Horton High School
PO Box 1136
Pittsboro, NC 27312
Let's Keep The
Thunderbolt Spirit Alive!!
History of Horton High School
According to information handed down by “old timers,” what is now Horton Middle School commenced with a framed building shaped like “a rabbit box.” Dr. John C. Stanton was principal, and Miss Rebecca Womack was the assistant. He taught the upper grades in the northern end of the building where the stage was located and she taught the lower grades in the southern end. In the afternoon, before school closed for the day, he would open the partition and everybody would participate in singing and praying. Dr. Staunton, a strict and compelling man, would sing, preach and pray. He kept a bunch of switches in the corner, and if one stepped out of line, he would give that person a sound whipping. The next principal was Mr. Benjamin Markham. He, too, was a strong disciplinarian. His wife and a Miss Wilson taught with him.
Several years later. the Pittsboro High School was built. The old framed building that the white children once used was torn down and hauled to the site of the “rabbit box school.” They took the old lumber and built what was called the “Pittsboro Colored School.” It had four classrooms, a stage and several closets. Students attended classes in this building until 1934. The building was then destroyed by fire. The principals of that school were Henry Reaves, Ralph Lowe, Bud Hunter (who later named the school after George Moses Horton) and W. B. Easterling. Mr. B. J. Lee, the next principal, worked hard to develop a high school for black children. In 1934, under the direction of the superintendent, Mr. Reid Thompson, Chatham County erected a brick building. This brick building became known as Horton Consolidated School, named for the Negro poet, George Moses Horton. In the same year, it also became a high school. Horton High School was born. The first graduates of Horton High School were in the Class of 1935.
In the fall of 1946, the Board of Education decided to consolidate several small schools in Chatham County. The idea behind the move was to get rid of the one teacher schools. At one time, there were 118 black schools in the county, 79 of these were one teacher schools, 25 were 2 teacher, 6 were 3 teacher and 3 had more than 3 teachers. Horton fell in the over 3 bracket. Schools in Eastern Chatham were consolidated with Horton. The schools and principals were: Buck Mountain-Mae D. Cotton, Mitchell Chapel-Lois Alston, St. Matthews-Jeanette Richardson, Gum Springs-Beulah Clegg, Hanks Chapel-Cassie Riley, Haw River-Ethel Clark, Haywood-Owen Foster, Horton-B.J. Lee, Hinton Beckwith-Joe Shaw, Terrells-Lecila Avent, Shiloh, Stroud Mountain, and Wilson Schools.
In 1948, four new classrooms were built to the eastern side of the brick building. Soon they were overflowing with students, and in 1950, eleven more rooms were added, making a total of fifteen rooms. Consolidation caused the school to grow, so the Board of Education purchased land across the street to build more classrooms. In 1956, twelve classrooms were built and these rooms were designated for the lower grades. Shortly thereafter, four additional rooms were added to accommodate the overflowing crowd. The I.E. Taylor Gymnasium was built in 1958.
During the latter part of the fifties and early sixties, Horton High School had around 1400 students and 50 or more faculty members. The principals of Horton High School from the mid-forties to the end of the era were: Mr. Benjamin J. Lee succeeded by Mr. Carlie Powell, followed by Mr. I. E. Taylor, who served as principal from 1946 6o 1970. In the fall of 1970, Horton High School became Horton Middle School and housed all races under the direction of Mr. I. E. Taylor until 1976 when he retired. The three-day retirement celebration planted the seed of how Horton School Alumni could work together to keep the memories alive. Thus, the Horton High School Alumni Association was born.
Data compiled by Mrs. Frances R. Nettles with the assistance of Mr. Bishop Leach 1993.
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