1906 Industrial Issue - Education in Lenoir  

Contributed by Martha Mewborn Marble


This Industrial Issue of the Kinston Free Press was published in 1906 although there was an earlier Industrial Issue published in 1899. The issue is composed of both text and numerous pictures of places and people. This will be a slow project so please be patient.

We are grateful to the Free Press for permission to post anything of historical or genealogical in nature published prior to 1939.


Consists of three members with County Superintendent as Executive Office. Great progress made along Educational lines. Old and New School Buildings.

NOTE: Above in a box

The public schools of Lenoir county are to be accounted one of its chief assets. Within the last few years great progress has been made in educational affairs in the rural districts; and cuts appearing in this issue will give occular demonstration of the improvements made in school buildings.

This speaks well for the men who are conducting our county system, as well as the State educational affairs. Our county superintendent of Public Instruction is Rev. C. W. HOWARD and the county Board of Education is composed of Dr. R. H. Lewis, chairman, and Messrs. F. R. HODGES and H. H. DAVIS. Superintendent Howard devotes his whole time to the work of the schools, and his efforts are supported by a wide- awake board.

Our first county superintendent was JAMES W. HARPER, a graduate of the University of North Carolina, lawyer, teacher and editor of the Kinston Journal, a predecessor of the Free Press. He was an active superintendent and served for about two years. He was succeeded in office by J. Y. JOYNER, now State Superintendent of Public Instruction. Capt. W. S. BYRD next occupied the office for six years and died before his term expired. Col. W. D. POLLOCK was elected to fill the unexpired (sic) term.

In June, 1890, Rev. C. W. HOWARD, the present incumbent, was made superintendent. He served until 1895, when the office was abolished by the fusion legislature. From 1895, until 1899 there was no Superintendent of schools; but for two years during this period, E. G. TYNDEL was county Examiner and for two years, E. A. SIMPKINS was County Supervisor. In 1899 the Assembly re-established the office of County Superintendent, whereupon Rev. C. W. HOWARD, again became superintendent, and has remained in office continuously ever since, his present term expiring in July 1907. This length of service has given Mr. HOWARD a familiarity with the school system and its requirements, which together with his native and acquired ability, makes him a very valuable executive officer in our county educational system.

Since the establishment of the public school system the following gentlemen have at different times served on the County Board of Education: Dr. H. D. HARPER, Sr., O. K. HOWARD, W. H WOOTEN, D. C. MURCHISON, C. W. HOWARD, E. J. BROOKS, S. H. ROUNTREE, R. K. NOBLE, C. L. ROUNTREE, J. W. DALY, J. B. SMITH, E. G. TYNDAL, Dr. F. A. WHITAKER, W. B. NUNN, W. O. MOSELEY, S. I. WOOTEN, in addition to the present board.

To these gentlemen great credit is due for their efforts freely given to build up the school system to its present state of efficiency.

There are to-day in the county, forty districts for the white race and twenty-four for the colored race, outside Kinston and LaGrange, which have graded schools. In 1904 the total school tax levy in the county was $13,566.33. Of this $9,818.26 came from polls and property of white citizens, and $2,237.10 came from polls and property of colored citizens.

The county owns thirty-eight school houses for the white race, worth about $10,000 and twenty-two for the colored race worth about $2,500.

There are fifteen rural libraries in the county. These are composed of choice books adapted to children of public school age, and their circulation has done much to quicken popular interest in education and make it more attractive. It is the plan of the present school officials to consolidate schools so far as possible, and to employ assistant teachers wherever needed. Thus they have placed two teachers in each of eight schools, in the county. All the schools are graded according to plans furnished by the State Superintendent. The school term is not shorter than five months in any district in the county; and in some of the districts it is even longer than five. Nearly all the teachers employed have had special training in summer schools, or teachers' institute. Teachers' institutes have been held in the county under the supervision of the superintendent each year for a number of years, with the exception of last year; and this year superintendent hope to conduct a summer school of four week duration.

The superintendent visits the schools regularly and furnishes teachers with blanks and manuals; he lectures the schools, advises with the teachers, and in many ways aids the teachers and the school committees in the performance of their duties. During the term, teachers meetings are held for the discussion of school problems, besides the longer and later gathering in an institute or summer school.

The equipment of the schools in being improved from year to year, and the time has come when a boy or girl of the country (sic) districts can remain at home and attend the district school, and thereby obtain a fairly good preparatory education. To those who care to come among us and make homes, we can offer for their children a system of good schools, as a whole, which are steadily improving under the leadership of a persistent, energetic, conscientious county superintendent and county board of education, whose representations appear in connection herewith.


Dr. RICHARD HENRY LEWIS, of Kinston, second son of Dr. JOHN WESLEY LEWIS and wife CATHERINE (nee BATTLE), was born in the county of Edgecombe, NC., three miles east of Ricky Mount, on December 21, 1832.

His family removed to Warrenton in 1837, and from there to Raliegh (sic) in 1839.

In this city his father soon became one of the prominent physicians. RICHARD was sent to school continuously, most of the time to the, then famous Military School of JAMES M. LOVEJOY, until July 1848, when he entered the University graduating with the degree of A. B., in June 1852. Among his classmates were Senator Z. B. VANCE, Gov. THOS. M. HOLT, Rev. S. MILTON FROST, D. D. (now of Harrisburg, Pa.), Judge WILLIAM A. MOORE, Hon. W. B. BARNES. State Treasurer of Florida, Hon. CHARLES S. BRYAN, of Arkansas (brother of Judge H. B. BRYAN), Major J. W. WILSON, Civil Engineer, who projected the Western N. C. railroad through the Blue Ridge, and others who attained high rank as officers in the Confederate army.

