Archive for April, 2017

The Welcoming Committee

April 21, 2017

The two feral girls that I trapped, neutered, and released a month ago have finally shown themselves. 

Apparently I move too slowly for them. 


One Smoke Over the Line

April 21, 2017

Sugar is a recluse. 

Some people bought the wooded lot next to his, and cut most of the trees down so they could bring in a trailer. 

He considered building a privacy fence in the buffer zone between the two lots to block his view of the activity next door. He decided to plant some fast-growing shrubbery just inside where he thought the line was, and he also attached some privacy panels, similar to tarps, to the chainlink fence that separated his yard from his driveway along the west side.

To be fair, the neighbors are nice people. It’s just hard for a recluse to live next door to people that have friends and family visiting, play music outside, have parties, and burn stuff in a burn pile outside. 

Because the smoke drifts over to Sugar’s house. 

On Palm Sunday, we were sitting on Sugar’s front porch enjoying the nice spring weather. We heard the leaf blower crank up next door, and we knew the guy was going to burn. 

We couldn’t see what or where the guy was blowing. The smoke started to drift over the chainlink fence from far away, which looked like the guy had set the fire by the main road. 

About an hour or so went by, and Sugar realized that the neighbors had left, and that the smoke was coming stronger and closer over the privacy tarps. He went to investigate, and called back to me, “We have a forest fire.”

I took a photo and sent a text to the people, who were clearly missing in action, that their fire was burning his property. I grabbed a broom, and he got the water hose, and between the two of us, we watered and smacked out the fire. 

They showed up in 5 or 10 minutes. Neither seemed particularly upset. Sugar asked the man if he meant to burn the property. The man said yeah okay. Sugar told him he didn’t want his property burned. The man said yeah okay. Sugar told him not to burn his property again. The man said yeah okay. 

Sugar is standing on his driveway. I am facing north. The neighbor had blown a fire line on the left track of Sugar’s driveway, intending to burn it all up.

I’m standing at his neighbor’s driveway looking at east. They burned it all up.

Sugar called a surveyor this week. That buffer zone? All his. The neighbors seemed surprised by that, and claimed that the front stake was not placed correctly, because his friend that he bought the lot from told him so. 

Now we are taking a survey. Do you believe a professional team of surveyors, or a man out standing in his field?

If that fire had kept going northward, it would have entered tracts of timberland. Plus it would have burned right by my car, and Ole Yeller might have blown up. 

If the neighbors are surprised by the survey, just imagine how surprised they will be when the privacy fence goes up. 

The 1839 Will of Sarah Lawton

April 19, 2017

Sarah Lawton died on October 6, 1839, according to a remembrance written by her grandson that I posted here on the blog about “Our Grandmother”.

I started to title this post: “The Will of Sarah Lawton”, and then realized that the title might make her sound “willful”. She might have been just that, because she was a strong influence on her children and grandchildren, according to the writer of the remembrance, Joseph Thomas Robert, in 1878. 

There are new online references being added what seems like every day. But the closer I get to the end of my life, the faster time seems to fly. I’m afraid that I will run out of time before I’m satisfied. 

Recently I discovered Sarah Lawton’s will on It is a typewritten copy of the original which is at the Caroliniana Library in Columbia, SC. I can see, in my mind’s eye, someone hunched over a manual Royal typewriter, making the original document legible and available to us. 

I also discovered that page 4 is missing from the ancestry collection. This might mean that a trip to the library is in order. 

Ah, whoever did the transcription also included a breakdown of the descendants. 

Identification of the legatees follows. 

The 22nd is Martha Amanda Lawton, and I wrote about her in a separate post as Amanda M. Miller.

The body of the will is so different from that of a man’s perspective. She leaves personal items, clothing, textiles, and household goods to her granddaughters. She rarely mentions a male unless it is in reference to a female, except for Alexander James Lawton. She also mentions by name the three Mosse sisters that married the three Lawton brothers.  

She also leaves some of her slaves to her descendants, and this makes me wonder if I can match these people to the list of slaves enumerated by Alexander James Lawton in his plantation journal. 

Sarah lived another 24 years after the death of her husband Joseph Lawton. She did not wither nor die without leaving her legacy on the family. 

And that is the will of Sarah Lawton. 

