67_I shall never forget the oft repeated prayer
Image by Jim Surkamp
Hamilton Hatter Part 2 – Books Are The Holy Road TRT: 25:43s
Read script with matching images –
(music) Mother of limestone fountains! My heart goes back with the setting sun — My heart, my heart is in the Mountains!
2_The “Most Excellent” Hamilton Hatter
The “Most Excellent” Hamilton Hatter (1856-1942) Part 2 (music) Once enslaved near Charlestown, Virginia,
3_seizes opportunities to learn and overcome
Hamilton Hatter seizes opportunities to learn and overcome. At one college he builds young minds and even its buildings –
4_then launches another college in his beloved West Virginia
then launches another college in his beloved West Virginia again – building minds – and buildings. But first he had to overcome. (music)
5_and I can rejoice now in the belief that THE SCHOOL WILL GO ON
"and I can rejoice now in the belief that THE SCHOOL WILL GO ON!”
6_The children were of both sexes, ranging from three to twenty years of age
The children were of both sexes, ranging from three to twenty years of age, neatly and comfortably clad, well fed, healthy, and cheerful,
with an uncommon array of agreeable and intelligent countenances peering over the tops of the desks.
8_Northern journalist John Trowbridge came to Charlestown
Northern journalist John Trowbridge came to Charlestown in the early summer of 1865, a war-worn town
9_with its ruins and seething
with its ruins and seething and six months before Hatter’s school was opened there.
10_Trowbridge arrived at Charlestown
Trowbridge arrived at Charlestown in about May, 1865 expecting nothing in particular.
11_At the end of a long hour’s ride
At the end of a long hour’s ride, we arrived at Charles Town, chiefly of interest to me as the place of John Brown’s martyrdom.
12_on the edge of boundless unfenced fields
We alighted from the train on the edge of boundless unfenced fields, into whose melancholy solitudes the desolate streets emptied themselves – rivers to that ocean of weeds. The town resembled to my eye some unprotected female sitting,
13_sorrowfully on the wayside
sorrowfully on the wayside, in tattered and faded apparel, with unkempt tresses fallen negligently about features which might once have been attractive.
14_On the steps of a boarding house
On the steps of a boarding house I found an acquaintance whose countenance gleamed with pleasure
15_“at sight,” as he said, “of a single loyal face
“at sight,” as he said, “of a single loyal face in that nest of secession.” He had been two or three days in the place waiting for luggage which had been miscarried.
16_the sentiment toward secession throughout the County before the Civil War varied widely
While Jefferson County, West Virginia is still small, the sentiment toward secession throughout the County before the Civil War varied widely, with the hotbed of secessionist sentiment in the area around Charlestown and adjacent large farms.
17_“They are all Rebels here – all rebels!”
“They are all Rebels here – all rebels!” he exclaimed as he took his cane and walked with me. “They are a pitiable poverty-stricken set, there is no money in the place, and scarcely anything to eat.
18_We have for breakfast salt-fish, fried potatoes and treason
We have for breakfast salt-fish, fried potatoes and treason. Fried potatoes, treason, and salt-fish for dinner. At supper, the fare is slightly varied, and we have treason, salt-fish potatoes, and a little more treason.
19_My landlady’ s daughter is Southern fire incarnate
My landlady’ s daughter is Southern fire incarnate; and she illustrates Southern politeness by abusing Northern people and the government from morning ‘till night, for my especial edification. Sometimes I venture to answer her, when she flies at me, figuratively speaking, like a cat. The women are not the only out-spoken Rebels, although they are the worst.
20_The men don’t hesitate to declare their sentiments
The men don’t hesitate to declare their sentiments, in season and out of season.” My friend concluded with this figure:
21_The war feeling here is like a burning bush with a wet blanket
“The war feeling here is like a burning bush with a wet blanket wrapped around it. Looked at from the outside, the fire seems quenched. But just peep under the blanket and there it is, all alive and eating, eating in. The wet blanket is the present government policy; and every act of conciliation shown the Rebels is just letting in so much air to feed the fire.”
22_The day Hamilton was born
The day Hamilton was born in April, 1856,
23_36-year-old Frank Hatter appears to be working
his father 36-year-old Frank Hatter appears to be working one of Washington family homesteads in the County and
24_his mother 30-year-old Rebecca McCord was working
best evidence indicates his mother 30-year-old Rebecca McCord was working with the family Edward and Anne Aisquith, at their Charles Town home at Liberty and East (today Seminary) Streets.
25_or with Rebecca’s parents, William and Maria McCord, who lived in Kabletown, and being neighbors of the large landowner there, Logan Osburn.
It’s not clear whether Hamilton, his brother George (who was born in 1853) and his sister Charlotte (born in 1858) lived with their parents or with Rebecca’s parents, William and Maria McCord, who lived in Kabletown, and being neighbors of the large landowner there, Logan Osburn.
26_School is the Holy Road
School is the Holy Road Overcoming in Hamilton Hatter’s Charlestown, Va. – 1865-1868
27_Once the Free Will Baptist Home Mission Society established a school
Once the Free Will Baptist Home Mission Society established a school to teach those now freed,
28_Hamilton each day would walk to the school
Hamilton each day would walk to the school in Charles Town for freed African-Americans where
29_he would commit the revolutionary act
he would commit the revolutionary act of learning to read, write and think critically,
30_setting his footsteps on the long, hard but enthralling roa
setting his footsteps on the long, hard but enthralling road to high scholarship and achievement.
