Some people in the northern part of Greenville County started life where North Greenville High School was a family tradition. Some, like Mrs. Clarice Dill McGill of the Sandy Flat community, are spending their sunset years in the same environment.
The daughter of the late William Spartan and Mattie Taylor Dill of the Double Springs community, Clarice was one of nine children. All five of the girls, Jennie Dill (Mrs. H.C.) Hester (’09), Lillie Dill (Mrs. R.C.) Blackwell (’18), Elsie Dill (Mrs. Warren) Gibson (’18), Rosa Dill (Mrs. Joe) Moss (’23) and Clarice (’14), and two boys, Earle (’08) and Julius (’10), attended North Greenville. One brother, Grady, died at age 17 in the aftermath of typhoid fever. The other brother who didn’t go to the high school – the late Terry T. Dill – taught there after graduating from The Citadel.
One of the highlights for the 15-year-old schoolgirl was being asked by Dr. J.D. Crain, then principal, to report on the school at the South Carolina Baptist State Convention. Clarice and Mrs. John Wood “from across the road” went from Greenville to Columbia by train for the occasion.
“After I finished, Dr. Crain told the delegates I was the kind of student he had at North Greenville,” remembers Mrs. McGill, “and the next time they sent a box not to fill it with old hats.”
“Someone did send a box of old hats, which we wore to class one day,” laughed Mrs. McGill. “Professor L.K. Simpson, our Bible teacher, didn’t’ think it was funny and sent us back to the dormitory to take them off.”
After Mrs. McGill graduated from Greenville Women’s College in 1918, she went to the Pee Dee Association to teach at Mt. Crogan. “That was the year of the flu epidemic of World War I,” she says, “and so many people died the trustees closed the school.” After one year in Aiken, she moved to Ruby where she completed 22 years of teaching.
In Ruby, she met the young druggist, Grady Davis McGill. A native of Hickory Tavern, McGill was a graduate of Erskine College and the Atlanta School of Pharmacy, now Emory University.
“We were married August 23, 1922 at North Greenville in the home of my sister and brother-in-law, H.C. and Jennie Hester,” Mrs. McGill says, “H.C. was principal of the Academy.”
The McGills have two adopted sons: Alfred Hall and William McGill.
“Both boys knew and visited their brothers and sisters,” Mrs. McGill says. “I always told them the more family and friends you have the happier you are.”
When Dr. McGill retired in 1960 at age 70, they moved back near her family to a famr she inherited from her father. Dr. McGill worked as a supply pharmacist at Vernon’s Drugstore at Travelers Rest until he was 80. He was 92, when he died this past April 7.
“My father always said the best investment he ever made was educating his girls,” says Mrs. McGill. “North Greenville helped him do it.”
Photo: From left, Dr. Jordan, Mrs. Clarice Dill McGill (’14), and Mrs. J.C. Clements.
Condensed from an article by Jean Martin Flynn for the Fall/Winter 1984-85 edition of the North Greenville College Alumni Newsletter