Orange County Indiana
Lee School Hominy Festival
Courtesy of Fay Wright Denzler
and Iris Wright Jones
Daughters of Wynema and Earl Wright

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Click Photo To Enlarge

Left:  The Hominy Festival was held in March at Lee School, a small country school in Lawrence County near Fishing Creek Chapel. This one was held in 1950 or 1951. In the first picture the students dressed in old-time clothes are greeting the guests at the school’s front doors. The doors led into a hall where coats, caps and boots were kept. It opened into the three rooms of the school. Two were used as classrooms. Grades 1 through 4 were taught in Room 1 by Mrs. Nettie Brumfield, whose parents, uncles, aunts, she herself and all of her children attended Lee School. In Room 2, grades 5 through 8 were taught by Mr. Clarence Phipps. The Hominy Festival was held in Room 3, a multipurpose room used for storage, special occasions and a play room on rainy and showy days. The students are left to right Betty King, Iris Wright Jones, Katie Mayden Deckard and Fay Wright Denzler. Fay’s two piece dress had been saved by relatives and probably dated back to the late 1800’s. The school motto “Do the best you can with what you have wherever you are.” was prominently displayed for all to see.....Fay Wright Denzler


The third room of the school is being used for the festival. Students decorated this room and the other two with pictures and posters displayed in the windows. The tables used for the luncheon were also decorated and name cards were made for each student. Lunch, consisting of ham, hominy, greens, corn pone and dried apple pie, was provided by the mothers. After this feast, the guests were entertained by the students who sang songs, recited poems and read articles written for the festival. The main event was a “chicken reel,” a dance taught them by a visiting music and art teacher. This dance was similar to a square dance. Notice the antiques and old pictures in the background. They were brought in by the students. Students pictured are Karon Chastain Wingard, Elmer Porter, Iris Wright, Elden Holsapple, Betty King, Harry Porter, Betty Mundy, Gretchen Reynolds, Fay Wright, Katie Mayden Deckard, Gary Chastain, Keith Chastain, Joe Steven, Josh Brumfield and others.

Heat in all three rooms was provided by a pot- bellied stoves in the middle of the room. One can see such a stove in the picture. All three rooms had an elevated area in the front where the teacher’s desk was located. This section was surrounded by chalk boards. It was here that students often had contests such as spelling bees and cyphering contests. In Mrs. Brumfield’s room an additional motto was placed on the center blackboard “Do Right”. Students were responsible for helping keep the school neat, clean and warm. Boys went to the coal shed located at the rear of the school for buckets of coal and all students cleaned erasers, wiped black boards, swept floors and washed decks. If a teacher was absent, students filled in. Students from the upper grades taught the younger students and if a teacher was absent, the students carried on. Several of the students ultimately became teachers and many credit their early teaching experience as being the inspiration for their chosen career. No discipline problems and no rebellions! There was a pump in front of the school and each student provided his/her own drinking cup. Lunches were brought to school and on really special occasions, a mother might bring in some food. A treat for the students was Mrs. Brumfield putting a big pot of beans on top of the stove and allowing them to share the hot food if the students had the proper utensils.

...Fay Wright Denzler

Girl in the middle row, 2nd from left – Fay Wright Denzler
Girl fourth from left – Karon Chastain Wingard
Boy behind her – brother Keith Chastain
Boy to right of concrete blocks Joshua Brumfield, son of Mrs. Nettie Bromfield, the teacher of the lower grades
Dancing girl with cap and apron, 3rd from left, my sister Iris Wright Jones
Girl in white cap, apron and white blouse, striped skirt – Katie Mayden Deckard