Bethel School

Bethel School was built in 1898 and was located on the western bank of the Little Kentucky River.   The land adjoined the Bethel Methodist Church a distance of one mile south, where US 42 winds down what is known as Scott Hill and is six miles northeast of Bedford.


The land where the small white building stood was donated by A.G. Hill but instead of being named for the land donor, it was given the name of the Bethel Church nearby.  Average attendance was 25 to 30 pupils although maximum capacity was forty (40) pupils from grades one to eight.  


Children walked to school.  Some enjoyed the walk but others were frightened by crossing the two swinging foot bridges across the river.  There was a division in the river at this point making two bridges necessary).  Ice and snow to a depth of four feet during the Winter of 1917 made it possible for the children to walk on top of the fence and posts.


The walls of the school were constructed with grooved ceiling board.  The blackboard was slate.  The seats were wooden desks, some of which were stationary.   There was a long "jerry-built" recitation bench facing the blackboard and pot-bellied coal stove heated the room.  Water was obtained from a spring that was at the water level of the Little Kentucky, since the dug well was not satisfactory.  All the pupils used the same water pail and dipper.  Lunch boxes of tin lard pails and woven reed sat on the shelf near the door.  A library of forty-odd books contributed by Mrs. A.G. Hill consisted mainly of alger books, but still very welcome.

In 1938...

Due to the consolidation with the Bedford Grade and Trimble County High [School], the school was discontinued and the land reverted to the donor.  


First Teacher:  Addie Combs Maddox*

Last Teacher:  Martha Hill (1936-1938)


The teacher who taught the most years consecutively at Bethel School:

Lizzie Spillman


Other teachers:

Mrs. Ella Perkinson

Claudys Carson

Elizabeth Spillman Webster

Nannie Pearl Daily Duncan

Elmer Wright

Frances Spillman Wilhoite

Ethel Calloway

Hula Peak Hoffman

Lula Welch Jones

Ethel Priest


Ada V. Coombs Maddox was the daughter of Judge Samuel Coombs and Eva Mitchell Coombs.  She was the granddaughter of Addison Mitchell and Emily Coombs. She married Thomas A. Maddox of Trimble County, Kentucky. 

-- provided by Tina Mitchell Boutall

Additional Resources:


Samuel Strother:   Strothers in Kentucky History


This history of Bethel School can also be found in the 1989 Trimble Heritage Book.  If you have any history to contribute to this article, please comment below.  You may also contact us at with your amendments or additions.




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