Giles Paths: Remembering Minor Hill School

Part I

 

The beginning, from the 1986 book Heritage Minor Hill.

 

“On March 1, 1875, Samuel Kerr Gooch and his wife Mary Jane Gooch deeded 1/2 acre of land for the purpose of the benefit of the neighborhood and to maintain a school to be used for a school only. The one room was built of logs and sometime after March 1, 1875, the first school taught in the area of Minor Hill. It was known as the Coffman School.

 

“J S. Coffman moved the Coffman School house to Minor Hill.

 

“The Coffman was located on 1/2 acre of land which was the east side of Little School Creek, west prong (Buck Creek).

 

“The Coffman School was used until 1900. William Riley Jones deeded two acres in Minor Hill Jan. 12, 1897, for a new school. This two acres is part of the present Minor Hill School.”

 

My thanks to Johnny Jackson, 1967 graduate of Minor Hill School, for much of the material that will be used in these Giles Paths features. We have already featured Beech Hill, Bodenham, Campbellsville, Elkton and Jones School in Lynnville.

 

Longtime educator Johnny Jackson remembers with great fondness his days spent as a student at Minor Hill School. Jackson graduated from MHS in 1967. Johnny Phelps / Pulaski Citizen

“There were 31 in our 1967 graduating class,” Jackson said. “One-third of that group went on to college.

 

“We had great teachers who guided us in the right direction.

 

“Small schools like Minor Hill were the soul of the community.

 

“It was where all the civic events, sporting events — events of all kinds were held.

 

“The dedication of the teachers at Minor Hill was just amazing. Just as I am sure that all Giles County schools had those dedicated teachers.

 

“I feel I got as good of an education at Minor Hill as I could have anywhere in the state.

 

“After graduation, I went to Martin College for two years and graduated at MTSU.”

 

Jackson began his 47 years of teaching at Chattanooga’s McCallie High School. After two years, he began teaching at Martin College.

 

In the spring of 2019, Johnny Jackson retired from Martin after 45 years as a math professor.

 

“Those were great years as I look back,” Jackson said. “I am very thankful for my teachers I had at Minor Hill. I was well prepared to face the future.”

 

It was Jan. 9, 1969, that changed the lives of many Minor Hill students and faculty at the school. Fire destroyed the entire school except the cafeteria and home economics section, which were fireproof.

A page taken from “The Wildcat,” the Minor Hill School yearbook, recalls the “Night of Tragedy” when hundreds watched as fire destroyed the beloved school.

For the remainder of the 1968-69 school term, only grades nine-12 remained at Minor Hill, holding classes in the unburned part of the building. Grades one-six were transported to Pulaski Elementary School and grades seven and eight went to Prospect.

 

“I stood across the street and watched with a heavy heart as my school burned,” Jackson recalled. “That night was truly one of the worst of my life.”

 

Part II next time.