Old School Part Two

Introduction

The intent of this “Part Two” is to prepare an official account of all the schools that were in the Catawba Valley from the first school in 1871 (Narrows) to the last school in 1981(Catawba), a period of 110 years. All statistical information, names of schools, teachers, etc. are from the documented records of the Roanoke County Schools. Thus providing Catawba with a Historical Document Reference of Catawba Schools 1871-1981. This document will be printed, along with all other 2018 Blog posts in the book Echoes From Catawba Volume 1. This book will be available in mid-November, 2018.

Thanks to the Roanoke County Schools for sharing their records and overall assistance.

Who Educated Granddad & Grandma?

shiloh school 1912 2 sm
Shiloh School 1912  Students in front of Shiloh School in Catawba Valley. 1st row, L to R: Hortense Deeds, Eva Reed, Gladys Grisso, Edna Wright, Mary Garman, Paris Wright, Roy Hall, Claude Garman, Nelson Alls, John Garman, Kermit Garman, Roy Brillhart, Clyde Brillhart, Kenneth Deeds, Grattin Hall and Matthew Wright. 2nd row, L to R: Pearl Bain (teacher), Vera Deeds, Mary Reed, Violet Custer, McKenley Damewood, Leo Garman and Oscar Garman.

We know about one-room schools in Catawba that started in 1870, but how were children educated in the early 1800s? Compared to the Northern states, the Southern states were 100 years behind in setting up educational systems. Before the Revolutionary War, pathfinders, explorers and early settlers were crossing the looming mountains of the Appalachians.  History down through the ages tells us that education was ongoing, but not in the form of Public Education.

God created us with the capability to absorb and retain knowledge. Children were taught at home by their parents or in larger families by older siblings. It is certain that all kinds of trades or skills were handed down but basic reading, writing, and arithmetic would have had to be taught. The process would have been somewhat similar to “homeschooling” today. Wealthy parents (and they were few) could have hired a qualified tutor or they might have sent their children to a private school if available. But by and large, education was handed down, as was work ethic, manners, and commitment to God and family. This method of schooling although very helpful was limited in many cases due to the educational and economic status of their parents. But education by whatever method was available.

Roanoke County was founded in 1838, having evolved from an oversized Botetourt County. It is believed that about 5,000 residents lived within the bounds of Roanoke County at that time. Virginia moved slowly but surely in setting up a school system for the education of all its children. Localities throughout Virginia reacted differently as politics, cultures and various socio/economic approaches would drive the decisions of free school for all. But Roanoke County would step forward in 1846 to establish a county-wide school system according to the requirements of the General Assembly of Virginia. School Districts were set up and Catawba was one of those Districts.

After setting up the necessary school districts in 1846, very little if anything happened. As a matter of fact, there was very little progress until 1870 when the state system began. The Civil War had interrupted the process in the 1860s and the recovery after that was slow. But things were about to change for Catawba and other county schools. The Virginia Legislature was committed to getting the system of public schools up, and state superintendent William Ruffner was given 30 days to present a plan.

Roanoke County organized a school board for each of the four magisterial districts.  In Catawba district, John John was elected chairman, Captain William Brand was elected clerk, and one other member was elected, a man named John Gordon.

The following plan was adopted and published with an explanation in the county paper (The Roanoke Times):

Persons living in the vicinity of any schoolhouse in the county (Catawba) may have a free school established among them by complying with the following conditions:

  1. Provide a comfortable school house with all the necessary furniture.
  2. Admit to the school all the children of the proper age within a district of such size as will secure an average daily attendance of twenty scholars for five months.
  3. Employ a teacher who has a certificate of qualification from the county superintendent.
  4. Raise by subscriptions or donations and amount equal to one-third of the teacher’s salary.

Catawba’s Early Schools

The first schools were built as one room structures, occasionally upgraded to two rooms. Some were log structures and some were framed structures.   Just like homes in the Valley, water had to be carried to the schoolhouses and they were heated by wood.

Each school was required to have at least 20 students signup in order to qualify for County support. The school year would have a length of three, four or five months, preferably five. Attendance was sporadic, especially with boys since they were needed on the farms. Teachers were brought in from wherever they could find them. There were teachers from some Northern states that would come and take jobs in Roanoke County.

The schools that were in the Catawba area that were part of the Catawba District in the 1870’s through the 1920’s were Narrows, Shiloh, Gravel Hill, Catawba, and Catawba Colored.

