The History of Mill Creek School: 1879 - 1979


The Board of Public Instruction, St. Johns County, records that: "Thomas A. Pacetti, Superintendent of
Schools, St. Johns County, and Secretary to the Board, appointed to replace the late T. T. Russell,
March 21, 1879. Members of the Board, B. F. Oliveros, president and chairman, W. J. Watkins,
George H. Emery, and W. Hicks."

The following is also from the superintendent's records: "April 30, 1879 -- Miss Mary Ludwig teacher
School No. 7, Mill Creek, from January 1 to April 14, 1879. Three and a half months $70.00." And
from the records of the Board of Public Instruction, St. Johns County: "September 3, 1879, Miss Mary
Ludwig assigned School No. 7, Mill Creek, position as teacher subject to the approval of the board. 18
children."

It is reasonable to assume from the above entries that Miss Mary Ludwig taught two terms at the new
Mill Creek School. Since the first term started 1 January 1879, the building was probably constructed in
1878. The superintendent, in his End of the Year Report, describes the building in that era of school
history as being built on land offered for use by the patrons. The patrons also cut the logs and
constructed the building, which was a one room structure with a fireplace for warmth.

Miss Leila V. Jones was appointed to teach on 26 November 1880. The trustees appointed were C.
M. Solano, P. Solano, and Domingo Pacetti. Miss S. E. Relt was appointed to teach after Miss Jones.
Unfortunately, there is a lapse in the records of all the schools in the county from 1881 to 1893. Mr.
Douglas Hartley's office has never had records covering this period. It is known by descendants of
students attending Mill Creek School during those years that Miss Leila Jones returned to teach several
more terms. Miss Mellanee Rogero also taught several terms during this period.

According to the superintendent's records of 1893, the first school was destroyed by fire. A second
building was constructed about 1893, again by the patrons of Mill Creek. The second building was also
one room and constructed of undressed siding. It was located near the Coxetter Grant, a short distance
to the southwest of Pacetti Road near the Bob Lee Place and Landing, but still in Mill Creek.

Teachers at the new school were: Miss Rita Leonardi, Mrs Susie Pacetti, "provided that her infant will
not be taken to school," Miss M. L. Bawskett, Miss Leone Rood, Miss Julia Rogers, Miss M. L.
Pooser, who taught several terms, and Miss Sherman, who was transferred from Switzerland to teach at
Mill Creek. Francis E. Pacetti served as trustee for several years.

One acre of land, located just to the south of the present school, was purchased from a Mrs. Hunter at
Mill Creek in 1913. A one-room school of dressed siding was constructed on the site. The building was
painted white and finished inside with horizontal ceiling, a wood-burning heater provided heat and there
was a hand pump for water. A cloakroom and porch were added several years later. This building
housed the school until 1928.

Miss Maude Stephens was the first teacher of this 1914 school. Other teachers were: Miss Anita
Simms, Mrs. Macey Pinkham Pacetti, Miss Rhoda O'Caine, Miss Evelyn Batey, Miss Floyce Moore,
Miss Emily Banks, Mrs. Thelma Clanton Pacetti, and Mrs. Elsie Holiday Nessler.

The first bus driver at Mill Creek school was E. E. Fisher. The bus was a Model T, and Mr. Fisher
brought children from Hardwood to Mill Creek. Mrs. Louis (Susie) Pacetti was the first trustee of this
school and served for several years. Fred Pacetti was appointed to succeed her and he also served for
several years.

One-room, one teacher schools were established in
Moultrie, Fruit Cove, and Holy Branch about the
same time as Mill Creek (1879). Schools of this type were established Sampson, Durbin, Switzerland,
Julington Creek, Orangedale,
Picolata, Bakersville and Trout Creek shortly thereafter.

Land adjacent to the acre bought in 1913 was purchased by the County School Board in 1927. A
wonderful event was about to take place in Mill Creek that would not only benefit people of this
community, but all communities of northwestern and midwestern St. Johns County. In late 1927 and
early 1928, a large red brick building was constructed at Mill Creek. It was the Mill Creek School,
Consolidated.

