Fayette County High School’s Class of 1936 celebrates 75th reunion

Attending the 75th Fayette County High School reunion are seated from left, above: Alma Jones Edwards, Martha Stinchcomb Schell Harris, Mildred Davis Swygert, and Weymon Newton. Standing from left: Sarah Adams Rivers, Elizabeth Swanson Stephens, and Elizabeth Dumas Brown. Photo/Carolyn Cary.

The 1936 Fayette County High School graduating class recently celebrated its 75th reunion with six of its members on hand. It was a luncheon held at the Fayette Senior Services Center in Fayetteville.

When these seniors graduated, President Franklin Delano Roosevelt was campaigning for a second term and the country was months away from the double dip seven years into what became known as the Great Depression. World War II was still five years away, and “Gone with the Wind” had just been published a few weeks earlier.

There were 47 in that class and they even left a last will and testament. It read as follows: “We, the members of the august senior class of the Fayette County high school, being now somewhat fed up with the knowledge we have acquired while students of our alma mater, and being anxious to eat the hay in the green pastures beyond these protective walls; and, realizing full well that school days can not last forever, while we are now half in our right minds and influenced by the advice of our faculty, and envied by the juniors, do hereby make, publish, and declare this to be our first, last, and only will and testament by which we attempt to make distribution of our extensive estate and kingdom.”

Some of the “wills” read like this: “Winna Jones, Willie Blanche Pritchett, Ruth McBride, Nettie Dunn, and Janice Woos will their beautiful curls which they have acquired during the later part of this school year to Martha White so that she may continue to hold the affections of Walter Griggs the coming year.”

These ladies sure didn’t hold anything back.

Another interesting will included Edna Bailey, Lillian Jones, and Oma Lee Carson: they opined : “will their love for history to Geraldine Robinson and Lucille Leach.” As life turned out, the first three ladies became sisters-in-law, and Edna Bailey Kerlin’s son, Bobby, was a cofounder of the Fayette County Historical Society.

One of the wills that we know came true: Mary Burch and Muriel McEachern willed their noisy manner to Ferrol Sams, class of 1938. Sams, of course, became a doctor and later a prize-winning author.

Martha Stinchcomb willed her deep and fascinating dimples to Tom Elder. She was one of those present at the 75th reunion.

To the student body they left: ”The spirit of love and affection we have always held for our alma mater, with the request that they guard and cherish the best traditions and honored customs of our high school with the same affection and same loyalty that we have always held for the one and only high school to which we have given our full devotion.”

As of June, 2011, 31 of the members were deceased.

Mr. F. A. Sams Sr. was the school superintendent, Benjamin Harrison was the high school principal and Henrietta Redwine gave the valedictory address.

Information received from Bobby Kerlin and Jane Strickland, whose mother, Louise Stinchcomb, has saved these “wills.” They were placed in the Fayette County Historical Society.