In 1979, Roxie Leana (Dalton) Adkins, daughter of James and Viola (Tomblin) Dalton, wrote a history of her family, which includes memories of her early life on Harts Creek. Roxie, born in 1904, married Willis Adkins in 1924 and mothered nine children. In the late 1990s, Roxie’s daughter Emerald (Adkins) Fleming gave this history to me.
I was born on April 11, 1904. My parents were James and Viola Tomblin Dalton. I started school at Cole Branch in 1910. The teacher was Bernard Holton. I attended one month but I didn’t go any more after that term because it was a two mile walk and the weather was bad. They started High Top School in the fall of 1911. I started the first term on High Top in February of 1912. The teacher was William Harrison Tomblin. He taught 60 days. The next term started in the fall of 1912. The teacher was Miss Hermell Perry. The term was out in the spring of 1913. I went for six months, or 120 days. The next term started in the fall of 1913 and went out in the spring of 1914. The teacher was Miss Georgia Nelson. The term was 120 days.
The next term was in the fall of 1914. The teacher was Miss Maudie Stollings. She taught for one week and one day and somebody burned the schoolhouse. She quit but the board rented a part of an old couple’s dwelling and they got a new teacher and his name was Everett Dingess. He taught three months and quit. They hired a teacher, Miss Martha Ann Fowler. She taught in this building about two weeks and had the board to get another building and she finished that school term. It ended in the spring of 1915.
The fall term started in 1915 in the same building and William A. Fowler taught there until the spring of 1916. The same teacher started the fall term of 1916 in the same building and taught three months and they rented another building and moved the school back to the top of the mountain there and he taught the rest of the term in the spring of 1917.
Then they rented another building which was an old log house and another teacher started the fall term in 1917 and she taught part of that term and they got a new schoolhouse. It was really a bum job and the board accepted it and us kids went on and didn’t find a fault but there is where the parents let theirselves be pushed around and not stand up for their rights.
Then William A. Fowler came back. He was the best in all our land. He was the best educated man that could be found. They never had a more educated man in the White House than he was. He could talk the children into wanting to learn. He started the fall term in 1917 and finished in 1918. In the spring then in 1919 he taught the school again and finished the term in 1920. In the fall of 1920 he got the school again and finished in the spring of 1921 and that is the last school he taught.
In the fall of 1921 —— Dingess started the school. He was a young teacher and didn’t know too much about books and liked to have a big time with the kids and I went a little while and quit. I was 17 so I didn’t go on to school and my brothers did. They got more teachers that didn’t care. They got the money when the kids did or didn’t go to school. They got paid for doing nothing when I went to school. I wanted to know all there was to learn in books and I wouldn’t waste my time going to so-called teachers. When another girl or boy asked the teacher to help with a problem in math they would ask me if I would show the kid how to do it. So I told my parents I didn’t want to teach school and I didn’t lose time in a schoolhouse where there wasn’t a teacher so that’s why I quit.