Middleburg Colored School (Grant)

Middleburg Colored School, Mercer District

Data as of 4/9/2018

Sections:  1) Insurance, 2) Construction, Closure and Movement of Students to Banneker, 3) 1940 Insurance Photographs and physical description; 4) Instructors.

1)  Insurance:

  • 1923/26:  Insured by LCPS system 1923/26 as a Colored School in the Mercer District of Loudoun.  Notice the large bell on the roof!   Source:  LCPS Staff. (1924-1936). Insurance Record. Purcellville: LCPS. (Found in LCPS Records Office, Round Hill.  Black Book with Red Spine and Corners)   Page 24/25.

2)   Construction, Closure and Movement of Students to Banneker:

  • Constructed in 1886 as a two room frame building at a cost of $1,000. Source: Report of Survey Committee on Long Range Planning for Loudoun County, Jan, 1940.  Location:  LCPS: Archives folder 2.2 County School Board, 1918-1952.
  • On March 31, 1948, the children and faculty of  Middleburg, St. Louis, and Mountville schools,  with an approximate enrollment of 185 students, entered Banneker for the first time.  Source  LCPS system.  History of Banneker School.   See also the chapter on Banneker in this study.

3)  1940 Insurance Photograph:


Photo  By Thos E. Sims, Jr.   SourceInsurance Analysis and Permanent Record – Property of Loudoun County School Board: Garrett Insurance Company (Fireman’s Fund Insurance Company), Leesburg, Virginia.  October, 1940. (Blue Insurance Binder, LCPS Records Office, Round Hill, Loudoun, Co., Va.)

Middleburg (2)

Following the close of the Grant school, with additions, the structure became a community center for African-Americans.


Photo above from Architectural Survey of the Original Levin Powell section of Middleburg, by John G. Lewis, Regional Representative, Virginia Historic Landmarks Commission, 1977 (hardcopy in the Balch Library in Leesburg).  Structure 259-99.  In 2018, the structure was used by various businesses.


Grant Building in April, 2018.  Photo by Larry Roeder

4)   Instructors:

  • 1892/93:   Madison Taylor and Oliver Grant were “colored instructors,”  Grade of Certificate 3rd.  Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (  (1893ColoredA  Census of Colored Teachers for the School Year closing July 31, 1893), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1893/94:   Oliver L. Grant, was a “colored” instructor.  Grade of Certificate 3rd.  Robert P. Dawson of Middleburg was also  “colored” instructor for Middleburg and operated on a 3rd grade certificate.  In addition, Mary A. Smith and Madison Taylor were instructors. Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975.  18931894ColoredReel4418Census of Colored Teachers 1893/94 – March 30, 1894), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1894/95:  Mr. O.L. Grant of Middleburg instructed on a third grade certificate.  Ms. Mary A. Smith instructed as well on a Third 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.
  • 1895/96:  Miss Mary O. Smith, Mr. O.L. Grant and Mr. M.H. Taylor were from Middleburg and instructed there as well on 3rd grade certificates. Source: Lists of Teachers, 1892-1975 (1896ColoredCombined  Census of Colored Teachers 1895/96 – Done Dec 15, 1895), Richmond, Virginia, USA: Virginia Department of Public Instruction/Education.
  • 1896/97:  Mr. O.L. Grant, M.H. Taylor and Mary A. Smith of Middleburg returned to teach on 3rd Grade certificate: 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.
  • 1926/27 Academic Year:   Rosa Carter was elected the instructor. Source: Emerick, Ruth. (1926). Minutes of the September 14, 1926 Meeting of the Loudoun County School Board. Purcellville: LCPS.
  • 1930/31 Academic Year:   Rosa Carter was elected for primary instruction.  Source: Loudoun Times Mirror Staff. (1930, June 12). School Board Holds Its Regular Session. Loudoun Times Mirror, p. 1.
  • 1942/43:  James Vaughan and Rosa Carter were instructors. Source:  Loudoun Times Mirror, Times Staff, School Board (from page 1), pg 2 showed colored teachers. April 16, 1942.