Sarah Robert Lawton: 1755-1839

April 18, 2017

I’ve written about “Our Grandmother” before. That post was a transcription of the first Lawton reunion. 

Today, I have some updated resources, at least, updated to me. Perhaps you knew of the online resources at the South Carolina Department of Archives and History. Imagine my amazement when I searched for Lawton, Robert, Mosse, and Rawls, and found documents and plats. I haven’t been able to pull my head out of the records. 

I emailed the email link to ask about sharing those images here on this little hobby blog that is not for profit. I have not heard back from them, even though it has been a week, and I suspect that there could possibly be budget issues that have eliminated positions, if not people, who would be monitoring such a situation. Just conjecture on my part. If they get back to me, and tell me to remove the images, then I will, but since this is not for profit and I have identified where the images came from, I think I’m covered. If I’m not, someone will tell me. 

Today, our feature is Sarah Robert Lawton. 

Now, how amazing is that Sugar and I got to gaze upon this original oil painting?! This is in a private home

After we saw this, I started poking around the internet a bit and found the Archives and History site. Look who was a landowner at age 18…

These are screenshots. When you click on “View all index terms”, you get this:

I see a few flaws. The index terms say James Lawton, but the original plat says “Joseph Lawton”, and it is noted that he is married to Sarah Robert recently. (Someone remarked that I can nitpick. It’s okay; it’s true. I screw up all the time, particularly when I don’t nitpick.)

Quite a bonus of info there. An Elias Robert is noted, and it is believed that Sarah had a brother named Elias, which bears further research on my part. Elias Robert was a surveyor, so perhaps further poking around will provide concrete proof that he was indeed Sarah’s brother. 

Part of Sarah’s land borders Joseph’s land. The rest of her property borders on “Vacant Land”. 

This, of course, leads us to wonder more about how a young 18-year-old woman came to own property in early Granville County, South Carolina in 1773. 

So if you see me out-and-about looking thoughtful, I’m probably thinking about Sarah “AheadOfHerTime” Robert Lawton. She needs her own hashtag. 

I’ll be back after I transcribe. 

A Marker for Mosse

April 16, 2017

Sugar had a plan.

We went to the graveyard, and measured an existing marker. Sugar’s plan was to make a matching marker for Mosse.

After surveying the scene, he selected a spot.

After what seemed an interminable wait, which in reality was not, he was rewarded with this.








Now, during the wait between the ordering and the installation of the marker, I found more references to George Mosse online.

Lieut. Col Balfour, commander of Charlestown, Prison ship Torbay, Charlestown harbor, May 18, 1781.

WE have the honor of enclosing you a copy of a letter from Lieutenant Colonel Balfour, commandant of Charlestown, which was handed us immediately on our being put on board this ship; the letter speaking for itself, needs no comment; your wisdom will beit dictate the notice it merits. We would just beg leave to observe, that should it fall to the lot of all, or any of us, to be made victims, agreeable to the menaces therein contained, we have only to regret that our blood cannot be disposed of more to the accompaniment of the glorious cause to which we have adhered. A separate roll of our names extends this letter.

With the greatest respect, we are, Sir,

Your most obedient and most humble servants,

STEPHEN MOORE, Lt. Col. N. C. militia,

JOHN BARNWELL, Major S. C. militia,

(for ourselves and 130 prisoners.

Major. General Greene.

On board the prison ship Torbay.

William Axon, Samuel Ash, George Arthur, John Anthony, Ralph Atmore, John Baddeley, Peter Bonetheau, Henry Benbridge, Joseph Ball, Joseph Bee, Nathaniel Blundell, James Bricke, Francis Bayle, Wm. Basquin, John Clarke, jun., Tho. Cooke, Norwood Couvers, James Cox, John Dorsius, Joseph Dunlap, Rev. James Edmunds, Thomas Elliott, Joseph Elliott, John Evans, John Eberley, Joseph Glover, Francis Grott, Mitchell Gargle, William Graves, Peter Guerard, Jacob Henry, David Hamilton, Tomas Harris, William Hornby, Daniel Jacoby, Charles Kent,

Samuel Lockhart, Nathaniel Lebby, Thomas Listar, Thomas Legare, John Lersesne, Henry Lybart, John Michael, John Minott, sen., John Moncrief, Charles M’Donald, John Minott, jun, Samuel Miller, Stephen Moore, George Monck, Jonathan Morgan, Abraham Marietto, Solomon Milner, John Netsville, jun., Philip Prioleau, James Poyas, Job Palmer, Joseph Robinson, Daniel Rhody, Joseph Righton, William Snelling, John Setvenson, jun, Paul Snyder, Abraham Seavers, Ripley Singleton, Samuel  Scottowe, Stephen Shrewsbury, John Saunders, James Toussiger, Paul Tayler, Sims White, James Wilkins, Isaac White, George Welch, Benjamin Wheeler, William Wilkie, John Welch, Thomas Yoe.

