African American History

Early school experiences remembered: Mrs. Mae McIntyre, of Snake Ridge, ca. 1986 – Foreward by Evelyn Cochran

The following was written by Mrs. Evelyn Griffis Cochran in 1986, and was published in the Richland Beacon-News, in a series of four issues. Mrs. McIntyre refers to herself as “Mazie.”

Early School Experiences, by Mrs. May McIntyre, ca. 1986

By Mrs. May McIntyre, of Snake Ridge. The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Apr 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

FOREWORD By Evelyn Cochran, ca. 1986If you are not 65 years old or older, do not read this story. ‘Tis better read by one who lived and experienced such “rides” as described. We sincerely hope that our readers will read it with pleasure, laughing at themselves along with Mrs. Mclntyre, recalling similar experiences. We also ask that you clip the story and read it to your children and grandchildren and relate to them how easy “getting educated” was in the earlier years of Richland Parish. This story by Mrs. May Mclntyre is told with love and feeling and understanding of her rides to school in a “school bus” of the times, the early 1920s. Getting to school was not easy as you can tell by this delightful story. “Out in the rural” where most of Richland’s citizens lived and worked there were few roads and these were mud-rutted trials. If to school you went, you walked. Read this endearing story by Mrs. May Mclntyre and challenge your children and grandchildren to complain!

Early School Bus In Alto

Early School Experiences, by Mrs. May “Mazie” McIntyre, ca. 1986

By Mrs. May McIntyre, of Snake Ridge. The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Apr 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

Part 1 – The Roads

...when Mazie was a little girl, children walked to school. There were no buses to come to their houses to pick them up and carry them to the school houses. There were a few children who were carried to school in a buggy or on horseback, but most children walked to school unless the weather was so cold it threatened to freeze their little noses right off their faces. There were enough school houses throughout the country that all children could be within two or three miles of a school house.

Occasionally there might be a family whose children would have to walk farther than two or three miles – even as far as five miles – but these were few. And when a family lived this far from a schoolhouse they did not stay there long. They would move to another place closer to a school. It was most important that their children be where they could get to school.

When boys and girls’ finished the grades at the little country schools they were sent out to the high school in the town nearest them. If they lived only five or six miles from the town their parents would provide them a buggy and a horse to pull it, or horses to ride on.

At the high school, there would sometimes be so many of these horses and buggies that the school would provide shelter for them. There would be stables or stalls to protect the horses from the “hot sun” in late spring or early fall, and from the cold weather in the wintertime. If the boys and girls lived too far from town to come in by buggy or horseback then they were “sent out” to school.

They lived with relatives -if they were fortunate enough to have some in that town – or they were “boarded” in private homes. In Richland parish where Mazie lived, school buses began operating about the year 1923 or 1924 – running from out in the country to carry high school pupils into town. The grammar school children continued their studies at the little schools through the seventh grade when they, too, could ride the bus into town! Later all the little schools were closed down and consolidated with the town or city schools.

Mazie attended the Choat school at Snake Ridge. The schoolhouse was about one mile from her house. Other schools located in her part of the parish were the Egypt school, Union school, Hebert school, Boies school, Lone Cherry school, New Light school, Lick Skillet school, Alto school, and the Archibald school.

Most of these schools were later consolidated with the Mangham High School. Since the parish tried in those days before there were any good roads to travel over or any school buses to ride in – to locate school houses so that all children could walk to school to get an education, there would sometimes be a family who lived just about halfway between two schools. In that case, sometimes the children in this family might switch their allegiance from one school to another one year, the other the next year or even sometimes swapping in the middle of the school year, depending on whether the children “liked” their teacher, or whether their parents were satisfied with their childrens’ progress in school. Many times it depended on the condition of the roads between their house and the schoolhouses.

There were no paved roads or graveled roads, only dirt roads! And therein lies the reason why this story may be written! The condition of the roads determined a lot of things back then before the time of good highways and school buses.

