The July, 2022, article which I wrote for the Chimney Rock Chronicle was about Caplinger’s School in Criders, Virginia, which my mom as well as many cousins and friends attended. Two of my aunts and one of my Madison College professors taught there. I visited the school with friends as a child. My aunt Wilma Stultz Jenkins took me with her to visit Cullers Run School where she taught in the spring before I started school at Mathias Twelve Year School (1955.)
Cullers Run School was the school that my dad, Owen Guy Stultz, attended in Hardy County, West Virginia. It, like Caplinger’s School, is still standing, Thanks to past owners Kenneth and Anne Shifflet, it is restored to showcase the history as a school. The school on one half acre of land is now owned by the Cullers Run School Association.
Cullers Run School was built on Henry and Phebe Feathers Cullers land (some say it was on land owned by Ott Cullers); opening in 1898. According to the Heritage Weekend website, “the Board of Education purchased the ½ acre for $15 by deed dated June 16, 1879.” It was a one room school (the room was 18’ x 26’) which was later expanded to two rooms in 1914 when the one room became overcrowded. The school cost $137 to build. The school closed in 1956.
In 1977, Kenneth and Anne Shifflet purchased the 82 acre farm on which the school sat. The land on which the school sits reverted to them, but the building was abandoned and had to be auctioned off. They paid $500 for the school building at auction, and renovated and restored the school with the help of volunteers. They also added school memorabilia after Anne researched the school history to be sure it was authentic (including a stove in the middle of the room to keep the students warm). The renovated school was opened to the public for the Hardy County Heritage weekend in September, 1989.
My uncle Ruel Stultz told me recently that he and his four siblings all attended Cullers Run School; they had to walk almost two miles each way. They lived on the road that is now Cullers Run Road; he still lives on the homeplace with his wife Mary Mitchell Stultz.
Ilene Whetzel Nemeth who lived up the mountain from Cullers Run School was the only student in first grade the last year that the school was open (1955-56). She enjoyed school because the older students looked after her. She walked 2.1 miles each way. Her sister and brother got to choose whether to attend Cullers Run or Wilkins School and her sister went to Wilkins.
Another Cullers Run student, Linda Dispanet See, went to Cullers Run School through fourth grade. She also attended Cullers Run Church. She started fifth grade at Mathias when Cullers Run closed; my aunt Wilma went to Mathias and taught fifth grade that year, later moving to second grade.
Elwood Yoder, a Mennonite historian, noted that Mennonite ministers went to Cullers Run School on Sunday for church services. The church also had summer Bible School there, and ran a bus to pick up Bible School students. My siblings and I attended the Bible School. We met the bus at the bridge where Crab Run Road and Cullers Run Road intersect. Mr. Yoder stated that Cullers Run Church merged with Buckhorn and Mt. Hermon churches to form Mathias Mennonite Church on Route 259 around 1972.
Shefa Nola Benoit currently lives across the road from the Cullers Run School. The property on which the school sits was once part of the property where her home is. She mentioned a hand pump on her front porch that the school children used to get water. My uncle Ruel recalled going across the road to get water from the pump. My sister Eleanor Stultz Heishman remembered when she went on a tour of the school, there was a display of children’s cups which they brought from home to drink the water that was pumped.
Benoit is the project coordinator of the Heritage Trail Project which is gathering information on one room schools. According to an article in the August 10, 2022, Moorefield Examiner by Jean Flanagan, the project has identified more than 120 one room schools, gathering information from many sources. Benoit has interviewed former students including my uncle Ruel; check out interviews which my brother Robert Stultz found on utube @cullersrunschool5994. (She would like to hear from people who know about Cullers Run or other one room schools in Hardy County, WV. Contact her at email@example.com or leave a message at 304-897-8700.) Twice a month, the Moorefield Examiner publishes an article with a photo of a one room school in Hardy County.