According to Roanoke County School Board archives, Narrows School started in 1871 and was condemned in 1926.  The children from Narrows were then transported to Gravel Hill.

Shiloh school began in 1872.  A new Shiloh school was built in 1916. In 1928 Shiloh school closed and the children from Shiloh School attended the newly built Catawba School.  The Shiloh school building was dismantled and rebuilt at Mercy House on the County Farm.

Gravel Hill School began in 1897 and closed in 1928.  Those children from Gravel Hill would attend the new Catawba School.

The Catawba Colored School was started in 1872 and closed in 1954.

The original Catawba School was started in 1872 and met until 1877. The location of this school is described as near Brand store.  Records show that the school began again in 1883 and met through 1888 and again from 1906 until 1928.

The location of the original Catawba School has been verified as being on the Catawba Sanatorium property (Catawba Hospital) today. It was located on Hwy 320  which is called Catawba Hospital Drive  on the left  at the ridgeline, top of the hill not far from the Pumphouse. As a young boy I had walked all those fields and woods during my youth. It stuck in my mind that there were foundation ruins there at the time. During these time- consuming school posts I have always felt there was an original Catawba School and had research that suggested such. I am dedicated to writing based on facts, especially since I want this position to be the official record of Catawba Schools. My instincts told me that this aforementioned property was the Catawba School location. Steve Hall, whose dad told him years ago that this was the location he attended school. As a matter of fact, on one occasion a teacher there walking up the snowy path one school morning slipped and fell sliding all the way to the foot of the sloping field. Clay laughed at the site and was punished for doing so. Deedie Kagey’s History of Roanoke County states there was a school near Brand’s store. Another historical source states a school near Catawba Methodist Church. Although this information pointed towards the Catawba Sanatorium/Catawba Hospital location as the exact location of the school, I was still hesitate; Until Alan Lee stated that his Great Aunt Edith Lee Smith told him that this area was the location of the first church/school in Catawba.

A new Catawba School was built in 1928 where the schools would be consolidated, with the exception of the Catawba colored school. The Black students from that school would enter the new Catawba School in the mid 1950s. The 1928 Catawba School would close in the spring of  1981.

 

Narrows School                                  Shiloh School                                       Gravel Hill School

Visit the Old School Photo Album

These listings, by school, date, teachers, enrollment and closing are all from the Roanoke County Schools archives of official records.

