Posted in Early History, Faculty, Preservation of History


Here is a wonderful example of Central lore that we are uncovering in our research. Please add your reflections into the human side of the Purple and Gold.

-Chattanooga Times, May 15th, 1919
Fair weather prefaced a storm and a tranquil and sweet beginning preceded a bitter end last night when at the Junior-Senior banquet and entertainment of Central High school Principal J. S. Ziegler, with stern and emphatic language, declared against a dance planned by the boys and girls of the Junior class.

At the end of the dinner program last night, when the Juniors had planned to clear the Patton (Hotel) ballroom and end the evening with a dance. Mr. Ziegler ordered the room cleared; staying some forty-five minutes to see that the lingering banqueters did not indulge their terpsichorean fancies.

After a number of those in both classes had decided to disregard his admonitions and run the last part of the program to suit themselves, they found the ballroom locked and as Manager John Lovell was nowhere to be found, they left the hotel with a bitter taste and rebellious trend of reflection, to go to their homes.

The banquet went off with exquisite smoothness until George J. Heron, the president of the Junior class, announced the dance, when as one present remarked, “Turmoil broke loose.”

Not only did the principal announce that they must not dance but he declared that he would suspend all who stayed in the hotel.

A representative number of Central boys last night declared that knowing their principal’s objections to dances; they made the dance a separate part of the program. The principal was not to be in charge of this feature and, according to some of the youngsters, was not even invited.

Mr. Lovell, they said, agreed to let them use the ballroom for dancing when the banquet was over. The orchestra was furnished by them and the dance; they said was to be a “private” affair. They doubted the principal’s right to interfere, but as they found the ballroom closed they were forced to go away disappointed, not however, without budding plans for a continuation of the program in the future to be held without his supervision.

P. P. Celzer (probably W. P. Selcer) and Mrs. L. M. Russell were two other members of the faculty present. They advised the youngsters to go home without crossing the will of the principal.

Posted in Early History, Faculty

Central’s First Faculty

Charlie Sedman says “if there had been a yearbook for 1908, this is close to what the faculty photos would have appeared.  I took me two years to track these guys down (actually the three that left after 1-3 years and never appeared in a yearbook).”

Classes were held in the Old Ridgedale School at the corner of Peachtree and Bennett Ave starting on Monday, Sept 9, 1907 until Christmas-New Years break, and thence in the new building on Monday Jan 6, 1908.  All 9 faculty were present, to my knowledge, during this time.   The only public records of Ridgedale classes are the conversations and recollections by students posted in the Digests for 1910-11, particularly noting that some classes were held in hallways and the building was unheated.  The new building must have seemed like a palace to students and faculty when it finally opened.

I might add that I found A T Roark’s picture (graduating from UC Law School in 1910) in the Connor-Roark family history book through their website; W K Greene’s pic came from a 1907 photo in the History of BGA book, and Mary Bibb’s was cropped from a 1907 family photo via her grandson, Kirk Johnson, which we scanned just after the August 2 Connection Lunch.  The remaining 7 photos are scanned from later Central yearbooks.

Posted in Faculty, Historical Marker on Dodds Avenue, Preservation of History

Surviving Faculty Members of Central on Dodds Avenue

One of our goals is to invite all surviving members of the faculty to Dedication of the Historical Marker on August 4th.

We would appreciate any contact information you have on the following:

– James (Jim) Rogers.   Science and Chemistry teacher at both old and new Central.

– Edwin Grant.   Probably taught at both Central until 1968, and then J B Brown thereafter.

– Wayne Huling.

Posted in Faculty

New Faculty 1912-13

New Faculty 1912-13


Principal A E Darrah was relieved at the end of the 1911-12 school year and was replaced by City High Principal John S Ziegler.  Other faculty members leaving with Darrah included music instructors Charles and Julia Garratt (replaced by Reita Faxon Pryor), Harriet Greve (took leave for MA at Columbia), and Mary Elizabeth Beck. Alpha Davis was added as a science teacher and Marguerite Aull for English and Speech.

