one-room school

County schools, no. 17: Bynum School.

The seventeenth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Bynum School

Though commonly believed to be, it is not clear that Bynum School was a Rosenwald school. It is not listed as such in Survey File Materials Received from Volunteer Surveyors of Rosenwald Schools Since September 2002.It likely originally was a school for white students, turned over to educate black children after white schools consolidated. It closed circa 1949.

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“Rosenwald’s Ripples Continue to Spread,” Wilson Daily Times, 8 September 2001.

Location: A 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows Bynum School on present-day Tartt’s Mill Road.

Per notification of public sale in 1951: “BYNUMS COLORED SCHOOL in Gardners Township, containing one-half acre, more or less, and more particularly described as follows: ALL that certain tract of land beginning at a stake near a Branch on the lands of Charles Bynum, thence in a northerly direction 70 yards to a stake, cornering, thence in an easterly direction 35 yards, cornering, thence in a Southerly direction 70 yards to a pine, thence West 35 yards to the beginning. Being the identical land described in a deed recorded in Book 14, at page 377, Wilson County Registry.”

Bynum School building is still standing, but was long ago converted to a dwelling. This may be it:

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Bynums School was a one-room school seated on one acre and valued at $400.

Per a 8 September 2001 Daily Times article: the school was “a simple, two-room building that housed first through seventh grades.” “When [Simon Barnes Jr.] was 7 years old, [teacher Beatrice] Jones had paid him 25 cents to build a fire in the cast iron stove in the schoolhouse.” “‘I took a biscuit filled with preserves and ham in my back pocket everyday,’ [Simon Barnes Jr.] said, ‘I sat on it all morning. When I took it out, it was flat.’ After eating his lunch, he slaked his thirst with water from the big pump in the school yard.” “[Fannie] Corbett said by the time she was there, the parents had contributed lumber to partition off a lunch room and bought a little oil stove and some bowls. A nearby housewife baked biscuits fresh each day for the students.”

Known faculty: Principal Doris Freeman James; teachers Mrs. Dunstan, Lena Washington Hilliard, Beatrice Jones, Mamie PenderThelma Saunders Cooper.”In those days you made do with what you had, [Bennie Woodard] said. ‘The teachers did an outstanding job with what they had.’ And that set an example for the students. ‘That’s why none of us can forget Beatrice Jones,’ [Woodard] said. ‘I don’t think any of us would have made it had it not been for her.’

Photo by Lisa Y. Henderson, September 2020.

County schools, no. 12: Ferrell School.

The twelfth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Ferrell School

Per a 10 January 1950 Wilson Daily Times article, “Black Creek Is Oldest Incorporated Town Between Wilmington, Weldon,” “The earliest ‘free’ school is thought to have been Ferrell school located in the southwest corner of the township.” When rural white schools consolidated circa 1920, Ferrell school building was turned over to educate black children. Thus, it was not a Rosenwald school.

Location: Near Black Creek.

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Ferrell’s School, depicted below, was a one-room school seated on one acre.

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Known faculty: Anna D. Reid Hall.

County schools, no. 11: Minshew School.

The eleventh in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Minshew School

Per a 10 January 1950 Wilson Daily Times article, “Black Creek Is Oldest Incorporated Town Between Wilmington, Weldon,” one of the early free schools for white children was “a Minshew school located near the Wayne County line.” When rural white schools consolidated circa 1920, Minshew school building was turned over to educate black children. Thus, it was not a Rosenwald school.

Location:  A 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows “Minshew” school located on present-day Jaycross Road, just east of Frank Price Church Road. [There is a house standing at that location that resembles a converted school building. It warrants a closer look.]

Per sale advertised for several weeks in the Wilson Daily Times in the fall of 1951: “MINSHEWS COLORED SCHOOL in Black Creek Township, more particularly described as follows: BEGINNING at the junction of the New Road with the Goldsboro and Wilson Road, thence in a Northerly direction with the Goldsboro and Wilson Road 175 feet to a stake, thence at right angles with the road in an Easterly direction 210 feet to a stake, thence in a Southerly direction 268 feet to the New Road, thence in a Northwesterly direction with said New Road 210 feet to the beginning. Being the identical land described in a deed recorded in Book 49, at page 549, Wilson County Registry.”

