HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY

Baillie/Elfers/Mittye P. Locke
Elementary Schools

Pictures of the Elfers School

This page was last updated on June 9, 2013.

The area which became Elfers was earlier known as Baillie or the Baillie Settlement. There was also a settlement around East Elfers Cemetery known as Sapling Woods.

According to Pauline Stevenson Ash in Florida Cracker Days in West Pasco County 1830-1982, there were four different elementary schools before the brick building:

The first elementary school was on the Joe Baillie place on S.R. 54. All schools had the same set up, but different locations as the population swelled and shifted. The first elementary school had one big room made of hewed unpainted lumber, and a big iron pot stove for heat. Large windows opened in the summer for a cool breeze to waft into the room. The school ran four to six months in those days. One teacher taught all grades from chart class to grade six. There were a few pupils for each grade. There was very little county salary money, and the parents chipped in to pay the teacher. She or he would stay with different parents free of board. Families were so glad to have a teacher, they were glad to accommodate one in any way. All pupils in those days walked to school on a dirt road.

Each pupil had a day or two assigned to him to keep the grounds clean and swept. In those days it was not fashionable to have grass lawns; the yards were raked and swept with a broom so the sand would be free from any insects that might harm the pupils. Students usually hauled water in barrels on Saturday to replenish the water drunk.

Lunches were carried in tin buckets parents had bought food in. In those days each pupil had to buy his own books. In fact, it was not until 1935 that the Florida legislature voted to buy all books for all students.

Second School. This facility was located in the woods and a dirt road led to it. The road today is the Thys Road. (This road was named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Thys, who had an orange grove there.) This school operated in the same manner as the Sapling Woods School. The Asbury Methodist Church is located where the Second School was.

Third School. This third school was built between the foregoing two schools and was operated on the same order. It was built near where the Gifford Groves were later planted. This facility was open many years and ceased to operate sometime between 1912 and 1913.

Fourth School. There was also a fourth school located on S.R. 54 for a while before a consolidated school replaced all elementary schools in 1914.

An 1877-78 list of Hernando County schools includes the Baillie School, no. 22, although the name of the teacher and the dates of operation for the year are missing, suggesting that perhaps the school had operated earlier but not that year. The trustees are shown as E. A Hill, J. O. Brown, and Benjamin Gaines. Records at this time also show J. M. Craver as the teacher at the Baillie school and the Anclote school. More information about Craver is here. (At that time, what is now Pasco County was still part of a larger Hernando County.)

Hernando County school board minutes of Mar. 28, 1883, indicate that W. W. Chaney was the teacher at the Baillie School.

An 1883-84 list of Hernando County schools shows Baillie’s School with teacher George A. Brock and trustees W. J. Baillie, E. A. Hill, and J. R. Sawyer.

Hernando County school board minutes of Oct. 6, 1884, indicate that J. T. Pittman was the teacher at the Baillie School.

A deed dated April 5, 1888, transferred property in S20 T26 R16 from Samuel and Elizabeth Baker to the school board. School board minutes of May 7, 1888, have: “The deed from Saml. Baker and wife for one acre of land, upon which is located the Bailey School house no. 25, was also accepted and ordered placed upon record.” According to Jeff Cannon, the property was located at what is now the southwest corner of Madison Street and Moog Road.

On Aug. 8, 1889, school board minutes showed James McNeil as the teacher at the Baillie School.

School board minutes of July 7, 1892, have: “A petition was read from the patrons in the Baillie settlement asking for a school at said point for children who cannot reach the Baillie School. On motion the Board decided to grant the school when a house is located and built for school purposes not less than three miles from the Baillie school house.”

School board minutes of Oct. 9, 1893, have: “On recommendation of the Patrons of Baillie School No. 25 Thomas Pinder was appointed Supervisor of said school.”

On Aug. 2, 1897, school board records show Lem Taylor as the teacher of the Baillie School. Trustees of the school were B. H. Gaines, B. B. Bailey, and S. Baker.

