The First Schools

The first school in Giles County of which there is now any record or recollection was the Pulaski Academy which was chartered by act of the General Assembly, passed November 23, 1809, just nine days after the passage of the act establishing the county. The act appointed as trustees of the academy John Sappington, Nelson Patteson, Tyree Rhodes, Samuel Jones, Somersett Moore, Charles Buford. and Charles Neeley. There being a surplus of money from the sale of town lots, the commissioners were authorized by the General Assembly to invest a portion of the same in a tract of land upon which to locate and erect a college building and the present commanding and beautiful site on East Hill was purchased. In September 1812, the name of the academy was changed from Pulaski Academy to that of Wurtemburg Academy, and William Purcell, David Woods and Alfred M. Harris were appointed additional trustees. In 1849 a college charter was obtained for the academy by the name of Giles College, when the present large, commodious brick building was erected at a cost of about $15,000.

In 1810 a school was taught by John Morgan in the Weakley Creek neighborhood, and in 1811 a school was taught in the same neighborhood by Rev.James B. Porter.

The-first classic school taught outside of Pulaski was established by Rev. David Weir in 1812, near the junction of Lynn Creek and Robertson Fork.The school was one of the leading ones of its day, and was taught for many years.

At a very early date an excellent female academy was establisbted in Pulaski, and suitable buildings were erected on the lot now owned by J. B. Childress. In 1830 the property was exchanged for the lot upon which the Episcopal rectory now stands, which building was erected for the academy. This building became damaged by a crack in the walls in 1853, to such an extent as to be considered dangerous, and a short time before the late war the property was sold and the school discontinued.

The teachers of Wurtemburg Academy from 1824 were as follows: William W. Patter, William Loring, William Price, Mr. Mendum, John C. Brown, Daniel G. Anderson, Benjamin P. Mitchell, John A. McRoberts, Woodberry Mitchell, James L. Jones, Prof. Sharp, John H. Stewart, Charles G. Rogers and Alfred H. Abernathy. Of the Female Academy, the teachers were Rev. James Hall Brooks, Mrs. Thomasson, Mr. Davis, Dr. Rowles, and Rev. Robert Caldwell, the, latter being one of the most celebrated educators of his day.

In I870 Thomas Martin, one of the leading citizens and business men of Pulaski, and a pillar of the Methodist Church, died and left $30,000 to be expended in the establishment and endowment of a college for young ladies, to be located at Pulaski. In 1872, in accordance with Mr. Martin's bequest, Martin College was chartered, and handsome and commodious brick buildings were erected in 1873. The buildings will accommodate from 80 to 100 pupils. The study hall, recitation and music rooms, as well as parlors and sleeping apartments, are well lighted and ventilated, and are unusually large and pleasant. The many conveniences embrace a fire escape, elevator, covered galleries, etc. The grounds cover an area of about eight acres, and are beautifully laid out in walks and flower gardens. The buildings and grounds cost about $30,000. John S. Wilkes is the president and Ida E. Hood and Susan L. Heron, principals. The board of trust is composed as follows: J. S. Wilkes, president; William S. Ezell, vice-president; L. W. McCord, secretary; J. B. Childers, treasurer; J. P. May, John T. Steele, John D. Flautt, Wm. F. Ballentine, H. M. Brannan and J. S. Childers. There are chartered schools at Lynnville, Prospect, Elkton, Aspin Hill and other points in the county, all of which have a good attendance. The public schools are in a healthy condition, and are conducted for six months in the year.

In 1885 the scholastic population of Giles County was as follows; White, male 4,143, female 3,789 - total, 7,932; colored, male, 2,695, female, 2,499 - total, 5,194; total, white and colored, 13,126, The semi-annual apportionments of school money in 1885 was for Giles County as follows: April apportionment, $1,730.27; October apportionment, $1,730.27. During 1885 the numbers of teachers employed in Giles County was as follows: White, male, 74, female, 29; colored, male, 25, female, 18; total, 146. The number of schools and school districts in the county are as follows: White schools, 103; colored, 43; total, 146. Number of school districts in county, 20. In 1885 there were two institutes held in the county, which were attended by 103 teachers. The number of teachers licensed in the county in 1885 were as follows: White, male, 74, female, 29; colored, male, 25, female, 18; total, white and colored male and female, 146. There were in 1885 pupils enrolled as follows: White, male, 3,814, female, 3,031; colored, male, 2,156, female, 2,009; total, white and colored, 10,510. In the same year there were 51 frame and 26 log schoolhouses in the county, making a total of 77 schoolhouses in the county.