The legislature and education
The Burleson family has supported education for a long time. One of this family’s most notable supporters was Rufus C. Burleson, who served as president of what is now Baylor University on two separate occasions in the late 19th century.
President Burleson was progressive in terms of coeducation. When he took the helm at Baylor for the second time, 1886-1897, he printed circulars, placed ads in newspapers and distributed the college catalog to emphasize his policy that women students would be welcome in Waco.
Jan. 11, 1934—A community club to address local problems, especially in education, held its first meeting today. F. E. Burleson is president of the organization. Mr. Burleson had a notable first term in the Alabama House of Representatives and required little time to “learn the ropes.” It is now expected he will go back to the Legislature for a second term.
Sept. 12, 1935—The usual large crowd attended the opening of the Hartselle City School this morning. Both patrons and faculty look forward to a fine year’s work and increased enrollment. The exercises began at 9 a.m. with Professor F. E. Burleson, principal of the school, in charge.
Feb. 17, 1936—F. E. Burleson, principal of the Hartselle City School and a member of the state legislature, talked to a county-wide audience this afternoon at the Central Method Church in Decatur about temperance. Mr. Burleson is a strong believer in state prohibition and opposes the resumption of liquor sales in Alabama. (March 10, 1937, state voters decided to repeal statewide prohibition. However, only a minority of counties chose to allow alcohol sales within their boundaries. Since the late ’30s legal liquor has increasingly become available throughout Alabama.)
May 18, 1937—Professor F. E. Burleson delivered the commencement address to the senior class at Union Hill High School tonight. The graduates, he reminded them, would now have to take full responsibility for their own actions. They would make mistakes as all of us do, but with God’s help, they would learn from them. He gave examples of people who had done amazing things in their lives and said now this opportunity would be theirs. They would not be in this gym tonight if a lot of hard work had not preceded it. So, they had already done something great.
June 10, 1935—Rep. F. E. Burleson has introduced a local bill to allow the Morgan County sheriff to name a deputy sheriff in addition to his chief deputy. (At the present time this official has numerous deputies who have specific responsibilities as assigned by the sheriff.)
Jan. 11, 1937—Primary and elementary teachers of Morgan County met today at MCHS to study how to perform their jobs in a more effective way. Prior to the beginning of departmental meetings, Prof. F. E. Burleson, principal of the Hartselle Elementary School, led the teachers in group singing. Prof. Burleson also led the discussion for the group of elementary principals.
July 26, 1937—The annual synodic young people’s encampment of the Alabama-Mississippi synod of the Presbyterian church began at the now vacant Hartselle Civilian Conservation Corps this afternoon. Professor F. E. Burleson presented the welcome address from the City of Hartselle. The summer encampment program prepares young people of the Presbyterian community of faith to be informed, responsible, and effective citizens. Mayor J. P. Hodges frequently has Professor Burleson to substitute for him in welcoming visitors to the city when he is unavailable.
Sept. 16, 1941—Mrs. J. O. (Mary Josephine Witt) Burleson, age 72, beloved Morgan County matron, died at 9 o’clock last night at her home on Burleson Mountain. She is survived by four daughters, seven sons (including Prof. F. E. Burleson), seven grandchildren and two great–grandchildren. Funeral services will be conducted at the First Methodist Church tomorrow afternoon, the officiants being the Rev. J. F. T. Brown and the Rev. Frank Aldridge. Interment will be at Bethel. Mrs. Burleson was, before her marriage to the late J. O. Burleson, Miss Josephine Witt, the Burleson and Witt families being among the pioneer residents of Morgan County. She was born July 16, 1869, to L. S. Witt and the former Annie Yeager.
June 29, 1942—F. E. Burleson was elected president of the Morgan County Teachers Association at its meeting here in Hartselle today. He was also elected as a delegate to the annual session of the Alabama Educational Association as was Miss Lizzie Reed Penn, an instructor in English and public speaking at MCHS.