Maury High School, circa 1931

Written by Eunice Jones and published by the Dandridge Banner.

The organization of Maury Academy in 1806 marked an important milestone in Jefferson County's educational history.  The school and its successors existed for 170 years.  Eunice Jones' thesis, originally published in 1931 in the Dandridge Banner newspaper, is the best history of the school that currently exists.  The booklet from which this was transcribed was in the Jefferson County Museum & Archives in 1995.

A good bit of contemporaneous material from the school can be found in Anna Lydia (Cline) Humbird's scrapbook in the Jefferson County Museum & Archives.  Also, Rev. Reuel Pritchett collected a lot of information on the school.  The school's existing accounting records (ca. 1818-1884; gap from 1831-1845) have been microfilmed by the State of Tennessee Library and Archives (reel #34).

Jefferson County has a long tradition of emphasis on education, as seen in extant Court records (notably Indentures) and by establishment of Maury Academy as soon as the State Legislature enacted measures.

Miss Jones' unique style of punctuation and grammar has been retained in this transcription.


"I wish to thank the many friends and patrons who have worked so faithful in helping me get out this History of Maury High School.  It was with their kind help that I was able to print this little book."  [Eunice Jones]

In this pamphlet the student tries to furnish an account of the history and growth of Maury High School from the earliest times to the present day.

There seems to be no complete record.   It is hoped this will be of interest and value to the community in which the school is located.   As a long theme was one of the requirements of the last semester's work in English IV under Miss Fay Rimmer, this subject has been chosen by the author because of her interest in the work.

In the preparation of the pamphlet the student gratefully acknowledges her indebtedness to the many friends and teachers whose faithful labors and cooperation have made it possible to write this.  Particularly does she acknowledge the information given by her friend Mr. R. T. Zirkle, former teacher of old Maury Academy.  She is also greatly indebted to one of her teachers, Miss Lurana Franklin, teacher of Mathematics.  Eunice Jones

History of Maury High School

Jefferson County lies mainly between the French Broad and Holston Rivers.  About one-fourth of the entire area is south of the former stream.  It at first extended far beyond its present limit, covering the territory now embraced in Cocke, Sevier, and a part of Hamblen counties.  It now has an area of about 350 square miles, Bay's Mountains transverse it from east to west, but the greater part of the county is either rolling or level.  The soil along the French Broad River and the smaller streams is exceedingly fertile and yields large crops.  No county in Tennessee has a more honorable record or a more interesting history.  Her early settlers were, many of them, men of intelligence and education, patriotic and worthy citizens, the impress of whose character is still visible upon the third and fourth generations.

In this county is the little town of Dandridge, which is the county seat.  The corporation extends to the French Broad River.  Among the buildings first erected were a court house very near the spot or in the same lot of the present one.  The jail was only temporary at first.  The first church building that is now remembered was a very large hewed log house weather-boarded, which stood not far from the spring just back of Mrs. Hynd's residence.

In this town the high school is situated on the northern hill side facing the town and the French Broad River.  When you leave the steps of the 1884 building, you cross "the old meeting street" or the new highway as it is to-day.

How we came in possession of our school grounds may be of interest.

The State of Tennessee before it was a state belonged to the State of North Carolina.  A large territory of land situated in what is now Tennessee was set apart by the State of North Carolina to be sold 12-1/2 cents per acre and was to be used for school purposes.  Later the Legislature of Tennessee set apart a certain sum thus derived, the amount to be sold, to each county that would build an academy out of their own funds, to pay the upkeep of buildings.  Jefferson county accepted this proposition and built an academy.  This is how we came in possession of the Maury Academy funds.  Most of the other counties lost their funds during the civil war.   Jefferson County being one which did not lose hers.

The first schools are said to have been taught on the corner where R. D. Hill lived or now where Dr. Brad Rainwater lives.  In 1806 the following trustees were appointed for Maury Academy:  George Doherty, Adam Peck, Thomas Gailbraith, Thomas Snoddy, and Parmenas Taylor, to whom were added the following year William Mills, Joseph Hamilton.

The name "Maury Academy" was no doubt suggested by the popularity of General Maury and the school named in his honor.  General Doheny Herndan Maury 1822-1900 was an American soldier and author, born in Fredericksburg, Virginia.  He graduated at the University of Virginia in 1841, studied law, and afterward went to West Point, where he graduated in 1846.  He served in the Mexican war and was made first lieutenant for gallantry at Cero Gordo.  From 1847 to 1850 he was assistant professor of geography and ethics, and from 1850 to 1852 of infantry tactics at West Point.  He then served in the intendent [sic] of cavalry instruction at Carlisle Barracks in 1858.  While serving as assistant adjutant general in New Mexico, in 1861, he was discharged from the army and entered confederate service as colonel.  After the battle of Pea Ridge, he was promoted brigadier general and opposed Grant during the Van Dorn raid.  He also met Sherman successfully in the latter's attack on Vicksburg in 1862.  Later he was promoted general in command of the Department of Tennessee.  At the end of the war he was in command of the Department of the Gulf and surrendered on May 24, 1865.  In 1868 he organized the Southern Historical Society.  From 1886 to 1889 he served as United States minister to Columbia.  You can see why such a progressive school would want a name like this.

