North Carolina Education - Cabarrus County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1792

Cabarrus County

Concord

The histories of Bethel United Church of Christ in modern Stanly County and St. John’s Lutheran Church in modern Cabarrus County are closely tied because they can trace their formation to a single church. Among the early settlers of these counties were German immigrants who moved from Pennsylvania, arriving as early as 1728. The settlers were of two religious backgrounds, the Lutheran Church and the German Reformed Church. Pooling their community resources, the groups began to worship together as early as the 1740s.

The year 1745 is commonly accepted by both Bethel and St. John’s as the year when a dual-purpose church and schoolhouse were constructed. Called the Dutch Buffalo Creek Meeting House, it met the needs of both the Lutheran and Reformed members. The union congregation was served by itinerant ministers and lay readers for much of its early existence. The first pastor to consistently visit the church did not arrive until the mid 1760s and was from the Reformed Church, serving many similar union congregations throughout the area. Around 1770, a new church building was constructed near present St. John’s Church. The new building, a primitive log structure similar to the first, served the union congregation until a 1771 split in the congregation.

After that split, some Lutheran members under the leadership of John Barringer constructed a building at the site of the current St. John’s cemetery, mostly at Barringer’s personal expense. The new church and congregation chose St. John’s for their name at that time. St. John’s continued to prosper, successfully finding a permanent minister for their congregation in 1774 in the Reverend Adolph Nussmann of Germany, along with Johann Arends as their school teacher. In 1785, a new church building was dedicated for St. John’s which served the congregation as it grew and was received into the North Carolina Lutheran Synod in 1806. In 1846, a new sanctuary was dedicated and, although substantially remodeled, still serves the congregation today.

The remaining Lutheran and Reformed Church members of Buffalo Creek apparently used the old church for a while but began worshipping in homes and barns until 1806 when a frame church building was constructed on land donated by Christopher Lyerly. Rev. George Boger arrived as minister and the congregation remained one of a union between Lutheran and Reformed members. This union continued until 1875, when another split ended the cooperation. The Reformed congregation retained the old property and the church became known as Bethel German Reformed Church. A new church was constructed for Bethel in 1878, serving the congregation until the construction of the present building in 1929. The Bethel Congregation was re-organized in 1961 and became part of the United Church of Christ.

At the time when the church/school first opened in 1745, it was in Bladen County. In 1750, this was Anson County. In 1762, this was Mecklenburg County. From 1792 onward, it would be in Cabarrus County.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

Rocky River Church in Cabarrus County was organized as a Presbyterian congregation in 1751. The first church building was a log structure, likely built around 1755 near a ford in the river that gave the church its name. The first permanent pastor of Ricky River Church was Alexander Craighead who, with his family, moved to the area from Virginia in 1758 to accept the church’s call. Prior to Craighead, various supply preachers, including Hugh McAden in 1755, served the church and the community.

The congregation at Rocky River Church incorporated a school on November 16, 1812. Called Rocky River Academy, the institution educated youth of the area until the turn of the twentieth century. During the mid-nineteenth century, Rocky River Church grew to be the largest congregation in the North Carolina Presbyterian Synod. After years of planning, on January 4, 1860, parishioners agreed upon a building proposition by which they could construct a new church. It would be the fourth. The new brick church, dedicated May 2, 1860, is still in use today. There are four cemeteries on the church’s property, as well as an 1839 frame Session House and a manse, which was completed about 1873. More recently the church added an educational building to its complex; it is separate from the sanctuary, yet compliments the building’s architecture.

The above write-up was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On January 13, 1834, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Rocky River Academy in Cabarrus County. Eleven (11) trustees were named in the Act.

Founded in 1852 by a resolution of the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church, the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute was originally known as the Western Carolina Male Academy. The Board of Trustees obtained a sixteen-acre tract from Matthias Barrier. The board commissioned H. C. McAllister, a Gaston County mason, to construct the school.

Construction of the main brick building was completed in 1855-56, with an additional six (6) Greek Revival structures eventually being completed by 1859. The first classes were held in 1855, with an average of sixty (60) students per year. Renamed North Carolina College in 1858, the school had considerable success in the years just prior to the American Civil War. The college was a contemporary of Mont Amoena Seminary (see below), a Lutheran school for girls located nearby. Students from across the South, including some from as far away as Texas, attended the school, paying an average of $125-145 a year in tuition. At the outbreak of the war, many of these young men enlisted in Company H, 8th North Carolina Troops. However, with most of the student body and several professors gone to war, the college soon fell into financial ruin.

