I. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) Blandin.

History of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. online

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when the Scotch-Irish began to come in great numbers,
that the population exceeded 50,000. These Scotch-
Irish Presbyterians brought with them deeper and
more practical ideas of religion and culture, and
churches began to multiply. Every Presbyterian
preacher was a teacher, and schools became the right
arm of the churches.

The Moravians came about the same time, and
churches and schools have been vital points of their
life. Even their records are meager. Only in con-
nection with the life and labors of some pastor a
school is mentioned ; no details ; nothing to show
whether girls were allowed the benefit of these schools
or not.

About 1782 the interest in education had advanced
so much that the Legislature began to incorporate acad-
emies. From 1782 to 1799, seventeen years, there
were thirty-three academies incorporated, but only the
names of the incorporators, the name of the academy,
the date, and the property rights can now be ascer-


tained, and it is only through the descendants of the
girls who attended school, by means of old books and
papers still extant, that anything can bs learned
about the scholastic advantages of the girls of that

Catalogues were not used, paper was scarce and
very high priced even newspapers were printed on
sheets 6 by 7 inches. From such sources it has been
ascertained that some of these charters established two
schools, one for boys and one for girls.

The first academy for girls so established was New
Berne Academy, Craven County, in 1764.

Bladen Academy was chartered in 1797, and Adams
Creek, Craven County, in 1798.

The only incorporated school of the old days in
Brunswick County was Smithville Academy, chartered
in 1798. It had numerous trustees, and was author-
ized to raise $7,000 by lottery. This scheme failed.
Hon. A. M. Waddell says his mother, daughter of
Alfred Moore, Jr., and granddaughter of Judge A.
Moore, attended this school at Smithville. Mrs.
Clitherall, nee Burgwyn, was the principal in 1820.
This school was established after the close of the
Revolutionary War, but prior to 1800.

In 1805 Union Hill Academy was chartered, and
in 1809 the trustees of this academy were authorized
to raise by lottery $5,000 to complete the building and
to establish an academy for girls at Asheville.

The Female Academy at Raleigh was established in

Also in 1809 a school for girls was taught by J.
Mordecai and assistants. The closing examination
was held in December, on English grammar, history,
and geography with the use of the globes. Parents,
guardians and friends of the school were invited to
attend. A commendation of the management and the
proficiency of the pupils was published in the local
paper, signed by over twenty citizens. Music, draw-
ing and painting were taught under the direction of


Mr. Miller. The terms for board and tuition were
$105 per annum. Many of the young ladies appeared
in dresses embroidered and made by themselves; and
other specimens of needlework were displayed.

In 1 8 10 Miss Frances Bo wen opened a school for
girls in Kayetteville.

In February, 1810, Mr. William White, secretary
of the board of trustees, sent out the following cir-
cular : " Mrs. Sanbourne will teach music, plain sew-
ing, and ornamental needlework, embroidery, drawing,
and painting. The other branches, history, writing,
reading, arithmetic, English grammar, and geography,
and French, will be taught by the teachers of the acad-
emy for boys, until further notice."

Morgan Academy was chartered in 1783; Morgan-
ton Academy in 1823 and again in 1844. In the Act
of 1823 it was recited that " there had been for many
years an academy at Morganton with a flourishing
male and female school attached to it."

Among the teachers for girls at Morganton mention
is made of the Misses Maria and Harriet Allen from
Pennsylvania, Miss Mcllwaine, Miss Cowan, and Miss

The Shocco Female Seminary, Warren County, was
announced as follows : " Mrs. Lucas informs her
friends and the public that her school will be resumed
the first Monday in February. Having associated
with her an able female assistant, the following
branches will be taught: Spelling, reading, writing,
arithmetic, grammar, geography, astronomy, natural
philosophy, rhetoric, chemistry, logic, history, myth-
ology, and botany. Board and tuition, $50 per session
of five months ; music, $20 ; half in advance. Decem-
ber 5, 1826."

On the same date appeared the announcement of the
Hillsboro Female Seminary:

" The principal informs the patrons of this school
that in addition to the able female help already em-


ployed, he will be assisted by a gentleman in every way
qualified to teach advanced classes. An apparatus for
a chemical laboratory, and for use of pupils in natural
philosophy and astronomy, has been purchased; and a
foundation for a mineralogical cabinet made. Tuition
from $10 to $15; music, $24; drawing and painting,
$10 each; needlework $i per session.

