LC Schools History

Lake County Schools

     Lake County led the state with the first county high school in 1900, when the court voted to establish a high school in Tiptonville, which would be free to all students in the county.  The $7,500.00 needed to build the school was raised by public subscription.  The two-story brick building was built on Church street on what is now used as the cemetery.  An annex was added for the elementary grades.  This school was quite an improvement over the two-room frame building located on Elm Street or the first log school north of Tiptonville in 1857.

     In 1925, a new school with both room for high and elementary school was built on Cherry Street.  It hosted a large auditorium and under it a large room where the first hot lunch program was started by the P.T.A. under the leadership of Mrs. Blanche Peacock in the late 1930's.

     The first school in Ridgely was a one-room school in 1897 with Mr. Jim Bright as teacher.  In 1910, a tall brick building on "College Hill' gave space for all four years of high school.  In 1923-23 a new brick high school building left the two-story building for the elementary school.  In 1951 a new elementary school was built in both Tiptonville and Ridgely and named for two women who dedicated their lives to teaching.  Lara Kendall in Ridgely and Margaret Newton in Tiptonville. 

     In 1963, a consolidated high school was built in Tiptonville to accommodate students from Tiptonville High, Ridgely High and later Lincoln High in the late 1960's.  The Lara Kendall School in Ridgely for one through eight and Margaret Newton Elementary in Tiptonville would take place for several 'one-room' schools from all over the county.  Keefe, Mooring, Wynnburg, Cates, Phillipy, Cronanville, Sheep Ridge, Hathaway, Cottonwood Grove, Chandlers Mill, Proctor City, Madie and probably several others.  Lincoln School was closed in the late 1960's when all the schools were integrated.  Mr. Ellis Truett was the first principal of Lake County High School and guided it through the early years of consolidation and integration. In 1967, the first black students entered LCHS.  Debra Holliman was the first black valedictorian of LCHS, representing the Class of 1973.

     Lake County Schools have always been blessed by good teachers who have lent their names to the above-mentioned elementary school and Miss Mable Craig whose name was on the first gymnasium in Tiptonville.  Excellent principals have served all the schools, dedicated superintendents have been appointed by the Lake County Court;  H.R. Raymond (1873-1882), M.A. Lowe (1883-1884), L Donaldson (1884-1896), R.C. Donaldson (1896-1917), Thurman McCain (1918-1938), Jack Brewer (1938-1969), James Wilson (1969-1989), Ronald Pope (1989 - 2001), Barry Olhausen (2001 - 2004), Joey Hassell (2004-2009), Amy Coats Floyd (2009- 2012), Col. Corwin Robinson (2012-2014), Sherry Darnell (2014-2022) and Woody Burton (2022-present)

     The list of subjects taught in the high school has increased steadily.  The 1906 Annual lists English, geometry, Latin, history and education (with Greek, French and German optional).  Agriculture was taught was early as 1908, Home Economics was added in 1916-17.  Today, in addition to the basic curriculum,  classes are taught in computer training, vocational studies, sciences and special departments to accommodate students with special needs.  Caps and Gowns were worn at graduation in 1918 and usually thereafter.

     Basketball was first played in 1916 and football began about 1927.  Through the years there have been many winning teams in both boys and girls basketball.  The county has supported State Championship football teams and several successful basketball teams.  The academic programs have prepared students for local jobs, for vocational jobs, and for the finest universities in the country.  Lake County Schools have produced business men and women, doctors, lawyers, farmers, teachers, pharmacists, nurses, engineers, politicians and ministers.

     The newest building programs came in 1981-81 when the new school was built in Ridgely and several classrooms were added to Margaret Newton in Tiptonville.

     The Board of Education wishes to thank Mrs. Catherine LeDuke for this excellent history.

     Lake County High School is approved by the Southern Association of Schools and Colleges.  This county is the forerunner in education and continues to lead in the best possible education or all.

*Compliments of The Lake County Historical Society


 Lincoln School

1949 ~ 1969

     Land was first purchased by black citizens for a school.  A four building was placed on the land and was known as the Tiptonville Colored School.  This school included grades 1 ~ 8.

