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

The Beginning of Oakton Schools (1848-1873)

Oakton Community Park

The Beginning of Oakton Schools (1848-1873) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 17, 2021
1. The Beginning of Oakton Schools (1848-1873) Marker
This relocated and restored building became known as the Oakton Schoolhouse. This is the third schoolhouse in a series of schools, active from the mid-nineteenth century to 1912, which was originally located on Chain Bridge Road and then moved to this site in 2007.

First Schoolhouse
In February, 1848, William Speer, desiring to have a permanent school near him, deeded to the county trustee a half acre of land and an "old field" schoolhouse at the intersection of Sutton Road (currently Blake Lane) and the road that became Chain Bridge Road.

In the spring of 1851, Miss Mary Holland Bell, aged 18, became the first teacher at the first schoolhouse called the Flint Hill School. She taught there for three years. According to Miss Bell's diary, "There was a literary fund appropriated by the state for the use of indigent children so I was obliged to keep a correct record of the days that they attended at the class of each term and make out my account. I took it to the Town Treasurer to state that it was correct so as to get my pay, 3 cents per day [per child] was the price. Others had to look to their parents
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for remuneration." Such a school was sometimes referred to as a subscription school. This original school burned shortly after the Civil War.

According to a local oral history taken by historian Helen Rector Jones in 1940, the following story was told about Miss Bell: While it was illegal a the time to teach blacks to read or write, a young black boy sat on the steps of the school each day. Miss Bell was warned by the school trustees that she would lose her job if she so much as taught him the alphabet. But she was ahead of her time and recognized that many would fail to understand her dedication to teaching every child, no matter their color. She considered herself, not only a spiritualist, but also a mystic, a liberal and a free thinker in Virginia Before the Civil War. This may account for the word "Misunderstood" on Mary Holland Bells' gravestone in the Flint Hill Cemetery on Chain Bridge Road.
Erected by Fairfax County Park Authority; Hunter Mill Defense League.
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: African AmericansEducationWomen. A significant historical month for this entry is February 1848.
Location. 38° 53.214′ N, 77° 18.07′ W. Marker is in Oakton, Virginia, in Fairfax County. Marker is at the intersection of Hunter Mill Road (Virginia Route
The Beginning of Oakton Schools (1848-1873) Marker image. Click for full size.
Photographed By Devry Becker Jones (CC0), October 17, 2021
2. The Beginning of Oakton Schools (1848-1873) Marker
674) and Mystic Meadow Way, on the right when traveling north on Hunter Mill Road. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2841 Hunter Mill Rd, Oakton VA 22124, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Second and Third Oakton Schools (1874-1912) (here, next to this marker); Hunter Mill Road (within shouting distance of this marker); Ira Noel Gabrielson (approx. 0.2 miles away); Chain Bridge Road and Hunter Mill Road, Oakton, Virginia (approx. 0.4 miles away); Historic Cemeteries (approx. half a mile away); First Baptist Church of Vienna (approx. 1.6 miles away); Cavalry Engagement near Hunter's Mill (approx. 1.8 miles away); Peyton Anderson (approx. 1.9 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Oakton.
Credits. This page was last revised on October 17, 2021. It was originally submitted on October 17, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia. This page has been viewed 94 times since then and 16 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 17, 2021, by Devry Becker Jones of Washington, District of Columbia.

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Oct. 3, 2023