Archive for December, 2011

New Faculty Biographies for 1909-10

For Central’s third year, Mary Bibb Kirkman took a maternity leave and her history slot was filled by acquiring Harriet Greve from City High School.  Four other new faculty members were added: Mabel Agnes Fair to lead the new domestic science department, Annie May Crutchfield as an English and Latin teacher, and two local music teachers, Mr & Mrs Charles A. Garratt, for instrumental and vocal music. The 1909-10 faculty line-up:

A E Darrah, Principal

Mary Elizabeth Beck, Expression

Nannie Carter, English

George Davis, Science

O C Kirkman, Manual Arts

Harriet Greve, History

Charles McGuffey, Spanish

J B Rike, Physical Training and Biology

A T Roark, Commercial Dept.

C E Rogers, Math

Ms L M Russell, Teaching Dept.

J A Setliffe, Greek, Latin, German

Annie May Crutchfield, Latin/English

Mabel Agnes Fair, Domestic Science

C A Garratt Music

Mrs C A Garratt Vocal Music

Harriet Cone Greve was born August 17, 1885 in Ohio to Dr. Charles M. and Jeannette Smith Greve and moved to Chattanooga with her family around 1890. Her older sister, Dorothy, and she graduated from City High in 1901 and 02 and from UT in 1905 and 06, respectively, both joining the faculty at City High upon graduation.  Harriet’s father had passed away in 1903, her sister married in 1908, so Harriet and her mother resided together after 1908. Her mother was Society Editor for the Chattanooga Times in the early 1900s. In 1909 Greve moved to Central as a history teacher and in October 1910 became Central’s first librarian following the gift of a large reference library to Central by the DAR. Greve left Central at the end of the 1911-12 school year to work on a Masters Degree at Columbia University, then returned to Central in fall, 1915 and remained for another three years. Upon her return she found that one of her former students, Creed Bates, had returned as a math teacher; they developed a lifelong friendship during that period, Bates leaving at the end of 1917 for military duty and Greve in 1918 to start a long career at her alma mater in Knoxville. In 1921 Harriet Greve became the first Dean of Women at UT, a position she held for 30 years, retiring at the end of the 1950-51 school year.  She retired to the Athens, GA area and, in spite of failing health and blindness, wrote a long testimonial for Creed Bates in 1964 upon his retirement after 37 years as City’s Principal. In that testimonial she revealed that she was one of the chosen few to receive a jug of homemade apple cider from Bates each Christmas. Greve never married and died in Clarke County, GA Dec 16, 1969. An endowed scholarship in her name is still offered at UT.

Annie May Crutchfield was born April 19, 1890 to Dr. Campbell and Mary E. Crutchfield in Watertown, TN. She attended Dixon Academy in Shelbyville, TN, received an AB from Peabody College, and by 1911 an MA from Columbia. Her father passed away in 1906, and her mother shortly thereafter moved to Chattanooga, where three brothers were living, making Chattanooga a natural place for Annie May to begin her teaching career.  After teaching at Ridgedale School (at age 18) for the 1908-09 school year, Annie was summoned to Central as an English teacher in the fall of 1909, beginning an unparalleled 51-year career under the Rotunda. The December 20, 1912 Central Digest, page 15, contained an unusual announcement as follows – OF INTEREST TO CENTRAL: The following invitations have been issued: Mrs. Campbell Crutchfield requests you to be present at the marriage of her daughter, Annie May, to Mr. John Anderson Shelton on the twenty-third of December, nineteen hundred and twelve at one hundred and eighteen McCallie Avenue, Chattanooga, Tennessee…


On December 23, 1912 Annie married John A Shelton, then principal of Avondale School (later at Hardy Jr. High from its beginning in 1926 until 1953). Their marriage lasted until John’s passing in March 1956.  Mrs. Shelton’s mother had lived with the Shelton’s at 416 Glenwood Drive, just a stone’s throw from Central, until her passing in December 1951. The Shelton’s were so close to the Central family, that the eight pallbearers at Mrs. Crutchfield’s funeral were all members of the 1951 football team. Annie May Shelton retired at the end of the 1959-60 school year and passed away on Sept 20, 1973 – the only teacher to serve under all four principals at Old Central. Her name adorned the National Honor Society Chapter at Old Central as it still does today at the new school. Several college scholarships are still offered in her name by local and state educational associations.  She and John left no direct descendants. One of her younger sisters, Grace, graduated from Central in 1913.

