P. R. Ivy
The First Principal of Rison School

Written by his son, Vernon Roscoe Ivy

P. R. Ivy

My Dad, Peter Roscoe Ivy, was born on a farm near New Hope, AL, on April 18, 1884. He graduated from New Hope High school, attended college in Jacksonville (now Jacksonville State University) in Jacksonville, AL, and received a degree in education. He immediately began looking for a teaching job, but was unable to find one near his home in New Hope. His first teaching job was in Cullman, AL.

He married Carrie Whiteside; they had seven children:

Vastus Ivy Cummings
Laura Mae Ivy Hudgins
Eva Ivy Taylor
Willie Ivy Dysart
Clifton Carroll Ivy
James Floyd Ivy
Vernon Roscoe Ivy

In the early 1900s, the community schools were operated by trustees who lived in the community and did all the hiring. Teachers were given contracts for one year. The only way a teacher could better himself was to get a job from the trustees of a larger community or a school that was better off financially. My Dad got a job in Madison County, at Poplar Ridge. He taught at several other one-room schools, including Hurricane and Clouds Cove. He taught or was principal at Big Cove, Harvest, and Elkwood before coming to Rison. He went from Rison to Lincoln and was the first principal of both schools. He finished his teaching career as principal of Farley. He retired in about 1941 to devote full time to managing his farm.

At his retirement he owned a farm on Patton Road (then Jordan Lane) just inside Redstone Arsenal. In 1941 the government purchased all that land and he then purchased a farm near New Hope and, although it was about five miles from the farm he grew up on, he felt like he was going home.

In 1947, several residents of Madison County suggested that Dad run for the Madison County Board of Education. He finally agreed and ran against three other candidates; he won without a runoff. The board elected him chairman. That term concluded his public service. He accomplished what he ran to prevent, which was to send all the rural students to the proposed Pilot School which was to be at Butler High School. He did not believe that students in New Hope, New Market, Hazel Green, Madison, Monrovia, etc., should be bused to Huntsville. He thought the schools should be the fabric that held the community together.

Dad died on June 21, 1963, at age 81, and is buried in Maple Hill Cemetery.


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