Volume 5 Number 2
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Brief History of Oak Hill High School
To contact the editor:
Don C. Marler
4209 Aspen Ct.
Pineville, La. 71360
318 640 0110
V. 5 No 2
Hineston and its neighbors have a long and interesting history. The number of communities and historical sites that are disappearing with hardly a trace is amazing. We have not preserved much of that history in writing; depending on the archaic method of personal verbal accounts to pass knowledge to each new generation. We know that this method when used alone has pitfalls. Each passing year presents a challenge to our store of knowledge of our ancestors and their institutions.
If anything is done to correct this situation we will have to be the ones to do it, and now is the time to start. The urgency of this need was highlighted a few weeks ago when some of the past students of St. Clair School had a reunion. Fortunately, some of the students of the school were still around to pass on some details of the old school.
I propose that we join together in a cooperative effort to preserve what we can of the information on these old sites. Lets make and record a GPS reading, write up physical descriptions and directions to the site, gather information on opening and closing dates for sites such as schools, post offices, etc. And we need to identify personal information about residents who lived, attended or worked there.
The following are some schools that are no longer active; some are still active. This list is developed by individuals but primarily by a computer generated list (Trails.com). Some of the locations from the computer list are suspect.
Name Status Location
Hineston School Historic Hineston
Turtle Neck Historic UNK.
Grab Skull Hisotric Sieper
St. Clair Historic St. Clair
Bayou Clear Historic Woodworth
Big Hammock Historic Sieper
Castor School Historic Elmer
Center Hammock Historic Afeman
Clifton School Historic Jericho
Collins School Historic Gardner
Cypress School Historic Jericho
Dixie School Historic Sieper
Flatwoods School Historic Lena
Dogwood School Historic Lena
Eastern Charm School Historic Gardner
Lone Pine School Historic Gardner
Lamourie High School Historic Woodworth
Laurel Hill School Historic Gardner
Lone Star School Historic Melder
Lost Bayou School Historic Woodworth
Mount Olive School Historic Boyce
Oak Hill High School Active Hineston
Spring Creek School Historic Elmer
Union Hill School Historic Pawnee
Hickory Grove School Historical Pawnee
Walnut Grove School Historic Pawnee
Plainview High School Active Steep Gully
Refuge School Historical Steep Gully
Occupy School Historical Steep Gully
Saint Mark School Historical Melder
Shady Grove School Historical Melder
Rapides School ??? Rapides ????
Leander School Historical Leander
Garland School Historic Garland
Long or Lone Pine Historic Gardner
Valentine “Wildcat” School Historic
Upper Valentine (2 schools) Historic Upper Valent
China Grove School Historic Lower Valen
Terrapin School Historic
Lone Star School Historic Melder
Burgess Creek School Historic
Good Hope School Historic
Louisiana Sawmill Camp School Historic
Roaring Creek School Historic Roaring Creek
Center School Historic
Walding School Historic Gardner
Note: Some of the towns or communities listed below may have had schools and or post offices.
Please add to the lists as you find new ones and correct mistakes also.
TOWNS OR COMMUNITIES
Name Active/Inactive Location
Asher Inactive Big Creek
Rapides Camp Ground Gardner
Long or Lone Pine Inactive Gardner
Red Wing Farm Inactive Gardner
Hemphill Ford Inactive Gardner
Mc Nut Hill
Lucky Hit spring Hill
Cora –Vernon Parish
Leander, Vernon Parish
Walding —east of Sieper.
Add as many as you can of those present and past. The book Historic Hineston contains information on some of these places.; review of that book may spark your interest and memory. DCM
Joe and Eloise Marler of Otis, La. celebrated their 72nd anniversary on May 1, 2015.
Rapides Parish Sheriff’s office reports that a string of home burglaries have, over the past few weeks, plagued the Lena, Boyce, Cotile and Flatwoods areas. The network of persons involved at least seven people. Charges were possession of drugs and drug paraphernalia, possession of illegal firearms, property damage, theft of electronic devices and other items.
Persons arrested were:
Xavier Donta Bowie
Lonnie Ray Price, Jr.
Santanna A, Eddie
Frederick Lee Jackson
Bryun Meakus Bynog
Christopher J. Bynog
Joe E. O’Neal passed away on March 27, 2015. He was interred at the Melder Cemetery.