The male branch of Maury Academy was taught in a building on the lot where the present "1884" building stands, now known as the "old school house."  The first building was erected in 1806, as a board of trustees was then created by the county court, designated as "Trustees of the male Academy."  The first building was a wooden structure, but this was replaced by a brick one in 1819.  This building was a large three-story brick.  The third floor was occupied by the Sons of Temperance, the second by the Masons, and the first by the school.  It seems that this building faced east rather than south as the present building does.

It appears that the "Female Academy" or as then known "the Female Branch of Maury Academy" did not begin operations as such until the year 1852.  The trustees of the "Female Academy" were Caswell Lee, Verd Thompson, John Roper, Joseph Hamilton, Shadrick Inman, and John Fain.

The "Female Academy" is situated on the hill southeast of the court house, and between the court house, and the river.  This is their consideration for the school, "in consideration of the education of children of the community, the fu[r]therance of the cause of temperance, and the improvement of the morals of the community."  The building erected on this lot is now owned by the Masonic fraternity, was used by the "Female Academy."  The Female Academy had these ladies as some of their teachers.  Misses Amy Lutridge, Jane Lucey, Fannie Blake, Julia Comstock, Aurelia Jarnagan, Rosalee McAdoo, and Ann B. Hynds, first pupil of Mount Holyoke Seminary to teach in the south.

Mrs. Hynds, mother of Alexander Hynds, was graduate of Mount Holyoke Seminary, Massachusetts, probably the best school for women at the time.  She was one of the most scholarly and refined women of whom Jefferson County may boast.  She kept a very select boarding house in her later days.  The influence of Mrs. Hynds has spread like a benediction over this region, over this county, this end of the State, and over the whole south.

In the Male Academy some of the teachers were Mr. Cameron, a preacher Harrison, Andrew Lemming, G. W. Laymon, George Cogsdill, Alonzo Blizzard, Mr. Hoss, Rev. William Akin, Henry Pomeroy, W. F. Park, Capt. G. W. Holtsinger, R. T. Zirkle, seven years; Billy Pryor a short time; W. R. Maynard several years.  In 1876 Dean J. D. Hoskins of University of Tennessee here attended his first school.  Mr. Maynard was a very strong disciplinarian and many are the stories we hear of his time.

Mr. Samuel P. Johnson taught many years.  He lived where Dr. Cowan now lives, very near the school.  He is said to have been a fine teacher -- excelled especially as a Latin teacher.  In those days almost everyone studied Latin.  He had a stern disposition, but he was a man of the highest principles, of broad and genuine scholarship, an inspiring teacher, and a wise counselor of young men.  His picture, also that of Mrs. Hynds, now hangs in the library [1931].

Following Mr. Johnson, Mr. McDaniel taught two years. He was said to be very easy in discipline and was followed for two years by Mr. George Zirkle, who picked up the reins with a very firm hand and ruled quite rigidly.

A boarding house was established on Esquire Benjamin Franklin's farm about four miles from Dandridge, where pupils might stay and go to school, walking the distance over unimproved roads.  A dormitory of two rooms for boys was located where the manual training building now stands.

About this time it appeared that the school building was unsafe.  Mr. Park says, "The Legislature passed an act that the girls should share in this money."  The old house was torn down.  While Mr. George Fain was secretary of the Maury fund, a new building was erected which is now a part of the "1884" Maury Academy.  In order to erect this building about $4,500.00 of the principal of the funds were used.

The administration building contained one library room with 500 volumes of good books, one laboratory, one sewing room, two music rooms, three study halls, a chapel capable of comfortably seating 450 persons.  It was well-lighted, ventilated, and heated by steam.  The raised floor and folding seats gave the audiance [sic] room an attractive appearance.  The girls home cared for eighteen girls and a matron.  The Demestic [sic] Science building was 16 x 30 feet and was used exclusively by the cooking classes.  The Ladies Improvement Association of Dandridge are due the credit for the two latter buildings.  This association put several hundred dollars in the school each year.

The new "1884" building had one large school room on the first floor, a small room to the right, on entering, for an assistant, the stairway on the left, and beyond this a small cloak room.   Immediately at the head of the stairs was a small square music room and the rest constituted the auditorium.  This was so used until 1910 when some changes and additions were made.  The terms were eight months and the principal was paid from the interest on the Maury fund, which at the beginning of this period 1884-1910 was $60 per month.  At first one teacher did it.  After Christmas the county court placed Miss Cynthia Swann for half day.  Later she became full term teacher for several years.  She was one of the most scholarly women Dandridge can boast.