Marguerite Aull  was born in Cincinnati, OH to German immigrant Edward A Aull and Mary Schroeder Aull in 1885. Her family moved to Chattanooga around 1890 where her father was a prominent businessman and member of the Board of Education.  Marguerite and her  younger sister Katrina both attended and received BA degrees from UC.  In the 1909-10 UC register, Marguerite was listed as the first librarian on record.  She was teaching at the 20th District school in St. Elmo before joining  the Central High faculty in 1912 as a Speech and English teacher.  Aull remained on the faculty until the end of the 1920-21 school year, when she took leave to complete her MA at the University of Wisconsin. She returned to teaching at City High in the fall of 1923. She was a member of the National Speech Arts Association and a pioneer in teaching gifted students. Her article, “Capitalizing the Extra Bright Child ” was featured in the Peabody Journal Of Education Vol 2, No.3, Nov.  1924. Aull was also considered an expert librarian, having organized libraries in Cleveland and Richard City, TN and at Ursuline College. She was also heavily involved with the Chattanooga Little Theater from its inception.  Unmarried, she passed away at only 44 years of age on Feb 27, 1929 at Erlanger Hospital and was buried in Cincinnati.

Alpha Davis, the oldest of three children, was born  in Morganville, Dade County, GA Sept 11, 1887 to Dr. Kansas D and Lula Rogers Davis. Her family moved to St. Elmo before 1900 and she graduated from UC  around 1910. Ms. Davis taught at the Third District school before joining Central’s faculty in 1912 as a science teacher. Davis left Central at the end of the 1916-17 school year, married lawyer (later judge) George E Westerberg on 9/12/17, and moved to Cleveland, TN. She remained active in Chattanooga, serving as a regent for the Chattanooga Chapter of DAR and president of the local UDC.  Alpha and George had two children,  George D (1919) and Ellen (1923). Alpha taught English and history at Bradley County High until the early 1940s. In 1937 she directed a local history project wherein her students collected and submitted family histories to the Bradley County library. Her daughter also archived local history records for Bradley County before WW2. Alpha Davis Westerberg  passed away on Feb 12, 1965 and is buried in Fort Hill Cemetery, Cleveland TN beside her husband and two children.

Reita Faxon Pryor was born in Clarksville, TN  August 1, 1876, the third of four children,  to John Wellington and Florence Herring Faxon.  Her father  served in the Confederate Army, became a prominent banker in Clarksville, and moved to Chattanooga in 1891 to become Assistant Cashier of the  First National Bank.   Ms. Faxon studied voice in Germany  and married William Henry Pryor Oct 5, 1909 in New York City. W H Pryor became an insurance executive with the Pryor, Love, and Lewis firm in Chattanooga.

Ms. Pryor was heavily involved in the local chorale and symphonies, performing in public many times as a soprano and served on the Community Concerts Board. She accepted an appointment at Central in fall of 1912 to teach vocal music and direct the glee clubs, and remained at Central until 1921. She and her husband were childless and moved to Summertown on Signal Mountain in the 1920s where they lived for many years.  Widowed, Ms Pryor moved to Lookout Mountain in 1957, passing away on her 82nd birthday, August 1, 1958.

Central’s second principal, John Sherman Ziegler,  was born in Meigs County, TN on Feb 3, 1873, the third of eight  children to William B. and Tennessee Reynolds  Ziegler.  After education in the Meigs schools, Ziegler taught for several years before entering  UT  IN 1895, being admitted to Law School in 1897, and graduating with an LLB in 1899. Ziegler returned to teaching, coming to the Chattanooga school system in the early 1900s, culminating in his appointment as the Principal of City High in fall, 1910. He was publicly opposed to playing Central in athletics while Darrah was principal, and, ironically, became Darrah’s immediate successor in the fall of 1912. Ziegler was noted for ousting  former  Darrah allies and drew public criticism for his dismissal of Charles McGuffey in 1915. Under Ziegler, faculty turnover increased markedly over his predecessor.  His lack of support for Coach Rike was a major factor in Central’s rapid decline in athletics and Rike’s resignation in 1918. Ziegler was, however, responsible for one major part of Central’s traditions, in that he requested funds  (that were approved) and initiated  military training in the spring of 1916, leading to Central’s being the first JROTC unit in Tennessee in 1919. Ziegler left Central at the end of the 1920-21 school year (replaced by Stacy E Nelson), eventually becoming the Supt of Hamilton County Schools, then State Superintendent of Schools,  and finally the first president of Austin Peay College in Clarksville , TN in 1929.  At the end of his first year at Austin Peay,  Ziegler became ill while giving an address to the graduates of Clarksville High School, and succumbed to an apparent heart attack on May 8, 1930. He was buried two days later in Forest Hills Cemetery in Chattanooga. He and his wife, Margaret, had no children.

