How many of us have visited the wedding chapel at Cannonsburgh
Pioneer Village near downtown Murfreesboro?
Did you know that the wedding chapel was at one time better known
as the Tipperary School in LaVergne from 1915 till 1925?
The Tipperary School was located on present Waldron Road near the
intersection with Jones Blvd. about one mile south the railroad in
LaVergne. Presently, this area is mostly industrial.
The Tipperary School was first named the Gambill School in honor of
School Director Charles H. Gambill. Well, this was 1915 when the
song, “It’s a Long Way to Tipperary” was popular, thus the kids
unofficially named their schoolhouse “Tipperary”. The name stuck.
Now, back to the beginning of the Tipperary School.
On July 6, 1915, George Noe and Allen Sanford and wife Lillie Sanford
deeded one acre to the Rutherford County Board of Education.
The Tipperary School was a one-room, one-teacher school building
just as you can imagine. The building was a rectangular, weather-
boarded structure with a tin roof. Three windows lined each side and
a small window was at the back near the teacher’s desk. At the front
of the room was a pot-bellied stove. Water was carried from the
nearby Pearson and Waldron farms.
The first teacher was Audrey Williams Moore. Other teachers over
the years included Ruth Omahundra, George Williams, Jo Lena Bond,
Gutha Williams, Fannie Bell Paul Taylor. The last teacher in 1925 was
Class size varied according to seasons for planting and harvesting.
Students even brought younger brothers and sisters to school. All
students were required to be prompt, neat in appearance, polite to
the teachers and to each other, and responsible for the school
building and grounds.
One form of punishment for an infraction was the good old fashioned
‘write-off in a legible hand.” Write-offs were considered a severe
punishment because it twice as long to write-off.
The students either walked or rode their horses to school. Gutha
Williams remembered one moment of crisis when a student drank a
quantity of horse liniment. Mrs. Williams resourcefully gave the child
a handful of lard – yes lard - to eat. At another time, a boy rode his
pony down the aisle of the schoolroom.
Teachers were expected to maintain rigid discipline, dress
appropriately, engage in community activities, attend church
regularly, and refrain from social engagements with men. For all this
they received $40-$50 a month which included $18 for board.
The Tipperary School closed in 1925 with the students being
transferred to the LaVergne School near the Old Nashville Pike.
But the Tipperary School wasn’t finished – not yet…
At times vacant, Tipperary School was a home, a store house and
even a shed for livestock and hay.
In March 1976, Mrs. Robert Carrothers, the owner in 1976, donated
the old Tipperary School building to the brand new Cannonsburgh
Pioneer Village in Murfreesboro, where it converted to a chapel.
A steeple was added along with stained glass windows, an antique
organ, and church pews; all of which have made the former Tipperary
School a picturesque setting for weddings.
Enjoy this story and 2,000 other stories concerning Rutherford County
history by visiting www.rutherfordtnhistory.org