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December 24, 2013 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Schools: Buckingham High School for Young Ladies

Buckingham_Fairfield School

It’s believed that the Buckingham High School for Young Ladies operated in Maysville for at least a decade.  From 1836 through 1840, Principles John and Laura P. Fairchild ran advertisements for the High School in the Richmond newspapers.  Tradition says that the Fairchilds came to Buckingham County from New England and established the High School in 1826. Buckingham-born historian William Shepard observed, “Perhaps the larger number of these schools employed teachers from the North since, at that time, the profession of a pedagogue was not thought of as an especially ‘high calling’ in the South.”

Buckingham planters, including the Moseley and Bondurant families, sent their daughters  to the school to acquire the basics, languages, and refinements such as piano and painting. Others may have come from outside the county, responding to advertisements in The Enquirer or The Whig.

In addition to the regular school term, the Fairchilds offered summer sessions as indicated by this advertisement from May of 1840:

The BUCKINGHAM HIGH SCHOOL FOR YOUNG LADIES will commence its summer session on the first of May next, and continue it 5 months.

Tuition for 10 months in English, $25; other languages 20; Music, (instrumental) 30; the use of a Piano 10; Board in Institution $100.  Board and tuition will in all cases be considered one-half due in advance, or at the commencement of each session.  No deduction will be made for occasional absences, except when caused by sickness; and no student will be charged with less than one session.

According to Today and Yesterday in the Heart of Virginia, the school closed when the academic building was destroyed by fire in 1846.

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