Saturday, December 20, 2008

O'Possum Ridge School

Our county was dotted all over the country sides with small one room schools. Many were named for families that donated land for the school or for a community located close by. Others had unusual names which made us wonder how they came by their names.

The Heath School, or "Possum Ridge", as it was nicknamed was located in the northern part of Crittenden in the community of Mt. Zion. On Sept. 4, 1885, Robert Heath and wife conveyed approximately one acre of land for a school with the understanding at which time there was no more school the land was to go back to the Heath family farm. This land was bought by M. L. Clift from Robert Heath in August 1927, so when the school closed in 1951 the land was burned back to the Clift family by the Board of Education.

Much fun and community entertainment was held at these school houses. From The files of The Crittenden Press, dated July 29, 1909, comes the news about the debate at Heath School and what a success it was.

The fist fry, ice cream supper and debate at Heath School house Saturday evening was well attended. After everybody had eaten plenty of fish, ice creams and all the trimmings, and refreshed themselves with cold drinks, they listed to a debate of about one hour and a half duration upon the following subject. "Resolved that money is of more benefit to mankind than friendship."

The speakers selected for the debate are as follows: Affirmative, Rufus Robinson, Wilson Rankin and Wesley Clift. Negative, Lonnie Clift, William Fowler Sr., and Wallace Clift.

The debate was commenced by Mr. Robinson, from the affirmative side, who declared that money is the life of the country. He warned the opposition not to confuse love, sympathy and pity with friendship, saying they are different. That money is solid and substantial, while friendship is fleeting as the winds.

On the negative side, Mr. Wallace Clift, pointed out without friendship the world would be full of indescribable wretchedness and misery and loneliness. He held up the miser as an example of a human soul debased by the love of money.

The decision of the judges was unanimously in favor of the affirmative teams arguments.

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