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

The Piney Branch School

The Piney Branch School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 21, 2015
1. The Piney Branch School Marker
Inscription. “How well do l remember the night before my first day in school. I remember the night before because my mother washed my little white coat and today l can see it hanging on the line in the kitchen. I had been told that I was going to school the next day.
The first day in school l don't remember, but one day soon thereafter I could not finish eating my apple at recess. The recess was one hour long. Mrs. Otelia Robinson, who was our teacher, let me sit in the back of the room to finish eating the apple."

Myrtle Pryor Brown
1995 Interview

The land on which the Piney Branch School is situated was purchased in 1878 by trustees of the adjacent Piney Branch Baptist Church for the sole purpose of educating area children who were also members of the church. One of four one-room schools for African American children in the Chancellor District, it provided an education through the seventh grade.

The school, under the jurisdiction of the Spotsylvania School Board, operated five months during the academic year. It was officially named “Piney Branch” in the 1919-20 Spotsylvania School Board minutes; prior to that time it was referred to as "the colored school in Screamerville."

As African American one-room schools began to consolidate into the John J. Wright
The Piney Branch School Marker image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 21, 2015
2. The Piney Branch School Marker
School, enrollment at the Piney Branch School decreased. No longer sustainable after 65 years of operation, the Piney Branch School was purchased for $280 on June 4, 1945 at public auction by the trustees of Piney Branch Baptist Church. It is still owned and maintained by the church.

According to research conducted by former student, Lillian Robinson Pryde (b. 1922), 168 children matriculated through the Piney Branch School. Among those students were her parents, James Henry Robinson (1883-1937) and Clara Dean Brooks (1882-1961). ln addition to Mrs. Robinson (above), our confirmed list of educators who taught there were:

Annie Crump • Myrtle Johnson • Grace Travis
Edna Bradford • Minnie Lawson • Martha Tyler
Florence Branch • Evelyn Lewis • Lillian White
Elizabeth Ennis • Edith Ramsey • Rosa White
Carrie Golden • Helen Reid • Virginia White
Maria Howard • Elmore Thurston

(upper left) Myrtle Pryor, c. 1925
(center) Above is the second school building constructed on the site. It was built c. 1903.
(upper right) Right: Otelia Upshaw Robinson (1895-1935) was the wife of Albert Walter Robinson and mother of 10 children (7 boys, 3 girls), all of whom attended the Piney Branch School.
Born in Bowling Green, Caroline County, Virignia, to Tarlton and Eugene Upshaw, she earned her teaching degree
The Piney Branch School image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 21, 2015
3. The Piney Branch School
from the Virignia Normal & Industrial Institute in 1914.

The African American Heritage Trail is supported in part by a Preserve America grant administered by the National Park Service, United States Department of the Interior. This product is based upon work assisted by a grant from the U.S. Department of the Interior, National Park Service. Any opinions, findings, conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of the U.S. Department of the Interior.
Erected 2015 by Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail.
Location. 38° 15.361′ N, 77° 38.21′ W. Marker is in Spotsylvania, Virginia, in Spotsylvania County. Marker is on Piney Branch Road (Virginia Route 624) 0.3 miles south of Catharpin Road (County Route 612), on the left when traveling south. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 10727 Piney Branch Rd, Spotsylvania VA 22553, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 2 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Chancellorsville Campaign (approx. 1.4 miles away); Sergeant Benjamin Brown (approx. 1˝ miles away); U. S. Colored Troops in Spotsylvania (approx. 1˝ miles away);
Piney Branch Baptist Church image. Click for full size.
By Bernard Fisher, June 21, 2015
4. Piney Branch Baptist Church
The Wilderness and the Overland Campaign (approx. 1˝ miles away); Ordeal of the Wellfords (approx. 1.7 miles away); Rearguard Action (approx. 1.7 miles away); a different marker also named Chancellorsville Campaign (approx. 1.8 miles away); Lafayette at Corbin’s Bridge (approx. 1.8 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Spotsylvania.
Also see . . .  Spotsylvania African American Heritage Trail. (Submitted on June 22, 2015.)
Categories. African AmericansChurches & ReligionEducation
Credits. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016. This page originally submitted on June 22, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia. This page has been viewed 182 times since then and 22 times this year. Photos:   1, 2, 3, 4. submitted on June 22, 2015, by Bernard Fisher of Mechanicsville, Virginia.
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