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HISTORY OF KNIFLEY COMMUNITY AND KNIFLEY'S SCHOOLS


"The school has been at the center
of the Knifley Community
for over 100 years"

Several photos accompany this story. A number of essays from the last graduating class now follow the introduction. A biography of Joseph Knifley is scheduled. Additions and corrections are invited.
"Our children won't be able to come here and that's sad." AMANDA GREER

By Jennifer Hardin and Donald Knifley,
and the last graduating class
of Knifley Grade Center

Around 1800, Phillip Knifley, along with his wife Sarah who was from Ireland, began to acquire land along the Northeast side of Roley Road, along Casey Creek, which was known back then as the "Knifley Fields".

Phillip and Sarah had five children. One, who was named Joseph, later became a minister and one of the founders of Knifley Christian Church.

The Knifley children's families began to grow, and they remained living in and around the same area.

The community then became known as "Knifley". The first post office in this community was named "Knifley" after Phillip Knifley. No doubt, about that same time, the Knifley community started having schools to educate the children in the area.

This local community of family members and friends grew and developed gradually through the years that followed.

It has withstood many changes, yet still continued to flourish as a community. Even the Civil War divided families, yet the Knifley community survived, as well as the school.

Thanks to photography and the memories from those near and dear to the community, the history of Knifley and the school has been preserved. The following captions explain the numbered photographs that show some of the history of the community. The photos follow this story.

Photo No. 1: 1902, a Fourth of July community celebration in Knifley.

Photo No. 2: The first available picture of Knifley school is from 1904. The students all were combined, grades 1-8, in the same room. Notice how no shoes were worn to school. Many of the students had only one pair of shoes to wear for Sunday and went to school barefoot (to the amazement of the students currently attending 8th grade at Knifley Grade Center). There was no high school for the community at this time.

Although no picture was available, there was also a second school in the community called Knifley No. 2, which was located at the top of the hill on Unioin Church Road, right behind/above the current school. This was a segregated school for the African American students in the community.

Photo No. 3: 1910 school picture. The girls all still wore dresses, still no shoes, except for the teacher. As the 8th graders now said, "There definitely were no Nike or Reebox!" That's one of the changes that they noticed. "The students have gone from no shoes to Nike shocks." In their words, "It (the pictures) looked like 'Little House on the Prarie'. " Obviously they were fascinated with the changes in appearance throughout the years.

Photo No. 4: Highschool photograph from 1933. There was a high school by this time. The students wore shoes to school, at least for this picture. But notice that the picture was taken in wintertime, which may have something to do with it.

Photo No. 5: (year unknown) this is a picture of the school that had been built in 1926. It was built with one auditorium and four classrooms for grade school students and high school students. In 1937 the school added two rooms to accommodate the growing enrollment numbers. John and Mary Dunbar were the teachers. The school shown in this picture stood, after being converted to a furniture shop in later years, until it was destroyed by fire in 1987.

Photo No 6: This is a picture of the Knifley High School basketball team. Tue current students, when viewing this picture, expressed a fascination with the shoes worn by these players.

Photo No. 7: Another major historic event that affected nearly everyone at the time, including the Knifley community, was World War II. The war called a lot of former Knifley students to serve their country. This picture is of a large number of Knifley Veterans, taken shortly upon their return from WWII. Of course, some unfortunately did not return.

Photo No. 8: This is a "yearbook" picture of the students in 1948-49.

Photo No. 9: This is a picture of Main Street in Knifley taken around 1950 and prior to the town being torn down and moved.

Photo No. 10: This is a picture of Knifley taken in the late 1940s or early 1950s. Knifley did have a theater which the current 8th graders were shocked to learn. They were even more surprised and excited to learn that the admission to this theater was only a cost of 9 cents and for this nine cents, one could view two movies, a cartoon and another short film, which is by far a great deal cheaper than today's students have to pay when they go to the theaters in today's time. Clem Feese, father-in-law of Tonya Feese, the current preschool teacher at Knifley Grade Center, is shown standing in front of the theater in Knifley in this picture.

