By Sherri Onorati, published in the Covington Leader, published in The Leader on June 21. 2012
Not much is known about Bowden School. Teacher pay records show that it was in existence in 1911 but school records at the Tipton County School Board are few and the only teacher record books still available encompasses the years 1922-1926.
Bowden was a small community school believed to have been located in the Garland/Burlison area. It serviced children who lived on Covington’s rural routes one, five and six.
Thelma Coker was the teacher for the term July 24, 1922 to April 20, 1923. A veteran teacher of two years, she taught grades first through eighth and earned a salary of $60 a month for her time. Originally from Halls, she stayed in the area during the school year and was charged room and board in the amount of $15 a month.
The books her students used that year included Child’s World for reading, Wentworth Smith Primary and Arithmetic, Hunts for spelling. Jeschke for language and Brigham & McFarlane for geography.
The 21-year-old taught a class of 52 students ranging in age from 7 to 16 years. Student family names included Cates, Miller, Bringle, Fortner, Mathers, Bailey, Mashburn, Woods, Willis and Hopkins.
During the school term, the students studied in a one-room, 390 square foot frame building, which was situated on an acre and a half. The school had an ordinary stove and one unsanitary toilet. They drank well water from a common cup and had no playground equipment. They sat next to one another on double patent seats.
The school term was 145 days and three students ended the year with perfect attendance. Seven-year-old 1st grader Everett Miller, 11-year-old 3rd grader Athel Bailey and 10-year-old 4th grader Verble Miller. Five students failed that year.
During the school term 1925-1926, 18-year-old Ruby Max was the teacher and taught grades 1st-7th. The novice teacher received her teaching certificate was issued for the 1925/1926 school year. Her students included a total of 66 students ranging in age from 5 to 16 years of age.
The youngest student was 5-year-old 1st grader Margaret Davis, daughter of farmer J.P. Davis, and the oldest student was 16-year-old 7th grader Joseph Overton, son of farmer C. W. Overton.
Located in a historic finance book were the names of previous teachers dating from 1911 – Eultha Huffman
1912 – LaVerne Clements, J. Farrar, L. R. Cothran
1913 – J. Farrar, E. Bringle, Maude Terry
1914 – E. Bringle, Sadie McCullough, Lizzie Bringle
1915/1916 – Lottie R. Cothran
1917 – Mary L. McQuiston, Ella B. Bell, Eunice Portis
1918 – M. Morrison, Jimmie Lou Cole
1919 – Florence Marshall, Jimmie L. Cole, Clara Clowes
1920 – Florence Marshall, Fay Taylor
1921 – Myrtle Stevens, Thelma Coker
1922 – Thelma Coker
1923 – Thelma Coker, Irene Fortner
1924 – Irene Fortner, Lois Pickens
1925 – Lois Pickens, Mary Sue Kelley, Ruby Max