Hamilton Colored

Hamilton (colored)  Mt. Gilead District (later, Jefferson District)

Data as of 4/28/2018, 7/17/2019

Schools for Blacks were given number designations, in addition to their names.  The same system was used for White schools except that they were given letter designations.  In 1938/39, the number designation for Hamilton Colored was #32. Source 1.7 1939 Socio Econ Study.

Colored, Brownsville and the Odd Fellows

Location of School Building:   39306 E. Colonial Highway (Brownsville village (also known as Swamppoodle) in present day Hamilton and 1 mile east of the segregated Hamilton village.


Map is from 1923 Map of Loudoun by Oscar Emerick.  An original is in the Balch Library, Leesburg.  At the time, white and “colored” communities were separate.  Brownsville is now a part of Hamilton

Location of Odd Fellow Lodge, rented for education.   253 Maryland Ave., Hamilton

General History

In summary,

The first school was built on land purchased by the Mt. Gilead School District  March 1, 1887 in Brownsville, a Black community about a mile to the east of historic Hamilton )(see Emerick map of 1923).   See also Deed Book 6Z, folio 154.).   Cost of construction was $3,000 for a one room frame building. (Source: Report of the Survey Committee on Long-Range Planning for Loudoun County, Part I and II, January, 1940, page 25.

By 1922 (and perhaps as early as 1916), and probably due to overcrowding,  pupils  attended both the Brownsville school house and the Odd Fellows Lodge in Hamilton.   The Brownsville structure was then sold at auction on August 17, 1929 to  E.L. Mc Farland. (see Deed Book 6Z, Folio 154 and Deed Book 10G, Folio 224).   McFarland sold it to L.G. Brooks in 1930 for a small profit. (see Deed Book 10G, Folio 226).  Brooks then sold the property on September 10 of that year, with the school house on it,  back to the school system for $10, as a trust to pay off his debt to McFarland.  (see Deed Book 10G, Folio 227).  The old building continued to serve Blacks until the 1946/47 academic year, when the students were hauled to the new Carver in Purcellville, as part of the consolidation process.   In 2018, it is a private home. (Note: we have not yet researched when the structure went into private ownership.)

As for the Odd Fellows lodge, according to interviews,  the school system used the first floor for studies.  Deed records indicate this was done through an arrangement with the Trustees of the Masonic Lodge in 1922, paying $700 for that right, and also purchased some land between the lodge and the Mount Zion Church as well. (Deed Book 10D, Folio 297).  (Question:  Was this a lease or a sale?)

  • Construction and sale of Structure One:  1887 – 1929:  The property, which sat on one acre of land, was conveyed to the School District by William H. Brown and Maria P. Brown, March 1, 1887 and then sold at auction Saturday, August 17, 1929.   Note, the Term Reports for 1920/21 and 1921/22 said that the one room, wooden school house was on a half acre of land and enclosed with a fence.
  • The structure in the Brownsville/Swampoodle portion of Hamilton is a private home which was constructed as a one room frame structure that cost $3,000.  Source: Report of Survey Committee on Long Range Planning for Loudoun County, Jan, 1940.
Hamilton in 1880sIn the first row, left to right, Howard Tatman, Marion Brown, Edward Johnson, Haywood Gaskins, Earl Rector, Fred Cook and Elwood Jones.  Second row, left to right, Lucy Coates, Daisy Mitchell, Amy Lee, Mary lee, unknown, Susie Penn, Eva Boyd, Frances Johnson, Hazel Tyler, Harry Tyler, May Tyler, Rosie Gaskins.  Third row, left to right.  Lester Gaskins, unknown, Bud Penn, Frank Cook, Jonathan Lee, unknown, George Johnson, Buelah Allen, Hattie Cox.  Fourth row:  Madeline Ractor, Edna Coates, Sara Clark, unknown, Stella Gaskins, three unknown students, Alma Caesar, Hester Wright, Grace Johnson, Fanny Mallory, Norletta Parker, Mollie Robinson.  At left is Rev. Tyler.

Hamilton Colored School in 2018

  • 1916   According to Elaine Thompson,  “as early as 1916, my grandfather, Howard Clark, petitioned the LC school board to move the school from Brownsville to Hamilton where most of the children lived. They agreed,  since the Golden Hill Lodge of the Odd Fellows offered the 1st floor of their Hall to be used for the school. ”  Source: Email exchange with Elaine Thompson, 04/02/2014.  (see information from 1922).
  • 1922  Competing petitions wanted children to continue their education at the Hamilton school house in Brownsville in one case (Dec 22, 1922) or at the Odd Fellows lodge in  Hamilton, (Dec 5, 1922).  Source:  Edwin Washington Archives Box   2.5A Colored Petitions\Yr 1922 Petition 4 Question of School Venue for Brownsville.   Petition to use the lodge was signed by Howard Clark, who had four children.  This might be the action referred to by Elaine Thomas above.  According to white friends of Wynne Saffer and local residents in April, 2018, the Odd Fellows lodge was well known in the 1960’s as a place to play basketball on the second floor; but by the late 1960’s had become rickety and at some point that decade was demolished.   The lodge was behind the Mount Zion church and located at 253 Maryland Ave., Hamilton, now a private home. We don’t know yet when the use of the lodge officially ended but in 1939/40-1941/42, the rent was $50 a month.  Source: EWP 8.1 Loudoun County School Budget for Fiscal Year starting July 1, 1941, Pg 12 and budget for 1940, pg 12.
  • 1917/18 to 1927/28:  Student Enrollment Cards began to appear in LCPS records in 1917, when Oscar Emerick took control as Superintendent.   Interestingly, there is nothing shown for the 1917/18 academic year; but Brownsville school was shown as active from  1918/19 to 1921/22.  According to the cards, education in 1922/23 through 1929/30, was at Hamilton, perhaps confirming the start of the Odd Fellows Lodge as a school location.   The card for Brownsville  also indicated that from 1923/24 to `1927/28, school was in a rented building, so we surmise that the transaction of Dec, 1922 was a lease, not a sale; but more research is required.  Some children studied in the old school house and others in the Off Fellows Lodge, which appears to mirror the wishes of the petitioners in 1922.
Odd Fellows Lodge (perhaps 1936)  (photo, courtesy of Virginia State University)                                                                           

