Ogden School Days: A History of Liddieville’s Community School

This entry is part of the 52 Ancestors in 52 Weeks series.  This week’s prompt is School Days.  (To see other posts in this series, view my 52 Ancestors in 2019 index.)

Ogden School sits in the middle of the Liddieville community — right at the intersection of LA-135 and LA-870 in Franklin Parish, Louisiana. Once the center of community life, this beloved school educated three generations of my family.

I attempted to count just how many of my family members attended or graduated from Ogden, but I quickly lost count. Here was my best attempt:

  • I attended Ogden from kindergarten through 8th grade (1986-1995).
  • Both my parents spent all their school years at Ogden — my dad was Class of 1965; my mom, Class of 1970.
  • My grandfather James Paul Smith, Sr. attended all grades at Ogden and graduated in 1943.
  • My grandmother Ethel McMurry also attended Ogden, possibly from 1922-1932, according to 1940 census data.
  • 8 of my great-aunts and great-uncles attended or graduated from Ogden.
  • 13 of my aunts and uncles attended or graduated from Ogden.
  • At least 7 of my first cousins attended Ogden.
  • My first cousin, once removed Charles “Cuz” Horne taught high school science and coached basketball at Ogden in the 1960s. He was also a Franklin Parish school board member and a parish school administrator.

And even more relatives and extended family members had connections to Ogden. If their last name was Horne, Johnston, McMurry, Ritchie, Smith, Wiggins, or Wright — they’re probably my family! I can also claim a few Ogden cafeteria workers, janitors, and bus drivers.

Ogden is special to me both for its place in my family history and because I spent most of my school years there. I also watched as our community fought to keep Ogden open during school consolidation in the 1990s and mourned as it died a slow, bureaucratic death in the years that followed.

Continue reading Ogden School Days: A History of Liddieville’s Community School