Bertie County, NCGenWeb Project Page --Schools Last update:Monday, 10-Sep-2018 11:11:30 MDT

Bertie County Schools

History of Education in Bertie County
|Askewville |Aulander|Bertie Academy |Lewiston |Mars Hill | Coleraine |Roxobel-Kelford|Republican |West Bertie High


Photos submitted by Bobby Eure

The picture was taken in 1934. The school was built in 1906 and the superintendent was R.W.Askew. The school's committee was: Joshiah Brown, B.W. Lee,and Benjamin Brown. W.C. Miller was the person that built the school.

The first principal was Clara M. Pigg.

In 1924 the superintendent was H.B. Early and his committee was: C.S. Pearce, J.T. Harrell, and J.H. Morris.

Note the vehicles out front -- school buses.

Bobby is working on a history of the school and would welcome any information that you might, annuals, report cards, teachers, etc.

Mars Hill School

Mars Hill School
Photo contributed by: Sally M. Koestler Can anyone identify these students?

Teachers 1926
Photo contributed by: Sally M. Koestler Can anyone identify these teachers of 1925-26?
The second lady from the left at the bottom with the students is Mrs. Pigg, the principle.

Mars Hill School
Photo contributed by: Peggy Jo Holloman

Mars Hill Basketball Team about 1931

Back row - Johnnie Lee Freeman, Virgil Northcott
Front row - Wilson Morris, Norman Freeman, Arthur Connell Harrell

Mars Hill Dorm
Photo contributed by David Miller

Dormitory for Mars Hill School

Colerain High School

Contributed by David Miller. Colerain School

Maple Grove School - Murfreesboro Township - Hertford County

David Hoggard 

This is from a school souvenir I found recently in an old house on our
family farm in Francis Mill.

Maple Grove School.
District No. 2

Murfreesboro township,
Hertford County,
presented by Willie E. Copeland ,  teacher
W.P.Shaw, Director
Thomas Boone, Clerk
James S. Mitchell, Treas.

Leuter Beasley
Oakley Carter
Hubert Chitty
Nannie Futrell
Sarah Garriss
Annie Griffith
Bettie Parker
Beulah Parker
George Parker
Wilmer Parker
Clarence Parker
Varah Parker
Roy Vaughan
Johnie Vinson
Tommie vinson
Baron Brown
Mattie Chitty
Hope Wright Chitty
Beulah Garriss
Lewis Garriss
Joe King Parker
Ada Parker
Cellie Parker
Isaac Parker
Ira Parker
Bennie Porter
Annie Vinson
Harvey Vinson
Wayland Vinson
Lillie Vinson

This old newspaper clipping was furnished by Mrs. Bertha Hoggard Brown
Bertha is the grandaughter of Joseph E. Hoggard and wife Penelope Cale and
daughter of John Norfleet Hoggard and Cora L. Baker Hoggard. 
		Ms. Bertha was b. 1902.

Typed by R. Neil Baker
March 27,1902

Interesting School Closing

John T. Hoggard's School in District No.-6 has a Large and Interesting

Closing at Ross' Church.


