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September 15, 2014 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Schools: Well Water

Slate River Ramblings_Well Water School_c.1948

Well Water School, c. 1948

Front Row: Cleveland Flowers, Wallace Flowers, Clayton Davidson, Richard Jones, Jr., Shelby Jean Jones, Mary Rush, Gordon Rush

Second Row: Mary Flowers, Josephine Maxey, Riley Patteson, Billy Maxey

Back Row: Annie Floyd Patteson (teacher), Delois Maguire, Dorothy Jones, Rudd Patteson

Thanks to Sandy Ottinger and her mother, Marie Grinstead Shifflett, for submitting the photo and the identifications.


This photo of Well Water School features Miss Annie Patteson and her students. In 1940, Annie Patteson, age fifty-five, was living with her sister, Lulie, at the Patteson home place. The census taker indicated that she worked as a teacher and had completed a 4th year of high school/college.

Was she trained at a teacher’s college or did she take summer classes offered for women at the University of Virginia?

That year, the census taker described Lulie Patteson as a “field worker, wage or salary worker in Government work.” Her avocation was writing historical articles about Buckingham County. She, too, once taught school at Well Water.

Over the years, the Patteson sisters took in foster children. In 1940, ten-year-old Remona (sic) Maguire and eight-year-old Delois Maguire (pictured above) were living with them. Twenty-year-old Woodrow Oliver worked for them as a “hired man,” Ten years earlier, four Oliver children were staying with the Patteson sisters: Robert, Elizabeth, Woodrow, and Louise.


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  1. Carole Jensen / Sep 19 2014 10:05 am

    This is a charming photo. My grandmother, Lily Norvell Baber taught at Well Water. My mother, Revis Baber, and her siblings Clint, Evelyn, Jack and Stanley attended Well Water. I remember my mother saying that her education was reinforced by hearing lessons being given to older and younger students.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 19 2014 10:18 am

      Carole, Many thanks for adding these details to the post, especially the feel of a school room with mixed grades.

  2. Nancy Davies Mickles / Sep 15 2014 3:12 pm

    I thought the Flowers names sounded familar. I checked my 1957 Annual from Buckingham Central High School and found Wallace Flowers in my 1957 Senior Class and Cleveland Flowers in the 1961 Eighth Grade Class. While they went to Well Water School, I went to Marshall District School in Arvonia. 1957 was the first year all high schools in the County were combined. Thanks for all of these interesting tidbits.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 15 2014 3:21 pm

      Thank you, Nancy. Based on Cleveland Flowers’ age in 1961, so you think the photo at Well Water school was taken later than 1948? Joanne

      • Nancy Davies Mickles / Sep 15 2014 3:40 pm

        Clarification: In 1957 he was in the eighth grade. He was to graduate in 1961. Sorry for the confusion.

  3. Jordan Miles / Sep 15 2014 12:22 pm

    I found this post very heartwarming, Joanne, because my grandmother attended the Well Water School. She has very fond memories of the school, including having Ms. Patteson as a teacher and playing “Annie Over” and baseball outside of the school. My grandmother, Hazel Ragland Miles, also attended the Griffin School, a one-room school that was originally located behind the current location of the Mary F. Clark Store on Slate River Mill Road. It was eventually moved, according to John Griffin, and located on Banton Shop Road about 1,000 feet off of Slate River Mill Road. Thanks again for your research and posts—I love all of them.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 15 2014 12:47 pm

      Jordan, Many thanks for your heartfelt comments. My ancestor, John T.L. Woodson, taught at Well Water when there was just a one-room schoolhouse there, so it is a special spot for me. More in weeks to come about Well Water and other schools in Buckingham County. Joanne

  4. blueridgehistory / Sep 15 2014 9:51 am

    Beautiful view of a moment in the life of this school and community. Thank you, Joanne, for providing a forum to bring these these images and memories into the light of a new day.

    • Joanne Yeck / Sep 15 2014 9:54 am

      It’s my pleasure! Joanne

  5. Joanne Yeck / Sep 15 2014 9:20 am

    Bill ~ Many thanks for the additional information about Clayton Davidson.

  6. Bill Davidson / Sep 15 2014 9:16 am

    The Clayton Davidson in the photo was a member of my Davidson family. Information from Ruby Talley Smith shows that he served in the Air Force in Japan. His father was Russell Edward “Fox” Davidson, and his grandparents were Benjamin P. Davidson and Lula Ann Garrett. Like me, this line “traces back” to my ggggg-grandparents Hezekiah Davidson (died about 1793) and Tabatha Childers of Cumberland Co., VA.

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