On Aug. 1, 1898, records show J. S. Wilder as the teacher of the Baillie School.

On July 6, 1903, records show Mary Shisker as the teacher of the Baillie School. School board minutes of July 4, 1904, have: “The petitions of the patrons of Schools no. 30 Stevenson, 31 Baillie, 32 Port Richey asking the Board to unite the three schools in Section 16, Township 25 (?), Range 16 was taken up for hearing and (illegible) ordered that they be united as they requested.”

At about this time, Gertie Shindelhauer was the teacher. [In a 1974 interview, George A. “Doc" Sawyer (born 1900) recalled attending the first schoolhouse in Elfers, and recalled that his first teacher was Gertie Shindelhauer, who he said was then living at Wall Springs at age 90. According to a genealogy web page, Gertie Grace Gause was born Jan. 28, 1883, in Curlew. She married Gustav Harold Watkins in 1904; that marriage ended in divorce. She married Edward William Shindelhauer (b. 1883) on Nov. 26, 1914, in Wall Springs. The 1920 census shows her and her husband H. Edward Shindelhauer living in Wall Springs. She died in January 1977.]

Peter Joseph (Joe) Baillie (b. 1889) recalled attending a school located south of what is now State Road 54. It was a one room school and the children would go to school in a horse and wagon driven by one of the older pupils. This was the only school in the Elfers area until a wooden structure was built in 1914 at the corner of Hill and Oak Streets, known as Elfers Elementary School. There were four teachers when it opened.

On July 5, 1909, records show Lonnie (?) Spivy (?) appointed teacher of the Baillie School.

According to The Historic Places of Pasco County, this building was used as
Elfers Elementary School until the red brick school replaced it.
For some years thereafter, it was the residence of the Swann and Davis families.
Photo by Katherine Burbridge.

A roster of pupils from 1912 shows Ivan Tracy (?) as the teacher at the Elfers School. (This could be the same person as Roy Ivan Tracy shown in the census.)

Minutes of Oct. 6-7, 1913, indicate that $125 had been realized from the sale of the Baillie school house and lot.

School board minutes of June 2-3, 1913, have “Upon motion of Mr. Hill seconded by Mr. McKendree, Board agreed to furnish material and brick, all other necessities for completion of building to be furnished by Trustees Special District #32 to construct at Elfers a building 20 x 36, walls to be 10 ft. two windows one door one side each room. Three windows opposite side each room one door in partition which is to divide said building into two equal rooms. Upon motion carried that Miss Lula Burkett principal. Miss Lodina (?) Larkin asst. ... appointed as teachers for said school.”

School board minutes of June 16, 1913, show Cora Larkin (?) as the teacher at Elfers.

Elfers Elementary built in 1914 School board minutes of Aug. 3-4, 1914, have: “Board rejected all bids on Elfers school, and agreed to construct same on the same conditions as the Richland with the change that instead of the trustees of District to act, a committee viz. S. B. Baker, M. G. Cambell and J. M. Mitchell to act as inspectors etc.”

Pupil records show two 17-year-olds attending the Elfers school: Willie Sawyer (son of J. R. Sawyer), and Bernard Hudson (son of I. W. Hudson).

School board minutes of Jan. 4, 1915, have: “Board voted to have W. I. Porter & Co. to insure the building at Elfers for the amount of $6000 for a period of 5 years at the rate of $28 per thousand.”

On Jan. 8, 1915, the Dade City Banner reported, “The new board made a trip to Elfers Tuesday to look into the matter of the new school building of that place, which is under construction.”

A roster of pupils from 1915 shows V. A. Pierce as the teacher at the Elfers School. Velora Pierce was an older sister of Mittye Pierce, and was Mittye’s first teacher. By 1917 Velora had moved back to Fulton, Miss., and married Eugene Gaither.

School board minutes of Feb. 1-2, 1915, show Ollie Danielson teaching at Elfers.