The following is a program of the closing entertainment given by Mr. John T. Hoggard's 
school at Ross's church Saturday night March 15, 1902.  In district No. 6. White race in Windsor 
Recitation- Pop, by Miss Mary Harrison.
   Dialogue- The Farmer boy and the City dude, by Messrs Grover C. Castellow and James 
H. Cowand.
Recitation- The old Canoe, by Miss Nonie Cowand.
Dialogue- Going to School, by Misses Nancy Cowand, Janie Hoggard; Lucie Harrison, and 
Messrs, William Harrison, Aulcy Cowand, J. Pittman Hoggard, and James H. Cowand.
Recitation- The Scotish Exile, by Miss Mary Butler.
Dialogue- The Bad Church Man, by Messrs Luther Cowand and Johnnie Butler.
Recitation- I wish I Was A Man, Miss Annie Butler.
   Dialoque- A Wise Selection, by Misses Mary E. Hoggard, Victoria Cowand, Cassie 
Hoggard, and Messrs, Johnnie Hoggard, Walter Butler, and Starkey Cowand.
   Recitation- Miss Grimshaw's Mistake, by Misses Annie Perry, Rebecca Pierce.  May 
Cowand, Annie Butler, Cassie Hoggard and Victoria Cowand.
   Dialogue- Educating to a Purpose in Possum Ridge School, by Miss Annie Butler, Messrs 
James H. Cowand and Lassie R. White.
Recitation- The Grumply Old Bachelor, by Dorsey Castellow.
   Dialogue- The Sun and His Satellites, by Wm. S. Hoggard, Jos. Hoggard, Jos. Harrison,  
Johnnie Cowand, William Harrison, J. Pittman Hoggard and Raleigh Hoggard.
Recitation- The Lips that touch Liquor will never touch Mine,
Dialogue- May Celebration, by a number of boys and girls.
Recitation- Old Sugars Courtship, by Mr. Frank Cowand.
  Dialogue- Cruelty Is Not Courtage, by Misses Mary Hoggard, Nancy Cowand and Mary 
Harrison, and Messrs, Starkey Cowand and Grover Castellow.
 Negro Dialect- De Pint Wid Old Pete, by Messrs John T. Hoggard and Walter Butler.
           Dialogue- Swing on the Gate, by Miss Cassie Hoggard, Messrs. John T. Hogprd,

	Negro Dialect- The Darky Boot Black, by Messrs William D. Hoggard and John T. Hogprd.

Song- The Old North State Forever, by Misses Cassie Hoggard, Mary Hogprd Annie Berry, 
Annie Butler, May Cowand and Victoria Cowand and Messrs, John T. Hoggard and Walter Butler.

The above prograrn was one of the best the writer ever witnessed.  It was well arranged.  Mr. 
Hoggard had well trained his school in the exercises.  The children all spoke nicely.  There was a 
large gathering to the entertainment. They crowded the old school house so it gave away and the 
floor went to the ground, yet no one was hurt. But Mr. Hoggard went on with his exercises.  The 
music was furnished by Messrs.  L. W. Miller and W. R. Todd.  After the exercises closed Mr. 
Hoggard gave his school a nice reception consisting of confectioneries.
Mr. Editor if all of our public school teachers were such as Mr. Hoggard, there need not to be 
so much said about compulsory education.  The people would all send their children to school.  He is 
a school teacher, up to date, and we need not comment on his efficiency.  He enjoys an excellent 
reputation in this neighborhood, and wherever he is known.

Education, Then and Now

by Mrs. Joseph W. Parker
"The Windsor Story - 1768-1968" - published by Windsor Bicentennial Commission. Used by permission of Harry L. Thompson

Education in early North Carolina was closely associated with the church. This was also true in Bertie County. Most of the teachers were clergymen, lay readers or candidates for the ministry. The wills and inventories of the time reflect a zeal for education. Not only did the planters provide in their wills for the education of their children and relatives, but a few humanitarian and philanthropic-bent made provisions for the training of the underprivileged children through bequests and endowments. Some of the wills gave specific instructions that the boys should be trained in trades and professions, and the girls in "those things which would make them a good wife and housekeeper." For example, in 1795, the Reverend John Alexander left a conditional bequest to provide education for the poor children of Hertford and Bertie Counties.

There were no public schools in Colonial North Carolina. The earliest schools were held in homes. A room was set aside for the teaching of the owner's children and those of his neighbors. The grade system was unknown. Children of all ages went to school together and were taught in the same room by the same teacher. For higher education students wer'e sent to colleges in Virginia and in the North, or to English and Scotch Universities.

Next came the private schools and academies. The academies were governed by trustees. These schools were noted for their outstanding teachers and many of their pupils became worthy citizens and some made their mark in professional and political fields.