NARROWS SCHOOL
1871-1926  
Teacher Enrollment
1871–1872 Unknown
1872–1874 McCulloch, Nannie S. 33, 31
1874-1875 McConkey, George G. 35
1875–1876 Henderson, _____ 39
1876–1877 Rex, B.L. 31
1877-1883 No Record
1883-1884 Bennett, John S. 38
1884-1885 Woods, Jane 38
1885–1887 Gordon, Frank B. 33, 39
1887–1888 Woods, James P. 34
1888-1889 Thomas, Jennie 31
1889-1890 John, John J. 36
1890-1891 Eakin, Mrs. Abba 42
1891-1893 Lewis, Mary S. 41, 12
1893-1895 Beahm, J.C. 42, 42
1895-1896 McWhorter, A.W. 45
Doosing, W.T.
1896-1897 Doosing, W.T. 47
1897-1898 Wilson, Miss. M. S. 28
1898-1900 John, L. Annie 25, 27
1900-1901 Price, Laura E. 30
1901-1903 John, L. Annie 33, 30
1903-1904 Reynolds, Berta M. 27
1904-1909 John, L. Annie 26, 25, 24, 19, 17
1909-1910 Bain, Pearl 19
1910-1911 Eakin, Alice 19
1911-1912 John, L. Annie 16
1912-1913 Bell, Fay 21
1913-1914 Eakin, Alice 26
1914-1915 Fox, Gladys 17
1915-1916 Mays, Julia 19
1916-1917 Murray, Lottie 21
1917-1918 Aker, Myrtle 32
1918-1919 Hanley, Mary 29
1919-1920 Aker, Myrtle 33
1920-1921 Baker, Cora 27
1921-1922 Campbell, Virginia 30
1922-1923 none
1923-1924 Arthur, E. W. 27
1924-1925 Lancaster, Harry 29
1925-1926 Ritger, Miss Meta 30
1928 (spring) Closed
SHILOH SCHOOL
1872 – 1928  
 Teachers Enrollment
1872-1873 Henderson, Harry 32
1873-1875 Anderson, Elmer 26, 47
1875-1877 Wilson, William 44, 32
1877-1883 No Record
1883-1884 Crawford, W.A. 36
1884-1885 None
1885-1887 Woods, James R. 46, 42
1887-1888 Henderson, P.M. 41
1888-1889 Wells, James M. 49
1889-1890 Scott, J.J. 44
1890-1891 John, John J. 46
1891-1892 Crawford, Ballard W. 40
1892-1893 Bradford, Josie 36
1893-1894 Cameron, J.B.R 39
1894-1895 Spessard, Sallie 39
1895-1896 McWhorter, M.T. 34
1896-1897 Beahm, Lucy R. 43
1897-1899 Sink, H.C. 41, 32
1899-1900 Cameron, J.B. 31
1900-1901 Bernhardt, Dora E. 29
1901-1902 Cameron, J.B. 33
1902-1903 Barnett, Maggie D. 35
1903-1904 Smiley, Marie 21
1904-1905 Humbert, Weta 23
1905-1906 Compton, Olivia 29
1906-1907 Jamison, Hattie 26
1907-1908 Hatcher, Belle 30
1908-1909 G_____, Ethel 30
1909-1910 Peters, Flora 30
1910-1911 Crantz, Lucy 30
1911-1912 Bain, Pearl 23
1912-1913 Brown, Minnie 24
1913-1914 Merchant, Almira 31
1914-1915 Price, Louise 34
1915-1916 Carter, Jessie 35
1916-1917 Prillaman, Annie 41
1917-1918 Brown, Minnie 41
1918-1919 Payne, Eugie 38
1919-1920 Neighbors, Mrs. J.W. 38
1920-1921 Rowe, Sallie 38
Tredway, Letitita
1921-1922 Flora, Fannie 40
1922-1923 Flora, Fannie 41
Flora, Pearl
1923-1924 Bostwick, Junia 39
Flora, Pearl
1924-1925 Thompson, Mrs. Ollie 26
Angerson, Mary
Lipes, Lucille
1925-1926 Crumpacker, Mary (Principal)
Garst, Louise 30
1926-1927 Eakin, Alice 24
1927-1928 Rumburg, Miss. Dimple 28
Edwards, Myretle
19289 Spring) Closed
GRAVEL HILL SCHOOL
1897-1928
Teachers Enrollment
1897-1898 Agnew, Miss. H.M. 31
1898-1899 Doosing, W.T. 30
1899-1900 Haslep, Miss. Inez 27
1900-1901 Jamison, John 27
1901-1902 Wiley, Miss Gracie 36
1902-1903 Garst, Levi 34
1903-1904 John, Miss L. Annie 34
1904-1905 Ikenberry, Martha 30
1905-1906 Reynolds, Rufus 32
1906-1909 Eakin, Alice 30, 32, 34
1909-1910 Trice, Bertha 33
1910-1911 John, L. Annie 28
1911-1912 Hall, Maude 31
1912-1913 Wells, Dora 25
1913-1914 Light, Gold 29
1914-1915 Martin, Dorcas 20
Graham, William
1915-1916 Cummins, Bessie 28
1916-1917 Heard, Irene 27
1917-1922 None
1922-1923 White, Frances 11
1923-1926 None
1926-1927 Lavinder, Helen 25
1927-1928 McDermed, Ruby 23
1928 (Spring) Closed
CATAWBA SCHOOL
1872-1981
Teachers Enrollment
1872-1874 McConkey, Mary P. 28, 25
1874-1875 Rogers, Miss L. A. 31
1875-1876 Peele, Christine E. 14
1876-1877 Peele, Julie 22
1883-1884 Woods, James R. 29
1884-1885 Brent, James 31
1885-1886 Wade, J.T.S. 30
1886-1887 Burnett, Edgar W. 24
1887-1888 Scott, James J. 29
1890-1891 Lewis, Mary 49
1891-1893 Lewis, Delia 18, 19
1893-1894 Spessard, Sallie 27
1894-1895 John, Annie 24
1895-1896 Garst, Mary 27
1896-1897 Lewis, Delia 29
1897-1899 Jenkins, H.T. 22, 23
1899-1900 Ferguson, Laura 23
1900-1901 Moore, Retta 22
1901-1902 Lewis, Delia 26
1902-1903 Woods, Bertha 28
1903-1904 vacant
1904-1905 Compton, Olivia 25
1905-1907 Cameron, J. B. R. 36, 32
1907-1908 Fringer, Mrs. Geo. 29
1908-1909 Logan, Sallie 23
