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African American Contributions - Preserving Black History One Story at a Time
African American Contributions - Preserving Black History One Story at a Time
 

Click for enlarged viewHistoric African American Schools in St. Mary's County, Maryland

African Americans achieved a great deal through educational and religious institutions.  Education was vital to the success of those who remained in the county after the war.  Segregated one and two room schools such as the Drayden School were established for "colored" children in the 1870s with the help of the Freedmen's Bureau.  The first Catholic school for African American children opened its doors in 1886 at the Knights of St. Jerome's Hall in Dameron.  The site of Cardinal Gibbons Institute, the first black Catholic high school, is marked with a memorial in its honor.  African American protestant churches date back as far as 1813.  The rich histories of these churches tell of camp meetings, revivals and gala homecomings. 

Benjamin Banneker School and George Washington Carver School, formerly Jarboesville School, provided the first opportunities for African Americans to attend public high school in the county.  Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954 set the legal stage for desegregation, but it was not until 1967 that the county schools were full desegregated. 

These notes provide some information about the schools located on the map.  Both the MAP and these notes are "works-in-progress."

Although many folks named the schoolhouses after geographical locations, public schools were officially referred to by their district and school number until consolidation of the schools took place in the mid-1940s and 1950s.  The sites of most of the eleven Freedmen's Bureau schools purported to be built between 1865 and 1968 are not included.  Some may never have been built; others were probably absorbed into the county system after 1872.  Other schools are waiting to be remembered and relocated in this history, and, of course, corrections and additions to what follows are encouraged.


District No. 1 Schools District No. 4 Schools District No. 7 Schools

Fairfield
The Pine
Scotland
St. Inigoes
Knights of St. Jerome
St. Peter Claver
St. Alphonsus
Cardinal Gibbons Institute
    

 

Chaptico
Hurry / Crossroads
Budd's Creek
Mechanicsville
St. Francis
Tin Top

 

Fenwick

District No. 2 Schools   District No. 5 Schools   District No. 8 Schools

Valley Lee / Great Mills
Drayden
Piney Point

 

The Oaks
Trent Hall
Gravelly Knolls
Charlotte Hall
White Marsh
Oraville

 

California
Hermanville
Park Hall
Patuxent Beach
Jarboesville / Carver

District No. 3 Schools   District No. 6 Schools   District No. 9 Schools

Leonardtown
Oakley
Abell
St. Clements Bay
River Springs
Red Gate
Beggar's Neck
Medley's Neck
Milestown
Industrial
Banneker
Maryland Springs
     

 

Oakville
Hollywood / Phyllis Wheatley
Morganza
St. Joseph's

 

St. George's Island

DISTRICT No. 1, ST. INIGOES

Fairfield Schoolhouse

before 1871 - after 1900
School # 1, District # 1

No longer standing, the Fairfield schoolhouse was in the area around the former St. James Church (Mattapany Road and Rte. 235) and is referred to as "Fairfield" in Father Walsh's book. The 1874 surrender of the Freedman's Bureau school in the 1st District to the county may have referred to this school.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Washington Hawkins, Benedict Barnes, Isaac Armstrong

If you know more about the Fairfield Schoolhouse, please write to us.

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The Pine Schoolhouse

1871 - c.1930
School # 2, District # 1

No longer standing, the Pine schoolhouse was probably in two locations. UCAC informant, Alice Bennett, referred to this schools as "Tall Pines", and described it as being on the north side on Bennett Drive, near Rte. 5. She also said that the first of the Black schools was located about where Anne and Tony's Store stands - across from St. Michael's Church. Also referenced in Father Walsh's book which mentions an event at the school and refers to the area near the present church as "the Pines" or "tall pines."

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Benj. Biscoe, Peter Jones, Joseph W. Bennett

If you know more about the The Pine Schoolhouse, please write to us.

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Scotland One-Room Schoolhouse

1879 - 1949
School # 3; District # 1

Scotland School is still standing and is located on the corner of Rte. 5 and Fresh Pond Neck Road. Sometime after 1949, the building was used for many years as a barbershop by Guffrie Smith. The family is seeking funds to restore the building.

County Planning and Zoning Historical Survey records note:

Scotland School is located on land donated by the Quaker family of Broardley for the establishment of a Public School for blacks. This land was donated to the St. Mary's Board of Education in 1878. The building that stands on the property today was originally a white elementary school that was moved from another site (Carriage Lane Road) and placed in 1879. The school was sold by the Board of Education to private ownership in 1949.

If you know more about the Scotland School, please write to us.

Children coming out of Scotland School at noon, September 1940: Photograph by John Vachon, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-fsa 8c17847
Children coming out of Scotland School at noon, September 1940. Photograph by John Vachon, Library of Congress, Prints & Photographs Division, FSA/OWI Collection, LC-fsa 8c17847

Scotland Schoolhouse, 2003; photos Courtesy of Bob Lewis
Scotland Schoolhouse, 2003
Photos Courtesy of Bob Lewis

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St. Inigoes One-Room Schoolhouse

1896 - 1940's
School # 4, District # 1

Still standing on the west side of Mt Zion Church Road about .3 miles from Beachville Road, St. Inigoes one-room schoolhouse was converted into a residence in the 1940's. Still owned by the St. Mary's County Commissioners, the building was leased into the late 1970's at such time the leasor chose to build her own home next door.

