Perry Thomas Knight, subject of previous posts, studied the ministry at Oaklawn Baptist Academy in Milltown (now Lakeland), GA. Perry T. Knight was the son of George Washington Knight and Rhoda (Futch) Knight, and the grandson of Aaron and Nancy (Sloan) Knight, and of John M. and Phoebe (Mathis) Futch. Knight grew up in Ray City and became prominent in local and state government.
Young Preachers’ Good Work
Milltown, Ga., April 28 – Rev. P. T. Knight, one of the ministerial students of the Oaklawn Baptist college, who is pastor of Good Hope Baptist church, near Naylor, is having phenominal success in his church work, Rev. Knight at almost every service gets an accession to his church. In addition to being pastor of Good Hope Baptist church, Rev. Knight is also pastor of Brushy Creek church, near Nashville, Lois church and Waresboro church, near Waycross. H. D. Warnock, W. O. Young, Willie Chism, other ministerial students of the same college are doing great work as missionaries for the Baptist cause.
Work began on the school in 1905 and the construction progressed rapidly.
The Valdosta Times
June 23, 1906 pg 7
Work on Milltown School
Work has been progressing bravely upon the Milltown college, a large force of hands being already at work. The construction is being pushed as rapidly as possible on account of the desire to be ready to open the school as soon as possible. The original plans called for the construction of three large buildings, though it is thought now that five buildings will be erected. The building grounds are said to be the handsomest in the state and the college campus will be one of the prettiest in the south when it is completed. It contains fifteen acres and a pretty creek runs through the groves making it easy to convert them into a beautiful park.
The Atlanta Constitution
August 20, 1907
NEW EDUCATIONAL INSTITUTION IS BEING BUILT UP AT MILLTOWN
The new buildings of the High school of the Valdosta Baptist association, at Milltown, Ga….are rapidly nearing completion and will soon be ready for occupancy. The larger building in the center, in which the classrooms will be located, is practically finished. It will easily accommodate four or five hundred students. The smaller buildings on each side are the dormitories, one for boys and one for girls, each having accommodations for practically one hundred. The large building and one of the dormitories have been erected on small subscriptions, not a single give of more than $1,000 having been received. The other dormitory is the gift of one man, who agreed to furnish the money for it, if enough to completely pay the cost of the other two buildings was raised. Of this amount only $10.000 is now lacking and strenuous efforts are being made by the Valdosta Baptist association to raise this sum. Rev. Graham Forrester, formerly one of the most prominent lawyers of the state, but now missionary of the Valdosta Baptist association, which includes portions of Lowndes, Berrien, Echols, Coffee, Ware, and Clinch counties, with headquarters in Valdosta, has been put in charge of the work of raising this money and is now in Atlanta for that purpose. Mr. Forrester, in speaking of the school, said that it was one of the most promising institutions in South Georgia, ideally located, and with no other school of like character in its immediate section. Its graduates are fitted for the sophomore classes of the large colleges. The school is situated at Milltown, in Berrien county, owns 15 acres of land, through which a beautiful stream runs, and which is heavily wooded with water oaks. The institution had last year, when it was run in connection with the Milltown public school, an attendance of 200 and an increase is looked for this term. Mr. Forrester declared his intention of staying in north Georgia until he got his $10,000, “for,” said he, “south Georgia has been contributing to north Georgia educational institutions for years and it is now north Georgia’s time to help us.”
By fall of 1906 construction had progressed to the point where classes could begin. The school opened September 17, 1906. A partial list of the administrators and faculty who served at the school has been gleaned from newspaper accounts.
Board of Trustees
Dr. John E. Barnard, President
Dr. W. S. Patten
S. K. Patten
J. H. Bostic
Lucius M. Stanfill
J. W. Garbutt
Reverend A. C. Pyle, 1909
1906-1911 James Cuthbert Wilkinson, Science and English Bible
1911 J. A. Lott
1911 Sidney J. Underwood
1916-1921 J.A. Lott, Jr.
Reverend L. R. Christie
M. W. Bargeron
Miss Annie Hall, A.B. – English and History
Miss Ossie H. Burruss, A.B. – Latin and Greek
Miss Leila Connell, A.B. Mathematics
Miss Annie May Arnold, A.B., B.M. – Piano and Coronet
Miss Belle Brinson, A.B., B.M. – Violin and Preparatory
Miss Elizabeth Morgan – Preparatory
Miss Davis, Oratory
Miss Lizzie Morgan
Miss Jessie Elliot, Elocution
Miss Lizzie T. Bennett, Latin and English
Miss Etna Shaw, Principal of 6th, 7th, and 8th grades
Miss Fannie Clements, Primary Grades
Miss Ethel Jones, Instrumental and Vocal Music
Miss Kitty Watson, Oratory
Miss Orrie Brown, Shorthand and Typewriting
Ruth Smith, Expression
Miss Addie Stansell
Miss Wells, Music
Construction on the school continued for years, sometimes in the face of financial challenges. By spring of 1909 the main building was nearing completion.
The Atlanta Constitution
April 24, 1909
Big Time at Milltown
Milltown, Ga., April 23. – (Special.) - The local Masonic Lodge is figuring on having a big time on the completion of the main building of the Oaklawn Baptist college situated at this place. The Masons will lay the cornerstone with the usual Masonic ceremonies. They expect to have Grand Master Jeffries and Grand Senior Warden Henry Banks and, possibly some other men who stand high in Masonry. The Oaklawn school will also have, on the opening day, several prominent speakers, and together with the Masons, they expect to have a big time. The date for this big occasion will be announced later, as the carpenters and painters are putting the finishing touches on the building now.