Unison Colored

Rumor had it there might have been a Unison Colored; but we don’t think so.

“ I have explored your question with several historians and examined various histories of African-American education and life in this area.  No one has any knowledge of a specific African-American or “colored” school in the village of Unison itself and none is recorded in any of the studies we examined.  However there are several other possibilities that came up in our research.  The most likely is that Ms Gillem taught in or close to the village of St Louis, which is right next to the village of Unison and was the largest African American community in the area in the period you mention and had a school.  … The other possibilities are that she taught in the village of Willisville, another African American community about 2 miles from Unison, where there was a school, or that she taught in a private home (there are some examples of African American teachers  working with students in private homes in this area early in the last century).  I am sorry that, so far, we can’t provide any more specific information. If you have any more information that might help us discover more, please let us know.   Regards,  Mitch Diamond,  Unison Preservation Society” 11/15/2014

Data as of 11/13/2014

1)  History

  • A history of Unison village, once a Quaker area and site of the underground railroad above Welbourne Road.
  • Where was the “Colored School.”  Although there were two official records in 1894/95 and 1896/97 identifying colored teachers instructing in Unison, local experts I consulted in 11/2014 indicated they hadn’t any record of such a school.   They did wonder if perhaps the school was really in Willisville, a Black enclave about two miles away from the village of Unison, or even in Saint Louis, perhaps the largest Black enclave at the time in Loudoun.  This need further research.  In this regard, I’d like to thank Mitch Diamond,  Unison Preservation Society for his help and that of local historians with whom he consulted.

2)  Instructors

  • 1894/95:  Miss Annie E. Gillem of 1157, 15th Street, NW, Washington, DC was the colored instructor, operating on a Second Grade Certificate:  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.  Note:   Gillem instructed the following year 1895/96 at Leithton.  Are these the same school by different names?
  • 1895/96:   No records
  • 1896/97:   Miss Annie E. Gillem of 2022 10th St., NW, Washington, DC, returned to Unison, instructing on a 2nd Grade certificate.  She had instructed at  Leithton the previous year.  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.

Edited by Larry W. Roeder., Jr., MS  11/13/2014