Maryland tax records list the property as:
SCHOOL HOUSE LOT
BALLTOWN

Since the 1970's, the schoolhouse has fallen into disrepair and is in extreme danger of being disposed of. UCAC members were lucky to find the schoolhouse, as seen in the photographs above, with the help of Richard Ball (pictured) who is a long term resident of the area. Mr. Ball indicated to us that neighbors had mowed the lawn around the building into the mid 1980's.

If you know more about St. Inigoes School, please write to us.

St. Inigoes One-room Schoolhouse with Elvare Gaskin standing in front; photo courtesy of Andrea Hammer
St. Inigoes One-room Schoolhouse with Elvare Gaskin standing in front;
Photo courtesy of Andrea Hammer

St. Inigoes One-Room Schoolhouse, 2002; photos Courtesy of Bob Lewis
St. Inigoes One-room Schoolhouse, 2002
Photo courtesy of Bob Lewis

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Knights of St. Jerome School

Initially called the St. Inigoes Beneficial Society, the Knights of St. Jerome took its present name on March 1, 1880, thus "uniting together the various beneficial societies into a single order."2  Ever since it was first conceived, the organization has taken care of the widows and orphans, helped to bury the indigent dead, and cared for the sick and disabled.

The Knights of St. Jerome met in their new hall on November 1, 1886, to form plans for the first parochial school for African American children in St. Mary's County.  Mr. Nicholas Biscoe offered the resolution appointing Father Gaffney as treasurer for the school.  Mr. Ignatius Smallwood was appointed a member of the financial committee.  Nicholas Biscoe, Samuel E. Carroll, and Daniel Oliver Barnes were appointed for the building committee.  They started to raise money, and by the following meeting on November 26, they had collected $37.50.  At a meeting on December 4, the Knights decided to hold the school on the ground floor of St. Jerome's Hall.  The first teacher of the school was Daniel Oliver Barnes.

The Saint Inigoes Colored Parochial School began operations in the early part of May 1887.  This was quite different from the start of the school year for "colored" public school students.  The "colored" public schools generally had a shorter school year than the white schools, and the African American parents greatly resented this disparity.  By beginning in May, the new school gave the children an opportunity to complete the normal school year.

In July 1887, the new school held its first end-of-year commencement.  The priests
of the area, Father Gaffney, Father Neale, and the newly arrived Father William Tynan, S.J. were invited to attend the commencement.  When the group arrived at St. Jerome's Hall they found the hall-turned-schoolhouse decorated with flowers and evergreens.  The children were dressed in their holiday attire, looking neat and orderly.  There were outstanding recitations, dialogues, and singing.

In October 1888, the trustees of the school voted to require the parents to stock the wood shed or their children would be removed from the school.  It is uncertain how long the school remained open.  Mention of a school at St. Inigoes disappears after 1884.  It may have still been in operation in April 1887.  The Beacon reported that Mr. Daniel O. Barnes had accepted the post of treasure of the Republican Party and referred to him as "the teacher of the Parochial School."3 , 4

If you know more about the Knights of St. Jerome School, please write to us.

Social hall of the Knights of St. Jerome, ca 1994. Courtesy St. Mary's County Department of Land Use and Growth Management.
Social hall of the Knights of St. Jerome, ca 1994.
Courtesy St. Mary's County Department of Land Use and Growth Management

Social hall of the Knights of St. Jerome
Social hall of the Knights of St. Jerome

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St. Peter Claver Elementary School

1916 - 1965

Still Standing.  Is located near the church on St. Peter Claver Church Road (off Route 5, south of St. Inigoes).  The school opened soon after African American members of St. Michael's church left to establish St. Peter's Church.  The school closed with the desegregation of county schools in 1967; many students transferred to St. Michael's School in Ridge.  (Elementary closed in 1965, and seventh and eighth grades closed in 1967.) 

If you know more about St. Peter Claver School, please write to us.

St. Peter Claver School, ca 1940. Courtesy St. Peter Claver Church
St. Peter Claver School, ca 1940
Courtesy St. Peter Claver Church

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St. Alphonsus School

1916 - 1922
Roman Catholic (private school)

No longer standing, the St. Alphonsus School was located on Rte. 235 six miles north of Ridge near the intersection with Mattapany Road. It was part of the St. James Parish and was built with contributions from Mother Katherine Drexel. The school was opened in 1916 and continued until 1922 with Mrs. Jennie Beal as its only teacher.

If you know more about the St. Alphonsus School, please write to us.

