Cross Roads School
Cross Roads School
The Cross Roads Community was established by African-Americans from the Harmony Grove (Commerce) and Nicholson areas in the mid to late 1870s and so named because of its location at the intersection of the Harmony Grove-Athens Road (now US 441) and the Jefferson-Danielsville Road in the Newton Georgia Militia District 253. Central to the life of the community was its church and school, both being established by the Cross Roads Methodist Church, an African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church. Records for the Cross Roads School indicate that it was a one-room early vernacular, rural schoolhouse operating as early as 1879. In 1881 the Cross Roads School was listed as one of three Negro Schools under the Newtown Militia District, the other two being Nimno and Nances.
The 0.05 acre on which the School was located was owned by the Strickland Family from 1859 to 1881 and had been leased for tenant farming. Deed records indicate numerous owners of the property through the years, the last being the City of Nicholson who acquired the property in 2009 from the Georgia Department of Transportation.
The School served between 30 and 80 students in grades 1-8 and provided both Spring and Fall terms of four months each. Many of the black students only attended intermittently during the growing season. Black teachers often only taught for a short time, while others were volunteer workers. From 1912 until it closed, the Cross Roads School benefited greatly from the Negro Rural School Fund which trained teachers, known as Jeanes Supervisors, which in addition to teaching standard curriculums, taught such skills as sewing and canning. Jackson County Board of Education records indicate that Mr. Cicero Buffington is the earliest known teacher for the Cross Roads School (1879-1882). Other early teachers included Samuel M. Strickland (1879-1898), George W. “Gussie” Johnson (1906/1911), Valeria Godfrey (1908), M.D. O’Kelley (1909), Jim P. Howard (1909), Ples A. Sargent (1912/1915) and Francis M. Kinney (1912/1915).
Jackson County Board of Education officially closed Cross Roads School around 1948. Originally located on Cedar Drive in Nicholson, the Cross Roads School was donated to the Tumbling Waters Society by the City of Nicholson Mayor Ronnie Maxwell and Council on February 4, 2013 and moved to the Hurricane Shoals’ Heritage Village. Tumbling Waters Society is completing the renovations of the School in the Heritage Village with funding from SPLOSH and the City of Nicholson.