(Photo: Courtesy of McClung Historical Collection)
The McCroskey School, which began around 1840, was the forerunner of Harrison-Chilhowee Baptist Academy and The King’s Academy in the heart of Seymour. Despite its obvious shortcomings, the little building seen in the photo raised generations of well-educated students, giving rise to its nickname, “Owl College.” Or did owls roost in its rafters? Local pigs enjoyed piling up in the snug space underneath the floorboards, sometimes creating such a ruckus they interrupted learning. It was so cold in winter that students were allowed to come in groups to warm up at the fire. Older boys had to cut the firewood. Nevertheless, by the 1880s the school’s success led to a needed expansion. Harrison Ellis gave more land; the replacement school was renamed Harrison Seminary. Local Baptist churches, which were interested in supporting quality local education, began supporting the school, which took in boarders and eventually became HCBA and in 1993, The King’s Academy.
Learn more about McCroskey School and its pupils in From the Mouth of Boyds Creek – A History of Seymour, TN and the Boyds Creek Valley. Pre-orders are now being taken for the book, which will be available in October. All proceeds benefit Friends of Seymour Library, a non-profit organization that supports Williams Family Seymour Branch Library.
Price is $25.00 plus $3.99 for shipping.