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Cardinal Gibbons Institute

In 1924, Roman Catholics embarked on a mission to provide agricultural and industrial education for African American youth in Southern Maryland.  Opening ceremonies dedicating Gibbons Hall on October 24, 1924 were attended by a large crowd and presided over by Father John LaFarge, Principal Victor Daniel, and Assistant Principal Constance Daniel.

Its founders defined three primary purposes for the Institute: to combine Tuskegee-style industrial and agricultural education with Catholic education, to promote a sound understanding and love of the Catholic faith to make African American youth leaders in their communities and the church, and to serve as a "community school" for the people of Southern Maryland.

When the Institute opened, there was no public high school for African Americans in St. Mary's County, and the Catholic elementary school, St. Peter Claver, had existed only since 1916.  A combination of poor educational opportunity, poverty, and a lack of physicians and nurses caused St. Mary's County to have the highest death rate and most primitive agricultural methods of any county in the United States in the 1920s.

With the blossoming of the Harlem Renaissance, art education at the Institute used African American literature, history, and music as the foundation of its liberal arts curriculum.  It made agricultural and health education priorities.  The Daniels worked to show that the denial of civil rights and justice had direct bearing on the physical, mental, and spiritual health of African Americans.

Although lack of funding forced a temporary closure of the Institute in 1934, during the Great Depression, it was reopened in 1938, and the success of its programs was already evident in the improving standard of living in St. Mary's County.  The Institute closed its doors in 1967, and the building was torn down in 1972.5

If you know more about the Cardinal Gibbons Institute, please write to us.

Graduating class of 1940. Photo courtesy of St. Mary's County Government
Graduating Class of 1940
Photo courtesy of Alice Bennett

Cardinal Gibbons Institute, 1920s.  Courtesy of St. Peter Claver Church.
Cardinal Gibbons Institute, 1920s
Courtesy of St. Peter Claver Church.

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DISTRICT No. 2, VALLEY LEE

Valley Lee / Great Mills Two-Room Schoolhouse

1874 - 1940s
School # 1, District # 2

No longer standing, the Valley Lee / Great Mills two-room schoolhouse was located on Rte. 249 near where St. Luke's Church now stands (adjacent to Steuart Petroleum Road). Children from St. George's Island transferred to this school after the St. George's Island school was destroyed in the 1933 hurricane. UCAC informants Georgia Milburn and Catherine Travers attended this school.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Charles H. Guyther, J. Bean Tippett, Philip J. Medley

If you know more about the Valley Lee/Great Mills School, please write to us.

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Drayden One-Room Schoolhouse

1890 - 1944
School # 2; District # 2

Located about a mile south of Drayden Road on Cherryfield Road, Drayden Schoolhouse is currently owned by St. Mary's County and is under the watchful eye of the Department of Recreation and Parks - Museum Division. After many years in the hands of a private citizen, the building and one acre was gifted to the county in 1999. Plans for interpretation are currently not funded.

Badly needed maintenance on the property was administered in 2000 funded by DynCorp Range Technical Services Inc., Christmas in April, and the county. Although exterior paint was not found on early schoolhouses, the building was painted in order to preserve the original siding planks and because the building had already been painted in years past.

UCAC informants and oral histories gathered by local resident, Ruth Dilliner, indicate that the school yard was entirely dirt (mud on rainy days). Comments on the actual experience at Drayden School can be heard or read from former student Clarence Smith.

The Planning and Zoning Historic Survey (1994) states:

The Drayden Schoolhouse stands on a one-acre lot . . . purchased by Mary Ellen Gross and Daniel A. Gross in 1889. This simple frame one-room school-house appears to have been built on the property soon after their purchase. The Gross family owned the property until 1944 suggesting that the Board of Education rented the school building from them . . . . In 1944 the Drayden Schoolhouse was closed and students were bused to Jarboesville . . . . Once the building ceased to serve as a schoolhouse, it was occupied as a residence.

If you know more about the Drayden School, please write to us.

Photo courtesy of St. Mary's County Government
Photo courtesy of St. Mary's County Government

Drayden One-room Schoolhouse, circa 1999; photo courtesy of Elmer Brown
Drayden One-room Schoolhouse, circa 1999
photo courtesy of Elmer Brown

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Piney Point Schoolhouse

1890 - 1938
School # 3, District # 2

No longer standing, the Piney Point schoolhouse was located on Rte. 249 near where St. Luke's Church now stands (adjacent to Stuart Petroleum Road). Children from St. George's Island transferred to this school after the St. George's Island school was destroyed in the 1933 hurricane. UCAC informants Georgia Milburn and Catherine Travers attended this school.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Charles H. Guyther, J. Bean Tippett, Philip J. Medley

If you know more about the Piney Point School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No. 9, ISLAND DISTRICT (may have been included with District No. 2 in early records)