Mayanna Elizabeth Shackleford , 79, passed away on March 28, 2015.she was interred at the Neal Cemetery, Clifton, La.
Hazel Davis Burns, 96, passed away3/29/15. She was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Robert Lee Monk, Jr. 80, passed away on March 21, 2015. He was reared at Sieper but has lived in Iowa, La. for many years.
Christopher Meyers Parker, 47, passed away on March 31, 2015, and was interred at the Melder Cemetery.
Gerald Henry Chaffin, 86, passed away on April 2, 2015 and was interred at New Hope Baptist Church Cemetery.
Mr. Richard Larry Graves, 67, passed away on 4/4/2015. He was a graduate of Oak Hill High School and a U.S. Army Veteran.
Ronal Wayne Robinson, 49, passed away on 4/8/2015. Interment was at Arkadelphia Cemetery of Pitkin, La.
Peggy Denise Poole, 56, passed away on 4/8/2015. She was interred at Randall Cemetery at Aimwell, La.
Ward Cloud, 93, passed away on 4/9/2015. He was interred at Union Hill Cemetery. He was a decorated WWII veteran.
Mary Brandy, 110, passed away on January 24, 1963, just days before her 111th birthday. She was a Choctaw Indian who was born in Alexandria before the Civil War. She lived in Idabel, OK at the time of her death.
Troylene Busby, 76, passed away on May 4, 2015. She was a resident of Sieper, La. Interment was at Oak Grove Cemetery.
Maxine Tarver, 67, passed away on 4/09/2015 and she was interred at Occupy #1 Cemetery.
Jessie Mae Ashmore Stokes, 98, passed away on 4/09/2015 and was interred at Union Hill Cemetery.
Allen Ray Pender, Sr., 71, passed away 0n 4/11/2015. Allen was a resident of Pitkin, La. He was interred at Black Jack Cemetery.
Louie C. Powell, 97, passed away on April 18, 2015. He was interred at Alexandria Memorial Gardens Cemetery.
Edna Mae Aponas, 94, passed away on April 23, 2015. She was interred at Mt. Moriah Cemetery.
William Anderson “Bill” Bonnette, 72, passed away on April 23, 2015.
Bobby Glenn Bunting, Jr. , 52, passed away on April 23, 2015. He was interred at Black Jack Cemetery.
Lynn R. Diboll, 60, passed away on May 14, 2015. She was interred at Oak Hill Cemetery.
Donald Floyd Swilley, 77, passed away on May 10,2015. He was interred at Bivens Cemetery.
Elmer Marie Mills, 68, passed away on January, 17,2015. She was interred at Forest Lawn Cemetery.
Joseph “Joe” Collins Jones, 73, passed away Mat 15, 2015. He was interred at Occupy #1 Cemetery.
Brian Edgar McClure, 58, passed away on May 3, 2015. He was interred at Peniel Cemetery.
Mary Arvie Cloud, 88, passed away on May 06, 2015. She was interred at Oak Hill Cemetery.
William “Bill” Howard Powell, 57, passed away on May 06, 2015. He was interred at Fellowship Methodist Cemetery.
Thomas J. Bell, 85, passed away on February 22, 2015. He was interred at St. Clair Cemetery.
Wilburn Maricle, 69, passed away May 07, 2015. He was interred at Occupy #1 Cemetery.
Barbara Atchison 68, passed away on May18, 2015. She was interred at Wilson Cemetery.
Laura Renae Barker, 37, passed away May 16, 2015. She was interred at Pizgah Cemetery.
Alvin Webster Maricle, Jr., 61, passed away May 17, 2015.
Bernard Ray LaBorde, 51, passed away May16, 2015 and was interred at Occupy #1 cemetery.
Eileen Search Hartzell Stannard, 96, passed way May 16, 2015 and was interred at the Central Louisiana Veteran’s Cemetery.
John Willard Slayton, 85, passed away May 16, 2015. He was interred at Willis Flat Cemetery.
Karin Myrick, 87, Passed away on May 17, 2015.
James Ralph Nichols, 87, passed away on May, 2015. He was interred at St. John the Baptist Cemetery.
Jerry Poe, 72, passed away on April 3, 2015. He was interred at Cannon Cemetery.
Gwendolyn Jerleane Cooley Stephens, 79, passed away on April 3, 2015 and was interred at Union Grove Cemetery.