On May 7, 1915, the Dade City Banner reported, “A new $10,000 brick school building has just been completed at Elfers. This building is thoroughly modern in every respect, and an ornament to the town.”

Pauline Stevenson Ash wrote the following about the brick school completed in 1915, which she attended.

The Elfers Elementary School, built in 1914, was the first brick school and had a big auditorium, three class rooms, indoor toilets, its own plumbing to run water into the building for the toilets and drinking fountains.

The auditorium was used for entertainment for the community. For many years the Elfers community Christmas tree program was held in the auditorium, and the first Santa Claus many children saw was at the school.

It was the first school the author attended. For a number of years three teachers taught the first through the sixth grades. Sports included volley and “stringree&rdquoo; baseball.

This was also the first school to have black boards, erasers and chalk. There were no janitors for the first six years. Pupils in each room were assigned a day to clean the black boards, sweep and clean the rooms. All work in the building and on the grounds was done by the pupils.

Nearly everyone carried his lunch and ate under the trees, but some of the pupils lived near enough to go home for lunch. It was built in 1914 and the road was not paved. The first through third grades’ activities were ring-around-the-roses, jump rope, and swinging with rope from the trees. Other grades played sports.

School board minutes of May 11, 1915, show C. W. Martin [Clarence Walter Martin] and Miss June Fuller as Elfers teachers.

On Sept. 19, 1915, a newspaper referred to Prof. C. W. Martin as the principal of the Elfers school.

On Oct. 30, 1915, the Tampa Morning Tribune referred to “Miss June Fuller, the popular young school teacher at Elfers.”

On Dec. 15, 1915, the Tampa Morning Tribune referred to “Miss Florence Morrish, who has charge of the Elfers school.” (b., Feb. 15, 1894, Anclote; d. Feb. 12, 1973, Jacksonville.)

A 1915-1916 directory shows C. W. Martin [Clarence Walter Martin], Miss June Fuller, and Miss Florence Morrish as Elfers teachers. A Sept. 19, 1915, newspaper article refers to Prof. C. W. Martin as the principal of the Elfers school.

School board minutes of Sept. 4-5, 1916, have: “Board voted to appoint A. B. Folks as Principal of Elfers school.”

School board minutes of Sept. 16, 1916, show L. C. Carlton and Ruth Davis appointed as Elfers teachers.

On Mar. 2, 1918, the Tarpon Springs Leader reported, “Last night a splendid program was given by the pupils of the Elfers school at the graduation exercises, there being four graduates -- Jennie Edwards, Blanch McNeil, Bertha Holloway, and Raymond Pierce.” Rev. J. M. Mitchell presented the diplomas.

On Dec. 26, 1918, the Port Richey Press reported that pupils of Elfers High School presented a Christmas program on Monday night. “At the close of the program, Mr. Pinholster, the principal, was presented by pupils with a handsome military set, and he in turn made presents to the scholars.” An advertisement for Elfers Junior High School stated that G. D. Pinholster was Principal.

On Sept. 16, 1919, the Tarpon Springs Leader reported, “School opened a few weeks ago with Principal J. H. St Clair in charge. The other teachers are Miss Marie Pinholster, Mrs. N. M. Swartsel, Miss Lorena Garner, and Miss Anderson.”

On Sept. 25, 1919, the Port Richey Press reported: “Elfers Junior High School is carving out a name for itself in affairs educational under the able principalship of Professor Pinholster.”

On Feb. 16, 1920, the Port Richey Press reported, “At the present time some of our high school pupils are transported to Elfers and others to Tarpon Springs, where they receive the benefit of a full graded high school with manual training and all the latest improvements.”

In March 1920 the school board members, county superintendent, and attendance officer inspected the schools in western Pasco County. Their notes show: “Elfers, attendance poor, only 31 present out of 91 enrolled, due to influenza and scarlatina [illegible] had been referred to State Board of Health so board took no action.”

In April 1920 school board minutes show payments made to teachers at Elfers School no. 32: G. D. Pinholster, Mrs. I. W. Reagan, Ada Register, and Mae Wallace.