He taught school for two years. Then began the study of medicine, graduating April 1856, in the Medical Department of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia.

He continued the practise (sic) of medicine for fourteen years, excepting the short time that he served in the Confederate service, as captain of Co. K, 15th N.C.T. He was forced to resign his commission from severe and continued ill health. His practice of medicine included seven years in Edgecombe county, NC, and seven years in Halifax county, Va.

When he gave up the medical profession in 1869, he and Rev. R. H. MARSH, D. D. were principals of St. John's College, at Oxford, NC.

He was elected for two terms president of "N.C. Teachers' Assembly."

After December, 1869, until June of the past year he has been without an interval, in continuous service as a teacher. He presided over in the course of forty years Judson College at Hendersonville, NC, Kinston College, St. John's (previously mentioned), and Mills River Academy in Western N.C.

There is probably no man in this section of North Carolina who is more widely known and honored as a teacher of preparatory schools that is Dr. LEWIS. His pupils are counted by scores in various sections of this and other States; and now he frequently receives letters from his former "boys" or "girls" who have grown up to maturity, and are working their way handsomely in the world. They all love to honor him.

At present, Dr. LEWIS is chairman of the County Board of Education for Lenoir, and as such is zealous in looking after the interests of our public schools. He has spent a long useful life in the service of his fellowman; and his usefulness is by no means diminished to-day, although (sic) he has retired recently from the arduous duties of the school room.


HERBERT W. DAVIS, a member of the County Board of Education from Trent, is one of the best citizens and most progressive farmers of Lenoir county. He is well worthy the long line of honorable ancestry to which he belongs. He has never sought political preferment, but has for some years been an honored member of the County Board of Education.

His grandfather, Hon. WINDAL DAVIS, frequently represented this county in our State legislature, prior to the Civil War. His father, Capt. J. S. DAVIS, did valiant service in the Civil War and had four brothers killed in the army.

Mr. Davis married the accomplished daughter of Col. JOHN ISLER, of Wayne County, and their happy home is the synonym of hospitality.

Besides his large farming interests, Mr. DAVIS owns a cotton gin, a corn and wheat mill, and a saw mill. The capacity of the corn mill is 125 bushels a day; of the wheat mill 75 bushels; of the saw mill, 3000 feet of lumber per diem; and of the cotton gin, eleven bales a day.


Our county superintendent of public instruction, Rev. C. W. HOWARD, of Southwest township was born in Pink Hill township, October 28, 1853. His parents moved to South West when he was only three months old. His father was a respected and successful farmer of South West.

The subject of this sketch was educated in Kinston, under Dr. JOSEPH H. FOY, and at the Wilson College. After he left school he went to Kinston was associated with Dr. R. H. LEWIS in the Kinston Collegiate Institute where he taught mathematics. While under the tutelage of Dr. FOY, he studied for the ministry, and later became a preacher in the Disciples Church.

His charges are now Armenia, in Jones, Wheat Swamp in Lenoir, Salem in Pitt, and Riverside in Craven.

Since 1890, when Mr. HOWARD first became county superintendent, the school system has made more rapid advancement. The schools have increased in length about forty per cent. Prior to his election to the position of superintendent, the school term was only three months in the county. The terms are now five and six months. The school buildings and school furniture have improved and salaries have increased, thereby inviting better talent to enlist in school work.

Superintendent HOWARD married Miss NANNIE DIXON COWARD. The children of this happy union are Miss ANNA LOUISE, teacher of languages at the Atlantic Christian College, Wilson, N.C.; JOSEPH VICTOR, who graduated at the University of North Carolina in June 1905, and who is now studying medicine; RUTH L. and NANNIE DIXON, now at the Atlantic Christian College; CURTIS WILLIAM, a student at the University; and Paul Noble who is at home.

Mr. and Mrs. HOWARD live at "The Oaks," a comfortable and attractive home, a few miles from Kinston. In connection therewith, Mr. HOWARD ownes (sic) a farm of about 120 acres, 60 of which are under cultivation, producing corn, cotton and home supplies.

Mr. HOWARD devotes practically all his time to the schools, where he is doing excellent work.

In addition to the other attractions of the home are the art productions of Miss HOWARD, who is an A. B. graduate of Randolph Macon Woman's College. Her work in oil, pastel, burnt wood and water colors are a very high grade, and she has attained much success in the painting of china, her decorations being exquisite.


FRANCIS ROLAND HODGES, of Institute township, is a member of the County Board of Education. He is now a resident of Institute township, where he has a neat home and a happy family. He was born in Falling Creek township, April 12, 1865.

Mr. HODGES completed his education at the LaGrange Institute. He is a good farmer and a first class business man. He has been a member of the County Board of Education for two years, and is an member of the Christian church. He owns about 1,500 acres of land, and has about 1,000 acres under cultivation. Besides his large farming interests, he owns a sawmill with a capacity of 4,000 feet of lumber a day. He operates a 60 saw cotton gin, having a capacity of 12 bales a day. He usually has about 100 head of hogs; keeps 15 horses and mules, and raises his home supplies - all of which spells "success." On his home place, Mr. HODGES has three flowing artesian wells, bored to an average depth of 92 feet. One of them is located on the highway near his house and this is a boon to the traveling man or beast.

Mr. HODGES married Miss JULIA M., daughter of JOHN T. and HATTIE DALY. The children are HATTIE, BESSIE, CLAIRE and JOHN DALY.

1906 Industrial Issue