Marjorie Nell Johnson, 78, passed away on May 21, 2015. She was interred at Hopewell Cemetery.
Mary Ruth “Pat” West, 65, passed away on May 17, 2015 and was interred at Raven’s Camp Cemetery.
Peter James Graslie, 60, passed away on May 9, 2015 and was interred at St. Clair Cemetery.
James Edgar Cutts, 93, passed away on May 26, 2015 and was interred at Hemphill-Star Cemetery.
Vada Rae James Hagan Marlin, 83, passed away on May 29, 2015. She was interred at Ebenezer Cemetery.
Ocie Lea James Maricle, 84, passed away on May 30, 2015 and was interred at Occupy #1 Cemetery.
Brief History of Oak Hill High School
Dr. Clarence E. Goleman
[Our thanks to Dr. Goleman for making his doctoral dissertation (LSU 1953) available for sharing with you. This is a short selection from it.]
Although this study deals primarily with the holding power of Oak Hill High School, the writer deems it necessary to give a brief history of the school about which this study is concerned. The connection between the school and the community is so close that the prosperity or depression of the community is reflected very definitely in the educational program of the school.
Oak Hill High School is located in Ward Five of Rapides Parish, Louisiana. It is not in the geographical center but is in the population center of the ward and is situated three miles west of Elmer and two miles east of Hineston.
Ward Five consists of an area approximately fifteen by twenty miles and until Oak Hill High School was established, the high school pupils had to be transported great distances to get their education. Some of them had to ride as far as thirty miles. One lady stated that when her girls were going to high school before Oak Hill School was founded, they had to leave home before the break of day in the winter and did not return home until after dark in the evening. This was true of many high school students. Those long, twice-daily, rides affected the health of many young pupils, particularly the girls at the adolescent period of their lives when it was hardest to become adjusted to a change of routine, and no doubt caused large numbers to drop out of school before receiving a high school diploma. Funds for the education of high school pupils of Ward Five went to the three schools which they attended; namely, Boyce, Forest Hill, and Glenmora. Since so many of the students dropped out of school before graduating, as already indicated, one can easily see the ward was supporting a program that was not giving “value received.”
Oak Hill School was established in 1937 with the fall session opening with six teachers and approximately 155 students present. Only grades five through eleven were taught that year. Four buses were necessary to transport students in the 1937-38 session. The following table indicates the rapid growth of the school.
Year No. Pupils No. Teachers No. Busses
1937 155 6 4
1938 310 11 8
1940 501 16 10
1942 515 16 10
1944 530 17 11
1946 540 17 11
1948 545 17 11
1950 610 22 12
1952 646 23 12
Increases in enrollment are expected to continue indefinitely.
Ward Five is composed of some eight or ten communities, each with its own little interests and amusements and until high school was established, and programs, games, and other activities brought them together occasionally, they had very little opportunity to know and to like each other. Little community resentments and prejudices had caused the different sections to look upon each other with a degree (very slight in some cases; not so slight in others) of antagonism. This has been primarily eliminated due to wholesome association during periods of play and fellowship at the school.
Oak Hill School is a state approved school. At the time of this writing it offers three curriculums; namely, general, commerce, and home economics. Vocational agriculture was taught there until during WWII. It was discontinued then due to the difficulty of keeping qualified teachers but it is expected to soon be reinstated. The commerce course was first offered in 1950.
The school has developed a good band and each year receives an invitation to parade at the Mardi Gras in New Orleans. This gave Ward Five youngsters a chance to see Louisiana’s largest city, an opportunity many of them would not have, at least until they were grown men and women. There is a music teacher available for all who are interested in piano. A glee club, including quartets, trio, and regular chorus is properly sponsored, thus giving the students of Oak Hill School an opportunity to develop any musical ability they have.
The FFA, FHA, and 4-H Clubs have all furnished leadership for parish, district, and state, and have won many prizes and trips in competition with other schools.
Since the commerce department has been included in the curriculum, the boys and girls have begun to take a lively interest in the field of business and many of them, some of whom were financially unable to attend college, have taken good paying positions leading to business careers.
This school began with only one building in which to operate. Within months a home economics cottage, vocational agriculture building, and farm shop were constructed. Besides these the school plant today consists of an additional four room elementary school building, a one-hundred thousand dollar brick gymnasium which has a sound-proof band room a large stage, three basketball courts and a lunchroom comparable to the best.