For the remainder of the nineteenth century, the college suffered recurrent difficulties and never regained its prewar attendance levels. In 1901, when the Lutheran Synod began channeling funds into Lenoir College (now Lenoir-Ryhne College), North Carolina College closed its doors, although a teacher and former student continued to operate it as a private school.

Due in large part to alumni donations and the efforts of Reverend L. E. Busby, the school re-opened two years later as the Collegiate Institute at Mount Pleasant, a preparatory school for young men. Beginning in 1907, uniforms and military discipline became adopted. Students studied English, algebra, geometry, literature, biology, Latin, in addition to their military drills.

Although the 1910s and 1920s saw an increase in enrollment and funding, the school again closed its doors in 1933 on the eve of the Great Depression. The Board of Trustees sold most of the school’s structures. Several campus buildings were used as apartments until the 1950s, when the site was abandoned. The Eastern Cabarrus Historical Society acquired the main building, which currently houses their museum.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On February 2, 1857, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within two (2) miles of the Western Carolina Male Academy in Cabarrus County.

In 1858, Susan E. Biglow Bittle founded the Mount Pleasant Female Seminary. A private liberal arts academy for young women, the school consisted of a two-room schoolhouse. Acquired by the North Carolina Synod of the Evangelical Lutheran Church the following year, the school educated students in fields such as mathematics, music, English and Latin. The majority of the headmasters were Lutheran ministers and the school became a contemporary of the Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute (see above).

The school survived the American Civil War, unlike many male academies in the South. According to one alumnus, it became “an island of culture in the difficult years” after the war. In 1892, the school’s name was changed to Mont Amoena, the Latin equivalent of Mount Pleasant. The school’s original building burned in November of 1911, and a new three-story brick building with white columns was constructed on seven (7) acres of land near the old site for $30,000.

In 1927, Mont Amoena closed, having provided educations for young women for over sixty-five (65) years. Financial difficulties, combined with the improvements in public education in North Carolina, led to the closure of numerous academies across the state. Five years later, Mount Pleasant Collegiate Institute also closed its doors.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

Also see December 5, 1871 (below), when Mount Pleasant Female Seminary was officially incorporated.

Also see February 14, 1891 (below), when the name was officially changed to Mount Amoena Female Seminary.

On January 21, 1859, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the North Carolina College in the town of Mount Pleasant in Cabarrus County. Thirteen (13) trustees were named in the Act, and the school was authorized assets up to $400,000.

BARBER-SCOTIA COLLEGE

Under the auspices of the Presbyterian Board of Missions for Freedmen, missionary Luke Dorland in 1867 founded a parochial school that would become Barber-Scotia College. The original mission of Scotia Seminary was to prepare black female teachers and social workers. Dorland, who also established Dorland-Bell School in Hot Springs named the Cabarrus County school after his ancestral homeland of Scotland. The white minister, whose previous pastorate had been in Toledo, Ohio, took Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts as his model.

Scotia Seminary received its formal charter in 1870. The initial Board of Trustees was composed of Dorland and seven ministers. Dorland remained the school’s president until 1885. The school made its first real estate acquisition in 1870 with the purchase of a half-acre and an existing house. In 1871, the first campus building was completed; in that year the school enrolled seventy-five (75) students. Graves Hall, completed in 1877, is among the twenty-three buildings on the present forty-acre campus. Faith Hall, constructed in 1891, bears a cornerstone with the motto: “For Head, Hand and Heart.”

Scotia Seminary became Scotia Women’s College in 1916 and, after the merger in 1930 with Barber Memorial Institute of Anniston, Alabama, became Barber-Scotia College in 1932. Accreditation as a Class A junior college followed in 1934. In 1942, the Presbyterian Board of National Missions supported the school’s effort to become a four-year college and the first graduates received bachelor’s degrees in 1945. The school has been open to all students, regardless of race or sex, since 1954. In recent years the school has weathered financial and accreditation crises. It retains an affiliation with the Presbyterian Church (USA).

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On December 5, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Mount Pleasant Female Seminary in the town of Mount Pleasant in Cabarrus County. Twelve (12) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 14, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Zion Wesley Institute, a school for colored students, in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County. Nine (9) trustees were named in the Act. This Act was repealed on February 19, 1885 with the establishment of Zion Wesley College, now located in Salisbury since 1882.

Livingstone College, now located in Salisbury, was incorporated in 1879 as a result of a conference of African-American ministers who sought to educate students in both academic and real world situations. The ministers, mostly from the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, believed that a college was needed to prepare students to serve the black community. The first sessions at the new school, initially called Zion Wesley Institute, were held in the town of Concord, in neighboring Cabarrus County. The first classes were held in the parsonage of Bishop C. R. Harris, minister and educator. After the first tries at establishing the college in Concord, founders Dr. Joseph C. Price and Bishop James Walker Hood began to raise funds to acquire property and erect school buildings. The town of Salisbury donated $1,000 to the effort and invited the school to relocate closer to the county seat of Rowan County.

