Monday, August 4, 2014

Farm Life High Schools Established in North Carolina, 1914

From the Aug. 13, 1914, issue of The Western Carolina Democrat and French Broad Hustler, Hendersonville, N.C. To see pictures from the Cary and Red Oak Farm House schools, go to  The term “Farm Life” remains in the names of various elementary schools around in North Carolina. Take a look at today’s students/schools: and

Sentiment Growing for Henderson Co. Farm Life School…Farm Life School Rally to be Held at Mills River Aug. 28; Farmers to Attend; Work Outlined

Sentiment is rapidly moulding for a Farm Life school in Henderson county. The campaign for such an institution will be opened at Mills River school house at 10 o’clock on the morning of August 28.

Interesting addresses will be made along more progressive methods of educational work and the farmers and their families of Henderson county are urged to attend this meeting prepared to spend the full day and enjoy and profit by the occasion to the utmost.

Prof. W.H. Cale made an address at the opening of Mills River academy last Monday and in the course of his talk called attention to the needs of such an institution.

Nothing of a definite nature has been done toward organizing such an institution, but sentiment is developing and plans and purposes and the requirements will be fully outlined at the Mills River meeting.

The views of the Democrat are given on the editorial page while the following from the Progressive Farmer of last week sets out clearly the prominent features of Farm Life schools, the number in the state and the progress they are making:

The most remarkable feature of North Carolina’s educational progress the last 12 months has been the rapid establishment of farm life schools. In conversation with the Editor of the Progressive Farmer last week State Superintendent Joyner declared that the movement is going just as fast as he wants it to go;--that is to say, just as fast as it is possible to get the schools properly organized and manned; in fact, it is hard to keep up with the movement. Under the act of the Legislature of 1913, the State appropriates $2,500 to any one farm life high school in any county properly organized and equipped, and for which the community likewise raises $2,500 annually for maintenance. Or if there is more than one properly organized farm life school in the county, the State appropriate of $2,500 is divided between them.

Asked to give us a statement of the school situation for use in this “Educational Special,” Mr. S.S. Alderman, assistant to Dr. Joyner, said:

“The county farm life school, giving to boys instruction in practical agriculture with a real farm for laboratory work, and to the girls, training in the arts of home-making and house-keeping, is becoming one of the most influential agents in North Carolina in making rural education efficient, in refashioning rural living conditions, and in making agriculture scientific, satisfying, and profitable.

“Six farm life schools are already operating in the State; 10 more will be ready to open next fall, four or five counties have campaigns on foot, and every few days a new county begins to organize forces to establish one of these schools.

“The farm life school in North Carolina is a first-class rural high school in which the regular course of study prescribed for the State high schools is followed, with the addition of the faculty and equipment necessary for giving efficient practical instruction in farming, in preparation of the soil, planting, fertilizing, harvesting, the care and breeding of livestock, and in general farm management to the boys and, to the girls, courses in sewing, cooking, and practical domestic economy. The essentials of a cultural high school course are stressed, but with them are blended these practical courses.

“Only one school has been established under the general law, that at Vanceboro in Craven county. This county issued bonds to provide the equipment and the school has just completed a successful year under the principalship of Dr. J.E. Turlington. Three schools were established immediately in Guilford county under the special act of 1911, at Jamestown, Pleasant Garden and Monticello. These have been in operation for their third year and at least two of them have had striking success.

“Two schools were established under the extended 1913 act in the fall of last year: Lowe’s Grove in Durham county and Harmony in Iredell. These have been in successful operation for a year. Other schools have already been provided for under this act and will be opened next fall, as follows: Philadelphus in Robeson County, China Grove in Rowan; Cary and Wakelon in Wake; Aulander in Bertie; Pineville in Mecklenburg; Lillington in Harnett; Rock Ridge in Wilson; Startown in Catawba; Red Oak in Nash; and Edenton in Chowan.

“So there is every prospect of having 16 or 17 farm life schools in the state next year. In several of these counties which did not have a six months school term, and which could not therefore take the maintenance fund from the public school fund as Guilford and Durham had done, the county commissioners were induced to appropriate the $2,500 out of the county treasury.”

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