Bad Roads

The condition of the roads determined whether a family would be able to “‘get out” to the outside world or not, whether they could go to town or not! In summertime, the roads were almost always open. Heavy rains might fill low places with water deep enough to come up into the bed of a wagon or an automobile, but it was soon gone. In summer there was mostly dust to contend with. And dust can come very close to stalling an automobile when it lies eight to ten inches deep on a road.

The dust was a real nuisance. Besides stalling an automobile it could choke a body half to death! And with the open cars of that time, the occupants traveling in them would be covered with a layer of the fine white stuff when they reached their destination. But the summer dust could be tolerated. It was the winter roads that slowed everything down, or brought it to a complete halt! In wintertime, when one wanted to “go out” the first thing he did was to ask questions of someone who had just “been out”! “Which road do you think I can get through?” “How is the River road?” “How about the Middle road? The Nelson Bend road?” “You think I’d better go “round?” “I hear Bee Bayou is deep right now. And that bad hole at Betty Kelly is rough. Think maybe I better go through Egypt. It’s longer, but I can make better time.”

These were serious questions. The right answers to them meant much to the folks restricted to their homes by those bad roads! The main winter income in Mazie’s family came from the sale of woods hogs to the northern markets. The hogs must be carried out to the railroads by wagon loads. The hogs were placed in wagons which were made up especially for that purpose, having high sideboards around the bed of the wagon to keep the hogs from jumping over and beating a hasty retreat back into the woods they had just been brought from!

Good roads

Good roads, or at least, passable roads meant being able to get college students, with their new trunks filled with a quilt, a blanket, and their new clothes – which they had worked hard to get – out on time “to catch” their trains to go off to college. It meant being able to get the teachers from all these little country schools off to their homes for holidays, after months away from their families. Think what a bitter disappointment it would be not to be able to go home for Christmas!

It meant being able to see the circus when it came to town or to attend a concert or Chautauqua. These were rare occurrences – once a year, perhaps – and not to be missed if at all possible!

There was the Fair!

From the crocheted doilies and cakes, to the stock shows, to the sideshows with kewpie dolls and balloons and the very biggest snake In the whole wide world! and the fortune-tellers and the Ferris wheel and the merry-go-round, and cold drinks and peanuts! to the horse racing! and the daring airplane rides – for real!

But most importantly it meant being able to go out to see the students who had been “boarded out” in the fall, graduate with commencement exercises in the spring! Yes, the condition of the roads was the deciding factor at any time of the year as to whether folks could “get out” or not! And so, this time when Mazie was going to school at Snake Ridge was before the time of good roads and school buses.

On the very worst days of the winter, the children in her family and all those along her route were carried to school in a wagon. The road to the schoolhouse was a fairly good road – except for a short stretch which lay along the edge of a slough and this stretch of road was the crossway (or causeway). The road was graded and kept in good shape during favorable weather when the road grader could be put over it, but when the bad rainy weather held on too long this part of the road got worse and worse. The ruts got deeper and deeper and the potholes got deeper and deeper!! This part of the road was covered over with rough sawed wooden planks, or boards, which were laid crosswise on the roadbed. This was the crossway.

Invariably, after a few weeks using these planks, no matter how carefully they were laid down, or how carefully they were fastened, they would become loose. Then they were a menace to man and beast! And woe to the child, walking across them to school on a wet day. If he made a wrong step onto the first board, and it slipped, he would find himself sitting on his rear in the mud and have to return home for dry clothes! And woe unto the driver, in automobile or wagon, who hit them wrong. If approached too fast they would skid before the wheels of the car or wagon and pile up in front into a barrier two feet high! A loose plank, flying up suddenly, could cripple a mule or even cross-up between the spokes of the wheels of a vehicle and immobilize it. If an unfortunate mule’s leg went down between two planks it would be skinned from hoof to above the knee, and a loose board turned, overexposing a nail could puncture an automobile tire quicker than you could wink your eye!

