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AUTOBIOGRAPHY James Gilbert Lyerly - page 2 / 8





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I started to school at the age of six years. The school was Rowan Academy, County supported four months in the year. The reason for four months was that all the students had to help on the farm in early Spring and later in the Fall which allowed only four months in school in the Winter. Sometimes we might in the Summer attend a subscription school one or two months when work was in a slack period.

I attended the Rowan Academy School until I was fifteen years old when I was ready for high school. The school was a one room school except during the latter period an additional room was added because of the increase of the student body. My teachers were aunt Amy and aunt Fanny, daughters of Nathan Brown, my mother’s sisters, and aunt Daisy, the wife of Luther Brown, my mother’s brother.

In 1908 when I was fifteen years old my mother got tired of the farm and the hard work and persuaded my father to leave the farm. My father used the money he saved from selling wheat and corn and other farm products such as chickens, eggs, chopped wood, etc., which he would take to market in Salisbury in the two horse wagon at least once a week. He bought a two story house in the center of Granite Quarry, four miles from Salisbury. Granite Quarry was a booming town with multiple quarries, mining and cutting gray and pink granite for polished building stone, paving blocks and curbing stones. The house was on a large lot. He built a store house on the corner lot, as a merchandise store, selling groceries, meat, fresh vegetables and some women’s men’s and children’s clothes and shoes. My oldest brother, Junius and I started operating and working in the store until the entire family moved into the house and got settled. My father rented the old farm to a family farmer who raised a share of the farmer’s crop. Then they, my father and Junius, ran the store.

I started to school in 1908, age fifteen, at Granite Quarry High School. I remember my principal teacher who was also the principal. He was Dr. John Lyerly, a Lutheran Minister, living in Rockwell, N.C., five miles South of Granite Quarry. He would drive every day from his home in a one horse buggy every day of school. I studied the usual subjects taught including Latin and Math until my graduation in 1911. I always liked to read. I would read every book I could get my hands on. I remember when I lived on the farm, after lunch when every one of the family would take an hour rest, I would spend my time reading the Bible. There was nothing else to read. I think I read through the whole Bible, almost. This story was told to me by my brother’s Hub, (Hubert, two years younger than me) later on after I moved to Florida starting practice of my profession. My father told my mother he was sorry that I was not smart like my brothers who worked at home in the store and that I would not amount to anything because I always had my nose in a book.

After graduating from high school in 1911, I entered Mount Pleasant C.I. in Mount Pleasant, N.C. , nine miles from Granite Quarry. Four or five students, or my classmates, attended the school and we would go together by horse wagon or buggy driven by someone in the family, making the round trip in one day. Mount Pleasant C.I. was a military school and we had to wear uniforms all the time while there and assemble in front of the building during bugle call for reveille, to mess hall, classes, drills, etc. Each one was given a rifle used in the Civil War for present arms, drilling, etc. Once a week there would be room inspection, and the commanding officer and his attendants would enter the room and I would have to stand at attention. He would put his white gloved hands over the furniture to see if dust was present. If so, I would get a demerit. The second year I was an officer, Lieutenant Adjutant, who looked after the welfare of other cadets and reported absences, sickness, leaves of absences, and demerits at the assembly. At the end of two years, 1913, I graduated since it was a two year pre-college


I would have

students stopped school

to go then,

to another school for the last two years to get a college degree. Many while others, including myself went on to get a college degree, which I

will report later.

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