Posted in Early History, Faculty

Remember, “We are from Central”

This quote printed at the bottom of page 9 of The Central Digest, October, 1910, caught my attention.  Below is an extract from the article entitled “What Central Means” on that same page.

The launching of the enterprise of the County High School in Hamilton County was attended by a rare conjunction of favoring conditions: fearless, intelligent, broad-minded men in places of power endorsed by an equally intelligent and broad-minded public; so Central, in addition to an auspicious launching, with two progressive men in the respective chairs of principal and superintendent, may verily be said to sail under a lucky star. Her future may be judged by her past; and the most conservative mind must predict for her a growth and development that will rank her the equal at least, of the foremost high school in the state. N. C. C.

Charlie Sedman provided Nannie Carmack Carter as the name represented by the initials:

English teacher when Central opened its doors to students in the fall of 1907.
The Central 1913 Dedicated to Nannie Carmack Carter
Posted in Early History, Faculty

Faculty Additions for 1911-12

New Faculty 1911-12


In the fall of 1911, Central hired four new instructors, two at the beginning to replace departed Domestic Science teacher Mabel Agnes Fair and Commercial instructor Walter Harrington and one in December to replace math teacher C E Rogers, who left to help start up the East Tennessee Normal School in Johnson City.  Lillie Schwartz was also hired to supplement John Setliffe in teaching Latin and German.


Claudia Frazier was born April 27, 1883 in Washington, Rhea County, TN to Samuel  Frazier Jr. and Josephine Locke Frazier.  The fourth of five children, Frazier attended  Soule College in Murfreesboro and entered UT as a special student in 1905. While at UT Frazier was president of the student YWCA and captained the women’s basketball team in 1909. At the same time, her father’s first cousin, former Tennessee  governor  James Beriah Frazier, was a US Senator representing Tennessee.  She graduated with a BA in 1909, her thesis being, ” Life and Works of Tennyson.”  Frazier began her teaching career at Rhea County High School, Dayton, TN that fall.

Because of her lifelong interest in nutrition, Claudia Frazier was chosen to replace a former classmate, Mabel Agnes Fair, at Central in 1911 to lead the Domestic Science Dept.  Frazier hosted a nutritional seminar at the National Conservation Convention in Knoxville in March, 1913. At the end of the 1912-13 school year, Frazier resigned and married another former UT classmate, John Gilbreath, a newspaperman with the Associated Press, and moved to Atlanta. The Gilbreaths shortly thereafter returned to Chattanooga permanently, when Gilbreath became editor of the Chattanooga Times. Claudia Gilbreath became involved in many civic activities, including being named the local director of the Red Cross in 1919. She had become Tennessee’s first Red Cross certified dietician in 1917.

Ms. Gilbreath returned to academics in 1930 as the principal of Central Elementary School, a position she held for over a decade, retiring in 1942.  She and her husband owned and published several regional weekly newspapers and co-founded several Chattanooga institutions, such as the Chattanooga Federal Savings & Loan and the Chattanooga Little Theater.  When her husband and younger sister, Katherine, passed away in 1964, Claudia Gilbreath initiated a scholarship endowment in their honor at UC, still active today. She passed away on Signal Mountain  June 7, 1980.

Walter Pitts Selcer was born January 12, 1880 in the Falling Water area of Hamilton County, the only child of Richard F and Mary E Selcer . He married Laura Stewart on April 12, 1905 in Madison County, AL. Sons Walter P and Richard were born in 1907 and 1909 before Selcer came to Central in 1911 to direct the Commercial Dept, replacing Walter Harrington. Selcer was an ally to Supt. Brown in the removal of Principal Darrah at the end of the 1911-12 school year, was given a bonus for his actions, and remained at Central with Principal Ziegler until Ziegler left at the end of the 1920-21 school year.  Daughters Laura and Loe were born in 1913 and 1915. Selcer then directed the Commercial Dept. at City High for the remainder of his career, retiring in 1951. His youngest son, Stewart, was born in 1924.  Selcer passed away Jan 4, 1968 in Falling Water.

