White Petitions

Using a petition to ask the government for change is a right guaranteed by the US Constitution, yet during segregation would have been risky for African-Americans.  It was therefore a special pleasure for our volunteers to come across a tight roll of red paper tied up with string.  We untied the string and allowed the paper to naturally open and flatten, which took a week   What we discovered was a stack of petitions by parents and teachers trying to improve the lives of their children and students. One group (2.5.A) was written by African-Americans (planning-petitions-state-and-county-boards-citizen-actions-and-committees/2-5a-colored-petitions/) and the other group (2.5.B) was by Whites. 

In our opinion, each of the petitions is a monument to the struggle for equal education.  They represent a true treasure, so we are in the process of developing a specific book on them.  We are also scanning all of them, transcribing the text and developing biographies on the teachers and authors, often parents, so that the people who took the time to write the petitions won’t be forgotten. 

Keep in mind as well that the school board and Superintendent didn't always agree with the practice of using petitions, as is seen in the Brooklyn Petition. 2.5B Yr Feb 29, 1931. The next three pages cover white petitions, which often dealt with the same issues as their African-Americans neighbors salary equalization, hiring and firing of teachers, protesting the closure of schools and other issues, in one case gun control.  There are many more petitions for Whites than for African-Americans; but we don't know if that's literally so, if white citizens were more comfortable asking the government for solutions, which was likely, or if the white petitions simply survived in greater numbers.

Box One covers and unknown topic and then Airmont through Paxson. Box Two covers Box Three covers: The Lincoln-Purcellville Dispute of 1926 Unknown Purpose

  • 2.5B Yr Unknown.  No purpose or related school is mentioned.  Just a list of names written in a common hand. Information on Rust, Ahalt, Virts, Cooper, Frye, Everhart, Spring, Conard, Baker, Henner, Tobler, Beatly, Smith and Harrington families.  We think this has to do with a white school in Lovettsville.


  • 2.5B Yr. April 3, 1923.  Airmont was under threat of being closed, due to low attendance.  Average attendance was 12, through twice that were enrolled.  The patrons asked the School Board to keep the facility open and not transport the pupils to Bluemont by truck or wagon, feeling that would be detrimental to health and comfort.
  • 2.5B. Yr. May 12, 1926  O.L. Emerick wrote the patrons to acknowledg their request that the school not be closed.  They had provided a statement of support from the teacher, an accounting of funds raised and a map sowing the location of families.
  • 2.5B Yr. Probably 1931.   Protesting the closing of the school.  Airmont taught grades 1-7  from 1918 to 1931.  It was closed in the 1931/32 academic year, having only attracted five pupils the prior year.
  • 2.5B Yr. September 14, 1931.  The school system contemplated allowing African-Americans to use the former Airmont school, which was closed by the time of the petition.   Hearing that, one of the patrons, apparently from Round Hill protesting this possibility.  We have no information that the contemplated plans were executed.

Aldie Grade School

  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated but certainly in the 1920'.  Request to reappoint Alice Hutchison as teacher.     Mrs Alice Hutchison (1/30/1871-Nov 30, 1962) taught grades 6-7 from 1914 to 1927 at Aldie.
  • 2.5B Yr. Unknown.  Grade school teachers said they would go on strike is any high school graduate teacher is paid more than the three emergency certificate teachers in the Aldie Grade School unless their salary was made equal to or more than the High School graduate teachers.
  • 2.5B Yr. Request that arrangements be made for the school bus to furnish transport to and from school for the children of school age on Route 632, Aldie.  We think they are talking about what is now known as Aldie Dam Road, which intersects route 50 on its southern side.

Aldie High School

  • 2.5B Yr. Yr. Unk.   Request bus for children north of Little River Turnpike to go from Gilbert's Corner station to Goose Creek and Aldie School.  Gilbert's was important in the 1920's when Carolina Road (Now Watson) was a toll and 15 was extended south from Leesburg to 50, the route to Middleburg.
  • 2.5B Yr. May 6, 1926.   Petition to hire W.E. Taylor, Jr. as Principal.
  • 2.5B Yr. May 6, 1926.  Petition to replace Mr. Taylor, who was distracted from his duties, due to recent purchase of a poultry farm.
  • 2.5B Yr. May 7, 1926.   Petition to replace the principal, complaining that teachers and the principal didn't stay on duty for the entire day, 9am to closing.
  • 2.5B  Yr June 22, 1927.  Debate over possibly firing the principal.  Significant amount of letters were produced during this controversy, including material from Leesburg attorney Cecil Connor, representing the principal.  Those opposed to the principal returning felt he had gravely neglected his duties and didn't get along with fellow teachers..  Others felt he had improved.
  • 2.5B Yr April 15, 1939.  Request reconsideration of appointment of Miss Earlyn Weeks, due to her outstanding record.


