In pre-civil war days and up to the time the public shcools were beginning to be built in the late 1870's, to my knowledge, the first schools taught in Joe Burleson Township were at the Cedar Grove Church, known at that time as Shiloah Methodist Church.
In the beginning these schools were taught by a person donating their time just to help the children learn to read and write. At first the Bible was used and whatever books that could be obtained. I was told the Bible was the first book the children learned to read in the early 1850's. Then later a number of subscription schools were taught. For children to attend these schools, their parents had to pay a specified amount set to pay the teacher's salary. I was told by Charlie Pierce and others that his father, William L. Pierce, taught two subscription schools at the church in 1874 and 1875.
I have been unable to obtain the dates the first public schools were built in this section of Marion County, so I will have to tell it as I remember it being told to me by my father and mother and others. I think that probably the first schoolhouse was built where Mr. and Mrs. Claude Wade now live. It was called the Black School because W.J. Black was one of the leaders in building it. The Black School District consisted of most of the east half of the township. Then shortly after the Hudspeth School, later named Snow School after the family of that same name that lived nearby, took most of the west part. It was located where the old Snow School building is now located. As the number of children increased, the George's Creek Schoolhouse was built in between because of the distance they had to walk. Some children had to walk three miles or more. It was a one room school at first, then another room was built on. This school was named after the creek it was located on. A strip on the south of the township went to Dry Hill School, later moved a short distance and named Duren Valley. The southwest corner went to the Longtime School and Dodd City just north of the township.
And now some of the things I do know and remember -- I recall the first time being by the Black School with my parents on our way to Yellville in a wagon in 1920. We stopped and got a drink at the well and there was a hand pump in it; the first one I remember seeing. I also attended my first school at George's Creek in 1921 and 1922 going with my sister Lois and brother George. Some years back our family had moved across the line into the Snow District, but my brothers and sister had continued going to George's Creek. However, in about 1922 when they started to fill the George's Creek trestle, due to the danger of walking through where the men were working we started going to Snow. In 1924 the George's Creek School burned and a new, larger, three room, stone building was built with the Black School consolidating with George's Creek and having a two year, junior high school for a short time.
At the present time all of these schools are just past history. At f irst the high school students were bused to Yellville and Pyatt. George's Creek and Snow were the last to be closed and consolidated with the larger schools. On March 1, 1944 the George's Creek School burned. Children finished up the school year at the Cedar Grove School Church being taught by Nellie Keeter and Sibyl Narramore. In the school year of 1944 and 1945 children were bused to Snow and were taught by Nellie Keeter and Thelma Gaines. They continued this way until August 23,1947. Snow was consolidated with part becoming Yellville District and part becoming Pyatt. George's Creek followed on September 13, 1947 and became a part of Yellville District. However, they continued to bus the elementary school children to Snow and the high school to Yellville. In 1949 Snow School was dissolved and all the students were bused to Yellville and Pyatt. On August 24, 1947 Dodd City was dissolved into the Yellville District. On August 21, 1948 Longtime was dissolved into Yellville and Pyatt districts. Duren Valley was dissolved into Yellville District sometime before 1945.
I would like to point out that the records of schools and the ones that attended them are very limited. Not all the children that were going to school the day pictures were taken were present that day and so they were not in the picture.
Some of the time there were as many as seventy-five to one hundred attending one of these one room, country schools with one teacher teaching all eight grades. Most of the schools were in operation around seventy years, so you can see there were a lot of children that went to each school that I have no record of and I am unable to give their names. I will make no attempt to give the names of all of them.
Reprinted with permission from Treasured Memories of a Beautiful Place in the North Arkansas Ozark Hills by Floyd Burleson, copyright 1989.