(Butler Herald, Thursday, Oct 3,
Schools will begin on the fourth Monday in October. County Superintendent, Prof. A.S. WALLACE provided the following list:
Small schools not on above list:
Photo (1945) of "new" Rupert School included: Max Tom Hardie, Roy Rogers,
Floyd Brewer, Ann Williamson, Arie Ann McLaughlin, Adrian Downs, Boyette Turner,
Jimmy Harvery, Jeanelle Downs, Carlene Bell, Joyce McChargue, Louise Wisham,
Marie Rogers, Thomas Carpenter, Robert David Cooper, Agnes Blakely, Barbara
McCorkle, Lillie Mae Williamson, Betty Jane Cooper, Neva Wisham, Nita Rogers,
Gene Hill, Lisa Hardie, Sonya Riddick, Eva Wisham, Robert Brewer, Jimmy Downs,
Bobby Green, James Hinton, Hoyce Cromer, Sammy Locke, Jessie Harris, Wynelle
Blakely, Bobby Barrow, Robert Harris, Mozelle Rogers, Leroy Sawyer, Lula Mae
Carpenter and teachers, Mrs. Lucille Callahan and Mrs. Ethel Harvey. Mrs. Max
Hardie was principal.
Pilkinton SchoolPilkinton School near the Pilkinton Mill on
Rambullet Creek just west of Highway 19, 7 mi s. of Butler in the early 1900's.
The teacher was Carrie Parks and among the pupils attending the one room school
were: Maude, Sally Mattie, A.V., Clyde, Ouida and Jim Brewer; Perk, Maude and
Amanda Harris; Edna Pearl Hurst, Mattie Mae, Viola, Chester and Vesta Waters;
Ella, Ava and Evie Lou Blakely; Lewis, Rupert and Ira Pilkinton and the three
daughters of Mr and Mrs. Bryant Cooper.
Wesley School --1918 (Butler Herald, Thursday, April 4, 1918)
Wesley School closed here Friday after a successful term taught by Misses Mattie
J. Vanlandingham and Wynelle Pope. A good program was arranged for the occasion,
each child doing his part well. The exercises were well attended and enjoyed by
all the people of this community as well as from elsewhere. Each of the girls
carried something they had made such as cooking, needlework, etc. It was a
pleasure to see what progress our school has made within the past year. County
School Superintendent Wallace was present and gave a good talk which was very
much enjoyed. Those completing the seventh grade and receiving state
certificates: Misses JESSE HEATH, INA ROYAL, GLADYS HAYWOOD, MAUD AMOS and MR.
1929Miss Bessie McGuffin, Miss Bessie Childs and Mrs. Ruth
Williams Martin were the teachers with Miss Ida Childs serving as the principal.
Some years earlier J.A. Heath deeded land to the community for a school located
between the Wesley Church and the Terrell Robbins home. The first school
building had been across from the church. In later years W. Herman Elliston
became principal and the school was consolidated with the Central School in 1943
after which the building was torn down and no evidence of the old school is
there today. H.A. Sealey served as one of the trustees for many years.
Butler"Old Field Schools" and the W.B. Johnston Institute which
opened in 1870 were the very first school. In 1875 these evolved into Butler
Male Institute & Female College which changed to Butler Male and Female
College in 1888. By 1922 this had become Butler High School.
Sources: A Supplement to The Taylor County News and The Butler Herald 100 years. Celebrating 200 years of history of America. Published: 1977.
History of Reynolds, Georgia. Reynolds Woman's Club Bicentennial Edition. (1976) Article in the Butler Herald, Nov 20, 1924. Condensed History of Reynolds School by R.A. Hinton
"The first school house was a small two room building located on South Winston Street. It was heated by an open fireplace and water was obtained from a well in the school yard. The school was ungraded and there was no means of regulating school attendance. Pupils entered school and quit school at any period of the term, purely at the will of the child or the parent. There was no balance to advancement and one pupil might have studies in what would now be several grades--all at the same time."
