Hopkins County Genealogical Society
Hosts Annual Lock-in, Saturday
From Marynell Bryant
This is a photo of the Reilly Springs School, 1931-32 term.
Rural schools of Hopkins County will be the focus of this year’s Lock-In sponsored by the Hopkins County Genealogical Society. The library and archives at 212 Main Street will be open Saturday, July 14 from 9 a.m. until midnight to accommodate researchers.
The society is soliciting histories and pictures of county rural schools with an emphasis on any that existed prior to 1960. Members of the society will be available to accept donations, record personal stories, and scan pictures or documents for the archives. A brief introduction to the current collection and information about using school census records will be presented at 10 a.m.
Folders for each county school in the archives include newspaper clippings, photos, graduation programs and other important documents. Approximately 100 schools have been identified. The society also houses records from the county school superintendent’s office dating from the 1920’s through 1970. School ledgers listing teachers’ names as well as student names and individual family school census cards are available for researching.
“An out-of-town library patron recently donated a 1918 Rockdale School group photo with most of the students identified,” Marynell Bryant, HCGS librarian, said. “We know there are many photos still in existence and we would very much like to collect these or have copies of them for our files.”
“We encourage anyone who has pictures from the old schools to share them with us. School group pictures are great but we also need pictures of the school buildings,” Bryant said. “We would love to publish a new book about the schools so this effort to collect information will tell us if there is enough interest in the project.”
Histories of the rural schools are sometimes directly tied to the histories of the communities where they were located. The society maintains a list of county place names many of which no longer exist. Information that links a school with a particular place name is of prime importance.
“I went to first grade at the rural school of Cedar Grove in the Gafford Chapel community, but it closed and consolidated with Sulphur Springs ISD,” Bryant explained. “If someone is looking for Cedar Grove on a map they won’t find it because it was only a school. But we have it in our place name file to preserve its history.”
The library also has yearbooks from several county schools and needs more donations to make those collections more complete. Someone recently donated a large number of North Hopkins school yearbooks but by comparison the library only has six yearbooks from Miller Grove.
The SSHS collection is missing six yearbooks – 1949, 1950, 1958, 1959, 1964 and 1980. According to library volunteers the yearbook collections are used frequently which causes some wear and tear on the books. The society maintains duplicates of the SSHS yearbooks whenever possible.
The Lock-In is an annual event hosted by the society to assist family historians and researchers who need extended hours to use the library resources. Refreshments and a snack supper will be provided. Participants are asked to make a $10 donation and may come and go any time until midnight.