By allowing ads to appear on this site, you support the local businesses who, in turn, support great journalism.
Visiting a favorite teacher
Arthur Exley and Edna Morgan 2012
Arthur Exley, age 81, greets his first-grade teacher, Edna Q. Morgan, 98. - photo by Photo provided

In September 1937 a new teacher came from Charleston, S.C., to Clyo Consolidated High School to teach first grade. She was named Miss Edna Quinby and she was 24 years old. She had an A.B. degree from the College of Charleston with majors in Latin and mathematics. In 1939 she received a M.A. degree from George Peabody College for Teachers with a major in education and minors in psychology and history. She later took courses at what is now known as Georgia Southern University.

At this time there were five high schools in Effingham County: Clyo, Guyton, Springfield, Rincon and Marlow with primary one-room schoolhouses scattered about the communities.

Arriving by train and boarding in Clyo, Miss Edna had only boys in her first-grade class. Five of the eight had the surname of Edwards. She also taught the second grade at the same time in her classroom. Of the eight young men in that first grade, Arthur Exley is believed to be the only one still living.

Mrs. Edna taught at Clyo for two years, then went back to Charleston and taught one year (1939-40) at Sullivan’s Island, S.C. She met Hollis Albert Morgan in Clyo and after courtship they married on July 14, 1940, in Charleston. Mrs. Edna came back to Clyo to live with her husband and they had three children: B. Ryal Morgan, Ashley A. Morgan and Sylvia M. Hendrix. She taught for 31 years in the Effingham County School System, 18 of them in Clyo.

Her years included teaching at every grade level from first through 12th grade. Mrs. Edna taught more than one generation in families during those years including Arthur and his son David.

On Sunday afternoon, Sept. 23, 2012, Arthur Exley, age 81, dropped by to visit his 98-year-old former teacher. He reminisced about the event of his first school day 75 years ago. Arthur stated, “I was a sniveling little school boy that day.” He can still recite speeches or poems learned for chapel all these years later. Mrs. Edna is still very alert and well read, surrounded by papers and books. She takes no pleasure in the television and is still writing, working on compiling information about all the soldiers in all the wars in her family as a keepsake for her three children, five grandchildren and 10 great- grandchildren.

She says, “I still do reading, writing and arithmetic; the arithmetic is mostly now balancing my checkbook.” This petite little lady has a very sharp mind and lots of knowledge still to share. She is a treasure and, despite the vagaries of advanced age, quite remarkable for someone who will be 99 years old on Oct. 23.

Mrs. Edna even mentioned that she wondered why people in Effingham live so long and that a study should be done on this. She is still finding joy in the written words in her books and papers.

Everyone in Effingham County who was lucky enough to be her student, including my father Arthur, is very glad that she was influential in their life as a teacher and that she has remained a pillar in our community earning a fond place in our hearts.

This was written by Susan Exley of Historic Effingham Society. If you have photos, comments or information to share, contact Susan Exley at 754-6681 or email her at: