Hewitt School near Bailey Springs, in Lauderdale County


Documents regarding the Hewitt African-American School near Bailey Springs, in Lauderdale County, Alabama.


According to Sandra Sockwell's *Place Names of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties, Alabama,* p. 267, the Hewitt School was located in the SW 1/4 of S 15 T2S R 1W near the historic Bailey's Chapel AME Church. Sockwell says:

"This black school, serving grades 1-6 since the 1920s, was a victim of integration and closed in the 1960s. . . . Named for local family that granted the land for the school, the A. H. Hewitts. . . . Aka Hustle School, a nickname . . ."

According to a deed filed on December 3, 1920:

"KNOW ALL MEN BY THESE PRESENTS. That A. [Abraham] H. Hewitt, Sr. and Henrietta Hewitt, for anf [sic] in consideration of the sum of Five dollars cash in hand paid by the State of Alabama the receipt whereof we do hereby acknowledged [sic] and for the further consideration of the aid to be extended by the State of Alabama, in the erection or repair of a rural school on the land hereinafter described under the act of the Legislature of Alabama, approved, Sept. 27 1919 (Sec 4 Art. 18, School Code.) have granted bargained sold and conveyed and by these presents grant bargainsell [sic] and convey unto the State of Alabama, for the Benefit of School District No. 18 of Lauderdale County Alabama, the follo wing [sic] described realestate [sic] situated in the County of Lauderdale and State of Alabama, to wit--Two acres of land in the N. E. Corner of the N. E. 1/4 of S. W. 1/4 of Section 15 Township 2 Range 10 west said tract bding [sic] one acre wide east and west and being two acres long North and South. To have and to hold the aforegranted premises to the said State of Alabama, for the benefit of said school district No 18 of Lauderdale, County Ala, forever. . . ."

Hewitt was a part of the Rosenwald School Building Program. In 1912 Julius Rosenwald gave Prof. Booker T. Washington of the Tuskeege Institute permission to use some of the funds he had donated to the Institute for the construction of six small schools in rural Alabama in 1913-1914. Satisfied with the results Rosenwald agreed to fund a larger program for the construction of schoolhouses based at Tuskegee, thus set up the Julius Rosenwald Fund, a Chicago-based philanthropic foundation, in 1917. By 1920 the Rosenwald Fund had established an independent office for its school construction program in Nashville, Tennessee. By 1928 one out of five black rural schools in the South was a Rosenwald school. By the program's conclusion in 1932 it had produced 4,977 new schools, 217 teacher's homes, and 163 shop buildings.

Lauderdale County boasted seven Rosenwad schools, including Hewitt.

According to Fisk University's Rosenwald Fund Card File database Hewitt School was built at a cost of $1,000, with half that amount being contributed by the Rosenwald Fund and the other half raised by local families. Family tradition says that Union Civil War vet and Brannon family progenitor Anthony Brannon (1836-1929) made a sizable contribution towards the construction of the Hewitt School. The school served grades 1-6 and closed due to integration sometime after 1964 at which time the State sold the school property. As of now the only known teachers of this school are Lucile Acklin in 1942 and Mrs. Susie Buckingham in 1964. The Hewitt School may have succeeded an earlier school taught at the Bailey Springs AME Church.

Abraham H. Hewitt (1851-1948) was a farmer near St. Florian/Bailey Springs in Lauderdale County who married Henrietta Hough (1854-1945) in November of 1871. The couple had several children and grandchildren. Abraham and Henrietta moved to Los Angeles to live with their daughter and son-in-law, Effie and Ben Fields and their family. Both elder Hewitts died and are buried in Los Angeles, California. Some of their children and grandchildren are buried in the Hough/Huff Cemetery near Bailey Springs, in Lauderdale County.

The map shows the Hewitt School (top right, just southeast of Bailey Springs).

The two photos are of members of the Brannon and Brown families at Hewitt School on Easter Sunday, 1950.

In the first photo, on the left: Eula Brannon and right, Marie Brown (holding Easter basket).

On the steps are, from left: Gladys G. McNeal, Joseph Brannon and Charlie Brown.

In the second photo are, from left: Joseph Brannon, Jr., (wearing hat and standing next to steps), Gladys G. McNair or McNeal (top step), Eula M. Brannon (lower left), Lula B. Brannon (center step), Charlie Brown (wearing hat and standing at top right of steps). Standing in front is Mrs. Viola Brown, Charlie Brown's sister-in-law.


Abraham H., Sr. and Henrietta Hewitt.


Lauderdale County, Alabama Deed Record Vol. 137, p. 446.

Sandra Sockwell's *Place Names of Colbert and Lauderdale Counties, Alabama,* p. 267.

"Activities Open for Jr. Red Cross," from the *Florence Herald,* Friday, November 13, 1942, p. 2.

"Negro Teachers," from "Teachers Named for Lauderdale County Schools," *Florence Herald,* Thursday, August 13, 1964, p. 2.

Hewitt School from 1922 County Map by Evans and Meade Engineers.

Brannon family photos.


Lauderdale County


Lee Freeman and Mrs. Johnnie Dollerson


Images are available for educational and research purposes. This image may not be reproduced for commercial purposes without the express written consent of the copyright holder. It is the responsibility of the interested party to identify the copyright holder and receive permission.


Hewitt School Deed.jpg
Hewitt School from 1922 County Map by Evans and Meade Engineers.jpg
Activities Open for Jr. Red Cross.jpg
Hewitt School Teacher.jpg
Hewitt School 1950 1.jpg
Hewitt School 1950 2.jpg



Abraham H., Sr. and Henrietta Hewitt., “Hewitt School near Bailey Springs, in Lauderdale County,” Shoals Black History, accessed November 28, 2020, https://shoalsblackhistory.omeka.net/items/show/871.