This was the crossway! 

By Mrs. May McIntyre, of Snake Ridge. The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Apr 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

Part II – The Children

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 06 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

The children here were about the same each year except that one or two would have finished each year and have been sent out to high school – either with the relatives or “boarded’; But there were always new ones entering the first grade to take their places.

Going to Mazie’s school along with her were Gettis and Carlie Bacle. Gettis was a lovable teenage girl with laughing brown eyes. She was full of fun and tomboyish enough to take care of herself in most any situation. Carlie was also lovable and full of fun. He suffered a heart ailment which hampered him somewhat, but he entered into all activities at home or at school.

There were Thelma and Russell, Mazie’s sister and little brother, and the teachers.

From just north of her house was Allen Brunson, and from farther north came Thomas Brunson.

Thomas lived the farthest from the schoolhouse of all and he was one of the students who could switch some years and attend a different school! Thomas was fifteen or sixteen years old, very quiet! What he did say being dry, brief, and to the point! He walked his two and a half miles to school with slow measured steps as though any education in the world wasn’t worth the effort!

There were children all along the road on down to the schoolhouse. They might be in different houses from year to year, but their families were always about the same in number.

A few families lived across a slough that ambled down through the woods and past the schoolhouse. The boys and girls from these homes came across to join those going to school along the main road.

That slough really was a problem – sometimes being bone dry, and sometimes three to four feet underwater! The families on that far side of it sometimes built boardwalks above the waterline. One family who had a boardwalk was the Ida Brunson family. This was Clarra Bell and Powell. Clara Bell and Powell could race across that boardwalk at top speed while those not used to it had to walk, or at the most, trot, over it!

Besides Thomas and Allen to the north, there were – as the children walked southward the Trawicks, Andrew, Alfred, Lila Mae and Buford; and the Duncans, Ben, L. M., and Lagatha. The Duncans were of Indian descent and two of their names bore out that fact – L. M.’s real name was Alisander Marion. No one thought to ask why he was called L. M., not what the letters stood for. Lagatha’s real name of Agatha, but we must have liked Lagatha better. Latatha was such an intriguing name – equal to Pocahontas; and Ben’s name must have come straight from the history books Benjamin Franklin! They had pretty brown eyes and beautiful black hair – really black!

There were the Byargeons, Preston, Marshall, Myrtle, and Margie. Margie was a timid little girl who went about all day with her head resting on her right shoulder! There were the Couples children, Verna and Ezra; and the Landers boys, Leslie and Love; and there were little brothers and sisters.

There were the Gilleys. They were Mitch and Hulett; who were cousins -and others to the south, the west and the east. The biggest family of Brunsons lived to the south of the schoolhouse. They were John, Frank, Evelyn and Floyd. Everyone envied them. They did not have to cross the slough nor the old crossway – and, once they had faced the cold north wind coming to school in the mornings they could turn their backs on it going home in the late afternoons!

Also to the south were the Hewitts, Cary and Fanny, and their little brother, Robert. Robert was a cripple and could attend school only on the good days. Everyone loved him.

The Joneses, William, Henry and Sally lived within sight of the schoolhouse. They never had any problems getting to school!

The Pailettes, Earl and G. T., and their little sisters lived across the slough to the east of the schoolhouse. The Shipley’s lived just to the south-east and had a good hard dirt road to walk on across their little part of the slough. They were Maude and Julia. Just north of their home were the Thomasons, Tommy and Albert. Tommy and Albert changed their route with the seasons, sometimes taking the footbridge, sometimes taking the hard dirt road, and in dry weather, mostly straight through the woods!

There was another Shipley family with boys and girls. The little girls were Myrtle and Cornelia. Myrtle and Cornelia were dark-haired little girls with rosy cheeks and just as pretty as a picture!

