Amelia Court House in Amelia County, Virginia — The American South (Mid-Atlantic)
Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil
Amelia Court House, Virginia
— Amelia County —
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
By Bernard Fisher, May 10, 2009
1. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil CRIEHT Marker
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 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.
2. Civil Rights in Education Heritage Trail® Map.
1. Winonah Camp/Mozella Price Home
2. Carver-Price School
3. Education in 1800's Rural Virginia
4. One-Room Schoolhouse
5. Carter G. Woodson Birthplace
6. Hamilton High School
7. Rosenwald School at Cartersville
8. Jackson Davis
9. Russell Grove Presbyterian Church and School
10. Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil
11. Virginia State University
12. Earliest Known Public High School for African Americans in Virginia
13. McKenney Library
14. The Peabody-Williams School
15. Southside Virginia Training Center
16. Rocky Branch School
17. Early Education in Dinwiddie County
18. Blackstone Female Institute
19. Mt. Nebo Church
20. Ingleside Training Institute
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
29. Southside Virginia Community College - John H. Daniel Campus
30. Charlotte County Library
31. Salem School
32. Meadville Community Center
33. Mary M. Bethune High School
34. Washington-Coleman Elementary School
35. Mizpah Church
36. Thyne Institute
37. Boydton Academic and Bible Institute
38. Southside Virginia Community College - Christanna Campus
39. Saint Paul's College
40. Hospital and School of the Good Shepherd
41. Fort Christanna
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. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Amelia Court House VA 23002, United States of America. Touch for directions.
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 named Lee's Retreat (approx. 5.2 miles away); a different marker also named Lee's Retreat (approx. 5.3 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Amelia Court House.
By Bernard Fisher, May 10, 2009
3. Virginia St & Church St
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 Americans • Civil Rights • Education • War, US Civil •
More. Search the internet for Mrs. Samantha Jane Neil.
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 24, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 1,891 times since then and 143 times this year. Photos: 1, 2, 3. submitted on June 24, 2009, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.