Arthur L Rankin was born to W. C. and Ida May Rankin on Dec 20, 1887 near Tullahoma, TN.  Rankin graduated from Fall’s Business College, Nashville, in 1905. He  taught at the Morgan School in Fayetteville, TN for two years, and then at Bedford and Coffee County schools until 1911, when he accepted an appointment  as the Chattanooga YMCA educational director.  When C E Rogers left Central in December 1911, Rankin replaced him, appointed by Supt Brown,  and was also instrumental in having Principal Darrah removed at the end of that  school year.  Just after Darrah was deposed, Rankin married Eleanor McKinney on May 25, 1912. Rankin, however, proved to be a very competent educator and eventually became Central’s first Assistant Principal. During the 1926-27 school year, Rankin penned Central’s Alma Mater.  While at Central, Rankin worked on his BA degree at UC, which he achieved in 1924. Rankin left in 1927 to become principal of Bradley County High School, then returned as Superintendent of Hamilton County Schools in 1932, a position he held until April, 1939, then again in 1941-42. In 1942 he retired from the Hamilton County system and became head of the math department at Baylor, staying until 1959. He passed away on Signal Mountain  April 9, 1975. He and Eleanor had three children, Arthur L Jr. born 1914, Ida M. (1915), and William J. (1919).

Lillie Schwartz was born in Chattanooga Dec 24, 1889 to German Immigrants Henry and Jane Poss Schwartz. The youngest of six children, Lillie graduated from City High in 1905 and received a BA from Ohio Wesleyan in 1909. Schwartz taught Latin and German at City before moving over to Central at the beginning of the 1911-12 school year. She taught, at various times, German, French, and Latin at Central over a long, but intermittent, career that spanned  48 years, retiring at the end of the 1958-59 school year.  Ms. Schwartz  never married, passing away in Chattanooga on Nov 10, 1963.

Posted in Early History, Faculty

Central Faculty Additions 1910-11

New Faculty 1910-11

For the 1910-11 school year,  Central added three faculty members, one to replace the departed A T Roark as director of the Commercial Dept. and athletics business manager. For the first time, photos of the faculty are available with the issue of Central’s first Yearbook, The Sleepless Eye.

William Ketcham Anderson was a math teacher at Central only for the year 1910-11, while taking courses at UC. He was born April 27, 1888 in New York City and graduated from Wesleyan (CT) with a BA in 1910. He left Central and attended Columbia University, receiving an MA in 1913, then to Union Theological Seminary for a Bachelors in Divinity in 1914. He then performed missionary work in Europe and Africa, and became a pastor at Ohio State University 1915-18. He married Fanny Spencer  Dec  19, 1916 and had two daughters -Almeda Jane (1918) and Elizabeth Cushman (1921). After serving as a pastor in Pittsburgh, he relocated to Nashville in 1939 when  the Methodist Episcopal Church, North, the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and Methodist Protestant Church reunited, and Nashville was chosen as the site for a consolidated publishing facility–the Methodist Publishing House.  Anderson is credited with editing and publishing many religious books, tracts and pamphlets during his eight years  there. He died in Nashville Feb 7, 1947 and was buried in Vanhollow, NY.

Frank Eugene Gunn was born in 1877 to Melvin and Peorlina Gunn of Novelty, MO. He served in the Spanish American war and afterward entered Simpson College (Methodist college in Indianola, IA), receiving  a BA degree in June, 1903, and was married in Villisca, IA on July 22 of that year to Delia B. Jones of Princeton, IL.  Gunn came to Chattanooga as a teacher in the Hamilton County Schools and by 1906 was Principal of the East Chattanooga School.  Gunn came to Central in the 1910-11 school year as an English and history teacher, even though Central already two English and one history teachers on board.  At the end of that school year it was revealed in school board hearings that Superintendent Brown intended to not renew Principal Darrah’s contract and that his main ally was Gunn, whom he had personally appointed to Central. Gunn was bolstered the following year by appointments of Selcer and Rankin to Central by Brown to help end Darrah’s reign. After Darrah had been deposed in 1912, Gunn remained at Central as a history teacher (as Harriett Greve took leave for a masters degree) and instrumental music instructor (replacing Charles Garratt who was booted along with Darrah). Gunn left Central at the end of the 1915 school year (Greve returned the following fall) and took a similar position at City High, where he remained until retirement around 1940. He was the Chattanooga Area Leader of the Boy Scouts for 8 years.  Gunn passed away in Chattanooga on July 31, 1957. He and Delia had no children.

