Looking Back

John Berrian Long

Berrien Long

My Great Grandfather





William Augustus Chapman Older           My Great GrandFather

William Augustus Chapman


James Cicero and Emma Agnes Long Hamlin

My Grandfather and Grandmother

School Days

(Apples for the Teacher, Only)

The one room school was the mainstay of the rural US for many years and the country went from a wilderness to the most powerful nation on the planet in about 140 years! Something must have worked. There are about 200 still in use!

One room School

In the 1700’s, John Adams taught in a one-room school near Boston; Abe Lincoln was educated at a one-room school; and Henry Ford had the one he attended moved to a museum in Michigan.

In Georgia, there are about six one room schools that are in some phase of being preserved and there are hundreds around the US.

 I started digging through all my mother’s stash of boxes, papers, old files, etc. when we moved out of her house. Those who have been through that probably know what this was like.

The problem that I had was I found so much stuff that I found interesting that this process took a year and I’m not sure that I ever really finished. I found the little record of where she received the checks while my father was in the Army and put them in the bank.  She saved every check and they used the money to buy a house when my dad came home from Germany. Pictures, post cards, and items that had some history were kept to be reminders of good days past.

I did not realize that she had a lot of the old papers from her mother and her grandfather Berrien Long. Things like receipts, cancelled loans, income from the farm, and tax records. Even mule rental receipts! Receipts for caskets that cost $12.50.

Then there were letters, poems, and songs. Love letters from young ladies to Great Grandfather Long and letters from his brothers and cousins trying to line him up with one young lady or another. He was quite the ladies man, or at least it seems that way.

There were letters from his cousins in Texas telling him to come out and participate in the Texas School Lands program which many of them had done. The Hamptons and the Greens had gone to Texas and were telling him how to invest in the program and make big bucks and how well they were doing. Texas had opened up millions of acres for those willing to come there.

Some of the letters from the ladies to Berrien are cleverly written and bold in their expression. Surprising to me. The best one is missing a large part of it and I wish I had it!

Then I realized something: What I had never considered was how articulate some of these people were. How well they could write and communicate.

A letter from Rome, Ga. made it to Sandy Point in 8 days. On one letter, Berrien’s brother wrote two letter’s, one on each side, to two brothers on the same paper! Now that is conservatism!

Most people today who think of the historic Long’s think about their pottery which can fetch big bucks. Where they received their education, I do not know. Maybe someone could share that info. But there was more to them than pots.

I also found where Berrien paid the tuition for my Grandmother Emma Long (Hamlin) to attend school in Sandy Point. And I found her paper on “Flowers” and her practice work they had done on sending formal written invitations and replying to ones they had received. All written incursive. My Grandmother was born in 1899 so this would have been in about 1912 or so, I guess, since none of the papers are dated. The teacher made a note that she wrote sentences that were too short. I think I got that trait from her.

The last thing that she wrote was a card to my Mother. It said: “I love you.” She was still writing short letters to the end!

This was a one room school of multiple grades and ages. I am not sure of the location of the school at the time my Grandmother went there but I believe it was over on Causey Road near the Old Bethel Cemetery. That was about 1 1/2 miles from her house.  I could be wrong on that location.

With Students Named
With Students Named

My Mother’s Class at Sandy Point School

There were names like Long, Dent, Stembridge, Smith and others that attended that old school in Sandy Point. The “who’s who” of the county could be seen on the roles.

Then I have a picture of my Mother’s class of 1931-1932 when she would have been 8 years old in the Sandy Point School that stood until recent years on Sandy Point Road across from the home of the late Mr. Marion Smith, father of Tom Smith. That is located at just North of the intersection of Sandy Point Circle and Sandy Point Rd.

32° 45.374 N

83° 55.973 W

Nothing remains of the school now, as far as I know.

My mother and the others walked to school and crossed Mr. Smiths pasture to the school. She said there was not a lot of snow to bother them but there was rain, cold, cow piles and the bull! She was deathly afraid of Mr. Smith’s bull.

The public road my mother lived on as a child in those days (Now called Sandy Point Circle) ended at Wallace Long’s house. If you were on the approved list, you could open the “gap” and drive across Mr. Marion’s field to Sandy Point Road on a deeply rutted farm road. Very deeply rutted! My Grandfather was apparently on the list. There were actually several “gaps” across the road when I was a child.

Sandy Point Circle had no official name, so far as I know, prior to it getting paved and somewhat straightened in probably the 80’s. I had heard it referred to as Sandy Springs. Those familiar with the road in those days will remember that there were several springs that originated in the area of my grandparents and formed two small streams that were used to feed a small farm pond that was built there after the 1954 drought. Those later dried up.

The County Commissioner, Freddie Tidwell, came by and was talking to my wife and asked her what name they should put on the road sign and she suggested Sandy Point Circle. That’s the name they used.

There was a family called Vining that lived past Wallace Long’s at one time but my Grandfather bought that property and it was always called “The Vining Place”. Ironically, I live at Vining’s, now.

I have some of the school class work my Mother did as well. One report she did was on the human body and was hand written, 18 pages long. In her class were people named Pyles, Hamlin, Long, Smith and others. I don’t know if any kids hand write 18 pages on anything today.

With all that said, my mother was a great letter writer and did write them until near the end of her life. She was great with figures and math. She was a reader and read a lot of religious and other books, magazines and newspapers. She taught me to read using the “funny paper” in the afternoon newspaper. She never used a computer, so far as I know, but until near the end of her life she had almost total recall of dates and events.

Marilu Henner, known for her role on the old TV show, Taxi, is one of a few people in the country that have hyperthymesia. Our son, who has done a lot of work in the area of neuro medicine, believes my mother had this condition and exhibited it until the last six to 12 months of her life. She lived to be almost 89.

The little school in Sandy Point did not have any Apples, Dells, or HP’s.  They had little in resources. But, they managed to improve the quality of the lives of those who went there and turned out people who led worthwhile lives because their parents valued education. Even if it was a one room school with various ages and grades.

I talked to my neighbor over the weekend and she teaches first grade at a prestigious private school in Atlanta. Of course, even the first graders all have computers.

I think that kids will probably have a computer, tablet, smart phone, and iPod assigned when they arrive in the delivery room before long. It is the way of the world. Or, maybe, one day, kids will have a microprocessor installed at delivery with all the updated information so they won’t need to go to school at all……just download updates occasionally. Ridiculous? Don’t be too sure!

We see the Chinese, the Indian, and the Japanese kids doing so well and we wonder how they can beat us in training kids.  I think that it is because they are more monolithic societies with similar backgrounds, like language, and like viewpoints. Less accommodation for diversity.

When you think about the Sandy Point School, that’s what you had there, too. Of course, these schools did not have children of other races and languages in those days.

I hear from my grandchildren and their parents about all the homework that is required to keep up as the schools try to prepare their pupils for life and college. Common core, and all that stuff, which I do not claim to understand.

No longer just the three r’s but a very competitive world of technology and complication. When you add the baseball, dancing, football, soccer, debate teams, music and all the other activities, I wonder if the children get to be children anymore. But, maybe this is being a child in today’s environment.

There is no Sandy Point School now. But, who knows, if another school is ever needed in the County to handle the growth that is sure to come at some point, maybe they’ll call it “The Sandy Point School”. That would be cool!

Right now, Crawford County has about the same size as Cobb County but about 695,000 fewer people! So, another school might be a ways off. But I say congratulations to the Old Sandy Point School for a job well done. You made a difference!

A place in the State of Mind