The school then relocated to a farm called Delta Grove just outside of Salisbury. The new forty-acre site had a single building in which to begin classes in 1882. Dr. Price, a native of Elizabeth City, was the college’s first president and established the school’s philosophy of educating the whole student: hands, head and heart. As a result, students received training in religious studies as well as hands-on skills such as brick masonry and construction. An example of the abilities of the students and staff in construction can be seen in the Andrew Carnegie Library, constructed by students who made the bricks and laid the walls under the instruction of teachers at the school.

In 1887, the North Carolina General Assembly granted the school its charter and authorized changing its name to Livingstone College, in honor of David Livingstone, well known philanthropist, Christian missionary, and explorer. In 1892, the school created a theological department, later upgraded to a school in 1904. Construction on seminary buildings commenced in 1906 and the theological program was named in honor of founder, Bishop Hood. The seminary was separated from the college in 2002. The sister institutions still receive funding and support from the A.M.E. Zion Church.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On January 13, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to stop an election in school district number eleven (11) at Concord in Cabarrus County - voters decided they preferred a "graded school" and another Act was passed on March 2, 1885 for the qualified voters in the town of Concord to decide if they wanted a special tax levied to pay for a Public Graded and High School in said town. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 11, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend, alter, and extend the charter of Scotia Seminary in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County. This school was originally chartered by "letters patent" on November 22, 1870 (see above).
On January 14, 1887, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Concord Female Academy in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County. Fifteen (15) trustees were named in the Act.
On February 14, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Mont Amoena Female Seminary in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County. Twenty-seven (27) corporators were named in the Act, and the school was authorized real property up to $100,000.
On March 3, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the charter of Scotia Seminary by appointing all new trustees (not named) for said school.
On March 4, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize qualified voters in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County to decide whether to levy a special tax to fund graded publics schools in said town. This Act was amended on February 28, 1895; see below.
On February 28, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to require qualified voters to elect four school commissioners in each of the wards in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County. This amended Act was repealed on March 6, 1899; see below.
On March 6, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to increase the number of elected school commissioners in the town of Concord in Cabarrus County from four (4) to seven (7).

In the late nineteenth century, young people, regardless of their age, who were convicted of crimes in North Carolina received punishments as adults. James P. Cook, editor of a Concord newspaper, The Standard, witnessed a thirteen-year-old boy receive a three year and six-month sentence on a chain gang for petty theft in 1890. Determined that such a system was unjust, Cook devoted the next seventeen years to campaigning for a state training school and correctional facility for young male offenders.

With Cook’s help, a benevolent society known as the King’s Daughters persuaded the state legislature through public meetings and newspaper articles to build such a school in 1906. Success came only after a party of Confederate veterans sponsored the bill that supported the school’s construction. Supporters offered to name the institution after Thomas J. “Stonewall” Jackson, Confederate icon. The Act that established Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School became law on March 2, 1907. A similar school for girls, Samarcand, was founded in 1918 in Moore County.

Governor Robert B. Glenn appointed James P. Cook to the school’s first board of trustees. The board then elected Cook chairman, a position he held for the next two decades. In September of 1907, Cabarrus County citizens formed a committee to raise funds and purchase land for the institution. Two months later, with land and funds acquired, the trustees chose Walter Thompson, superintendent of Concord city schools, as the first principal.

Male offenders under the age of eighteen (18) were remanded to Stonewall Jackson Training School in lieu of prison time. Peak population reached nearly five hundred (500) students. At the school, the young men lived in a series of dormitory style buildings, and received an academic education as well as learned a trade. Students worked in industries including shoemaking, printing, barbering, textiles, and a machine shop. Many of the young men worked on the school’s farm, learning modern agricultural techniques, and maintaining the fields and cattle herds that supported the school. The print shop produced a small newspaper called The Uplift.

By the 1970s, North Carolina judicial policy had shifted and incarceration for young men charged with truancy and minor crimes became less prevalent. As a result the school’s population began to decline, and by the early 2000s, the school, by then referred to as the Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center, held only one hundred and fifty (150) young men. The individuals currently held at the school tend to be much more violent offenders, with the majority being related to drug and weapons-related offenses. A fifteen foot-tall fence presently surrounds the sixty-acre complex, which consists of over twenty (20) buildings.

In 1999, a fifteen-year battle between the school’s administrators and historic preservationists over several of the institution’s buildings ended. School administrators agreed to help preserve some of the oldest campus buildings if allowed to demolish other derelict buildings on the property.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

 
 
 
 


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