Goodspeed's History of Stewart County

Published 1896

Part 9: Schools

There were few schools in Stewart County previous to 1806, and those which had an existence at that time were poorly attended and of poor facilities. Reading, writing, spelling were the branches taught, and the school lasted four about four months in each year. A very good school was opened in Dover about the year 1806 by John Ferrell, which was a subscription school, and was the first of any consequence taught in the county. Alexander Coppage was the next teacher of schools in Dover, he having a school in progress in 1826. In 1830 an excellent school, at which all the lower branches were taught, was established in Dover, which was attended by scholars from all parts of the county. Prof. McDougal established a male and female academy at Dover in 1840, when a brick building was erected at a cost of about $2500. All the higher branches were taught and it was the school of the county. The building was destroyed during the war of the Rebellion, and with it the schools. In 1873, the General Assembly passed a series of very good school laws, since when the school system of Stewart County has gradually improved. The county is divided into fifty-four school districts, two of which have been abolished and two consolidated. The schools by districts are as follows: First District, 1 white school; Second District, 1 white and 1 colored; Third District, 1 white and 1 colored; Forth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Fifth District, 1 white; Sixth District, 1 white; Seventh District, 1 white and 1 colored; Eight District, 1 white and 1 colored; Ninth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Tenth District, 1 white; Eleventh District, 1 white; Twelfth District, 1 white; Thirteenth District 2 white; Fourteenth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Fifteenth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Sixteenth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Seventeenth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Eighteenth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Nineteenth District, 1 white; Twentieth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Twenty-First District, 1 white; Twenty-second District, 1 white; Twenty-third District, 1 white and 1 colored; Twenty-fourth District, 1 white; Twenty-fifth District, 1 white; Twenty-eighth District, 1 white; Twenty-ninth District, 1 white; Thirtieth District, 1 white; Thirty-first and Thirty-second Districts, 1 white; Thirty-third District, 1 white; Thirty-fourth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Thirty-fifth District, 1 white; Thirty-sixth District, 1 white; Thirty-seventh District, 1 white; Thirty-eighth District, 1 white; Thirty-ninth District, 1 white and one colored; Fortieth District, 1 white; Forty-first District, 1 white; Forty-second District, 1 white; Forty-third District, 1 white; Forty-fourth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Forty-fifth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Forty-sixth District, 1 white; Forty-seventh District, 1 white and 1 colored; Forty-eighth District, 1 white; Forty-ninth District, 1 white; Fiftieth District, 1 white and 1 colored; Fifty-first District, abolished; Fifty-second District, 1 white and 1 colored; Fifty-third District, abolished; Fifty- fourth District, 1 white.

A good chartered school was established at Cumberland City in 1881, under the four-mile law; one was established at Indian Mound under the same law in 1883; one under the same law at Bumpus Mills in 1884; at the La Grange Iron Works in 1880, and at Dover in 1883, though the provision of the law does not reach Dover, as a corporation exists. The average length of school term is four months, though private schools are taught several months after the close of the public schools.

In 1885 there were 3,770 white pupils enrolled, 1,859 of whom were male and 1, 911 female; and 884 colored pupils, 446 males and 434 females. There were 46 white school-teachers-42 male and 4 female- and 12 colored teachers-10 male and 2 female. There are 63 schoolhouses in the county, of which 40 are log and 23 frame, 50 being used for white and 13 for colored scholars, and are valued at $10,000, with $1500 worth of school furniture and fixtures. The public schools in some districts are held in church buildings.

The county school superintendents have labored faithfully for the advancement of the public schools, and their labors have not been in vain, for the school system is improving with each year. J. R. Lawrence was superintendent from 1873 to 1878 when the present incumbent, J. W. Stout was elected.

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