St. George's Island Schoolhouse

1875 - 1933
School No. 1, District No. 9

There were at least two "Colored" schools on the island. According to the St. Mary's County Historical Society, the first, built in 1875, was near the middle of the island. The second, nearer to where Evans Restaurant now stands, was abandoned after the Hurricane of 1933 and is no longer standing. UCAC informants Georgia Milburn and Catherine Travers both attended this second school.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon lists the board of trustees for this school as: Henson Blackwell, George Dickens, George Tarlton

If you know more about the St. George's Island School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No. 3, LEONARDTOWN

Leonardtown School

before 1900 - 1930s
School # 1, District # 3

In the early decades of the 20th century, this school was located in two buildings; grades 1 - 3 in a room in the back of the old St. Aloysius Society Building and grades 4 - 7 in a schoolhouse on the east side of Rte. 5 down the hill from the Leonardtown Square and near the cemetery.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Dominick Butler, George Creighton, George Smith

If you know more about the Leonardtown School, please write to us.

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Oakley One-Room Schoolhouse

before 1900 - 1930s?
School # 1, District # 3

No longer standing, the Oakley schoolhouse was the first school for African Americans in the seventh district. Located on the corner of Oakley Road and Sugar Hole Road, this site now hosts the Milestown one-room school which was moved here in the 1930s.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Frederick Wilson, Adam Mahoney, Thomas Thomas

If you know more about Oakley School, please write to us.

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St. Clement's Bay or Clements School

1984 - 1938
School #2, District # 3

Located south of the intersection of Route 234 (Budd's Creek Road) and Route 242 (Colton's Point Road).  The school is referred to as the "Dirt Bridge School" in a 1924-1925 "Teachers of Colored Schools" list and, according to the St. Mary's County Historical Society, is referred to as "Claments" on a list of "Colored Schools" for the same year.  The building is no longer standing.

If you know more about the St. Clement's Bay School, please write to us.

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Abell One-Room Schoolhouse

after 1900 - after 1941
School # 2, District # 3

No longer standing, the schoolhouse in Abell was located on the south side of Rte. 242 between Abell Road and Paul Ellis Road. After the River Springs was no longer serviceable, the one-room Abell school opened and taught grades 1 - 6.

If you know more about the Abell School, please write to us.

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River Springs One-Room Schoolhouse

before 1900 - ?
School # 2, District # 3

No longer standing, the River Springs schoolhouse was the second school for African Americans in the seventh district. Located on the south side of Rte. 242 around the Holy Angels Church, this one-room schoolhouse was probably replaced by the Milestown schoolhouse in the early 1900s.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Frederick Wilson, Adam Mahoney, Thomas Thomas

If you know more about the River Springs, please write to us.

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Red Gate One-Room School

1876 - 1938
School # 3, District # 3

No longer standing, the Red Gate one-room school was located on Rte. 5 about midway between Whirlwind Road and Moll Dyer Road.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: James H. Holly, Robert Sewell, Alexander Barnes

If you know more about the Red Gate School, please write to us.

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Beggar's Neck/Newtown Neck Schoolhouse

1878 - 1938
School # 4, District # 3

No longer standing, Beggar's Neck School (now known as Newtown Neck School) was located on the north side of Rte. 243 somewheres near to Rosebank Road.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: Fred Tyre, William Thompson, John Turner

If you know more about the Beggar's Neck School, please write to us.

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Medley's Neck School

after 1900 - before 1941
School # 5, District # 3

No longer standing, the Medley's Neck School school was located on the north side of Rte. 244 near Our Lady's Chapel.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: George F. Combs, Henry Campbell, Joseph Brooks

If you know more about the Medley's Neck School, please write to us.

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Milestown One-Room Schoolhouse

School # 3; District # 7
(became school #1 when it was moved)

Recently remodeled and sold, this early one-room school was moved in the 1930s to its present location on the corner of Oakley Road and Sugar Hole Road. This site was once occupied by the Oakley Schoolhouse. The large windows along one side are not typical of early one-room schoolhouses in southern Maryland but rather represent a new plan introduced after World War I. Windows on the south side helped a lot in areas where rural electrification came late and budgets for kerosene were often lacking.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: William Clark, Wilson Dyson, George Shaw.

If you know more about the Milestown School, please write to us.

Milestown One-room Schoolhouse in 2002; photos courtesy Bob Lewis
         Milestown One-room Schoolhouse in 2002; photos courtesy Bob Lewis

Milestown One-room Schoolhouse in 2002; photos courtesy Bob Lewis

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Industrial School

1923 - 1934

No longer standing, the Industrial schoolhouse was located in an old farmhouse owned by the Banneker trustees. It was deeded to the county Board of Education in 1929.

If you know more about the Industrial School, please write to us.

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Banneker School

Banneker School represents the outgrowth of a long effort of the black community to secure a school for their race in the northern end of St. Mary's County. The first step was recorded on March 28, 1896, when a group of eight citizens formed a corporation to be known as the "St. Mary's Colored High School."