The consolidated school brought children from the various communities in the County together. From
Picolata came the Klipstines, Kights, Arnolds, Robinsons, and Smiths. From Bakersville the  
Weedmans, Scaffs, Ashtons, Pacettis, and Colees. From Hardwood the Causeys. From Sampson the
Wilsons (a pioneer family in that com- munity), as well as the Pappys, Ortaguses, Masters, and
DeRays. From Race Track Road near
Bayard (formerly known as the Louis Ortagus Road) more
Ortaguses. From Orangedale the Applers, Durdens and Burneys. From Switzerland the Roberts,
Moremans, Churches, Falanas and Donahoos, all pioneer settlers from that area. The Mills and Tappan
families also came from Switzerland. And from Mill Creek the Braddocks, Fishers, McBees, and more
Pacettis.

A new era in the history of Mill Creek School had begun. Mr. Robert B. Meserve was Superintendent
of Schools at that time. The school consisted of six classrooms, teachers' lounge, principal's office, and
spacious facilities for girls and boys. The cafeteria was added in 1952, and the library in 1960. The
school now has thirteen classrooms, including five portables.

The one-room school constructed in 1914 was moved closer to the consolidated school by Fred
Pacetti and George Klipstine in the latter part of 1928. The building was used as a cafeteria and for 4-H
Club activities for many years.

The 1928-1928 faculty consisted of Mr. P. G. Cogburn as Principal, and the following teachers: Miss
Wanda Sawyer, Mrs. Helen Godwin, Mrs. Lucille Nolan, Miss Effie Carter and Miss Alice Beasley.
The first trustees of the new school were Mrs. Louis (Susie) Pacetti, Reginald Moreman, Sr. and E. B.
Fisher. These trustees served for many years. The first school bus drivers were Mrs. Martha Ortagus,
Mrs. Marie Ortagus and George Klipstine; Ralph Rouse was the first custodian.

After Mr. Cogburn, those who served as principal are: Dwight L. Wilson, Robert W. Sawin, John S.
Fish, E. R. Poppell, Mary Guilmartin, P. T. Molin, Robert May, John A. McCollough (who served
longer than any other principal), J. H. Caldwell, O. C. Hayes, John D. Baggett, Sr., Fred Allen, Gwen
Riechert, and the present principal, Roger Coffee.  Teachers at the school since its consolidation are:

Lynda Barnes   Effie Greens   Lucky Miller   Ava Lou Sanchez
Alice Beasley Landrum Evelyn Halyard  Judy Loukes   Wanda Sawyer
Art Bocciere   Ruth Hart   Helen May   Ken Seifert
Evelyn Broudy   Agnes Hatcher  Mary Middlestadt  Ruth Singletary
Mary Brown   Mabel Hersey   Rhoda Neel   Anne Smith
Clair Butterfield  Moi Lee Hinson  Lucille Nolan   Carol Solano
Linda Carlson   Marjorie Killebrew Barrett Tommie Lee Nolan Pauline Stevenson
Effie Carter   Bea King    Marcia Norman  Nancy Sweazy
Sue Cosby   Betty King   Susan Olsen   Nelann Sweeney Hewitt
Elsie Estes   Ethel Kennedy  Thelma Pacetti  Martha Wainwright Mickler
Esther Ferrell   Elsie LaBree   Fleta Parrish   Carolyn Taylor
Robert Ford   Joy Langston   Patsy Phinney   Rhonda Wages
Gerald Gibson   Frank Larkins   Donna Pruett   Hattie Wescott
Vicki Gillis   Mary Lou Lee   Annie Rutledge  Dorothy Wilson
Helen Godwin   Patricia Leonardi  John Ryder

Music Teachers: Bernice Erkelens, Effamae Foster, and Lucille Martin. Librarians:  Anne Colee
Bocceiri and Jean Chastain.
Mill Creek School,
St. Johns County Florida
1879-1979
St. Johns County Public Schools
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