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necessity and the condition of all subsequent progress of the South in its connection with the new national life. The steady growth of the idea of universal education in all the Southern States may be traced from the memorable plan of Thomas Jefferson at the foundation of the State of Virginia and the National Government to the breaking out of the war between the States in 1861. Through a varied experience of alternating success and failure the common school public in all these Commonwealths grew in strength until in 1860 four of these and several of their larger cities had adopted a well-defined system of public instruction for their white children and youth. In almost every Southern State at least one attempt had been made in this direction. The collapse of the Confederate government, and along with it the reorganization of the material, industrial, and social order of affairs in this section, was a great opportunity offered to the southern common school public. So determined was the purpose of this important body of people that at the close of the civil war the South was prepared to assume the heavy burden of schooling its 2,000,000 of colored children and youth along with the 3,000,000 of the dominant race.
The political power in all these States, with their assumption of full civic autonomy in 1876, was still in the hands of the old superior class, and this precious boon of free education which alone could make the new condition of the freedmen a success was practically their gift.
The first attempt of a Southern State, by its own voluntary movement, to put on the ground an effective system of common schools for all classes of its people was made by the new State of West Virginia in 1863. Immediately on the passage of the ordinance of secession by the State of Virginia in 1861 a convention of the 47 counties in the western portion of the State was summoned, by which, on August 20, 1861, an ordinance of separation from the mother Commonwealth was passed. On November 26 of the same year, 1861, a constitutional convention was called which proclaimed the fundamental law of the new State. The convention which adopted the ordinance for reorganizing the State government gave to the new Commonwealth the name of its favorite river, Kanawha. The movement at first embraced 47, but the organized State was composed of 555 counties. At the convention which framed the constitution the name West Virginia was adopted, and this document was ratified by a great popular majority in 1862. After long debate in Congress the State was admitted to the Union, with the proviso that children of slaves born after July 4, 1863, should be free; all minor slaves should be free after a certain age, and no slaves should be allowed to enter the State for permanent residence. The earliest successes in the war for the Union under Generals McClellan and Rosecrans virtually expelled the Confederate forces from all save the extreme northeastern corner of the State. West Virginia sent 36,000 soldiers to the Union and 7.000 to the Confederate armies.
The first constitution of West Virginia, adopted in June, 1863, and which remained in force until 1872, contained the following provisions for education:
ARTICLE VIII.- Taxation and finance. SECTION 1. Property used for educational, library, scientific, religions, or charitable purposes, and public property, may by law be exempted from taxation.
SECTION 1. All money accruing in this State being the proceeds of forfeited, delinquent, waste, and unappropriated lands, and of lands heretofore sold for taxes and purchased by the State of Virginia, if hereafter redeemed, or sold to others than this State; all grants, devises, or bequests that may be made to this State for the purpose of education, or where the purposes of such grants, devises, or bequests are not specified; this State's just share of the literature fund of Virginia, whether paid over or otherwise liquidated, and any sums of money, stocks, or property which this State shall have the right to claim from the State of Virginia for educational purposes; the proceeds of the estates of all persons who may die without leaving a will or heir, and of all escheated lands; the proceeds of any taxes that may be levied on the revenues of any corporation hereafter created; all moneys that may be paid as an equivalent for exemption from military duty, and such sums as may from time to time be appropriated by the legislature for the purpose, shall be set apart as a separate fund, to be called the school fund, and invested under such regulations as may be prescribed by law in the interest-bearing securities of the United States or of this State, and the interest thereof shall be annually applied to the support of free schools thronghout the State and to no other purpose whatever; but any portion of said interest remaining unexpended at the close of a fiscal year shall be added to and remain a part of the capital of the school fund.
SEC. 2. The legislature shall provide, as soon as practicable, for the establishment of a thorough and efficient system of free schools. They shall provide for the support of such schools by appropriating thereto the interest of the invested school fund; the net proceeds of all forfeitures, confiscations, and fines aceruing to this State under the laws thereof, and by general taxation on persons and property, or otherwise. They shall also provide for raising in each township, by the authority of the people thereof, such a proportion of the amount required for the support of free schools therein as shall be prescribed by general laws.
SEC. 3. Provision may be made by law for the election and prescribing the powers, duties, and compensation of a general superintendent of free schools for the State, whose term of office shall be the same as that of the governor, and for a county superintendent for each county, and for the election in the several townships, by the voters thereof, of such officers not specified in this constitution as may be necessary to carry out the objects of this article, and for the organization, whenever it may be deemed expedient, of a State board of instruction.
SEC. 4. The legislature shall foster and encourage moral, intellectual, scientific, and agricultural improvement; they shall, whenever it may be practicable, make suitable provision for the blind, mute, and insane, and for the organization of such institutions of learning as the best interests of general education in the State may demand.