"WM. M. GREEN, Supt."

This must have been an Episcopal school, for Mr.
Green was, some years later, the Bishop of Mississippi.

In 1827 Rev. Elisha Graves taught a school at Wal-
nut Grove, twelve miles from Hillsboro. " Every nec-
essary and useful branch of literature and some orna-
mental branches " were taught.

In 1830 Mr. and Mrs. Spencer O'Brien, principals,
assisted by an able assistant in each department, taught
the Williamsboro Female Academy.

In 1830 the Southern Female Classical Seminary, at
Oxford, Granville County, was " conducted by Mr.
and Mrs. Hollister, assisted by a young lady every
way qualified for her work. The course of instruction
is more extended than heretofore; and more than is
usually obtained in girls' schools."

Since its settlement Charlotte has been an educa-
tional center. Very early in its history there was an
institution known as the Charlotte Female Institute.
In 1838 it was in charge of Mr. and Mrs. Spencer,
who were considered excellent teachers.

Some other schools in Mecklenburg County, in the
vicinity of Charlotte, were Providence Whitehall Acad-
emy, taught in 1852 by Miss H. G. Graham; and
Providence Female Academy, taught by Miss Sarah J.
Parks, principal. In 1853 T. M. Kirkpatrick, who
had been teaching at Davidson Colleee, began Sharon
Female Academy, seven miles from Charlotte. At his
death, in 1855, he was succeeded by Miss Eliza Parker.
In 1855 Miss Susan Rudesill was teaching a school
for girls at the residence of Mrs. Margaret Greer, in


the Paw Creek section. Rev. J. M. Caldwell and his
wife taught at Sugar Creek several years prior to 1845.
Then Misses Gould and Chamberlain conducted Clare-
mont Academy, and in 1852 Miss Mary Ann Frew
taught there.

About the same time a Miss Alexander taught a
girls' school near Charlotte, and in 1853 Miss Brandon
conducted Mt. Carmel Academy. The next year
Adolphus Evveite introduced a new system of draw-

Mecklenburg has had an interesting history, and her
citizens have wielded a powerful influence on the
destinies of the " Old North State," but much of the
history of her schools for girls has been lost ; however,
one interesting fact the name of the first lady
teacher has been preserved. She was Miss Eliza-
beth Cummins, who taught a four months' school in
the county in 1774.

In the small isolated settlements it was impossible
to have a regular school, but even then the girls were
not neglected; some gentlemen would assume the
responsibility of employing a governess and providing
a schoolroom, and his neighbors, with his full and
free consent, would avail themselves of this oppor-
tunity to send their daughters to school. Such a
school was established in Chatham County, by Mr.
Edward Jones, Solicitor-General of the State of North
Carolina. In course of time the daughters took charge
of it, and one of them named the school Kelvin, be-
cause she so much admired the Scotch song, " Let us
haste to Kelvin Grove, Bonnie Lassie, O." The school
was removed to Pittsboro, the county-seat, where Miss
Charlotte Jones married Mr. William H. Harden.
They continued the Kelvin school until they went to
Columbia Institute, Tennessee, during the forties.

Alamance County was settled by Germans and Ger-
man was the language used. English was not intro-
duced until 1812, and did not become the principal
language until 1828. However, schools sprang up in


Alamance prior to 1740, and there is little doubt that
there were schools for girls as well as for boys.

About the same time the Friends (Quakers) had
schools about Cane Creek and Spring Meeting-house.
One of these, taught by Mr. Matt Thompson and his
wife, must have been a school for girls, at least it had
a department for girls.

Dr. Kemp Battle had prepared a list of teachers most
eminent in their day and generation, which has been
published in the biennial report of the Superintendent
of Public Instruction of North Carolina. From this
list the names of women so distinguished and the
names of schools for girls have been culled.

At a very early period tradition points to a period
prior to the Revolutionary War a school was estab-
lished at Springhill, Lenoir County, and was greatly
prosperous as late as 1812.

About the same time Kinston Female Seminary was
under the charge of the Misses Patrick. Also prior
to the Revolution Miss Ann Earl had a school of some
note in Chowan County.

