HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN PASCO COUNTY

The Trilby School

This building housed Trilby Elementary School from 1944 until 1965.
Photo courtesy of Leslie Boyko. larger photo.

See also: Pictures of Trilby

This article was last revised on Jan. 2, 2017.

A list of schools in Hernando County as of Oct. 12, 1878, shows a school named Surveyor’s Pond. The trustees of the school were Marion Washington Page, Freeman Croft, and William McLeod Sr. (According to a genealogy page, Page was born on Aug. 21, 1840, in Randolph County, Ga., and died on Jan. 21, 1906, in Pasco County.) Based on these names, the school was likely located near what is now Trilby. In 1878-79 the teacher was Julia Moody, who was replaced because of illness by Franklin Pierce Daniel. In 1879-80 the teacher was S. J. Simmons. In 1880-81 the teacher was J. B. Lastinger. At the Hernando County school board meeting of April 5, 1884, the school was discontinued.

Hernando County records show the Hebron school was established on July 7, 1884. It was school No. 22 with trustees M. W. Page, N. A. Williams, and A.M. White.

An 1885-86 list of Hernando County schools shows a Macon School. (Macon was an earlier name for Trilby.)

The 1886-87 Florida State Gazetteer shows A. I. Wyatt as the teacher at the Macon free school.

School board records show a request for a school at Macon in 1887.

School board records of Sept. 5, 1887, show Macon school (No. 1), with trustees G. W. Rosborough, E. McLeod, and D. Roberts, and a Hebron school (No. 2) with trustees M. W. Page, N. A. Williams, and A. M. White.

School board records of Sept. 20, 1887, show Hebron school, No. 2, with Mr. C. F. Delamater as the teacher.

The minutes of Feb. 6, 1888, have: “Mr. D. T. McLeod appeared, asking the board to pay him $26.00 (?), amount that he claims to have assumed & will have to pay towards the building of the Macon School house.”

School board records of Dec. 3, 1888, show the Macon school (No. 1) with total enrollment of 34 and average attendance of 25, and the Hebron school (No. 2) with total enrollment of 25 and average enrollment of 18.

School board records of Aug. 8, 1889, show J. J. Brown as the teacher at school No. 1, presumably the Macon school. The records also show A. M. White as the teacher at school No. 2, presumably the Hebron school.

According to an article by Celia Anderson, a librarian at Zephyrhills High School, Hebron school and Macon school were combined to form Compromise school. I have not seen that name for a school in any old records. But at about this time, the Hebron school disappears from the records and only the Macon school remains.

School board minutes of Sept. 4, 1893, show H. K. Bankston appointed supervisor of Macon school, No. 1.

School board minutes of July 1, 1895, show Miss Rina Wilson appointed the teacher at Macon school, No. 1.

School board minutes of Aug. 2, 1897, show F. E. Cooper appointed the teacher at Macon school, No. 1.

Apparently in about 1897 or 1898 the Macon school changed its name to Wake Forest Academy.

In the minutes of June 28, 1898, the school is referred to as Wake Forest (actually spelled Wakeforrest in the minutes).

Scott Black wrote that the late Una Mickler Dees described to him the very first Trilby school, which was called Wake Forest Academy in honor of a school in North Carolina where her family and some other area pioneer families once lived. He wrote that it was a rather well built wood-frame building and was among the earliest efforts to import "civilization and culture" to this area. According to Scott, a later two-story red brick school would later be built about a thousand feet west, across what is now U. S. Highway 98.

School board minutes of Aug 1, 1898, show C. F. De La Mater appointed principal and Mrs. Clark, his assistant, at Wake Forest school, No. 12.

School board minutes of July 1, 1901, show Mrs. Minnie Sims appointed assistant at Wake Forrest, No. 12.

School board minutes of July 6, 1903, show W. L. Watkins appointed principal and J. N. Keith appointed assistant at the Wake Forrest school.

School board minutes of Aug. 1, 1904, show P. C. Drew, Principal, Mrs. J. P. Keath, assistant, appointed to the Wake Forrest school.

