North Carolina Education - Mecklenburg County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1762

Mecklenburg County

Charlotte
In 1770, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter III - naming and authorizing trustees to build and manage Queen's College in the tow of Charlotte within Mecklenburg County. The Act directed the trustees to first meet at the existing Grammar School in Mecklenburg County on March 1 of next year. King George III rejected this college in 1772.
In 1771, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter IX - authorized the creation of the position of Vice-President with the same powers and authority of the President in his absence. The Act was obsolete after King George III rejected the college in 1772.
In 1777, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XX - naming and Incorporating trustees to manage an existing school in Mecklenburg County named Liberty Hall.
In 1778, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXIII - authorizing the commissioners of the Town of Charlotte to lay out eighty (80) more lots in said town, and for the monies collected by the sale or rent of these 80 new lots "once in every Year, to be applied to the Use of Liberty Hall, in said Town."
In 1784, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXIX - that due to various reasons Liberty Hall was in a state of decay, and the remaining trustees now believed "it would be more eligible to have an academy for the education of youth at or near Salisbury, in the county of Rowan," the legislature named new trustees for the removal of Liberty Hall and the construction of a new Salisbury Academy in Rowan County.
In 1789, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXVII - to incorporate the Centre Benevolent Society, which included members in Rowan and Mecklenburg counties, that "come under a certain system of laws and regulations for the improvement of useful knowledge, for the encouragement of literature, to alleviate the distresses of the unfortunate, and to supply tho wants of the poor and indigent" in both counties.
This Author has not found the legislative Acts and Resolutions from 1791 to 1816. If they are ever located then they will be appropriately included herein. 
On December 26, 1821, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Liberty Male Academy and the Charlotte Female Academy in the town of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-five (25) trustees were named in the Act. This Act was amended on January 7, 1839; see below.
On December 31, 1823, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the New Providence Library Company, an existing entity in the village of Providence in Mecklenburg County.
On January 10, 1835, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Mallard Creek Classical School in Mecklenburg County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
Also on January 10, 1835, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Juvenile Library Society in the village of Providence in Mecklenburg County.

On March 12, 1835, the Concord Presbytery adopted Robert Hall Morrison’s resolution to establish a “Manual Labour School” dedicated to the education of young men preparing for the ministry. Morrison would later become the institution’s first president. William Lee Davidson, son of the Revolutionary War general of the same name, sold the presbytery 469 acres of land on which to locate the school and remained an important benefactor. The land was strategically located near a public road in a rural area that was in close proximity to four substantial towns—Charlotte, Concord, Statesville, and Salisbury. In August, the founders announced “that the Manual Labor Institution which we are about to build be called Davidson College as a tribute to the memory of that distinguished and excellent man Gen. Wm. Davidson who in the ardor of patriotism, fearlessly contending for the Liberty of his country, fell (universally lamented) in the Battle at Cowan’s Ford.”

South Carolina’s Bethel Presbytery pledged to support, both spiritually and financially, the college that would be so close to its border. In the early days, congregations in the communities surrounding the college were generous with their time and labor—helping to clear the land, hauling debris, building fences, and making and hauling bricks. The students also contributed to the labor force at the college. As part of the manual labor contract, they were required to work three hours per day. Although this arrangement was designed to assist students of limited resources, the college shifted to a classical curriculum in 1841. The college struggled financially until Salisbury planter Maxwell Chambers left his will, probated in 1856, making Davidson the most heavily endowed school south of Princeton at that point in time. Future President of the United States Woodrow Wilson, who had lived for a time in Wilmington studied at the school in the 1873-74 term.

Co-education began at Davidson College during the American Civil War when President John Kirkpatrick’s five daughters attended to boost enrollment. Thenceforth, the daughters of faculty and capable local women were permitted to take classes but could not earn degrees. The first female degree candidates were upper-class transfer students admitted in the fall of 1972. The college has retained its affiliation with the Presbyterian 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.

Also see December 28, 1838 (directly below) to view the legislative Act to incorporate Davidson College.

On December 28, 1838, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-eight (28) trustees were named in the Act, and the college was authorized assets up to $200,000. Property over 500 acres is to be taxed. The village of Davidson College received its first Post Office on July 19, 1837, and its name was changed to simply Davidson in 1891. This Act was amended on December 27, 1852, December 13, 1856, December 11, 1873, January 23, 1877, February 4, 1879, and March 4, 1885; see below.
On January 7, 1839, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 31, 1821 concerning the Charlotte Female Institute in the town of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Nine (9) new trustees were named to manage the female institute, and they were authorized to provide donors with shares in the school.