Mabel Agnes Fair was born Dec 14, 1884 in Michigan to James E and Agnes P Fair.  Her family moved to Knoxville TN before 1900. Mabel graduated from the Knoxville High School for Girls and entered the University of Tennessee in 1902. She graduated with a BS in Domestic Science in 1907, her thesis being, “Some Wheat Flours and Their Uses in Yeast Bread”. Her first job was to inaugurate the domestic science department at Central, a task she undertook for two years, leaving at the end of the 1910-11 school year.  One extramural duty of Ms. Fair was in providing food for various in-school events as well as outings by Central organizations.  On January 26, 1910 one of the featured stories in the Chattanooga Times covered the visit to Central by State Inspector Harned, in which he proclaimed “Central is the best School in the State!” He may have been unduely influenced by the meal prepared by Ms. Fair, also noted in the article.   In particular she collaborated with Coach Rike and Ms Beck for a picnic at Crawfish Springs (Chickamauga, GA) honoring Central’s two undefeated basketball teams in the spring of 1910, reported in the April 8, 1910 Chattanooga Times. After leaving Central, Mabel Fair returned to Knoxville and started up the domestic science program at Knoxville High School for its first two years, before marrying Nathan Gammon on June 18, 1913. Nathan and Mabel moved to Wyoming shortly thereafter and had three children – Nathan Jr. (6/22/14), James E. (9/7/15) and Margaret (11/29/23). After residing in Wyoming and Montana, they returned to the Washington, DC area sometime after 1920. Nathan passed away at age 92 in 1974 and Mabel in April, 1976; both are buried at the Potomac Methodist Cemetery, Montgomery County, MD.

Charles Augustus Garratt was born in Lichfield, Staffordshire, England on Oct 2, 1844 to John and Frances Garratt.  Garratt received his musical training at Oxford and after graduation married Ellen Andrews in Egham, Surrey County on Oct 29, 1867. Children included Charles Percy (11/12/68), John F (12/21/69), Ernest H. (1870), and Frances Leila (3/29/74), all born in Surrey County; then James Herbert (3/2/76) and Lydia M. (1878) born in Hamilton, Ontario, Canada, and finally, Edith (12/23/79) born in Milwaukee, WI. Frances and Edith died in childhood. Garratt taught music privately – piano, organ and violin – as well as directing orchestras and bands in England, Canada, and the US, and was renowned  as a church organist.  In the 1880s to around 1891 he was professor of music at the Brantford Ladies College in Brantford Ontario (1874-1900) where his concerts were frequented by Alexander Graham Bell. Garratt’s oldest sons moved to Knoxville, TN around 1890 and Ernest became UT’s first bandmaster in 1892, succeeded by older brother Charles in 1894. During that time, Charles A. also relocated to Knoxville and opened a musical instruction business with his sons. He married Julia Pearl Steen of Bradley County in Knoxville in December 1899 and they relocated in Chattanooga after 1900.  No factual evidence exists to link the Garratts with Principal Darrah, but Katiebel Darrah was a piano student when the Darrahs moved to Chattanooga in 1907 and in short term the Garratts were contracted to provide band/orchestral services at Central’s public events, starting with the May 1908 graduation ceremonies at the Schubert Theater. By 1910 the Garratts were under a continuing contract as music teachers at Central- Charles for instrumental and Julia for vocal.  When Darrah was terminated in 1912, so were the Garratts, and they moved their music business back to Knoxville where Charles was also the orchestra director at Knoxville High School from fall, 1922 until the end of the 1928-9 school year. He also served as violin instructor at Maryville College in the 1920s.  He passed away on Feb 17, 1938 in Knoxville at age 93.

Julia Emerine Pearl Steen, the third daughter of Prof.  E. Watson and Julia E. L. Steen, was born in Xenia, Ohio, August 8, 1871. Julia learned to play organ and piano at an early age. Her family moved to Knoxville, TN in 1880. In the early 1890s Julia studied music at both the East Tennessee Institute and School of Music and the Chicago Musical College. In 1894 she won first prize in the Atlanta Journal’s musical composition contest. By 1900 she had composed over twenty original works. Ms. Steen was organist for the Third Presbyterian Church in Knoxville when she met Charles A Garratt, widowed, and organist at the First Methodist Episcopal Church in Knoxville. They were married in Knoxville on December 4, 1899. She and Charles taught at Central until Darrah was forcibly removed in May 1912, and they returned to Knoxville. Julia Steen Garratt continued to write songs into the 1930’s and many are still filed under US Copyrights.  She passed away in Knoxville on Dec 31, 1944. She and Charles had no children together and are buried in Knoxville..

Digest published longer than thought

The Central Digest was published during Fall 1980 through Spring 1984 school years. Previously, it was rumored to have ceased existance after 1975.  The Editor for 1983-1984 confirmed publication over dinner last night, and has promised to check her mother’s closet for any surviving issues.  She also confirmed that Miss Marjorie Ogle was still an Honored member of Faculty that year.