On May 12, 1905, Miss Mabel Austin is mentioned in a newspaper as a teacher at Trilby. (Scott Black writes, “Mabel Amanda Austin married Henry C. McRae Jr. in 1905. He was a son of one of the earliest Trilby families (McRae, Ravesies and Cochrane related families) that came here from west central Alabama in the 1870s and his father was a state representative in the 1891 and 1901 sessions and senate sergeant-at-arms in the 1893 session and operated a hotel at Trilby. Mabel and Henry Jr had a daughter, Lulabelle, and moved to Tampa where he was struck and killed by an automobile in 1916 and brought back to Mount Zion Cemetery in Dade City for burial in the family section. Mabel later remarried (briefly to Robert Worthington and then to Frank Dornieden) and died in 1942 and her daughter, Lulabelle McRae Wood, died in 1986. Mabel and Lulabelle are both buried at Myrtle Hill Cemetery in Tampa.”)

School board minutes of July 3, 1905, show Edmund O’Berry appointed principal and Mabel Austin, his assistant, at the Trilby school. O’Berry was reappointed on Aug. 6, 1906.

A 1906 report has, “The Trilby Junior High school has a nice building of three rooms, and a campus of five acres.”

School board minutes of July 5, 1909, show W. E. Haddock and Grace Roberts appointed to the Wake Forrest school.

School board minutes of Sept. 6, 1909, have: Charley Brown, a trustee and representing the wishes of Wake Forrest school, came before the Board asking for a raise of five dollars per month above price set by Board, and if the Board would grant the request they would not require the Board though should make this 80% pay but for four months out of general revenue fund. On motion, the request was granted or accepted.

An article by Charlotte Tyer in East Pasco’s Heritage has:

In 1910 the school was a two-story wooden building on the west side of present Highway 301, across from Cummer Road. It burned on a cold night with frozen ground; the sixty-odd students weren’t too unhappy. The grownups built another two-story schoolhouse of brick, which later burned too. Earl Tyer’s garden on that spot will turns up pieces of desks and old square ink bottles; he irrigates from the old schoolhouse well. Trilby School in those days was the center for political rallies and for social life. Cliff Couey remembers one special softball game when the fat women played the skinny men, with proceeds going to the school. Everybody went to Friday afternoon programs or plays once a month, there being no electric light for night activities.

A souvenir program for Wake Forest School Number 1, Trilby, Florida, for the 1910-1911 school year shows trustees J. D. Spinks, W. H. Edwards, and Charles Brown. It shows teachers E. W. Gideons, Principal, and Myrta V. Shores, Assistant. It lists 62 students in grades 1 through 9.

School board minutes of May 5, 1913, show that the Board accepted the recommendation of the Trustees of Trilby School (Wake Forrest). Recommendation as follows: D. Foote, Mrs. Lola Brock, intermediate.

On Sept. 18, 1914, the Dade City Banner referred to Miss Lula Burkett as the principal of the schools here.

School board minutes of May 3, 1915, show these teachers approved for Trilby: C. B. Feelding, Mary Hill, Miss Corrine Jordan, Mrs. Edward O’Berry.

School board minutes of Jan. 3, 1916, show that the Board agreed to take care of the tenth grade pupils of Trilby school in Dade City High School.

At the school board meeting of July 3-5, 1916, Prof. E. B. O’Berry was appointed principal of the Trilby school. Miss Lena Mickler, Miss Sidney Curry, and Miss Laverna Hughes were appointed assistants.

The minutes of the school board meeting on Sept. 4-5, 1916, have: “Board considered plans and specifications for the building at Trilby. Upon motion duly seconded Board voted to adopt plans and revised specifications submitted by Mr. C. H. Glass, said adoption of board subject to validation of bonds issued by the district.”

On March 14, 1917, the Tampa Morning Tribune reported:

The squabble over the location of the new school building in the Trilby-Lacoochee district seems to have been finally settled. This dispute has caused the holding of at least fifteen special meetings by the County School Board, and has delayed for several months the beginning of work on the building. One school house has already been burned, and threats were made that the new one would be blown up if not located where certain parties wanted it. The School Board had agreed with the contractors to insure the new building while in course of construction, but the insurance companies refused to write insurance covering it. The Trilby people sent a long petition to Governor Catts accusing the County Board of giving them a “dirty deal,” and the governor sent Rural School Inspector Turner to investigate the matter. He brought the contending factions together on a site just west of the lot on which the old building was burned, and it is presumed that work will now proceed.