One very old academy or school was located in Indian Woods. The land was deeded by Simon Turner in 1808. Many, many years later, Mrs. John Bond Gillam, Sr., attended this school as a young girl and later taught in this one-room school. She also taught in the public school across the road from the Stokes property near Windsor. Three of her pupils were Miss Prudence Stokes and the late Mr. Bruce Cobb and Mr. Jim Tadlock.

Other academies were the Colerain Male Academy; Aulander Female Academy; Windsor Academy; Oak Grove Academy, near Windsor; Bertie Union Academy in Woodville, which later became the Woodville Academy; Lewiston Male Academy, taught by Mr. W. R..Moxley; the Roxobel Academy, and the Rankins Richards Institute for Negroes and financed by people in the North. It became the Bertie Academy in 1901 and was located on Triangle Hill.

Private schools in Windsor were conducted by Miss Minnie Gray, Miss Augusts Dunstan, Mrs. Mary Gillam (Rosefield), Miss Maude Gurley and Miss Mary Jordan. Mrs. Helen Thompson and later Miss Pattie Urquhart headed schools in Woodville. The Reverend Andrew Craig, father of Governor Locke Craig and grand- father of Mr. Lou Lyon Craig of Windsor, conducted one of the better schools of his day. The boys who were fortunate enough to live and board with the Craigs enjoyed their hospitality, especially the good food. The late Mr. Aaron Rascoe and Sheriff Turner Carter Bond were two of the student boarders.

Bronson's Almanac of 1890 listed the following teachers in Windsor. They were H. O. Biddle, Mrs. Kate W. Cooper, George A. Mebane, Louis Roulhac, Miss Mamie Speight, Miss Olivia Tayloe, Miss Sallie A. Watson, W. D. White and John Robbins, a Negro. Bertie County had at that time fifty-one white and forty-one Negro schools.

Miss Margaret Garrett and Mr. Stuart Lawson Johnston, a lawyer and a 1858 graduate of the North Carolina University, taught in a school at the Cotten Place between Lewiston and Kelford. Later, Miss Margaret Garrett and Mr. Johnston were married and Mrs. Duncan Sessoms of Windsor is their granddaughter. The late Mrs. George T. Parker of Kelford was a pupil of theirs.

Rosefield, a private school, had both day students and boarders. Among Miss Mary Gillam's students were the late Dr. J. B. Nichols, Judge J. B. Davenport, Mr. Eugene Sessoms, Mrs. Mae Nichols Lyon and Mrs. Goldie King Tadlock. Some of those living are Mrs. Carrie Davenport Hoggard, Mrs. Lew Bond Sutton, Mrs. Beatrice Moore Dunstan, Mrs. Hortense Sessoms Spruill, Mrs. Annie Sutton Cherry, Mrs. Pauline Bridgers Gillam, Mrs. Lethia White Cobb and Mayor Joseph B. Spivey.

Miss Minnie Gray taught some of her music pupils before and after her daily school classes. Mrs. John W. Cooper recalls leaving home early for her piano lesson and seeing the sun rise as she turned the corner on Queen Street. Later, Mrs. Cooper taught a public school on Belmont Street. Mrs. J. J. Walker now lives in the remodeled building.

Oak Grove Academy near Windsor was old. Patrick Henry Winston came to Bertie to conduct this school. Five years later, he married Martha Byrd, a pupil, and built their home "Windsor Castle" in 1856. Oak Grove had teachers prior to Mr. Winston, but their names are not known. A textbook, Adams Latin Grammar, published in 1833 was studied there in 1838 by Jeremiah Bunch. As school boys and girls still do, he penned names and notes in his book. There are the names of a few classmates - James Burns, Joseph Kascoe, Whitmel Swain, John Roulhac, and Wiilliam J. Holley. A girl's name, Sarah L. Harmon, appears throughout the book. She was evidently very pretty and all the boys admired her. This rhyme, he also wrote, -

"Jeremiah Bunch, his hand and pen He may be good, But God knows when."
Jeremiah Bunch became a well-known Baptist minister in this county and was the maternal ancestor of Miss Janie Lee Hughes of Windsor. Mr. and Mrs. Collins Cooper are the proud owners of the old Latin Grammar.

