break will be November 22 – 26, 2021. Students will go for a half-day on December 17, followed by Christmas Break on December 20, 2021 – January 3, 2022. Spring Break will be March 28 – April 1, 2022.

There will be no school on September 6, 2021, January 17, 2022, or February 21, 2022, in observance of federal holidays.

Administrative Days will be held on August 2, 2021, August 5, 2021, January 3, 2022, and May 26, 2022.

The final half-day of the school year will be May 27, 2022.

See the full calendar below.

Click here to download a printable PDF version of the 2021-2022 Smith County School Calendar.

Food for Thought: Turkey

By Mary Parker Draper, Extension Agent – Smith County

What would Thanksgiving Dinner be without a turkey? There are several ways to cook a turkey: roasting, grilling, smoking, deep frying…but one thing in common with any method is food safety. With all the talk about food poisoning from improper handling of raw turkey, I checked for information on several questions for good, safe cooking techniques for preparing a turkey.

Turkeys may be purchased fresh or frozen. So how should one thaw a turkey? There are a few ways to thaw a turkey. The easiest and safest but also the most time-consuming method is in the refrigerator. You can figure on one day of thawing time for every 5 pounds of turkey, so a 15-pound turkey will take 3 days. Always make sure to put your turkey on a cookie sheet to catch any drippings.

Another way to thaw a turkey is under cold water. Just replace the water every 30 minutes. A 15-pound turkey will take about 6 hours to thaw under cold water.

One can also thaw a turkey in the microwave. Before removing the packaging, check the manufacturer’s instructions to see how long your turkey needs to thaw and make sure your turkey fits in the microwave. If you’re using this method, make sure to cook the turkey directly after thawing.

Another question is do you have to thaw a turkey? No. You can cook a turkey from a frozen state, but only in the oven. For a 15-pound turkey, it will take about 3 1/2 hours after thawing, so if you choose not to thaw your turkey, simply double that time. It will take about 7 hours to cook a turkey from a frozen state. It is not recommended to deep fry, grill, or smoke a frozen turkey.

If you are purchasing a fresh turkey, purchase it one to two days before it will be cooked, and store the fresh turkey on the refrigerator’s bottom shelf on a cookie sheet or a tray to catch any juice drippings.

Big question! Should you rinse the turkey? You should not rinse the turkey before cooking. It is more likely that you will spread germs than remove them. Paper towels should be used to gently remove pinfeathers or blood. Instead of washing the turkey, it is recommended to wash your hands after handling the raw turkey because anything you touch after can become contaminated. Be sure to also clean areas that the turkey has touched to prevent food borne illness.

Is it necessary to use a food thermometer? Yes. Using a food thermometer is the only sure way to know if your turkey reaches 165°F. Insert the food thermometer into the thickest part of the thigh. The thermometer should point towards the body and should not touch the bone. Even if your turkey has a pop-up timer, it is safer to still use a thermometer.

Should you cook stuffing outside of the bird? It is recommended to cook stuffing outside of the bird because stuffing heats slower than turkey meat. However, by taking the necessary precautions, one can safely prepare a stuffed turkey. One can still prepare ingredients ahead of time as long as you keep wet and dry ingredients separate. All wet ingredients (butter or margarine, cooked celery and onions, broth, etc.) should be chilled and then mixed with the dry ingredients just before the neck and body cavities are loosely filled. Allow 1/2 to 3/4 cup stuffing per pound of turkey. It is safer to under stuff than to overstuff the turkey because stuffing expands during cooking. A food thermometer should be used to make sure that both the center of the stuffing and the turkey reach a safe minimum internal temperature of 165°F. I prefer cooking stuffing separate and then placing the cooked dressing around the turkey after cooking.

Now your turkey is ready to cook in your favorite way. For more information on preparing a turkey, check out https://www.fsis.usda.gov/. Have a happy and safe Thanksgiving!

