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Research Assistance

Extracted from Guide to Genealogical and Historical Research in Jefferson County, Tennessee, copyright ©1995 Billie R. McNamara.  All rights reserved.

Although schools existed in Jefferson County from the earliest time, public education did not have much impact before 1900.  The first school named in public records is Moon's School House, which is mentioned in Minutes of the Court of Pleas & Quarter Sessions in 1797.  It is noteworthy that Jefferson County's earliest recorded orphan indentures (circa 1807) made provisions for educating the children.   Community groups, usually family cooperatives, formed the first schools in the county.   Later, churches organized secular education facilities.  The Presbyterians were most active in establishing early schools in Jefferson County.

A list of public and private schools identified to-date is shown in the following table:

Ailey Dumplin Academy Maury High Piedmont
Antioch (? - Indian Creek) Eckel's Maury Middle Pine Chapel
Bailey (Sockless) Edwards Academy Meadow Brook Piney
Beaver Creek Fielden Meadow Creek Pleasant Grove
Belmont Flat Gap Mill Spring Pleasant Hill
Beth-Car Friends Station Moon's School House Pleasant Ridge
Bethel (Groseclose) Friendship (?) Mossy Creek Baptist College Presbyterian Academy of New Market
Black school on road from Pleasant Grove/Piney to Strawberry Plains Frog Pond Mossy Creek Missionary Baptist
Quaker (at Friends Station)
Blackoak Grove Graham Mountain View (?) Rainwater
Bradshaw Graham Chapel Mt. Horeb "Red School" (White Pine)
Branner Institute for Young Ladies Grapevine Hollow Mt. Horeb Male & Female High Riverview
Brimer's Gray Mt. Pleasant Rocky Valley
Buffalo Wallow Greenbriar Muddy Creek Rolling Hills
Caldwell Greenhill Mullins Chapel (?) Rush Strong
Carson College (male) Hance Nance's Grove Sandy Ridge
Carson-Newman College Hickory Ridge Nelson (Deep Spgs. Comm.) Shady Grove
Cedar Glen Hodges Nelson Merry Academy Skeens
Cedar Grove Holston College Nelson Merry College Snyder's Chapel (?)
Cedar Ridge Holston High Nelson Merry High School Spring Creek
Cherry Hill Holston (Methodist) Seminary Nelson Merry Teachers' College Strawberry Plains College
Chestnut Grove Indian Creek New Market Academy Sunnyview
Chestnut Hill Jefferson City Elementary New Market Elementary Swann's Chapel
Cottage Hill Jefferson City High New Market High Swannsylvania
Crank Subscription Jefferson County High New Salem Talbott
Crowder Branch Jefferson High Newman College (female) Trion
Cynthiana Jefferson Middle Nina Unidentified school below Dalton's
Dalton (?) Johnson Oak Grove Wesley's Chapel
Dandridge Black School Kansas Oak Hill Westminster
Dandridge Female Academy Lee Academy Oakland White Pine Elementary
Deep Springs Lost Creek Old Spring Creek White Pine Grammar (Black)
Dickey Mansfield Gap Parrott White Pine High
Dumplin Maury Academy Perria Unidentified log school -- Jefferson City; moved from near O'Dell Avenue and re-erected next to present-day Jefferson Middle School

Private schools in the county usually carried the names of the families or communities served.  Many of the earliest such schools were located near present-day New Market.  As late as 1885, many children were privately tutored in homes.  They were trained in basic courses as well as music and the arts.  The records do not indicate if the teachers held schools in their homes, or if the teachers held classes in the homes of their students.  The names of many early teachers can be found in the county's records of guardianship proceedings.

The Academy Movement -- In the 1800's, the "academy" became a popular form of higher education.   Academies had been supported by public funds raised from the sale of land while Tennessee was still part of North Carolina.  Jefferson County was the site of one of Tennessee's first academies, Maury, established in 1806.  That year, the Tennessee legislature authorized appropriation of money from land sales to support education.  Originally, both boys and girls attended classes there until the Dandridge Female Academy was incorporated in 1850.  Numerous students from throughout Jefferson County boarded in Dandridge while attending classes, returning to their family homes on weekends.  This was still practiced in the early 20th Century.

Other important private institutions were New Market (Presbyterian) Academy (1885-1925/6), Holston College (New Market, ca. 1840-45); Edwards (United Brethren) Academy in White Pine (founded about 1882), Woodlawn Academy, Mt. Horeb Male & Female Academy, and Strawberry Plains College (1848-1865).  Mossy Creek Academy became Mossy Creek College before merging with Carson-Newman College.  In 1914, New Market Academy exchanged its physical location with White Pine Academy, then owned by the Jefferson County School Board.

Records of Maury Academy, for the period 1818-1860, have been microfilmed by the State of Tennessee.

High (Secondary) Schools -- From approximately 1890 until 1965, there were five high schools in Jefferson County.  Until schools were integrated in 1965, non-white children attended Nelson Merry Training College (1895-1965).  [Before integration, non-white children attended segregated elementary schools in their communities.  Those who continued their education through high school attended Nelson Merry.]  Caucasian children attended the high school closest to their home:  Jefferson City, New Market, Maury (Dandridge), White Pine, or Rush Strong (Strawberry Plains).  In 1975, the consolidated Jefferson County High School opened, and these four high schools were consolidated.

In 1840, the County's first public school districts were laid off.  More than 50 districts were defined.  In 1841, the first survey of the County's scholastic population was taken.  These records have been microfilmed.  From that time until approximately 1925, only sporadic records are available.  These generally do not include the names of individual students.

Existing records of all students who have received a high school diploma in Jefferson County, regardless of the school granting it, are maintained by the Jefferson County High School (115 W. Dumplin Valley Road, Dandridge, TN 37725; (865) 397-3182).  As students progress from elementary to high school, their records follow.  Student records for closed public schools are in the custody of the Superintendent of Schools (P. O. Box 190, Dandridge, TN 37725; (865) 397-3914).

Miscellaneous Records -- The Superintendent's office maintains records of former students who did not graduate from a Jefferson County high school.  Minutes of the School Board meetings, from 1926 to the present, are also housed in the Superintendent's office.  Existing records from Nelson Merry Training College are housed there, as well.

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