The Reverend Thomas Trotman Speight provided schooling at home for his children, Thomas, James Alexander (member of the State Legislature), Margaret (Miss Maggie) Tulie (authoress and artist), Loyd, and Francis (artist in residence at East Carolina University). The late Dr. Frank Garriss, Whitmel and Albert Cobb and Thomas Norfleet Peele (member of the State Legislature) received their early schooling there. One of the teachers was Miss Mary Thomas, daughter of Dr. Roscius Thomas. She now resides at the old home place near Wiccacon Creek in Hertford County. Another teacher was Mrs. Agnes Livermon Cobb of Kelford, North Carolina.

Music teachers in Windsor during the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries ·were Mrs. Harlee Pugh, grandmother of Dr. E. S. Pugh, Miss Maude Gurley, Miss Minnie Gray and Mrs. M. F. Gillam. Mrs. Maggie Darden, who died on April 11, 1966, is still remembered.

Some of the subjects taught in many of those academies and schools would astound a present day high school student. The three R's were stressed, also English Grammar, Georgraphy, History, Logic, Natural and Moral Philo- sophy, Astronomy, Latin, Mythology, French and Creek. Mrs. Helen Thompson taught the usual subjects plus Latin, French, Mythology and Greek at Woodville Academy.

Rules laid down for pupils in some schools were very strict. They covered not only behavior, but dress, length of fingernails, tardiness, profanity, wrestling and punishment for missing words in a lesson without a good excuse. On the other hand, there were enjoyable times like the games at recess, spelling matches and the demand treats of the teacher. This usually took the form of stick candy. Some schools were near ponds which furnished drinking water and often provided skating during the coldest weather.

Many famous North Carolinians devoted time and energy toward securing better schools and education for all the boys and girls in the State. Bertie's Governor David Stone made recommendations in 1809 and 1810 for education. In 1852, J. B. Cherry introduced in the House of Commons an Act to provide for the appointment of a Superintendent of Common School and for other purposes.

Remarkable progress had been made following the State Convention in 1835. These years saw the rise of a State-wide system of public schools and an educational awakening. In 1839, a famous Act was passed that started the public school system in the State. Each community was expected to provide a schoolhouse and by local taxes to pay part of the expense of running the school. The State would do the rest.

One-room schools sprang up all over Bertie County. There is recorded a description of one very unusual log schoolhouse without windows. Light and air were secured by quite a unique method. At the bottom of certain holes in the walls of the cabin had been put boards with hinges at the bottom. These boards couId be lowered and if allowed to rest on the knees the pupils, an improvised desk could be made, at the same time letting in the necessary light~and air. Tnere were the usual benches, teacher's tables, slates on which the children might write, a water bucket and dipper and a dunce stool.

A few old newspapers show that some schools advertised their opening dates. Miss Mary Jordan's announcement was placed in the Albemarle Times, edited by Mr. Pat Winston.

Aulander High School, the first in the county, also advertised as follows in the Windsor Ledger:

"Aulander High School, Bertie County. The next session of this school will begin on the first Monday in September 1888 and continue 10 months. Tuition per month $1.50 to $3.00. Board and washing $9 per month. For further information address the principal at Aulander. Correspondence solicited. J. B. Newton, Principal."
The first known Superintendent of Bertie County schools was Mr. J. R. White (probably Mr. James R. White). He was followed consecutively by Mr. David E. Tayloe, Mr. Richard Watson Askew, Mr. Herbert W. Early, and the present, Mr. John L. Dupree, who took office in 1946.

There is recorded in the County Board of Education minutes that Mr. D. E. Tayloe was allowed twenty-one dollars for seven days work in 1886, which the late Superintendent, J. R. White, failed to perform. Mr. R. W. Askew received the salary of sixty dollars per month, while Mr. Herbert W. Early's salary per month began at one hundred dollars.

