Robey Colored

Summary History

By September 1866 the Freedmen’s Bureau had established nine schools, some with benevolent societies, including one founded by a “intelligent, educated Colored man,” undoubtedly Reverand William Obediah Robey.   The school was closed in 1869, one year before the public school system started.   According to Freedmen Bureau records for 1866, Mrs Robey was also involved.  Rev Robey rented the building for $10 a month from the Bureau, perhaps because he also used the building as a home.  The school was sustained by a mix of support from parents and the Bureau.

Construction Data

The school was constructed in Leesburg at the home of Mr. Robey on the corner of Church and North Streets. The capacity of the school was 75 students, quite large for its time.  It was in good condition and valued at $600, however, we don't know for certain how it was constructed.  

Sources of Information:

  • The essence of a people : portraits of African Americans who made a difference in Loudoun County, Virginia, Volume II, by Betty Morefield and Elaine Thompson, Published by Friends of Thomas Balch Library, 2001.
  • U.S. Freedmen's Bureau Records, 1865-1878.


The only instructor of whom we are aware was Rev Robey, though it is possible that at one point Mrs. Robey was involved.  Robey died at the age of 72 of dyspepsia on 21 September, 1888 in Leesburg. There are no records of his parents.  Source:  Virginia, US Death Registers, 1853-1911.


Being a Reconstruction Era school, there isn't an exact equivalency to the public school grade system.    According to Freedmen Bureau Records:

In July 1866 there 30 children enrolled, 15 boys and 15 girls.  12 boys attended regularly and 10 girls.  20 students were always punctual.  1 was over 16 years of age.    :  In July 1866, the school was closed until September.  12 were enrolled in Alphabet, 8 in Arithmetic, 7 in Geography and 12 in writing. None were in high branches, which was the equivalent to high school.




There are no records on this, but the team surmises that given the era, walking was the mode.