Open Crack School

Written by: Curtis H. Thomasson

Submitted by: Peggy Chesteen,

Sources: Peggy Chesteen’s interview with Riley Dubose


An early school in the county was one called Open Crack, which was located in the Cedar Grove Baptist Church community on William People’s land, one-half mile west of Dallas Henderson’s store. In 1912, several in the area got together to build the school for the children. Hyram Sasser, Jesse Sasser, Tom DuBose, Henry Jones, and Bill Summerlin worked together and furnished logs for the building. The name for the school came from the cracks created when the green logs dried. Later, the men covered the cracks in the walls with thin boards.

The building was furnished with a large blackboard, one long desk with benches on each side, other benches, and a large wood-burning stove in the middle. Students would sit on side benches until time to read or write at which time they would move to the desk. There were some lanterns and lamps, but they were only used when there was a play or Christmas program.

Betty Langley, the first teacher, worked with 40 students divided into groups all in the same room. Riley Dubose, one of the first students, remembered his ABC group included Morgan Sasser, Johnny Norsworthy, Fred Owens, Parker Schofield, Elva Owens, and Pearl Peoples.

The students either walked or rode buggies to school. They brought their lunches in syrup buckets, and occasionally women would bring a good meal. During morning recess and at lunch time, two boys were selected to bring water from the creek. Each child had his own tin cup, which he kept up with. When there was a need for extra pencils or paper, students were allowed to walk for it at Riley People’s store, located on the same grounds.

This school only lasted about four years before an improved building was erected. Bert Short had opened a shingle mill with which he was able to cut some fine lumber. The new school was located on the site of the current Cedar Grove Baptist Church and was named Cedar Grove School. The early teachers there included Betty Langley, Will Sasser, Ulla Morrison, Ruth Morrison, and James Rogers. The ladies of the community would bring lunch on their buggies.

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