Walter Leo Harrington replaced A T Roark as Commercial Dept. instructor for just  the 1910-11 school year.  Harrington was born  Nov 26, 1871 in Boston, MA  to John and Mary Noonan Harrington, the fifth  of six children.  Harrington attended the Boston Latin School, taught elementary school  until entering Harvard in 1898, and received a BA in Commerce from Harvard University in 1900. Harrington returned to teaching and was headmaster of the Charlestown Evening School in Boston until 1905.  During that time he co-authored four books on English as a second language, based on his experience as headmaster.  He pursued a writing career until 1910, then inexplicably migrated to Chattanooga. Once at Central, Harrington was probably overwhelmed with managing the ambitious football program under Rike, as only four games were scheduled that fall; none with local teams.  However the Sleepless Eye gave kudos for Harrington in scheduling basketball games, in which Central was undefeated for the year, and he authored a rousing  write-up of Central’s Commercial Dept in the 1911 Sleepless Eye.  Harrington  relocated to Greensburg, PA and was a no-show for a commercial teaching position in New York in the fall of 1911. Working with Coach Rike had longer-term benefits, as Harrington next surfaced in fall of 1917 as the head football coach and commercial instructor of Rollins College, Winter Park FL, announced in the Sept 6, 1917 Winter Park Post, page 4. Fortunately for Harrington, Rollins only enrolled 10 male students that fall, so the football season was forgone.  Harrington, as a business professor, became a fixture in the local papers for his speeches on the bright future of Rollins College and the inevitable  economic boost on Winter Park.  Harrington was last reported by the local newspaper as having a serious illness in Washington DC while on a recruiting trip for Rollins in late March, 1918. Harrington re-emerged as a commercial instructor for the Charleston, WV schools in 1918-20, then as a speech instructor at Indiana University, Bloomington, IN for 1921-22.  He authored a fifth book entitled, “Speaking Well: The Art of Conversation” in 1924, and faded into obscurity afterward.

Posted in Early History, Faculty

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..

Posted in Early History, Faculty

1908-9 Biographies of New Faculty

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.

Posted in Champions, Early History, Faculty, The Central Digest

Charlie Sedman’s Clarifications

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

Posted in Early History, Faculty

Biographies of Central’s First Faculty

George Davis was born on Nov 19, 1870 in Blount County, TN to James A. and Mary F. Davis. He attended Terrill College in Decherd, TN when it opened in 1890 and received a BS degree from Nashville College (later Peabody Teachers College) during the 1890s. He was teaching in Chattanooga in 1900, became principal of the Hill City High School  around 1905, and married Mary W Frater in Chattanooga Aug 15, 1906. He taught science at Central from 1907-1916 during which time he received a BS in Science from UC (1914). George and Mary had two children while he taught at Central –Mary in 1908, George F. in 1910. He later taught biology at Middle Tennessee Normal School/State Teachers College (now MTSU) until 1937 (receiving an MS from Peabody in 1928). He died in Murfreesboro on March 5, 1948.

Alfred Thaddeus Roark was born in Birchwood, TN Sept 1, 1872, the fifth of six children, to John B. and Nancy Cameron Roark. By 1890 he had earned a teaching certificate and was teaching school on Jolly’s Island (now Hiwassee Island) in 1891, and later taught at East Chattanooga school.  In 1895 he entered Ohio Normal College in Lebanon, OH,  graduating with a bachelor of science degree on July 29, 1897. Roark then returned to teaching in the Hamilton County school system and left his job as Principal of the 20th District School (St Elmo) in 1907 to start up the Commercial Dept at Central High in September, 1907. He also became business manager of the athletic department, and from 1908-10 arranged all of Central’s ambitious athletic endeavors under Coach James Rike.  His influence on Central’s early athletic success was honored when in the January 31, 1910 Times Roark, not Rike, was pictured with Central’s undefeated basketball team.  When Roark received his LLB degree from the University of Chattanooga on May 31, 1910, he resigned as teacher and opened a law practice in Chattanooga. [The chaotic year of 1910-11 for Central’s athletic teams, whence there was great difficulty in scheduling opponents, likely arose from Roark’s absence.]

