HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY

Hudson School

Hudson School, 1925, Kate Littell Riggins, teacher

This page was last revised on June 8, 2013.

The first school was established here was called the Lang School, as the community was not yet known as Hudson. Benjamin Lee Blackburn (1852-1940) is said to have been the first teacher. According to Brenda Knowles, the Lang School was located where the Sea Pines subdivision is now.

Hernando County school board minutes of Oct. 1877 show Lang’s School with trustees W. M. Lang, W. G. Frierson, and D. J. Strange. No teacher or dates for the 1877-78 school term are listed, implying the school may not have operated that year. Charles William Malachi Lang (1837-1908) was an early settler in the Hudson area. According to Ash, a log schoolhouse was built on Lang’s property in 1881. His homestead is today in the golf course in the Sea Pines subdivision.

An 1878-79 list of Hernando County schools shows Lang’s school with trustees Wm. Lang, W. G. Frierson, and D. Fillman. The teacher is shown as James M. Neil.

An 1879-80 list of Hernando County schools shows B. L. Blackburn as the teacher.

An 1883-84 list of Hernando County schools shows the Hudson School with teacher J. S. Bryan and trustees William Lang, W. G. Frierson, and J. W. Hudson.

Henry Clay Bush (1857-1906), later a surveyor, is said to have been a teacher at the Lang School.

According to a newspaper article by Ralph Bellwood, the Lang School was named for the builder. According to Brenda Knowles, the Hays and Lang schools were the same school, and it was built with logs.

In a 1972 interview for West Pasco’s Heritage, Mrs. J. M. Mitchell recalled:

The first school I went to was in Hudson. It was called the Old Lang School, named for a family that lived nearby. I especially admired one lady teacher who lived in Brooksville and drove a horse and buggy to school every day. Another teacher, a man, I remember very well had a long white beard and when teaching wore it braided in one piece, tucked under his shirt, but on Sundays as he came galloping along on his horse to go to church his freshly washed beard would part in the center and blow in the wind on both sides of his face. It was a funny sight to see. We were graded by readers and no tests were ever given. Once a day we lined up at a long table built along the wall and practiced our Spencerian Penmanship. During the rest of the day we had to hold our books in our laps while sitting on wooden benches. Nothing was furnished by the county and we had to walk many miles a day to get to school.

According to an article by Julie J. Obenreder in West Pasco’s Heritage:

The school referred to by "Aunt Omie" was no doubt the one built by the settlers in 1881, east of the present Highway 19 on what was known as Fivay Road. There were ten pupils in the first session. The school was very primitive and uncomfortable for the children as compared with today’s standards. It had one room heated by an old iron stove using "pine knots" for fuel. These were easy to light and heated the room with amazing speed. Seats were fashioned from logs and a wide shelf was built around the wall of the building which was the long table referred to by "Aunt Omie" as the place to practice their writing skills.

According to The Story of Hudson, Florida (1973):

In 1881 a schoolhouse was built east of the present Highway 19. However, the school burned down a short time after it was completed and a new one had to be put up.

There were ten pupils for the first session. In the beginning pupils spent only three months out of each year in classes. As was the custom in other parts of the state, this was sometimes extended for a month or two. In the early days the schools were financed by local residents and not by the county or state.

The settlers solved the matter of seats for the pupils in a very novel manner. First, they selected some large logs about fifteen inches in diameter and then split them into halves. Short sections of small limbs were fastened to the logs to serve as legs. Then they made some effort to smooth the split side of the logs but it was never too successful. This might have served a good purpose as the children had to sit still so as not to pick up splinters.

After some debate the citizens decided that they would not build a church as the school building could be utilized for religious services on Sunday. A movable pulpit was constructed and placed in one corner of the room while school was in session. On Sundays it was moved to a more central position. The building was also used for town meetings and it became a polling place at election time.

School board minutes of Sept. 5, 1887, show Hays School, no. 20. Trustees are Jesse Hay, C. Stevenson, and William Lang. [C. Stevenson was Constantine Stevenson, according to Brenda Knowles.]

