Free Silver School History

Free Silver School, in section 31 of Stonefort Township, was known until 1896 as Wilburn School, named for a family in the neighborhood. The mother of Edward G. Creal, founder of Creal Springs, was Temperance Soberness Wilburn until her marriage in 1831. The first school was taught in a log house furnished with split logs for seats. Wooden pins were driven into the log benches tor legs, but no backs were provided. John B. Morray of Creal Springs recalls some of his early teachers as W. H. Kimmel, Albert Westbrooks, John Alexander, and W. H. Fry. It took a man in those days to maintain discipline.

The presidential campaign of 1896 between William McKinley and William Jennings Bryan found the trustees of district 80 strongly in favor of the Democratic Populist free silver candidate. They quoted Mr. Bryan’s great speech,

“You shall not press down this crown of thorns on the brow of labor. You shall not crucify mankind on a cross of gold.”

Robert J. Morray was an equally staunch McKinley man, and laughingly referred to the school near his farm as Free Silver School because of the trustees’ political faith. They accepted the nickname and made it official. Mr. Morray moved to Creal Springs and became postmaster, July 14, 1897.

The old log house was replaced in 1885 by a frame building. A third school was erected m 1930 on route 166. This new building was one of the most modern in the county in 1939, though it had only ten pupils. The board members in 1939 were S.B. Chamness, Louie Horn, and Louis Tanner; the teacher, Earl Edmondson.

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(Extracted from Pioneer Folks and Places, Barbara Barr Hubbs, 1939, on sale at the Williamson County Museum)