In 1913 Roark moved his practice to San Diego, CA, where, as a successful lawyer,  he married Virginia East on Sept, 15, 1923 and summarily adopted her daughter, Marion LaVerle.  A. T. and Virginia Roark then had two sons – A. T. Jr. in 1924 and Robert in 1931. A.T. Sr. suffered a stroke in early December, 1941 from which he never recovered, dying on May 22, 1942 at age 69. He and Virginia’s ashes reside in Greenwood Memorial Park, San Diego.

Nannie Goodwin Carmack was born in 1861 in Chattanooga, the daughter of Samuel Williams Carmack and Mary Goodner Carmack, the second of seven children. Her older sister died in 1863 and her father in 1875. Nannie graduated with an AB degree from Mary Sharp College in Winchester, TN in 1879, was teaching in Chattanooga in 1880, and married J S Carter in Franklin, TN Nov 16, 1885. Their children included Nettie M. (1887), Richard S. (1889), Lois (1892), Edgar C. (1895) and Herbert C. (1898). By 1900, Nannie was widowed and teaching in Obion County, TN. She was teaching at Hill City under George Davis before becoming  Central’s first English teacher. The December 20, 1912 Digest contained an article of the marriage of Nannie’s son, Richard Strother Carter to Ethel N. Stokes, Class of 1910 and schoolteacher at East Lake, on Dec 2, 1912. It indicated that Richard, Lois, and Edgar were all former students at Central, while Herbert was currently enrolled. There is no indication any graduated. Nannie was still on the faculty at her death on Dec 4, 1917. She was buried in Winchester.

Christian Edley Rogers was born October 1877 to John B and Sarah Rogers near North Chickamauga Creek (now Hixson). He received AB degree from Grant University, an LI from Peabody, and a law degree (LLB) from U of Chattanooga, taught at East Chattanooga School until 1907, and was a math teacher on Central’s faculty from its inception until he accepted a position at the newly formed East Tennessee Normal School (now ETSU) in December,1911. Rogers was very popular with Central students; the December, 1911 Digest ran a full page story on his departure, and the January, 1912 issue contained a letter to the student body from Prof. Rogers thanking them for the gold watch presented to him at the new Terminal Station on December 4, 1911 as he departed with his wife for Johnson City.  There he directed the Lyceum Dept and was the school’s first Registrar until he left in 1926 to become superintendent of Johnson City schools. He retired in Johnson City in the early 40s where he continued to reside until his death on Nov 14, 1966. He and his wife, Ada, had three children – Sarah (1913), Christian E Jr (1916) and John H (1925). Rogers authored one math book and placed second in a national math competition for teachers in 1913.

Walter K Greene, Central’s first athletic coach and Latin teacher, was only at Central for the 1907-8 school year. Born in Greenwood, SC on Feb 22, 1884, Greene was a star baseball player at Wofford, graduating with a BA in 1903. He then attended Vanderbilt, earning an MA in 1905. His first job was on the faculty of Battle Ground Academy (BGA) 1905-07, where he was one of three instructors and athletic coach. I have no proof, but feel strongly that he was recruited to Central to coach football by A E Darrah who had witnessed the dawn of high school football in Tennessee at the two private Nashville institutions –BGA and Montgomery Bell Academy (MBA) in the 1890s, and saw its profound impact upon school spirit. His 0-2 record in football and 4-5 record in baseball at Central were hardly noteworthy, and his biography indicated that he was destined to be an educator, not an athletic coach. He left Central to become Chair of the Latin Dept at the prestigious Baker-Himel University School in Knoxville in May 1908.  After Baker-Himel closed in 1916, Greene taught at prep schools in Alabama until 1920, when he entered Harvard, receiving an MA in English in 1921 and PhD in 1923. After 5 years at Wesleyan College in Macon GA, Greene went to Duke University where he served as professor of English and Director of Undergraduate Instruction until 1942. He then became the president of his original Alma mater, Wofford, in 1942, retiring in 1951. He and his wife, Leah, had one daughter Jennie. He died at his daughter’s residence in Ashland VA on Jan 9, 1961.

