Introduction for the Moffett Photography Series

B.F. Hicks

For a period covering roughly 1926 through 1946,  Arthur Cleveland Moffett served in public office in Franklin County. 

He was county judge.  He and his wife both taught in rural schools.  They reared three children. Well-loved citizens; their home still stands on Carthel Street. 

 In his capacity as county judge, Mr. Moffett held the office of county school superintendent and coordinated  maintenance, budget, attendance and staffing for the rural schools in the county; there were at least 30 in the decades when he held office.  He had general supervision under state law until schools were consolidated.   

With the advent of the automobile and construction of better roads school children were able to attend schools in central locations.  By the 1960s there were three schools operating in the county: Hagansport in the north; South Franklin to the south and the Mt. Vernon Schools in the county seat; Mt. Vernon School system.  The smaller schools in the north and the south were consolidated into the Mt.  Vernon School system and the Black School at Denton was closed with integration so that one school served most of the county.   Today, some parts of Franklin County are under the Winnsboro and Rivercrest systems, but the great majority of students living in Franklin County attend school in Mt. Vernon. 

But let’s visit the 1930’s.  Mr. Moffett was county judge and school superintendent.  He visited his schools; made pictures of buildings; pictures of faculty (often only two or three teachers) and made pictures of children at play.  I grew up in Mt. Vernon and I was hired as attorney for the family in settling the estates of both Stella and Cleve Moffett.   These photographs were essentially just snapshots; most are small Kodak type shots of that era.    He placed them in a three ring binder but he had labeled most of the pictures with location and date; an invaluable action for those who have followed him.  His daughters, Mary Moffett and Ellen Martin,  knew I loved history and they gave me the album of photographs. 

I’ve puzzled for years with how to share the snapshots.  They are wonderful images; some almost a century old.  Candid shots of our shared past.  

We have shared photocopies of the pictures many times but with the launch of our new website we can load the photographs in a special “Moffett School Series” series.  Luiz Sifuentes, our webmaster, advises that he can have a special tab allowing users to scroll over and enter an identification.  Hopefully, people will recognize their ancestors; there may still be a few students living from the series.  

 We have a table of contents listing all 173 photographs from the album.  And, even better, we have an alphabetical index.  Thus, if you check the index for “Birdsong” you then know that a “Birdsong” will be in photograph 68; scroll to photo 68 and check the photo to see if it is your family member or friend. 

 If you know that someone in your family attended the Friendship School, you can check the school group. If you recognize someone in a photograph, then post a note regarding identification.  We can offer up this resource for our community.  Until now I had held the album with a degree of frustration; you’ll be proud of our website and what we can offer for research and the tool we will have available for coming generations to look back through this window to the past. 

Mr. Moffett was a coin collector.   When I am about 10 years old, he instills some interest in me in the hobby.  He starts taking me to the Mt. Pleasant coin club monthly meetings (seems like it was second Monday night).  For maybe 5 years he would come to my parents’ house;  pick me up and take me with him to the club meetings.  My father was an extremely affable man.  His friends were always anxious to help with “the boys” and I may have had the best deal. The oldest of three boys, I jumped at any invitation to escape those younger boys at home.   Charlie Brown hauled me off to summer camp for several years and he was always getting me involved in community service.  And here’s  Mr. Moffett, a born teacher, taking me along to these very adult meetings of people of my grandparents’ generation.  Mr. Moffett was a great guy; he would be proud to have us identifying his pictures.  

Arthur Cleveland Moffett was born August 31, 1895 and died August 25, 1985, a few days short of his 90th birthday.  Stella Bacon Moffett died December 3, 1979.  She was born August 7, 1896. Mr. Moffett served in the U.S. Army during World War I.  They were salt of the earth. 

Our FCHA chairman for membership and growth, Cynthia Loftis, pointed out the service we provide and interest we generate.  We’ve made the photographs available for the public; no charge;  check them out;  print photographs that include your family or have an interest for you.  As I said:  Mr. Mofett would be proud.   

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