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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Amelia Court House in Amelia County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
 

Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil

Amelia Court House, Virginia

 

—Amelia County —

 
Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil CRIEHT Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 10, 2009
1. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil CRIEHT Marker
Inscription. Amelia County is largely indebted to one woman for bringing formal education and religion to African Americans after the Civil War. In 1865 Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil left her home in Pennsylvania to search for her husband’s body. He had been a Union army officer and had died somewhere in Amelia County only a few days before Confederate Gen. Robert E. Lee’s surrender at Appomattox Court House. Though she never found her husband’s remains, she did discover a serious need for education for Virginia’s freed slaves. Later that same year Mrs. Neil set up a school under a “venerable oak tree with spreading branches.” Her first class ranged from young children to gray-haired men and women. Her class quickly grew into the formation of six African-American churches: Russell Grove, Albright, Big Oak, Allen Memorial, Mount Herman and Oak Grove Presbyterian. As a result of her work, the Freedom Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church, later referred to as the Presbyterian Board of National Missions, grew from the Russell Grove congregation. After 1870 this Board supplied missionary teachers to black schools all over the South. Mrs. Neil remained in Amelia and taught African Americans for the rest of her life, often contributing her meager income from her husband’s benefits to her schools. Russell Grove, Albright and Big Oak churches
Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map. image. Click for full size.
2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map.
Appomattox County
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia

Buckingham County
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace

Cumberland County
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis

Amelia County
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil

Chesterfield County
11. Virginia State University

Petersburg
12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School

Dinwiddie County
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County

Nottoway County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute

Lunenburg County
21. The People's Community Center
22. St. Matthew's Lutheran Church Christian Day School

Prince Edward County
23. Prince Edward County Public Schools
24. R. R. Moton High School
25. Farmville Female Seminary Association
26. First Baptist Church
27. Beulah AME Church
28. Hampden-Sydney College

Charlotte County
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School

Halifax County
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church

Mecklenburg County
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute

Brunswick County
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
eventually merged to become the Zion Hill Presbyterian Church. The Allen Memorial Church was later renamed the Neil Memorial Chapel, and it is there that Mrs. Neil is buried.
 
Erected by Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail®. (Marker Number 10.)
 
Marker series. This marker is included in the Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail marker series.
 
Location. 37° 20.465′ N, 77° 58.891′ W. Marker is in Amelia Court House, Virginia, in Amelia County. Marker is at the intersection of Virginia Street and Church Street, on the right when traveling south on Virginia Street. Click for map. Marker is in this post office area: Amelia Court House VA 23002, United States of America.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 6 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Marion Harland (a few steps from this marker); William Branch Giles (a few steps from this marker); Amelia Court House (about 500 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lamkin’s Battery (about 500 feet away); Lee's Retreat (approx. 0.2 miles away); Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School (approx. 0.6 miles away); a different marker also
Virginia St & Church St image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, May 10, 2009
3. Virginia St & Church St
named Lee's Retreat (approx. 5.2 miles away); a different marker also named Lee's Retreat (approx. 5.3 miles away). Click for a list of all markers in Amelia Court House.
 
More about this marker. On the upper left is a photo of Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil (far right) with some of her students, c. 1865. Below is a photo of Allen memorial Church, later renamed Neil Memorial Chapel, is where Mrs. Neil is buried.
 
Also see . . .  Virginia's Retreat. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail. (Submitted on June 24, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.) 
 
Categories. African AmericansCivil RightsEducationWar, US Civil
 
 
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,482 times since then and 37 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3. submitted on , by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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