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April 17, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Notables: Miss Lulie Patteson


Courtesy Gordon G. Ragland, Jr., Maxey/Patteson Family Collection

Mary Louise “Lulie” Patteson is best remembered for her dedication to preserving the history of Buckingham County.  Her long memory of people and places helped inform the Virginia Historical Inventory surveys recorded in the 1930s by Garnett Williams and Elizabeth McCraw.  Her contributions to regional newspapers, particularly Charlottesville’s The Daily Progress and The Farmville Herald, were enjoyed and clipped by many devoted readers.

Miss Lulie was also a school teacher.  In about 1897, after completing her education at Well Water School, she took the state board examinations for teachers. Her high scores earned her a “first grade” certification; however, this classification was reserved for teachers over twenty years of age, with a minimum of ten consecutive school months’ experience. Lulie was initially given a “second grade” certification instead, intended for competent, but inexperienced, teachers. With her “second grade” certification, Lulie could teach only in Buckingham County and work was scarce.

“On my 18th birthday,” she remembered, “I applied for a teaching position and was finally given a two months job at a school they were planning to close. My pay was $40 for the two months. I gave mother $35 and kept $5 for myself. It was difficult to obtain any teaching positions, I did not teach again until I was 21. At that time, I became assistant principal and teacher at Well Water School.”

For more about the life of Lulie Patteson, consult “Miss Lulie Patteson: Early Buckingham Historian,” in “At a Place Called Buckingham.”


Leave a Comment
  1. packerbucky / Apr 18 2014 11:44 am

    There appears to be a Patteson family and a Patterson family in Buckingham History. While doing family research I found a Cornelius Patteson, 1841-1911, married to Eliza Bishop, 1856-1944, produced a number of children who all carried the last name Patterson. No one has been able to tell me how the name spelling changed from the Cornelius generation to his children’s generation. Is it possible that you are any other readers of Slate River Ramblings can unwind this mystery?

    • Joanne Yeck / Apr 18 2014 12:49 pm

      I had not heard that Patteson was once Patterson, though it makes sense. I have family name Tarlton which became Talton. Virginians tend to soften the “r” — eventually, spelling conformed to pronunciation.

  2. Joanne Yeck / Apr 17 2014 11:04 am

    Fran, I have no idea what Lulie Patteson thought about education. I suspect she taught the way she was taught. Pretty much every thing was learned by rote memorization at least until high school.

  3. Fran Harris-Hill / Apr 17 2014 10:45 am

    Love seeing her picture, Joanne, wouldn’t it be great to chat with her. I have used Elizabeth McGraw’s surveys so many times during my research. Cannot help but wonder what she would think of education today, Common Core, etc.

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