On May 18, 1917, the Dade City Banner reported, “Work is progressing nicely on the new school building. The brick layers have almost completed the first story.”

Trilby school, built in 1917. Photo courtesy of J. W. Hunnicutt.

School board minutes of Aug. 2-3, 1920, show these appointments for the Trilby school: Mr. Fogg, principal, with a salary of $135.00 per month, and Mrs. E. B. O’Berry, 1st assistant principal.

School board minutes of Jan. 4-6, 1921, show that the resignation of Professor Fogg, principal at Trilby, was accepted.

School board minutes of June 6, 1921, show these appointments for the Trilby school: G. H. Tompkins (principal), Mrs. Rachel Kirkman, Mrs. Maude O’Berry.

The Dade City Banner of Mar. 17, 1922, refers to the “combined Trilby-Lacoochee school.”

School board minutes of Aug. 21, 1922, show Miss Nellie Allen was appointed to school no. 12, Trilby. She filled a vacancy.

School board minutes of June 14, 1923, show J. Perry Hodge was appointed principal at Trilby.

School board minutes of June 12, 1924, show these appointments: I. P. Blanton (principal), H. A. Hammer, Mrs. Pearl Blanton, Miss Lottie Jordan, Mrs. Maude O’Berry.

On Aug. 22, 1924, the Dade City Banner reported that the Trilby school would be headed by Prof. A. V. Withers.

School board minutes of Oct. 6, 1924, show Paul Redfearn appointed a teacher at Trilby.

School board minutes of April 6, 1925, show that Prof. W. E. Trottman, Mrs. Mae Trottman and Mrs. Leila Singletary were assigned to fill vacancies at Trilby.

School board minutes of June 16, 1926, show these teacher appointments for the Trilby school: Fred O. Revels, Mrs. R. T. Tillis, Mrs. Zerue Hancock, Miss Alice Loy, Mrs. Maude O’Berry.

A 1926 Dade City Banner refers to the Trilby school as a high school.

School board minutes of June 6, 1927, show these appointments to the Trilby school: Fred O. Revels (principal), Blanch Hubert, D. C. Cripe, Bethel Revels, Mrs. Carl Cripe, Mrs. Cora Mickler, Mrs. Maude O’Berry.

School board minutes of July 2, 1928, show these appointments to the Trilby school: M. G. Donaldson, Mrs. Lottie Cripe, Mrs. Maude O’Berry, Miss Grace Cripe, Mrs. Bethel Revels, Lois Puckett, Louise Puckett, E. R. O’Berry.

Myrna Gideons Osbron writes, “When I was in the 2nd or 3rd grade (about 1930), Tom Mix, Tom Tyler and another man whose name escapes me, came to Trilby High School for a performance. They talked, sang and played their guitars for an hour. One song in particular that I remember was “M-I-S-S-I-S-S-I-P-P-I.” It was the first time I had heard that song and I have never forgotten it. It cost $.05 to get into the auditorium to see the performance.”

School board minutes of July 3, 1930, show Mrs. Frances Ferrell appointed a teacher at Trilby.

Pictured above is the Trilby High School Basketball Team 1932-33. Left to right: Coach Mark St Clair, E. W. Gideons, L. C. North, Wilbur North, Maxie Hull, Harvey Rogers, Angus “Buddy” Nott, and Oren Stephens. This Trilby junior high team went to the state tournament in St Petersburg and won over two St Petersburg teams before bowing to a Jacksonville team that became state champions.

School board minutes of June 15, 1931, show these teachers appointed at Trilby: M. G. Donaldson, Principal; Mark St. Clair, 9-10th Grade; Frances Ferrell, 8th Grade; Mrs. A. V. Withers, 7th Grade; Ila O’Berry, 6th Grade; Mrs. Mildred Stephens, 4-5th Grade; Maude O’Berry, Primary.

School board minutes of Jan. 4, 1932, show that trustees requested the salary of 8th grade teachers at Trilby be made $100.00 per month.