Directors of the corporation for the first year:
          James H. Brown, President
          William L. Clark, Vice President
          George Green, Recording Secretary
          George H. Bankins, Corresponding Secretary
          William F. Hall, Treasurer

In 1923, records show the incorporation of an education institution called The Central Colored Industrial School. James H. Stewart, Thomas A. Mack, William B. Thompson, William L. Clarke, and T. Herbert Blackiston comprised the board of directors of this group. The stated purpose of the corporation was the "education of Colored youths where they may be taught the usual branches of a sound English education and receive instruction and practical training in agriculture, industrial, and mechanical pursuits."1 The efforts of this group resulted in the founding of Banneker School.

The school first operated in an old farmhouse. Parents formed a group called the United Parent Trustee Association (UPTA) and pooled their energies and resources to make the school a success. The student body was drawn from all parts of the county. Those children not within commuting distance boarded with families in the Loveville area. The UPTA bore the expense of buying and operating school buses; the group's 1925 appeal to the St. Mary's County Board of Education to take over the financial burden for buses was refused. In 1929, the County Board of Education agreed to receive the property on Route 5 north of Leonardtown known as Bucks Park or the Industrial School Property. On April 8, 1930, the Central Colored Industrial School, operating under the UPTA name, transferred title of the 72-acre parcel to the Board of Education of St. Mary's County for the sum of one dollar.

In 1932 two rooms were added to the school; these rooms were designed as space for a high school. However, the high school still did not materialize, and the black students of the county who desired a high school education continued to attend Pomonkey High School in Charles County, boarding in that area during the week and returning to St. Mary's County for the weekends. Finally, in 1934, Banneker High School began operation with Mr. James O. Wright and Miss Henderson the first teachers. The first graduation took place in 1937. Dorothy Somerville Thomas and Theresa Parker Carter were the first graduates. Banneker School continued as a combination elementary and high school for blacks until integration of St. Mary's County schools resulted in its becoming exclusively elementary.2

Benjamin Banneker School and George Washington Carver School, formerly Jarboesville School, provided the first opportunities for African Americans to attend public high school in the county.  Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954 set the legal stage for desegregation, but it was not until 1967 that the county schools were full desegregated.

1 St. Mary's County Corporations Record, JAC1/42, in Regina Combs Hammett, History of St. Mary's County, Maryland 1634-1990, 1991 p. 325.
2 Hammett, p. 325.

If you know more about Banneker School, please write to us.

 

Banneker School, 1938; Courtesy Banneker Alumni Association
Banneker School, 1938
Courtesy Banneker Alumni Association.


United Parent Trustee Association, ca.1925; Courtesy of Catherine Thompson Known Member's of the United Parents Trustee Association: Sam Bankins, James Bush, Herbert Blackistone, Mr. & Mrs. Abraham Butler, Charles Butler, William Clarke, Clem Dyson, John Frederick, Joseph Handy, Scanalon Herbert, Jarrard Jameson, Thomas Mack, Daniel Morgan, John Shelton, Benny Smith, Dave Smith, Deli Somerville, John T. Somerville, James H. Stewart, Frankie Swales, William B. Thompson, Stephen Young.
Teacher Ralph Butler with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes, Banneker School 1949. Photo courtesty of the Butler family.
Teacher Ralph Butler with 4th, 5th, and 6th grade classes, Banneker School 1949
Courtesy of the Butler family.

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Maryland Springs

about 1934 - ?

No longer standing, the Maryland Springs school was located on the west side of Rte. 5 shortly before the intersection with Pincushion Road. Formerly a white school (the first Maryland Springs school was built in 1842) and still used as a white school in 1924, Maryland Springs housed the junior high for Banneker school once the high school opened there, probably beginning in 1934.

If you know more about the Maryland Springs School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No. 4, CHAPTICO

Chaptico School

1866 - ?
School # 1; District # 4

No longer standing, a Chaptico School was built by the Freedman's Bureau in 1866. In 1877 the "John Wesley Chapel" offered use of its building and land to the county for a "colored" school five days a week.

If you know more about the Chaptico School, please write to us.

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Hurry / Crossroads Schoolhouse

Hurry: before 1873 - ? and Crossroads: ? - 1938
School # 1, District # 4

No longer standing, the Hurry schoolhouse was located on Crop Road. Historical Society records show repair expenses in 1873 and 1876.

The Crossroads schoolhouse came sometime later and is believed to be a replacement for the Hurry schoolhouse. No longer standing, Crossroads was located at the intersection of Hurry Chaptico Road and Manor Road in the NE corner.

Both schools are listed in Board of Education records as "school # 1, district # 4".

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for Hurry school: Richard Winters, Joseph Young, Charles Barnes

If you know more about the Hurry or Crossroads Schools, please write to us.

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Budd's Creek Two-Room Schoolhouse

1881 - 1956
School # 2; District # 4

No longer standing, the Budd's Creek two-room school was located on Budd's Creek Road just west of the intersection with Chaptico Mechanicsville Road. It was a new building in 1881. In 1941, Board of education records show that two teachers taught grades 1 - 3 and 4 - 7 respectively.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: J. Walter Yates, Emmanuel Toyer, Caleb Bush

If you know more about the Budd's Creek School, please write to us.