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Minshew School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

Known faculty: principal Maggie Walker Bryant; teacher Beatrice A. Jones.

Wilson Daily Times, 16 May 1949.

County schools, no. 9: Page School.

The ninth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Page School

Page School was not a Rosenwald school; it was originally a school for white students. When small white schools consolidated circa 1920, the school building was turned over to educate black children.

Location: A 12 August 1910 Wilson Times article refers to “Page’s school house, near Town Creek.”  A 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows “Pages” school located on present-day East Langley Road, just west of the Edgecombe County line. [However, per a 23 May 2000 Wilson Daily Times article, Page’s School was located at Dunn’s (then Page’s Crossroads) and was converted into a store when it closed after consolidation in the early 1920s.]

Description: The photo below may depict the Page School near Dunn’s Crossroads, not the one on East Langley.

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Known faculty: none.

County schools, no. 8: Calvin Level School.

The eighth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Calvin Level School

Calvin Level School was not a Rosenwald school; it was originally a school for white students called Cabin Level. When small white schools consolidated after the construction of Black Creek School, the school building was turned over to educate black children. In 1951, students in Calvin Level’s district began attending the newly built Springfield School.

Location: A 1936 state road map of Wilson County shows a school (labeled “Scotts”) located on present-day Scott Church Road, south of Wiggins Mill Road, the approximate location of Calvin Level School as described by former student Thelma Braswell Forbes.

However, per sale advertised in the Wilson Daily Times for several weeks in the fall of 1951: “CALVIN LEVEL COLORED SCHOOL, in Cross Roads Township, containing one acre more or less, and more particularly described follows: BEGINNING at a lightwood stake in the edge of the Quaker Road, running with said road 70 yards to a pine stump, corner of Jessie Aycock’s land, thence in an Easterly direction with said Aycock line to a lightwood stake in Thomas Woodard’s line, thence with said Woodard’s line 70 yards to a church lot called Cabbin Level, thence nearly West with said church lot to the beginning. Being the identical land described in a deed recorded in Book 17, at page 519, Wilson County Registry.”

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, “Calvins” School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

Known faculty: Teachers Anna D. Reid Hall, Lula E. BarfieldMazie Wells, Mamie B. Ford, Dorothy Grissom Parker, Josephine Edwards.

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Wilson Daily Times, 15 November 1946.

County schools, no. 7: Brooks School.

The seventh in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Brooks School

Brooks School dates prior to 1881, making it the earliest documented rural African-American school in Wilson County. Brooks was not a Rosenwald school. It was consolidated with other small schools in 1951, and its students then attended Speight High School.

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Wilson Advance, 11 February 1881.

Dr. Alexander G. Brooks had been a wealthy slaveowner and may have donated the land upon which the school was built.

Location: Per a 1936 state road map of Wilson County, the approximate location was just east of Black Creek on present-day Woodbridge Road, in the vicinity of Bunches Church.

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Brooks School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

A February 1951 report on Wilson County schools found: “The Brooks Colored … building is in ‘fair condition’ and has only two teachers for seven grades ….” Wilson Daily Times, 16 February 1951.

Known faculty: Principal Alice B. Mitchell; teacher Nora Allen Mitchell Jones.

County schools, no. 6: Pender School.

The sixth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Pender School

Pender School was originally built to educate white children. After school consolidation 1917-1924, the building was turned over for use by black children. Pender was not a Rosenwald school. After 1939, students in Pender district attended Frederick Douglass High School in Elm City.

Location: Per Deed Book 443, page 237, on 17 October 1951, the Board of Education of Wilson County sold the Board of Trustees of the Elm City Graded Schools several parcels: “Lot No. 3: BEGINS at a lightwood stake, in the Bain Edwards line near a small Branch; thence South with said line to a stake 70 yards, cornering; thence East 35 yards to a stake, cornering; thence North 70 yards to a stake, cornering; thence West 35 yards to the beginning, containing 1/2 acre; and being the identical property conveyed to the School Committee of Gardners Township and their successors in office by deed from Edwin Pender, et al., dated April 2, 1877 and duly recorded in Book 19, at page 496 Wilson County Registry; and being known as Pender’s Colored School lot.”