From 1884 to 1909 the teachers were about as follows: G. W. Fox, two years; E. W. Doran, one year; John T. Henderson, two years (Philadelphia, Tennessee); Mr. Aston, two years; Samuel Newman, one year; Mr. Sharp, one year; Jones M. Hicks, three or four years; S. D. McMurray, one year; A. W. Baker, one year; W. E. Wickham, two years; W. W. Woodward, one year.

Some other assistants between 1884 and 1909 were Misses Ann Franklin, Georgie Cate, Ida Vaught, Gertrude Rankin, Anne Simpson.

The schools were consolidated in the 1884 building on a strictly academic basis.  Previously all the girls had been in one and the boys in the other.  At this time all the elementary children were put in the old Female Academy and it became simply a county school, except when the town sometimes extended the term by special funds from corporation sources.  The Maury Academy proceeded on an academic curriculum.

In 1910 Maury Academy was changed to Maury High School.  Prof. J. F. Poteat is due the honor for this change and beginning the work of one of the best high schools of the state.  He had charge of the school for three years and under his influence new rooms were added across the back of the building and the auditorium was accordingly enlarged. In the meantime for a few years preceding his time, the schools were again thrown together, but now they are again separated.  At first the school was a three year high school; the seventh and eighth grades remained in the high school building.  The four year high school was not established till 1916.  By this time the library had grown to a few hundred books, a laboratory, sewing room, two music rooms; three study halls, and a chapel.  The ladies did much to arouse interest in the school.  They made the first cement wall with the steps and planted Bermuda grass to cover clay washes on the steep front.  They bought the house for dormitory and the one mentioned above for Domestic Science.  Miss Alice Witt, the first domestic science teacher, was a very competent organizer of this work which she had for two years.  She was followed by Miss McGuire, Miss Bittinger, Miss Calloway, Miss Mary Rowe Ruble, Miss Laura Barber, Miss Zelma Burke, Miss Margaret McKinney, Miss Ruth Reagan, Miss Beulah Rankin, and Miss Kate Kincheloe.

1931: Maury Academy:  since by act of the Legislature of the State of Tennessee, the control of the high schools of the county passed to the county Board of Education, Maury Academy classed as an independent and separate institution about 1910.  The county court no longer elects a board of trustees, but elects only a trustee who is the treasurer to control the fund.  Mr. Zirkle collects the interest from the principal which is now $8,200 semi-annually and turns it over to the trustee of Jefferson county.  This is one of the two schools of the State that has kept the principal of the money received from the sale of school lands.  Ten thousand dollars was realized from this source, and has been kept intact except for a loss of fifteen hundred dollars during the civil war.  Many times prior to the war the enrollment reached 150 pupils and rarely fell below 100.  When the near-by counties established academies to care for the pupils in them, the academy kept up its usual enrollment by increasing that of the county.

For several years during the early days of the academy, it enrolled students from Blount, Knox, Sevier, Cocke, and Greene counties.

Some of those who have attained prominence are Dr. John Casper Branner, who became an authority in some phases of science; who was president Hoover's inspiration; and who was president of Leland and Stanford University.  Dr. B[r]anner's picture hangs on the Library wall.

Hon. Parmenas Taylor Turnley, a West Point Graduate, who did efficient service in the Mexican war was proud of his early touch with Maury Academy.

In 1916 when Maury Academy celebrated her centennial, an address was read by Mr. Hynds, written by Dr. Branner.  He failed to come on account of the San Francisco earth quake; also a long letter was read from Mr. Turnley written for the occasion.

Theodore Swann, Birmingham, Alabama, was born in Dandridge on September 5, 1886.  He lived in the house where G. W. Rimmer now lives. He attended the old Maury Academy in his early years.  He left here about the age of twelve.  Mr. Swann is the richest living person that has gone from Dandridge. He started just as a salesman of "Details and Supplies" for the Westinghouse Electric and Manufacturing Company at Bluefield, West Virginia.  His most remarkable characteristic is "sticking to a job until the work is accomplished." He has a large chemical manufacturing plant.

Mr. Swann is not only interested in building up his own fortune and establishing a successful chemical manufacturing organization, but he is deeply interested in developing the resources of the south, its minerals, its water power, its transportation facilities, and its people.  To this end, he is constantly working with the industrial leaders of the South, the executives of the States and communities in which his plants are located, the Bureau of Standards at Washington, and other agencies that can assist in southern progress.  He is more than a money maker, therefore.  He is a builder, and he is building on very broad foundations.

Theodore Swann is a man you will hear more and more about during the next decade, for the chemical industry promises to measure up with the electric industry in furthering America's progress.