School board minutes of June 6, 1921, show these teacher appointments: J. H. St. Clair (principal), Mrs. I. W. Reagan, Mrs. N. M. Swartzel, Miss J. I. Gurney. In Sept. 1921 the school year opened with teachers J. H. St. Clair (principal), Miss Marie Pinholster, Miss N. M. Swartsel, Miss Lorena Garner, and Miss Loca Anderson.

On Feb. 9, 1922, the Elfers West Pasco Record reported: "Mr. St. Clair, principal of the [Elfers] school, stated that some diseased hogs had been making the school grounds their home, some dying on the premises, making it necessary for someone to bury them, creating an unsanitary condition as well as a great deal of annoyance to the pupils. It was suggested that the owners be found and asked to remedy this condition.”

School board minutes of Sept. 4, 1922, show Mrs. L. D. Eisland [Eiland] appointed to Elfers School No. 32.

On Oct. 16, 1922, a newspaper article showed J. H. St. Clair as the Principal, Miss Vivia Craig as the Intermediate teacher, and Mrs. F. M. Eiland as the Primary teacher.

In August 1924 Miss Florence Sessoms was appointed principal.

School board minutes of Aug. 6, 1928, show these teacher appointments: Milbra Sparks, Mary Lou St. Clair, Jennie Sheldon.

On June 13, 1929, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported that Milbra Sparks will be principal and Eleanor Kuhlman and Mrs. Jennie Sheldon assistants.

School board minutes of July 3, 1930, show Mrs. J. O. Gause was appointed.

On Sept. 5, 1930, the New Port Richey Press listed these teachers: Miss Milbra Sparks (principal), Mrs. Henry Sheldon, Miss Sadie Eikel.

School board minutes of June 15, 1931, show these appointments: Milbra Sparks, Jennie Sheldon, conditional. A newspaper article listed Miss Milbra Sparks, Mrs. Harvey Sheldon, Miss Sadie Eikel.

School board minutes of July 15, 1932, show appointments recommended by Trustees District No. 32: Sadie Eikel, Jennie Sheldon. Miss Bertha Kolb was recommended by Trustees as Principal, on motion Mr. Pierce, Seconded was referred to Trustees. School board minutes of Aug. 16, 1932, show Mrs. George Howell was appointed Principal.

School board minutes of May 6, 1935, show: District No. 22, Elfers: Mrs. Jennie Sheldon.

School board minutes of May 20, 1935 show these appointments: Mrs. Ellen Norfleet (principal), Miss Marjorie Ayers.

On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Martin T. Walters was named Principal at Elfers, and Miss Lucile Ayers was named teacher.

Mittye Walker Pierce (later Mittye P. Locke) was appointed Principal at Elfers Elementary School by the school board at its meeting on June 7, 1937. (More information on Mrs. Locke is here.)

School board minutes of May 15, 1939, show these appointments: Mittye P. Olson, Fannie Lewis, Cynthia Albritton.

School board minutes of May 9, 1946, show these appointments: Mittye P. Olson, Principal, Cynthia C. Albritton, Cora B. Gilmore, Harriet E. Roddy, R. W. Harper, Janitor. [The obituary of Cora B. Gilmore, from the Tampa Tribune of Sept. 10, 1995, reported that she was a native of Hortonville, Wis., and moved to this area 56 years ago from Rutland, Vt. She was a Pasco elementary school teacher for 27 years, including Elfers Elementary.]