The early history of Queens College can be traced to attempts by pioneer settlers to establish a Presbyterian school of Charlotte in 1770. An Act by the colonial General Assembly authorized the school in 1770. However, King George III revoked its charter in 1772, doubting the wisdom of creating a Scots-Irish institution that could perpetuate anti-royalist views in the colony. The trustees continued to apply for a charter and operated the school under the name of Queen’s Museum. During the American Revolution, school trustees sympathized with the colonial cause and many future leaders, including William R. Davie and Andrew Jackson, were educated there. When independence was declared, the school became known as Liberty Hall Academy. It relocated to Salisbury in 1784.

In 1821, the Male and Female Academy Corporation was chartered to operate two separate institutions to educate men and women. In 1851, sessions for females were suspended due to an epidemic in Charlotte and a fire that destroyed the school building. By 1857, the trustees of Charlotte Female Institute organized a stock company, erected a building on College and Ninth Streets, and recruited Rev. Robert Burwell and his wife to head the Institution. The Burwells ran the Charlotte Female Institute until 1872, when Rev. Burwell left to lead Peace Institute.

Elizabeth Long re-organized the school as the Seminary for Girls and kept the institution open during difficult times following Burwell’s departure. In 1896, when the Concord and Mecklenburg Presbyteries chartered the Presbyterian College for Women, the Seminary for Girls merged with Presbyterian College. In 1896, the Concord and Mecklenburg Presbyteries chartered the Presbyterian Female College. The Seminary for Girls merged with the new college and, in 1912, anticipating a move to the present campus in the Myers Park residential area, it became Queens College.

In 1930, Queens College affiliated with the Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina through a merger with Chicora College in Columbia, South Carolina. Restructuring of the Presbyterian Church gave Queens College ties to both the South Atlantic and the Mid-Atlantic synods. The school became co-educational in 1987 and changed its name again in 2002 to become Queens University of Charlotte in order to reflect the institution’s current curriculum and to distinguish it from other institutions internationally bearing the Queens name.

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 December 27, 1852, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. This Act eliminated the Presbytery appointing a President; now the trustees can appoint the President of the college.
On December 13, 1856, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. This Act increased the authorized assets from $200,000 to $500,000. This Act also describes that Maxwell Chamber's will provided money to said college.
On February 17, 1859, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the North Carolina Military Institute in the town of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Twelve (12) trustees were named in the Act, and the school was authorized capital stock of $75,000.
Also on February 17, 1859, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of intoxicating liquors within three (3) miles of Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County.

The North Carolina Military Institute was organized in the 1850s by a group of Charlotte businessmen led by Dr. Charles J. Fox. The cornerstone of the first building was laid in 1858. The building and educational programs it housed were patterned after those of the United States Military Academy at West Point in New York.

D. H. Hill, previously a professor at Davidson College, guided development of the curriculum and served as president of the board of directors. Hill instituted stiff regulations on conduct for his cadets based on training he received as a student at West Point and through his Mexican War experiences. After receiving its charter in 1859, the Institute enrolled approximately 125 students ranging in age from twelve (12) to twenty-one (21). The first class of cadets graduated in 1860 and served as some of the first recruits and training personnel for North Carolina troops at the start of the American Civil War.

At the start of the war, Governor Zebulon B. Vance summoned D.H. Hill and other military strategists to Raleigh to assemble camps of instruction for freshly recruited troops. Hill was placed in charge of Camp Ellis in Raleigh and was joined by many of his faculty and cadets in forming the First North Carolina Regiment. All of the staff officers of the regiment were former faculty members of the Institute. When the regiment was formed, Adjutant General Robert F. Hoke stipulated that the cadets could join the regiment with the consent of their parents and guardians. Once most of the students and all of the leading faculty members had gone off to war, the school was used as a Confederate military hospital.

Following the war, the facility was used as a female academy and later another military school - the Carolina Military Institute (also called the Charlotte Military Institute) was conducted by Colonel J. P. Thomas from 1873 until 1882. After the close of the military school in 1882, the building was used by the Charlotte public school system from 1883 until 1950. Construction of an extension of Independence Boulevard in 1954 led to the destruction of the impressive brick school building.

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 22, 1861, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to provide financial relief to Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. The State released all claims for taxes.
On December 2, 1864, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the trustees of the Sardis Academy in Mecklenburg County to sell the school building and lot and to rebuild on the church lot.