The water at Oak Hill school has improved greatly. The plant began with a small hand pump which was later replaced with an old fashioned water tank high above the buildings. Today a deep well with a Turbine engine with a capacity for pumping three thousand gallons of water per hour along with a thousand gallon pressure tank have modernized the water system of the school.
Improvements in the heating system have likewise been made. Originally the buildings were heated by wood heaters in each room. Surprising but true, the boys always looked eagerly toward getting out of class to bring in the wood for the fires next day. The old system is now replaced by a $23,000 central heating system, which besides being much more healthful than the old type heating system, is much safer from fire hazards. Two instances have occurred in which the building caught fire from a faulty stovepipe and almost got beyond control.
The school campus has been terraced to prevent erosion. Additional land has been purchased adjoining the original 13.3 acres, increasing it to 17.9 acres, thus providing ample playground space. This includes several softball and baseball diamonds, a track field, and numerous play spots for swings, merry-go-rounds, seesaws, and similar equipment for young children. Patrons of the school worked with school staff and vocational agriculture boys and planted shrubbery around all the buildings making one of the most attractive places in the ward.
Old-fashioned out-door toilet facilities have been replaced by modern sanitary facilities.
Covered concrete walks connect the buildings, thus enabling students and teachers to go from class to class without getting wet on rainy days. A covered loading ramp is used during inclement weather to reduce exposure to the students.
Within the building, equipment of the most modern sort has been gradually added. Some of this includes a motion picture projector, tape recorder, electric sewing machines, and the latest type of gas ranges.
The community has become more progressive with the establishment and growth of the school. As the youngsters learn at school, they carry these thoughts and ideas home and the adults become interested in doing things in new and improved ways. Although the occupation of the ward has gradually shifted from farming to public works and professional jobs so that today there are fewer farmers in the area served by the school, the community as a whole is more progressive. Those who do farm use the latest, most up-to-date methods. Livestock farming is becoming more prominent than ever before. Dairying is coming to the front as an occupation
and the very best herds are being developed. Just how much influence the school has had on the above mentioned improvements is impossible to say, but certainly much credit is due that institution.
This community has every convenience at home and on the farm that urban areas have. The roads have been greatly improved and for that reason more and better cars have been acquired. Other conveniences such as electricity and butane gas are available to all. We can estimate how much or many of these conveniences have been added because the young people at school have learned of them, and seeing their advantage, urged their parents to “step up” a bit and live more in keeping with the times? The home economics and vocational agriculture teachers probably have wielded a great influence there, too, as they went about visiting in the homes of their students, advising them about improvements to make in their homes and on their farms and many times actually helping them perform the work.
Oak Hill School has entered the Central Louisiana Rally each year and has always been found near the top when the results were compiled. The school, during its sixteen years of existence, has placed all the way from first to sixth in its class in literary events and has made a credible showing in athletics as well. Winners in the Central Rally have a chance to go to the State Rally where the record of the school has been very good. This has been a wonderful experience for some students who otherwise would not know their capitol city, perhaps for many years. While at the rally, the teachers endeavor to show them places of historical and industrial interest and the pupils in turn come home and recount their experiences to their parents and friends thereby broadening their scope of knowledge also. Scholastically, Oak Hill School must rank with the best, because aside from its showing at rallies, its students have invariability made good in whatever they have undertaken to do. In college they have always held their own and often furnished leadership and in jobs they have been highly satisfactory to their employers. The school can proudly claim among its graduates men and women of nearly every profession.
Though this is considered the very poorest section of the parish, the school savings account, which originated some five years ago in the parish for the purpose of encouraging students to save their money, has consistently been climbing nearer and nearer the top of the list and for many months has been second only to Bolton High School in Alexandria in the amount of money deposited each week. This is an amazing fact to bankers and others who know the financial condition of the community as a whole. Many of the pupils are well on their way toward possessing funds for their future education and vocations.
Another unique situation at Oak Hill School is the transportation system. Few, if any schools of this size transport so large a percentage of their pupils. While the school is located in the approximate population center of the ward, only two families lie within the mile declared by law to be in walking distance of the school. Hence, at this time all but two pupils in the entire school ride busses to and from school.
Oak Hill School has a property evaluation of approximately $300,000 and yet only a small amount of that is a result of tax money contributed by the local people. This is indeed an astounding fact! It came about as a result of the school receiving a great deal of money from the sixteenth section of land.
