WASHINGTON COUNTY HISTORICAL SOCIETY

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The Educational Legacy of Mr. Thomas Joseph Roulhac 

THOMAS  JOSEPH  ROULHAC

(1872-1943)

 

 quoted from:

                      (E. W. Carswell: Washington, Florida’s Twelfth County)

 

     Chipley’s Roulhac Middle School bears the name of T. J. Roulhac, Orange Hill area native, who in 1913 became supervisor of Washington County’s schools for black children. He then served under the direction of Superintendent W. T. Horne. Roulhac was paid $40 per month from the Anna T. Jeans Fund, managed by Dr. J. M. Dillard of New Orleans, and $20 per month from the County School Board.

     Roulhac was identified throughout his adult career as a leader, along with members of his family, in efforts to improve the quality of education for black children. He became principal in 1938 of Chipley’s first high school for black children. It also provided classes for elementary and junior high pupils, and was unofficially known as the “Roulhac School”, or “Roulhac High School”.

      When the schools were integrated in 1968, the high school students at Roulhac transferred to Chipley High School. The community’s elementary pupils of both races were enrolled at Kate M. Smith School, and those in grades six, seven and eight attended classes at “Roulhac School”, which was soon officially named Roulhac Middle School, in memory of the county’s distinguished educator.

     He was a basically self-taught man who started his teaching career at age 20, and continued in that service for 49 years. He was the father of ten children, all of whom became educators, and whose children and grandchildren are distinguishing themselves in (this and) many other professions.

 

 

ADDITIONAL NOTES: (Carswell data)  

     T. J. Roulhac was the son of Warren Roulhac and Catharine E. Roulhac of the Orange Hill community. (He was one of eleven children.--Bethea)

     W. Roulhac was one of three trustees of Sand Hill School in 1875. (He was 24.--1880 census) Sand Hill was the school for blacks in the Orange Hill area. In 1890, Catharine E Roulhac was teaching at Myer’s Still and was still there in 1911.

     Patience Goode Roulhac, wife of T.J. Roulhac, was at Sand Hill in 1911 and 1917. In 1937, she was shown on the county roster of teachers, school not specified. It is interesting to note that in 1911, T. J. Roulhac taught at St. Mary’s. (In those days, Caryville was considered ‘a fur piece’ from Orange Hill.--oral history)

 

A chalk drawing of Mr Roulhac by local artist Karen Roland

Thomas Joseph Roulhac siblings who were educators:

Claudia Roulhac Harmon *

Jessie Pearl Roulhac Conoly *

Bennett Roulhac *

Alma Katurah Roulhac Jenkins/Shackleford  *

Eliza Roulhac Davis /Oliver *

Katie Virenna Roulhac Bethea/Fletcher  *

Grace Roulhac Horne *

Bernice Roulhac Gibson *

Annie C. Roulhac Campbell *

Maude D. Roulhac Jackson *       

 

     

Grandchildren who are/were educators:

Virena Harmon Brown

Eva Mae Harmon Campbell *

Vivian Conoly Koonce                                                 other careers: Joseph B.*, Oscar N.*, &

Sylvia Jewel Conoly Ellis                                               William G. Harmon*; Louise Harmon Potter*, Althea E.

Maudelyn Conoly Johnson                                            Conoly, James Garland Conoly Jr.; Frank Jenkins,                      

Eliza Jenkins Russ *                                                      Elizabeth C. Jenkins Hadley*, Alvin B. Jenkins Sr*,       

Pauline Davis Richardson/Brady *                                 Lawrence Jenkins*; Howard Horne Jr.; William H. Gibson*;

Vyrle Davis                                                                  Jacqueline Campbell Newkirk, Janice Campbell Robinson

Doris Jeanine Bethea Johnson *

Mildred Juanita Bethea Slaughter *

Edwin A. Bethea

Joyce Monette Bethea Martin

Annie K. Horne Davis *

 

Great Grandchildren who are/were Educators

Marion Harmon

William Harmon
Deborah Potter Brown                                     other careers:   
Mary Louise Booker, Ernest Potter,

Oscar B. Potter *                                                         Barbara Koonce Hunter, Sylvia Fisher/Darling/Wright,           

Karen Koonce Edwards                                               Bruce Robinson, Thomas Brown, Herbert Brown,

Denise Russ Kearse                                           Valerie Johnson, Sonya Hadley, Celeste Davis,

Sandra Jenkins                                                                  Bernard Bethea, Bronwyn Bethea, Bryant Bethea,

Leisa V. Johnson                                                          John Harmon, James Harmon, Valdee Harmon Sheffield

Dr. Kendall Marvin Campbell                           and others…

 

Great-Great Grandchildren children who are Educators

Kristopher Hunter

 

Grandnieces of TJ Roulhac who are/were educators:

Josephine Roulhac Robinson Floyd and Dr. Thelma Roulhac Wood

 

* Deceased

NOTE: as currently believed

 

 

 

                                                  Personal Remarks

                                                             from:

                                 a former president of Chipley Garden Club

                                                              and

                                   a former educator of Washington County

 

 

      I first heard the name of T. J. Roulhac in association with the churches of Chipley. At this time in 49, the local school for children of color had already been named for him. During the 50’s, I occasionally did mini-projects for the State Dept. of Education. (Teachers didn’t make much money in those days, you know, and often worked 2nd jobs.) In the early 60s, even before token integration, I ate lunch at Roulhac High once-a-week as County Lunchroom Supervisor. Then in the late 60s, Roulhac Middle became my school home. Here I taught science (and sometimes home economics) until I retired in 1993. Today, of course, his name lives on in a state-of-the-art school on Brickyard Road.

     My memories of ‘the old days’ still warm my heart. I often drive through the neighborhood on Pecan Street, just to touch the past. One day I even wrote a poem about Roulhac, “the once-proud lady… lashed by pampas grass.” *

     Some of my memories of old Roulhac include: the beauty of the Maypole, the strut of the marching bands, the bounce of the ball on clay courts, the gap-toothed smiles of first graders. My own days on campus overwhelm me: the surging energy everywhere, the Eureka moment of igniting a spark for learning. And today the enduring friendships formed there, bring hugs that sustain me in my waning years at Walmart.

     Thank you, Mr. T. J. Roulhac!

                                                 

                                                                     *McGlamery-- Red Clay Pots

                                                 (included in: The Heritage of Washington County, Florida)              

                                                            

 

 

                                                                     Josephine Brooks McGlamery

 

 

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