Cheesy Apples
1 can apples with cinnamon
1 cup sugar
1 stick butter (melted)
3/4 cup flour
1 cup Velveeta Cheese
Mix all ingredients and pour into medium-sized baking dish. Bake at 350 degrees (covered) for 15 minutes. Uncover and bake additional 15 minutes. Submitted by Linda Johnson, Beasley’s Bend FCE Club.

Smith County Weather Report – November 24, 2020

by Steve Norris, Smith County Insider Weather Correspondent

Happy Thanksgiving from the weather office! Tennessee weather can sure be active and changeable, and don’t you just love it. After the showers on Sunday, we will have lovely weather on Monday and Tuesday and then go back to windy with showers and thunderstorms on Wednesday, which quickly moves out. We get better weather for Thanksgiving, and then here comes the chance of showers again from Friday through Sunday. Now that is a week of weather that features almost something for everyone.

Next week we will get some colder weather on Monday and Tuesday, and it is not out of the question that there would be some snow flurries in Tennessee sometime next week. Siberia and some of the countries near Russia have seen lots of snowfall this early in the season. This is usually an indicator of an increase of cold and snowy weather for the United States later in the winter, so we shall see.

In this week’s weather question and fact. What is the most snow to ever fall in Tennessee in 24 hours? On March 14, 1993, 30 inches of snow fell on Mount LeConte in the Smokies during the blizzard. If you want to talk weather, you can reach me anytime at weather1@charter.net.

Gordonsville loses in third round to South Pittsburg 37-7

The Tigers and Pirates first offensive drives saw both teams fail to get anything going, but Gordonsville was able to get the ball moving late in the first quarter, with Darrel Holt running it in from 30 yards out with one and a half minutes left in the first to make the score 7-0.

South Pittsburg was able to bounce back quick, running the ball to the 9 yard line on the kickoff, followed by a touchdown on the next play to tie the score back at 7-7 with a little over 1 minute left in the first quarter.

The heavyweight fight continued in the second quarter with neither team looking to give in, but it was South Pittsburg that struck the end zone next, running the ball in from 49 yards out with 3:26 left in the second quarter to make the score 14-7. This would wrap up the scoring for the first half.

Gordonsville got the ball to start the second half, but South Pittsburg was able to stop the Tigers and found the end zone just 3 minutes into the third quarter to extend their lead to 21-7 off of another 40 yard touchdown run. This score would stay the same, and Gordonsville had a couple glimpses at narrowing the lead, but were unable to get anything going in the third.

South Pittsburg found the scoreboard again a minute and a half into the 4th quarter, this time off of a field goal attempt that made the score 24-7.

South Pittsburg was able to step up and ward off any comeback attempts by Gordonsville, and the Pirates extended their lead by scoring two more touchdowns in the fourth quarter to make the final score 37-7.

Smith County 4-H Celebrates Agriculture Literacy

by Katie Martin, Extension Agent – 4-H Youth Development, UT Extension Smith County

In an effort to encourage sharing the positive message about agriculture, November 15 – 21, 2020, has been declared as “Agriculture Literacy Week in Tennessee”.

Smith County 4-H was excited to do our part in spreading agriculture literacy by reading an accurate, age-appropriate book about agriculture to the kindergarten, first, and second grade classes at Forks River Elementary School. Abby Malone, 10th grade, and Gabe Harville, 8th grade, are active members of the Smith County 4-H Community Club. They read books including Tops and Bottoms and Where Oh Where, Does the Yellow Corn Grow. They also helped explain how vital farmers are in our day-to-day lives to the students and encouraged them to “thank a farmer.” The class not only enjoyed listening to the book, but also eagerly soaked up the information. They asked some great questions and shared how agriculture impacted each of their own lives. We are excited to continue to expand our agriculture literacy program into more classrooms next year!

Smith County Schools Cancel Classes Next Week and Move to Hybrid Learning on November 30

Smith County Schools announced that there would be no classes on Monday, November 23, 2020, and Tuesday, November 24, 2020, before the Thanksgiving break due to limited teacher/staff availability and significant student absences related to COVID-19 illness/exposure.