Between 1800 and 1825 Rev. Gilbert Morgan and
Mrs. Morgan were principals of a school at Greens-
boro. This school must have had a department for
girls, as women did not teach school for boys, and
mixed schools were not in favor with Southern people,
The schools at Nashville and Louisville were of this
type; these schools were taught by John B. Bobbitt
and Mrs. Bobbitt. During this period Mrs. Robert L.
Edmonds was principal of Wadesboro Female Semi-
nary ; and Miss Ann Hall was also principal of a school
in Wadesboro.

Between the years 1825 and 1850 the teachers who
began teaching were: Miss Mary B. Cotta, who es-
tablished a school of justly deserved repute in Wash-
ington, Beaufort County, some time in the 30*8. She
taught there many years, then married Rev. Thomas
R. Owen. She then returned to Tarboro, where she
and her husband opened a similar school. After her


departure from Washington the school was taught by
Miss Fanny Owens. Mrs. Harriet Banks taught a
school in Murfreesboro, Miss Emma J. Taylor in
Caldwell County, Mrs. Martha Hutsell in Buncombe
County, Miss Hoye was principal of Edgeworth
Female Seminary, Miss Maria J. Holmes and Miss
Charlotte Jones taught in Pittsboro, and Miss Mabel
Bingham in Fayetteville.

The Goldsboro Seminary was under the charge of
Rev. James H. Brant, and Miss Maria L. Spear was
the principal of Hillsboro Seminary. Miss Mary
Mann taught a school for girls in Columbia, Tyrrell
County; Miss Margaret Smith in Milton, Miss Sara
Kolloch in Greensboro and Hillsboro, Mrs. Charles
Mock in Davidson, and Misses Sarah and Maria Nash
taught in Greensboro, but whether in the same school
with Mr. and Mrs. Morgan or not does not appear.
Rev. Angus B. McNeill, principal of Spring Vale
Academy established a school for girls about a quarter
of a mile from the Academy, and brought Miss Har-
riet Bizzle from the North to take charge of it. This
school had a large patronage. After the marriage of
Miss Bizzle and Mr. McNeill they continued the
school for some time, and then moved to Carthage in
Moore County, and taught successfully until the people
objected to Mrs. McNeill's unreasonable severity of
discipline. After the departure of the McNeills, Rev.
Murdock McMillan and Mrs. McMillan took charge
of Spring Vale Academy.

About 1850 there was an institute for girls in Buck-
land, Gates County, of which Samuel E. Smith was
principal. About 1852 James W. Coston founded a
seminary for girls at Sunbury; all the teachers were
from the North and all have been forgotten, even their
names are unknown, except Miss Mary Williams,
whose name has been preserved by the following in-
cident: She and some of the scholars lived in the
family of Mr. Coston, who was in the habit of prefac-
ing breakfast with prayers of unreasonable length.


Once when Miss Mary's appetite was particularly
sharp, after kneeling until her patience was exhausted,
she arose with a snap, and exclaimed, " Mr. Coston,
are you going to pray three weeks ? "

In 1837 Rev. William McPheeters, D. D., the emi-
nent principal of Raleigh Academy, took charge of a
school for girls in Fayetteville, but failing health
caused him to resign at a very early period in its his-
tory. Mrs. Carr, widow of Rev. Daniel Carr, of
Christian (Methodist) Church and editor of the Chris-
tian Sun, taught a school for girls in Graham, Ala-
mance County. This school attained some popularity
and was well attended, though just when it flourished
does not appear in the records. In 1848, and for
some years afterward, Rev. Thomas Meredith, founder
of the Biblical Record, was principal of an institution
for girls in Raleigh.

Chalk Level Academy for boys and girls was estab-
lished in 1835 b y Mr - Doyle Pearson of Person
County. His sister Elizabeth was principal of the
department for girls. The school acquired a high
reputation. The boys' department averaged about
seventy, and the girls' about one hundred. The build-
ings were half a mile apart.

Washington Academy, Washington, Beaufort
County, was chartered in 1808 and again in 1834.
Trustees have been regularly elected since the latter
date. The Academy was wisely made capacious, and
is now allowed to be used as a part of the graded-
school system, the trustees retaining the ownership.
About 1826 Mr. and Mrs. Sanford were principals;
then Rev. George W. Freeman, afterward D. D.,
rector of the Episcopal Church in Raleigh, and then
Bishop of Arkansas. He is remembered as an excel-
lent teacher. After him Miss Richmond from Massa-
chusetts was employed by a few heads of families to
take charge of a select school, which she did to their
great satisfaction. Beginning with 1832, for five
years Washington secured the services of Mr. May-


hew, an estimable man and a skilled instructor.
Among his pupils were Mrs. O'Branch, Miss Marcia
Rodman, and Mrs. Olivia Myers, and other like ac-
complished ladies. In the fall of 1843 Mr. William
Bogart left his school in Edenton, and with great ac-
ceptability took charge of Washington Academy until
the War between the States.

