From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

African American Schools in Bath County, KY

In 1880, there were at least two colored schools in Bath County, KY, according to the U.S. Federal Census, Elijah Grigsby was the teacher in Owingsville and Walace Smith was the teacher in Sharpsburg. By 1886, there were eight colored schools in Bath County, KY [source: NKAA entry for African American Schools, 1886], and in 1897, there were ten schools, according to the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction of Kentucky...July 1, 1895 and ending June 30, 1897, pp.216-219. All were rural elementary schools under the county school system. The schools were in session for nine months, and there were nine frame school houses and one made of logs. There were 11 school teachers, two of whom were female, and the Owingsville school teacher was M. C. Lasswell.

In 1897, the average monthly salary for the female teachers was $32.91, and the wages of the male teachers was an average of $31.84 per month. The average attendance was 152 students in 1897, and four students graduated (from 8th grade). The number of colored schools had declined by 1925, there were six schools with seven teachers [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p.67], and the numbers had declined again by the 1936-37 school term when there were four teachers, and there were three teachers during the 1940-41 term. The names of teachers at the Owingsville School can be found in the Kentucky Negro Educational Association Journal for the years 1925-1941. The Negro teachers in Bath County in 1940 were Carrie L. Clemons, Alice Dotson, Everrett Jones, and Anna M. Jones [source: U.S. Federal Census].

The following information comes from the Bath County News-Outlook newspaper. The newspaper copies and the research were provided by the Bath County Memorial Library in Owingsville, KY. -- In 1953, there were 32 students enrolled in the Owingsville Colored School, and 75 students at the Bethel and Sharpsburg colored schools [article: "1500 are enrolled in county schools," 09/10/1953, p.1]. Mrs. Nannie M. Powell was the teacher at the Owingsville Colored School as early as 1953, and Mrs. Carie Lee Clemmons and Mrs. Mary F. Williams were the teachers at Sharpsburg Colored School [article: "Owingsville School," 09/03/1953]. Beginning in 1958, Mrs. Clemmons and Frank C. LaPrelle were the teachers at the Sharpsburg Colored School [articles: "Teachers placed," 04/30/1958; "Bath County schools to open Monday, August 29," 08/25/1960; and "County schools start Sept. 7, teacher list is announced," 07/26/1962].

In 1954, it was recommended that contractual arrangements be made for Negro high school students to attend the Negro high schools in adjacent counties or Lincoln Institute in Shelby County [article: "Negro schools," 02/18/1954]. The Owingsville Colored School on Harrisburg Street was the last one-room school house in Bath County, the school had students in grades 1-8 [article: photo caption "One big family," 01/12/1961], the school building was sold to George Harris for $1,555 in 1963 [article: photo caption "'Little Red Schoolhouse' auctioned to high bidder," 10/24/1963]. The Sharpsburg Colored School property was on the south side of Montgomery Street in Sharpsburg, and was to be sold at public auction after the Owingsville Colored School was sold [article: "5 Surplus schools go under auction hammer," 10/10/1963]. -- There was never a high school for Negro students in Bath County. The schools in Bath County were integrated during the 1963-64 school term [source: Kentucky School Directory, 1963-64, p.94].

  • Colored Schools (10)
  • Owingsville School
  • Sharpsburg School
  • Bethel School

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Bath County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Owingsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Sharpsburg, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bethel, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Bath County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 25, 2024,

Last modified: 2017-10-15 15:44:07