"This building was succeeded by a two story frame building located on the north end of the block where the present school stands.  It was called the Professor George Dwight School. The first floor of the building was used for classrooms and the upper story served as a dormitory for boys from neighboring towns. According to an 1890 issue of The Columbus Enquirer the Reynolds school had an average attendance of sixty pupils at that time.
In the early 1900's the state legislature passed the "McMichael Bill'. This provided for the laying off of each county into "School Districts" and authorizing each school district the right to call an election for the purpose of voting on a tax not to exceed 5 mills upon the property within its boundaries, the funds this raised to be used solely for the purpose of maintenance of its own school.
Reynolds was one of the first to act under this law. At the same time, the voters elected J.H. Whatley, C.B. Marshall and R.A. Hinton to be the first Board of Trustees (a requirement of the new law).
As a result of this action, a new school building was stated on the site where the present building now stands.  In that same year (1904) a prominent citizen, Henry Theodore Coleman died and in his will bequeathed to the Reynolds School the sum of $5,000 and an additional $5,000 for educational purposes in the county. The town was in debt for its school building and funds that were needed for school maintenance were being used to pay the debt on the building. The bequest, therefore, came at a most opportune time. And the new school when it was erected in 1904 was called "Coleman Institute in honor of and gratitude toward the donor, Mr. H.T. Coleman. Mr. Coleman was the adopted son of Dr. Alfred and Dorinda Elizabeth Coleman.
Coleman Institute was a larger two story wooden building. The auditorium was located on the upper floor and the main floor consisted of four large rooms bisected both ways by halls. There was a cloakroom in each class. Each room had at least two grades.
Outdoor privies were used for years but restrooms were added later. The drinking fountain, located in the back yard, was a single pipe with the faucet turned upside down.
There was a bell in the belfry and there is a story of a near disaster when the bell once fell.
The newly elected Board of Trustees immediately organized and began their plans for a modern and efficient and progressive graded school. Its first superintendent was Mr. Roth, whose services did not prove satisfactory and he was succeeded by Mr. J.W. Bloodworth, now a prominent lawyer of Houston County , the first real Superintendent of the School and with his assistance and experience fixed upon a definite curriculum for each grade. Mr. Bloodworth held his position of Superintendent for 3 years and within that short period, the school became an "Accredited High School"
Our present very efficient superintendent  Mr. E.H. Joiner, not then 21 years of age was chosen as principal, while the other positions were filled by able teacher.
In the Coleman Institute 1909 catalog the school boasted of being 'one of the best equipped secondary schools in Georgia'. Many pages in the catalog were devoted to rules and regulations. Although Reynolds population was on 1200, plans were being made to construct a 50 room dormitory to provide housing for out-of-town students. The roster in 1909-1910 showed 163 pupils. The first class to graduate was in the spring of 1909 and all five graduates went on to college: Agnes SEAY, Elam GRIFFITH, Marie BARROW, Wales INGRAM, Clara MUSSELWHITE.
One of Reynold's most admired teacher, Miss Mattie Emma Hartley, later Mrs. Otis Ogburn, taught 1st and 2nd grades with 55 children in her classroom during the1914-1916 term. She remembers the potbellied stove because the grate was constantly falling in the ashes.
Coleman Institute burned in the spring of 1916, just 6 weeks before it was to close for the summer. The local board was willing to suspend school, but Miss Ruth Morse, spokesman for the teachers, told the board that they were there to teach and intimated that they would expect to be paid. So arrangements were made for the children in grades 7-11 to to to the church just outside of town called Little Vine (New Hope). The younger pupils went to school in a dwelling on the west side of town nicknamed 'Pierce Institute' because a Pierce family had lived there. Each student brought his own chair.
A bond issue was proposed of $20,000 and carried, despite the opposition of some who thought the sum much too large to invest in a school house'. By September, a large wooden building had been erected of cheap materials as a makeshift school. Because the building was uncomfortable, inadequate and resembled a barn, it was called the 'Cow Barn'. Located approximately where the present Fickling Gym  is standing, classes were held in this structure for about two years.
