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August 28, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Mystery: Axtell Academy


“Schoolhouse German” c. 1893-94

Courtesy Sarah Forsyth Donnelly and Small Special Collections, University of Virginia

The building seen behind these lovely Virginia ladies may be the newly finished Axtell Academy.  The women are identified below. The names in parentheses are in the original caption, the names in brackets were added by Sarah Donnelly. I have retained the original punctuation.

First Row (standing): Misses Annie Scott (Shanklin), Bertha Krumbhaar, (Hellwige) Lena Logan [later Mrs. Douglas Forsyth], Mary Cox Minor, visitor to Scotts, Juliet Scott

Second row (seated): Lily Logan [later Mrs. Albert Morrill], Sally Wellford, (Hamilton) with Logan Bruns, Misses Ellen Scott, Rea Watkins, (Williams) Noel Forsyth (Elliott).

Can a Slate River Ramblings reader explain the photo’s label, “Schoolhouse German?”

The founding and existence of Axtell Academy, located in northwestern Buckingham County, is not a mystery.

The Academy was founded by Meta Logan, later Mrs. Hartwell Cabell. The building was completed in 1892; the first commencement was held on June 3, 1893.  Could this photo have documented that first commencement?

Virginia State Records indicate that Juliet Scott, pictured above, taught public school at Axtell during 1894–85.  According to Sarah Donnelly, this Scott family lived in Richmond and summered at Donegal, located near Warren on the north side of the James River.

Coming next: Another School at Axtell


Leave a Comment
  1. Joanne Yeck / Sep 4 2014 11:40 am

    Watch for a follow-up post about “Germans” — next week at Slate River Ramblings!

  2. Joanne Yeck / Aug 28 2014 9:27 am

    Margaret, Many thanks for your comment concerning “Schoolhouse German.” These ladies certainly could be dressed for a dance. But where are their escorts? Are they the shadows inside the building? Note: One silhouette is sporting a cap. Joanne

  3. Margaret Thomas / Aug 28 2014 9:18 am

    A “German” is a dance/social event/cotillion. Nearby University of Virginia had a German Club dating back to the late 1800’s and sponsored dances which became known as “Germans.” Virginia Tech’s German Club still sponsors a ” Midwinter German.”

    • sarahsfd4f / Sep 4 2014 11:28 am

      Thanks so much, Margaret, for this definition. I’ve always known about “Germans” but never knew why they were called that. I think this one could be defined as a social event rather than a dance. Though, of course, the escorts could be in the building. Algoma was the site of so many house parties, with beaus and belles from Richmond visiting.


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