There was another family down the way – the Childress family. These children were Irma Mae, Dawson, Thelma Zola and others. And there were other names: Brown, Thomas and Swaggart. There was one family often girls, the Muiligan family. Ten girls! No boys! And the Hilliard children, whose father could “make pictures” and went around sometimes doing that!

And one more – and she was a special person! She was Julia Hampton. Julia was by nature a warm and friendly girl with a smile for every-one.

Most of the year these children -coming from all directions – walked to school, each family of children joining the group as it reached their house. There was always something along the way to make the way seem short.

In the spring there were tiny flowers such as the wild violets and the little striped daisies to hunt out and gather; birds were flying about building nests; the lovely red wings bloomed on the Maple trees and sailed lightly to the ground; and the light featherly fluffs bloomed on the ash trees.

In summer there was the dusty road to walk on with bare feet – soft, warm and pillowy. There would be snake tracks across that dust to watch for – some going wiggly across the road and some almost straight across. The crawfish in the muddy ditches along the road were a challenge to one’s speed. You must be quick to scoop one up before he could back away and out of sight into the muddy water! There might be a lone mulberry tree hidden away in the edge of a field close by, and there were plum thickets!

In the fall there were the trees turning into their beautiful autumn colors and a sugar cane patch close by the roadside where a stalk of the sweet juicy cane could be had for the cutting. And there were hickory nuts and scaly barks not too far off the road.

It was in the wintertime that the children ran into trouble!

The cold wind blew. They had to wear heavy long-leg underwear to keep them warm and struggle with the buttons and flaps!

It rained – and they had to wear raincoats to keep them dry. And they had to try to wear overshoes over their shoes. The mucky mud would pull the overshoes off their shoes. It is a very difficult feat reaching back in a sidewise position to pull an overshoe back up and onto a shoe which is stuck in the mud, and pull oneself erect again without falling on one’s face, or at the most, slinging a hand wrist-deep into the cold mud to regain one’s balance. To squat would be disastrous! You would only squash your dinner – which was likely wrapped in a piece of old newspaper between your stomach and your books – or worse yet, get the hem of your coat and raincoat wet and which would in turn get your stockings – with the long legs of the heavy underwear inside them – all wet!

The cold, wet wind cut and stung, chapping faces and lips, and hands were stiff from holding books and lunches!

Those were difficult days. There were only a few weeks of such severe weather, but it took real courage to face them. No wonder the little ones sometimes cried!

School let out at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, after opening at 9 o’clock in the morning. It took until 9 o’clock to get children to the schoolhouse, to get fires started in the wood stoves, to get the pump going – for water to put in the pans which sat every day on top of the stoves for room moisture to put away wraps and noontime dinners, and get classes started!

Only a few such days, but difficult ones they were! And from the north there was always the crossway to come over. It could be treacherous whether one was walking or riding.

On those worst days – when Mazie heard someone say, “Get a wagon ready to take the children to school,” she knew that a wagon with some mules hitched to it would be brought to the front gate. It would be one of the wagons which were used to haul the hogs to the railroad to be shipped out. It would be cleaned out that is, the hog manure left from the last trip would have been raked out! The smell would still be there! The high sideplanks would be on!

She was glad that she was going to be carried to school, but she also felt some trepidation. She knew that riding in a wagon over the crossway had its hazards, too! The ride in the wagon was, in fact, so rough that whenever it was possible the teachers were carried on ahead in a surrey. There were times, however, when only the wagon could be sent out. Then they had to share the rough ride with the children. On those times they were given the choice standing spot at the front of the wagon to one side of the driver. It had been tried providing them with chairs to sit on, but after a few spills and upturned chairs, they felt their chances were better when standing on their feet where they could take a tight hold on the high sideplanks!

All hands tried to shield the teachers. After all, it would be embarrassing if teacher should fall down in a cold muddy wagon and muss her dignity!