School board minutes of Dec. 3, 1887, show Hudson School, no. 20, with a total enrollment of 30 and an average attendance of 9.

A deed shows that on Feb. 8, 1888, property in S23 T24 R16 was transferred for $1 to the School Board of Pasco County, consisting of G. W. Bearden, J. W. Higgins, M. Jones, Stephen Weeks, and W. B. Hay.

School board minutes of March 5, 1888, have: “A deed from the Cootie Improvement Company for two acres of land was presented, upon which is located the Hudson School house No. 20. As there are two small schools in this vicinity, near together, the Board is of the opinion that it would probably be best to consolidate the two. Supt. is instructed to inquire into the matter and report at next regular meeting,. and the Board withholds its acceptance of the deed for the present.”

Minutes of the school board meeting of Feb. 4, 1889, show that the school trustees had requested funds for a heating stove costing $4.50.

School board minutes of Aug. 8, 1889, show the teacher at school no. 20 was C. Stevenson.

County commission minutes of May 2, 1892, refer to a new schoolhouse in Hudson.

School board minutes of July 1, 1895, have: “On motion a public school was established for the present at Hudson with M. L. Mosely supervisor. Name Hudson School #31.”

School board minutes of Aug. 2, 1897, show the teacher at the Hudson school (no. 14) was Ella Goshorn.

School board minutes of Aug. 1, 1898, show the teacher was Kate Littell.

A roster of pupils for 1904-05 shows Mr. Lash was the teacher. [This could have been John Lash, age 30 in the 1910 census, born in Finland.]

School board minutes of July 3, 1905, show the principal was Katie Littell Riggins and the assistant was Bessie Miller.

A 1909 photograph shows Mr. and Mrs. Terrill as the teachers.

Minutes of 1912 show Winnifred Lee as a teacher, apparently at Hudson.

A directory for 1915-1916 shows D. Foster as the teacher with a Hernando Co. certificate.

At the school board meeting of July 3-5, 1916, D. Foster was appointed the teacher at Hudson for a special term.

School board minutes of Sept. 4-5, 1916, show D. Carl Cripe appointed the teacher.

The Tampa Morning Tribune of July 29, 1918, carries a classified ad: “WANTED—Teacher for Hudson School of 40 pupils. State salary; give reference. Address J. B. Hudson, Hudson, Fla.”

In August 1919, Mr. A. E. Lane was appointed the teacher.

In March 1920 the school board members, county superintendent, and attendance officer inspected the schools in western Pasco County. Their notes show: “Hudson school was found to be temporarily closed on account of influenza, about 16 per cent of the entire population confined to bed by flu. Board took note of decayed condition of roof of building.”

On Dec. 2, 1921, the Dade City Banner reported, “HUDSON. November 29.—Our teacher, Miss Jessie Raulerson, went to Tampa last Wednesday to visit friends and has not returned yet.”

Alice Linkey spent five months as a teacher in Hudson in 1922-23, as she recalled in a 1970 newspaper interview. (She actually recalled that it was 1921-22, but apparently it was in fact 1922-23.) She was a student at Falconer High School in New York and came to Florida in 1922 to take a course at a Dade City summer school which, she recalled, was conducted by the County Superintendent of Education. She received her certificate to teach and came to Hudson in September 1922 to take over the local school located east of what is now U. S. 19. The term was five months. The salary was $70 per month or $350 for the entire term. The Dade City Banner of Sept. 8, 1922, reported, “School opened in Hudson this Monday morning with an attendance of twenty-two pupils. The board of trustees and some of the patrons were present at the opening, showing unusual interest in school affairs. Miss Alice Linkey of Zephyrhills is in charge and was accompanied to Hudson by her parents, sisters, and brother, who returned to Zephyrhills in the afternoon. Miss Linkey will make her home with Mrs. Gregg Davis.” Later she attended FSU and graduated in 1926.

On July 14, 1922, the Dade City Banner reported, “Superintendent E. B. O’Berry and the county school board took a jaunt to Hudson Tuesday to inspect the school house and also the Baptist church building which has been offered the board in place of the school building which was wrecked by the hurricane last October. The membership of the church has dwindled till there are only about three left who are unable to maintain regular services and they have offered to sell their edifice to the board for the same or lower price than the school building can be repaired for. If the present building can be disposed of the board will probably accept the offer.”