Photo No. 11: This is a picture of the current 8th grade students at Knifley Grade Center, the last graduating class for this community's school.
Many changes have taken place since the Phillip and Sarah first acquired land here

Throughout the years since Phillip and Sarah Knifley first acquired the lands which eventually became knows as the community of Knifley, many changes and developments have taken place, both positive and negative. Yet the small community of knifley has survived and has always been a community.As evidenced in the pictures the schools have continued as well, despite the wars, the moving of the town (for the lake) and the other changes. However, this will be the final year for the county/community school, Knifley Grade Center, and it will be a tremendous adjustment for the students, their families, the teachers, and the community as a whole.

"After this school closes down, there will be nothing really to identify the community."

As one 8th grader, Chelsea Beard, stated, "After this school closes down, there will be nothing really to identify the community." Knifley school has been a big center of the city and the community will be nothing now except for the fire department and a few local gas stations or community stores. We can't carry on the history of Knifley Grade Center. It stops with our class being the last graduating class for our school."

Nicholas Humphress, another 8th grader, who, when viewing the pictures of the older Knifley ball teams, expressed his thoughts about there being no more KGC teams to be identified. He feels that the students will blend in with the newer teams in town, once the schools are combined and will in a sense, lose their identity. Still, the sadness continues to be expressed for future students in the community who will not be able to attend this school as Amanda Greer stated, "Our children won't be able to come here and that's sad."

Many students are from families who have attended the school for generations

Many of these children come from a line of descendants who have attended the school in Knifley throughout the years and it is sad, as Amanda stated, that this won't be continued. Hopefully the memories that have been made at Knifley Grade Center in the more recent years, just like those shared from the history since the beginning of the first community school, will continue and be passed along to future generations so that they can understand and see the value of such a small community learning environment.

The school has been at the center of Knifley for over 100 years

The school has been at the center of the Knifley Community for over 100 years and has withstood and overcome numerous battles. Yet, this final battle for the community seems to be one that couldn't be won. It remains to be seen whether or not the community will survive the closing of its school at the end of this school year. Hopefully the memories, however, will still go on.



The Last Knifley Grade Center Graduates
pen their thoughts on the closing of KGS
Essayists are in alphabetical order


CHELSEA BEARD
"I think that the small community schools give more attention to the kids. . . "

I am very sad that Knifley is closing.

My reasons are the history and the heritage that the Knifley students carry, but I know that alumni of Knifley wil always take the memories with them. I felt bad for the little kids having to ride the bus a long way.

I think that the small community schools give more attention to the kids and the classes are smaller.

The way that children learn is through attention, and I don't think the new school will give as much.


SHERRY BROCKMAN
"I will have to leave all my friends"

I hate that Knifley is leaving.

The reason why is that I will have to leave all my friends.

Knifley has given us a good education, probably better than the new school can give.

Our children will not be known as Knifley Kids. They will be known as Town Kids.

Then, too, Knifley has given me a lot of memories that will be treasured for the rest of my life.

These are the reasons that Knifley Grade Center should not be shut down.


AMANDA GREER
"Knifley is like a big house filled with family"

From barefeet to Nike Shocks, Knifley School has come a long way.

In fact, it has been in session since 1904: 102 years!

Unfortunately, this long-lasting, fun-filled school is sadly coming to an end.

My classmates and I will be the last graduating class from this memorable school. It is an honor and it is upsetting, all at the same time.

This is my 9th year at Knifley, and what a wonderful nine years it has been.

I've made so many friends, I've learned how to deal with problems, Knifley is where I learned to deal with problems, and I grew up here.

Knifley is like a big house filled with family. The teachers are the moms, teaching us what's right and wrong, and the students are my brothers and sisters.

I'm sad to sad that I will be the last generation of the Greer family to have the privilege of attending Knifley>

I think shutting Knifley down is the worst mistake anyone could ever make, but I guess a good thing can't last forever. I think if it last 102 years, it can last another 102 years.

I had my first fight here, my first friend; I am going to be so sad to leave.

I am going to high school next year, but I wanted my children, grandchildren, and great grandchildren to go here, too.

I believe good things should last forever.


LEEANN HELM
"I wish they would not shut it down "

I am upset that this is the last year that Knifley Grade Center will be open, because when we have kids, they won't be able to send them to Knifley.

Knifley means a lot to me. I made a lot of friends here.

I hate it that it will be gone.

I will miss going to Knifley Grade Center.

They taught us well here. I will miss going here where I had a lot of friends.

I wish they would not shut it down.

