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Monday, July 15, 2013

The Schools of Spotsylvania

School at Glenburnie,  the farm of John Henry Biscoe, 1897

     One hundred years ago, long before the consolidation of the county's school district, Spotsylvania's landscape was dotted with one and two room schools that served the students who lived within walking distance. The teachers were mostly young single women from the community, some of whom had actually attended college, like my great aunt Mabel Row Wakeman. Modern students, and their parents, would be appalled at the primitive nature of these schools. These were most often one room affairs, heated by a wood stove in winter and cooled by the simple expedient of opening the windows in summer. A nearby privy was the only accommodation for the students' comfort. There were no gyms, no cafeterias, no band rooms, no computers, no electricity, no running water. And yet, surprisingly,  a number of students taught in these schools went on to attend college, raise families, survive the Great Depression and win two world wars.

Pineapple School, 1903
     Thanks to the Colvin Collection, an amazing archive exists that preserves the images of these old schools, now long gone.  What makes this archive of really historical importance, however, is the fact that Fredericksburg historian Robert Hodge was able to identify many of the students and teachers in these photographs and attach numbered captions indicating who they were. About two dozen of these images exist and today I am presenting a few of them for my readers. If a sufficient interest is shown in these important photographs, I will include more in future posts.
     So join me, won't you, as we travel down these dusty country lanes to the school houses of our grandparents and great grandparents. Shoes are not required. [Please note that all images in my blogs can be clicked on for larger viewing]

Public School No. 1, 1897-98

Goshen School, 1913

Goshen School, 1909

Goshen School, 1911

Goshen School, 1919

Goshen School, 1895-96

School No. 2, about 1908

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for posting this Pat! My 3rd G-grandmother & her sisters are in a similar photo from 1896 - Chivis School. My great-uncle called me last week & told me that he has a hard copy of a school photo that includes the Marmaduke girls. I'm assuming that it's the same photo, but it is odd because I hadn't even told him that I had found it online. So I will be seeing him soon to see what he has. Thanks for keeping the history alive!