A Sept. 1923 newspaper article reported that the Hudson school had grown to the point where it became necessary to appoint two teachers.

On July 11, 1924, the Dade City Banner reported that Miss Edith Paramore was appointed a teacher at Hudson.

On Sept. 21, 1926, the Dade City Banner reported, "As usual at this time of the year, everything revolves around the schoolhouse and very properly so. The Hudson school has two efficient teachers, Mrs. Katherine Riggins, principal, and Miss Vahey of New Port Richey, assistant. The grades taught are up to and including the sixth, with an enrollment of 39.”

A 1927 map located an unnamed school in the NE ¼ of the SW ¼ of Section 27.

School board minutes of Aug. 9, 1928, show Kate Riggins and Ila O’Berry as the teachers.

In June 1929 a newspaper reported that Mrs. Kate Riggins will teach at Hudson.

On Nov. 22, 1930, a newspaper article reported that Miss Florence Sessoms was the teacher at Hudson.

On Aug. 6, 1931, a newspaper article reported that Mrs. S. A. Glass was approved by the school board to be the teacher at the Hudson school. She is also shown as the teacher in Feb. 1934. (Mrs. Alton Glass is the married name of Florence Sessoms.)

On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Mrs. Lettie E. Bareford was appointed teacher at the Hudson School.

On May 25, 1945, the New Port Richey Press reported: “Fire of undetermined origin destroyed the school house at Hudson on Monday afternoon shortly after 5 o'clock. The New Port Richey fire department was called to the scene and arrived quickly, but were unable to stem the blaze. The Hudson school taught up to the 7th grade.”

According to The Story of Hudson, Florida (1973):

Nearly thirty years ago the Hudson school, then located on the east side of Highway 19, was destroyed by fire. The school authorities immediately began to formulate plans to put up a new building on the old site. There was some opposition to this by the parents of pupils who wanted a location that would be closer to the center of the school population. The Board of Education was asked to consider this and the Board members agreed to it if the townspeople would donate adequate space for the school.

The citizens eagerly accepted the challenge and began to collect money to buy a tract. Within a short time the land was turned over to the school people. The new building was erected in 1947 and got off to a flying start with Karl Parks being the first principal. By today’s standards this was not an elegant structure with its one classroom, but the residents of Hudson were proud of it.

They displayed their appreciation by supporting the school wholeheartedly. A very active PTA was formed. This body at once began to raise money by subscription, suppers and various other fund-raising endeavors. It was used to buy school equipment which the school Board would not furnish and to finance extracurricular activities which were needed.

But it soon became apparent that the school population was drying up. The new building was used for a few years and then closed because of the lack of pupils. The handful of children that remained were transported by bus to the schools in New Port Richey. According to the records in June 1955 there were only 12 children on the rolls and the school authorities ruled that a minimum of 17 would be needed to keep the school open.

After the pupils were transferred, the building was used for civic meetings and community suppers, chiefly those of the Community Club.

At a meeting in September 1953, the School Board discussed the possibility of closing the Hudson school, which had an enrollment of 13 pupils. No final decision was made.

The teacher in 1954-55 Mrs. Marguerite Gooding.

On Aug. 24, 1955, the School Board voted to close Hudson School because of low enrollment.

On Sept. 14, 1955, the St. Petersburg Times reported:

The County Board of Public Instruction yesterday agreed to reopen the Hudson School closed last month due to low attendance. A delegation from the community protested the closing, claiming that the rapid growth of the community would make a school compulsory under state law within a short time. The board agreed to hold a school registration Saturday at the Hudson School and if 17 or more students register, the school will be reopened but will remain open only as long as the attendance holds about the 17 minimum.

In 1962 the vacant school building and 1.5 acres of land were sold to the Hudson Community Club, Inc., for $2,250.

In a 1960 interview, Jennie Sheldon (Keller) recalled that she was principal of a two-teacher school in Hudson where 55 pupils in one room were taught grades 1 through 6. No date is given.

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