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 06 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

Part III – “A Rock and a Hard Place

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 13 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

…The children were between a rock and a hard place. Nevertheless, they always chose to rifle in the wagon and take whatever fell their lot!

Loading Up On any given morning the things that happened in that wagon would be about the same as had happened the previous morning.

The thing which was different was that they did not always happen to the same children! On one particular morning things went about like this: Thomas and Allen came to Mazie’s house since that is where the wagon started from. The teachers were helped into the wagon and placed in the aforementioned choice spot and politely reminded to be careful and to watch out! This warning was given to them NOW as the driver knew that when the crossway was reached and tackled, there would be no time to extend a helping hand teacher or no teacher! There would only be time to say “Hold on!” If there was rain the teachers were protected by umbrellas, but only if the rain was falling rather heavily. 

They had all learned, by experience, that open umbrellas in I crowded wagon can be dangerous. Their sharp spines come down on little heads and practically peck holes in their scalps, or threaten to gouge out little eyes!

The driver was not always the same, but always one who knew how to handle mules and one who could stay on his feet while pandemonium raged about him. He wore a huge glistening black slicker to keep him dry. And there would always be four or five of the littlest sisters and brothers huddled under the big black slicker with arms tight around his strong legs, braced far apart to steady himself as he put that wagon with its load of younguns over the crossway to school!

The children were loaded in behind the teachers and the wagon was on its way. The first stop down the road was for the Trawicks, Andrew, Alfred, Lila Mae and Buford. Buford, being the baby in this family and yet in the low grades, wanted to stand by his friend, Russell, who was the baby in his family and also still a little fellow in the low grades. They got together, but Buford got this advice from an older brother: “It’s alright now, but ya’ better get back over here in a minute so somebody can hold onto you!”

The talk was congenial. There were discussions on today’s lessons and last night’s struggles with arithmetic problems.

The wagon stopped for the Byargeons. Preston and Marshall stood aside while Myrtle struggled to life Margie up to helping hands in the wagon. This was no easy thing to do as pudgy little Margie nearly outweighed Myrtle, and was too timid to try very hard to help herself! But Myrtle mothered Margie like a mother hen with one chick and the boys had learned to just let her along. And, she managed, and little old Margie never lifted her head from off her shoulder. Myrtle said to her, “You stand here by me, Margie. Here, hold your dinner tight. You drop it, and it’ll get stepped on!”

The Duncans came aboard here, too. Lagatha, her little Indian body as wiry and agile as any, declined all offers of aid. Her brothers, Ben and L. M., offered none. They knew her well. She’d likely fare better than they! She found her a place back a pace or two, took a good grip on the sideplanks and made ready!

Hulett Gilley had only himself to look after as a family, so he was always willing to lend a hand to anyone about to go down! Mitch, who was hefty and a bit on the plump side, was always a battering wall for in everyone, whether in play on the school ground, or in any other place. In the wagon – which was now about up to its capacity – his round fat body took up more than his share of room, but no one minded. Everyone knew that he was a good featherbed to be thrown into if you got slung in his direction!

Next came Ezra with two little sisters. Those already in the wagon pressed back against the sides to let these newest little ones get through to the front. They all knew – and the littlest one knew – that the safest place for them was up front under that big black slicker where they could get hold onto something they could reach – mainly those strong legs of the driver! Verna was ill this day and not going to school – probably an act of Providence thus leaving a spot for Leslie Landers. Love was, also, staying home this day – this perhaps being an act of Providence since he, too, was on the plump side, and there just wasn’t room for another fat boy!

A Full Wagon. The wagon was full! When it was full there was less falling down, but there might be bruises from pressure or a black eye! And with the tumbles, when they did come there would be skinned knees, or elbows, or noses! You may think “How could anybody get an elbow skinned in the winter time when they are wearing heavy winter clothes?” Well, it can be done!