(Much of the data concerning these old schools
have been furnished by Mrs. H. DeB. Wills, who
searched through old newspapers and other records for
the facts here recorded. Much has been taken from
Mr. Kemp P. Battle's paper, " Partial List of the Most
Prominent Teachers to 1850." Also some facts from
" The Church and Private Schools of North Caro-

Greensboro College for Women, Greensboro, North
Carolina, 1838-1908

The necessity of establishing a college for women
was felt by prominent ministers and intelligent lay-
men of the Methodist Episcopal Church for several
years before any direct effort was made to establish
such an institution. The subject was frequently dis-
cussed in the annual conferences ; finally definite action
was brought about by the petition sent by the trustees
of Greensboro Female College to the Virginia Con-
ference, which met in Petersburg, January 31, 1836.
At that time the North Carolina Conference was or-
ganized, and the churches in North Carolina ceased to
belong to the Virginia Conference,

The petition was referred to a committee consisting
of Rev. Moses Brock, Rev. Peter Doub, and Rev.
Samuel S. Bryant. After setting forth the necessity
of a school of high grade for the education of women,
under the auspices of the North Carolina Conference,
the committee reported the following resolutions,
which were adopted:

" Resolved, i. That the Conference will co-operate


with the trustees of ' Green's Female School/ provided
that one-half the number of the board of trustees shall
at all times be members of the North Carolina Con-

" Resolved, 2. That the board thus constituted shall
petition the Legislature of North Carolina for a proper
charter for a seminary of learning, to be called the
Greensboro Female College.

" Resolved, 3. That the Conference appoint Moses
Brock, John Hand, James Reid, Bennett T. Blake,
William E. Pell, and Samuel S. Bryant, trustees, to
carry into effect the object contemplated by the pre-
vious resolutions.

" Resolved, 4. That the Bishop be requested to ap-
point an agent for the purpose of raising funds for
this object.

" MOSES BROCK, Chairman."

In accordance with the foregoing resolutions the ten
ministers named in the third resolution, and ten lay-
men, constituting the board of trustees, secured from
the Legislature a charter granting the rights and priv-
ileges usually bestowed upon colleges of high grade.
The charter was ratified December 28, 1838. (T. M.
Jones, in " Centennial of Methodism in North Caro-

On account of the severe depression in all lines of
business it required several years of canvassing to
raise sufficient funds to erect the building. For the
accomplishment of this difficult task we are indebted
to the untiring efforts of S. S. Bryant, Moses Brock,
James Reid, and Ira T. Wyche, who were agents for
the College in those trying years. The corner-stone
was laid in September, 1843. In l8 46 the building
was completed and ready for occupancy, but the
trustees did not select a faculty until the following-
year. In the fall of that year the classes were or-
ganized and work commenced uftder the administra-
tion of Rev. Solomon Lea, who had the honor of be-


ing the first president of the first chartered college for
women in North Carolina.

Mr. Lea resigned at the close of the first session,
and was succeeded by Rev. A. M. Shipp, D. D., of
South Carolina. For three years the College pros-
pered under his wise administration and twenty-six
young women were graduated from the institution.

Rev. Charles F. Deems, D. D., who succeeded Dr.
Shipp in 1850, grasped the situation and mastered it
immediately, and the patronage was largely increased.
It continued to flourish to the close of his administra-
tion in 1854. At that time Rev. Turner Myrick Jones,
afterward Rev. T. M. Jones, D. D., was a professor
in the College. The board of trustees recognized in
him the qualities needed in a man to render him suited
for great enterprises. Fortunately for the College,
he was elected president and held that position until
his greatly lamented death in 1890. For thirty-six
years Dr. Jones labored for the cause of education of
women as no other man in North Carolina evei
labored. His valuable life was given to this work.
While he was president, in 1863, the College buildings
were destroyed by fire in the midst of its greatest pros-
perity. The Conference immediately formulated plans
to rebuild. In 1871 work was begun, and on the 27th
day of August, 1873, the College was reopened in the
present commodious building.