1909-1910 John, Annie 35
1910-1913 Gilbert, Blanche 38, 35, 33
1913-1914 Hamilton, Margie 30
1914-1915 Barnett, Kathleen 26
1915-1917 Price, Nellie 33, 35
1917-1918 Eaton, Bess 30
1918-1919 Hall, Elizabeth 27
1919-1920 Barnett, Kathleen 37
1920-1921 Barnett, Kathleen 34
Hall, Elizabeth
1921-1922 Barnett, Kathleen 46
Baker, Cora
Hall, Elizabeth
1922-1923 Fringer, Kathleen 38
Basham, Virginia
1923-1924 Graham, Elsie 34
1924-1925 Johnston, Margaret 29
Penley, Blanche
1925-1926 Eakin, Alice 40
Burch, Ida
1926-1927 White, Grace 43
Burch, Ida
1927-1928 Morehead, Katherine 40
Fitzpatrick, Susye
Burch, Ida
1928-1929 Myers, Mr. B.P. 109
Burch, Ida
Davis, Hazel
McDermed, Ruby
1929-1930 Stone E.L. – Principal 114
McDermed, Ruby
Davis, Hazel
Burch, Ida
1930-1931 James, W. Robert- Principal 145
Wood, Verba
McDermed, Ruby
Davis, Hazel
Burch, Ida
1931-1932 James, W. Robert-Principal 137
Vaught, Mr. E. E.
Brown, Mr. F. P.
DeLong Jr., Mr. W. J.
McDermed, Ruby
Conner, Josephine
Bowers, Eleanor
1932-1933 James, W. Robert-Principal 135
Marmon, Mr. W. Fain
McDermed, Ruby
Conner, Josephine
Bowers, Eleanor
1933-1934 James, W. Robert-Principal 153
Marmon, Mr. W. Fain
McDermed, Ruby
Conner, Josephine
Garrett, Eleanor B.
1934-1935 James, W. Robert-Principal 148
Marmon, Mr. W. Fain
Richardson, Hazel
Reynolds, Charlotte
Garrett, Eleanor B.
1935-1936 James, W. Robert-Principal 145
Enger, Charles
James, Margaret
Moran, Marian
Garrett, Eleanor B.
1936-1937 James, W. Robert-Principal 116
Richards, Dan
Leonard, Mabel
Moran, Marian
Garrett, Eleanor B.
1937-1938 James, W. Robert-Principal 148
Richards, Dan
Leonard, Mabel
Moran, Marian
Fagg, Betty
1938-1939 Miller, W. H. – Principal 144
Argabright, Eileen
Chick, Dorothea
Lopez, Ella
Leonard, Mabel
Adams, Sylvia
1939-1940 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 107
Harris, Elizabeth
Adams, Sylvia
1940-1941 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 112
Mason, Edith
Adams, Sylvia
1941-1942 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 121
Mason, Edith
Bowers, Elizabeth
1942-1943 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 130
Davis, Margaret
Mason, Edith
Painter, Ethel
1943-1944 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 138
Brillhart, Lucille
Lopez, Ella
Painter, Ethel
1944-1945 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 138
Brillhart, Lucille
Lopez, Ella
Painter, Ethel
1945-1946 Leonard, Mabel-Principal 137
Brillhart, Lucille
Layman, Alice
Wood, Lucille
1946-1947 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 138
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
LaPrad, Julia
Layman, Alice
1947-1948 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 129
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
LaPrad, Julia
Layman, Alice
1948-1949 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 125
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1949-1950 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 124
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Hinson, Ila
1950-1951 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 114
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Hinson, Ila
1951-1952 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 113
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Hinson, Ila
1952-1953 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 111
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1953-1954 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 107
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1954-1955 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 112
Brillhart, Lucille
Dunn, Kitty
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1955-1956 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 103
Dunn, Kitty
Garman, Lucille B.
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1956-1957 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 108
Davis, Edythe
Dunn, Kitty
Garman, Lucille B.
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1957-1958 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 107
Burks, Barbara Ellen
Dunn, Kitty
Garman, Lucille B.
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
