Sunday, September 28, 2014

Anderson Grammar School in Brownsville

I was recently back in Tennessee for a week and got to spend some time looking through the archives in the genealogy room of the Elma Ross Library in Brownsville. I'm usually in a hurry when I'm there so it was fun to have a few hours to check things out. 

The late Reese Moses, along with many others, have archived a large number of maps, documents, books and microfilm relating to the history of Haywood County and the families who live there. One box that contained a number of very old photos was particularly fun to look through. I always search for individuals who possibly show up in one of my family lines and the school photo below included two potential ancestor's names among those written on the back: Jack Castellaw and Earl Williams.

The children in the picture look a lot more like the stars of The Little Rascals than The Grapes of Wrath so I had already assumed these were city kids. They don't look like they just came in from chopping cotton. Thanks to my friends on Facebook, I found out this photo was taken at Anderson Grammar School on Main Street in Brownsville. The school has since burned down.

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Brownsville Elementary School

Many thanks go to the person from the past who took the time to write the names on the back of the photo (apologies for any misspellings).
Front row, l to r:
Jimmy Moore, Betty Nell Haynes, Jack Castellaw, Dotty Cook, ?, Beverly Herring, Louis Sellari, Bill Drumwright, Charles Faulkner, Thelma Klyce, Carolyn Whitten, O.C. Timbes, Billy Grantham
Second row, l to r:
Myra Jo Thornton, Ruth Elder Moses, Burn Drake, ?, Mary Head, Willette Shaw (teacher), Mary Ann Ragland, Earl Williams, Walter Duffery, Jack Harwood, Jr.
By tracking down a few of those listed, I can determine most of these children were born between 1924 and 1926 and they look to be around age eight to ten so I assume the photo was taken mid-1930s.

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Jack Moody Castellaw

That helped make it easy to identify Jack Moody Castellaw who was born July 3, 1925.

Jack was the son of Lloyd Moody Castellaw and Lavenia Jones Castellaw,
the grandson of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw and Helen Moody Castellaw,
the great-grandson of Jeremiah Fletcher Castellaw and Mary Aurella Blaydes Castellaw and
the second great-grandson of Thomas Jefferson Castellaw and Mary Elizabeth Cole Castellaw.

His second great-grandparents were my third great-grandparents, therefore he and I are second cousins, two times removed.

It's hard to believe I've been blogging this long but back on Nov. 27, 2010, I wrote quite a bit about Jack's grandparents migrating to Texas and then back to Haywood County. After returning, they built a house across from Holly Grove Baptist Church and the school that was on the corner of Poplar Corner and Dr. Hess Road. They were also members of that church and he was a magistrate.

Jack Moody Castellaw grew up and married Laura Elizabeth Martindale. She had children when they married and it does not appear that they had any additional children. She worked for Union Planters National Bank and they were members of Cherokee Baptist Church. She died at the age of 77 in 2002 and he died at the age of 84 in 2010. They were buried in Oakwood Cemetery in Brownsville.

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Earl Williams

The other young man that was possibly a distant relative was Earl Williams. My uncle's name was Jesse Earl Williams so I was hopeful there would be a possible family connection. After a little research, it seems likely that Earl was the son of Henry Williams. According to the census records, in 1935 Earl was in the third grade and lived around the corner from the school on Cooper Street along with his brothers, Orville and Eugene. There was no mother listed in the home and Earl's father was a bricklayer and was born in Kentucky. So Earl and I are not likely from the same family line.

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Class at Anderson Grammer School

There was another photo from the same school. The only person identified is the teacher, Grace Russell.  Sadly, Grace died on July 10, 1936 at just 38 years old so I know the photo was taken at least before then.

None of the other children are identified so if anyone knows who any of them are, please let me know.

For more blog entries, visit my Blog Home Page or to check out the genealogy research about my specific family lines, go to my Haywood County Line Genealogy Website.

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