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Mechanicsville School

before 1940 - 1956
School # 3; District # 4

No longer standing, the Mechanicsville School was located on Flora Corner Road at the intersection with old Rte. 5 and was housed in the Benevolent Society Building which was formerly used as a volunteer rescue squad building.

If you know more about the Mechanicsville School, please write to us.

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St. Francis Hall One-Room School

after 1900 - 1940s
School # 4, District # 8

No longer standing, the St. Francis Hall one-room school was located on Rte. 235 in the Esperanza area. Board of Education records show this school served grades 1 - 5 until some time in the mid to late 1940s.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon which lists local board of trustees for "colored" schools does not list this school, therefore it is assumed that it came into service some time later.

If you know more about the St. Francis Hall School, please write to us.

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Tin Top School

after 1900 - 1910

No longer standing, the Tin Top School was located on Tin Top Road (off Yowaiski Mill Road). UCAC informant Annie Butler Curtis informed us that her father, Abraham Butler, taught in this school prior to 1911.

If you know more about Tin Top School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No. 5, CHARLOTTE HALL

The Oaks Schoolhouse

before 1900 - 1938
School # 1, District # 5

No longer standing, The Oaks schoolhouse was located on the east side of All Faith Church Road just before it intersects with Golden Beach Road.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for "school #1": William Brown, J. A. Tolson, William Harris

If you know more about the The Oaks Schoolhouse, please write to us.

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Trent Hall School

1882 (or earlier) - 1916
School # 2; District # 5

No longer standing, the Trent Hall School was located on the south side of Rte. 6 across from the intersection with Trent Hall Road.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: John Hawkins, Moses Coates, John Jenefer

If you know more about Trent Hall School, please write to us.

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Gravelly Knolls One-Room Schoolhouse

after 1900 - 1952
School # 2; District # 5

No longer standing, the Gravelly Knolls one-room school was located on the north side of Rte. 6 just west of the intersection with Hill and Dale Drive. One teacher taught grades 1 - 7.

If you know more about the Gravelly Knolls School, please write to us.

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Charlotte Hall School

before 1900 - ?
School # 3, District # 5

Located somewhere near the county line, the Charlotte Hall school is no longer standing.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the following local board of trustees for this school: George Warren, J. F. Dorey, John Butler

If you know more about the Charlotte Hall School, please write to us.

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White Marsh One-Room Schoolhouse

White Marsh One-room Schoolhouse
School # 3; District # 5

Located just off old Rte. 5 in Mechanicsville and built in the 1860s, this one-room log cabin served as the first Ebenezer A. M. E. Church. Sometime after 1900, grades 1 - 3 met in the old log cabin (still standing).

Grades 4 - 7 met in a building about 500 feet away. UCAC informants Ralph Butler and Phil Scriber attended this school. A new White Marsh school was built in 1956.

The sign over the door reads:

Dedicated October 15, 1961
Here in this log cabin 100 years ago in this little
patch of woods, a group of free humble pious
colored folk met, catching the spirit of Richard Allen
in Philadelphia, a hundred and fifty miles away.
They organized the Ebenezer A. M. E. Church, the first
of its denomination in Southern Maryland.
In this hollowed spot their spirits were enshrined
forever, tho' their names and faces have been forgotten
and dimmed by time; nature in this glade still catches
their voices in the murmuring breeze; reverberates their
song and praise along the leafy turf, while the trees, silent
and still around the cabin wait as sentinels for the final shout.

If you know more about White Marsh School, please write to us.

White Marsh One-room Schoolhouse, circa 1989. Photo Courtesty Regina Hammett, History of St. Mary's County Maryland 1634-1990
White Marsh One-room Schoolhouse, circa 1989.
Photo Courtesty Regina Hammett, History of St. Mary's County Maryland 1634-1990

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Oraville School

after 1900 - 1938
School # 4; District # 5

According to UCAC informant Ralph Butler, the Oraville school was located on the east side of Rte. 6 just south of Della Brooke Road. No longer standing.

If you know more about the Oraville School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No. 6, HILLSVILLE

Oakville School

1880 - 1943
School # 1; District # 6

No longer standing, the Oakville schoolhouse replace an earlier school that burned. It closed in 1943.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: Harry Brown, George H. Bankins, John Thomas

If you know more about the Oakville School, please write to us.

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Hollywood / Phyllis Wheatley Two-Room Schoolhouse

1877 - 1951
School # 2; District # 6

The Phyllis Wheatley school, located on Hollywood Road, is listed in county records from 1877 until 1951 when students were sent to other area segregated schools. Soon after, the Board of Education sold the property and it has been used as a private residence ever since. The photograph above, taken about 1998 by a consultant hired by St. Mary's County Government, shows the structure after an addition.