Previous to 1860 the portion of the State of Virginia included in the new Commonwealth had been conspicuous for its attempts to improve the facilities for the public education of the white race. In 1810 its 47 counties were included in the annual distribution of the literary fund of $15,000. In 1818 commissioners were appointed from each county to receive and use their respective portions of this fund. In 1818 the representatives in the State legislature from Wheeling, then a city of 10,000, secured the passage of a law by which any city might establish a system of public schools by supplementing its portion of the literary fund through local taxation. In October, 1818, Wheeling opened its first public school. Under this and similar laws enacted previous to 1861 several of the largest cities in this section, including Charleston and Parkersburg, and 5 of the 47 counties adopted the partial educational system then in vogue. The agitation awakened by this movement had prepared the people of West Virginia, under the leadership of a body of enlightened public men, for the insertion of the important provision recorded in the new constitution of 1863. This action was followed in December, 1863, by the enactment of a public school law, amended during the subsequent nine years and reenacted on the formation of a new State constitution in 1872.
The original free school law of West Virginia, passed December 10, 1863, for that period was in advance of the school statutes of several of the Northern States. Every organized township in the State constituted a school district under the care and management of a board of education composed of three school commissioners, elected for three years. These, with the clerk of the township, were a body corporate, known as the board of education, having in charge all school property, with full authority to manage the details of the educational affairs of the township. This board was authorized to divide the township into convenient subdistricts, each with a school population of not less than 50, where a school for not less than six months in the year should be established, its course of study arranged by the school board. The schools should be open to all children, white and colored, the races separate, and all persons over 21 honorably discharged from the National Army or Navy were entitled to five years' schooling. This board had the appointment of teachers, subject to the approval of the board of education of the district, and the fixing of their salaries, with power to dismiss pupils or teachers for cause; to see that the schoolhouses were kept in repair and proper condition, and to exercise immediate control over the interests of the school. The expenses were paid by drafts on the township treasurer.
The district or township board was authorized to establish a central or union high school by vote of not less than three-fifths of the voters, the expense to be met by assessment on the township. Stringent provisions were made for the moral and civic training of the pupils. Fifteen colored children were entitled to a separate school, and a smaller number could be educated at the pleasure of the district board. The county superintendent was elected by the people for two years. His duties were to distribute the State school fund to the several districts, distribute school blanks to boards of education, encourage and attend county institutes, act as president of the county board of examiners, keep a register of teachers' certificates, and report to the State superintendent. Each township should report to the county official and he to the State superintendent. This official at first was elected by joint vote of the legislature, to hold office for two years. Among his other duties, he should be the final court of appeal in all eciucational cases arising in the counties. His salary was $1,500 a year. The examination and certification of teachers was guarded by careful regulations. The interest of the State school fund, made up as provided in the constitution, with a capitation tax of $1 on each adult person and a general tax of 10 cents on the $100, was to be distributed per capita according to the school population, after the salaries of the State and county superintendents were paid. Each township was authorized to tax itself, not to exceed 25 cents upon the $100, to supplement its portion of the State fund for the support of a six months school. Besides this the townships were empowered to levy a tax of 20 cents on the $100 for the building and furnishing of schoolhouses. The governor, auditor, treasurer, and secretary of state, and the general superintendent were a corporation under the name of the board of the school fund, for its investment and management, the investment being in State and United States securities.
The State superintendent might prescribe a series of class books for use throughout the State. The township, by a two-thirds vote, might raise additional funds, not exceeding 10 cents on $100, for the improvement of the schools and the building of schoolhouses. In 188.) an act was passed providing free schools for the city of Wheeling, the school board clothed with the usual powers of similar bodies of the North, and instruction to be provided in the German language, drawing and vocal music, with provisions for the exhibition of works of art and the embellishment of school grounds. The schools were to be in session not less than nine months in the year. The system was to be supported by an assessment not exceeding 40 cents on the $100.
Under the provisions of the general act the legislature elected Mr. W.R. White as State superintendent for the free schools of West Virginia. Mr. White occupied this position with ability, as far as represented by his reports, until 1869.
The population of West Virginia in 1860 did not exceed 270,000, thinly scattered over an area of 24,765 square miles. Notwithstanding the efforts of the previous ten years, the educational destitution of the more retired rural portions was very great. There was but one college, Bethany, under the direction of the religious sect of Disciples. In 1805 Rev. W. R. White, who served as State superintendent of instruction from 1864 until 1869, reported 133 public schoolhouses, with some 100 schools and 387 teachers, the number of pupils in daily attendance being 7.761, the length of the school term three months, and the total cost of the system $7,722. By 1872 " there were seventeen times as many schoolhouses as in 1867 and about six times as many schools." From 1869 to 1872 Henry A. G. Ziegler, A. D. Williams, and Charles S. Lewis occupied the post of State superintendent, each for one year. By the declaration of Governor William E. Stevenson and the State superintendent good progress had been made and provision made by law for the establishment of normal schools. In 1865 the invested school fund of the State was $106,1:22; $67,348 was distributed to the counties, 94 cents to each pupil enrolled, and $3 to each in actual attendance. Of 63,458 persons between the ages of 6 and 21 years 15,972 were enrolled, with an average attendance of 7,761, in 1865. Besides these there were 21,000 children in counties where the system was not in full operation, making a total school population of 84,418 and an expenditure of $67,350. Up to this date no attempt had been made to educate the colored population. In 1869 the Peabody education fund provided $9.800 for public schools in the State. In 1872 Superintendent Lewis declared that the new State of West Virginia “ had adopted and was developing the educational ideal of Virginia's great philosophical statesman, Thomas Jefferson." By that time the common school, normal school, and the State university had been placed on the ground. In 1870 the new State gave to the mother, Virginia, Dr. William H. Ruffner, the son of President Henry Ruffner, of Washington College, and one of the early educational reformers of that State, as first superintendent of public instruction for the new system of cominon schools in the Old Dominion.'