On board the schooner Pack-Horse.

John Barnwell, Edward Barnwell, Robert Barnwell, William Branford, John Brake, Thomas Cochran, Joseph Cray, Robert Dewar, William Desaussure, Thomas Eveleigh, John Edwards, jun., John W. Edwards, William Elliott, Benjamin Guerard, Thomas Grayson, John Gibbons, Philip Gadsden, John Graves, William H. Hervey, John B. Holmes, William Holmes, Thomas Hughes, James Heyward, George Jones, Henry Kennon, John Kein, Stephen Lee, William Mayer, GEORGE MOSSE, William Neusville, John Owen, Charles Pinkeny, jun, Samuel Smith, William Wigg, Charles Warham, Thomas Waring, sen., Richard Waring, John Waters, David Warhyam, Richard Yeadon

Published by order of Congress,



Married, on Thursday evening, the 2d inst on Black Swamp, by the Rev. Alexander Scott, Mr. ROBERT G. NORTON, to the amiable Miss SARAH MOSSE, daughter of the late Dr. George Mosse, of that place.


George Mosse vs. Henrietta Trezevant – Judgement for the plaintiff ninety dollars & Costs. (From the Savannah court records)

George Mosse vs. Henrietta Trezevant – On the 31st day of May 1805 appeared Charles Harris Esqr. Attorney in fact for the defendant in the above case who paid Costs & produced Alexander Netherclift as her Security for the absolute payment of the debt according to the Judiciary Law on the stay of execution for sixty days.

Henry Schely vs. George Mosse – Judgment for Plaintiff, Forty three Dollars, four cents & Costs.


In the year 1794, Messrs. Jonathan Clarke, George Mosse, Thomas Polhill, and David Adams, proposed the erection of a house of worship for the Baptists, in Savannah. The whole number of Baptists did not exceed eight or ten. About this time the Rev. Mr. Reese, a Baptist minister from Wales, visited Savannah, and encouraged the design.


In 1800 the church formed a constitution for its government, which was signed by H. Holcombe, F. Holcombe, George Mosse, Phebe Mosse, Joseph Hawthorn, Mary Hawthorn, Elias Robert, Mary Robert, Rachel Hamilton, Esther McKenzie, Elisabeth Stoney, and Martha Stephens.

(My note: Phebe is Phoebe Norton Mosse, Elias Robert is possibly the brother of Sarah Robert Lawton and John Robert, Esther McKenzie and Elisabeth Stoney are two of the Mosse daughters.)

We wonder what else we will find out about this pioneering family.

The Will of Thomas Winborn

April 2, 2017

Things are convoluted these days, aren’t they?

Perhaps things have always been convoluted, and we just don’t think that times could possibly be any more difficult that the times we live in.

And that, my reader, is why we look at history and just shake our collective heads.

Consider Thomas Winborn.

He left a will in the mid-1700s.

He had several sons and daughters that are named in the will. He also names his grand-children, and his two sons-in-law. One son-in-law is Mr. William Lawton.

We researchers call him *Captain* William Lawton to distinguish him from all the other William Lawtons, not to disinclude the Wills, Willies, Bills, and Billys. There are quite a few that have accumulated over the last 260 years.

Capt. William is as far back as we can go in America. We think that he was from Cheshire, England. There’s a line of Lawtons that entered the continent into what became Rhode Island back in the 1600s, and we don’t have proof that the Northern Lawton line and the Southern Lawton line are one and the same. (We’re waiting on the Y-chromosome test results, but the lab is severely backed-up.)

Here’s where things can get convoluted: Capt. William married three times. Each wife was named Mary. Mary Clarke, Mary Winborn, and Mary Stone. It’s true.