5)   Petitions

  •  Probably 1933/34.   One of the more interesting petitions is an undated documents appealing to the Superintendent to reappoint Miss Virginia Morton and Miss Rosa Carter.   The two served together in Middleburg in the 1931/32 Academic Year.  Morton arrived with four years experience, her last assignment being at Farmville, (State Female Normal School) —the brainchild of Dr. William Henry Ruffner, the first Virginia State Superintendent of Instruction.  It does not appear Morton instructed in Loudoun before or after the 1931/32, though Rosa Carter did and became one of Loudoun’s most famous educators.
    • The petition also makes a racial reference in that its substance “has not only been certified by the  “colored” but by the whites.”
    • Text:   “To the County Supt Mr. O.L. Emerick, we the undersigned patrons of Middleburg and vicinity ask to have the same teachers Miss Virginia Morton and Miss Rosa Carter reappointed for ensuing year.  Our school has been better disciplined under Miss Morton & Miss Carter’s administration that it has been for the last five or six years. It has not only been certified by the “colored,” but by the “whites.”  The children as a whole are devoted to both teachers & have made better progress in their studies that they have for some time.  And for these reasons, we do earnestly request their return.”  Signed by 29 patrons., including Reverand A. D. Brown, Pastor of  the ME Church, Middleburg. Location LCPS Archives Petition Folder PetitionMiddleburgUNK
    • Because Pastor Brown signed the petition, it almost certainly was written in 1933/34.  Brown was the appointed pastor for Middleburg (1933-34) and Upperville (1931-33) Circuits—he was admitted on trial in Washington MEC in 1914, was made Deacon in 1916, became a preacher in full connection in 1916, and was ordained an Elder in 1918. He preached under MEC appointment 33 ½ years (1914-1936)—he died Apr. 12, 1936, in McKeesport, Pa., while serving his first year of appointment at McKeesport charge. (Source,  Rev. Leah A DeLong
      Marshall-Middleburg UMC Charge, 2/16/16.
    • February, 1945.  The School Board authorized the construction of a new building in Middleburg to service the children of Saint Louis and Middleburg, and requested the PTA of the Colored School in Middleburg to appoint a committee to work with the Superintendent on an appropriate location.  (Frederick Post, Feb 3, 1945, Page 2, Col 6).
    • March, 1945:  (read the Feb, 1945 citation first).  There was often tension between the “colored” community and the Superintendent over the needed for improved buildings or fresh structures.   This is seen in 1945 in an exchange between James H. Raby, who represented the PTA of Middleburg, Virginia and O.L. Emerick, Superintendent.   Raby, referring to a letter to the PTA of March 1, 1945 from Emerick, notes his refusal to discontinue use of a Baptist church basement as a school room.  Raby wanted to know if use was to continue indefinitely or just for the end of the term.  Raby also noted the conjested nature of the Middleburg school and the previous January, the School Board was to discuss with a PTA committee he idea of buying a new lot.  Raby wanted to know if the lot had been purchased, obviously because the PTA wanted a new building.Emerick’s lengthy response indicated the School Board did have in mind that an additional room be used until a new building was erected, though no definite plans were in place for next year.  He had chosen a site; but opposition forced him to locate another.  He then said that Raby’s urging to quickly resolve the matter reflected a lack of understanding of the problems involved, e.g. that taxes had to increased.  He also didn’t agree that the current room was endangered the children and felt that a new school building for “colored” children was no more pressing a topic than other projects for “colored” and white students.  He then said that “If you and the people at Middleburg will cooperate with the School Board, your project will move along very much faster than it will if you do otherwise,” implying that petitioning for redress of grievances was a bad idea. There was in fact a constant undercurrent of tension between the school administration and the African-Americans demanding better conditions. MiddleBurgRaby1945.


Edited by Larry W. Roeder, Jr., MS  South Riding, Virginia  (c) 2/22/2016


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