Small world and even a larger “after the Holidays Honey-Do” list for me!

1964-1965 Digests Uploaded

The Central Digests for School Year ’64-’65 are now posted.  Click on Digests Button above.

Central Faculty 1908-9


      For Central’s second year, Walter K Greene’s departure for Baker-Himel resulted in two new hires – J. A. Setliffe for foreign languages and James B. Rike as the new athletic director. A girl’s speech and gym instructor was also hired – Mary Elizabeth Beck – making the 1908-9 faculty as follows:

A E Darrah, Principal

Mary Elizabeth Beck, Expression

Nannie Carter, English

George Davis, Science

O C Kirkman, Manual Arts

Ms. O C Kirkman, History

Charles McGuffey, Spanish

J B Rike, Physical Training and Math

A T Roark, Commercial Dept.

C E Rogers, Math

Ms. L M Russell, Teaching Dept.

J A Setliffe, Greek, Latin, German

Biographies of New Faculty

     John Allen Setliffe was added at the end of the 1907-8 school year, as he was one of eight Central teachers participating in the Hamilton County Teachers Summer Institute held June 1-26, 1908 (McGuffey was the only Central faculty non-participant since Spanish instruction was not offered).  J.A. Setliffe was born June 3, 1853 in Athens, AL, received an AB from Burritt College in Spencer, TN, then received an AM from the University of Kentucky. While in Kentucky Setlifffe married Anna Doom on Feb 9, 1875 and they had a son, Walter S. born in 1878. Setliffe then married Sara Ann Quayle Nov 15, 1883 in McMinnville, TN and they had two children –Arthur Pope born 7-17-87 in McMinnville and J. Alyne born 3-7-89 in Hope, AR.  Setliffe’s job as a minister of the Christian Church moved him around the South, but by 1900 he is listed as residing in Chattanooga and minister of the Highland Park Christian Church, a position he maintained while teaching at Central. Setliffe taught foreign languages at Central for nearly 30 years, retiring in 1937 a few days shy of his 84th birthday; but his most noteworthy role other than teaching at Central was his attempt to prevent removal of Principal Darrah by actively running against J B Brown for County Supt of Schools in 1911-12, which he lost. His standing in the community and his expertise in several languages probably prevented his removal from Central as befell McGuffey after Darrah’s departure. Setliffe died on August 4, 1939, leaving behind his third wife Lelia Hall Setliffe, and was buried in Greenwood Cemetery.

    James B Rike was born Feb 23, 1884 in Ohio, son of James D and Cora Gibbs Rike.  He had a stellar football career at Ohio Wesleyan College from 1905-07 as a running back, playing his last two years under legendary coach Branch Rickey.  On Sept 3, 1908 the Chattanooga Times announced that Rike had accepted dual jobs as football coach at the University of Chattanooga and as athletic director (and biology teacher) at Central High School. Rike coached football, basketball, track, and baseball (and for a brief time girls basketball) at Central until the end of the 1918 school year. His aggressive recruiting of area and beyond athletes (and instant success) caused backlash from other area schools. By the start of the 1910-11 school year, Central was not invited to play in the City Prep League (after being the football and baseball champions for the previous year), and had difficulty scheduling opponents.  Ultimately, Principal Darrah was removed and Rike’s success gradually waned under the new Administration until, without the ability to recruit and having no athletic fields, Rike resigned and became the YMCA Director at Ft. Oglethorpe. He was subsequently hired by Baylor in 1919 for around  4 times what he was paid at Central (twice what the Baylor President was being paid) and had a highly successful career, most notably in track and field.  Rike was married briefly to Nellie Prugh (Dec 29, 1909 – Nov 15 1910) who died from complications of childbirth (Eleanor born Nov 2, 1910). Rike subsequently married Marian Barnes of Nashville Dec 21, 1912, and they had one son, James Barnes Rike, born in 1919.  Eleanor Rike married Davis Sandlin, trainer for the Chattanooga Lookouts and UC, and worked for Joe Engel at Chattanooga Baseball, Inc. for many years.  James Jr. starred at Baylor and UT and briefly played pro football for the Detroit Lions, then had a long career with the FBI.  James Sr. coached at Baylor until 1959, retiring at 75 years of age. He passed away on Feb 6, 1964 and posthumously became a charter member in the Baylor Athletic Hall of Fame.