Many problems faced the members of the Board of Education in those days. At nearly every meeting parents were petitioning to have their children transferred to another district or to change the district lines. The great need for more money for expenses was a major problem. The schools were financed by State money, local taxes, revenue from fines and forfeitures, whiskey tax, whiskey licenses, and an insolvent tax. The board also appointed three committeemen for each school district and a teachers' examiner. The Superintendent continually reported that parents in the county would not purchase enough books for their children. The first county Board of Education gave Mr. R. W. Askew as chairman and Mr. J. W. Mitchell and Mr. William H. Smithwick as the other members.

Teachers in Bertie during these years attended a Teachers' Institute in Windsor during the summer. In 1895, Mr. Richard Watson Askew examined and graded the teachers on various subjects and renewed their certificates. Following is a copy of a first grade certificate listing branches of study and the grades of Miss Beulah Parker of Lewiston:

Spelling (including sounds of letters)            95
Defining                                          90
Reading                                           95
Writing			90
Arithmetic (mental and written) 95
English Grammar			90
Elementary Physiology and Hygiene       90
History of North Carolina               85
History of the United States            90
Page's Theory and Practice              90
Civil Government			85
Mrs. Beulah Parker Bazemore was the mother of Mrs. Joseph W. Parker of Windsor.

In 1905, Bertie County had a total of 105 teachers and an enrollment of 2,529 pupils. School terms averaged about four months in length and usually began in December. This arrangement permitted children to help on the farms through the entire farming season. The average teacher's monthly pay was for white teachers, male, $31.50; female, $23.76, and for Negroes, male, $23.46 and female, $21·97.

It is impossible to compare the old schools with the modern ones. There are now two high schools, Bertie High and Bertie Junior High, due to consolidation and desegregation· There are twelve elementary and two private schools, Roanoke-Chowan Educational Foundation, Inc., in Windsor, and Bertie Educational Foundat ion, Inc., near Connaritsa. A fleet of busses transports pupils from every part of the county to these schools. Instead of the old tin lunch pails, there are lunchrooms in the elementary and junior high schools and a cafeteria in Bertie High where hot food and milk are served. All pupils pay thirty cents each for lunch except in High School where the cost is thirty-five cents. There is pupil's school insurance for a small yearly cost of one dollar and twenty-five cents and a rental fee for the use of State textbooks. Teachers now number 266 in the county schools and 6 in kindergarten, and the pupil enrollment for 1968 is 6,280.

The teachers now have more training and degrees and more books, supplies and equipment with which to work. They teach practically everything from required academic courses to industrial Art, Public School Music, Physical Education, Mechanics, Business Education, Home Economics and Agriculture. There is also Industrial Cooperative Training which gives students an opportunity to work part day in offices, hospitals and various businesses, thus learning and preparing for their future roles in life.

The achievements of the teachers of yester years were also outstanding. These devout men and women were able to communicate and inspire their students to study and take advantage of every opportunity offered to help them become useful citizens and leaders in their communities. The dedication of a true teacher was then, and still is, the most valuable asset a school can possess.

Oak Grove Academy

Education in the early form was mainly in the private homes with tutors, Boarding students were taken in and taught with the children of the home. Sometime about 1800, Oak Grove Academy was formed near Windsor. An ad in the Windsor Herald on October 1, 1833, had this to say: "The exercises of this Institution will be resumed on Monday the 30th under the superintendenc~ of Mr. Hart, assisted by Mr. Rayner. To the Course of studies heretofore pursued at the Academy the French language has been added." Patrick H. Winston, Sr., arrived in Windsor in 1839 at the age of nineteen years to assume leadership of the Academy. (By Harry Thompson)

Private Schools in Windsor of Generation Ago

Present Population can recall days before Public Schools Beckoned all
Golden anniversary Edition Bertie Ledger 1887-1937 Thirty four years ago school children of Windsor had a much different daily program than they do today. Rosefield School, taught by Mrs. M.F.Gillam and daughter , Miss Helen, ran its commencement program in the Windsor Ledger on June 4, 1903. "This school is one of our oldest, and it's commencement exercises in Parker's Hall Monday night simply gave our community more evidence of it's effeciency and thoroughness. Miss Helen is one of our best equipped young lady teachers in the county".