During the November Board of Education meeting on November 17, 2020, Brittany Binkley, Smith County Schools Lead Nurse, stated that there were 66 active COVID-19 cases among the school system, including students and staff, as of 4:00 pm Tuesday. She also said that there had been 96 positive COVID-19 cases since returning from fall break.  The Tennessee Department of Health has reported 180 COVID-19 cases among school-age children in Smith County since the start of the pandemic.

A commitment was also made to sanitize the schools during the extended break before returning to a hybrid learning model on Monday, November 30, 2020, that will continue until Friday, February 12, 2020.

As part of the plan, every student in the county will participate in hybrid learning on Wednesdays; however, the rest of the week’s schedules vary by their grade, name, and school. Each school will be publishing a detailed schedule for its students. Please see the links below for each school in the county. Not all schools had posted plans at the time of publication of this article, but they should be published by the end of the day on Friday, November 20, 2020.

Carthage Elementary School

Defeated Elementary School

Forks River Elementary School

Gordonsville Elementary School

Gordonsville High School

New Middleton Elementary School

Union Heights Elementary School

Smith County Middle School

Smith County High School

Smith County and Gordonsville Football Teams Win Titles at Tri-County Football Championships

On November 7, 2020, the Tri-County Youth Football league hosted its annual championships at Gordonsville High School. Champions were crowned in the Flag League, Junior League, and Senior League.

In the Flag League, Gordonville was the runner-up after being defeated by Trousdale County.

In the Junior League, undefeated Gordonsville (8-0) was crowned the champion by defeating Smith County.

In the Senior League, undefeated Smith County (7-0) took home the title, beating Gordonsville.

Congratulations to all the Smith County and Gordonsville teams on their success this season!

You can watch all of the championship games below courtesy of DTC Sports.

November 2020 Meeting of the Smith County Board of Education

The Smith County Board of Education met at 5:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 17, 2020.

The Board of Education meet in the newly renovated board room for the first time. Agenda items included the 2020-2021 school calendar, 2019-2020 school audit, and COVID-19 discussion. You may view the agenda here.

You can watch the full meeting below.

Thanks to Judy Smith and Lacey Crockett of Blackwell Realty for sponsoring the live broadcast of this meeting.

Subscribe to Smith County Insider’s YouTube channel to stay up-to-date on meeting coverage, business spotlights, video features, and more!

The Smith County School Board meets on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:00 p.m. at the Smith County Board of Education, located at 126 Smith County Middle School Lane in Carthage, Tennessee.

The next School Board meeting will be held on Tuesday, December 15, 2020.

All meetings are open to the public and streamed live at https://www.facebook.com/smithcountyinsider/.

Smith County Weather Report – November 19, 2020

by Steve Norris, Smith County Insider Weather Correspondent

The cold front that moved through Smith County last Sunday morning, bringing wind gusts over 40 miles per hour, also ushered in some of the coldest air of the season. The coldest was Tuesday night, and now we begin a gradual warming trend as we head toward the weekend. The days will be sunny, and the nights will be clear through Sunday, with high temperatures rebounding back into the 60s. A chance of showers will return around Monday and Tuesday. There is no bitter cold coming that I can see through the end of November.

October was a crazy month of weather across the United States with record wildfires in Colorado and California. 11 named Atlantic tropical cyclones have made landfall in the U.S. this hurricane season, breaking the previous record of nine landfalls in 1916. It was the snowiest October on record for many places, including Minneapolis-St. Paul (9.3 inches) Amarillo, Texas (7.4 inches); and Wichita, Kansas (1.6 inches). I think we will be in for some exciting weather ourselves in January and February. You can reach me anytime if you have weather questions, weather1@charter.net

Smith County History: Schools

The following is an excerpt from the Smith County History Book. The book was published in 1986 by the Smith County Homecoming ’86 Heritage Committee. To purchase a digital copy of the Smith County History Book, contact the Smith County Chamber of Commerce or the Smith County Heritage Museum. 

