NEW MIDDLETON SCHOOL REUNION
The history of schools in the New Middleton area can be traced back as far as 1830, when a school was established in this area and was known as Porter Hill Academy. Four years later, in 1834, Clinton College was established in New Middleton. The college was located just east of New Middleton, near the I-40 mile marker 253, on what is known in this area as the Robert Rose Farm.
As time passed, one room schools sprang up in many small communities in the southern and western part of Smith County. But the first large school to accommodate all ages of students, in the New Middleton area, opened it’s doors in 1860 when James and Martha Thomas deeded 1 1/2 acres of land for a school and a Masonic Lodge. This school was built in what is know as Old Middleton, once called Ward’s Crossroads, near the intersection of Hwy 141 and Dry Fork Road.
The school was on the first floor, and the Masonic Lodge was on the second floor. The school would be known as New Middleton Academy. After almost 60 years of existence, in 1919, New Middleton Academy burned. The building was built back, again with the Masonic Lodge upstairs, on the lot where the lodge now stands today.
This school burned in 1924 when a kerosene lamp exploded in the Lodge Hall. Immediately after this building burned, additional land was purchased from Rosco Lancaster, and a nice building was constructed on the lot where Dale and Joan Bryan’s home now stands, and the lodge was built next door, where it still stands today.
For a few years it served the students with a two year high school. The school had 4 classrooms, a library, an auditorium, and a cafeteria.
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