The " programme" opened with a salutatory by Master Joe Spivey and was followed by numerous recitations and songs by members of the school. Some of those were: "The Boy " recited by Master Joe Davenport, "When Pa Shaves" by Master William Sutton, a recitation by Miss Gladys White, and other numbers by Master Godwin Spivey, Master Willie Mizelle, Miss Callie Harrell and Master Spurgeon Mizelle. The program ended with a " Pantomine" by the young ladies.

In the same Issue, also on the front page was a program of the Commencement Exercises of Miss Maud Gurley's School. " The Programme was rendered on an impromtu stage constructed on the large piazza of the residence of Clerk of the Court, W.L. Lyon.

It was a very warm night and the idea of having the exercises in the open was a capital one.Upward of two hundred persons witnessed the exercise. " Those taking part in the program were: Katie Perry reciting " I'm thinking" ; a piano solo entitled " with fife and drum" by Henry Lyon; " The railroad Crossing" by Edward Perry ; a dialogue, " Playing Boo Beard" by Janie Lyon and John Gatling ; and a solo entitled " Ringing Roll of Dixie" by William Gurley.

Contributed to Bertie Rootsweb Project by David E. Hoggard

Republican School

Regarding Republican High School. My mother Edna Earl Harrell graduated from Republican High School in 1927. Her English teacher was Miss Vashti Hoggard and a Mr. Peele was Principal. My mother was born 1-15-12 and died 2-28-84. There were only eleven grades in NC rural public schools then and mother was only 15 when she graduated. She was, I believe , the only graduate that year to go to college.
She graduated from Chowan Baptist Female Institute in 1932 with honors. She first taught school at Riverside in Bertie and after her marriage moved to Norfolk and taught for 32 years in the Norfolk City and Norfolk County school systems. She had many stories about her high school days at Republican High School and she was also a member of Republican Baptist Church, as was her parents Joe Jack Jesse Harrell and Mary Alice Thomas Harrell.
Researcher: D. Harold Davenport
My mother,Vera Pritchard Bazemore was born in 1911 and also attended the Republican School. She is still living but her memory is poor. I remember saying to me so many times that her teacher Vashti Hoggard always told them that it was a sin to be ugly. This made a big impression on her and until this day she has always tried to look her best. My dad, Linwood Hill Bazemore born 1912 also went to Republican School he died in 1997. My mother had to stop going to school and help at home when her Dad died so she did not finish school. My Dad often said that he went to the 7th grade but I never heard him say if he graduated. I know he was very good at math and always helped me with my math problems and is he could pronounce a word he could spell it. Both my Mother and Dad went to Republican Baptist church. For years my Aunt, Myrtle Bazemore Ward lived next door to the church and every year in the Summer I would visit her for a weak. I was always impressed with Church because of the stained glass windows which were in memory of Bazemores or Pritchards since I was related to both I felt this Church was a part of me. Many years have passed but the memories of the Summers spent there are still fresh in my mind. Thank you for your information.
I spoke with my mother tonight regarding Republican school. She said she started there in the second grade.[c 1924] She went to Pine Forest School until then and was picked up by bus and taken to Republican School. She said the conditions there were very unsanitary. There was no water for them to wash their hands or to drink. The bathrooms were "outer houses" back up in the woods that no one wanted to use because they were so dirty. There was an area designated for a bathroom but they were never finished.

She said that she remembers there being electricity because she remembers going at night to plays and they would have a Christmas Tree at Christmas time all decorated with lights. My mother was born in 1917. She attended school there until she was in grade 6 then went to Windsor. After the school was closed people from Lewiston, and the surrounding areas went to the nearest schools.

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