Per a 1936 state road map of Wilson County, the approximate location was on what is now Rosebud Church Road opposite its intersection with Redmon Road. An 8 September 2001 Daily Times article about Rosenwald schools quotes a former student as saying the Pender school building was still standing, but it has since been demolished.

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Pender School was a one-room school seated on one acre.

Known faculty: none.

County schools, no. 5: Turner School.

The fifth in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Turner School

Turner School was originally built to educate white children. After school consolidation 1917-1924, the building was turned over for use by black children. In 1939, children in Turner district began attending the newly built Frederick Douglass High School in Elm City.

Location: The 29 September 1953, the Wilson Daily Times reported this land transfer: “Board of Education of Wilson County to the Board of Trustees of Elm City Graded Schools, lot beginning at I.T. Luper’s corner in the center of the Town Creek-Rocky Mount road [now Town Creek Road] known as the Turner School lot and lot beginning at the northwest corner of a church lot in the road leading from W.L. Matthews’ store to Gardners store.”

Description: Per The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24, Turner School was a one-room school seated on one acre. The report included this photo of Turner School.

Known faculty: none.

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Wilson Daily Times, 4 October 1939.

County schools, no. 3: Lane School.

The third in a series of posts highlighting the schools that educated African-American children outside the town of Wilson in the first half of the twentieth century. The posts will be updated; additional information, including photographs, is welcome.

Lane School

Lane School was one of two known schools for African-American children outside town limits (but inside Wilson township) that were administered by town of Wilson’s public school system. The date of construction is not known, but white children attended school there until school consolidation circa 1920.

Location: In May 1942, an article in the Wilson Daily Times announced locations for sugar ration registration, including “Lane school, all colored people living within Wilson Township but east of Wilson.”

Seven years later, Wilson City Schools offered Lane Colored School for sale. The metes and bounds are somewhat difficult to decipher: “Beginning at a small water-oak on the North side of the public cart path leading from H.B. Lane’s to A.P. Moore’s (said pathway leading from Moyton and Stantonsburg roads) thence in a Northerly direction, at right angles to said public cart path, eighty yards to a stake, cornering, thence in a Westerly direction parallel with said public cart path sixty-one and one-fourth yards to a stake, cornering, thence in a Southern direction eighty yards to a stake in said public cart path, thence in an Easterly direction along with said public cart path sixty-one and one-fourths yards to the beginning.”

I’d thought “the cart path” was one that ran between what are now Martin Luther King Jr. Parkway and Stantonsburg Road. However, Will Corbett of Wilson County’s GIS Office steered me in the right direction by locating the general area in which H.B. Lane and A.P. Moore’s properties were adjacent or nearly so. This area is just above what is now Wedgewood Gold Club. (And about a mile due south of the neighborhood in which I grew up.)

A 1925 soil map indicates a church or school on one of a maze of dirt paths meandering between what are now Old Stantonsburg Road and N.C. Highway 58. This is likely Lane School. There are few houses in the area now, and except for a single road leading in from 58, the paths are gone.

A 1937 aerial map shows the land and its use more clearly. Most of the paths shown in 1925 had been plowed up by then, though some are visible through the trees. I have encircled a cluster of buildings that appears to approximate the location of Lane School.

Here, per Google Maps, is my best approximation of the area today. A section of Wedgewood’s golf course is visible at lower right:

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Wilson Daily Times, 10 September 1949.

Description: one-room school.

Known faculty: teachers Blanche ThomasClara R. Cooke.

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Update, 14 June 2020: I found a photograph of Lane School in Charles L. Coon’s report The Public Schools of Wilson County, North Carolina: Ten Years 1913-14 to 1923-24!

My deepest thanks to Will Corbett.