Sunday, May 30, 2021

Elliott School and Mr. Brill


Elliott School and Mr. Brill

As a general rule of thumb, one-room schoolhouses for White students were built no more than ten miles apart.  This would ensure a student would walk no more than five miles to school.

Most were built much closer, to five miles apart. The one-room schoolhouses East of Delmar on what is today Dorothy/Whitesville Road were about that distance apart.  Starting with Callaway’s School (public school number 87) to Morris School (public School number 39) at Smith Mill, to Elliott’s School (public school number 38), and finally to the Whitesville School (public school number 95 and 126). 

Elliott’s School was located at the intersection of Whitesville Road and Line Church Road.  The story of it and the other one-room schoolhouses in the Delmar School District is a work in progress.  Currently, a photograph of the schoolhouse has not been found nor a deed reference, so we can only guess that the schoolhouse followed the custom of being named after the family that donated the land for the School to be built. We also do not know when the schoolhouse was built, but online records start in 1914 when Effie E. Baker taught at the School for forty dollars a month.

The area had families with the last names of Elliott (with various spellings), Brumbley (with different spellings), Callaway, Figgs, Brittingham, Cordrey, Davis, Warren, Burton, Scott, Parsons, and Brill.

In 1921 Elliott School had 33 pupils.  It also had one of the worst records of days attended School by the pupils. Elliott was in the center of rural farming country, and when sweet potatoes are being dug, holly gathered for wreath making, and when strawberries are ripe, the students at Elliott had work to do. In addition, the roads were dirt and turned to mud at each rain, giving a student another reason not to walk to school.

Some of the teachers who taught at Elliott; 1914 Effie Baker, 1916 Oliver Collins, 1918 Jerdie D. Parsons, 1919 Mamie L Webb, 1921 Jennie Wells, 1923 Mable Hearn, 1924 Erma Ramson, 1929 to 1931 Lewis Brill.

Between 1915 to 1925, Delaware built "farm to market" roads throughout the state. Not only did Delaware see the need for stronger roads due to the motor truck, they realized that on a paved road, a farmer could haul a load of five to six thousand pounds with a pair of mules as opposed to a two thousand pound load on a dirt road. An improved road also increased the value of the farms on the road, this way increasing property taxes. Altho referred to as nine-foot roads, they were, for the most part, a road with two nine-foot wide lanes. One lane was paved, and the other lane was dirt. The dirt lane was intended for use in dry weather. The Whitesville road, until recent years, was one of those nine-foot roads and was called the nine-foot road. It was widened and paved its entire width in the 1950s.

With the paved roads, in 1925, there was a big push by the Delmar school to consolidate all the one-room schoolhouses into the Delmar School district.  The Delmar businessmen went to each School and promoted the advantage of a consolidated school (in Delmar, of course).  In spite of the vote in 1925 at Elliott School of seven “for” and eight “against” eventually (1931), Elliott was consolidated into Delmar.  The roads had improved to the point where school bus service could be dependable provided, and each school day, the Elliott school kids made a long ride from to Delmar.


above Mr. Lewis Brill

Lewis Henry Brill (1871-1933) was born in West Virginia, the son of William Brill and Eleanor C. “Ellen” Engle. About 1876, he was adopted by his Uncle and Aunt Lewis Hawkins and Margaret Cooper Hawkins.   In 1893 he married Alice M. Sirbaugh (1871- ).  The marriage did not work.  He married in 1895 Susan Taylor French (1877-1964) in Hampshire, West Virginia.  They had a family of five daughters; Katie, Alice, Mary, Marion, and Edna.  He worked as a teacher.  The marriage did not work, and he was divorced in 1912 due to adultery. He went to live in Blacksburg, Virginia.  In July of 1915, he purchased 86 acres for $2,692.50 on the road from Ward to Whitesville.  Today it would be at the intersection of Whitesville Road and Russell Road. Perhaps he moved here due to the strawberry boom, which was attracting out-of-state farmers to move to this area.   In the school year 1916/1917 he started teaching at the Whitesville school number 95 for $45 a month.  At the age of 46, he married a third time in 1917 to Minnie Elizabeth Jane Brumley (1890-1975).    She was the daughter of Isaac and Olevia Brumley of the Melson area.  Her sisters had married into the Elliott family. Lewis and Minnie had four daughters; Cora, Elias, Lena and Betty and one son, Arthur. He farmed, and he taught in the local schools.  It was unusual to have a male teacher, and besides Mr. Brill, there was Mr. Carmel Moore, who taught at the Callaway School. Mr. Brill would die in 1933.  He is buried in the Elliott Cemetery.  Mrs. Brill would move to the Wilmington area with her children and live there for many years.



No comments:

Post a Comment