The July 5, 1900 edition of The St. Mary's Beacon lists the "Board of Schools Commissioners" appointments for local "boards of trustees". Under the heading "COLORED SCHOOLS - Hollywood #2", are the names: Hezekiah Clark and Basil Bankins.

In 1939, there were two teachers who taught grades 1 - 3 and 4 - 7. The teachers were a Mr. Henry Lee and a Ms. Estel Bell. Sometime after 1939, the two teachers married.

If you know more about the Phyllis Wheatley School, please write to us.

Phyllis Wheatley Two-room Schoolhouse, circa 2002. Photo courtesy St. Mary's County Government.
Phyllis Wheatley Two-room Schoolhouse,
circa 2002
Photo courtesy St. Mary's County government

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Morganza School

before 1877 - 1920s
School # 3; District # 6

No longer standing, the Morganza school was located somewhere along Rte. 242. Historical Society records show expenses for repairs in 1877.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: Stephen Young, David Brown, George Thomas

If you know more about the Morganza School, please write to us.

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St. Joseph's Colored Parochial School

1927 - 1694
Roman Catholic

Located on Route 5 in Morganza, about a quarter of a mile south of the church.  During the first year of operation, it was taught by two lay teachers.  The following year, Sister Charles and Sister Elsie staffed the school.  Enrollment had reached 67.  In 1944, Father Alphonsus R. Thomas, S.J. bought a station wagon, which was used to transport the children to school.  The following year, a bus was purchased.  In 1946, two rooms and a library were added and, in 1949, two army barracks were purchased and made into a cafeteria and kindergarten.  By about 1950, the school had six classrooms and served seven parishes: St. Joseph's, Morganza; St. John's, Hollywood; St. Aloysius, Leonardtown; Sacred Heart, Bushwood; Holy Angels, Avenue; Immaculate Conception, Mechanicsville, and Our Lady of the Wayside, Chaptico.

There was also a St. Joseph's Parochial School for white children.  The building was converted into apartments after it closed in 1964.

If you know more about St. Joseph's School, please write to us.

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DISTRICT No.7

Fenwick Two-Room Schoolhouse

School # 3; District # 7

Board of Education records show that in 1941 the school had two teachers who taught grades 1 - 4 and 5 - 7. At that time, there were 16 Black schools in St. Mary's County.

According to a UCAC informant, in the 1950s Fenwick School had two teachers, Ms. Florence Thomas Green who taught grades 1 - 3 and Ms. Betty Clark who taught grades 4 - 6. Students then went to Banneker School for grades 7 - 12.

Fenwick School is located just north of the corner of Maddox Road and Bushwood City Road.

The school was closed in 1957 and auctioned off into private residential use. The sign was sold with the property and remains in the proprietor's ownership. Text on the sign:

FENWICK SCHOOL
DIST.7 NO.3
  
  

If you know more about Fenwick School, please write to us.

Fenwick Two-room School built in 1900; photo courtesy St. Mary's County Schools
Fenwick Two-room School built in 1900;
photo courtesy St. Mary's County Schools
Fenwick School Dist 7 No 3
This sign, photographed while on display in the
African American Schools Exhibit at Lexington Park Memorial Library, is the original sign from the front of Fenwick School.

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DISTRICT No.8

California School

before 1900 - ?
School # 2, District # 8

No longer standing, the California school was located on the east side of Rte. 5 between Rte. 4 and Town Creek Road.

The July 5, 1900 issue of The Beacon list the local board of trustees for this schools as: Jesse Biscoe, Dennis Smith, Samuel Thomas

If you know more about the California School, please write to us.

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Hermanville Schoolhouse

1900 - ?
School No. 3, District No. 8

No longer standing, Hermanville School was located near the corner of Hermanville Road on Rte. 5. It first appears in Board of Education records in 1900 and was likely built in the spring of that year or shortly prior.

The July 5, 1900 edition of The Beacon list the local trustees for the school as: William H. Brooks, Charles Gordan, Henry Kane

If you know more about the Hermanville School, please write to us.

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Park Hall School

1900 - ?
School No. ?, District No. 8

Some mention has been made of the "Park Hall Colored School" but it does not appear in county records under this title. It is possible that it burned down, a frequent reason for school closure, shortly after it was built. Another possibility is that the informant was referring to the "Hermanville School" No. 3 , District No. 8 but using the name of the well-documented White school of the same name - Park Hall School No. 3.

If you know more about the Park Hall School, please write to us.

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Patuxent Beach School

Patuxent Beach School, after 1900 - 1940?

No longer standing, the Patuxent Beach school was located on the north side of Rte. 4 between Rte. 235 and the Patuxent River bridge.

If you know more about the Patuxent Beach School, please write to us.

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Jarboesville School / George Washington Carver School

Beginning in 1925-26, Jarboesville School is listed in school records as "School No 1, District 8."  The one-room building with outdoor toilet facilities was located on Route 235 in the area now known as Lexington Park.  The first principal and teacher was Mrs. Marie Clayton Smith.  The original name of the school was derived from the community of Jarboesville, which was established by the Jarboe family and located on land that is currently  a part of the Patuxent River Naval Air Station and the Tulagi Square area of Lexington Park.

