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Record Group 30: Possum Trot

Inclusive Dates: 1945-1957

Size: 0.66 cubic feet 

Bulk Dates: 1948-1953   

Provenance: Martha Berry Museum

Restrictions: Some files may be restricted and require Archivist's approval for examination and duplication. 

Record Group Information: Martha Berry saw a need to help the mountain people of Northwest Georgia, in particular the community of Possum Trot. In order to fill their educational needs, she conducted Sunday schools and day schools throughout this area. One of the day schools that Martha Berry operated was located in the Possum Trot community in an old meeting house. This early day school inspired her to start the Boys Industrial School in 1902.
The building itself is located about four miles north of Berry College at the base of Lavender Mountain and was built sometime before the Civil War. The Berry Schools, in conjunction with the Floyd County Board of Education, operated a grammar school at Possum Trot from sometime in the 1930s until 1942. The school accommodated the children of families who lived in the Possum Trot community and the children of families who settled there under a farming program created by Martha Berry. This program and the school were closed in 1942 due to the lack of resources caused by World War II and a decline in attendance.

In 1948, a committee composed of James Armour Lindsay, President of Berry Schools, Inez Henry, and Gordon Keown, presented a plan to the Floyd County Board of Education to re-open the school. Mary Stuart Carden served as the school's principal at that time. The school provided education for the children of the families who had settled there under the farming program and for some of the children of the employees of the Berry Schools. The school also served as a practice school for Berry students entering the teaching profession. The school closed again at the end of the 1954-55 school year. 

Description: This collection consists of correspondence, records, maps, and documents relating to the Possum Trot community and school. Box One of the collection contains correspondence, school and student records from the Possum Trot Community School for the years 1948 – 1952. Correspondence includes thirteen letters of personal correspondence of Mary Stuart Carden, principal of Possum Trot Elementary, and twelve letters from the Floyd County Board of Education. Reports include grade books, student monthly attendance records, and student permanent records. Also included are school lunch reports and audio-visual requests to the State of Georgia Department of Education.

Box Two of the collection contains applications of the families who arranged to live at Possum Trot; correspondence between Mrs. Inez Henry, Executive Assistant to the President, and the Possum Trot families; inventories of the community houses; lists of needed repairs; and notes concerning families interested in settling in the community. Applications and notes give detailed family information including number of children in the family, their names and ages, and parental occupations at the time of settlement. Also included are appeals from Mrs. Henry for items needed by the families, and correspondence to James Armour Lindsay, President of the Berry Schools, during this time period. Detailed reports include requests for funding to an unknown source to help re-organize Possum Trot Community School. Additional material was added to this collection in October 2003 and is denoted by folders in the Container List that are followed by decimals.

Information regarding Possum Trot can also be found in the Berry College Archives Vertical File – Subject Heading Possum Trot. 

Arrangement : 

Due to the condition of the collection upon accessioning, the processor was unable to keep original order. Correspondence and reports are arranged chronologically. Student records and student attendance records are arranged alphabetically. One oversized map was removed from the collection and is housed in the Map and Blueprint Collection. 

Subject Headings:

  • Berry College. Possum Trot
  • Carden, Mary Stuart
  • Floyd County Board of Education
  • Henry, Inez
  • Lindsay, James Armour

Miscellaneous: Amy Summerlin processed these papers in 2002 and 2003.

Preferred Citation: 

Permission to publish must be obtained from the Executive Assistant to the President. Please cite: Item identification, Record Group 30 Possum Trot, Berry College Archives, Memorial Library, Berry College.

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