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 13 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

Part VI Conclusion

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 20 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 14

…The old crossway was coming up! The children knew that there were two sett of ruts anywhere along this road and on across the crossway. The driver could take his choice! There really were only three ruts, not two sets of ruts. There was one to the left, one in the middle and one to the right. Whichever side one chose did not matter. There would likely be no one to dispute it with one. But that middle rut must be the guide else, in trying to dodge it, any vehicle would get too far to one side and wind up in the ditch!

The children looked ahead those who could see over the shoulders of those around them, or through the cracks of the sideplanks, or over them, watching to see which rut the driver was going to take the left one or the right! As soon as they can tell they prepare! They brace themselves and lean the other way. They take a firmer grip on the sideplanks, and a firmer grip on little sisters and brothers!

Myrtle had a grip on Margie that threatened to really pull her timid little head right up off her shoulder. “Stand up straight,” she told Margie, “and hold onto your dinner!”

Thelma, who always looked after Russell, made sure he was by her side, and Lila Mae, looking after Buford, did the same with him.

Ben cast a glance toward Lagatha, with just a hint of brotherly concern, but he was wasting his time. Lagatha still had her place, the place she had first chosen, knowing from instinct that it was the right spot. Her white teeth gleamed through an amused smile on her little brown face and her eyes sparkled!

Hulett and Allen stood, one on either side of Mazie. Leslie, being a rather bashful boy, squeezed his egg and sausage biscuit lunch under one arm and raised the other higher on the sideplanks for a better hold and just smiled and hung on!

Mitch the bulwark of comfort took his stance and a good hold on the sideplanks, then, watching the driver closely, he thought he detected a slight lowering of one shoulder, indicating a turn to the opposite side, he turned loose his grip and raised his hand to point, his intention being to offer what he thought would be a helpful suggestion: “I think he’s gonna’ take ,th’…..” This almost was his un-doing! His hand waved wildly, clawing for the top rail of the sideplanks! The children broke into squeals of laughter. It was a welcome break in the tension – but shortlived!

The driver, with stout legs planted far apart for balance, and for strength to support the weight of the little arms pulling and clutching at them, tightened his hold on the reins in his hands and took the left rut.

The wagon wheel literally fell into a pot hole to the left Whomp!

The children were slung to the left side of the wagon. They took this jolt very well-being bred and born to this sort of thing – but before they could get themselves completely in order again the right wheel drooped into a pot hole – Whomp! They were flung to the right. They clung to whatever they could – the wagon sides and each other! Only Ezra went down. Calm old Thomas reached over and picked him up from the bottom of the wagon where he had fallen to, and where he was scrabbling about trying to get his hands on his lunch which had rolled lopsidedly through all those feet down there to the far side of the wagon. “Let it go, boy. Get on your feet,” Thomas told him, and took a firm grip on the back of his collar to hoist him aloft!

“It was a popcorn ball!,” Ezra whimpered. Now, since they had fallen first to the left and then to the right, the children were thrown off guard. They prepared themselves for another bump to the left. But – it did not happen that way. Back to the right they went – Whomp!

This was too much! Everyone was caught off balance! Bodies went down like a string of dominoes! The little ones began crying. There was fear in their crying as well as pain. Goodness! This must be the end of everything!

I couldn’t hold onto it! I lost my dinner, wah! an’ my knee hurts.”

She looked down at her knee – which wasn’t too difficult a thing to do as her head was already down almost on a par with the knee. “My knee is skint! An’ my stockin is tore. Wah a a -a!” And to the amazement of those nearest her who were not too occupied with their own troubles to see it, timid little old Margie lifted her timid little old head high up to the heavens where she raised her voice to the cold wet sky like a wounded puppy howling against the hardships of a cruel world, “Waa, waa, wah, wah, wah!”

