Celeste Darby — A guiding light in education in the 1890s

Published 9:04 pm Tuesday, November 15, 2022

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Celeste Darby was one of the early educators in Pike County.  Miss Darby was born on December 29, 1866 to parents James Bunyon Darby and Celeste Worthy.  In the February 28, 1894 Troy Messenger, Miss Celeste Darby, who had been teaching  second grade, was elected to fill the position as first grade teacher that was vacated by Mrs. W. H. Allison.  We believe she is one that is fitted for the place and will be a success there as she has proven in the second grade.

Dianne Smith

Dianne Smith

Miss Darby passed away on June 4, 1950 and this story was in the Troy Messenger about her life.

The name of Celeste Darby will be a guiding light for generations in the annals of education in Troy, particularly at Troy state.

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     Miss Darby passed away Sunday at Beard’s Hospital where she was taken after she was stricken at the home of Miss Catherine Gardner.  Funeral services were held this afternoon at 3 o’clock from the First Baptist Church.

     Miss Darby was a member of the first graduating class at the old Troy Normal School in 1888 and immediately entered upon a career that meant illustrious service to the children of Troy for 53 years.  She was connected with the city school system until 1900 when she returned to her Alma Mater.  She remained with the college laboratory school until her retirement in 1941.

     Miss Darby was always a teacher of children.  During her entire career she taught first or second grade.  Countless present day grandparents in this section got their initial schooling under the inspired guidance of this honored educator, and hundreds of State Teachers College students did their practice teaching with Miss Celeste.

     Her greatest honor came last year when the Troy State Alumni Association presented her portrait to the college.  The presentation was part of the Homecoming theme, “Honoring the Founders.”  The portrait was painted by Mrs. Frank M. Gracey and now hangs in the reading room of McCartha Hall.  The elementary education division of the college chapter of Future Teachers of America is the Celeste Darby chapter.

     The deceased was a lifelong resident of Troy, a member of the 19th Century Club and the First Baptist Church.  She was the granddaughter of Dr. A. N. Worthy, a pioneer Troy citizen and a founder of the church.

     All of these articles can be found in previous editions of The Troy Messenger.  Stay tuned for more.  Dianne Smith is the President of the Pike County Historical, Genealogical and Preservation Society.