The school is located in one of the most beautiful portions of the parish. It is surrounded by great pine trees, and lovely oaks which make it a very desirable place for playground facilities and for several months each year the shade of the trees is a welcome relief from the heat during recesses. There is an abundance of natural beauty around the school, especially in the fall when the maple, sweet gum, sumac, oak, pine and beech trees present a variety of colors of gorgeous red, gold, brown, and green. From the school in the spring can be seen in bloom yellow jasamine, wild Azalea, snowy dogwood, and grancy graybeard, all mingled with the luscious green of budding trees. Truly a beautiful sight!
The trees provide a sanctuary for birds and in the spring beautiful blue birds, redbirds, mocking birds and tiny wrens can be seen flitting about looking for nesting places. The atmosphere is heavenly with the music made by the “bird choir.” In the fall it is not at all uncommon to see coveys of quail running gracefully and confidently across the school campus. The pupils have all kinds of wildlife at their disposal. Besides birds, the forest by which the school is surrounded abounds with rabbits, squirrels, opossums, raccoons, foxes, armadillos, and other animals.
This school has had the usual “ups and downs” common to any school of its size. Here we might mention the usual number of irate patrons, rebellious students, and problems of various kinds, both big and little. Sometimes a seemingly small problem has grown larger by the hour, and like a ball gaining momentum as it rolls downward, becomes all out of proportion and difficult to handle before it can be be solved or settled. A certain instance of this nature occurred once when school lunch funds were running low all over the state, and the Rapides Parish School Board placed a charge of five cents on all “free lunches.” It almost caused a revolution in Ward Five. Patrons and pupils alike, even good, well-behaved pupils and friendly patrons refused to pay and the school began to take on the atmosphere of mutiny. One small girl even wrote the President of the United States asking him to ”please investigate the Oak Hill Lunch Room.” When a state of hysteria was practically reached, the principal thought it wise to close the lunch room until some adjustment could be made – a move which solved the situation in a fine way because preparing lunches with high priced foods, the patrons were glad to pay the extra five cents asked by the school board. And so a small problem unduly magnified and solved and everyone was happy.
An amusing incident involving the teachers occurred in the spring of 1941. As so often happens, there were torrential rains during the last month of school and in this particular month the rains came until the last day of school. At that time the main road by the school was gravel with small one-way bridges over numerous streams in each direction from the school. As the rains kept swelling these streams, the bridges weakened and on the very last day of school, after the pupils had all gone home, while the teachers remained at school to complete reports and records, two bridges, one on each side of the school washed out leaving the teachers stranded. With no place to spend the night and impatient to be on their way home they decided to try to reach the upper highway by way of a cross-country graded road. This was a very uncertain course of action of action because the soil was so sticky when thoroughly wet, and thoroughly wet it was that day! The cars made slow progress over the short – cut to the main road by by pulling and pushing each other and when they finally reached the main road with the teachers barefoot, bruised, and exhausted, they discovered it had taken them five hours to complete the two miles. What a way to end a school year!
Of mischievous boys there was never any shortage. One example involved two boys who always plotted their mischief together. They were intelligent students but were always thinking of some scheme to tantalize a teacher or disrupt a class. One day the old gentleman who serviced the fire extinguishers accompanied by the state fire inspector called by a certain class room to check the extinguisher. The teacher in that room stepped to the door and was having a short chat with the fire experts during which time the two boys mentioned above dropped a lighted match into the wood box by the heater and when the teacher looked around, to his surprise, there was a neat job for the fire extinguisher.
At one time, for about two weeks, Oak Hill School was turned into a military site. It was during the early days of maneuvers in Louisiana before the actual shooting of WWII began. The school was chosen for the military headquarters of one of the units engaged in simulated warfare. The whole school area was buzzing with activity, as the main building was turned into a barracks for soldiers and other buildings into mess halls, offices and officer quarters. This, of course was during summer months when school was not in session.
This historical essay alone easily points out the accomplishments and contributions of a school in a community such as Oak Hill School is in. Such progress could never have been made without the excellent spirit of cooperation and understanding of the citizens and school employees. The parent—teacher association is also due much credit for its assistance in this respect.
The level of educational attainment has soared since the founding of the school in this community and that seems to be the key point to the justification for the establishment of this school in Ward Five.