Mary Elizabeth Beck was born in Rivermont/ North Chattanooga  Feb 22, 1881, the daughter of Henry Clay and Rhoda Wexler Beck and granddaughter of Joshua Beck, whose Rivermont quarries supplied much of the building stone for downtown Chattanooga, notably the Walnut Street Bridge (1890). Henry Clay Beck was the Hamilton County Registrar (1874-90) and founded Title Guaranty and Trust Co. in 1899.  Mary Beck graduated from Chattanooga Normal School in Hill City, attended U S Grant University, and received a teaching diploma from the Boston School of Expression (now Curry College) around 1905. She taught at Belmont College, Nashville in 1905-7 and at Hollins Academy, Hollins, VA  1907-1909. Beck was the speech and women’s gym teacher at Central for four years. During the 1909-10 and 1910-11 school years, Beck’s women’s basketball teams won two City Championships and were undefeated for both years.  Beck left Central after the 1911-12 school year and married Charles Oren Hon, who later directed Title Guaranty and Trust Co. (still currently directed by grandson Charles O Hon III).  Mary and Charles Sr. had five children – Eleanor   born 12/25/16, Dorothy (5/25/18), Charles Jr. (1920), Margaret (1922), and Daniel (1924). Mary Beck Hon was involved in many local civic activities throughout her adult life, and  passed on June 8, 1967.

More Central Connections:    Mary Beck’s first cousin, Anna Lucille Beck, graduated from Central in 1911,  returned to teach English in 1922, and helped  resurrect  the Digest as a weekly newspaper. Anna’s younger sister, Flora Beck, graduated from Central in 1926 and returned to Central as an algebra teacher in 1931 (until 1948 then as Flora Ware), retiring in 1969 after a 38-year career at Central.  Mary’s second cousin and Flora’s niece, Frank H Beck, also graduated from Central in 1938 and taught English at Old Central (as Mrs J C Robbins) starting in 1962-3 to the end, then continuing for several years at the new school. Flora Beck Ware’s father, William Sherman Beck, was president of the Hamilton County High School Board that proposed and funded Central High School, was a frequent visitor to Central, and was pictured on the January 1911 Digest cover as being one of Central’s Hall of Fame.

As a footnote, Coach Rike’s grandson, Joseph Sandlin, married Mary Beck Hon’s granddaughter, Carolyn Poynton, thus their two children, Rike and Steven Sandlin, are common great-grandchildren of two of Central’s 1909 faculty members.

The Central Digests for School Years 62-63 and 63-64 have been uploaded.  Click on the DIGEST button above.

I’m not an expert on architectural styles, so I need help determining the architectural style of our beloved school building.  In my opinion, it is Greek or Greek Revival.  What is your opinion?


This evening, the Chattanooga City Council approved our request for a “Temporary Usage Permit” for the placement of the Central High School historical marker on Dodds Avenue, pending further approval by the Tennessee Historical Commission.  The vote was unanimous in our favor by all 9 council members.  Ron Tucker did a flawless job of putting together the necessary documents for this request, and he made a brief presentation before the Council.  The fee to the city for $110.00 was paid for by donations from our classmates.

Please click on the following link:

Band History_1907_1970

My First Appearence in Central History

Working on posting The Central Digests, I just noticed my first appearence in Central history.  It is in the November 2, 1962 issue.  Take a look at the photo of the basketball team, and you’ll see me wearing Number 12.

Central leadership students scan school history into database

1.  In the 1911 Sleepless Eye, third page of faculty pictures, there are six portraits and 8 names.  The missing portraits are of Charles McGuffey and Enos White.  The picture on the bottom is Walter Harrington, upper right, C E Rogers.

2.  In the 1913 Central Yearbook, there are two pages of faculty pictures, each picture numbered, but no legend with names to match the numbers.  The first picture (page 10) should have included: 1. Charles D McGuffey, Spanish; 2. O C Kirkman, Manual Arts; 3. Arthur Rankin, Math; 4. J A Setliffe, German, Latin, Greek; 5. Marguerite Aull, English; 6. Lillie Schwartz, German, Latin; 7. Claudia Frazier, Domestic Science; and 8. Annie May Crutchfield, English, Latin. The second picture, Page 11: 1. Frank E Gunn, History; 2. George Davis, Science; 3. James B Rike, Science; 4. W P Selcer, Commercial; 5. Reita Faxon Pryor, Music; 6. Nannie Carter, English; 7. Amanda (Mrs L M) Russell, Pedagogy; 8. Alpha Davis Science

Dodds Ave Architecture

Can anyone recall what appears in photos to be inscribed granite plaques that were planted in the two brick columns beside the main front entrance on Dodds Ave? I cannot locate a close-up photo of the inscriptions in any Champions. Since the plaques appear all the way back to 1911 Sleepless Eye, my assumption is that they probably had to do with Dedication of the facility. Can anyone provide a close-up to publish here? Also, what happened to them at demolition of the building in 1970?