Always a part of our district and our hearts, our beloved schools that are no longer in existence: Grace Love Elementary School, W. H. Jones Elementary School, Mary Bethune Elementary School, and Camp School.
CITY SCHOOLS DATE BACK TO DECEMBER 1885
George Hartfield Teaches First One Ever Organized in This City
In December, the Hattiesburg Board of Aldermen met to elect the first trustees of the city schools. J.J. Thornton, A.P. Fairley, and A.F. Parker were elected school trustees for whites, and Armstead Craft, George Morgan, and Allen Chapman were elected trustees for the negroes.
George Hartfield taught the first school ever organized in Hattiesburg at the Harfield home. Miss Annie Mcleod, a sister of John McLeod, succeeded him. She taught in the old Presbyterian Church, which stood on the lot where the high school building now stands. Professors Powell and Powell next had charge of the school. They were followed by Reverend Elman, who was at that time pastor of the First Methodist Church. Professor Jesse was his successor. Reverend Ire Hawkins, brother of G.L. Hawkins and Mrs. B.L. Heldeberg, was the head of the school until 1893.
Ordinance No. 21, which was passed October 29, 1892, declared the town of Hattiesburg a separate school district. The first trustees of this district were Messrs, O.H.P. Jones, Evans Hall, W.A. McLeod, J.A. Quick, and J.T. Oroute. Professor Shannon, for a short time, headed the school. He was succeeded by Mrs. M.K. Travls and W.B. Eure, taught several months despite delayed pay. To maintain the rights and privileges of a separate school district.
As the City of Hattiesburg grew, so did the school. It was necessary to enlarge the small frame building located between Gordon’s Creek and Main Street. This rapid growth in the school also demanded more teachers. In 1892, Reverend M.J. Currie, who was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, was elected superintendent of the city schools. For three years, he served the church as pastor and the city superintendent. A modern high school was organized: the building was again enlarged, and may modern improvements be made in the school system. Mr. Currie had been so successful in schoolwork that the county elected him superintendent of education, which office he efficiently filled for twenty-two years. His ability as a schoolman had been proved; his love for the schoolwork was established when in 1918 he accepted the presidency of Chickasaw College at Pontotoc, Mississippi. Mr. Currie is still president of this Presbyterian school which is now rated as a Junior College.