Boxwood Colored School
The Boxwood Colored School was built on a one-half acre of land deeded to John A. Carter, Garner Peters, and Benjamin Berry in 1868, two years prior to the Public School system. They were trustees for a schoolhouse and lot for the exclusive use and benefit of young colored persons and children. The price was $40 for the lot. The deed noted that "Schoolhouse may be used on Sabbath days for the exclusive benefit of colored persons and for holding religious worship on Sabbath days for the colored population of the neighborhood."
Two years before the advent of public schools there were three Middleburg-area schools for Blacks.
. Antioch Church, sponsored by the Freedmen's Bureau.
. Elias "Yankee" Smith school at Boxwood, south of Middleburg
. The Willisville school.
The Edwin Washington Society wishes to acknowledge the research represented on this page, which was done by Eugene Scheel. See Loudoun Discovered V. 3, pg 91.
The following research was also provided to us by Pat Ball Duncan. Fauquier Court Records 1750-1900, Volume 4 by Seymour and Jewell. “Boxwood” Research made by Frances B. Foster, The Plains, Virginia, May 14, 1937.
First name (as far as we can find) was “Box Hill,” In the deed given in the year 1826, the place is described as “Beginning at a Box Oak,” hence the name “Box Hill.” Located eight tenths of a mile west of Middleburg, Virginia, on north side of Route #15. It is thought that the house was built about 1826 by William Swart.
- Land purchased by Philip Hale – 1779.
- William Swart – 1826
- Elias Smith – 1868
- Annie Ward Sage (from Sylvester Smith) – 1914
- Elizabeth T. Mitchell – 1925
“Boxwood” is well named, now, for there is a great deal of box in the terraced gardens, which make a lovely setting for the old stone house. The exterior is rather cut up for beauty, with a long sloping roof extending down over the porch, and two upper porches on either side. However it looks comfortable and spacious. Within, the first floor has three immense rooms with several small ones, such as cloak rooms, pantries, etc. The kitchen is large also. The woodwork has been changed somewhat, all new floors, and some of the mantels are not the original. The upper part of the stairway has also been changed. However, the whole effect is attractive, and the spaciousness very desirable. A gun room and den are in the basement, and many trophies adorn these walls. The latticed back porch is most inviting, and the grounds on all sides lovely. Elias Smith was a very well-known character in his day, having come from the north, was always called “Yankee Smith.” To live up to his name, he proceeded to open a school for colored children at “Box Hill,” and this made a great impression on native Virginians. He bought the place in 1868. In 1925, the place was purchased by General and Mrs. William Mitchell, and long will the General be remembered in this part of the country. Nationally known as former commander Air Forces, A. E. F., and Director of Military Aeronautics, U.S. Army, he is better remembers in Fauquier and Loudoun as a good neighbor, friend and citizen.
- Informants: Mrs. T. U. Dudley, Middleburg, Virginia
- Court Records, Clerk’s Office Fauquier County...
- DB 7, page 107
- DB 29, page 321
- DB 64, page 127
- DB 110, page 324
- DB 127, page 210
At this point, we do not know the exact location of the schoolhouse, nor what it looked like.
There are no known photos or drawings, nor any videos.
There are no known petitions.
We do not know how students reached the school, though given that it was a school for Blacks and given the era, we surmise that they walked. Some might have gone by horseback
This would have been an elementary school but before 1870 would have had a system similar to Quakers.
At this time, The Edwin Washington Society does not have a comprehensive list of instructors. However, given that the school was also known as the Elias Yankee Smith school. This was Elias Alfred Smith, a farmer born 6 March, 1816 in New York, died 18 March 1905 and and buried in Sharon Cemetery in Middleburg. Smith was a white person, so that would argue against him being a teacher, more likely a Trustee, certainly in the public school era, but this school operated during Reconstruction, so could certainly have been an instructor. This needs to be researched. Elias Smith was a very well-known character in his day, having come from the north, was always called “Yankee Smith.” To live up to his name, he proceeded to open a school for colored children at “Box Hill,” and this made a great impression on native Virginians. He bought the place in 1868. See information in the summary history.