South Carolina Education - Aiken County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1871

Aiken County

Aiken
 

On December 20, 1832, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which included the incorporation of the Hamburgh Library Society, and authorized assets up to $10,000.

[When this society was established, the town of Hamburgh was in the Edgefield District. In 1871, the town of Hamburgh was then in Aiken County.]

Downer Institute, founded in 1843, was originally located 1.5 mi. NE of this site and operated until 1865. It was named for benefactor Alexander Downer (1752–1820), whose will established an orphanage and school at Beech Island. By 1898 the General Assembly, at the request of Aiken County citizens, reestablished Downer School for the community at large; the school reopened in 1899.

Downer Elementary School, successor to the Downer Institute, stood here 1924–1950 and 1952–1986. A one-story school built here in 1924 replaced a two-story school constructed ¼ mi. SW in 1899, which burned in 1923–24. It burned in 1950 and was replaced by a second one-story school built in 1952, which served the Beech Island community until Downer Elementary School closed in 1986.

[Note - when first opened, the Downer Institute was located in the Edgefield District. In 1871, it was in Aiken County.]

On December 21, 1861, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Aiken Public School in the town of Aiken within the Barnwell District, named ten (10) trustees, and authorized assets up to $20,000 (Section II).

[When this school district was created, the town of Aiken was in the Barnwell District. In 1871, the town of Aiken was named the county seat of Aiken County.]

This school was founded by the Freedmen's Bureau shortly after the Civil War to educate freedmen, women, and children. In 1868 Martha Schofield, a Quaker from Pennsylvania, came to Aiken and began her long career as superintendent. The school soon expanded to this two-block site and combined academics with instruction in industrial, farming, and homemaking skills. The 1897 Schofield School bulletin declared, "Character building is our most important work."

Schofield School educated more than 6000 students by 1898. Many graduates became teachers and department heads here; others became successful business owners, professionals, farmers, and community leaders. In 1940 alumnus Sanford P. Bradby became its first African-American superintendent. As first a private and later a public school, Schofield has taught children of all races and creeds since 1866. The bell tower nearby once stood atop Carter Hall, built in 1882.

[Note - when first opened, the Schofield School was located in Barnwell County. In 1871, it was in Aiken County.]

On December 19, 1878, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act, which repealed part of a previous Act of March 18, 1878 preventing the sale of spirituous liquors within one mile of any school house. This new Act repealed said prohibition in Aiken County only.
On December 26, 1884, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in Aiken County by dividing the existing School. District No. 8.
On December 19, 1887, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize voters to decide upon a special school tax in School District No. 19 in Aiken County, commonly called the Montmorenci School District, not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property.
On December 24, 1887, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorized the thirteen (13) trustees of the Schofield Normal and Industrial School of Aiken, in Aiken County, to hold their annual meetings in any state they wish, and not required to be held in South Carolina.
Also on December 24, 1887, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to transfer management of the Downer Fund from the fund's Treasurer, E.S. Hammond, to the State Treasurer. The assets and money belonging to and coming to the Downer Fund shall be invested in bonds of the State of South Carolina and Georgia, either or both of them, or in bonds of the city of Augusta, or changed from the one to the other, as the said State Treasurer, after consulting with the Attorney General of the State, in reference to said investment or change of investment, may deem best.

The Aiken Institute, which gave this area the name of “Institute Hill,” was chartered in 1888. The main building, designed by I.F. Goodrich in 1891, includes a wing added in 1913. All grades attended the Institute until 1937, when a new high school was built and this became Aiken Elementary School. It was the second oldest school in use in the state when it closed in 1986. The 1913 wing became the Aiken County Public Library in 1990.

