ABOUT the PARRISH SCHOOLS
From 1880, the
following were heads of the public school system: C. Appling,
M. M. Stephenson, J. H. Stephenson, J. H. Robinson, T. C. Hutto,
Clyde Wade, Jr., J. W. Smith, A. L. Hendrix, Bert T. Murphee and
Ira L. Helms.
Helms was the first high school principal in a brand new
building costing $15,000, which opened for the fall term in
1925. He was born in Clio, Alabama on February 7, 1895.
In 1941, the
Parrish High Principal was M. G. Couch.
In 1944, the
following principals served the Parrish Schools: Parrish High,
J. H. Beasley; Parrish Elementary, E. A. Evans; The Negro
School, L. D. Thomas.
According to a
full page news article written about Parrish in the Birmingham
News on January 25, 1925, the Grammar School was a white frame
building on a hilltop southeast of the old depot. Four grades
were taught there with attendance of about 200. The building
had four classrooms and an auditorium. Miss Edna Simpson was
principal. Teachers were: Miss Minnie Stubbs, Miss Myrtle
Hutto, and Miss Nell Tom Dickey. Miss Jean Chenault was the
elocution teacher and Mrs. Brock taught music.
of OUR SCHOOLS
Deason died in 1984. Permission to reproduce this article was
given by her daughter, Mildred Ella Deason, of Parrish,
oldest school I can find in this vicinity was at Providence in
1849. Jasper R. Jones taught school there. He had a six weeks
writing school, later a six week Geography, and so on. He was a
very well educated man; knew Latin and French as well as English
since his grandfather came from England in 1775.
Cassandra Jones taught at Mt. Hope several years. She was
teaching there the year that public funds were first made
available. It may be said she started the first nursery school
for she had three children, a girl, Bashie, a boy, Pickens, and
a baby, Chester. She arranged a corner of the house as a
playing place for the baby.
School was at the Zion Church, then moved down to the mining
camp at the America Mines. Henry Odom and Henry Douglas were
two of the teachers.
first school in Parrish, as such, was near the Clements’ place.
It was a one-room school house and a Mr. Whatley taught there.
Later the Hill School over to left after one crosses the
Southern R. R. was an improvement. It was a two story
structure, painted white, with more than one teacher.
first high school was in 1925 where the elementary school is
now. All students went to Jasper to high school until then.
Some of the teachers were: Storey, Helms, Vicks, Roberts,
Couch, Beasley, Bailey, Lockeridge, Henslee, Wade, Hardiman, and
Harland, the present principal.
Key, Ruth Richards, Minnie Michael and Edith Deason are among
the teachers who taught in Parrish High School for 35 to 45
coaches were: Douglass, Kelley, Hutto, Elbert Deason, Foster
Hutto, Cupe Perry, Leon Short, George Harland. These are the
ones I remember.
present high school was erected about 1937. Then the elementary
was moved to the old high school.
the one room houses were used as church houses, election place
and for funerals and any other event which called for a
gathering of the people.
our people had good educations and wanted their children to have
better advantages. Several families boarder (sic) their
children at Oakman to attend the academy there. Many stayed in
Jasper to attend school there. Some of our oldest residents are
well educated. One could get a degree in law in Jasper at that
time. Our men who became doctors went to Memphis. Our teachers
took an examination in Jasper to get a teaching certificate. We
have produced more doctors, and teachers than any other place.
In fact, we the people of Parrish take pride in our schools and
work hard to better the conditions.
Mrs. Edith [Jones] Deason, b. 1901, was the first child of
Albert Pickens Jones, Sr. and Ella [Key] Jones and was a
descendant of Wallis & Susan [Beavert] Jones and John &
Belinda[Milstead] Key, two of the earliest families to
settle in Walker County, Alabama.)
Paul L. Key
first school house was located on top of the hill at or probably
a little north of where Lacy Clements now lives. School terms
were short, lasting from about four to seven months each year.
The one room was approximately 40 feet x 30 feet or possibly a
school building for the first few years was used as a meeting
place for the different denominations and for public meetings of
various kinds. The first teacher I can remember was Mr. Alonzo
Douglas and well do I remember my first and only day that I
attended that school year. He gave me a whipping and I refused
to go back. My parents did not make me and my mother taught me
my ABC’s and how to read. I intended to play hookey if they had
tried to make me. I well remember our schools trustees; Moses
Stephenson, Will Thompson and L. V. Covin. They were very good
men and were instrumental in establishing the first churches in
about the year 1914, to build a new school building the patrons
of the school got together and raised enough money to do so and
after much squabbling, it was built on the site of the present
Robert Thompson Home which was donated by, I think, Berk Odom
and George Plylar. It consisted of a hallway and four rooms on
the ground floor and an upstairs auditorium which was used for
public gatherings and school plays, etc. This school building
was abandoned when the now elementary was erected and used for
both a high school and an elementary school.