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WHEAT. TENNESSEE

Before the commission for the construction of the Manhattan Project (Oak Ridge) by
President Roosevelt in 1942, a thriving community stood near the site of the present day
K-25 Gaseous Diffusion plant. It included a school, churches, stores, a post office, and many lives that were touched by it's existence. My grandmother was a graduate of Wheat High School and often recalls the times spent while playing basketball there.

"The Hands That Rocked The Cradle" - A Brief History of African-Americans and Slavery in the Wheat Community, Roane County, Tennessee 
by David Neidig copyright 2000


THE TOWN AND SCHOOL

Our history begins in 1846 when a community was established known as Bald Hill which lasted until 1880 when a post office was established and the name was changed to Wheat after its first post master Frank Wheat. In 1876 a Methodist minister named John Dickey established a "loud school" (A practice of reciting the lessons in unison) in a cabin on a Baptist church property. That was followed by the establishment of the Poplar Creek Seminary in 1886 by a Presbyterian minister named Rev. W.H. Crawford and George Jones, A.J. Burum, James W. Watson, J.F. Browder, D.H. Gallaher, and W.T. Galllaher acting as founders. The Poplar Creek Seminary was charted by the state of Tennessee in 1886 and its name was changed to Roane College. In 1908 trustees to the college transferred ownership to the Roane County Board of Education and the school became the Wheat High School which operated until its closure in 1941 when the community began to dissolve.

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Photo donated by Amy Ryan - amyhryan@hotmail.com

Class of 1928 (L-R) Unknown, Hannah Coward, Ethel Cooper, Cynthia Crisenberry, Tom Freels, Winnie Sellers, Lynn Davis, Flora Davis, Ruth Coward, Ruth (couldn't remember maiden name but she married a Plyman), Ed Browder.

 

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Photo donated by Amy Ryan - amyhryan@hotmail.com

Class of 1929 (L-R) Miss Zena Johnson, Ralph Watson, Nina Phillips, George Peters, Ruth Butler, Audubon Ladd, Billie Hembree, John ?, Bessie Robinette, Ken Zimmerman.

 

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Photo donated by Amy Ryan - amyhryan@hotmail.com

1925 Boys' Basketball team Back, L-R; Burl Kelsey, Vaughn Butler, Carl Phillips.
Front, L-R; unknown, Claude Wright, Dwight Butler.

 

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Photo donated by Amy Ryan - amyhryan@hotmail.com

1926 Girls' Basketball team Back, L-R; Juanita Webster, Edith Richmond, Ethel "Mug" Kelsey. Front, L-R; Elgie Richmond, Ruth Butler, Mildred Wright.