Charles D McGuffey was born in June, 1841 to Alexander and Elizabeth McGuffey. His father and uncle were authors of the McGuffey readers. He received degrees from Kenyon College and a law degree (LLB) from U of Cincinnati, then practiced law in Cincinnati until the end of the Civil War. He moved his law practice to Knoxville and became the first superintendent of schools for Anderson County in 1870. He was married three times – to Julia Augusta Clark in Knox Co, TN Oct 30, 1871; to Mary M Ricks Sep 7, 1876 in Carrol Co, Ohio (son Charles N. born 1878; stepdaughter Theodora Ricks b 1870); and finally to Mary Byrd Perrin in St Paul, MN Jun 17, 1896.
McGuffey opened a law office in Chattanooga in 1877, keeping his old firm operating in Knoxville, and appears to have lived in Chattanooga afterwards (perhaps to avoid his ex-wife). He was one of a handful of local officials that stayed in Chattanooga and survived the Yellow Fever epidemic and panic of 1878 (that claimed 366 lives, including  Mayor Carlisle and the Principal of City High School, W D Underhill). He co-founded the Bonny Oaks Orphanage, was a faculty member of the Chattanooga Law School of U S Grant University, and directed or served on many civic committees in the 1890s and 1900s. He corresponded with many military and literary figures of his era, including several Civil war Generals and author Jack London ; many of his letters are in college library collections throughout the US. He was a historian and authored The Standard History of Chattanooga (1911) and edited a widely circulated Chattanooga Historical Photobook in 1912 that including a picture and glowing description of Central.
McGuffey became interested in Spanish during the Spanish American War and later corresponded with Admiral Cervantes and his prisoner, Cpt Hobson in Spain, becoming a close friend of Capt Hobson, later Senator Hobson, from Alabama. McGuffey saw an opportunity at Central to offer the first Spanish classes at any high school in Tennessee and sold the idea. He and A E Darrah were shameless promoters of Central and the Spanish Society (Sociedad de Estudiantos del Castellano); with McGuffey’s connections Central hosted the visits of many noteworthy people between 1908 and 1912. Principal Darrah was the first member of his society. After Darrah was sacked, McGuffey and the new principal, John S.  Ziegler, were at odds. McGuffey’s accounts of his maltreatment after 1912 are documented in his Central High collection donated to the Chattanooga Public Library upon his death. He was publicly dismissed as a teacher at the end of the 1915 school year, ending the Spanish Club that had been the largest society at Central (at one time having 271 members). He died Sept 28, 1916 and was buried in Knoxville. His death certificate listed his occupation as lawyer and scholar.

Otis Clifford Kirkman was born April 28, 1878 near Snow Camp, NC, to William O and Julia Dixon Kirkman, moved to Knoxville before 1900, and received his BS in Electrical Engineering from UT in 1905. He became Central’s first Manual Arts instructor in 1907 and married a fellow teacher at Central, Mary Bibb, on August 4, 1908. He oversaw installation of the first high school vocational training facility in the Chattanooga area in 1910 and the first high school printing press in 1912. He remained on the faculty at Central until 1916 when he moved to Cookeville, TN as an inaugural faculty member of Tennessee Tech. [He was replaced at Central in 1916-17 by James F Crawley and John H Burns.] When City High moved into their new building on Third Street in 1921, a vocational education facility was also built and Kirkman assumed command there in 1922. In October, 1928, Chattanooga opened the first all-vocational high school, Chattanooga Vocational School, with Kirkman as principal.  Kirkman received an MS degree from UT in 1936, based largely on his accomplishments in vocational education. He and Mary had three children – Lila, born 10/5/09, Julia (8/17/12) and O C Jr. (12/11/16). Following the tragic death of O C Jr. in a car accident on May 21, 1943, O C Sr. passed away less than a month later, on June 13. Chattanooga Vocational School was renamed Kirkman Vocational School in his honor (later Kirkman Technical School) before school opened that September.

