North Carolina Education - Surry County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1771

Surry County

Richmond,
Rockford,
Dobson

Salem Academy and College (today administratively one unit) began as the “Little Girls’ School,” founded by the Moravians in late April of 1772. Moravians, who had founded the twon of Salem six (6) years earlier, were early advocates for equal education for females and had long nourished the idea of bringing children together, in a school setting, to help reinforce a strong religious foundation. The first teacher in the “Little Girls’ School” was Elisabeth Oesterlein. In the fall of 1802, the institution became a boarding school for girls. Young women from across North Carolina and surrounding states flocked to Salem to attend the school. The institution served a diverse array of young students, including girls of African American descent (as early as 1785) and the daughter of a Cherokee Indian chief (in the 1820s).

Salem College, with a founding date of 1772, claims to be the oldest women’s college in the nation (and the thirteenth oldest college overall) and is ranked as such by the American Council on Education. The issue as to which women’s college is the oldest is somewhat complicated. Stephens College in Missouri lays claim to being the second oldest, being founded in 1833. Yet, both schools evolved from institutions created to educate girls. Mount Holyoke College in Massachusetts was founded as a college in 1837 and also lays claim to being the nation’s oldest.

During the 1860s, college-level courses were added to the curriculum. After the American Civil War, the school was incorporated by an act of the North Carolina General Assembly in 1866, and became known as the Salem Female Academy. The first college degrees earned were granted in 1890. The next milestone in Salem’s development occurred in 1933, when new and separate facilities for prep school students were erected along the eastern perimeter of the campus and the institution became known as Salem Academy and College.

When established in 1772, Salem Academy was in Surry County. In 1789, it was in Stokes County. In 1849, it was in Forsyth County and has been ever since.

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

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, 1818, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish Jonesville Academy in the village of Jonesville in Surry County, along with another academy in Asheville. Six (6) trustees were named in the Act.
On January 13, 1834, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish and incorporate Franklin Academy in Surry County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act, and the academy was chartered for twenty (20) years.
In 1860, the Collegiate Institute was established in the town of Mt. Airy in Surry County. J.S. Hill and Rev. M.L. Wood were named as principals in 1870, with 61 students enrolled.
On February 18, 1867, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Rockford Male and Female Seminary in the town of Rockford in Surry County. Seven (7) trustees were named in the Act.
In 1869, the Mt. Airy Female Seminary was established in the town of Mt. Airy in Surry County. In 1870, Miss M.F. Rankin was principal, with two teachers and 45 students enrolled.
On March 11, 1885, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to provide for better schools in certain school districts in Stokes County and Surry County. Each county may join two (2) school districts for better use of public school funds, even across county lines.
On February 6, 1893, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Siloam Male and Female Academy in the village of Siloam in Surry County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On February __, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the charter of the town of Mount Airy in Surry County and to authorize the qualified voters of Mount Airy to decide whether to levy a special tax and to issue bonds to fund a system of graded schools in the town of Mount Airy.
On February 27, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the town of Mount Airy in Surry County to decide whether to levy a special tax to fund public schools in the town of Mount Airy.
On February 28, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the town of Dobson in Surry County to decide whether to levy a special tax to pay for a graded school in the town of Dobson. A new school district was created and boundaries were defined.
On March 6, 1899, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the qualified voters in the town of Pilot Mountain in Surry County to decide whether to levy a special tax to pay for public schools in the town of Pilot Mountain. Five (5) members of the school committee were named in the Act.
In the Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction for the scholastic years of 1899 and 1900, it was reported that there was one (1) private schools in Surry County - but, two named for Stokes County were actually in Surry County:

Private School

Town/Village

Principal

No. of Students

Siloam High School

Siloam

Mr. Allen & Mr. Cendiff

--

Westfield Academy

Westfield*

A.G. Royal

40

Pilot Mountain Academy

Pilot Mountain*

Mr. Flynt

65
*Westfield and Pilot Mountain were officially in Surry County as of 1889. The above-mentioned report listed them in Stokes County.
 
 
 


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