Saturday, August 28, 2010

Female Education in Danville, Virginia

The roots of Statford College in Danville, Virginia go back more that 150 years. Danville had three early colleges for women.
Previous to 1930, Stratford College was a part of the Randolph-Macon System. This "Main Hall" was built in the year 1910.

Another old postcard with a photograph of Main Hall

The census taker recorded 21 boarding students at "Randolph Macon School for Girls" on June 5, 1900. Out of state students were from Louisana, Georgia, North Carolina, West Virginia, and Tennessee

1900 students: (1) Crimora Yancey Payne 18, daughter of John W. Payne (2) Agnes ___? 17,
(3) Susi Hampson 17
(4) Alice Parrish 15, daughter of James Parrish
(5) Ida B. Peterson 17
(6) Mary Peterson 19
(7) Mary Allen 19
(8) Rebecca Allen 17, daughters of John J. Allen
(9) Margaret South 19
(10) Sallie Barksdale 19
(11) Elinor Biffle 17
(12) Susie South 18
(13) Mary D. McMath 17
(14) Frances Ledbetter 17, daughter of Rev. B. E. Lebetter
(15) Eva M. South 16
(16) Ethel L. Broughton 17
(17) Mary Hunter 15
(18) Augusta P. Gates
(19) Mary A. Carter 13
(20) May L. Barry 16
(21) May Parker 16. The Black "servant" is Marie Grimes? age 40.

Stratford College was non-denominational. From 1854 until 1930, the college was operated as a Methodist institution.

The Danville Female College was said to have begun in 1854. The incorporation was approved by the Virginia Legislature in 1859. Rev. James Jamieson of Augusta County came and was appointed President to Danville Female College. He remained until 1962, when he retired to a farm in Mecklenburg County, Virginia.
The next President was George LaMonte, who came from the Farmville Female College. LaMonte's son Geoge M. LaMonte (1863-1927) was born in Danville during the Civil War. George and his father later settled in New Jersey and formed a company that manufactured "safety paper" for the security of checks and money orders. The younger George became wealthy and well known. He served in the state assembly and as Chairman of the Board of Prudential Insurance Co.

Note the Confederate stamps on letter to and from George LaMonte. During the Civil War, the Confederate government had their own post office department.

The three female colleges in Danville were a short distance apart. The Baptist Roanoke Female College continued and is now Averett University. The college lot here appears to be vacant. I first thought that the building may have burned. Later I found that the building were on an adjacent lot and not originally on the corner lot.

The Loyal Street School, built in the 1880s, was torn down and this building was constructed on the same corner site. In 1911, the Robert E. Lee Public School opened at Loyal and Ridge Streets. The entire second floor was used as a high school until the Danville High School (later John L. Berkley Junior High School) on Grove Street opened in 1916. This Robert E. Lee building continued to operate as a junior high school until the "new" George Washington High School on Broad Street opened in 1956. The old Robert E. Lee school was demolished and replaced by Sears, Roebuck and Co.

A colorful Professor at the Danville Female College was Karl Sauer Csaky. The Vienna-born professor came to Danville in 1863 to teach music. When he came to the Confederat States, he changed his name to Charles Chaky de Nordendolf aka C. C. Nordendolf. He was a prolific composer who seemed to have an affinity for his young female students. Many Misses had songs dedicated to them on his sheet music. Patty Maddux and Patty Edmunds were probably his students on this sheet music which was entered "in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Confederate States of America" in 1865. On April 24 1865, Nordendolf married his student Elizabeth L. V. Hooper (born March 22, 1843) of Caswell County, North Carolina. Her father, Zacvhariah L. Hooper was a wealthy farmer in Caswell County. In 1860, his real estate was listed as $20,000 and personal estate $25,000. Personal property included slaves. According to a family Bible, Elizabeth de Nordendorf "departed this life the 30th September 1867. Apparently Elizabeth and Nordendorf were married just over two years. She may have died in childbirth. Another entry in the Bible states that "Eugene H. de Nordendorf died July 14, 1868."

In this composition, Nordendorf honored two "Fair Pattys": Patty Maddux and Patty Edmunds. They were probably students.

This sheet music was published by Taylor & Miller in Danville, Virginia.

Old Dominion March Sheet Music. "Entered ...1863 in the Clerk's office of the District Court of the Confederate State of America.." by C. Nordendorf. Dedicated to General William Smith, Governor of Virginia, Danville Female College, Virginia. Gen. Smith established a stage line from Washington, D. C. to Gerogia in the 1830s. A Congressman called him "Extra Billy" because he often came before Congress, asking for more funds for his stage routes. He was also Governor of Virginia during the war with Mexico. He led a regiment during many of the major battes of the Civil War and was wounded five times.

This 1863 sheet music, The Stonewall Brigade, was "Decicated to the memory of Stonewall Jackson, the imortal Southern hero and his brave vererans" by C. Nordendorf, Danville Female College, Danville, Va. This was apparently written shortly after Jackson's death at Yellow Tavern near Richmond.

Eleven of Nordendorf's compositions are listed here: "Hear Me Norma," "On The Beautiful Blue Danube," "Waverly Quadrille," "All Aboard Quickstep," "Elves Dance (concert piece),"Valentine Polka," "The Old Gate (beautiful ballard)," "Mother My Guiding Star," "This Much To Be Thankful For Yet," "Kissing On The Sly," and "Linda Lee."

This 1863 composition "Rock Me To Sleep Mother: A Brilliant Study for the Piano" is "Respectfully Decicated to Miss Fannie Southerlin." I believe that she was a teacher at the Danville Female College. (Courtesy Duke Rare Manuscripts).

Nordendorf was trained in Austria in engineering. Shortly after arriving in Danville he was called upon to design and supervise the construction of gun enplacements, redoubts and rifle pits for the Confederate defenses of the town of Danville. This is a detail of the area of Lee and Jefferson Streets. Note the cross where Green Hill Cemetery is now. There was a small cemetery here before the War. East of the area, a hospital was established for Federal prisoners. Some of those who died were buried nearby and after the War a National Cemetery was establish where 1,323 Union soldiers remain buried. The remains of many of the U.S. soldiers were sent home after the War.
Attention to detail: Nordendorf prepared this topgraphical map with every building in town for Col. Withers, commander of local forces, in 1863. About 700 sick and injured Confederate soldiers died in the hospitals near the depot.

"Randolph Macon School For Girls," April 12, 1930 Census record, Principals John C. Simpson and Mable H. Kennedy. Teachers from ten different states.
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Copyright 2010 by Robert D. Ricketts