Current Location of Odd Fellows Lodge. Photo by Larry Roeder, April, 2018

  • 1924:  Insured by LCPS system.  Source:  LCPS Staff. (1924-1936). Insurance Record. Purcellville:  LCPS. (Archives, Box 11. Black Insurance Book).
  • 1929:   Building was sold at auction Saturday, August 17, 1929.
  • 1929, May:  Parents wrote to the School Board asking for a new building, if the families purchased the land.
  • Structure Two:  1930 – 1946/47.
  • 1930.   It is our current thinking that the 1887 structure (location currently unknown) was replaced in 1930 (which is the year that student enrollment cards for “colored” Hamilton begin, the old structure having been sold.  The new structure is now the current home at 39306 E. Colonial Highway.
  • 1936:  (then in the Jefferson District) was using rented space. (Source:  Emerick Report to the School Board, Feb 12, 1936, Archives, Catalog Folder Number 2.2, County School Board) .  This likely mean that overflow space was rented from a different building, which might be the Odd Fellow lodge.  We do know that at about that time, the school system photographed the Lodge with students (photo below, courtesy of Virginia State University) during a visit by Archie Richardson,  appointed the same year as the Assistant Supervisor of “Negro” Education by the State Superintendent of Public Instruction, making Richardson the highest ranking Black in the state.
  • 1938, Feb   O.L. Emerick felt that for the “colored” students to receive a proper education, their schools should be consolidated in a new imagined school in Purcellville, combining the populations of Hamilton, Hughesville, Lincoln, Purcellville, Hillsboro, Round Hill and Powell’s Grove.  Source: 9.2.3 Yr 1938 Feb Addition Physical Needs of Our Schools.
  • 1946 was the last year of instruction at Hamilton.  In the 1946/47 academic year, students were hauled to Carver in Purcellville.


  •  1893/94 Academic Year:   Mr. William B. Minor of Waterford was a “colored” instructor who operated on a second grade certificate.  Robert Taylor of Hamilton was also a colored instructor, operating on a second  grade certificate. Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (  18931894ColoredReel4418 Census of Colored Teachers 1893/94 – March 30, 1894), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1894/95:  Mr. Minor continued to instruct.  Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (  1895ColoredA Census of Colored Teachers 1894/95 – Done Dec 10, 1894), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1895/96:  Mr. Minor was still instructing on a 2nd grade permit.  See as a resident of Waterford.  Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (  1895ColoredA Census of Colored Teachers 1894/95 – Done Dec 10, 1894), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education
  • 1896/97: Mrs. C.M. Brooks instructed as a colored teacher (from Alexandria,” Va on a 2nd grade permit. Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (1897ColoredCombined  Census of Colored Teachers 1896-97 – Done Dec 15, 1896), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1924/25 – 26/27:   J. Walter Brown.  Source:  Term Reports, LCPS Archives.
  • 1927/28 – 1929/30.  A. Anne Arnold.  Source:  Term Reports, LCPS Archives.
  • 1930/31:    Clara Robinson was appointed as the colored teacher by the School Board.  Source: Loudoun Times Mirror Staff. (1930, June 12). School Board Holds Its Regular Session. Loudoun Times Mirror, p. 1.   Robinson was paid $60 a month and assigned to instruct grades 1-7.  She studied at Storer college and in 1930 had one year of experience teaching, that being at Conklin in 1927/28 for which she was paid $30 a month. Her home was in Leesburg. and she operated on a local permit (LP) that year.   Source:   Virginia Department of Public Instruction. (1892-1975). Virginia Dept. of Education, Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975. Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.(Files for 1930).
  • 1931/32 – 1942/43.   Mrs. Theodora Ross.    Born in Washington, DC about 1900. Had two ears of college experience.  Boarded in Hamilton while teaching.  Source. U.S. Federal Census for Hamilton, 1940.  Also Term Reports, LCPS Archives.
  • 1943/44 – 1946/47.  Flossie Furr.  Born 2/10/1908.  Graduated Dunbar High School, Washington, DC in 1928 and then graduated after two years from Storer College in 1933.  1943 was a partial year for her.  She briefly stopped teaching in January.  Source.  EWP Archives Box 4. Faculty Files\teachers colored.

Edited 2016/2018