In the fall of 1912 Mr. Carver was principal one year, his assistants being Misses Lurana Franklin and Anne Simpson.  E. F. Goddard was principal for seven years.  Miss Esther Ellis, Laurana [sic] Franklin, Kate Sheddon, Mary Hickey, Ruth Jewel, and Mr. Rowlings were assistants.  In Mr. Goddard's first year home economics was introduced.

Mr. Goddard was quite a builder, so he improved the buildings by adding, new walks, raising the auditorium floor, taking out several columns, which obscured parts of the stage, enlarging the stage, also by enlarging the little music room at the head of the stairs into a very good recitation room. He organized a manual training department and did some splendid work for about two years, and then by the aid of the Ladies Improvement Association, he built the manual training building and during the rest of his term of service carried on an excellent work along this line.

Mr. Mooney taught one year.  Mr. Goddard continued manual training and the usual helpers continued.  Mr. Mooney died before the opening of his second year.  He was scholarly but not adapted to getting responses from the pupils.

Following Mr. Mooney came Mr. P. C. Williams who held the place for nine years.  He was a very genteel trustworthy, and honorable gentleman.  Mrs. Williams taught the eighth grade and had a marvelous influence of good over her pupils.

Some of his teachers were Misses Ruby Jones, Fay Rimmer, Lurana Franklin, Helen Rankin, and Mr. T. W. Whaley.

During Mr. Williams' time the high school building was erected.  Owing to controversy over the site, the building was delayed a year.  It was completed in time for 1927 commencement to be held in it.  This was largest class to date, numbering thirty-two.

The Board members of the New Maury High School were:  Arthur Holtsinger, J. B. Hill, A. C. Parrott, E. E. Wooten, Mrs. C. E. Harris, Alfred R. Swann, Jr., and E. F. Goddard Superintendent of county Schools.

In 1882 Jefferson County sold its stock in East Tennessee, Virginia, and Georgia railroads and after paying all debts and, leaving a nice balance in the treasury, fifty thousand dollars set aside as a permanent school fund, the interest of which was to be applied to the maintainance of the public schools.  This money was loaned from time to time until 1904, at which time the county court decided to build roads and therefore ordered said funds collected and appropriated on the following roads:  Dandridge to Jefferson City, Dandridge to White Pine and Oak Grove, Dandridge to Piedmont, Dandridge to Nichols Ferry, and Indian Creek Road. An order was passed agreeing to pay interest on this fund, but the court never levied any taxes for same.  E. F. Goddard became Superintendent of public schools January 1923 and in the latter part of this year raised the question of the validity of the court's action on the school fund in 1904 and asked return of same with annual interest.  Upon first vote only four magistrates supported the contention of the superintendent while eighteen opposed on the ground that the present court did not divert the fund and same was too large to pay back at the present time 1924, however, a committee composed of three members of the court and Board of Education was appointed and instructed to report at later date, the vote then was seven for and nine against the return of the funds.  In August 1924 several new members of the court were elected and in October of this year the vote was sixteen for issuing bonds to pay back to the school fund this money and four opposed the measure.

In 1925 the legislature passed an enabling act authorizing the Jefferson County court to issue bonds in the sum of $165,000.00 which bonds were sold June 25, 1925 for face value and a premium of $7,889.00 these funds with accrued interest were apportioned in the ration of $55,000.00 Dandridge; $40,000.00 to Jefferson City; $35,000.00 to New Market; and $35,000.00 to White Pine.

Barber and McMurry were architects for these buildings.   Bids were taken from eleven contractors on Maury High School on November 30, 1925 but these were all $15,000.00 in excess of the money and the court members had requested the board not to ask for more money.  The Board then asked Superintendent Goddard and James Townsend to take quantitites and price of same to ascertain whether the building could be completed with the funds available.  The committee reported favorable and Mr. Townsend was employed as foreman and the work was begun in the spring of 1926 and completed in 1927.  The following changes or additions were not included in contractors bids November 30, 1925; hard wood floor in chapel instead of concrete, Pump station and lot, grading of grounds, concrete walks, building of road.  The entire cost of this project was $60,105.63.  This was more than $250 in excess of the fund and the Superintendent used the manual training shop to work lumber to meet deficit.

In none of the four buildings did the Board of Education ask for additional funds to complete same.

Mr. Theodore Swann, and Mr. Charles Watkins of Texas paid for the light fixtures.  The Improvement Association paid for the Home Economic equipment near $1000.  Laboratory $200.00.  Seating Auditorium $187.00.

The $60,105.63 did not include grounds.  The Fain and Bradford lot cost $2250.00 and was paid for by Town of Dandridge.

-- The remainder of the booklet will be transcribed and included here when the Webmistress has access to it again. --