In 1935, River Springs School, located in the seventh district, was taken by barge to Jarboesville and placed on land donated by Mr. Thomas Harris.  This second Jarboesville School, located in the vicinity of the first schoolhouse, opened its doors in 1935 and offered first- and second-year high school.  There were thirty-eight students enrolled in these two classes with students in the second-year having attended Banneker School's first-year high school program.  Mr. Ralph S. Waters was appointed principal for that first year.

In the fall of 1936, Mr. Julian A. Meares became principal and remained in the position until 1962.  With each succeeding year an additional class was added until Jarboesville School became an eleven-year program approved by the Maryland State Department of Education.

Seven students graduated in the first class in 1939.  The school continued to grow from 1939 to 1947, with varying sizes of graduating classes ranging from five to fifteen students.  During the same period, two additional rooms were added and the curriculum expanded to include home economics and agriculture.

By 1947, the student body had outgrown the building.  The Board of Education then secured from the Navy a dormitory building in the Carver Heights Community and converted it to Jarboesville III School.  Shortly after, the school program began to change from the 7-4 system (seven elementary grades and four years of high school) to the 6-3-3 system (six elementary grades, three years of junior high school, and three years of senior high school). This transitional period was completed in 1952.

The class of 1952 was the first class to graduate from a twelve-year program of schooling.  The growth of the school was evident in curriculum, facilities, staff, and many other areas during the years from 1952-61.  In 1954, Ms. Marie Joe Browne became secretary and was an asset to the school.  Marie Joe Browne became secretary and was an asset to the school.

In September 1958, the school was housed in a new modern structure and was renamed the George Washington Carver School, in honor of an outstanding African American scientist and scholar, Dr. George Washington Carver.  By 1961, the school had grown to the extent that a student could pursue a course of study in any one of three curricula (academic, commercial, or general) with a full program of offerings in each curriculum.  The class of 1961, which represented the largest graduating class in the history of the school, had a distribution of eight academic diplomas, two commercial diplomas, and eleven general diplomas.  In addition, the school provided services of guidance counseling, library facilities, a cafeteria hot lunch program, and a rapidly developing program in athletics.

In 1962, Mr. E. Jerry Williams became principal, and Mr. Bent A. Thompson became vice principal of George Washington Carver School.  In September 1964, the school became the George Washington Carver Junior-Senior High School, no longer having the elementary school.  The students in grades 1-5 were transferred to Park Hall Elementary School, under the leadership of Mr. Brent A. Thompson as principal. 

Carver School graduated its last high school class in May 1966 and was then converted into an integrated junior-high school.  In the fall of 1966, Edward Fitzgerald was principal.1

Benjamin Banneker School and George Washington Carver School, formerly Jarboesville School, provided the first opportunities for African Americans to attend public high school in the county.  Brown vs. the Board of Education in 1954 set the legal stage for desegregation, but it was not until 1967 that the county schools were full desegregated.

If you know more about Jarboesville School, please write to us.

Photo courtesy ofJanice Walthour
George Washington Carver High School (1964). Photo courtesy of Janice Walthour

George Washington Carver High School (1964). Photo courtesy of Janice Walthour
George Washington Carver High School (1964). Photo courtesy of Janice Walthour

Jarboesville - Elementary School, Junior-Senior High. Courtesy of St. Mary's County Schools
Jarboesville - Elementary, Junior-Senior High.
Courtesy of St. Mary's County Schools

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Footnotes

Click here to purchase "In Relentless Pursuit of an Education: African American Stories from a Csentury of Secregation (1865 - 1967)1In Relentless Pursuit of an Education: African American Stories from a Century of Segregation, 1865 - 1967 (Lexington Park, Maryland: Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions of St. Mary's County, Incorporated, 2006), 56-57.

2"The Unrelenting Pursuit of Education," a panel from "Strive Not to Equal, But to Excel," an exhibit funded in part by the Institute for Museum and Library Services, Jefferson Patterson Museum & Exhibit Services, and the Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions of St. Mary's County.  The exhibit opened at the Lexington Park Library in November 2002.

3Michael Walsh, "The Story of the Knights of Saint Jerome, 1877-2002" (copyright, 2002).

4In Relentless Pursuit of an Education: African American Stories from a Century of Segregation, 1865 - 1967 (Lexington Park, Maryland: Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions of St. Mary's County, Incorporated, 2006), 9-10.

5In Relentless Pursuit of an Education: African American Stories from a Century of Segregation, 1865 - 1967 (Lexington Park, Maryland: Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions of St. Mary's County, Incorporated, 2006), 64.

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Mary Somerville - Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions  

Unified Committee for Afro-American Contributions PO Box 1457 Lexington Park, MD 20653 info@AfricanAmericanContributions.com

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