On December 24, 1890, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the City Council of the City of Aiken, in Aiken County, to issue bonds up to $8,000 for the purpose of erecting a suitable school building and a teacher's residence, or residences, if deemed necessary, upon the lot in the City of Aiken known as "the Academy lot," which is held by a school corporation known as the Aiken Institute, and dedicated to be used for school purposes alone; said building or buildings, when erected, to be for a school for white children alone.
On July 20, 1891, the Aiken County Clerk of Court issued a Charter for the incorporation of the Aiken Opera House Association in the town of Aiken, in Aiken County, named five (5) incorporators, and identified $15,000 of capital stock. The association was created to maintain an opera and public library building in the town of Aiken.
On December 16, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize the City of Aiken, in Aiken County, to issue additional bonds up to $6,000 for the purpose of aiding the Aiken Institute, an educational corporation of said city, in paying off the debt for the erection of their school building.
On December 22, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act for the Governor to appoint a citizen of the county of Aiken a special Commissioner to take charge of the Downer School Fund, now in the hands of the State Treasurer; and it shall be the duty of the State Treasurer to turn over to said Commissioner the whole of said fund as soon as he shall have been appointed and qualified.
Also on December 22, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to establish a new special school district lying in both Aiken County and Barnwell County, to be known as the Edisto River School District, named five (5) trustees, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property. On February 17, 1900, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/22/.1891, by requiring the election of five (5) trustees to hold office for two years, then new elections.
Also on December 22, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed another Act to establish a new special school district in portions of Aiken County and Orangeburg County, to be known as the Salley Graded School District, named seven (7) trustees, and authorized voters to decide upon an additional special school tax not to exceed two (2) mills on real and personal property. On December 22, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the 12/22/1891 Act, by redefining the boundaries of the Salley Graded School district to be in Aiken County only. On December 20, 1893, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Acts of 12/22/1891 and 12/22/1892, by redefining the boundaries of the Salley Graded School District again, and re-iterating that this school district was only in Aiken County, and no longer in Orangeburg County. On February 11, 1898, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Act of 12/22/1892, by once again deleting all reference to Orangeburg County.
Also on December 22, 1891, the South Carolina General Assembly passed a Joint Resolution to authorize the Aiken County School Commissioner to credit School District No. 6 with the average attendance of the Graniteville Academy for fiscal years 1887 and 1888.
On December 24, 1892, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Aiken Library Company in the town of Aiken, in Aiken County, named three (3) trustees, and issued a charter good for thirty (30) years.
On January 4, 1894, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to establish a new special school district in Aiken County, to be known as the Neeseton School District in the town of Neeston, with all the rights, powers, privileges and liabilities as are provided for school districts by the General School Law of South Carolina approved December 24th, A. D. 1888.

Jacksonville School, built by the Jacksonville Lodge in 1895, taught the black children of this community until 1936. Grades 1-7, with two teachers, met in two classrooms on the first floor, without electricity or running water. The Jacksonville Community Commission acquired and renovated the building in 1991-92.

This building was constructed in 1895 by the Jacksonville Lodge, Grand United Order of Odd Fellows, a black fraternal organization. The lodge was led by Rev. Robert L. Mabry (1867-1943), also pastor of nearby Storm Branch Baptist Churches 1898-1943. The Odd Fellows met here on the second floor for many years.

On February 11, 1898, the South Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to provide for the transfer and investment of the Downer Fund. Nine (9) new trustees were named to receive and take charge of all funds transferred from the State Treasurer.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

This Classical Revival school, built by the Graniteville Mill in 1921-1922, was designed by noted Augusta Architect Willis Irvin (1890-1950) and was called "the finest school in the state" when it was dedicated. An elementary and high school serving Graniteville, Vaucluse, and Warrenville, it was named for Leavelle McCampbell (1879-1946), who was later president of the mill for a brief period in 1924.

In 1954 the elementary students were transferred to the new Byrd Elementary School, and this became a high school, unofficially called Graniteville High School. The Granitevile Mill sold this school and grounds to Aiken County for $124,000 in 1960. It remained a high school until a new Midland Valley High School was build in 1980, and has been Leavelle McCampbell Middle School since.

This park is the site of Aiken Graded School, a two-story brick school built 1924-1925. It was built for black pupils in grades 1-7 and was one of the almost 500 S.C. schools funded in part by the Julius Rosenwald Foundation 1917-1932. Black Aiken physician Dr. C.C. Johnson raised $3,500 in the black community toward the total cost of $33,500. Black brick mason Elliott Ball supervised the school's construction.

The school, described as "one of the best in the state" when it was being built, had ten classrooms, a library, and an auditorium seating 600. It opened in the fall of 1925, with principal W.D. Drake, nine teachers, and almost 300 students. The school, the only black elementary school in Aiken until new schools began to be built in 1954, closed in 1969. It was demolished in 1975.

This Episcopal Church (cornerstone laid Sept. 5, 1842) was consecrated Aug. 9, 1843. It is the city’s oldest church structure, having retained its Greek revival style through subsequent remodeling. Church purchased bell in 1853, Cornish Memorial Chapel completed in 1888, and Mead Hall School opened 1955. William Gregg (1800–1867), an important figure in the textile industry in SC, was one of the church founders.

Buried in the churchyard are John H. Cornish, rector of this church 1846–1869; George W. Croft (1846–1904), SC Senator and US Congressman; William P. Finley, Ordinance of Secession signer; James M. Legaré (1823–1859), poet, artist, inventor who held several US patents; Henry W. Ravenel (1814–1887), SC botanist whose name is perpetuated in many plants; and John F. Schmidt, a church warden in 1843.

Jefferson High School opened in 1956 as a junior high and high school for African-American students of Beech Island, Belvedere, Graniteville, Jackson, Langley-Bath-Clearwater, and North Augusta, with Herman W.W. Fennell (1910-1996) as principal. After county schools desegregated in 1970 it became Jefferson Junior High School, and in 1980 it became Jefferson Elementary School.

This was one of three African-American schools in Aiken County named for Rev. Austin Jefferson, Sr. (1881-1966), longtime advocate for education. In 1944 the Langley-Bath Colored School was renamed Jefferson Grammar School in his honor. The original portion of this school was built in 1953 as the Jefferson Elementary School, with Augustus T. Stephens (1903-1992) as principal.

 
 


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