1958-1959 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 103
Dunn, Kitty
Eichelberger, Marjory
Hall, Minnie
Layman, Alice
Orr, Jane Joy
1959-1960 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 93
Dunn, Kitty
Eichelberger, Marjory
Hall, Minnie
Shockey, Ann Carol
1960-1961 Hall, Mabel L. -Principal 89
Dunn, Kitty
Garman, Lucille B.
Hall, Minnie
1961-1962 Harper, Kenneth-Principal 85
Garman, Lucille
Hunter, Kathleen
May, Mary
Teass, Richard F.
1962-1963 Harper, Kenneth-Principal 85
Garman, Lucille
Purdy, Lois
Teass, Richard F.
1963-1964 Harper, Kenneth-Principal 84
Bell, Virginia
Davis, Edythe
Garman, Lucille
Teass, Richard F.
1964-1965 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 84
Bell, Virginia
Davis, Edythe
Garman, Lucille
1965-1966 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 87
Bell, Virginia
Davis, Edythe
Garman, Lucille
1966-1967 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 95
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucille
McMullen, Helen
1967-1968 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 86
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucille
Neal, Mary
1968-1969 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 80
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucille
Neal, Mary
1969-1970 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 85
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucile
Neal, Mary
1970-1971 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 76
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucile
Neal, Mary
1971-1972 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 88
Bell, Virginia
Garman, Lucile
Neal, Mary
1972-1973 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 78
Bell, Virginia
Cockrum, Linda
Freis, Katherine
1973-1974 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 83
Bell, Virginia
Freis, Katherine
Goodall, Phyllis W.
Ridout, Elizabeth J.
Sprenger, Suzanne
1974-1975 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 72
Bell, Virginia
Freis, Katherine
Jones, Miss. Terry A.
Sprenger, Suzanne
1975-1976 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 66
Bell, Virginia
Freis, Katherine
Jones, Miss. Terry A.
Sprenger, Suzanne
1976-1977 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 53
Bell, Virginia
Franks, Doris
Freis, Katherine
Jones, Miss. Terry A.
Sprenger, Suzanne
1977-1978 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 51
Bell, Virginia
Crabtree, Laurie
Freis, Katherine
Sprenger, Suzanne
1978-1979 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 47
Bell, Virginia
Brammer, Lynn
Crabtree, Laurie
Freis, Katherine
1979-1980 Thompson, Donald L. – Principal 56
Bell, Virginia
Brammer, Lynn
Freis, Katherine
Romano, Nancy
1980-1981 Lonker, Steve L.-Principal 49
Beaver, Sharon
Bell, Virginia
Brammer, Lynn
Eary, Martha
Kaplan, Debbie
Key, Pamela
Puckett, Vickie
Romano, Nancy
Young, Deborah
CATAWBA COLORED SCHOOL Teachers Enrollment
1872-1954    
1872-1873 Thomas 32
1873-1874 Beane, James 25
1874-1876 Beane, I. H. 40, 38
1876-1877 Ricks, M. W. 36
1883-1884 Young, J. F. 33
1884-1885 Williams, Anne 42
1885-1886 Wilson, William 51
1886-1887 Persinger, Toney 43
1887-1888 Wilson, R. W. 37
1888-1889 Sigler, J. W. 30
1889-1890 Sigler, J. W. 41
1891-1922 No Record
1922-1923 Noe, Margaret 36
1923-1926 Penick, Miss Jessie 26, 26, 24
1926-1927 Clayter, Marie 21
1927-1930 Jones, Jessie P. 21, 26, 25
1930-1931 Kein, Helen 29
1931-1934 Jones, Jessie P. 23, 19, 23
1934-1935 Coleman, Martha 15
1935-1937 Harper, Mary 18, 15
1937-1939 Blaney, Mary 11, 15
1939-1940 Johnson, Gwendolyn 20
1940-1942 Cooley, Marie 16, 18
1943-1945 Lynch, Letita 16, 13, 15
Rayford, Christine
1945-1946 Burke, Dorthy 14
Lynch, Letita
Traynham
1946-1948 Burke, Dorthy 20, 22
1948-1954
Closed 1954
Poindexter, Marguerite 20, 18, 25, 21, 18, 17

Be sure to leave a comment and read the comments below.

2 thoughts on “Old School Part Two

    1. Thank you Terri, for your kind words. You have expressed very well the essence of what I am trying to do, which is—-not only take one back but to preserve the feelings that are experienced. Thank you for taking the time to comment.

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