U.S. School Clothes: Rossville School (Rossville, Georgia)


Figure 1.-- Here we have a picture of the 2nd and 3rd grade class taken in Rossville, Georgia. We suspect the name of the school was the Rossville school, but we are not sure. Rossville is a small town located in Walker County, Georgia. It is a largely rural area. This class portrait we have shows many children that look poor. That appear from their look, the old dirty clothing, the dirty feet. Most of the boys come to school barefoot. Several wear overalls.

Here we have a picture of the 2nd and 3rd grade class taken in Rossville, Georgia. We suspect the name of the school was the Rossville school, but we are not sure. Rossville is a small town located in Walker County, Georgia. It is a largely rural area. The area is best known for the conflict between the Cherokee Indians and the state of Georgia in the early 19th century. This class portrait we have shows many children that look poor. That appear from their look, the old dirty clothing, the dirty feet. Most of the boys come to school barefoot. Several wear overalls.

The School

We suspect the name of the school was the Rossville school, but we are not sure.

Class

Here we have a picture of the 2nd and 3rd grade class taken in Rossville, Georgia.

Chronology

The class portrait here was taken in 1915 or 16.

Rossville

Rossville is a small town located in Walker County, Georgia. It is a largely rural area. The town now has a population of 3,511. [2000 Census] Walker County was one of the first areas settled by whites after the removal of the Cherokee Nation. The County was organized from Murray County (1833). It is named in honor of Freeman Walker who was the mayor of Augusta. The county seat is LaFayette, Georgia. Georgia like all od the Deep South slave states seceeded from the Union (1861), leading to the Civil War. The important battle of Chickamauga was fought in the county as Federal Armies attempted to drive south from Tennessee to Atlanta. The county's economy was in a shables after the War. This was exacerbated by a severe drought and political anarchy. White supremicists fought to gain control of the country government from the Reconstruction regime. Union loyalists and blacks. Three different groups of white supremecists attempted to seize control. One group attacked Ringgold which was seen as a Reconstruction stronghold. The white supremicists gained control of the country and state government. This returned stability to the country, but of course not justice. A park was created in the 1880s to commemorate the battle of Chickamauga (1880s). Public works projects during the New Deal began to pave the county roads (1930s). The road connecting LaFayette to Chattanooga through Lee and Gordon's Mill was the first highway to be paved.

The Cherokees

The area is best known for the conflict between the Cherokee Indians and the state of Georgia in the early 19th century. This eventually led to the tragic Trail of Tears.

Clothing

The children wear a variety of clothes. The girls all wear dresses, although because they are in the rear rows, we can not make out many details. Some of the girls wear hair bows. The boys mostly wear shirts and knickers. Notice that several boys have buttoned their shirt collars. Many wear suspenders. Some of the collars look large, but we don't see any of the fancy collars we might have seen in the 1900s. Several boys wear overalls. This was something not seen in the 19th century, but in the early 20th century became very common in rural schools. Knickers were very common in the 1910s. Notice one boy's overalls have been cut to knicker length. This was not very common. All of the boys have short hair. A reader writes, "Notice that several boys are wearing suspenders and their trousers pull where the suspenders meet the trousers, one boy (holding the chalk board) appears to be wearing a belt and his trousers sags finally the boy on the end appears to be wearing button on trousers (I can make out the buttons) and a waist blouse, you can see how the two hang differently. He also appears to have his underwear showing from under his knickers on his right leg. It is also interesting (at least to me) that most of the boys are bare foot."

Clothing and Poverty

This class portrait we have shows many children that look poor. A reader writes, "This picture shows children surely of poor families. That appear from their look, the old dirty clothing, the dirty feet Also in rural schools usually pupils seem cleaner and better (or less bad) clothed." The South after the Civil War became the poorest section of the country. This was in part the result of the destruction during the War. Another factor was that the South's economy was largely agricultural and this the region did not participate fully in America's industrial boom. Also important was the supression of the black population. This in effect adversely affected the region's economy. The Rossville School here is a segregated school. Notice there are no black children in the class. Most of the boys come to school barefoot. We are not sure, however, that this by itself was a sign of poverty. It was kind common at the time in the South. Remember that Georgia is in the deep South and at the beginning and end of the school day there are many hot days. And on hot days was probably much more comfortable than wearing long stockings and shoes. While some of the boys at the front do look a little scruffy, some of the boys in the middle rows look much more nearly dressed, as do the girls. The overalls seem to be a better sign of poverty than going barefoot.








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Created: 4:27 PM 1/12/2006
Last updated: 4:39 PM 1/13/2006