And 3rd wife Mary Stone had a husband before and after Capt. William. Paul Grimball, William Lawton, and Samuel Fickling.

To further convolute things, Mary Stone Grimball Lawton (Fickling)’s mother Susannah Carriere Stone married again to Thomas Winborn, which was at least his 2nd marriage. Thankfully we don’t know his 1st wife’s name; it is lost to history.

Do you see what just happened here? Thomas Winborn was Capt. William’s 2nd father-in-law by Mary Winborn Lawton, and was also Capt. William’s step-father-in-law by 3rd wife Mary Stone Grimball Lawton. Plus Thomas had a daughter by Susannah Winborn named, what else, *Susannah*.

Thomas lived on Wadmalaw Island. The Lawtons lived on Edisto Island, and subsequent generations from William & 2nd wife Mary lived on James Island.  Capt. Billy died about 1757. Third wife Mary and her son Joseph went to a place near what we now call Robertville.


Let’s pop over to the National Archives and Records Administration in Washington, D.C. That’s what Akosua did. She’s researching her Beaufort, S.C., family, and is particularly interested in the United States Colored Troops pension files. She found her 4th great-grandmother Mary who filed for a pension on behalf of her son Isaiah who died as a young man during the war, without a wife or children. Mary was quite destitute, and hoped to gain some relief. Her pension application is rich and deep, just like the ones I found for Nelson Brown and Isabella Graham.

Of particular note is that her family were slaves on a plantation on James Island owned by W. W. & James Lawton. This was a lost part of her family history.

So convoluted. Who could have guessed that Akosua, who I have only met once briefly in person, and her research partner Kimberly, and I would now have a common story to research?

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South Carolina./.  IN THE NAME OF GOD AMEN The fourteenth day of April in the year of our Lord one thousand seven Hundred & Fifty three & in the twenty Sixth Year of His Majesty’s Reign I Thomas Winborn of Wadmalah Island in St. Johns Parish Colleton County in the said Province Planter being advanced in Years & infirm in Body but of sound & disposing mind & memory (Blessed be God) & considering the uncertainty of this Transitory Life & the certainty of Death do in & by these presents make & declare this my Last Will &
Testament & do also nominate & constitute my two Loving Sons Saml. Winborn & Thomas Winborn Executors thereof hereby Revoking & making Null and void all & every & former Wills and Testaments by me made & declared either by word or by Writing And First & Principally I commend my immortal Soul into the Hands of my Creator in & thro’ the merits & mediation of Jesus Christ my Blessed Saviour & Redeemer in which only I trust for the Pardon & Remission of my Sins & for the obtaining of Eternal Life & Salvation And my Body at Death I commit to the grave to be Interred in a decent & Christian like manner at the discretion of my said Executors in hopes of a Glorious Resurrection And as to my Worldly Estate and all such Lands & Tenements Goods & Chattels as it hath pleased God to bestow on me I will & ordain that they shall be dispos’d of as herein respectively is mentioned of for and concerning the same that is to say I Will & desire that all my just Debts & funeral charges be well & truly paid with all convenient after my Deceased ITEM I give devise & bequeath unto my beloved Wife Susanna Winborn /but only on the terms & conditions hereinafter Limitted & Expressed concerning her/ my negro Woman named Flora my Horse called Dragon her side Saddle & Bridle two Cows Two Calves two Ewes two Lambs I further confirm a Deed of Gift dated April the Eighth Anno Domini one thousand seven hundred & Fifty two wherein I have iven her one third part of all my Household Goods forever & Moreover her living in the Houses & Buildings on the plantation where I now live with Two