  • 2.5B June 8, 1948.   Request the addition of an auditorium, which would be used not only for the school but the community as well.
  • 2.5B Dec 13, 1948.  PTA wanted a new teacher to handle twelve  "retarded" or handicapped children in the second and third grades, and ten such children from the fourth and fifth grades..  Also requested an auditorium, a larger kitchen and a new class room.  Meanwhile, the PTA wanted the children instructed in the hall.  Hot lunches were impossible due to the small kitchen.  There was also no place for children to eat or do indoor exercise.
  • 2.5B  Yr No date; but likely 1950's.  Request to keep Mrs Elise Wilson (Van Sickler) as teacher for the first grade.  She instructed the first grade from 1949/50 to 1956.  Prior to that she was at Silcott Springs and North Fork; but did not teach from 1930 to 1949.
  • 2.5B Yr. June, 1955.  Request to keep Mrs. Knight as the instructor, though some were opposed.


  • 2.5B Yr Probably 1936/37 Request that school stay open.   This was probably 1936/37, because the school was closed in 1937/38 and the pupils hauled to Lovettsville.


  • 2.5B Yr. 1925  High School Department.  Request reconsideration and keep Mr. N.S. Starke as Principal.  Starke was a graduate of VMI and instructed at Ashburn from 1920 to 1925, so apparently, the petition failed.
  • 2.5B Yr. 1925 High School Department.  Request not to return Mr. Starke, due to abuse of students.  The term abuse might have dealt with discipline; but it's impossible to say without further research.
  • 2.5B Yr. Sept 9, 1927.  Patrons noted that students had been permitted  to leave school early in order to catch the 3:18 train going east and the 3:43 going west; but that the schedule was moved up, which caused confusion, further than discipline was causing some students to miss their ride.  Other forms of discipline were also a problem, keeping students out of school, which amounts to nothing more than a vacation.  Interestingly, the author, who was a parent, worried that if the teacher learned of his complaint, his son might be punished by the instructor, that some teachers had done this before.
  • 2.5B Yr 1936/37.  Request to retain Mrs Alice Cooper Cady.  See also section 4.11 and Mrs  Cady's role in the Visiting Teacher's program.


  • 2.5B Yr. 1924.  List of children to be sent to Bears, if left open that year, which it was, according to notes in the file.  According to 6.6 Bears W Yr Grades 1 to 7 1917 to 1926, Bears closed from 1920/21 to 1923/24, opened for 1924/25, then closed permanently in 1932/26.


  • 2.5B Yr. Feb 9, 1924 Request to transport children from Bluemont to Round Hill High School.  Names of children are provided.
  • 2.5B Yr May 22, 1953.   Letter from OL Emerick to F. Lake VanSickler of Purcellville.  The 7th grade was to be moved to Round Hill from Bluemont in the 1953/54 academic year, resulting in a reduction of teachers and appearance by patrons at the School Board meeting of May 13th. The patrons sated that elementary graded pupils at Round Hill pass Bluemont and therefore the patrons wanted their pupils to use Bus Number 25.  Emerick wanted to know if the Bus could handle the additional load.


  • See 2.5B Yr. Not dated. for Lovettsville.


  • 2.5B Yr. February, 1931.   An exchange of correspondence between the patrons and friends of Brooklyn and O.L. Emerick.  The Brooklyn community (Lovettsville District), felt the teacher should be replaced because she could not maintain good order and discipline.  The problem was that with an enrollment of over thirty pupils was more "than one woman can properly manage."  Additionally, a number of students had long since passed the required examinations for admission into high school "but because of the distance and inaccessibility of a High School, continue to go to the said Brooklyn School" which is overcrowded.  Emerick responded saying "it is not the custom of myself or of our board to act upon information set forth in a petition having general circulation and joint signatures when it pertains to the appointment or discharge of a teacher but to receive due consideration the complains should be made to me or to the school board individually by those feeling a grievance.  However, I wish to say that I am familiar with the conditions at the Brooklyn school and do not think that there is any just ground or cause for the dismissal of the teacher."  It's a very interesting exchange, given that the practice Emerick complained about was common, and fully within the rights of citizens.

Cannon Chapel

  • 2.5B Yr 1922 Request  to retain Miss Nina Fletcher because she was a great teacher and disciplinarian.


  • 2.5B Yr 1927.  Complaint about not rehiring Mrs. Mary E. Hemsley, as teacher, further that no teacher was slated to be appointed for academic year 1927/28.  The petition also noted that the school suffered from very poor roads and none of the pupils live nearby.  Most have a more or more to come "and yet our little backwoods school won the attendance banner this session"  Hemsley was indeed rehired and the school did stay in operation in the 1939/40 academic year.  See 6.6 Carter W Grades 1 to 7 Yr 1920 to 1939.