Dr. B. F. Dixon was elected to succeed Dr. Jones.
For three years the College enjoyed unusually large
patronage, and ninety-three young ladies were gradu-
ated during Dr. Dixon's administration. In April,
1893, Dr. Dixon resigned, and Rev. Frank Reid was
elected president of the faculty. Dr. Reid came to the
College in the prime of life, and his first year's work
proved the wisdom of his election. The fall session
of 1894 opened with most favorable prospects, but the
honored president was not destined to see the fruits of
his labors. On September 24, 1894, this gifted scholar
and preacher was called from earth to heaven, and left


the College family in deep mourning for its beloved
head. Dred Peacock, at that time a professor in the
College, was elected to succeed Dr. Reid, and is now
the president of the faculty.

Under the present administration the different de-
partments have been thoroughly reorganized. The
courses of study have been expanded and enlarged.
This was rendered possible only by the addition of
more appliances in the form of laboratories equipped
with ample chemical and physical apparatus, mathe-
matical instruments and figures, and new pianos. A
well-selected library containing more than 6,500 vol-
umes, besides pamphlets and general magazine and
periodical literature, has enabled the students to do a
grade of work unattainable in the average school for
women. The past six years have been unusually suc-
cessful, both as regards numbers in attendance and the
highly satisfactory quality of the work accomplished.

A very large debt was incurred in erecting the pres-
ent building, which the Conference tried for years to
pay. Having failed to do this, the College was finally
sold at auction for debt. At this juncture a syndicate
of large-hearted, liberal men was formed to purchase
it in order that it might be continued as a college for
women for the Methodist Church in North Carolina.
These gentlemen still own and control the College.
They have no desire or expectation of making any
money out of the investment.

The building is a three-storied brick structure, and
stands on the top of a beautiful hill in the center of a
grove containing forty acres. It is heated by steam
and lighted by electricity, and connected with the
water-works of the city. It affords ample accommo-
dation for one hundred and twenty-five boarders.

The course of study requires four years for its com-
pletion, and is divided into freshman, sophomore,
junior, and senior classes. Latin and either French
or German are required to secure a diploma, but a
certificate is given on completion of the course without


the study of the languages. Ample provision has been
made for the departments of music, art, elocution, busi-
ness, and physical culture.

During the latter part of 1894 Mrs. Dred Peacock
established and endowed the Ethel Carr Peacock Read-
ing-Room. The board of directors immediately fur-
nished and decorated a room at their own expense. The
Alumnae Association has established the " Lucy Mc-
Gee Fund " in loving memory of Lucy McGee Jones,
wife of Dr. Turner M. Jones, fourth president of the
College. The annual income will be loaned to worthy
students of limited means.

From the opening of the College in 1847 till its
destruction by fire in 1863, 191 young ladies were
graduated; graduated elsewhere, between 1863 and
1874, under the administration of the same president
(Dr. Jones) and on the same course of study, 51.
Since the reopening of the College in 1873, 450; mak-
ing a total of 692.

The College provides for a systematic course of
Bible study.

(This sketch is based on information obtained from
annual catalogue for nineteen hundred.)


The church, in common with other institutions, as
well as individuals, was embarrassed financially after
the War between the States, and, in spite of heroic
struggles, was unable to discharge the debt incurred
in erecting the new building, and it seemed impossible
for the church to retain the ownership of this be-
loved daughter. At this crisis a syndicate of promi-
nent laymen, actuated by the generous purpose of not
allowing the College to pass from the control of the
church, purchased the property in 1882, and held it
until August 5, 1903, when it became the property of
the Alumnae Association. The syndicate held the


property subject to the control of a board of directors,
for educational purposes and as a school for the Metho-
dist Church in North Carolina.

Though this syndicate did not purpose to make
money by this investment, it could not afford to hold
the property and lose money on it. For several years
the income of the school had not met the expenses, and
the debt in 1903 amounted to $42,000; therefore, when
Trinity College offered to buy the plant, the syndicate
was not averse to selling it. Trinity College, in ac-
cordance with the idea that only large colleges are
really helpful and that co-education is the proper
method, desired to enlarge her facilities and to remove
every school likely to compete with her desire to con-

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Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 16 of 24)