North Carolina Education - Clay County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1861

Clay County

Hayesville
On April 1, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within one (1) mile of Fort Hembree Academy in Clay County.
On March 5, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the board of commissioners of Clay, Madison, and Surry Counties to pay certain claims of school teachers in those counties. The State was to assist these counties since each of the three did not have sufficient funds.
On February 28, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Hayesville High School in the town of Hayesville in Clay County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 11, 1889, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Hayesville Male and Female College near the town of Hayesville in Clay County. Nine (9) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 12, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to abolish the board of education in Clay and Cherokee Counties. Duties will now be performed by the county commissioners.
On March 6, 1897, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize qualified voters in the town of Hayesville to decide whether to levy a special tax to fund a white graded school in the town of Hayesville in Clay County. This Act was repealed on February 13, 1899; see below.
On February 13, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to repeal the March 6, 1897 Act (above) about a white graded school in the town of Hayesville in Clay County.

The John C. Campbell Folk School was incorporated by Olive Dame Campbell and Marguerite Butler on November 23, 1925. Located in Brasstown on the Clay/Cherokee County line, six miles southeast of Murphy, the school has twenty buildings and 366 acres of land. John C. Campbell (1867-1919) was born in Indiana but became one of Appalachia’s earliest and most energetic advocates. In 1907, he married Olive A. Dame of Medford, Massachusetts. Mr. Campbell was attracted to the folk school idea, but never lived to see it realized. Mrs. Campbell, after visits to Denmark in 1919 and 1920, chose the Danish model for the school she named after her late husband.

Local craftsmen have been involved with the schools, as teachers and as students, since its beginnings. The first courses were offered in December of 1927. A credit union cooperative, backed by the school in 1926, benefited a few local people but did not prosper. An agricultural cooperative was more successful though it suffered during the Depression. The school itself began to thrive after it was marketed and promoted heavily by Mrs. Campbell, especially at the Southern Highland Handicrafts Guild, which she helped found in the late 1920s.

In 1946, Mrs. Campbell retired as director; she died in 1954. Her replacement, D. F. Folger, sought to make the school a teacher training institute but was asked to leave by the board of directors. In 1951, George Bidstrup, himself a Dane, returned the institution to its original folk school concept. In order to survive financially over the years, the school’s leaders regularly have made changes in the curriculum while generally adhering to the Campbells’ ideals. The original core of agricultural and liberal arts courses have been replaced by offering in crafts, self-sufficiency skills, music, and dance.

David Whisnant, in his study "All That is Native and Fine," was critical of the school’s role in the history of Appalachia, seeing it as typical of “systematic cultural intervention” by outsiders. He did praise Mrs. Campbell for having chosen a non-ideological path for the school.

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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