Even then, she couldn’t drown out the wailing of the others. Russell was being comforted by Thelma, “Don’t cry, honey. That’s the worst of it, I think.” And Lila Mae was trying to ger Buford to hush, “Now, do stop crying.” But Buford wasn’t listening. “I’ve’ dropped my books,” he defended himself, “jes my books. I still got my dinner,” lifting up a small limp brown paper sack. He seemed to feel that all a little boy could do was the best he could, and that was it! Nobody should expect more! The injustice of it all seemed to hit him again and he went on, between sobs, “An’ when I dropped my books and got down to pick ’em up, somebody stepped on my hand -an’ it hurts.” The sobs were threatening to break into howls. “An’ my books are dirty, waa, waa. An’ they gonna’ stink!” At that thought the sobs did break into full scale howls, “ah, wah, wah, a -a a -a a-ah”

Leslie had a bloody lip. He had bitten into it when his face had suddenly gone forward into Myrtle’s staunch back. Which same back Myrtle was now rubbing gingerly -after getting Margie somewhat pacified.

Thomas had turned Ezra’s collar loose in-order to grab” at Leslie as Leslie had gone into Myrtle’s back. Which was just as well, for by this time Ezra was becoming purple in the face for lack of air due to Thomas’ grip on his coat collar.

Ezra gulped in a chestful of air to get the purple out of his face and dove into the melee of feet below in search of his lost popcorn ball! From Myrtle’s corner the wailing was rising again. Margie had discovered a button was missing from her coat: “My button’s gone – an’ my stockin’s tore. What will Mama say? wah, wah!” Her day was a complete loss already and it not yet 9 o’clock!

The teachers had fared well. They had come through unscathed. And, why not! Three of the older boys, Andrew, Alfred and Ben, had forsaken the lesser members of this entourage to move in and protect the fair ladies!

One of the boys had jumped overboard to retrieve the umbrella which had, somehow, gone underneath the wagon, and out, with no broken ribs!

Thelma had come through without scars. Mitch, as usual, had moved his soft bulk in at the right moment to shield her. Mazie, with double protection, also was not hurt.

Gettis was alright. Gettis was quick to see – and to act! And Carley was alright laughing and rubbing a few bruises.

Preston and Marshall had fared well enough. Marshall’s cap had been knocked down over his eyes, and, with both hands in use – one holding books and dinner, and one still holding tight to the sideplanks in anticipation of another sudden lunge, he could only stand blindly and hope for the best! Preston took mercy on him and lifted the cap back upon his head! Ezra came up from the floor of the wagon with his popcorn ball intact! Now, with air in his lungs and the popcorn ball in his hands, he took stock of other damages. He discovered that he, too, had lost some buttons. All three of his were gone from the front of his coat – torn away by the strain of Thomas’s grip on his coat collar!

Lagatha was still standing serenely in her place. Her sharp little black eyes took in the situation, and she offered help where it seemed needed – she wiped the blood from Leslie’s chin.

The littlest ones – their crying having now subsided to an occasional sniffle retreated into the dark shelter of the big black slicker.

The school house was in sight. The wagon was soon there and emptied of , its damp, disheveled crew. The driver turned his wagon and mules around in a big easy circle to retrace his route. With an empty wagon, and no little arms pulling him apart, it would not be too bad!

Other children were ahead this morning. Fires were going in the stoves. The pump had been primed, and there was water in the pans on the stoves.

Coats and overshoes and lunches were put away in the cloakrooms. The wet, muddy umbrella had been washed, out at the pump – inside as well as outside – and hung to dry. Tears were now dry, and Margie’s head was back on her right shoulder!

Everyone was calm now – with a calmness equal to Thomas’, and outside of the stench of hog manure clinging to Buford’s books and Ezra’s popcorn ball, the day was the same as other days in the little school house – full of goodwill, love and learnin’!

