From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

African American Schools in Garrard County, KY

According to author Richard D. Sears, there was a freemen's school in Garrard County, KY in 1869  conducted by Berea student Angus Burleigh. This may be the same school that was established between 1866 and 1870, an American Missionary Association School in Lancaster. [See NKAA entry Freedmen Schools, Kentucky.]

In 1880 Joseph Chavis was a school teacher in Brandy Springs, and Samuel Logan was the teacher at Bryantsville [source: U.S. Federal Census]. In 1895, there were 14 colored schools in Garrard County [source: Biennial Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, 1895-1897, pp. 376-379].  The average attendance was 431; they were taught by 15 teachers during the 1895-96 school term. In the 1896-97 term, 426 students were taught by 16 teachers. The teachers' average monthly wages were $45.28 for males and $46.00 for females during 1895-96; in 1896-97, average month wages were $37.40 for males and $30.50 for females. 

In 1898, L. A. Leavell was removed as head of the Lancaster Colored School and replaced by R. W. Fletcher; he was assisted by Miss Willie B. Lackey. In 1900, James A. White was principal of the Lancaster Colored School; the teachers were Miss Mary V. Richey and Miss Willie B. Lackey. The school year closing exercises were held at the courthouse with E. M. Embry gave the graduation address for the five students who completed the common school course. Embry was an African American lawyer in Richmond, KY and editor of the Rambler newspaper. In 1906, H. E. [Howard Enos] Murrell was the teacher at the Lancaster Colored School. The school building had burned years before, so the school was held in a location that limited the number of students. The new school was located on Totten Avenue. 

In 1912, there were 152 students enrolled in the Lancaster Colored School. The principal, J. H. Burns, oversaw teachers Dora Beverly of Alabama and Isabel Overstreet of Lancaster. In 1923, the teacher at the Marcellus School was Mr. George Gaines [source: "K. N. E. A. Enrollment, 1923," Proceedings of the Kentucky Negro Educational Association, April 18-21, 1923, p. 59]. Prior to 1924, students who wanted to go to high school had to pay tuition to attend at Bate High School in Danville or some other city, so parents petitioned the school board for a colored high school in Lancaster [source: Tommie Merritt oral history interview, #810H72, History of Garrard County Schools, housed in the Eastern Kentucky University Oral History Collection]. 

In 1925, there was a colored high school in Lancaster; J. P. Griffey was the principal [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1925-1926, p. 40]. A Class 3 high school, it had one teacher and nine female students. Lancaster High School, later known as Mason High School (1950), opened in 1939 in Duncantown with two teachers for the 56 students. The school was within the Lancaster Independent School System [source: Kentucky Public School Directory, 1939-40, p. 501]. Mrs. Tommie F. Merritt was a teacher at the school and also served as principal from 1944 until the Garrard County schools were integrated in 1964.

The Negro teachers in Garrard County in 1940 were Henry Kincaid, Susie Letcher, Lilly B. Mason, Cabel Merritt, Charles Payne, Carl M. Peters, Virginia Peters, and William Smith [source: U.S. Federal Census].

For more see "Closing of Colored School," Central Record, 5/11/1906, p. 1; "Colored School closes," Central Record, 4/26/1912, p. 1; "The Colored School," Central Record, 3/1/1900, p. 1; "Change in Colored School," Central Record, 1/7/1898, p. 1; p. 65 in Garrard Countyby R. M. Fox; and A Utopian Experiment in Kentucky, by R. D. Sears, p. 91.

  • Freemen School
  • Lancaster American Missionary Association School, supported by the Bureau
  • Colored Schools (14)
  • Boone's Creek School [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]
  • Brandy Springs School
  • Bryantsville School
  • Davistown School [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]
  • Flatwoods School [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]
  • Lancaster School
  • Lowell School [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]
  • Marcellus School
  • Mason School
  • Scott's Fork School in Buckeye [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]
  • White Oak School [source: A Proposed Program for the Reorganization of the Garrard County Schools (thesis) by Colonel Hammonds]

Kentucky County & Region

Read about Garrard County, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Kentucky Place (Town or City)

Read about Lancaster, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Boones Creek, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Brady Springs, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Bryantsville, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Davistown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Flatwoods, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Lowell, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Marcellus, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Buckeye, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about White Oak, Kentucky in Wikipedia.
Read about Duncantown, Kentucky in Wikipedia.

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“African American Schools in Garrard County, KY,” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 12, 2024, https://nkaa.uky.edu/nkaa/items/show/2644.

Last modified: 2023-01-13 21:53:29