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

Northumberland Academy

Northumberland Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 30, 2009
1. Northumberland Academy Marker
Inscription. The Virginia General Assembly incorporated the Northumberland Academy in 1818. The school provided classical education for male students to prepare them for college or positions of leadership in the community. Because universal state funded education did not commence in Virginia until 1870, this was an important regional educational facility. Between 30 and 70 students studied at the academy and a three story educational building stood on a 125-acre tract near here. The trustees sold the school in 1853 and R.S. Lawrence, then Robert Hall, and finally William P. Hudgins operated it privately, until it burned late in 1864 or early in 1865.
Erected 2002 by Department of Historic Resources. (Marker Number O-66.)
Location. 37° 54.795′ N, 76° 26.025′ W. Marker is near Claraville, Virginia, in Northumberland County. Marker is on Northumberland Highway (U.S. 360) 0.7 miles east of Walnut Point Road, on the right when traveling east. Touch for map. Marker is in this post office area: Heathsville VA 22473, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Northumberland House and Mantua (approx. 0.8 miles away); Northumberland County Confederate Monument (approx. 2.1 miles away); Freedom for Slaves of Robert Carter III (approx. 2.1 miles away); Northumberland Courthouse Square
Northumberland Academy Marker image. Click for full size.
By J. J. Prats, August 30, 2009
2. Northumberland Academy Marker
(approx. 2.1 miles away); Rice’s Hotel, Hughlett’s Tavern (approx. 2.1 miles away); St. Stephen’s Parish (approx. 2.3 miles away); John Heath (approx. 2.6 miles away); British Raids on the Coan River (approx. 4.1 miles away).
Regarding Northumberland Academy. Entry in the 1917 book The beginnings of Public Education in Virginia, 1776–1860 by A. J. Morrison. “Receiving its charter in the year 1818, Northumberland Academy was for a good many years a sort of public school; its endowment arising from the glebe lands of the county, the fund from the sale of which having been before 1818 lodged with the agent of the overseers of the poor of the county. The public character of Northumberland Academy was marked enough to require the taking of a poll in 1848 on the question of the repeal of the charter (Acts of Assembly, 1847-48, p. 267).

“Subsidized for a few years from the Literary Fund, this academy filed several reports with the Second Auditor. In 1839 it was stated: ‘Notwithstanding the number of private schools in this and the adjacent counties, the academy has had, the past session, fifty students. It is believed that the expenses are less than for any similar institution in the State; 3 reading Greek, 13 Latin, 8 French, 8 Mathematics, 8 Natural Philosophy, etc.; small boys at usual tasks.’ The report for 1841 says, ‘the trustees are persuaded that the citizens of the surrounding country will give this institution the preference over private schools, seeing the decided advantages which are to be derived from the excellent library.’ The session was a ten months’ session then, and the number of pupils around 50. The next year the statement was made that Northumberland Academy was the ‘best in the Northern Neck.’ December 12, 1842. Lucien C. Boynton, ‘a gentleman fully qualified,’ was president. A few years later Professor Peter McViccar, late of Hampden-Sidney College, was in charge.

“The vote taken in 1848, or authorized to be taken, was apparently against keeping the charter. In 1853, an act was passed authorizing the sale of Northumberland Academy, the funds thus arising to be invested by the Board of School Commissioners of the county, and the interest applied annually to the purposes of education in the county, under the act of 1846 for a system of primary and free schools.”
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Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on October 3, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio. This page has been viewed 736 times since then and 38 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on October 3, 2009, by J. J. Prats of Powell, Ohio.
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