46 History of Wake Forest College
by taxation to help extend the service of the subscription schools that
were kept in many school districts. On the reorganization of the
government under the constitution of 1868, S. S. Ashley, a native of
Massachusetts, was chosen State Superintendent of Public Instruction,
but while showing some qualifications for his post and genuine
interest in education he failed to elicit any substantial cooperation. It
was October 1, 1869, before the legislative act for their operation
went into effect and seemingly some months later before the schools
were
opened.2
The best that Superintendent Ashley could report for
the first year, from incomplete returns, was 666 schools, 683 teachers,
$42,862.40 paid in teachers' salaries, total number of pupils 24,465, of
whom 8,801 were white males and 7,742 were white females, number
of frame houses 56 and of log school houses 154. Throughout the
early seventies the condition of the public schools remained de-
plorable (Ashe). For this the general apathy of our people rather than
lack of interest of public officials was chiefly
responsible.3
Doubtles
another contributing factor was the unwillingness of our people and
their representatives in both branches of the Legislature to provide
free education for negro children.
In addition to the subscription schools already mentioned, interest
in education during these years found expression in academies of
which many were in operation in the State. Among these were several
of the ante-bellum Baptist associational academies-the Warsaw
Academy under the direction of Rev. Isham Royall, Bethel Hill under
Rev. T. J. Horner, Mt. Vernon Springs under Rev. A. J. Emerson, the
Reynoldson Institute under the direction of J. M. Taylor until his
death in 1868,
―――――――
2
Biblical Recorder, October 14, 1868: "It is a remarkable fact that we are paying
$200 a month for a Superintendent of Public Instruction while no public instruction
is imparted." From message of Governor W. W. Holden, November 16, 1869: "The
system of public schools contemplated by the Constitution, and provided by law, is
nearly ready to go into operation."
3 Governor Holden's interest is indicated in the following: "Surely the State can
afford two dollars per head per year. The State may be poor, but a poor state can
least of all afford to be ignorant. Poverty without intelligence becomes degradation,
misery, crime; no state can afford such results." See also the messages of Governor
Holden and Governor Caldwell, in Legislative Documents No. 1, 1866-67 to 1871-
72.
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