This is just a little bit of why I don't want Knifley to close.


DANIEL HUMPHRESS
"My kids won't be able to go here "

I'll feel bad that Knifley is closing. No more good times here!

My kids won't be able to go here.

There won't be a Knifley basketball team anymore.

These are the main things I will miss about Knifley.


NICHOLAS HUMPHRESS
"There is a lot of history in this school for such a small town. "

It is a sad year because Knifley is closing, because our kids will not be able to come to Knifley to school.

There is a lot of history in this school for such a small town.

Phillip Knifley and Sarah Moore moved here and started the town.


WHITNEY JOHNSON
"We will all miss stepping into this little school were we all know each other "

The closing of the Knifley school has hurt many. Not only students that attend, but parents, grandparents, aunts, and uncles that have attended.

Now that Knifley is closing down, changes will be coming. We can no longer ride our bicycles to school or walk home from school. We have to ride the bus for 20 to 30 minutes before and after school.

I still saw Knifley having a good future ahead of it. The ball teams get better as time goes on. The cheerleading squads gets better and cheered the Greyhounds on more.

The news came and everyone was not as peppy and as joyous as they were before.

There may have been some times we've all said, "I wish something would happen to that school," but never did we really think it would.

Now that it has, those who have said those words regret them.

Knifley was good while it lasted and we will all remember it and al the good times we had there.

Can you remember back when Knifley first had a schoool? It was back long ago. 1904 to be exact.

This was when you only wore shoes to Sunday School. You didn't wear them to school where you learn history, math, science, and spelling.

When I look back at my last years at Knifley, I remember lots of events and memories that will be with me so I will tell my children.Those memories that I had at Knifley are not something everyone is going to experience. Not because Knifley would change over years, but because it will no longer be a great place were the local children will join and learn.

Back in the 1800s, Phillip Knifley came along and also Dr. Land's very own Sarah. They began to buy land in what is now known as Knifley. Philip and Sarah had five children. One of the five, Joseph Knifley, later became a minister and founded the Kinfley Christian Church.

Then later the first post office was built in Knifley and had the name of Knifley. The post office was named after Phillip Knifley.

1861 was a big time in American history. There was Civil War, which tore many families and communities apart. Knifley, as it was known at this time, was not bothered by this war. No matter what Knifley was never thought to be torn apart.

Now that Knifley Grade Center is being closed there will be no function in Knifley. We will all miss stepping into this little school were we all know each other.

Now we will be going to bigger schools where we will not get the same attention as Knifley gave everyone.

Not only is the school going to be dead as night, but the Knifley Area Fire Department, which was where many of the Greyhounds ball games were held. Little League games, ball events, and fun will no longer take place there.

There wil be no ball teams, cheerleading, or any other type of club or sport with the beginning name "Knifley Greyhound."

Still after years pass and we all get settled we will all still have a missing part of us. That is the feeling of love that only Knifley gave to the children that have or did attend the good, magnificent, caring, loving, fun, and awesome old Knifley.


ASHTON LEE
"I have been a student of Knifley for so long "

Knowing that Knifley is closing and may never open again makes me feel sad, because I have been a student of Knifley for so long.

Also, other people from the past feel the way I do, especially because some of their kids will never be able to go to Knifley, as they did, years ago.

It also pertains to to our kkids of the future. They will also not be able to go to we school to which we went.

This is my emotion towards the closing of Knifley Grade Center.


HALEY LUTTRELL
"I have had great memories here and I will never forget them "

Knifley means a lot to me and I hate that it's going to go.

I have had great memories here and I will never forget them.

I made all sorts of friends here. It was the community school.

Now we will no longer have our own school and we will be known as town kids instead of Knifley kids.

A lot of smart people came come from Knifley and that's one of the best things for which Knifley is known.

In Knifley, it was easier for the teachers because they had fewer kids to teach and everyone would listen most of the time.

When we go to a crowded school next year it will be harder for the teachers to teach because they will have more kids to teach and half the class won't be listening.

So, you see, Knifley ought to stay so there will be more smart kids next year and so we will each have a good education.

These are some of my feeling about what I think about them tearing the school down.

It has been here since the 1800s or 1900s. So why are they just now deciding to tear it down and build a new school for all of Knifley, Sheperd, and Sparksville kids.

It doesn't make any sense.