By Mabel Thompson and Rhoda Lee Hailey

(1800- 1986)

The history of Smith County schools is one of slow, unsteady growth, dating back to the 1800s. The first teachers were private tutors who were taken into the homes of those who could afford their services. Many of the early preachers, such as Daniel Burford, also served as teachers.

Under the Second Treaty of the Holston Act in 1806, a tract of land was to be reserved for two colleges, one in the eastern and one in the middle section of the state. Another 100,000 acres were to be reserved to support academies in each county. Where possible one out of each thirty-six square miles of land was to be set aside “ for the use o f schools for the instruction of children forever.”

The supporters of education were pleased, thinking this might become a good founda­tion for public schools within the state. They were soon disappointed as the money failed to appear. Finally, Smith County received enough money in 1810 to establish Geneva Academy in Carthage. A site on the east side of and adjoining the town was selected for erecting a building (where Citizens Bank now stands). William Walton made a gift of two acres to the school.

For the next several decades very little State support for the schools was forthcom­ing. The Subscription Academy became popular during this period, but always, it was only the more affluent who could afford the costs of educating their children.

It was not until 1854 that Tennessee levied the first general tax for public education. Counties were also authorized to levy school taxes. To qualify for the money an annual census was taken of the students in each school district in the county. The state paid about seventy cents per student. Smith County received $3254 for the year 1857 for the entire county. No census records have been found for the years during the Civil War. The county court did not meet, and it is presumed that what few schools may have remained open did so at the expense of the parents.

Dr. John W. Bowen, representing Smith County in the state his efforts, the Academy Act was passed. In the years that followed several academies were established in the county. Three commissioners for each school district were appointed by the county court. The charters for the academies were granted if interested citizens and their respective commissioners made application. There were no uniform guide lines for the schools, and the court-appointed superintendents acted more as overseers than innovators. The grounds and buildings were furnished by the citizens of the community, and school terms lasted anywhere from three to seven months, depending upon the amount of money avail­ able.

In 1898 the legislature passed the high school act, providing funding for three schools in each county. Smith County was to have a high school north and south of the Cumberland River and one in the “forks of the river.” The county court refused to vote the monies needed to match the state funds so the schools did not materialize. Finally, the county justices succumbed to the tactics of the “weaker” sex and money was appropria­ted for the funding of the three high schools in 1914. Gordonsville had a new academy so there was no problem about locating the school in that area. Carthage and Monoville tied for the north side school with Carthage winning. Thomas Fisher gave the land on the hill and Ed Myer contributed the additional ten acres required for agricultural studies. The city erected the building. In the Forks of the River, Chestnut Mound won out over Elmwood for location of the school. However, after one year of failing to comply with the necessary requirements, the location was moved to Elmwood.

In 1944 Smith County had sixty-three schools in operation, including two high schools. The lunchroom program had been initiated under the supervision o f Mabel Thompson, and numerous cloakrooms were turned into country kitchens from which delicious hot meals were served — the most popular being pinto beans, potatoes and cornbread. Prices started at $3 a plate, later going to 5 cents and finally to an all-time high of 20 cents.

Transportation was hard to come by. Most pupils walked or rode horseback, sometimes two and three deep, for many miles a day. Buggies and Model-T Fords also served their purposes on a sharing basis. The first bus service carried a charge of $2.50 a month after much consolidation of schools, were free buses made available to students of all schools.

The first superintendent drew $60 a month, but by 1866 this had been raised to $250. Those who have served as superinten­dents over the years are: Joe Nicholes, E.L. Huffines, Leslie Gold, Albert Gore, Sr., Earl Oldham, J.B. Gore, Woodrow Piper, Clark Meadows, Homer Lewis, Joe Anderson, and Wayne Langford.

