If you haven’t visited the historic Ransom School House on North
Academy Street, you are missing a true jewel of Rutherford County
You see, the Ransom School House, built around 1840, is the home of
the Rutherford County Historical Society. It’s not a big museum, but
man, is it ever full of information and artifacts concerning Rutherford
The building was constructed around 1840 but the year is debatable
since early deed and tax records were destroyed by a fire in the late
But we DO know that two sisters, Eliza (1859-1935) and Belle (1869-
1927) operated what was known as ‘Miss Eliza Ransom’s Private
School’ from 1907 till 1930.
The building also acted as a comfortable home for Eliza and Miss Belle
Miss Eliza’s school was a subscription school – or private – school
serving grades 1-6, meeting Monday through Friday from 8AM to
3PM. Monthly tuition was only $8-a-month. And talk about small
class size - enrollment never exceeded more than twelve students.
An education from Miss Ransom’s School consisted of a classical
education including Latin, mathematics, poetry and more.
Three pages of Webster’s Dictionary were assigned daily. Tardiness
and disciplinary infractions were punished by detention, during which
students were required to memorize ten lines of poetry for each
offense; the difficulty of the required memorization was determined
by the severity of the offense.
The school served to educate many outstanding alumni. Among these
Dr. James Cason, professor of chemistry at the University of
Dr. Robert Miles, a leading surgeon in Memphis. Dr. Miles perfected a
unique and minimally invasive heart surgery procedure which was
ultimately used to treat President Gerald Ford
Local successful businessmen Robert Overall brother William Overall
Local physicians Dr. Bart White and Dr. Matt Murfree
Rutherford County Judge Whitney Steagall
Bill Patterson, whose father owned the Red Cedar Bucket Factory
George Parrish, a well-known writer and journalist for local
newspapers and later wrote for the Atlanta Constitution and
C.B. Arnette, local historian and businessman who traveled to
European countries to acquire antiques for his successful Antique
Auction House which he founded in 1956.
And get this – there is a cane thicket out back planted by Miss
Ransom, more than 100 years ago!
Nowadays, the Ransom School House hosts ‘Coffee and Conversation’
each Saturday morning, anytime between 9AM and noon, where
individuals and families gather to enjoy coffee, donuts, share cool
stories and of course – swap information about Rutherford County
If you have five minutes or three hours, stop by the historic Ransom
School House, 717 North Academy Street, only a few blocks from
Oaklands Mansion, and share YOUR local history!
And please visit www.rutherfordtnhistory.org to see pics of the grand
old Ransom School House and more than 2,000 other stories
concerning Rutherford County history.