Brunswick School at Eagle Lake

 

 

It is likely that few people are aware of the existence of this one-room school house that was a feeder school for Redwood. It provided 1st through 8th grade for children in the Eagle Lake community who were not provided transportation to Redwood. Kay Roland Largel, who attended the school has kindly provided a description. The location is shown on the map below. The school was next to the big levee just before Hwy 465 goes up onto the top of the levee. The Brunswick store was across the road from the school. The school house was moved some years ago and the school grounds have returned to pasture and farm land giving no hint of the sound of children’s voices rattling off the levee.

Kay describes the school and its history. “The school sat on the east side of a cow pasture, with the front edge of the building on the road side and the rest of the building in the pasture. It was a one-room, wooden building, with big windows and a pot bellied cast iron stove for heat. The cows in the pasture would come up and rub against the building and the whole thing would rock. The little building you see on the right side of the picture was the "boys" privy. The girls had a separate privy beside it. (Very uptown!) My step-father, Kermit E. “Paw Paw” Aldridge, took all the kids to school and picked us up every day in an old U.S. Army ambulance. He was the moving force that pulled our school together. We only used that building for one year. But, from 1946 to 1950, we went to one-room schoolhouses, either in a little cabin the side yard of our hotel/lodge (where The Lo Sto is now) or at the Eagle Lake Community Center on what is now Hwy 465, close to the Conway antebellum home. I went to the one-room school houses on Eagle Lake for five years and was the only student in my class. Each year, we had a wonderful teacher, either Mrs. Danny Conway (obituary below) or Mrs. H. G. Haskins. Then, in Sept.1951, we started to Redwood, because I had to go to a high school and it was the closest one. So the school bus began running to Eagle Lake and taking us across the Yazoo River ferry to and from school every day. (Indoor toilets at Redwood!)“

Billye and Elizabeth Haskins, daughters of Mrs. H. G. Haskins, attended the school through 7th grade. They rode a horse to school. Billye remembered one of her teachers, Laura Frances Martin.

The name Brunswick comes from “Brunswick Landing” which provided access to the Brunswick Plantation. In the map, below you can see the old river bed which would have fronted on the Landing. The shift westward created Chotard Lake and resulted in less use of the Landing. Author Alan Huffman has written a beautiful article about this, he says, “The Brunswick community name does not show up on contemporary roadmaps, but it can be found on historic and contemporary topographic maps. Also identified on such maps is the abandoned Brunswick cemetery and the abandoned Brunswick Landing on the abandoned Mississippi River channel, which long ago changed course and moved away. On most maps the name is placed directly over the site of the Altorf house, which initially led me to conclude that it had anchored Brunswick Plantation. Since so little was known about it, I might have persisted in that belief were it not for Lou Parker, whose mother's house (known locally as the old Gwin place) stars in that particular role. Brunswick, the house and plantation, was originally owned by a Revolutionary War veteran named James Gwin, along with three of his sons, one of whom went on to become the first U.S. senator for California. The house, like Altorf, was visited by Union soldiers during the Civil War. His article can be found at http://www.lostmag.com/issue41/altorf.php

 

Brunswick School Class Picture

Left to Right: Front: Ann Whitaker (Sherod) (7 y/o), Tony Battalio (about 7 y/o), Jerry or Harry Uzzle?, Janie Ethel Nevels, Unknown, Stephanie "Puddy" Roland (Cook) (7 y/o), unknown girl (maybe Mildred Nevels), Fred Uzzle Jr.

Back Row: Patty Seaney (McKay) (about 11 y/o), Tommy Roland (12 y/o), (Johnny Roland was not there), Kay Roland (back) (13 y/o), Velton “Snooks” Nevels .

The picture was taken in the early spring of 1950, I think, at the Brunswick School House.( Thanks to Kay Roland Largel, Stephanie Roland Cook and Joann Nevels Parker for the identifications and Howard Tatum for posting photo on “You know you are from Vicksburg if:” web site.)

Thanks to Virginia Battalio-McDonald for supplying the picture at right of her father, Tony Battalio. He is second from the left on the front row in the school picture above. Tony’s father and mother, Salvatore Battaglia (Sam Battalio), and Virginia Mae Brown, operated two grocery/general stores at Eagle Lake. His father came to the US, from Cefalu, Sicily, when he was 12 years old.

Tony attended Redwood through the 8th grade before moving to New Orleans for high school. Many will remember his uncles, Sammy and J. C. Trusty. One of his recollections was the nickname given to father of his classmate Faye Fuller who drove the school bus. Since he drove so slowly (and carefully) he was dubbed “Speedball.” The name never seem to bother him.

 

 

 

 

Redwood fourth grade class visits the Vicksburg Evening Post, 1953. Teacher Miss Hazel Rowden. Students: Tony Battalio second from left on front row. I would appreciate further identifications. Picture courtesy of Tony and his daughter Virginia Battalio-McDonald


Picture courtesy of Bonnie Holifield Wilson

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Brunswick School Obituaries

Gone But Not Forgotton

 

Danella Raworth Conway
Teacher at the Brunswick School

Danella Raworth Conway died peacefully Saturday, Dec. 17, 2011, at St. Dominic-Jackson Memorial Hospital in Jackson. She was 89.

Mrs. Conway, a native of Vicksburg who lived at Eagle Lake following her marriage, was the daughter of the late William McCutchen and Danella Wells Raworth. She was a communicant of The Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, Vicksburg.

She was preceded in death by her husband of 50 years, Eustace Conway Jr., who died in 1997; by her brother, William McCutchen Raworth Jr.; and by her sister, Emily Raworth Compton.

She is survived by a daughter and son-in-law, Danella Conway and William Boyce Craig of Madison; by a son and daughter-in-law, Kathy Cronia and Eustace Conway III of Vicksburg; by her four grandsons, William Boyce Craig and Conway Raworth Craig of Madison and Eustace Cowan Conway and George Wilson Conway of Vicksburg; and by her granddaughter, Kristin Craig Nipper. She is also survived by her nieces, Emily Compton Greene of Baton Rouge, Danella Compton Weatherly of Vicksburg, Elizabeth Compton Garland of Jackson and Caroline Compton Thomas of Greensboro, N.C.; and by her nephew, Joseph Russell Compton Jr. of San Diego, Calif.

Services will be at 11 a.m. Tuesday at The Church of the Holy Trinity, Episcopal, Vicksburg, with the Revs. David Elliott and Luther Ott officiating. Burial will be at Cedar Hill Cemetery with Riles Funeral Home in charge. Visitation will be at McInnis Parish Hall at the church from 9:30 a.m. Tuesday until the hour of the service.

Active pallbearers will be William B. Craig, Conway R. Craig, E. Cowan Conway, Robert H. Weatherly, Steven P. Drown and W. Keith Kellum II.

Honorary pallbearers will be the Rev. Clifton J. McInnis, Lee Davis Thames, Joe Bonelli and George Kette.

In lieu of flowers, memorials may be made to Jacob’s Ladder Learning Center, 1017 Harrison St., Vicksburg, MS 39180.