Mayberry School, December 1896

Mayberry School. The sign held by the student in the front row says

Mayberry School. The sign held by the student in the front row says “December 1896”.

This is the student body of Mayberry School out in front of their schoolhouse in 1896, presided over by their teacher, Miss Nanny Hill, who is clad in the dark Victorian pleats of the day. If you click on the image, the larger, uncropped version includes everyone’s name printed below the photo. The physical item that I scanned was cut out of a formal publication of some kind, printed on glossy paper. Maybe it was a historical magazine or a book about the region. There’s nothing other than the photo and text to give any clues, so we may never know. My Uncle Dick had it in a folder of family research papers.

There are several Fleagles among the group. The school is only a stone’s throw as the crow flies from Runny Meade Farm, which our family mostly has just called “the farm at Mayberry.” I expect that my grandfather James Ezra Fleagle and his older brother Benjamin Edward, and their older sisters Carrie, Lillian, Katie and Annie and their younger sisters Rena, Ruth and Janette probably all attended this school at one time or another. Ruth is in fact in the front row of this photo, at about age six. A second caption says the photo was loaned to the editors of the publication by another of the depictees, presumably many years later; Edgar Koons Fleagle, also in the front row, has drawn a line under his own image (or someone else has) and that of Ruth, his Fleagle first cousin once removed. Ruth grew up to become Ruth Jones and is pictured in a gathering of her siblings and extended family here.

In 1992, nearly a century after this photo was taken, my Aunt Miriam and I drove past this building, which still stood and still stands, on Mayberry Road where the road kinks momentarily eastward before continuing north out of the little hamlet of its namesake. It seems like a huge expanse of time, 96 years, but that is only how old Miriam is now. Maybe because I was more excited about seeing the site of my great-grandparents’ farm nearby, I didn’t get out of the car and take a photo of this building at the time. Maybe, in those predigital days, I was saving film.

The old Mayberry School sits about where the road would go if it didn’t bend, so that in olden days the school commanded the view all the way down the road. There are very large trees or shrubs now partly obscuring the building, and it has been substantially modified. There’s a roofed porch on the front of it now, for one thing. Below is what the building looked like in October of 1994, two and a half years after I saw it.

The old school building 98 years later.

The old school building 98 years later, in 1994.

This second photo, which I have no rights to whatsoever, was taken by Kenneth M. Short, historic planner at the Carroll County Planning Department, and included in a document (Survey No. CARR-1413) that he prepared for the Maryland Historical Trust describing the building. The summary opening the document estimates, I guess very reasonably, that the building was constructed around 1905 — off by nine years at the very least, unless the brick building in our photo was razed in order to erect another brick building of the same size, which I think unlikely. Given that the document was submitted 22 years ago, I think the urgency of writing to the Trust to suggest a reevaluation based on the evidence in this photograph — as compelling as it is, what with Lilah Heltibridle holding the date in her very hands — is low.

Below is the summary in full. — mdf

The brick house at 2534 Mayberry Road was undoubtedly built as a one-room schoolhouse, probably about 1905. It sits a little northeast of the cluster of homes that is the village of Mayberry, and was surely built to serve that community and the farms that surround it. The structure is very typical of the brick schools built in the late-nineteenth and early-twentieth centuries in Carroll County, being three bays by three bays and one story tall. It probably ceased functioning as a school between 1925 and 1935, when the County built large central school buildings in the larger towns and began busing children to them. In its conversion to a private residence, the exterior has not undergone much change.

Image archive ID:

About the physical photograph:
About 3X8″ printed on glossy paper, cut from a book or periodical.


2 thoughts on “Mayberry School, December 1896

  1. Pingback: Runny Meade Farm (a.k.a. “the Fleagle farm at Mayberry”) | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

  2. Pingback: Mayberry School, 1899 | Fleagle and Dowell Family History in Photos

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