Excerpt from REMINISCENCES OF PEROTE IN BULLOCK
(This transcribed excerpt was written before 1958)
Perote cemetery and school
A short distance south of the Methodist Church is Perote cemetery. Land for this cemetery was given by Samuel Hixon about 1851. No definite date is established, but one of the tombstones bears the inscription-Cadenhead, “Soldier of 76.” Mrs. M, J. Rumph, who made and presented a flag to the Perote Guards, and Miss Fannie Lawson worked long and hard to beautify the cemetery. Mrs. Rumph would take her colored people there to cut grass and brush and white wash rocks outlining terraces, plant flowers. When they stopped to rest she would say, “Now, just do this while you rest.” Mrs. Rumph liked to stay in the cemetery because it was so quiet and peaceful and people on the outside were living too fast. Her colored people built arches at the two entrances that were decorated for Memorial Day.
Perote Cemetery (Photo added by Rick & Kat Findagrave.com)
At the end of the big walk was a pergola where a part of the exercises were given. From there they marched to the Methodist Church for the speaker’s address. They planted wisteria, cape jasmine and bridal wreath in different parts of the cemetery; this made it look pretty in the spring.
Memorial Day in Perote was always a memorable occasion. On the 25th of April, some of the older residents met at the cemetery and placed a sprig of cedar on each soldier’s grave. On the 26th the children had wreaths of flowers made by women of the community from their yards. The children met at the Methodist Church and marched two by two to the cemetery, each carrying flowers and placed one on each soldier’s grave. An iron fence circled the cemetery.
A little to the north-west of the Methodist church was the schoolhouse. This house was a wooden building about seventy feet long and thirty-three feet wide and was built in the years 1852 and 1853 by Mr. Thomas Morgan, a contractor of Eufaula, Alabama. About the year 1859, a room about twenty-five feet long and twenty feet wide was added on the south end; it was known as the music room.
A short time after this another addition was made on the north end, extending north about thirty-two and one-half feet, forming an ell, thereby doubling the capacity of the original building. There was no partition except between the music room and the school room.
There were two brick chimneys on the west side of the original room and one on the west end and one on the south side of the ell. There was no ceiling except overhead. About the year 1869, the additions which had been made were torn down and removed. At this time all the chimneys were torn down and two new ones were built; one on the east and one on the west side.
A few years later after the additions had been torn down it was found necessary to have two and an addition which now stands (1902) was made on the south end of the original building running south about eighteen feet. The rostrum was built about 1860. About 1887 the walls were ceiled and blinds furnished to the windows. The seats first furnished the building were made of plank about fourteen inches wide, made like a box extending all around the walls and divided by a plank. The house was very nice and comfortable when it was first built, but it is very uncomfortable now in the winter. There are about twenty-five window glasses broken and the holes all stopped with pasteboard and planks. It has two small heaters in it but they are so small they do not do much good unless you are right at them.
The school teachers
The first school taught in the house was by Mr. Patton. The attendance was very good. Prof. Patton was succeeded by Prof. Sullens in 1855. The school had increased and Miss Martha Crossley (Mrs. J. D. Rumph, Sr.) was employed as assistant. In 1856 Prof. McSwain and his brother taught.
In 1857-1858 Rev. McMillan, a Presbyterian preacher was principal and was assisted by Miss Jennie Corban the first year and by Miss Eliza Brown the second year, During his time here a music department was added in charge of Miss Murrow and a piano was bought by the public for the use of the school. Rev. Robert Haynes, a local Methodist preacher was next principal assisted by Mr. F. T. Chase in 1859-1860.
In 1861 Mr. Chase joined the Confederate (he was from Massachusetts) Army and went with the Perote Guards to Pensacola. Mr. Haynes continued as principal for a while and he too joined the Army and went to Mobile with Capt. Thompson’s Co. of Calvary. In 1864 Prof. Wright assisted by his wife and taught one year. In 1866 Prof. F. T. Chase was elected principal and Prof. Chappel assistant. Others were: 1867, Prof. Threadgill; 1868, Prof. Thompson; 1869, Dr. Law; 1870, Prof. Crowell; 1871, Prof. McDonald; 1873-4, Prof. LaMotte; 1875, Col. E. W Starke; 1876-77, Prof. Stott; 1879-80, Capt. G. W. Dawson; 1881, Prof. Crowell; 1882-83, Capt. G. W. Dawson; 1885, Prof. Searcy; 1886, Prof. Jones: 1887, Prof. Holliway; 1888, Prof. Sam Boykin, assisted by his sister Miss Alice and his Brother J. T.; 1889, Prof. J. B. Murphy; 1892, Prof, Turner; 1893-94, Prof. Kendrick; 1895, Prof. D. Y. Thomas; 1896-98, Prof. Holt Andrews; 1899-1900, Prof. Jasper Riley; 1901, Miss Madge Dawson; 1902, Prof. George; 1903-05, S. W. Hixon; fall of 1905, Prof. C. A. Owen, assisted by Miss Jennie Mae DeLoach; 1906-07, Prof, and Mrs. Coggin; 1909-10, Prof. Matthews and Miss Frances Goree; 1911, Prof. Carl Reeves; 1913-1945, Prof. S. W. Hixon (retired); 1946-47, Mrs. Lois Hixon Main and Mrs. B, P. Hixon; 1948, school transferred to Inverness, Alabama.
Information on the school was from Dan A. Hixon to 1902. Since then it had folding doors put in the big classroom and two rooms added to the south room on the west forming an ell and one on the north end forming an ell making six classrooms. After the school was transferred to Inverness, three of the rooms were torn down and the lumber used to enlarge the negro school.
To the west of the Negro Baptist Church is their school and they have a good school. There is a dormitory for teachers to live and students who live too far to walk or be transferred by bus. They have the twelve grades and teach everything that is taught in the white schools.