History of Sandy Hollow School

This article was published in the Hampshire Review
on May 10, 1950.


Following is the paper prepared by the pupils of Sandy Hollow School at Purgitsville, of which Mrs. Nellie George is teacher, in the history of one-room schools contest in which Mr. Cornwell offered prizes amounting to $100. This paper was adjudged the best and was, therefore, awarded the first prize of $50. The other papers will be published as space and time permits.

The first school in this community was located in Mill Creek District, Hampshire County, two and one half miles south of Junction, West Virginia, and one mile southeast of Route 28 (Moorefield Junction road) where the Sandy Hollow Schoolhouse now stands. The first school was named Hawkie for the earliest settlers in this vicinity were people by the name of Hawks.

The building was constructed in 1832 by George Bobo. It was built of logs. The roof was of clapboards held in place by wooden poles and pins. The building was 18x19 feet, with three windows, one on the north, one on the west, and one on the south and a door on the east. It is believed the first lighting was of greased paper, but later changed for glass 8x9 inches. The building was heated by a combination heater and cook stove and was manufactured at the Old Furnace on what is now known as the Nelson Kelley farm in Mineral county near Russelldale.

The furnishings were as poor as was the building. Seats were of split logs with broad surface hewn smooth turned up and supported by pole legs. Seats had no backs and were often too high for many of the pupils' feet to rest on the floor. The only writing desk was a long slab fastened to the wall by wooden pins.

This was a tuition-paying school. The teacher circulated a subscription paper which served as a contract, binding parents or guardians to send children for a three-month term at ten cents per day per pupil.

The old Hawkie served as a church as well as a school and many denominations used it as: Brethren, Christians, United Brethren, and Methodist. Many couples were married there.

The following four names are the only known teachers who taught in this school: Captain John Kline, Jacob Statton, Granville Shoemaker and Ezra Ludwig.

This old log structure which served as church and school is still in use. It is now the south-west room of Charles T. Rinker's residence.

School continued from 1832 to the closing term of 1861, the outbreak of the Civil War, then church and school both were discontinued during the war and the building became a dwelling.

Soon after the Civil War ended a new building was erected just 300 feet southwest of the Hawkie, alongside of Camp Run and was named Camp Run School. The run had gotten its name because George Washington and his surveying party camped on this run.

The Camp Run School was the first free school here. It was built by John W. Hartman in 1868 or 69. The building is 18x24 feet with two windows on either side and one is in the end back of the teacher's desk, protected by shutters and a door with a transom. The roof was wooden shingles. The outside was weatherboarded with wide pine boards that run up and down instead of long ways. The interior is lined with planed, tongue and grove lumber. The lining at the back on either side of the end window was painted black and served as a black-board. It has shingle floor and a rostrum which served as a pulpit, for it was used for a place of worship until 1897. The equipment was very meager; it consists of home made desks, a cedar water bucket with its brass bands, dipper and ax. The cloaks were hung on wooden pins driven into the wall on either side of the door. The holes can still be seen, but minus the wooden pins.

The building was heated by a Woodlawn stove, fuel was supplied to the school in poles and the older boys cut it into stove length, often these boys or young men, as we would call them today, were in their twenties.

The school term of 1886 there were 67 pupils enrolled, and there were not enough seats so slabs were used to make benches which were placed along the walls and the pupil used his lap as a desk. We wonder today how they crammed 67 pupils in this building, for we feel crowded with 25 that are enrolled this year.

In the year of 1897 the district board and people of the community decided to have the building moved one mile south-west so it would be more in the center of the school community. The job was contracted to Jacob E. Miller for one hundred ($100) dollars to tear it down and build it again, with the men of the community hauling the material from one site to the other free. Even the rock foundation was moved. The last mentioned site is on Route 28 Moorefield Junction road, where the old building now stands, which is 81 or 82 years old and still in use, but it was no longer called Camp Run but got the name of Sandy Hollow because of its location.

The rostrum has been removed, a metal roof has taken the place of shingles, blackboards have been added, but one can peep behind the modern blackboards and still see the painted wall which at one time was used for this purpose. The interior received a coat of paint last summer which added much to the attractiveness of the room.

The furniture and equipment consists of teacher's desk, single desks for pupils, reading table and chairs, bookcase, bulletin board, wall maps and globe. A water cooler has taken the place of the old water bucket and dipper.

The following is a list of the teachers at Camp Run and Sandy Hollow: Sue Sheetz, Maggie Sheetz, Frank Barnes . . . [text cut off] . . Hamilton, Martha Leatherman, Miss Wade Blerkamp (?), Freddie Blerkamp (?), Maurice Shanholtz, Victor Hiett, Thomas Spencer, Lonnie Poland, James Kelley, Sallie Fleming, Addie Brodie, Miss Sydenstricker, Myrtle Purgitt Whiteman, Miss Rightstine, Julie Hill, Margaret Clower, Mrs. Ferrell, Jane Shoemaker, Maude Davy, Sarah Mae Davey, Florence Cheshire, Ettie High Bane, Mae Ludwig Breinig, Bill Smith, John Smith, Sudie Smith, Maude Hockman, Gorda Saville, Kathleen Noland, Mrs. E.W. Noland, E.W. Noland, Hale Burgess, Ruth Racey, Eulalah Van Fleet Harris, Louise Pugh, Jim Short, Edna Rowen, Mrs. Glenn Powell, Everett Truman, Mary Coughenour, Mrs. Harry Lewis, Henrietta Loy, Sarah Feaster, Bessie Arnold and Nellie George.