Shiloh Sketches

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Written by Edna Liggin

January 16, 1954

Today about a half a mile down the road form the old gin site on the opposite side of the highway there is a level spot covered with young pine and cedar growth. In the midst, well hidden, is still a well with an enclosed shed. It is at this spot over twenty years ago, but less than thirty, stood a square, four-room schoolhouse on a clean swept play ground with necessary outdoor buildings. In the well-shed hung a dipper. Toward the last of summer somehow there grew a woodpile to feed the pot bellied stoves in each class room. At times the rooms witnessed gatherings of children and parents for programs, parties, community meetings, war efforts, and Sunday School and singings.

It was a school greatly loved and cherished by its people until the end of its existence. The end of Union Gin school came as it bowed its head in defeat to the times of modern consolidation. With it went much of the spirit of the community; it could not be consolidated with Bernice. During its life it did provide better education than ever existed for the children of the community; it fulfilled many community needs and brought much joy and happiness. The memory of Union Gin will live on as long as there are those living to remember, though perhaps the two who enjoyed it most, Charlie and Etta Elliott, who have gone, too. They provided the land for the school, and as throughout the years they sat on their porch or by the window, they watched the pupils come and go, run and play and occasionally come across the narrow strip of field and visit them.

The school was started perhaps in 1921  or the year before. The first pupils  walked or rode a horse, but later school buses began to operate with two of the early drivers Les Wynn and Charlie Elliott.

The teachers boarded in the community and managed to get to school the same as the pupils. One icy morning J. C. Russell crossed a branch with the Liggin children and when Maxine slipped and fell in he carried her  home, sure she’d have pneumonia. She suffered no ill effects.

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