School board minutes of July 15, 1932, show these appointments to the Trilby school: As recommended by Trustees of District No. 12; M. G. Donaldson, Mark St. Clair, Frances Ferrell 8th grade, Alice St. Clair 7th, Ila O’Berry 6th, Mildred Stevens 4th-5th, Mrs. Maude O’Berry Primary. The recommendation of the trustees called for Mrs. Maude O’Berry to teach the 7th, and Mrs. Alice St. Clair to teach the Primary. As Mrs. O’Berry had been teacher of the Primary for several years and was experienced, the Board assigned her back to Primary and Mrs. St. Clair to 7th.

On Feb. 3, 1933, the Dade City Banner reported: “Owing to dissention in the faculty of Gulf High school at New Port Richey, the school board decided to make changes necessary to restore harmony. Accordingly the principal of Gulf High, W. E. Trottman, is to be moved to Trilby, while M. G. Donaldson, former principal at Trilby, will take charge of the New Port Richey school.”

On Oct. 6, 1933, the Dade City Banner reported:

For the third time within the past few weeks the Pasco county school system has suffered severe loss from fire, this time when the splendid brick building at Trilby was burned to the ground early last Saturday morning. Indications point to arson in the destruction of each of the three schools. The first blow fell several weeks ago when the school at Zephyrhills was severely damaged by fire. Fortunately, however, the building was not a total loss, although extensive repairs will be necessary before the school can be used again. Two weeks later the San Antonio public school burned to the ground. This was a frame building and was almost completely destroyed before the fire was discovered. Then after another two weeks the fire at Trilby took the third school. The Trilby school building carried $10,000 of insurance, with an additional $2,000 on furniture. A reward of $500 has been offered by the school board for the arrest and conviction of the person or persons guilty of burning these school buildings and an additional reward of the same amount has been offered by the board of county commissioners.

School board minutes of July 5, 1934, show that James Ward was awarded a bid on the Trilby School for $8731.73.

School board minutes of May 6, 1935, show these appointments to the Trilby school: J. A. Osteen (Principal), Miss Ila O’Berry.

Arno Surls Webster writes:

I started school in the Trilby grammar school in the 6th grade in 1935. My teacher was Miss Ila O’Berry. I was overjoyed to be promoted to the 7th grade at the end of the school term because that meant when school started in the fall, I would be in the room across the hall, the room where only the 7th and 8th grades met. It was almost like being 16 years old! We felt that we were no longer with the little children and glad that our teacher was to be Mrs Ila Dowling. Miss Ila had married in the summer and also been moved from teaching the 6th grade to now teach the 7th and 8th grades. Life was wonderful for all of us!

During my 8th grade year of school, we learned that for schools to be accredited, the grades from 8 through 12 had to attend school for 9 months of the year. At that time, all of the grammar school grades only attended eight months of the year. Everyone was very concerned; it was discovered that the school did not have the funds to give the 8th grade the extra month; they were unable to pay the teacher and could not provide lunches, but they did have funds to run the bus.

There were eight 8th graders: Marie Croft, Cabel Dees, Alma Dupree, Roger Lynn, Geneva Stevens, Jr. Stevens, Harold Rowell (Roland?) and me. How it was decided, I do not know, but each Monday for the ninth month, each student brought $5.00 to pay the teacher and a bag lunch for lunchtime since the lunch room was closed.

We had a great month! Everything was so quiet; nothing was open except our room and the bathrooms. We did a lot of arts and crafts. I remember it as just fun.

But our school was accredited. We all passed and graduated from grammar school. We were ready to start the 9th grade - Pasco High School - in the fall!! Dade City! - - Here we come!

School board minutes of July 1, 1935, report that the Trilby school was declared vacant.

School board minutes of Aug. 5, 1935, report that Loran L. Sheely was appointed principal at Trilby over the Superintendent’s protest, and that Ella Dayton was appointed music teacher at Trilby and Lacoochee.

School board minutes of June 4, 1936, show Miss Ila O’Berry, Mrs. Bethel Revels, and Miss Pearl Epting were appointed teachers at Trilby school for the following year.

On Sept. 4, 1936, the Dade City Banner reported that Miss Ila O’Berry was appointed Principal of the Trilby School, and Mrs. Bethel Revels, Miss Pearl Epting, and Mrs. Ruth Byrd were appointed as teachers.

