(unknown date) 1964
By Belle Singletary
Dry Creek’s first school house was built of logs with a dirt chimney, by Burkett Lindsey in 1859 - and not too far from the last Dry Creek School. (The late William Burkett Lindsey, grandson of Great-grandfather Burkett, was one of the carpenters, who in 1912, built the 6-room Dry Creek School, and who in the year 1920, built the lovely colonial mansion-type school house, which now stands deserted near the Dry Creek Post Office).
Turn left at the Dry Creek Post Office and drive about two or more miles on Louisiana Highway 394, heading toward DeRidder, and you will soon have K. R. Hanchey’s pinetree farm to your right. A few hundred yards over, in this pasture, across from the present Green Town Road, is the location of Pine Water Hole School. This was a private school, and was about 1 mile from the Burkett Lindsey Homestead.
This first Dry Creek School was attended by the Lindsey children, the William Hanchey children (Supt. K. R. Hanchey’s Great-grandfather lived about two miles east of Pine Water Hole School), the William Green children, the Rice children (relatives of Mrs. Green) the Williams’ children and others.
There is a branch that flows through Kenny’s pasture and on across Louisiana Highway 394 and helps make the pond in front of Frank Miller’s lovely county home. This branch is listed on United States maps today, as School House Branch.
The Reverend J. B. Ford, a Baptist preacher, was the teacher of this private school. He taught on school days and preached on weekends in the log schoolhouse.
The first known baptizing at Dry Creek took place in the blue hole of water on School House Branch, near Frank’s pond. Polly and Jim Rice were baptized by Rev. Ford.
Second School at Dry Creek
The second school at Dry Creek was established in the year 1882 or 1883 on Burkett Lindsey’s property – the land across Little Dry Creek. John McNeese, the renowned Louisiana educator for whom McNeese State College was named, taught there in 1885, according to Dr. E. L. Miller of Jena, Louisiana.
Mrs. W. B. Lindsey, nearing 90, adds that McNeese and his daughter Emma (Squires), who was a school girl, lived with Mr. McNeese’s brother-in-law, Monroe Lindsey, for the school session.
Rob Lindsey, 76, Winfrey Lindsey, 80, Lawrence Lindsey, 89, and Ras Miller, 90 - all grandsons of Burkett Lindsey, do not remember the name of the above mentioned school. This seems to be lost to posterity. Does anyone know?
Dr. Ras was a student at the school on Little Dry Creek, but does not recall the teachers before John McNeese.
He wrote me on January 3 of this year, that the school burned one night following a disciplinary problem. “The next morning (Saturday) the men of the community met at the scene..Suddenly my father said, ‘Let us get back here at 1 o’clock and do something..’ They did, and by noon Monday a shed was completed and supplied with seats. Uncle Monroe (Lindsey) built a blackboard. The school continued until the term was finished”.
My Grandpa Albert and Grandad Monroe’s older children attended this school. (Grandpa Albert was my Mother Mattie’s father: Granddad Monroe was my foster father, William Burkett’s father. Brothers they were, but both of them in their lifetime were my grandfathers.) Great Uncle Jim Miller and great Aunt Laura Lindsey Miller’s children attended the school on their grandfather’s property. The late Nathan Miller, son of Levi Miller, and father of Frank Miller, and other members of this neighboring family were taught by John McNeese. Ever so many families were represented at the “Black Burn”school, as it was called after the Friday night disaster.
Oakland School Established By 1889
Oakland School was located in the Green Town Settlement. I do not know the exact date that the loghouse was built. I do have on my desk a copy of History of the United States Prepared Especially for Schools by Dr. John Clark Ridpath of Depauw University in 1885. There is a beautifully done scroll, bearing the inscription: Wm. B. Lindsey, Oakland, July 17, 89. Under Oakland is drawn an oak sprig with leaves and an acorn. So, W. B. Lindsey was a student at Oakland in 1889.
LeRoy Johnson from Grant, Louisiana taught the first school at Oakland. This was a winter term.
In 1897, Mr. Hawkings Carroll of Merryville taught his first school at Oakland. (Mr. Carroll, please, if I’m wrong correct me. I’d like to know more about your Oakland teaching days.)
Some of the Albert and Monroe Lindsey children attended Oakland under Carroll. Rob and Mag, no doubt – Perhaps Winfrey and McNeese did. The older Will McFatter boys attended as did most all of the Green Town children.
Mount Moriah 1892
Mount Moriah, a lumber box school house, according to Rob Lindsey and Ras Miller, was built in 1892. R. L. Butler was the first teacher. (I recall Bill Lindsey telling me that the first teacher at Mount Moriah was a student at Peabody College and a brilliant scholar). School at Mount Moriah was usually taught in the summer. Then the teacher would return to college for another session.
Dr. Ras Miller wrote that in 1893 Robert G. Corkern taught there. He also taught in 1894. (He married Bill Kent’s daughter Mary. Mary lives in Natchitoches. Robert is dead).
I remember when R. G. Corkern was Superintendent of Allen Parish Schools. That was many years after he taught my Uncle Rob, my Aunts – Ollie, Hattie, Mag, and Lou, and my mother Mattie at Mount Moriah in 1893 – 1894.
Among those attending this school were Will, Lawrence, McNeese and Winfrey Lindsey; Doshia (Mrs. Frank Iles) and Lou Wagnon; Arch Weeks; Ras Miller and other members of Great Aunt Laura Miller’s family.
Three Early School Books Used In Dry Creek Schools
Three books that W. B. Lindsey studied have been of great interest to the writer, his foster daughter. I have examined each of them carefully, and I can better understand the very good foundation he had for a country-schooled boy in the late 1800’s.
These books are: Dr. Ridpath’s History of the United States (1885); Swinton’s Fifth Reader and Speaker (1883) – the Reader the Foucus of Language – Training; Dr. Charles Davis’ Practical Arithmetic ( 1876). Dr Davis was a professor at Columbia College. He was the author of Differential Calculus, Analytical Geometery, Elements of Surveying, Algebras, and Arithmetic.
Dr. Davis was the author of the West Point Course of Mathematics in 1876.
The writer of today’s column remembers that W. B. Lindsey seemed to understand arithmetic, algebra, and geometry all, when she was struggling through her math courses in 1920-1924 at the Dry Creek High School. He believed in Dr. Davis. This book had been re-bound or covered with what appears to be tanned leer or kid skin hand laced.
Someday I’ll tell you of other early schools in and with in three or four miles of Dry Creek.