North Carolina Education - Hertford County

Year County Established

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Hertford County


Chowan College, now Chowan University, a four-year institution affiliated with the Baptist State Convention, traces its origins to the May 1848 meeting of the Chowan Baptist Association, where a group of Baptist deacons recommended that a regional school for girls be created. On October 11, 1848, Chowan Female Institute opened in Murfreesboro with an initial class of eleven (11) students. Renamed Chowan Female Collegiate Institute in 1850, the school featured a curriculum that included math, the sciences, history, and the language and fine arts. Tuition in 1850 was $113 for five months, a substantial cost at the time.

In 1910, the school was renamed Chowan College, and began granting four year bachelor degrees. Fifteen (15) years later, Chowan College was granted state accreditation, and in 1927 received a $25,000 gift from tobacco magnet Benjamin N. Duke. Four years later, after a failed attempt to merge with Meredith College in Raleigh, Chowan College began enrolling men. Although the college had remained open with an all female student body during the American Civil War, the absence of male students during World War II forced the college’s closing from 1943 to 1948. In 1949, the school re-opened as a two-year institution, providing education on a junior college level.

During the 1980s, debates were held over whether to return the school to a four-year program. In 1992, the college again began offering bachelor of arts and bachelor of science degrees, awarding such diplomas in 1994. The name of the school officially changed from Chowan College to Chowan University on September 1, 2006. In the early 2000s, the institution had nearly eight hundred (800) students and over eighty (80) faculty members.

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


The story of Dr. Charlotte Hawkins Brown and Palmer Memorial Institute is well known; but North Carolina was also home to other pioneering African American educators. Dr. Calvin Scott Brown (no relation) was born in Salisbury in 1859 and graduated from Shaw University in 1886. Brown worked his way through college (where he studied theology) with the aide of a Northern white church. Prior to graduation—and at the urging of Henry Martin Tupper, founder of Shaw University—Brown began his pastoral work in Hertford County, North Carolina at Pleasant Plains Baptist Church. He established a school for African American students, known as Chowan Academy, in 1886.

With funding secured by Dr. Calvin Scott Brown from the Home Mission Society of New York and other sources, the school flourished. The campus grew along with the school’s reputation, attracting students from well beyond the immediate area. The three-story Reynolds Hall was erected on campus in 1893, and Morehouse Hall followed in 1909. By then, the school had a new name: the Waters Normal and Industrial Institute (named in honor of a New York philanthropist). By the early 1920s, funding had become a problem; and Brown found himself in a constant struggle to keep the school afloat, often pouring his own salary into the effort. Brown’s wife taught for many years without pay. In 1924, the school was taken over by the state (which proved its salvation) and the name was changed again to Waters Training School.

Other African American educators and religious leaders were much influenced by Brown and his successes. Brown was well-traveled but cast his lot with the people of Hertford County and eastern North Carolina. In 1937, the school where he taught for 52 years before his death in 1936, was renamed in honor of its founder. In the academic year for 1963-1964, the C. S. Brown School boasted an enrollment of 579 at the high school level, and 608 at the elementary level. Currently, the C. S. Brown Student Development Center is part of the Hertford County public school system. Brown and his wife are buried on the old campus, which is now home to the C. S. Brown Regional Cultural Arts Center and Museum and the Office of Aging for Hertford County. The C. S. Brown School Auditorium building is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

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


“Better conditions in agriculture will be brought about as you boys study and apply yourselves to present day problems. The yield of corn in North Carolina is approximately fifteen bushels per acre. If you boys would like to do something about it, the Extension Service will help you organize a corn club and attempt to teach you how to increase the yield of corn.” With these words, spoken by I.O. Schaub to a group of Hertford County boys in May of 1909, North Carolina’s first 4-H Club was born. Beginning in the 1890s and early 1900s, 4-H Clubs were sprouting up all around the country, particularly in the South. The clubs’ goal was to improve young people’s agricultural education. The Hertford County club, arranged in Ahoskie, began as a Corn Club with fifteen (15) members. Corn Clubs originated in Mississippi with the purpose of increasing yields of corn.

On July 1, 1909, an agreement was made by North Carolina’s land grant colleges—North Carolina State College and North Carolina A&M—as well as the Bureau of Plant Industry and the Cooperative Extension Service of the U.S. Department of Agriculture to support the agricultural demonstration work of boys and girls clubs. Schaub was appointed the state’s first club agent. Jane McKimmon, North Carolina’s first home demonstration agent, started a Tomato Club in 1911 for girls. Also in 1911, Charles Parker, one of the Corn Club charter members produced a record-breaking twenty-five bushels of corn on one acre. The clubs became official 4-H clubs in 1918, and their focus expanded to embrace many areas of rural life including education about soil, farm animals, tools, housekeeping, and cookery. In 1919, Hertford County hosted the first joint 4-H boys and girls camp on the banks of the Chowan River at Winton. By 1939, there were 1,156 organized 4-H Clubs in the state and 2,280 in 1955.

Today, more than 187,000 North Carolina youth participate in 4-H. The Hertford County 4-H offers services such as clubs, special interest programs, summer camps, school enrichment and after-school childcare. All programs work toward helping members develop and improve the 4-Hs: head, heart, health, and hand.

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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