On Sept. 8, 1936, school board minutes how that Mrs. Ruth Byrd was appointed Music teacher at Trilby at $40.00 per month.

Trilby graduating class, 1937.
Front row L-R: Marie Croft, Harold Roland, Arno Surls, Roger Lynn.
Second row L-R: Geneva Stevens, Cabel Dees, Alma Dupree, Junior Stevens.
Photo courtesy of Arno Surls Webster.

Commencement, 1938. Courtesy of Arno Surls Webster.

School board minutes of May 19, 1937, show these appointments for the Trilby school: Ila O’Berry, Principal; Pearl Epting; Bethel Revels.

School board minutes of Sept. 8, 1937, show Mrs. O. L. Dayton appointed a teacher of Music and regular classes with a salary of $95.00 per month.

School board minutes of June 6, 1938, show these appointments to the Trilby school: Mrs. Ila Dowling, Principal; Mrs. Esther Reinke; Mrs. Bethel Revels; Mrs. O. L. Dayton, Music; Mr. R. Q. Jackson, Transporter; Mrs. C. A. Cannon, Janitor.

School board minutes of April 3, 1939, show these appointments to the Trilby school: Gerald Hutch, Principal; Bethel Revels, Grade 1-2-3; Ila Dowling, Grade 4-5-6; Myra Mickler, Music; J, C. Writhe, Janitor; R. Q. Jackson, Transportation.

School board minutes of April 7, 1941, show these appointments for Trilby, District #12: Gerald Hatch, Principal; Mrs. Ila Dowling; Mrs. Bethel Revels; Mrs. Myra O'Berry, Music and teacher; J. C. Wright, Janitor.

School board minutes of Sept. 2, 194, show Sadie C. Jones was appointed.

Minutes of March 16, 1942, show these appointments: Mrs. Ila Dowling, Mrs. Bethel Revels, J. C. Wright, Janitor.

Minutes of Aug. 17, 1942, show Mrs. Ella M. Dayton was transferred from Tucker to teach in Trilby. Minutes of Sept. 6, 1943, show Alice N. Atwater appointed Acting Principal.

On Oct. 15, 1943, the Dade City Banner reported:

Fire of undiscovered origin completely destroyed the school house at Trilby about two o’clock Wednesday morning. An employee of the A. C. L. Railroad was the first to notice the fire and gave the alarm but it was too late to save the building or its furnishings. The brick building, erected in 1932 of white brick and stucco, was gutted and all the equipment was a total loss. Besides the loss of the desks estimated at $1000 , there is the loss of the text books placed at $450, a valuable collection of library books, encyclopedias, lunch room equipment, and other things. Superintendent W. Craig stated that the loss of the building would probably be covered by insurance carried in the amount of $10,500.

Mrs. Burton Atwater, Mrs. O. L. Dayton, and Mrs. Jack Dowling, teachers of the school, are carrying on their duties by the use of the lower floor of the Masonic Hall and the churches, kindly loaned for the emergency. Investigations are being conducted by Sheriff Leslie Bessenger in an effort to discover if fire was incendiary.

Minutes of April 17, 1944, show these appointments: Ila Dowling, Ella M. Dayton.

Minutes of April 17, 1945, show these appointments: Alice N. Atwater (Principal), Ella M. Dayton, Ila O. Dowling.

On Aug. 10, 1945, the New Port Richey Press reported, “A contract has been let by Board of Public Instruction, Pasco county, to E. C. DeLong for the construction of a school building in Trilby, to replace the building destroyed by fire in October 1943. The contract, which is for $16,116, calls for the building to be completed by the first of the year. Preliminary work has already begun in preparation for the construction which is to be of concrete.”

On Aug. 23, 1946, the New Port Richey Press reported that William Whitney Lavender was appointed principal of the Trilby Elementary School.

Minutes of Sept. 3, 1946, show W. W. Lavender appointed a teacher.

On March 27, 1947, minutes show Mr. E. C. DeLong was contractor for Trilby School.

On Aug. 21, 1947, show these appointments: Lloyd Q. Rogers, Principal; Mrs. Frances Peacock. Rogers was reappointed on April 5, 1948.

On May 6, 1948, minutes show these appointments: Eugene Hester, Principal, Mrs. Ella Dayton.