In 1918, the two story brick building was completed and the name of 'Coleman Institute' was dropped -- no one seems to know why -- and the school became Reynolds High School.
That fall a flu epidemic caused the school to close, but it was reopened in time to complete the school year. In the early 1920 smallpox epidemic school stayed open, but a vaccine was mandatory.
Principal Joiner is well remembered for his high expectations. Chapel was
held every Friday morning. Students had to give memory verses and answer
questions when called upon! His pet subject was Spelling and Reynolds High
usually won the Spelling Bees held between county schools. Curriculum
requirements were: 4 yrs of math, English/literature, history; 3 yrs of Science,
Latin; or 2 yrs Latin and 2 Yrs French. Many going away to college were able to
skip Freshman courses in math and English they were so well prepared.
Emory University offered a scholarship to the MALE High School Senior with the highest score on a Test they sent to the school. Mr. Joiner thought all should take the test, so had the girls use "male names"...but when the two highest scorers were girls, he had to confess!
Mrs. John MIMS, drama teacher, and Mrs. PENDERGAST, music directed outstanding student performances each year.
Reynolds students took such pride in their school that an Alumni Association
was active and met annually, intiating new gradutes in May each year. Students
from all the classes returned from great distances.
1956 eraUp through about 1956 RHS had all twelve grades in one
building and was fed by two other elementary schools--one in Crowell and the
other in Potterville. The school system couldn't afford to build a basketball
gym so William Fickling
built one for the school.
July 1965, the decision was made to consolidate with Butler High School. This was greatly opposed by some Taylor families who elected to send their children to the neighboring Peach County School.
Integration came in January, 1970. Mrs. Jewel N. McDougald, an outstanding black educator, served as principal for many years. The elementary school in Reynolds were integrated by race but were segregated by sex in those beginning years.
Alma MaterFrom the halls of Reynolds High School We come class by class See her loyal sons and daughters They can't be surpassed. Alma Mater, thee we'll honor As the years go by. Ever give thee praise and glory Hail dear Reynolds High.
1909-1949-- Dedication of REFLECTIONS to Superintendent Eugene Harris
Lookup for REYNOLDS graduating classes beginning with Class of 1909 - 1965.
Lookup for BUTLER graduating classes beginning with Class of 1909 - 1965.
From the "History of Reynolds, Georgia" Compiled by Reynolds Woman's Club, Bicentennial Edition, pg 27. "... had it's beginning on May 12, 1832 when four men and five women constituted themselves into a Primitive Doctrine Baptist Church. This church was located about eight miles Northwest of Reynolds (note: Reynolds wasn't formed until 1852) at Ariel in Crawford County which at that time included part of what is now Taylor County."