The following is from Florida Cracker Days in West Pasco County 1830-1982 by Pauline Stevenson Ash:

Sapling Woods had three different elementary schools in this area. The first elementary school was on the Joe Baillie place on S.R. 54. All schools had the same set up, but different locations as the population swelled and shifted. The first elementary school had one big room made of hewed unpainted lumber, and a big iron pot stove for heat. Large windows opened in the summer for a cool breeze to waft into the room. The school ran four to six months in those days. One teacher taught all grades from chart class to grade six. There were a few pupils for each grade. There was very little county salary money, and the parents chipped in to pay the teacher. She or he would stay with different parents free of board. Families were so glad to have a teacher, they were glad to accommodate one in any way. All pupils in those days walked to school on a dirt road. Each pupil had a day or two assigned to him to keep the grounds clean and swept. In those days it was not fashionable to have grass lawns; the yards were raked and swept with a broom so the sand would be free from any insects that might harm the pupils. Students usually hauled water in barrels on Saturday to replenish the water drunk. Lunches were carried in tin buckets parents had bought food in. In those days each pupil had to buy his own books. In fact, it was not until 1935 that the Florida legislature voted to buy all books for all students.

Second school. This facility was located in the woods and a dirt road led to it. The road today is the Thys Road. (This road was named in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Thys, who had an orange grove there.) This school operated in the same manner as the Sapling Woods School. The Asbury Methodist Church is located where the Second School was.

Third school. This third school was built between the foregoing two schools and was operated on the same order. It was built near where the Gifford Groves were later planted. This facility was open many years and ceased to operate sometime between 1912 and 1913. There was also a fourth school located on S.R. 54 for a while before a consolidated school replaced all elementary schools in 1914.

Elfers Elementary School. The Elfers Elementary School, built in 1914, was the first brick school and had a big auditorium, three class rooms, indoor toilets, its own plumbing to run water into the building for the toilets and drinking fountains. The auditorium was used for entertainment for the community. For many years the Elfers community Christmas tree program was held in the auditorium, and the first Santa Claus many children saw was at the school. It was the first school the author attended. For a number of years three teachers taught the first through the sixth grades. Sports included volley and “stringree" baseball. This was also the first school to have black boards, erasers and chalk. There were no janitors for the first six years. Pupils in each room were assigned a day to clean the black boards, sweep and clean the rooms. All work in the building and on the grounds was done by the pupils. Nearly everyone carried his lunch and ate under the trees; but some of the pupils lived near enough to go home for lunch. It was built in 1914 and the road was not paved. The first through third grades' activities were ring-around-the-roses, jump rope, and swinging with rope from the trees. Other grades played sports.

In a 1976 newspaper article, Raymond Pierce recalled:

It was built by the Boring Construction Co. of Quincy, Fla., who also built in Dade City, including the famous Edwinola Hotel there. I watched them build it, it was quite solid, in three layers, lime rock white brick, terra cotta, then the outside red clay bricks. Some local help was used by Boring. When it opened, I was one of the few early students, attending seventh through tenth grades. To finish school, I rode my bicycle to Tarpon Springs, the nearest high school.

Construction on a new Elfers Elementary School began in November 1965. The school was built from proceeds of a bond issue approved by voters in western Pasco County in November 1964. The school moved to the new site in 1966. In 1964 the school board had voted to name the new school Stevenson Elementary School. However, in 1966 it decided to continue the name Elfers Elementary School after objections by Elfers residents concerned that the name “Elfers” would disappear and after the Stevenson family withdrew its request for the new name.

Dennis K. Taylor In 1979, Mittye P. Locke retired as Principal and was replaced by Dennis K. Taylor (right), who became Principal at the beginning of the 1979-80 school year. Mr. Taylor had been the Principal of Quail Hollow Elementary School and served as a teacher, assistant principal and principal at Richey Elementary School.

In 1983 the school was renamed Mittye P. Locke Elementary School, in honor of its long-time principal.

On Jan. 5, 2002, teacher Jane Crawford died at age 51. She had spent her entire 30-year career teaching fifth grade at Locke Elementary. Her father, Marion L. Crawford, Sr., was a former principal of Sanders Memorial Elementary School.

In April 2006, Tammy Berryhill replaced Dennis K. Taylor as Principal. Remarkably, this school had only two principals from 1937 to 2006—Mittye P. Locke and Dennis Taylor. In December 2010, Adam Wolin replaced Berryhill.


Mittye P. Locke Elementary School

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