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Hundred Acres of Land lying Nothermost & adjacent to it & the use of my Negro man Cato & my Negro Woman Dauphny whilst she shall live my Widow & no Longer And Likewise the use of my Negro man Prince two Negro boys to wit May & Simon & my negro Girl Rose for and during the Natural Life of my said Wife & no Longer she providing for maintaining & paying all Incident charges of the said Slaves for & during the Respective Terms for which she shall have the use & profits of them & each of them But I do hereby declare that the said Several Legacies Gifts & Devises together with the said Deed of Gift by me herein given to my said Wife are so given & bequeathed unto her and are by me ment & intended to be in full satisfaction Recompence and bar of all such Dower Interests thirds share or customary part of my Real and Personal Estate which she can or may claim by any Right or Title or custom whatsoever And in case my said Wife shall claim challenge or demand any Dower thirds share Interest or Customary part in of to or out of all or any of my Estate Real and Personal Except only such part thereof & for such Estates & Interest as is herein given bequeathed and devised unto her) I do hereby Will declare and appoint that all & every the devises Legacies Gifts & bequests to her herein given devised and bequeathed shall be void & of none Effect And in such case I give devise and bequeath the same in such manner respectively as hereinafter mentioned (that is to say) such part thereof as it Intended her for her Life or Widowhood Respectively to go as if she had been Dead or Married ITEM I give devise & bequeath to my said Son Samuel Winborn his heirs & Assigns forever the Southernmost moiety or half part of my Tract of Land where I now Live containing about Four Hundred Acres with the Apurtenances thereunto belonging my Negro Slave man Cyrus Negro Boy Bacchus Muster Jemmy Negro Woman Judith & her future Issue a Young Horse called Bembow Two Calves Two Ewes two Lambs & also my Negro Man Cato Saving only my said Wifes Term & use of & in the said Negro man Cato as herein before mentioned ITEM

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I give devise and bequeath unto my said Son Thomas Winborn his heirs & Assigns forever my two Negro men London & Hereford my Negro Woman Cloe & such Issue and offspring as shall be Born of her after my Death my Negro Woman Moll & her future Issue & Offspring two cowes Two Calves & also my present dwelling House with the Northermost half Tract of Land containing about Four Hundred acres with the Appurtenances thereunto belonging & my said Negro Woman Dauphny & her future Issue & Offspring SAVING only my said Wifes use & Term of and in the said Dwelling House Northernmost moiety or half of the tract of Land & appurtenances & negro Woman Dauphney & her future Issue & Offspring as herein before mentioned or Intended. ITEM I give & bequeath unto my Loving Daughter Susannah Winborn by my said present Wife/ for & during her Natural Life or until she shall have Issue of her Body Lawfully begotten & no Longer if that shall happen first he use of my Negro man Hercules & of my Negro Woman Doll & of all her Issue & offspring & also of my Negro man Prince aforementioned & of my said two Negro Boys May & Simon & of my said Negro Girl Rose & her future Issue & offspri8ng Saving only my Wifes Use & term of & in the said Negro man Prince two Negro boys May & Simon a Negro Girl Rose & her future Issue and Offspring as herein before mentioned or Intended But in case she my said Daughter Susanna Winborn shall have Issue of her body Lawfully begotten /then & not otherwise/ I do further bequeath and give unto her my Said Daughter Susanna Winborn forever my said negroes Hercules Doll & her Issue & offspring Prince Simon May Rose & her Issue as aforesaid But if she my said Daughter Susanna Winborn shall Dye without any Issue of her Body Lawfully begotten /then and not otherwise/ I do further give & bequeath /to be delivered at the decease of her my said Daughter Susanna Winborn/ without Issue as aforesaid /the said negroes Hercules Doll and her Issue Prince Simon May & Rose & her Issue Saving only my — said Wifes use and Term Of & in the said Prince May Simon Rose & her Issue as aforesaid unto and among my said two Sons Samuel Winborn & Thomas Winborn equally to be shared & divided between them or if either

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of them should then happen to be Dead having any Child or Children of his body Lawfully Begotten such deceased Fathers share thereof shall go to and be equally amongst his surviving children divided & shared And I nominate & constitute my said Wife Susanna Winborn during her widowhood & no longer Guardian of my said Daughter Susannah Winborn during her minority & after the marriage or Death of my said Wife Susanna which shall first happen I further nominate & Constitute my said Executors Guardians of her my said Daughter Susanna Winborn as aforesaid hereby impowering & directing her said Guardian & Guardians to maintain Cloath & Educate her in the best manner that the use and merits of her said Legacy & portion Will afford without diminishing the Principal ITEM I give & bequeath unto my son in Law Mr. William Lawton Five pounds current money of South Carolina ITEM I give and bequeath to my son in Law Mr. John Gibbons the sum of Five Pounds current money of South Carolina ITEM I will that my said Executors deduct and take out of my Estate the sum of Four Hundred Pounds current money of South Carolina & put out the same to Interest on good Security Yearly & every Year for the use of my Four Grand Children that is say Winborn Lawton, Mary Lawton, Susanna Gibbons & John Gibbons or the Survivor of them during the Respective Minoritys & so to improve the same & to pay over the said Principal & all Interest that shall accrue thereon as Hereinafter mentioned that is to say one Quarter or Fourth part unto my said Grandson Winborn Lawton at his arrival to the age of Twenty one Years one Quarter or fourth part unto my said Grand Daughter Mary Lawton at her arrival at the age of Twenty one Years or day of Marriage /which shall first happen/ one quarter or fourth part unto my said Grand Daughter Susanna Gibbons at her arrival to the age of Twenty one Years or day of Marriage & the Last Fourth or Remaining Quarter part unto my said Grand Son John Gibbons at his arrival at the age of Twenty one Years & if either or any of them should Dye before the time so appointed for Receiving such share above mentioned