Mary Isabella Bibb was born in June 8, 1884 in Williamsport, Maury County, TN, the younger sister of faculty member Amanda Bibb and sixth of seven children of Lockhart and Kate Bradley Bibb. Mary Bibb received her teaching certificate from Alabama Normal Teacher’s College (Florence, AL) around 1905 and joined her older sister at the 20th District Schoool (St Elmo).  She was on Central’s faculty as history teacher for its first two years, (as Ms O C Kirkman in 1908-9), then left to give birth to Lila Kirkman [Replaced by Harriet Greve for 1909-10]. After the Kirkmans returned to Chattanooga in 1922, Mary resumed teaching at Tyner High School, retiring in 1942.  Somehow she found time to earn both BA and MA degrees from UT during thet period. Mary died on Sept 2, 1972 and was buried beside O C Kirkman in Silverdale.

Amanda Watkins Bibb was born Sept 13, 1876 in Madison County, AL and received an AB degree from New York Normal College, BP (Bachelor of Pedagogy) from Chicago U, and an MP from Columbia. She married Laurence Medley Russell and was teaching in St Elmo when she joined Central’s faculty in 1907, initiating the first high school pedagogy program in the Chattanooga area. Ms. Russell was also an accomplished pianist and frequently played at school social events. She was the longest tenured of Central’s original faculty, leaving Central in 1920. She was still active as a Hamilton County school administrator in 1930. Her husband, a local accountant, passed away in December, 1931 and she died on Jan 19, 1937. The Russells had no children; both were buried in Decatur, Alabama .

Note: Amanda and Mary Bibb were great-granddaughters of Thomas Bibb, second governor of Alabama and one of the two richest men in America in the early 1800s. Their father, Lockhart Bibb, was a CSA  Cavalry Officer under Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Central Connection

Lila Kirkman, oldest daughter of O C and Mary Kirkman, received a BA from UC in 1930 and joined the Central faculty in the fall of 1930 as a civics teacher. She married in 1932 and remained at Central (as Ms. S W Johnson) until 1940, earning an MA from Columbia during her tenure.

Central’s First Principal (1907-1912)

Alexander Emmett Darrah, Central’s first principal, was the son of Irish Immigrants Patrick & Catherine (Naughton) Darrah. Born Feb 22, 1862 in Washington County, PA, Darrah graduated from Washington & Jefferson with an AB in 1881 and began teaching at Beech Grove College outside Nashville after graduation. He married Minnie Bennett (born 1870 Coffee County, TN) around 1887 and taught in Nashville afterwards having 4 children – John Walker born 12/6/88, Katiebel  born 7/2/1890, A Emmett Jr born 1893 and George Bernard (8/5/1895).  Darrah resigned his post as Superintendent of Union City, TN schools in 1907 to accept the challenge at Central. During his first year at Central, he and Katiebel lived at 303 Kirby Avenue and Katiebel was one of the first 19 graduates in May 1908. By 1909 Darrah had moved to larger quarters at 505 N Dodds and sons Walker, Emmett and Bernard had moved in. Only Bernard attended Central from 1909-12; Walker and Emmett were employed locally.  Darrah was very popular with the students, frequently sitting in on classes and leading pep rallies. He and Charles McGuffey were tireless promoters of Central, inviting many notable public figures to speak and never missing an opportunity to pitch for more funding and better facilities. However, Darrah’s penchant for promoting Central drew the ire of his peers, especially with Central’s instant success in athletics and the recruiting of athletes from McCallie and Baylor.  From 1909-1911 City and McCallie blocked Central’s membership in the local prep leagues, and Darrah publicly chided them for avoiding competition.  After an unsuccessful try to oust Darrah after the 1911 school year, Supt. J B Brown finally convinced the school board in 1912 and Darrah was relieved of duty. Ironically, he was replaced by City’s principal, John S. Ziegler. Darrah and family returned to Nashville where he served as principal of several local schools until retirement around 1930; he passed away Oct 21, 1936. Katiebel was the oldest living member of Central’s first graduating class until her passing Oct 18, 1989 at age 99 in Nashville.