Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, God and the Lodge
featured in Passing, Stories through the history of Hoschton and Braselton, Ga – Author Robbie Bettis

The Hoschton School was constructed just about the time the town of Hoschton was incorporated, was a two story building containing four rooms and was shaped like the letter T. One of the rooms on the second floor stayed locked and was actually occupied by the Rockwell Masonic Lodge. The students were always curious about this place where secret meetings were held monthly. Most of the men in the town who were considered of “good character” were members. Many of the students knew that famous people such as George Washington, Teddy Roosevelt and Andrew Jackson  were Freemasons. One student who arrived at school one morning, before anyone else, found a piece of paper on the ground outside the school.

“To relieve the distressed is a duty incumbent on all men, but particularly on Freemasions, who are linked together by an indissoluble chain of sincere affection. To soothe the unhappy, to sympathize with their misfortunes, to compassionate their miseries, and to restore peace to their troubled minds, is the great aim we have in view. on this basis we form our friendships and establish our connections” William Preston, 1772

The school building had a porch, which extended along the entire front of the building. The hall also served as a coatroom and a place for dinner pails. Some students brought their dinner in old syrup pails, which might contain an apple, bread, piece of ham and a cold tater. From time to time, these had been raided for a choice tidbit.

Besides the typical reading, writing, and arithmetic, an occasional spelling bee, debate or mock trial would be held for the older grades. On the first day of April, most students did not return after lunch. Sometimes young boys would take the whole day off to go fishing or take the first swim of the season. No on really got into trouble for skipping school since it was April Fools’ Day. The school year usually ended at Easter because the boys and girls had to help with the spring planting. The last day of school would often end with a big spelling bee where teams chose sides and the last one missing a word was declared the best speller of the year.

The first day of school at Hoschton became a ritual. Everyone who, was anyone spoke to the students and parents. Speeches were long but tolerable about how education is important and what that person and speeches had political overtones encouraging eligible men to vote for so and so. The all-important theme was how much better things are now than the schools were in the past and how everyone had to walk so many miles to school.

The first graduating class from the Hoschton School was in 1903. A new two-story school was built across from the DeLaPerriere Gin in the 1920’s. Dr. Ralph Freeman was the stalwart making this building possible. He and his son, Ralph, Jr. even bought the lumber and supervised the building of one of the best schools in the country. Some thirty students boarded in Hoschton to attend the school. Students could attend grades one through eleven. The building had a brick exterior with four classrooms and huge auditorium. This new establishment also had an office and a library.