History of Milam High School
1919 - 1943
By 1919 there were several 1-room grade schools in the areas around
Milam Fork, 4 schools in and around Saulsville, 1 on Marsh Fork.,
a 3-room school on Milam Fork was to include the 9th grade in
1919, a 1-room school, Pleasant Hill at McGraws, now Ravencliffe.
Some other reasons for building a high school at Milam were that
new high schools had already been built at Mullens, Herndon, Oceana
and Baileysville and also the news of the extension of the Virginian
Railroad to Glen Rogers and the opening of the mines at Glen Rogers,
Glen Morrison and Meade's Faith Smokeless Coal Compnay.
In 1919 the SlabFork District Board of Education, cosisting of
H.F. Hartley, Maben President, Royston Toler, Mullens, and Perry
C Cook, of Meade Poca (now South Mullens) appointed Buren H Toler
principal of Pineville High School, District Supervisor of Slab
Fork Schools and Gordon McGraw of Milams Fork as superintendent
of Wyoming County Schools. Both McGraw and Toler were instrumental
in the certification of Milam High School.
The land on which the new high school was to be built was formerly
purchased from Okey J McGraw and was located near where the John
McGraw Grade School building now stands.
In 1919 the District Board held a special levy election to raise
$40,000 to pay for the construction of the 6 room high school
& grade school, with a classroom laboratory and a classroom
audtiorium combined, plus seperate restrooms for the boys and
girls with running water and modern plumbing, plus one water fountain
on each floor and basement dressing rooms used seperately by the
boys and girls basketball teams.
The high school was authorized to begin 9th grade classes in the
old 3 room grade school with Anthony Farmer as principal-teacher,
teaching English, Algebra, Ancient History and Agriculture. The
2 grade school teachers were Miss Elsie Daniel and Mrs Maggie
Roach. The new high school was completed and ready for school
by September, 1920. The freshman class had the following members:
Wirt Belcher, Gilbert Goode, Sadie Cozort, Arthur Brooks, Violet
Brooks, Ruby McGraw, & Elsie Goode. Mae Shumate had attended
Mullens High School as a freshman.
The other 5 members were allowed to take extra subjects in order
to catch up and graduate in 1923.
Note: Howard Cozort's name is listed as a freshman in 1921, he
graduated in 1927.
Until 1932 most of the students from the Saulsville area walked
to high school, and at one time, as many as 17 from that area
rode horses. All students from Milam areas walked to school,
a few pupils walked or rode horses from Glen Morrison and Glen
Rogers. In 1932 some students from Glen Morrison & Glen Fork
areas were trucked to school until about 1933 when the first buses
The first, 1923, graduating class of Milam High School numbered
6, the largest class numbered 14 in 1939, while the last and smallest
class was only 3 pupils.
Some Milam High School highlights were as follows:
In the spring of 1924, Milam's basketball team won a game with
Basin by the score of 14 to 0. The team was composed of Earl
McGraw, center, Fird Shumate and Charles Walker as forwards, and
Kelly Sizemore and Basil Walker as guards. The team played in
the rejuvinated 3-room elementary/junior high gym.
In the fall of 1927 Milam High School won a basketball game over
Mullens. The same fall Milam travelled to Baileysville, played
them a game on the outdoor court and was defeated, then on the
way back to Milam, played Oceana, loosing by a score of 12 to
7. Bernard Cook and Wayne Rollins were Oceana's 2 star players.
In the spring of 1927, Howard Cozort won first place in the mile
track race. In 1936 Milam played Mullens a game of football,
losing by the core of 12 to 0.
In the fall of 1926, Mr Shafer, the Vo-AG and Chemistry teacher
took his vo-ag class boys on a short filed trip above the high
school. Before starting a demonstration, he pulled off his old
plug hat and laid it on top of a fence post. One of his mischievious
pupils decided to have some fun, while Mr Shafer was busy, he
lighted a large firecracker and placed it under Mr Shafer's hat.
It went off with a big bang and flew ten feet high. The hat
came down to earth causing much laughter, with a large hole in
it's top. Mt Shafer didnt seem to be disturbed, he picked up
his hat placed it on his head and continued the class demonstration
until the class period was ended. He wore the hat home, and surprised
the boys when he came to school the next morning still wearing
the decrowned hat.
In 1924, Earl McGraw, a pupil and janitor at the school, decided
to inpress one of the lady teachers who had remained after school
hours to grade some papers. Earl went into the school yard and
caught his dad's pony by the halter and proceeded to maneuver
it up 2 flights of steps and into the room where the teacher was
busy. When Earl finally got the excited and overly exerted pony
into the room, it lost its self control and releived itself on
the floor. Red faced, he hastily found a broom, swept the excretion
into a waste basket and carried it outside, went back to apologize
to the teacher and then lead the pony back down the steps more
redfaced than ever.
Principals of Milam High School
1919 - 1943
Anthony Farmer, Bolt WV 1919-1920
Stuart J Higginbotham 1920-1923
Creed Simon 1923-1924
Julius McCoy 1924-1925
1925-1927 Beecher Dunn 1927-1930
Carl Bailey, Athens WV 1930-1933
William F Statts 1933-1934
Charles Bower 1934-1941
Charles Ritchie 1941-1942
Darrell V McGraw 1942-1943