Below is a list of institutions that have served to educate our children during the past two centuries:

Thompson Academy; (1800), Trenton Col­lege (1805), Geneva Academy (1810), Porter Hill Academy; (1830), Clinton College (1834), Female Academy; (1842), Black Gnat College (1867), Haywood Academy (1878), Chestnut Mound (1878), Oakley Academy (1881), Enoch (1882), Enigma Academy (1882), Oak Hill (1884), Cornwall’s Chapel (1890), Joseph W. Allen (1898), Knob Springs (1906), Carth­age High (1914), Gordonsville Academy (1880’s), Defeated Academy (1916), Cartwright Academy, Falling Water Acad­emy, Franklin Academy, Gill’s, Ogles, Green Valley, Cooper’s Academy, Huffine’s Acad­emy, K Beech Academy, Union Hill Acad­emy, Dillard’s Academy, Barnett’s Camp Ground, Hale’s Seminary, Robinson’s Acad­emy, Pea Ridge Academy, Dillard’s Creek Academy, Elbow Academy, McClure’s Bend Academy, Oak Wood Academy, Dean Hill Academy, Sunny Plaines, Campbell’s Insti­tute, Central Point Academy, Green Hill Academy, Macey’s Hill Academy, Sander­ son’s Academy, Kittrell’s Academy, Piper’s Academy, White Sulpher Academy, Knobton Academy, Clubb Springs Academy, Fairview Academy, Bowling’s Branch Academy, Rural Academy, Friendship Academy, Tanglewood, Sykes, Brush Creek, Stonewall, Hickman, Maggart, Horseshoe Bend, Buf­falo, Helm’s Bend, Difficult, Kempville, Defeated, Beasley’s Bend, Dixon Springs, Riddleton, Rawl’s Creek, Flat Rock, Grant, Paine’s Bend, Haynie, Grant Colored School, Hogan’s Creek, Rewoda, South Carthage, Bluff Creek, Lancaster Colored, Monoville, Turner Elementary, Turner High, Gordon­sville High, Carthage Elementary, Pleasant Shade, Smith County High.

Most of the schools listed above have long since disappeared from view and from the minds of many. Most were one-room, one- teacher schools, equipped with the standard pot-bellied stove, the water pail with a single dipper, and outdoor plumbing. To the educa­tors the teaching profession was one of hard work and long hours and to most of the hundreds of students, unappreciated. Stu­ dents, rebelling under the watchful and severe eyes of many of the educators, later learned to love and appreciate their fine work. It was ever thus . . . and will continue as long as the teaching profession exists. Even though the passage of time has destroyed even the remnants of most of the buildings, the influence of these primitive institutions upon the cultural heritage of Smith County will never be lost.

The Smith County Teachers Institute was organized in the 1880’s, usually holding their annual gathering in mid-summer at the courthouse in Carthage. They came together to discuss latest teaching methods and relate problems encountered throughout the differ­ent school districts in the county. In the accompanying picture the teachers gather on June 19,1892, before the courthouse for their annual meeting. (The picture is one of the few ever taken showing the front of the building before the center doorway, porch and steps were added. The window in the extreme right was remodeled and is now the large doorway entrance to the courthouse).

Smith County Teachers Institute meets in Carthage, June 19, 1892. (Courtesy Frances Lanius).