Established in 1867 by the Presbyterian Church, modern-day Johnson C. Smith University was known from that year until 1876 as the Biddle Memorial Institute. Samuel C. Alexander, minister at Steele Creek Presbyterian Church, took a lead role in the establishment of a school “for the education of preachers and teachers among the ex-slaves, realizing that only in this way could they be fitted for Christian citizenship.” Around three thousand (3,000) former slaves lived in Mecklenburg County in 1867. Stephen Mattoon was the first president, presiding over the school for fourteen years.

Mary D. Biddle of Philadelphia raised $1,400 for the new school and selected the name to honor her late husband, Major Henry Biddle. W. R. Myers, a wealthy Charlotte businessman, donated the first eight (8) acres of land on Beatties Ford Road for the campus. In 1876 [sic, 1877], the state legislature formally chartered the school at which time the name was changed to Biddle University. Biddle Hall, the centerpiece of the campus, was completed in 1884. The first African American president was Daniel Sanders, who served in the position from 1891 until his death in 1907.

In 1921 and 1922, Jane Berry Smith of Pittsburgh donated funds for a theological dormitory, science building, teachers’ cottage, and memorial gate. In addition she established an endowment in memory of her late husband, Johnson C. Smith. In recognition of her gifts, trustees voted to rename the institution. Consequently, the charter was amended to reflect the new name in 1923. James B. Duke, the tobacco magnate, included the school as a beneficiary of the Duke Endowment, created in 1924, putting in place an affiliation that has benefitted the university greatly over the years.

In 1932, women first enrolled at JCSU. Today the school retains its affiliation with the Presbyterian Church in the United States of America, reporting to its General Assembly through the Board of Christian Education. Since 1944 JCSU has been associated with the United Negro College Fund.

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 February 10, 1877 below to view the legislative Act incorporating Biddle University.

On February 27, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Mecklenburg Female College in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-two (22) trustees were named in the Act, and the college was authorized assets up to $500,000. This Act was amended on August 24, 1868; see below.
On February 28, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the North Carolina Orphan Asylum in or near the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-three (23) directors were named in the Act.
On August 24, 1868, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of February 27, 1867 (above) concerning the Mecklenburg Female College in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. The trustees were directed to elect five (5) members to form an executive committee, which shall manage the college.
On February 2, 1872, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Thompson Institute near the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Nine (9) trustees were named in the Act.
On December 11, 1873, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. This Act eliminated the requirement that trustees be appointed by the Presbytery, and that intoxicating liquor shall not be sold or given to anyone, not just students.
On March 22, 1875, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County to decide whether to levy a special tax to establish public graded schools in the city of Charlotte.
On January 23, 1877, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. This Act provided that four (4) more trustees are to be elected by alumni, and that intoxicating liquors may not be sold within three (3) miles of the college.
On February 10, 1877, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Biddle University in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Ten (10) trustees were named in the Act, and the college was authorized assets up to $200,000. This Act was amended on February 28, 1883, February 8, 1887 and February 28, 1899; see below. This school was originally established on April 7, 1867 as the Biddle Memorial Institute, a "Freedman's College," and held in a church building until 1876. In 1923, the name was changed to Johnson C. Smith University.
On February 4, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the village of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. This Act increased the number of trustees from forty-eight (48) to sixty (60).
On March 13, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a Normal School at Trinity College, Davidson College, Wake Forest College, and at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
On February 28, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of February 10, 1877 (above) concerning Biddle University. This Act repealed the requirement that degrees are confined to regular students. The university was now authorized assets up to $1,000,000, and land up to 200 acres is tax exempt.
On January 13, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Law Library Association in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Sixteen (16) trustees were named in the Act, and the organization was authorized capital stock up to $20,000.
On March 4, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of December 28, 1838 (above) concerning Davidson College in the town of Davidson College in Mecklenburg County. Fifty (50) trustees were named in the Act, the college was authorized real property up to $300,000 and personal property up to $500,000. Up to 500 acres will be tax exempt.
On March 11, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Huntersville High School in the town of Huntersville in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-five (25) trustees were named in the Act.
Also on March 11, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the School of Art, Science and Industry near the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Ten (10) trustees were named in the Act. The school is to never have any liens and all property is to be tax exempt.
On February 8, 1887, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of February 10, 1877 (above) concerning the Biddle University in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Thirteen (13) corporators were named in this Act, and the school was authorized assets up to $1,000,000. Land up to 200 acres is to be tax exempt. This Act was amended on January 25, 1889 and February 28, 1899; see below.
On March 7, 1887, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Thompson Orphanage and Training Institute in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Seven (7) corporators were named in the Act, and the school was authorized assets up to $100,000. The name was changed to Institution on March 3, 1893.
On January 25, 1889, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to Amend the earlier Act of Feburary 8, 1887 (above) concerning the Biddle University in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. This Act confirmed that this school is for students of the colored race only.
In the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the scholastic years of 1889 and 1890, it was reported that there were five (5) private schools for white children and one (1) private school for colored children in Mecklenburg County. The private schools for white chidren were:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Davidson College