On Sept 7, 1948, minutes show Frances Peacock appointed.

On May 2, 1949, minutes show these appointments: Ella Dayton, Frances Peacock (if issued certificate).

on April 17, 1950, minutes show Mrs. Ella Dayton appointed principal.

On April 17, 1951, minutes show these appointments: Mrs. Alda Goodman, Principal; Mrs. Frances Peacock; H. M. Goodman, Custodian.

On March 11, 1952, minutes show Mrs. Alda Goodwin appointed principal.

On April 17, 1952, minutes show Mrs. Frances Peacock appointed. She was subsequently reappointed annually, and eventually became principal.

Minutes of July 8, 1952, report that all students living West of Highway 301 in grades 1 - 6 should attend Trilby. All students living East of Highway 301 should attend Lacoochee. Mrs. Alda Goodwin was appointed Principal.

Minutes of July 29, 1952, report that after a large delegation of parents attended the Board meeting, the attendance line for Trilby was changed to the overpass on U. S. Highway 301 at Owensboro and that all children residing North attend Trilby or Lacoochee.

Minutes of April 28, 1953, show Alda Goodwin appointed principal.

Minutes of April 13, 1954, show William R. Laurie appointed Principal. Minutes of May 24, 1954, Laurie was granted a $400.00 per year supplement for performing the principal duties. Laurie was reappointed on March 29, 1955.

(Laurie (b. Nov. 4, 1930, Winter Haven) attended school in Winter Haven through 8th grade and moved to Dade City in the summer of 1942. He attended 8th grade at Dade City Grammar School and graduated from Pasco H. S. in 1948. He attended the University of the South in Tennessee and the University of Florida. He taught at Dade City Grammar School after Trilby. He later founded American Reading Service, American Heritage School and American Academy in Plantation, Florida.)

Minutes of March 28, 1956, show Moss Farmer was appointed principal.

On March 20, 1957, Rodney B. Cox was appointed Principal.

Minutes of June 11, 1957, show Robert D. Gray appointed Principal. Rodney B. Cox resigned as Principal of Trilby and was appointed to the faculty of Dade City Grammar School. Gray was reappointed on April 8, 1958, and on April 14, 1959. Minutes of Aug. 11, 1959, showed that Gray resigned.

On March 30, 1960, Morris Olive was appointed principal.

Minutes of Sept. 13, 1960, show Eldon J. Smith was transferred to Trilby as teacher and principal. Smith was reappointed principal April 11, 1961, and on April 10, 1962.

Minutes of Aug. 29, 1962, show Mrs. Beverly Jane Stone appointed as a teacher for August 20 to November 30, 1962, and Mrs. Gerald McClure for Dec. 3, 1962, to June 11, 1963.

On April 24, 1963, James L. Turner was appointed principal.

According to McCormick, in 1965 the Trilby Elementary was closed. The building was vacant two years and the Pasco County Head Start moved to the building and continued until 1978.

PRINCIPALS

July 3, 1905 Edmund B. O’Berry
Aug. 2, 1920 Prof. Fogg
Jan. 4, 1921 J. W. Sanders
June 6, 1921 G. H. Tompkins
June 14, 1923 J. Perry Hodge
June 12, 1924 I. P. Blanton
August 1924 Prof. A. V. Withers
June 6, 1927 Fred O. Revels
July 2, 1928 M. G. Donaldson
May 5, 1935 J. A. Osteen
July 1, 1935 Loran L. Sheely
May 19, 1937 Ila O’Berry
April 3, 1939 Gerald Hatch
Sept. 6, 1943 Alice N. Atwater (acting)
April 17, 1945 Alice N. Atwater
April 21, 1947 L. Q. Rogers
May 6, 1948 Eugene Hester
May 2, 1949 Mrs. Ella Dayton
April 17, 1951 Mrs. Alda Goodman
April 13, 1954 William R. Laurie
March 28, 1956 Moss Farmer
March 20, 1957 Rodney B. Cox
April 8, 1958 Robert D. Gray
May 12, 1959 Frances Peacock
March 30, 1960 Morris Olive
Sept. 13, 1960 Eldon J. Smith
1962-63 James L. Turner
1963-64 Sue Richardson
1964-65 Frances Peacock

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