Although not specifically identified in the picture, following is the list of teachers who received certificates to teach in Smith County schools for the year ending June 30, 1892, with their post office address: Enoch, Tenn. – H.B. McGinness, W.H. Sayles, Authur Carter, Euda Carter, Georgia Boul­ton, Eliza Kenney, Naomi Beasley, Maggie Manning; Chestnut Mound, Tenn. – W.B. Wyatt, J.P. McDonald, W.F. Sanders, E.D. Gross, Ada Thackston, Alice Glover; Carth­age, Tenn. – A.J. Redditt, R.H. Lankford, J.L. West, Harrison Highers, Hughes Jordan, H.B. Geubelt, Lena Redditt, Bettie Dillard, Lavinia Burton; Enigma, Tenn. – John H. Apple, L.C. Thompson; Stonewall, Tenn. – J.L. Coffee, W.R. Perkins, Claude Cooper; Defeated, Tenn. – Minnie Reece, Lillie Hance, Nettie Hance, Mattie Warren; Rid­dleton, Tenn. – R.H. Washburn, Overton High, Turner Bradley, J.W. Moss, Angie Washburn, Ada Allen, Maude Bradley, Carrie Bradley, Susie Jolly, Rena Ferguson, Nora Perkins; Hickman, Tenn. – W.B. New­ by, Clyde Potter, Creola Flippen, Daisy Flippen; Dixon Springs, Tenn. – Mrs. J.L. DeBow, Minnie Cox, Naomi Cox, Sarah Chambers, Emily Stevens; Grant, Tenn. – J.W. Morris, J.B. Curtis, C.A. Oakley, C.B. Allen, Mentlo Allen; Hogans, Tenn. – J.W. Baily; Maggart, Tenn. – D.H. Hudson; Lan­ caster, Tenn. – B.N. Hicks, Lizzie Askew; Temperance Hall, Tenn. – T.J. Driver; Pleasant Shade, Tenn. – J.L. Dickerson, D.J. Oldham, J.J. Beasley, J.A. Jenkins; Elm­ wood, Tenn. – Z.D. Ford, L.P. Ford, Lula Ford, Alma Ford, Mary Gann; Monoville, Tenn. – Walter Garrett, G.D. Key, J.R. Bridgewater, Robert E. Key, J.W. Mathews, Minnie Key, Mary Bridgewater; Kempville, Tenn. – A.H. Herring; Difficult, Tenn. – L.T. Kemp, J.A. Kemp; New Middleton, Tenn. – E.E. Turner, W.E. Wilkerson, D.M. Johnson, A.H. Carpenter, Sadie M. Agnew; Defeated, Tenn. – W.R. Warren, W.B. West, S.B. Morman, T.H. Sanford, E.L. Huffines; Wat­ertown, Tenn. – James O. McKee; Brush Creek, Tenn. – John G. Mitchell; Sykes, Tenn. – J.E. Reasonover; Gordonsville, Tenn. – N.L. Gold; Bluff Creek, Tenn. – Sallie Stevens; Rome, Tenn. – S.C. Shipp.

UT Extension News: Area Farmers to be Featured on PBS

By Chris Hicks, County Director – UT Extension Smith County

WCTE-PBS is partnering with UT Extension Upper Cumberland county offices to bring attention to issues related to farming in the Upper Cumberland and across the nation. The format will be a Town Hall discussion broadcast live at 8:00 p.m. on Tuesday, November 24.

The Town Hall will feature a number of Upper Cumberland farmers including Smith County’s George McDonald of Catesa Farms and Rebecca Paschal of Cellar 53 Winery & Hickory Hill Vineyards. The panel, moderated by UT Extension’s Katie Martin, will discuss issues such as farm succession planning, agriculture technology, opportunities for beginning farmers, and much more. Viewers will also be able to call in or submit questions via social media.

The panel discussion will immediately follow the 7:00 p.m. screening of “Farmers for America”, a documentary narrated by Mike Rowe, the host of Discovery Channel’s Dirty Jobs. “If you share my addiction to chewing and swallowing, you’ll want to watch Farmers for America,” said Rowe, who travels the U.S. during the film following the lives of young farmers – their joys, everyday successes, and the challenges they face trying to make ends meet while pursuing their dreams.

Despite the pride many farmers take in producing food for their communities, less than 2% of this country’s population feed 300 million Americans each day. With the average age of today’s farmer at 60 and rural America facing rising cost of land and equipment, this film reveals the people waiting to take their place, the practices they’re championing, and the obstacles they must overcome.

We hope you will tune in to your local WCTE-PBS station and join us on Tuesday, November 24 for the “Farmers for America” screening at 7:00 p.m. followed by the Live Virtual Town hall at 8:00 p.m.

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