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 Murray County Museum  

Miss Lula Gladden

Mary Telula Gladden was born October 15, 1876, in Murray County, Georgia, the daughter of Berry W. and Julia Gladden. Both parents were born in Georgia.

The 1880 Census listed her family with Berry W. Gladden, age 41, head of the household. Julia, age 35, was Berry's wife. The children listed were Willard A., age 7, Mary T., age 3, and Julia J., one month.

At age 17, "Miss Lula" as she would be called, began a teaching career in Murray County that would span a half-century. By taking leaves of absence and attending summer school, she completed an A. B. degree from Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee.

Over the years she taught at Hall's Chapel School, Colvard High (also Principal), Fuller's School, Chatsworth Elementary (also Principal), Lucy Hill School, and Murray County High School.

When Murray County High School opened in the summer of 1934, Miss Gladden was one of the original faculty members. She wrote the new school's Alma Mater, "From the cliffs of old Cohutta....."

Her ties to education were so strong that she requested that her funeral be held in the high school auditorium. On Sunday, October 1, 1944, at 2:30 p.m., her wishes were fulfilled. The funeral attracted several generations of students Miss Lula had taught.

Miss Lula was buried in Spring Place Cemetery adjacent to her sister and brother. Her gravestone reads: Mary Telula Gladden, Oct. 15, 1876. Sept. 28, 1944. Sister. Beside her the tombstone reads: Julia Jeannette Gladden, May 9, 1880. Jan. 8, 1935. Sister. Their brother's stone reads: Willard A. Gladden, Feb. 28, 1873. July 9, 1921.

Of course, The Chatsworth Times, in their September 28, 1944 issue, reported Miss Gladden's death as front-page news. "Closing a career of half a century's teaching in Murray County schools, Miss Lula Gladden died Thursday afternoon at Hamilton Memorial hospital in Dalton, following an illness of several months." Since death occurred in the afternoon of the paper's issue date, it is probable that publication of that week's edition was delayed a few hours in anticipation of her passing. This allowed the paper to publish all of the funeral details prior to the service slated for Sunday of that week.

The article mentioned that Miss Lula was a member of the First Baptist Church of Chatsworth, the Order of the Eastern Star, and the United Daughters of the Confederacy.

The song written for MCHS in school year 1934-35 remains the school's official Alma Mater, some 75 years later.

For her outstanding contributions to Murray County High School, the Alumni Association has inducted Miss Lula Gladden into their Hall of Fame.


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