About The School  

Old Fleeta School

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Living the Principle: Angela Nelson

 By Jay Thomas, Editor of The Opp News

 PowerSouth employee, Angela Nelson, has written a book aboutFleetaSchooland how her family ties into it. 

 “I was searching on land deeds on my great grandfather, David Franklin Colquett to find out when he moved toCovingtonCountyfromCrenshawCounty,” she said. “I found that he bought land across fromSweetwaterChurchin 1909. In 1912, I found a deed where he and his brother-in-law, G.B. Morgan along with their wives, deeded two acres of land to the State ofAlabamafor the purpose of a school in District 31.”

 She said the deed stated this land was for a school, due to the Act of Legislature of Alabama, which was approved March 2, 1907. The 1907 act was a revision to the 1903 act. 

 The acts state that if practicable, a public school must be within two and a half miles of every child, provided that no district has fewer than 15 children of school age. A district should have three trustees. Schools must be open at least five months of the year. This school was built on the dirt road which is calledColquett Road. The school that was built was called Fleeta.

 “My great grandfather had a sister named Fleeta, which he was very close to,” she said. “Could this possibly be how the school got its name? Several of the teachers boarded at my great grandfather’s house.”

 Also, Nelson has used some previous historical books aboutCovingtonCountyin her own book, including a book by Gus and Ruby Bryan Book Covington County History 1821 - 1976.

 “The forerunner of theFleetaSchoolwas a one-room building located at Spurlintown on theOpp-Elba Highway, about three miles north of Opp. It was probably about 1893. In 1896 or 1897, the building was moved to the site of the presentSweetWaterChurch, a mile or so to the west. The original building served until about 1910, when a new two-room building was constructed. This building served adequately until in the early 1920’s when it became necessary to use the church as a classroom. Then in 1924, another room was added to the school building, making it a three-room school. It remained a three room school until 1936 when the present brick building was constructed about a mile west of the Sweet Water site.”

 Nelson said her desire to pen a book aboutFleetaSchoolcame after her father and uncle’s death and her desire to make sure the history was not forgotten.

 “I had talked to my father aboutFleetaSchoolbefore his death in August 2010,” she said. “After his death, I started asking questions aboutFleetaSchoolto my Uncle David, until his death seven months later. At that time, I realized that this history would be forgotten if I did not write some of the information that they had given me.”

 She said the number of “OldFleetaSchool” students are quickly dwindling, so she felt time was a factor.

 “My father’s sister, Annie Jo Colquett Farmer, has told me several stories of the school,” she said. “My father’s first cousin, Willodean Gilchrist Bailey, has shared her knowledge with me about the school. Also, Foyl Hudgens shared his memories to me about the school. They told me that students of all ages attended. Several students would have to be dismissed from school to help their family on their farms. Because of this, sometimes students would be in their teens and only be in the young school grades.”

 She has also learned through her research that in the 1920s, Fleeta had both a girls and boys basketball team. 

 After 1936, when the newFleetaSchoolopened in its present location, several families lived in the vacated school onColquett Road. Eventually, the old school was torn down, and a new house was built where the school was once located.

 Nelson said she got her title from what her dad, Morgan Colquett, always called the school he attended onColquett Road, OldFleetaSchool.