HOLMES COUNTY, FLORIDA

The Bethlehem Community

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 By Anna Paget Wells (used with permission of publisher Sue Cronkite) from the book "Heart and History of Holmes County". This book is chock full of pictures and what has been used within this web site is only a small amount of the book.  It can still be ordered from Sue Cronkite or from the Holmes County Advertiser, 112 E Virginia Avenue, Bonifay FL 32425; phone 850-547-2270; fax 850-547-9200

The writer does not know the date of the first settlement or who the first settler was, but I did have the pleasure of teaching in the Bethlehem consolidated school in the mid 1930s. Some of the leading patrons of the school at that time were the Coats, Faircloths, Forehands, Hawkins, Johnsons, Metcalfs, Millers, Pilchers, and others. Before the Bethlehem school was consolidated, there was a Watson School nearby. It is my understanding that the Hathaways settled near the Bethlehem area. The well-known J J (Boy) Williams also lived in the community.

At the time I taught in Bethlehem School, the late C L Galloway was the principal. He was the principal there for several years. At that time Bethlehem was considered to be one of the largest consolidated schools in the South. While teaching there, I attended the Union Hill Baptist Church.

B Middleton, staff writer for the Holmes County Advertiser, had this say about Bethlehem school: "Tucked away in a quiet country corner of Holmes County is a consolidated high school that has been sitting there since 1929. Bricks scarred with the touches of decades of scholars, Bethlehem High School lends quiet education to nearly 600 Holmes County youngsters."

Bethlehem serves an area extending from the western side of the Choctawhatchee River to the Alabama-Florida line. Bethlehemís principal, Odell Paul, spoke with obvious pride of the red brick structure housing his academic charges: "Bethlehem High School has been a part of Holmes County for almost three generations. Grandparents are seeing their grandchildren enter the rooms where they too once sought the glories of learning. Names that have been on the classroom rolls for years return and write again. Many that have struggled through the curricula return to teach still others."

In 1999, at the time of the second edition of Heart and History of Holmes County, the Bethlehem School was being replaced with a new, modern structure.


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This page was lasted updated on 17 June, 2002 08:42 PM