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October 10, 2019 / Joanne Yeck

Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute: A Reminiscence

 Brown’s Chapel. Photo by Joanne Yeck.

In 1902, The Richmond Dispatch published the following reminiscence of the once remarkable Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute:


Reminiscences of Buckingham Female Institute and Its Teachers.

GRAVEL HILL, BUCKINGHAM COUNTY, VA., November 29. — (Special.) — But few are now left to tell of the good old times seen at the old Buckingham Female Institute at this place.

The war broke the school up and the buildings have all been torn down with the exception of the president’s house, and the central portion of the main school building. The property is now owned by Mr. John Chandler, formerly of Maryland.

Your correspondent saw a binder cutting wheat over what was, in the days before the war, the flower garden and the promenade grounds. Just across the public road, in front of the Institute, is Brown’s Chapel, Methodist Episcopal Church, South, and the same old bell that was used at the Institute is hung in the belfry, and sounds as well now as it ever did.

Dr. John C. Blackwell was the last president the school had, and Major Garland B. Haines [sic], of “Humanity Hall,” near Eldridge’s Mill Post-office, was business manager and one of the teachers. At one time over two hundred and fifty young ladies attended school at this place. Dr. Blackwell is buried on a hill west of the institute. His grave is enclosed by a very neat iron railing. Major Haines is buried at “Humanity Hall.”

Stonewall Lodge, No. 200, Ancient, Free and Accepted Masons, at one time met in a room in the old institute building. The same gavel now used by this lodge at Arvonia was used at that time. It was at this place that the Buckingham Institute Guards were mustered into the service of the Confederacy. Captain James C. Haines, the captain of the company, and Mr. Jacob A. West, the first lieutenant, are still living in the county.


For much more about Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute, consult my essay, “A Noble Idea: Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute,” in At a Place Called Buckingham.”

To learn more about Humanity Hall, see my essay “Elijah G. Hanes and Humanity Hall Academy,” in At a Place Called Buckingham,” Volume Two.



Leave a Comment
  1. Eric Buschmann / Oct 11 2019 7:03 pm

    This is Eric Buschmann. I live on property joining the Browns Chapel Church. The history of this area at Gravel Hill and Buckingham County is so interesting to me. Keep up the good work and the articles coming. Thank you so much.

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 12 2019 8:43 am

      Hello Eric,

      Thanks for the kind words and for joining us at Slate River Ramblings!


  2. Kelley Ewing / Oct 11 2019 10:15 am

    It really was remarkable!

    • Joanne Yeck / Oct 11 2019 2:39 pm


      Indeed it was!



  1. Buckingham Female Collegiate Institute 1857, Part III | slate river ramblings . . . .

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