West Virginia, the Mountain State

By Charles H. Ambler; Festus P. Summers | Go to book overview

Chapter XXIII
The Beginnings of Education 1863-1910

ELEMENTARY AND SECONDARY

LARGELY BECAUSE of anti-Abolitionist sentiments, the public free school movement tended to bog down in western Virginia in the decade immediately preceding the formation of West Virginia. Movements to establish free schools after the pattern of those in Kanawha, Jefferson, and Ohio counties were generally unsuccessful in the 1850's, and there was a noticeable tendency to criticize the public free school movement as "too pro-Yankee." A newspaper editor of Charleston commented approvingly upon the tendency of east Virginia to employ only teachers "to the manor born," and disapprovingly of the influence then exerted in trans- Allegheny Virginia by "Yankee school teachers." He admonished Virginians to correct "this evil" on the score that "no education is better than bad education." In 1857 Governor Henry A. Wise charged that the Literary Fund was being robbed. Eight and one half per cent of the income from the fund went for administration, he said, and fully one fifth had been dissipated through bad investments, bad loans, and official defalcations. Large surpluses, he declared, were idle in the custody of county superintendent's who had deposited them at high interest rates and appropriated the returns to their personal uses.1 Regardless of these delin-

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1
Kanawha Valley Star, July 12, 1859; Ambler, History of Education, pp. 29-30, 61-64.

-298-

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