TOBY PENDLETON
"Just think abut it, after this year there be no more Knifley School . . . "

I think closing down Knifley School is a bad idea.

Everybody I have talked to is sad, because it has been around for about 90 years.

Just think abut it, after this year there be no more Knifley School, and there will be no K.B.R.

So this is why I think closing the school is a bad idea.

Related Link(s):

To read Richard Hovious' letter after reading this article, Click Here



This story was posted on 2006-04-24 13:22:31
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 1 Looking Down Main



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. A Fourth of July, 1902, community celebration in Knifley, KY. This is a rarely seen photo of Main Street, looking east, in old Knifley, from the collection of Donald Knifley. Mr. Knifley has not identified any of people in the photo. But he does note that it is the only photo extant which shows the letters at the top of the L.R. Chelf store, upper right hand corner, clearly enough in his original that the letters can be made out with a magnifying glass. The photo kicks off the serialized story of the community and the school, by Donald Knifley, Jennifer Hardin, and students and staff of Knifley Grade Center. Several more wonderful photos will accompany the stories.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 2. Knifley School 1904



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 2. This is the earliest available picture in the Donald Knifley Collection. It is a well-marked black and white picture from an October, 1970, Columbia newspaper. The students all were combined, grades 1 through 8, in the same room. Notice how no shoes were worn to school. Many of the students had only one pair of shoes to wear for Sunday and went to school barefoot, to the amazement of the students currently attending 8th Grade at Knifley Center. there was no high school for the community at this time.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 3 School Photo 1910



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 3. Knifley. 1910 School picture from an old Columbia newspaper. The girls all wore dresses, still no shoes, except for the teacher. As the current, 2006 KGS students said, There definitely were no Nike or Reeboks! That is one of the changes that they noticed. The students have gone from no shoes to Nike Shocks at KGS In the words of the students, It (the pictures) looklike Little House on the Prairie. Obviously they were fascinated with changes in appearance throughout the years.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 4 KHS, 1933



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 4. A Knifley High School photo from 1933. There was a high school by this time. The students wore shoes to school, at least for this picture. But notice that the picture was taken in wintertime, which may have something to do with it.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 5. Knifley High School built in 1926



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 5. Year unknown. This is a picture of the school that had been built in 1926. It was built with one auditorium and four classrooms for grade school and high school students. In 1937 the school added two rooms to accommodate the growing enrollment numbers. John and Mary Dunbar were the teachers. The school in this picture stood, after being converted to a furniture shop in later years, until it was destroyed by fire in 1987.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 6 KHS Basketball Team 1936



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 6. Knifley. This is a picture of the Knifley High School basketball team. The 2006 KGS eighth grade, viewing this picture, expressed a fascination with the shoes worn by the players. The players are, from left, No. 8 Furman Jones, No. 7 Benny Hovious, No 1, Presley Chelf. Back row, No. 6 Fred Tucker, No. 5 Bill Davis, No. 2 Dennis Holcomb, No. 4 Robert Rafferty, and Edgar Lacy, Coach. Not pictured were No.3 Elwood Scott, No. 9 Billy Joe Breeding, and No. 10 Earl Mann.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 7. Knifley Veterans



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. No. 7. Knifley Veterans. Another major historic event that affected nearly everyone at the time, including the Knifley community, was World War II. The war called a lot of former Knifley Veterans to serve. This picture is of a large number of Knifley Veterans, taken shortly upon their return. FRONT ROW, from left, Marshall Chelf, Ivan Knifley, Robert Spires, Charles Arnold, Aldus Brockman, Samuel Goode, Murrell Sanders. SECOND ROW: Robert Bottoms, Howard Chelf, Herman Chelf, Raymond Brockman, Presley Chelf, Vernon Williams, Troy Hovious, Jimmy Bottoms, Grover Pendleton. THIRD ROW: Dennis Halcomb, Samuel Jones, J.C. Thomas, Alton Hendrickson.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHOOL No. 8. Knifley School Grades 4-7 1948-1949