Davidson

Rev. J.B. Shearer

102 males

Charlotte Female Institute

Charlotte

Rev. W.R. Atkinson

160 females

Macon School

Charlotte

W.A. Barrier

45 males

Huntersville High School

Huntersville

Rev. W.W. Orr

107

Grey School

Huntersville

H.A. Grey

114
The singular private school for colored children was:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Biddle University

Charlotte

Rev. W.F. Johnston

159 males
On February 12, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Charlotte Literary and Library Association in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Twenty-seven (27) corporators were named in the Act, and the organization was authorized real property up to $100,000, which is not tax exempt. Personal property is tax exempt.
On February 20, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Bethel Academy in Mecklenburg County. Three (3) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 3, 1893, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County to decide whether to increase the tax levy for public graded schools in the city of Charlotte.
On March 6, 1893, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Charlotte Medical College in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Three (3) incorporators were named in the Act.
On February 9, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County to decide whether to increase the tax levy for public graded schools in the city of Charlotte.
On February 25, 1897, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Elizabeth College Company for the Educvation of White Girls in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Five (5) corporators were named in the Act.
On February 15, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the charter of St. Peter's Home and Hospital in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. This Act authorized the hospital to establish a training school for nurses. The hospital opened on January 20, 1876 as Charlotte Home and Hospital in a residence. A permanent structure was built in 1877-1878. This Act changed the name to St. Peter's Hospital. It was closed in 1940 after the new Memorial Hospital was opened.
On February 28, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the earlier Act of February 8, 1887 (above) concerning Biddle University in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. This Act authorized the university to establish schools of law and medicine, and to establish a training school for medicine and agriculture and mechanics.
Also on February 28, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Presbyterian Female College, which had already been chartered on May 30, 1896 in the city of Charlotte in Mecklenburg County. Fourteen (14) trustees were named in this Act.
In the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the scholastic years of 1899 and 1900, it was reported that there were sixteen (16) private schools in Mecklenburg County:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Dixie Private School

Dixie

J.A. McQueen

120

Shopton Private School

Shopton

Prof. Sandifer

100

Pineville Private School

Pineville

Eugene Williamson

150

Ebenezer School

Griffith

H.C. Reid

55

Sharon School

Cottonwood

G.T. Thompson

100

Sardis Private School

Sardis

R.C. Betts

50

Ardreys Private School

Ardreys

Miss Mary Rankin

60

Matthews Private School

Matthews

W.A. Long

126

Mint Hill Private School

Mint Hill

O.C. Hamilton

180

Hickory Grove School

Madge

A.G. Randolph

85

Newell Private School

Newell

Webb McAulay

100

Derita Private School

Derita

R.H. Lafferty

120

Paw Creek School

Sandifer

C.F. Alexander

100

Huntersville Private School

Huntersville

R.J. Cochrane

130

Davidson Private School

Davidson

Archibald Curry

160

Bethel School

Davidson

J.C. Fichte

100

The "Servicemen's Re-adjustment Act of 1944," better known as the "G.I. Bill of Rights" was signed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt on June 22, 1944. With unprecedented unemployment in post-war America, many veterans took advantage of the educational opportunities offered by the G. I. Bill, which included the payment of tuition, as well as expenses for books, fees, and subsistence. Soon the enrollment demands at colleges and universities surpassed available slots for admission. Educational facilities sprang up across the country. One such institution opened in Charlotte in 1946. Known as the Charlotte Center, it offered evening classes at the old Central High School building near downtown. In 1947, Bonnie E. Cone, a mathematics teacher, was asked to direct the center.

Although the demand for such centers had decreased by 1949, Charlotte’s leaders recognized the importance of having a state-supported college in town and convinced state legislators to transform the center into Charlotte College, a two-year institution. Cone became the first president of the college. In 1957, Charlotte College acquired land in northeast Mecklenburg County for a larger, permanent campus, and the following year it became a part of the state’s community college system. The first buildings on the new campus were opened to students in 1961.

In 1963, as part of a statewide expansion, the state legislature voted to make Charlotte College a branch of the newly-created University of North Carolina system. The formal transition and name change occurred on July 1, 1965, when it became the University of North Carolina at Charlotte. Dean W. Colvard was selected to be the first chancellor.

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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