Brentsville - One-Room School

Brentsville - One-Room School (HM18J)

Location: Bristow, VA 20136 Prince William County
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Country: United States of America
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N 38° 41.386', W 77° 30.011'

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(caption of upper, left picture) The Brentsville School as it appeared ca. 1940.
Lucy Walsh Phinney Collection, Gift of Steve and Cynthia Phinney in Memory of Lucy Phinney

This school was built in 1928 over the original location of the County Clerk's Office. It operated until 1944. The one-room building served local white children in grades one through five. Before its construction, children attended school in the Courthouse.

The first teacher was Lucy Mae Motley who, like her successors, oversaw the lessons for all grades. Most students walked to the school from within three miles. In 1934, thirty-nine children were enrolled. Average daily attendance was twenty-nine.

The school had a coal and wood stove in the middle of the room. There was a desk for each child with larger ones for the big children. There was an old piano which served no purpose except to hold two coal oil lamps for night meetings. We had a little wind-up record player &a few records?
Mary Senseney Kline recalled how the school appeared when she taught here in 1940-42.
Lucy Walsh Phinney Collection, Gift of Steve and Cynthia Phinney in Memory of Lucy Phinney

(caption of upper, center picture) Above: Miss Mary Buckley's class posed inside the school during the 1930s.
Image source unknown


Prince William County's public schools were segregated until 1966. However, public schools were established for white and black children beginning in the 1870s. In 1892, the Brentsville District's African-American residents unsuccessfully petitioned the School Board to open a school for their children.

In 1909, the Brentsville Colored School began in the home of Rev. Richard Jackson. Students got their own building in 1914, when the old Brentsville village school was moved to a lot where the "old colored church" stood. The school closed in 1918 and students moved to the Kettle Run Colored School.

Local Education

The Brentsville village school was the town's first known school. This privat school was built in 1847 and served only white children. Between 1870 and 1913 it was a public school.

From 1905 until 1912, the private prince William Normal School operated in the Courthouse. In 1912, the Brentsville School District purchased the Courthouse. Citizens converted the building into a school. Classes were held there from 1913 until 1928, when students moved to this building.

(caption of lower, right picture) Earle Wolfe attended Brentsville School. In 1930, he passed to the sixth grade, but had to repeat fifth-grade history.
Courtesy of Morgan Breeden
HM NumberHM18J
Year Placed2007
Placed ByPrince William County and the Friends of Brentsville Courthouse Historic Centre
Marker ConditionNo reports yet
Date Added Thursday, October 2nd, 2014 at 3:48am PDT -07:00
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Locationbig map
UTM (WGS84 Datum)18S E 282547 N 4285317
Decimal Degrees38.68976667, -77.50018333
Degrees and Decimal MinutesN 38° 41.386', W 77° 30.011'
Degrees, Minutes and Seconds38° 41' 23.16" N, 77° 30' 0.66" W
Driving DirectionsGoogle Maps
Area Code(s)703
Closest Postal AddressAt or near 12239 Bristow Rd, Bristow VA 20136, US
Alternative Maps Google Maps, MapQuest, Bing Maps, Yahoo Maps, MSR Maps, OpenCycleMap, MyTopo Maps, OpenStreetMap

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