Tag Archives: Methodist

Poplar Creek Seminary

{Robert Bailey – Roane County Historian}

A Tennessee Historical Commission marker for the Poplar Creek Seminary was dedicated on October 9th, 2013. The marker is located off Highway 58 in the former Wheat Community which is now in the Oak Ridge part of Roane County. The George Jones Baptist Church is visible behind the marker. The marker reads: “Poplar Creek Seminary” Wheat Community citizens established the Poplar Creek Seminary in 1877 as a center of higher education for area children. The seminary’s name was changed in 1886 to Roane College, chartered by the state of Tennessee as an accredited college. At its peak, the school enrolled 200 K through 12 and college students. In 1908, Roane College closed, replaced by the new Wheat High School near what is today called Highway 58. Wheat High School closed in 1942 when the surrounding community became part of the World War II Manhattan Project. “

The first president of Poplar Creek Seminary was W.H. Crawford who was also a teacher. In 1878, the land was given by J.W. and Martha J. Pyatt to the Trustees of the Poplar Creek Seminary. Those trustees were D.H. Gallaher, James W. Watson, J.F. Browder, W.T. Gallaher, George Jones, J.W. Pyatt and A.J. Burum (secretary). In 1879, George and Lucinda Jones gave 200 acres to the school which was to be “applied solely to the benefit of said institution.” In 1886, Poplar Creek Seminary became Roane College. Six Trustees of Poplar Creek Seminary made an application for a Charter of Incorporation with the State of Tennessee to create a school of higher learning. It had the power to “confer degrees and graduate students after passing satisfactorily through the course of study.” The Board of Trustees was to consist of representatives of the three denominations located in the community (Baptist, Presbyterian, and Methodist). There was not to be a majority of any of the denominations.

I have a personal connection to Roane College, in that my great-grandfather, Richard A. Ladd, attended there in the mid-1880s. He took the Normal Course of Study which was required to teach in the Tennessee public schools. After completing his studies, he became a teacher in the Roane County school system. In 1908, Roane College became a part of the Roane County education system, and the name was changed to Wheat High School. Until 1916, Wheat High School was still under the control of the Roane College Board of Trustees. Wheat High School closed for the Christmas Holidays in 1942 and never reopened. As a result, the students of families who were still in the area were bussed to Dyllis.

Wheat Community Citizens established the Poplar Creek Seminary in 1877 as a center of higher education for area children. The Seminary’s name was changed in 1886 to Roane College, chartered by the state of Tennessee as an accredited college. At its peak, the school enrolled 200 K through 12 and college students. In 1908 Roane College closed, replaced by the new Wheat High School near what is today Highway 58. Wheat High School closed when the surrounding community became part of the World War II Manhattan Project.

 

Wheat High School started as the Poplar Creek Seminary and later as Roane College.

Originally written for the Roane County Newsletter to the Community, December 2013.