Gathering to recall fond Green Creek memoriesPublished 6:27pm Wednesday, April 17, 2013
Everyone is invited to the 17th annual Green Creek School Reunion. Please mark your calendars now for this event, which will be held on Sunday, June 9 from 2-5 p.m.
You are encouraged to bring old pictures, school annuals and your memories to the school’s cafeteria on the second Sunday in June. Also, be sure to invite your family and friends, and anyone you know with ties to Green Creek.
You may remember that a year after Green Creek School closed, the flat roof of the unheated main building collapsed under the weight of the snow, following the infamous “Blizzard of ‘93.” However, the Depression-era gymnasium is still standing. Even though the Polk County Red Cross uses the remodeled front entrance area for office space, the rest of the gym looks almost like it did when it was built more than 70 years ago.
Throughout the 78 years that Green Creek School was in operation, thousands of students walked through those doors. Many of them still live in or near Polk County. A few others have traveled many miles to attend the annual reunion each year, from as far away as New Mexico, California, New York and Louisiana.
Recently, I came across an unusual and interesting Polk County News obituary, dated March 31, 1904. Space does not permit the long, eloquent obituary here, but since I have this new (to me) information about the beloved Dr. Luther R. Cornwell, I will include a few facts. The obituary of this exceptional young man contained words like modesty, dignity and prudence.
It also mentions a charnel house, a phrase that I had never heard before. (The dictionary says that a charnel house means “a building, room or vault in which bones or bodies of the dead are placed). He and his family were well known throughout the area, and his numerous relatives are still living in Polk and surrounding counties today. His grave marker in McFarland Cemetery (formally called the Sandy Plains burial ground) does not list a wife or children, so I assume he was never married.
Dr. Cornwell was born in Sandy Plains, studied medicine in Atlanta, Ga., (a rare education for a country doctor in those days) and was the grandson of Margaret Devinney McFarland, (better known as Granny Mac). His father, M.A. (Mort) Cornwell, was a Confederate soldier, a Polk County Commissioner, an elder, a leader in the Sandy Plains Presbyterian Church and a farmer.