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff of photo from Donald Knifley collection. Photo No. 8. This is a yearbook picture of the students in Grades 4-7 in 1948-1949. Sue Perkins sent us, on May 1, 2006, a nearly complete list of names. They are, each row from left, TOP: Joyce Hovious, Pete Beard, Glena Bryant, Buddy Knifley, Shirley Hancock, Sam Stapleton, Margare Sue Christie. SECOND DOWN: Jess Callahan, (First Name) Giles?, Shirley Callahan, Sam Bailey. THIRD ROW DOWN: Mary Nell Corbin, (Unknown), Marjorie Feese, Billy Burr Humphress, (First Name) Corbin (Willard Corbin's Younger daughter; Tommy Tedder, Shirley Feese. BOTTOM: Ray Quinn, Joanne Hovious, James James Humphress, Elmer Ray Gabehart, Ireda Bailey, and Millard Carney. Ms. Perkins and we will appreciate any updates, corrections, or comments.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHOOL No. 9. Main ST 50s to 60s



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff from Donald Knifley Photo Collection. Photo No. 9. Knifley. This is a picture of Main Street, looking east. in Knifley taken around the mid-1950s to early 1960s, before the town was torn down and moved because the Corps of Engineers took the old town to make way for Green River Lake. On the right, the Texaco gas pump is in front of the Luke and Marie Knifley Restaurant. On right is two story Knifley Post Office, unidentified metal sided building, the KY 551 from Columbia, then the brick building which house the Jack Hovious Store, then a vacant lot is where barber shop was, then the L.R. Chelf Store. This side of the post office would be where the Leon Christie Store was located. This photo, taken by Bro. Wolgemuth, was the inspiration for a painting now owned by Louise Spires.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHOOL No. 9B. Main Street Late 40s or early 50s



2006-04-20 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff from photo in Donald Knifley Collection. Photo 9B. Main Street, looking east. On the left, the concrete slab was site of the Babe Hovious Store. Next to it is the arched entry to the skating rink. The photo was probably taken in the late 40s, early 50s. On the right is the two story Knifley Post Office at the time.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 10. Art Theater



2006-04-21 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff from photo in Donald Knifley Collection. Photo No. 10. Knifley. This is a picture taken in the late 1951. The Art Theater, owned by Luke Knifley, was going strong. The photo was given to Don Knifley from Marie Hatfield in 1997. In the front row are William Martin, Beulah Hardin, and Orin Martin. In the back row are Clem Feese, Glenna Rhea Spires, and Travis Hatfield. In 1951, Donald Knifley and his family moved to Fairground Street in Columbia.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 10A. Rev. Joseph Knifley



2006-04-21 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Staff from Donald Knifley Photo Collection. Photo No. 10A. Knifley. REV. JOSEPH KNIFLEY was one of the children of Phillip and Sarah Knifley, and the great grandfather of Libby Knifley Rogers of Columbia, KY. Rev. Knifley was one of the founders of the Knifley Christian Church, according to some records. There is a lengthy article in the 1887 History of Kentucky book owned by Don Knifley which details the life of Rev. Knifley. Libby Rogers has the original photo, which is in a beautiful 16 x 20 oak frame.
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MEMORIES of KNIFLEY, SCHO0L No. 11. The last graduates 2006



2006-04-21 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo Ed Waggener. HISTORIC GROUP at Knifley Grade Center. (Photo No. 11. Knifley) This is the last class which will ever graduate from Knifley Grade Center. Next year, the students will transfer to school on the Adair County School District Main Campus in Columbia. The students have great memories of the school, which will be carried, along with historical material supplied by Donald Knifley over the next few days. FRONT, from left to right: Leeann Helm, Dillon Willis, Ashley Peterson, Whitney Johnson, Haley Luttrell, Sherry Brockman, Amanda Greer, Chelsea Beard (she standing on the end in front) BACK: Nicholas Humphress, Daniel Humphress, Toby Pendleton, Kent Greer, Tony Gabehart, and Ashton Lee. Special thanks to Donald Knifley, Principal Robbie Harmon, Jennifer Hardin and all the teachers, staff, and students for help in assembling the material which will follow later.
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Memories of Knifley: L.R. Chelf store ad January 2, 1907



2006-05-04 - Knifley, Adair CO, KY - Photo from Cyrus collection. Cyrus found this old clipping from nearly 100 years ago of an ad in the Columbia, KY, Adair County News for the L.R. Chelf Store in Knifley. Cyrus said the biggest surprise on the page, though, was the bank ad in the lower right hand corner. Capitalization for the FIrst National Bank was $25,000.
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