In 1867 provisions were made for the establishment of three State normal schools, at Guyandotte, West Liberty, and Fairmont, and in 1868 the two latter were opened. In the same year an act was passed for the establishment of an agricultural and mechanical college founded on the Congressional land grant of 1862, the beginning of what later became the University of West Virginia. The historian of the common schools of the State, Superintendent Morgan, writes: “With the establishment of normal schools and an agricultural college begins the history of the growth and development of the public school system of West Virginia." The agricultural and mechanical college had been organized on the basis of 150.000 acres of land donated by the United States Government, and its income of $100,000 was chietiy derived from this source. The town of Morgantown contributed $50,000 for buildings. The board of 11 directors appointed by the governor for two years had full control of its administration. In 1872 the attendance had reached 170. In 1870 there were 2.113 schoolhonses in West Virginia. The school fund of the State had reached the sun of $1,570,000, and the total expenditure for public schools $725,000. Eighty-seven thousand of the 163,000 school population were in attendance in public schools, with a daily average of 55,000. During the last years of the constitution of 1861-1872 provision was made for the establishment of three additional normal schools.
The history of public school education in West Virginia during the first ten years from the founding of the State until by a change in its political attitude a new constitution was formed in 1872 is expressly significant. This was the earliest of the movements by which the 16 States known as Southern adopted the American system of common schools in its entirety by the provision adinitting children of every race and class to its enjoyment. The difficulties attending the administration of the system during these ten years, as set forth in the reports of the four gentlemen who filled the chair of State superintendent of public instruction, were so varied and discouraging that the success is one of the notable events of the history of education in our country, justifying the words of the fifth State superintendent, Mr. William K. Pendleton, in 1872:
Reviewing our progress in the noble efforts of the State to provide for the free education of the whole people, we have reason for profound gratitude at our comparative success. With a million and a quarter of capital invested in school property, 3,000 schools in actual operation, and three-quarters of a million annually contributed to run them, 90,000 children under intellectual and moral training, a number of graded and high schools, 4 normal schools in vigorous operation, for which we are annually expending, out of the State treasury, over $8,000, a university on which we bestow over $10,000, and other private and corporate institutions, among them 1 college largely endowed and, through its 400 graduates, already enjoying a national reputation, West Virginia may well be proud of her position in this highest expression of a people's patriotism and enterprise. Within less than a single decade there was, outside of the city of Wheeling, scarcely a free school in the State. Now they rise up to greet us beside every highway and betoken a future of rapid and vigorous improvement. This is a revolution that can not go backward. It creates its own momentum. It moves by a power within, which increases as it moves and which strikes out the light and heat of its own vitality.
The provision for education in the constitution of 1872, although much more elaborate than in its predecessor, added little save a variety of directions for the more accurate and responsible transaction of business by the numerous officials of the public-school system. The State had already outgrown the controversy on the necessity of a public school system covering every department of education from the rural districts to the State university and has never since been visited by any sensible reaction of public opinion on this, the fundamental interest of a free American Commonwealth.
The school law which followed the adoption of the new constitution of 1872 and which continued virtually, though with frequent amendments, the statute through the century, provided that the school revenues were to be collected and disbursed by the regular county and State officers. The officials intrusted with the administration of the school system were (1) subdistrict trustees, (2) district boards of education, (3) a county superintendent of free schools, (4) a State superintendent of public schcols. The educational affairs of each district were placed in the hands of a board of education composed of a president and two commissioners elected by the people, constituting a corporation for all practical purposes. Each subdistrict had a trustee appointed by the district board of education, to whom was intrusted the appointment of teachers by the approval of the district board and the general charge of the schools. The county superintendent, elected by the people, served two years. He distributed the State funds, directed county institutes, acted as president of the board of examiners of teachers, and reported to the State superintendent. The State superintendent, elected for four years by the people, exercised a general supervision, apportioned the State funds, collected school statisties, and organized teachers' institutes. The schools were supported (1) by the income of a general school fund, from a variety of sources; (2) a State capitation tax and a general State system of taxation of persons and property; (3) a local tax in every county or district, voted by the people to the extent of the statute provision. The State tax up to 1872 had been 10 cents on every $100 of valuation of all property. The local tax was limited to the extent of supporting a school at least four inonths in the year. A graded school might be established by the board of education in towns, villages, and densely populated rural districts, but a high school could only be provided by a vote of three-fifths the people of the locality. As late as 1892 there were only 17 bigh and 145 graded schools in the State, the high school being generally a department of a graded school and not infrequently of indifferent quality. A notable defect of the system of education in West Virginia for many years was the lack of high schools. For twenty years after the enactment of the new school law of 1872 there was "comparatively little growth