North Carolina Education - New Hanover County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1729

New Hanover County

Wilmington
In 1783, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXIV - naming and authorizing trustees to build and manage the new Innis Academy in the Wilmington District. The trustees also "shall appoint annually out of their own body a president, secretary, and treasurer of the corporation."
In 1788, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XXXIX - naming new trustees because many of the original trustees "being dead or left the state, and the remainder being a bare majority being too much dispersed to meet with convenience at any one place, the said act cannot be carried into effect," for Innis Academy in the Wilmington District.
In 1789, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act - Chapter XVIII - which included a correction to the previous Act of 1788; "it was intended that the number of Trustees might be augmented so as not to exceed thirty nor to be under twenty, but by an omission in the engrosser of the bill or otherwise, although a certain number is intended to be referred to, that number does not appear in the Act."
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 November 17, 1817, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Female Benevolent Society in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. This organization is to provide an education to destitute and poor children.
On January 13, 1834, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the New Hanover Academy in New Hanover County. Four (4) trustees were named in the Act.
Also on January 13, 1834, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Ladies' Working Society of St. James Church in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Ten (10) trustees were named in the Act, and the society was chartered for twenty (20) years.
On January 10, 1835, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Rockfish Academy in New Hanover County. Three (3) trustees were named in the Act.
On January 18, 1847, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the New Hanover Female Institute near the village of Black River Chapel in New Hanover County. Three (3) commissioners were named to offer $10,000 in stock, after which stockholders may choose twelve (12) trustees to manage said institute. 50 acres were to be tax exempt.
On January 28, 1851, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Long Creek Academy in the village of Long Creek in New Hanover County. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act, and they were authorized to issue stock up to $5,000.
Also on January 28, 1851, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Topsail Academy in the village of Topsail Sound in New Hanover County.
On January 9, 1855, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Union Academy in New Hanover County. Six (6) trustees were named in the Act.
On February 25, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Wilmington Institute in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 4, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Rocky Point Academy in the village of Rocky Point in New Hanover County. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act.
On December 22, 1871, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the College of Physicians and Surgeons in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Seven (7) doctors were named in the Act, and the college was authorized assets of $100,000.
On January 9, 1872, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Wilmingnton Library Association in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Five (5) corporators were named in the Act.
On February 8, 1872, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Cape Fear Club in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. This organization was founded on March 3, 1866. Twenty-two (22) trustees and two (2) officers were named in the Act. Click Here for more information.
On March 3, 1873, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a House of Correction and Refuge in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Five (5) managers to be appointed and authorized to levy a new county tax. Convicted criminals - males up to 21 and females up to 18 - to be employed and instructed. All juveniles to be taught in reading, writing, spelling, and arithmetic.
On March 20, 1875, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to provide for the colored insane by appropriating $10,000 and authorizing the use of the existing Marine Hospital in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. All colored insane at Raleigh to be relocated to Wilmington. Nothing happened. On March 12, 1877 this was re-enacted at a location to be determined. Turns out that Goldsboro is where the asylum was built.
On March 29, 1880, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Historical and Scientific Society in the town of Wilmington in New Hanover County. Twenty-nine (29) trustees were named in the Act.

The New England-based American Missionary Association (AMA) was founded in 1846 by the Congregational Church and was dedicated to promoting anti-slavery feeling North and South. Among its early leaders were Lewis Tappan and George Whipple. In the postwar era the AMA became the most active and successful of the many benevolent societies helping former slaves adjust to life as freedmen. The group’s particular emphasis during Reconstruction was on the establishment of schools and churches for blacks in the South.

The first AMA-sponsored day schools for North Carolina freedmen opened in two New Bern churches in July of 1863, followed soon thereafter by ones in Morehead City, Washington, Plymouth, and on Roanoke Island. Sites increased rapidly after the close of the war. By 1865, in Wilmington alone, eight (8) teachers were holding schools in four churches, with up to three hundred (300) students in each school. In 1868, these classes were combined in a new building erected with funds from the AMA and from a Mr. Williston of Northampton, Massachusetts. In years thereafter, the school was known by several names, variously Williston Academy, Wilmington Normal School, and New Hampshire Memorial Institute. It was renamed in 1883 to honor a second benefactor, James J. H. Gregory of Marblehead, Massachusetts, who paid for the enlargement of the earlier frame building, a new three-story brick teachers’s home, and a brick church.

AMA schools helped form the basis for the public school system in North Carolina. The AMA and the Wilmington School Board joined forces in 1869. However, as late as 1908, the AMA still provided most of the annual expenses of $5,000 for the Gregory Normal Institute. In that year, Gregory had 281 students and ten (10) teachers. Classes were held at the original site until 1921. The original classroom building and teachers’ home have been demolished. The church remains active as Gregory Congregational. Today, an elementary public school a few blocks away is known as the Gregory 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.

In the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the scholastic years of 1889 and 1890, it was reported that there were ten (10) private schools for white children and four (4) private schools for colored children in New Hanover County. The private schools for white children were:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Cape Fear Academy

Wilmington

Washington Catlett

67 males

Academy of the Incarnation

Wilmington

Siste Mary Baptist

110

English & Classical School

Wilmington

Rev. Daniel Morrelle

34

St. James Parochial Home School

Wilmington

Sister Cecilia

100

Tileston Normal School

Wilmington

Miss Amy M. Bradley

275

Misses Burr & James' School

Wilmington

Miss Kate Burr & Miss Hattie James

70

Miss K.B. Corbett Private School

Wilmington

Miss K.B. Corbett

25

Miss Lossie DeR. Myers' School

Wilmington

Miss Lossie DeR. Myers

12

Private School

Wilmington

Mrs. P.M. Loeb

23

Miss Hart's School

Wilmington

Miss Annie J. Hart

70
The four (4) private school for colored children were:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

St. Barnabas Chool

Wilmington

Charles T. Coerr

133

Gregory Institute

Wilmington

George A. Woodard

352

Independent School

Wilmington

Rev. L.T. Christmas

49

Academy of the Incarnation

Wilmington

Sister Mary Baptist

150
In the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the scholastic years of 1899 and 1900, it was reported that there were five (5) private schools in New Hanover County:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Cape Fear Academy

Wilmington

Washington Catlett

40 males

The Emanuel Kindergarten

Wilmington

Miss F.L. Bonizt

28

Kindergarten School

Wilmington

Miss M.L. Gibson

9

St. Paul's Academy

Wilmington

E.O. Counts

70

Academy of the Incarnation

Wilmington

Sister M. Charles

92

In May of 1947, New Hanover County approved establishment of a junior college around Bluethenthal Field. Technical courses in aeronautics, electricity, and construction were taught at the airfield site, while academic classes were held at New Hanover High School. Wilmington College officially opened on September 4, 1947; the majority of its 238 students were war veterans. In 1948, the college was accredited and began using limited space in the Isaac Bear Building, across the street from the high school.

In 1957, the state legislature passed the Community College Act, providing a plan for organization and operation of community colleges in North Carolina. The following year, New Hanover County voted to place Wilmington College under the new Act, thereby making the growing institution part of the state system of higher education. Physical expansion was the next priority, and a new campus site was selected on NC 132 (College Road). A groundbreaking ceremony was held there on April 1, 1960, with Governor Luther Hodges presiding. In July of 1963, by an Act of the North Carolina General Assembly, the institution became a senior college, offering for the first time a four-year curriculum and the bachelor’s degree. Six years later, the school was absorbed into the State’s university system. On July 1, 1969, Wilmington College became the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The old Isaac Bear Elementary School since has been demolished.

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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