Plaque Marks First

Plaque Marks First Consolidated School Transporting State Pupils

Maysville, Ky. May 27 (Special) – An historical plaque commemorating the fact that May’s Lick High school in Mason county, 12 miles south of Maysville, was the site of the first consolidated school with transportation in Kentucky, and south of the Ohio River, was unveiled and dedicated tonight. Attending the ceremonies in the yard of the old high school were hundred of alumni of May’s Lick High, former students and citizens of Mason and the adjoining counties.  The marker was erected by the May’s Lick alumni association.  James L. Pyles, president, presided during the 30-minute dedication.  The marker is inscribed: “May’s Lick High School, established 1909.  First Consolidated school with transportation in Kentucky and south of the Ohio River.  C. D. Wells, county superintendent.  W. E. Pyles, May’s Lick Board member.  J. R. Lancaster, first principal.  First transportation started in 1910.  Jessie O. Yancy, county superintendent.  Frank Gaither, principal. Alumni Assn., 1950.”  

The marker was unveiled by Miss Jessie O. Yancey of Lexington, the first woman ever elected to office in Mason county and the first to become Mason county school superintendent.  It was during Miss Yancey’s term that plans for the consolidation of Mason county schools, begun under administration of Supt. C. D. Wells, was completed.  

Miss Martha Wells, Jacksonville, Fla., a daughter of C. d. Wells, former Mason county superintendent who conceived the idea of consolidation, delivered the dedicatory address.  

Miss Wells recalled that her father was elected county superintendent in 1901, serving until Jan. 1, 1910.  In 1908 the Kentucky General Assembly passed a new school law forming a county board of education made up of the school trustees in five districts.  The trustees of each school district met and elected a chairman, who served as their member on the county board.  The law also required that a high school be established in each county.  W. E. Pyles was elected to the board from the May’s Lick district and it was to him that Wells first proposed consolidating several one-room schools. But when the county board met, no agreement was reached since each member wanted the high school for his own district.  Pyles then got 50 men in the May’s Lick district to sign an agreement that the people of May’s Lick would vote a tax raising $100 a year for five years or that they would apy the amount themselves to the county board if the school was located in May’s Lick.  This clinched the establishment of the school there.  

After ironing out some legal difficulties and securing the money, the plan succeeded and the first public building ever to be erected through the formation of a holding company in the United States was started in 1909.  Miss Jessie Yancey became superintendent Jan. 1, 1910, succeeding Wells, who became principal of the May’s Lick School.  Under Miss Yancey’s administration, the transporting of children to the consolidated school or central plant was achieved after numerous obstacles were overcome and legal questions arising from taxpayers’ suit over purchase of transportation were settled.  

Following the unveiling and dedication more then 250 persons attended the alumni banquet at the high school gymnasium during which Mrs. Charles T. O’Neill, Maysville, an alumna, presided as toastmaster.  Various alumni spoke on class activities of their school days.  They included Mrs. Ernest Stears, Mrs. Herman Rees, Maurine Collins, Albert Morgan, Mrs. John A. Higgins, John R. Poe Jr. and Miss Alma Fritz.  The ceremonies closed with dancing from 10 until 12 in the gymnasium.


From the Lexington Herald Leader, May 28, 1950.