     There was a definite need for a Black High School.  The Black Citizens who had purchased the original land agreed to give it to the county if they would build a high school.  In 1949, W. C. Haynes, Jr. donated lumber for the school to be built.  This land was located on College and McBride Streets.  The Community was called Baptistville.

     The name of the Tiptonville Colored School was changed to Lincoln School.  The school then included the ninth grade.  A grade was added each year until twelve grades were included.  Grades 1 ~ 8 remained in the old white wood building and grades 9 ~ 12 plus the cafeteria, in 1953, resided in the new brick building.

     Students attended school in split sessions.  School started in July and let out in September for cotton picking until November.

     The heating system was a big "pot-bellied" coal stove in each classroom and gym.  As previously stated, the new school had a cafeteria.  The cooks were Mrs. Annie Mae Mahone and Mrs. Ida Mae Donaldson.  Mr. Cleve Mahone was the janitor.

     Rural students rode the bus into school.  In the north end of the county, Mr. Leonard Williams was the driver of the bus, and in the south end of the county, Mr. Clyde Tipton was the bus driver.

     The first class to begin in the new high school had ten students.  They were Hattie Bell Breshears, Mack Jones, Johnnye Louise Fingers, Addie Burdette, Motley Harris, Henrietta Collier, Louise Harvis, Betty Mahone and Bobby Walker.  Only three of these students graduated from high school.  They were Harrie Bell Bradshaw, Johnnye Louise Fingers and Bobby Walker.  Hattie Bell Breshear attended college, Bobby Walker went into the armed forces and Johnnye Louise Fingers joined the work force.

     Instructors of the Lincoln School have been Mr. J. D. McCloud, Principal, Miss Claudine Koonce, Miss Emma Lee Shaw, Mr. Edward Smith, Mrs. Mary Thompson, Mrs. Ernestine Scott, Mrs. Irene Owens, Miss Tressie Thurmond, Mrs. Mary Ruth Townsend, Mr. James Henry Fenner, Mr. Loraine Johnson, Mrs. Vinie Donaldson, Miss Myrtle Robinson and Mrs. Josephine Johnson.

     The elementary curriculum consisted of reading, writing and arithmetic.  The High School  Curriculum for the ninth grade consisted of English, Biology, Algebra, History, Physical Education, Home Economics and Agriculture.  Each year the faculty and curriculum increased according to state requirements.

     Mr. Edward Smith organized the first basketball team, the colors were black and gold, and the mascot was the Yellowjacket.  The girl's team was Sarah McCloud, Daisy Bell Stewart, Bobbie Green, Ocie Lee Fryerson, Hattie Bell Breshears, Helen Anderson, Hilda Breshear, Izola Izola and Beauton Young.

     The boy's team consisted of Ocine Owensby, Mack Jones, Wade Young, Thomas Lee Williams, Ocie B. Mahone, Motley Harris, Obahiah Stewart and Cornell Young.  Only eight could play, because they only had eight uniforms. 

     The basketball program grew, the teams got larger and larger.  The mascot was changed to the Apache.

     The last class to graduate from Lincoln was in 1966.  This ended the Lincoln High School, the remaining students went to Lake County High School and to the Lara Kendall School in Ridgely.

     In the year of 1967, Lincoln became only an elementary school with Mr. Thomas White as principal.  Later he was transferred to Margaret Newton Elementary School.

     In 1969, Lincoln was closed.  Mr. James Henry Fenner was the last principal.  All students went to Margaret Newton.  In the summer of 1969, the elementary school or the white wood building was cleaned out with the knowledge of the citizens and the building was burned.  About two years later, the gym, which the citizens wanted to retain, was torn down.  The High School building became the office of the Lake County Board of Education and the cafeteria became the Senior Citizens Center, now it is the Head Start Center.

     The Lincoln School is only a memory, but many students received their basic education in this school; also many of these students have been influential in Lake County offering their expertise in various areas.

Respectively submitted by Cora Hughes

(Retired Lake County High School Teacher)

*Compliments of the Lake County Historical Society ~ 2001 Year Book