Taylor County, Georgia Deed Book H-1 Page 252 Regarding Lot number 203 January 12, 1868 Recorded October 18, 1886 >From Nancy Byrd to C. M. Lucas, David Beeland And C. R. Wiggins. This indenture made and entered into this the twelfth day of January in the year of our lord eighteen hundred and sixty eight, between nancy byrd of the one part and C.M.. Lucas, David Beeland and C.R.. Wiggins Trustees of the County Academy known as Clayton Academy and situated on the northeast corner of the south half of lot of land no. two hundred and three aggreeably to original survey of the other part all of the state and county aforesaid. Witness that for and in consideration of the aforesaid Trustee building or causing to be built a house on lot of same no. two hundred and three within two hundred yards of the south line of said lot and within two hundred yards of the marsh ground on the largest branch running through the aforesaid lot of land number two hundred and three on the west side of such branch dimensions as follows: log house cealed (sic.) with boards 16 by 18 __?__ down one window, two doors, plank floor covered with boards nailed on, stick and dirt chimney. Do hereby grant bargain sell and convey when the above obligation is completed with all that tract or parcel of land, part of lot number two hundred and three. Agreeable to original survey lying and being in the north east corner of south half of aforesaid lot of land containing four acres, known as the meeting house lot which the said Nancy byrd does here by bargain sell and convey unto the said Trustees and their successors in office all that tract of parcel of land and the __?__ then unto belonging forever in fee simple to have and to hold as a place for a County Academy and public worship. Said Nancy Byrd doth give warrant and defend the right and title for herself her heirs and assigns to the Trustees and their successors in office forever. In witness where of I have here unto set my hand and seal the day and year above written. Signed sealed and delivered. (her mark) Nancy X Byrd Recorded Oct 18, 1886 J. B. Flower, Clk in the presence of V. Montgomery David Beeland JP The cemetery is in the Northeast corner of the south half of LL 203 and Crowell Church Road wasn't authorized to be laid out until 4 July 1872 in a special session of the Court of Ordinary. The following in the same area. Ariel Baptist Church Clayton Academy Byrd-Glover Cemetery Glover School House
It was told that John gave the land so his daughters would have teaching jobs! Newspaper listings of teachers for 1911 showed Miss Fowler; 1912 Miss Vera Bartlett. Vera Bartlett (d/o Charles Barlett and Lena Rhodes) John's niece.
John was married to Frances Greene Caldwell, who was the daughter of Judge Yelverton Caldwell and his 1st wife, Sarah Warren. Frances' great-grandfather was a Revolutionary soldier who came to Greene County from Maryland.
John was the son of Absalom, a Baptist minister and the tax collector for 25 years. Absalom was also Taylor County's first school superintendent. (When Beth Collins first went to the courthouse and met Mrs. Childs, telling her she was working on my family tree, Mrs. Childs told me to first go out and read the historical marker outside the courthouse).
Absalom was married to Eliza Williamson who was a charter member of Corbett Methodist Church. She evidently never changed her membership and probably explains why John never joined a church.
Absalom was the son of Eliakim and Elizabeth Henderson Rhodes. Eliakim was a land speculator and has deeds in many counties.
Willis Academy was probably established under this name around 1884. The building was located across the road from Crowells Methodist Church.
Joab Willis was a farmer and large land owner in that area. His wife, Christian, was a member of Crowell Methodist Church although he was not. However, Mr. Willis played a large role financially in its construction, and therefore the Academy was named for him.
The Butler Herald, March 27, 1885
"Joab Willis who took such a prominent part in its erection. The school is taught by Rev. I.F. Griffith and bids 'ere [before] long to be one of the best schools in the county. " March 27, 1885
NOTE: I.F. Griffith in 1880 is 29 Ignatius Few M.G. & Teaching school
Vol 12 #3 22 Nov 1887
A Sad Death. Mr. Joab Willis breathes his last at Carither's Hotel. Left his home in the northeast portion of this county for Butler last Saturday. Started home and was thrown from buggy. In the excitement of the fall, his doctor thinks he was stricken with paralysis and was found unconscious. He was unable to speak to the moment of death. He was between 75 to 80 years of age. Never married. Prosperous farmer and wealthy owning property in Crawford, Taylor and Macon counties to the amount of $8,000 and $10,000. Left no will. No near relative. Interred in the cemetery in Butler. C.J. Thornton, Esq of columbus has been appointed temporary administrator.
A later Butler Herald paper:"CJ Thornton refused to accept administratorship, probably W.H. Fickling to be appointed Nov 29 1887". Mr. Willis is buried in Butler Memorial Cemetery.
Butler Herald May 19, 1891
Willis Academy there are enrolled the names of thirty or more pupils, when there ought to be 75. There are over 200 school children in Panhandle. Perhaps thirty are enjoying the benefits of a free education. Willis Academy is presided over by one of the best teachers in the county. May 19, 1891
May 5, 1891. Miss Cora Singleton, who has charge of the school at Willis Academy is attending the State School Convention at Brunswick. Miss Bessie Singleton, an accomplished young lady has charge of the school during her sister's absence.