Clarke's Gap

  • 2.5B Yr April 7, 1930.  Pledge to provide enough children to keep school open for Academic Year 1930/31.


  • 2.5B Yr April 26, 1923.  Correspondence on closure of Coleman.  Compare with the decision to close Conklin Colored, due to insufficient student size.   Emerick does say that Coleman was to be closed for the same reason, in this case a population of only ten, that the School Board had no legal right to keep the school open with such a small size.  However, unlike with Conklin, Emerick asked the school board to keep Coleman open if the population was increased. The petition for Coleman showed that the population in 1923/24 would be twenty.

Cool Spring

  • 2.5B Yr 1929.  Request to reopen Cool Spring for Academic year 1929/30.
  • 2.5B Yr. 1930/31.   Complaint about reduction to half day status.
  • 2.5B Yr 1931.  Petition notes that Cool Spring is only open for half days, which was inadequate.  Asked school board to "furnish safe and comfortable transportation for said pupils to and from the Leesburg graded school, beginning with the session of 1932/33."


  • 2.5B Yr 1924.   Protest closing of Daysville and asked that it remain open by 1924/25.

Edge Grove

  • 2.5B  Yr Sept 6, 1926.   Request to change direction of Edge Grove School Wagon route from Ebenezer Compher's gate in Hillsboro to Round Hill.


  • 2.5B Yr March 16, 1927.   Request to expand the number of teachers to two and expand course of study so children will be given one or two years of school work above seventh grade.  This would appear to refer to "high grade" learning, otherwise known as High School.
  • 2.5B Yr Jan 14, 1930.   Request to reappoint E.D. Turner

Evergreen Mill Bus

  • 2.5B Yr Jan 15, 1944.  Parents complained about bus driver not being safe


  • 2.5B Yr Undated.  patrons living along or near the road leading from Keys Gap-Hillsboro Road to Neersville requested that bus be operated to or from Hillsboro each morning over their road.
  • 2.5B Yr June 15, 1917.  Request to rehire Ruth Comphur.  This must have been one of the first petitions Emerick handled as Superintendent.
  • 2.5B Yr June 16, 1932.   Strongly worded complaint about proposed transportation plan, especially that forty or more children would be in one bus.
  • 2.5B Yr March 10, 1944.  Request not reappoint Mrs Zella N. Potterfield

Leesburg Graded

  • 2.5B Yr 1930's  Request that Mrs. Bradfield be given position of teacher.
  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated; but likely, 1955, when Mr. G. Shirley Myers resigned.   Request appointment of Mr. Yeager Gum of Leesburg to the School Board.

Leesburg High School

  • 2.5B Yr. April/May, 1927.  Correspondence and petitions to appoint Miss Ellen Metzger, instructor for mathematics and history and Miss Stickley for Latin.


  • 2.5B Yr.  April 11, 1922. Correspondence and a petition requesting that Mrs. Story not be reappointed.
  • 2.5B Yr.  February 9, 1931.  Request for Mrs. Rebie E. Piggott to finish the term caused by resignation of Miss Alice underwood of Leithton.
  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated.  Complaint about consolidation.


  • 2.5B Yr. April 26, 1927.   Request to hire Mrs. D. Hutchison for academic year 1927/28.
  • 2.5B Yr. Feb 20, 1928.  Protest closing of Lenah
  • 2.5B Yr Not dated.   Map without any reference but showing Lenah.

Little River

  • 2.5B Yr. 1933.  Request to appoint Mrs. Mary H. Megeath for AY 1933/34
  • 2.5B Yr. 1935  Protest closing and request remain open.
  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated.  List of parents and number of children.  Might be associated with 1935 petition.


  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated. Expression of confidence in Mr. Charles M. Souder.  Asks that he be reappointed.
  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated.  Former patrons of Bolington regret error of not asking for a wagon, now do want wagon to transport pupils to Lovettsville.
  • 2.5B Yr. Sept 3, 1918  Lovettsville HS patrons wish a reversal of decision to hire Milton Harper as Principal.  Note indicates, decision was adjusted without reference to calling Board together. Reverse of petition has interested notes on Hygiene.   They are notes by pupil Mildred Painter, age 10 for her instructor Miss Dierdre. Some fifth grade Hygiene lessons from February, 1918 in Lovettsville. One of the more interesting is "to keep our teeth clean, breathe pure air and go to bed at an early time." Bad habits 1. Making spit balls and throwing them 2. Spitting on the floor 3. Putting penicillin in your mouth 4. Putting pieces of apple on the floor 5. Using other people's books. Recommendations: 1. Don't read between sunset and dark. 2. After reading a book for a long time, set it aside and read another. That will rest the eyes.
  • 2.5B Yr. June 4, 1928.  Request to reappoint Mr. Charles Souder
  • 2.5B Yr. Sept 11, 1934.  Request for better bus route from Lovettsville to Taylorstown section

Lucketts High School

  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated.  Request to appoint Mr. Dyer Gum as Trustee of Leesburg District.
  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated.  Request for a bus, given remote location of school of impossibility of reaching it in the rain.
  • 2.5B Yr. 1937  Want Lucketts High School to remain open in 1937/39 Academic Year.