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respectively then & in such case the said Deceaseds Share shall go to the Survivors of them at the Respected Days above limited And in Case of the Deaths of all four of them my said Grand Children before the Respective times herein above Limitted for the Payment thereof to them then the whole shall go & be equally paid & divided  between them my said two Sons Samuel Winborn & Thomas Winborn or if either of them should be then Dead leaving any Child or Children of his Respective Body Lawfully begotten such deceased Fathers share thereof shall go & be Equally shared & Divided to and among his respective Surviving Children & I do Give and bequeath the same accordingly And Lastly for the Readier performance of this my Last Will and Testament I ordain that all the Rest Surplus and Residue of my Estate be sold off at Publick Auction & after all Debts Legacies & charges are paid or deducted I give devise and bequeath the Balance or Remaining part thereof unto my said Two
Sons Samuel Winborn & Thomas Winborn Equally to be shared  & divided them to them their Heirs & Assigns Respectively forever In Witness whereof I the said Thomas Winborn to this my Last Will and Testament have set my hand & Seal the day and Year first above written./.  Thomas Winborn (L S)

Sealed & Published & declared by Thomas Winborn as & for his Last Will & Testament in the presence of us who in the Testators presence & at his request have witnessed it.

James Marsh

Thomas Roybould

James Edes

This Will was proved before the Ordinary the 23d January 1756 & at same time Saml. and Thomas Winborn Qualified Executors thereof

This will was proved January 23, 1756. Capt. William Lawton died the following year. I wonder what he did with his five pounds left to him by Thomas Winborn…

The Gifford Rosenwald School

April 1, 2017

Sugar and I are on our way from Point A to Point B, and we see a sign that tells us that there is a historical marker coming ahead.

Because we are two crazy kids out on a history mystery, we are compelled to pull over. Ignore the bread maker on the back seat.

Wearing eye-ish makeup and everything. YoursTruly, not Sugar.

Gifford is a wide spot in the road with a blinking yellow light. I would say “flashing” yellow light, but that might imply urgency, and there is nothing urgent happening in this sleepy little place on a Sunday morning. There’s a police car on the side of the road, parked in a spot at just such an angle that you would suspect that you are being surveilled and quite probably being ticketed for being nonlocal. However, the police car was unmanned, and was simply a decoy. There was no donut shop in sight. I would guess it was the only police vehicle in the hamlet, and the community got every ounce of usefulness from the car’s prescence.



Gifford Rosenwald School, sometimes Gifford Colored School, was built here in 1920-21. It was one of 500 rural schools built for African-American students in S.C., funded in part by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation from 1917 to 1932. The first of four Rosenwald Schools in Hampton County, it was a two-room frame building constructed at a cost of $3,225.

(Continued on other side)

(Continued from other side)

Gifford Rosenwald School had two to five teachers for an average of almost 200 students a year in grades 1-9 until it closed in 1958. That year a new school serving Gifford and Luray, built by an equalization program seeking to preserve school segregation, replaced the 1921 school. The old school has been used for church services and Sunday School classes since 1958.


This is the first reference that I have seen to “separate but equal” that wasn’t in a book or on the news. This is powerful stuff. I didn’t know that there were actual schools built to reinforce this notion. It seems odd to me that there was already a school in place for black children, but another one was built, perhaps to a different standard and modern construction, in order to maintain “separate but equal”. That is not to say that the old school didn’t need to be replaced. And now I want to know what the companion white school looked like and where it was.