“The History of Panola County”
Published in 1979 by the Panola County Historical Commission
The first mention of a school in the Centennial Community was in 1867. At that time J.B. Wells donated “Two acres of land to and for the purposes of school and church. The school house or church to be located on the said two acres of land, and it is fully understood that this donation is given entirely for a school of white children and for preaching for white people… three directors shall be elected at the beginning of each session of ten months, who shall be elected by the patrons of the school… said directors to hold office one year to select teachers and to make contract with the same; to expel scholars when it is necessary, and to transact any other business that usually done by directors of an ordinary school…. November 25, 1867, J.B. Wells… Witnesses: J. Smith and James Dickinson”
Beyond a doubt the school was a tuition school in the community for the years that followed and it was not filed for record until 1868.
On June 21, 1897, the Commissioners’ Court ordered District # 5 to be created of the territory between the Sabine River (as the north boundary) and Martin’s Creek (as the south boundary), with Joe Laramon’s, A. Lampin’s, Thomas D. Matthews’, J.N. Coots’ and Antoine Dubose’s (on the east) to be organized into Public School District #5. (NOTE: These directions would place this School District as being in the Grand Bluff Community, north of Carthage; while the Centennial Community is east of Carthage on the border with Louisiana.)
Three years later in 1900, the district was re-created by order of the Commissioners’ Court, “That a white school district be formed to be known as District # 5 to be taken from Old District # 2, bounded by the Louisiana State Line at Baker’s Mill place on the Keatchie-Pulaski Road at the southeast corner of present District #2 (a distance of about ten miles)… West with South boundary line of District #1 to Socogee Creek (about three miles)… South with meandering of said creek to bridge across creek on first mentioned road, East with road to the beginning.
Centennial District # 5 was again revised and re-established in June 1905, but it was in 1912 that the County Board of Education really became active. The Board classified Centennial School on February 12, 1912, as a Primary School; but on June 1st of the same year the Board re-classified it as an Intermediate School (seven grades).
In June 1913, the Board ruling was still Intermediate. Mr. Holmes, County School Superintendent said of the school in 1912, “This school has a new building and new equipment. The school is small, but the greatest need is for harmony among friends and patrons.”
The County Board of Education gave special attention to Centennial School at a meeting on October 12, 1912. Present and active at that meeting were Board members G.S. Knight, Chairman; James A. Crawford, W.F. Dry and T.J. Wooten. This Board considered : “Approtionment for Centennial School; Citizens and trustees of the district were heard, showing that temporary movement of school from present site to Centennial ME Church would not inconvenience any scholastics, but making it more convenient for all and giving a guarantee that citizens would bear all expense in repairing said church. The board ordered that the County Superintendent be sustained in not making the apportionment to the present school site, and that as soon as the house is repaired and inspected by W.F. Dry (with a committee for said purpose), the school be opened at Centennial ME Church. Signed C.S. Knight, President, A.J. Holmes, Sec. Executive Officer.”
The school operated in this location until students were sent to Midyett. Then later the area schools became consolidated with Carthage.
An interesting situation came to light in Carthage School Board Minutes after the consolidation was a reality. Documents were produced to acquaint the Carthage School Board with an exchange of lots back in 1900 that was not properly recorded. The lot where the school originally stood was exchanged for one a mile further toward Carthage. Many community people signed a request for the clearance to be made for it involved the lot on which the Ked Wallace home stood. Carrie Adams, E.G. Rich, Jesse Erwin and C.D. Rich signed a paper saying as long time residents, they knew of the exchange with S.B. Wallace when a new school was built on the new lot, releasing the old lot to Wallace.
Though the recording of the deed had not been done at the time, Carthage School Board gave a quit claim in the interest of Ked Wallace.
The new building was used until Deberry Rural High School District was formed and the school was closed. When the Deberry rural High School District dissolved, Centennial joined Midyett and Shady Grove in consolidation with Carthage.