Middleburg Graded

  • 2.5B Yr Not dated.  Request removal of Mrs. Marianna Rainey
  • 2.5B Yr. April 11, 1931.  Opposed to reduction in tax levy and teacher salaries.
  • 2.5B Yr. Sept 27, 1949.  To William T. Smith, chair of the School Board, regarding resolution of 9/26/1949 by Middleburg PTS.  Desire improvements in order to prepare proper meals.
  • 2.5B Yr. Jan 9, 1950.  Resolution of Middleburg Lions Club advocating for a central high school in Loudoun.


  • 2.5B Yr. Oct 15, 1902.  File is from the John Rust Collection.  A letter to John Rust of Lovettsville School Board, noting a report by Superintendent Shumate of the attendance at Milltown, indicating that attendance was too low for a lawful school, a position of which the author agreed. The instructor was Mr. Cooper.
  • 2.5B  Yr. 1938.  School was closed in 1938.  Patrons wanted it to continue.

Mt. Gilead Community

  • 2.5B Yr. Aug 6, 1936 Request for bus service was denied, since school had been closed.
  • 2.5B Yr. Dec 5, 1950.  Request for extension of bus route.

Mountain Gap White (on Rt 15)

  • 2.5B Yr. Not dated, but probably 1953/54.  Request to properly handle redistribution of children with closing. School was closed and turned into museum in 1954.  Patrons also asked that school be closed.  Children ae found to be poorly prepared for other schools.  No competitive spirit in school. drinking water and water for washing is brought from a nearby home.  Only one outside toilet.  Inadequate playground and recreational equipment. No supervision "any children may wander on to the highway and be killed or badly injured."

Mountain School

  • 2.5B Yr Sept 29, 1921.  Request that school be opened ASAP.


  • 2.5B Yr March 31, 1930.  Request that one room school house be replaced with two rooms.  Also want two teachers.  They had every reason to think the school would expand. The original structure of which they complained contained an average enrollment of 47 pupils, with an average attendance of 34, grade one to seven.  "the present building is a relic of by-gone days, dirty, poorly lighted, leaky, in no way fire-proof or wind-proof and absolutely not equipped to work for the best interest of the children...We have organized a Community League, holding meetings every Tuesday night, and will untirelessly to this end."
  • 2.5B April 14, 1931.   The Community League protested the reduction of teacher salaries.

North Fork

  • 2.5B Yr. 1929.  The patrons ask to continue operation of the school.

Oak Hill

  • 2.5B  Yr About 1934.  Request to keep Oak Hill open, with its children.  The patrons have signed the petition and children are listed. They think one room is better than another location. We know however that the school was permanently closed that year.
  • 2.5B Yr Not dated.  Patrons of Lucketts and Oak Hill (they are very near each other) request that a school bus be sent to Oak Hill via the Charles (chas) Fry Lane and back to Lucketts via George Conrads corner and the sand and clay road to Lucketts.

Paeonian Springs

  • 2.5B  Yr. May 26, 1931.   Set of letters requesting to retain Miss Hannah Ellmore instead of transferring to Mountain Gap.  The material also cited the use of instructor Supervisors as a positive, to which Emerick's response agrees.


  • 2.5B Yr. March 17, 1930.  Letter from Mrs. Walter Parks.  Wants to keep Paxson and is opposed to the bus.  Doesn't like talk by young ladies on Round Hill High School bus.  Likes the teachers.  Feels farmers are not getting a fair deal.  If Paxson can't be kept open for a full day, wants school kept open for a half day.
  • 2.5B Yr. March 17, 1930.   Expectant mother doesn't want school closed and feels bus isn't safe, which she felt was too dangerous for little children.  Also concerned about children having to wait on the side of the road in the cold and rain without shelter or heat, missing their bus if it is five minutes late.
  • 2.5B Yr. March 17, 1930.  Cant attend March 18, school board meeting. Request to keep Paxson open, perhaps in a smaller structure.

Medical and Dental Petitions

  • 2.5B April, 1926.  This petition was not retained in the archives; but was found in Loudoun Times-Mirror, May 6, 1926, pg 2. 785 petitioners including O.L. Emerick, asked the Board of Supervisors to approve a Dental Clinic for the school system.  Unfortunately, the petition was defeated.

Salary Disputes

  • 2.5B Aldie grade school Yr. 1935/36.  Grade school teachers said they would go on strike is any high school graduate teacher is paid more than the three emergency certificate teachers in the Aldie Grade School unless their salary was made equal to or more than the High School graduate teachers.