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 20 May 1986, Tue  •  Page 14

Early Schools Were Numerous

By Evelyn Cochran, and Mrs. May McIntyre, of Snake Ridge. The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Apr 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

This little interesting story aboat schools was written by Mrs. May Mclntyre of Snake Ridge,

Teachers numbered 48 with a salary range of S75. per month to a high of S225 for principals. There were 37 Negro teachers ranging from earnings of $35 to S60. a month. The school superintendent received a high salary of $270 and paid his secretary $75 a month. Listed below are the names of the 59 schools in Richland Parish in 1926 as well as the number of teachers in each school. Delhi High School (15); Cypress Bayou (2); Bush (1); Robinson (1); Shanks (1); Mann (2); Golden (1); Smith (1); Greer (1); Nelson Bend (1) ; Rayville High School (19); Start High (7); Alto (3); Boies (1); Archibald (3); Mangham (15); Lone Cherry (1); New Light (3); Texas (2); Egypt (1); Choat (2) ; Union (1); Woolen Lake (2); Amity (1); Moore (2); Trezevant (1); Mound (1); Fairview (1); Point Jefferson (1); New Bethel (1); Bee Bayou (1); Dunn (1); James Chapel (1); Holly Ridge (2); Essential Institute (Delhi, later to become Esther D. Toombs) (2); North Holly Ridge (1); St. Paul (1); Dunnings (1); China Grave (1); Friendship (1); Antioch (1); Goldmine (3); Adile(l); Reed (1); St. Luke (1); Orange Hill (1); White Island (1); Rayville (3); Campground (l); White Hall (1); St. Joe (2); Sunshine (1); St. Deed (1); Jones-burg (1); Pilgrim’s (1); Mt. Zion (1); Mt. Ollie (1); Holly Ridge No. 2 (1); Parish Training School (6).

In 1926 there were 15 transfer drivers paid at an annual average salary of $125.00 a month (during the school term.)

By Evelyn Cochran, and Mrs. May McIntyre, of Snake Ridge. The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 29 Apr 1986, Tue  •  Page 6

More about Ada May Thames McIntyre (1909-1989) – Obituary

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 24 Aug 1989, Thu  •  Page 2

Ada May Mclntyre – MANGHAM – Graveside services for Mrs. Ada Mae Mclntyre, 80, of Mangham were held at 10 a.m. Wednesday, August 23, 1989, in the Lone Cherry Cemetery near Mangham with the Rev. Jimmy Eppinette officiating. The services were under the direction of Mulhearn Funeral Home of Rayville. Mrs. Mclntyre died Monday, August 21, 1989, in the Richland Parish Hospital in Rayville after an extended illness. She was a noted artist and in later years received much recognition for her watercolor sketches.

She also was a writer of children’s stories. She is survived by one eon, Robert Thames Mclntyre of Scottsdale, Ariz.; two daughters, Mrs. Shirley M. Malmay and Mrs. Barbara M. Boies, both of Mangham; 10 grandchildren and six great-grandchildren.

Pallbearers were Glen Boies, Joe Malmay, Kim Malmay, Jerry Gandy, Robert Malmay and Lavelle Williamson. band, John McLeod of Houston and Monroe; two sons, J. R. McLeod of Rough and Ready, Cal., and Greg McLeod of West Monroe; two daughters, Mrs. Kathy Langenberg of Hallettsville, Tex., and Deborah McLeod of Houston; her father, C. L. Hudson of Pineville, La.; three sisters, Mrs. Dorothy Walters of Rayville, Mrs. Marilyn Wil-banks of Houston, and Mrs. Lavon Mills of Round Rock, Tex.; three brothers, Bobby Hudson of Pickens, Ark., C. L. Hudson Jr. of Doyline and Ken Hudson of Springdale, Ark . Pallbearers were Dan Ford, Oscar Evans, Tim Loupe, Jim Leonard, Merle Patterson and O. O. Yeats. Leo Richards was honorary pallbearer.

The Richland Beacon-News, Rayville, Louisiana. 24 Aug 1989, Thu  •  Page 2

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