31_Anne S. Dudley, was one of several young women
December, 1865 – Anne S. Dudley, was one of several young women coming from Maine borne by their Free Will Baptist faith to start Mission Schools in places like Charlestown.
32_They were determined to free the minds
They were determined to free the minds of just freed African-Americans –
33_and in 1860 27 per cent of the County’s residents were enslaved persons
and in 1860 27 per cent of the County’s residents were enslaved persons. Many had gone during the war. Dudley, also a graduate of Maine Seminary in 1864,
34_and two other teachers
and two other teachers who would teach at Charlestown
35_came down by ship and train
came down by ship and train,
36_likely with with Baptist religious tracts.
likely with with Baptist religious tracts.
37_Miss Phebe Libby and Mrs. M. W. Smith
Miss Phebe Libby and Mrs. M. W. Smith would teach in the Charlestown Mission school too.
38_Dudley wrote Silas Curtis December 23, 1865
Dudley wrote Silas Curtis December 23, 1865 from Harpers Ferry, about eight miles from Charles Town: “I am going to Charlestown to open a school there next week.
39_The spirit that hung John Brown still lives
The spirit that hung John Brown still lives, and the people are strongly opposed to schools for the Freedman there, as well as here.
40_I go alone
I go alone, but I trust the law and the Lord will shield me.”
41_townspeople at best were OK with teaching
More exactly the townspeople at best were OK with teaching
42_but having refined women in public association
those once enslaved, but having refined women in public association with those they once had enslaved breeched a hackneyed assumption.
43_lady of the town to associate with such a woman such as Miss Dudley
And for a lady of the town to associate with such a woman such as Miss Dudley from elsewhere – worse still from a Yankee state – would be a social suicide in Charlestown.
44_Dudley wrote: “I could get no permanent boarding place for nearly two months”
Dudley wrote: “I could get no permanent boarding place for nearly two months (for it would have been a lifelong disgrace to board Yankee teachers and the
45_there could be no return to friends and society
Rubicon once passed, there could be no return to friends and society, no more than over the hills of caste in India, as public sentiment was then)
46_so I was there alone
so I was there alone, boarding myself and teaching day and night,
47_until I had 150 scholars of all ages and complexions”
until I had 150 scholars of all ages and complexions” teaching the rudiments of reading to all “from white to black,
48_and of all ages
and of all ages, from four to fifty-five years.” For this shunning, Dudley could only find board and a school room all
49_freed African American blacksmith
under the single roof of freed African American blacksmith Achilles Dixon and his wife.
50_southeast corner of Samuel and Liberty streets
It was located on the southeast corner of Samuel and Liberty streets.
51_The Freedmen’s Bureau
The Freedmen’s Bureau – officially the Bureau of Refugees, Freedman, and Abandoned Lands – helped. First organized in July, 1865, – a month after Trowbridge’s visit –
52_crucial role enforcing the rights
the Bureau extended its jurisdiction to the Eastern Panhandle seeing the need and played a crucial role enforcing the rights of the
53_when the West Virginia state government was unable
newly freed and their teachers at a time when the West Virginia state government was unable to do so, especially in Jefferson County.
54_the Bureau paid Miss Dudley’s rent
In fact, the Bureau paid Miss Dudley’s rent so she could have a school room, albeit only fifteen square feet. After being confronted with a mob, the troops with the Freedmen’s Bureau gave her an escort.
55_Nights, she slept with “a good axe and six-shooter”
Nights, she slept with “a good axe and six-shooter at the head of my bed at night,
56_resolved to sell my life as dearly as possible – if need be
resolved to sell my life as dearly as possible – if need be.”
57_to replace the ground-breaking Dudley with two teachers
Overwhelmed by work that prompted the Home Mission Society to replace the ground-breaking Dudley with two teachers instead of one in the spring of 1866, Dudley had written that February:
58_No one can ever know the anxiety I have felt
“No one can ever know the anxiety I have felt, and the effort I have had to make these two long months, since I came here, occupying a rough log house, cold as a barn, teaching and boarding in the same rooms because I could not get board elsewhere, sleeping there with no man or boy in the house for single night, while the enemies of the school were threatening without, and not knowing what the next hour might bring; hearing a hundred different scholars recite lessons in a single day. doing my own work, receiving company, writing letters, etc. etc. and I can rejoice now in the belief that IT WILL GO ON!”
59_Every day coming through the little door
Every day coming through the little door was her fondest hope.
60_Strother described them
Strother described them: The room is always full to overflowing.
61_reduced one-half owing to the necessity
In summer the attendance is reduced one-half owing to the necessity of the older pupils going on to service,
62_remunerative labor of some sort
or engaging in remunerative labor of some sort.
63_comfortably clad, well fed, healthy, and cheerful
The children were of both sexes, neatly and comfortably clad, well fed, healthy, and cheerful, with an uncommon array of agreeable and intelligent countenances peering over the tops of the desks. They were also remarkably docile, orderly, and well mannered,
64_rudeness pertaining to the street-corner brat
without a trace of the barbaric squalor and rudeness pertaining to the street-corner brat of former days, occasionally found nowadays among those who didn’t go to school.
He goes on:
65_since the Emancipation Proclamation
While the majority of the pupils have come into existence since the Emancipation Proclamation, there is still a number older than that event, and some whose recollections antedate the great war. Yet in their career of schooling they have all started even.
66_It may also be observed that the great scholars are usually outstripped by the little ones
It may also be observed that the great scholars are usually outstripped by the little ones, which only goes to confirm the generally received opinion that young plants are more easily transplanted and trained than older ones more absolutely true in mind and morals than in horticulture.
67_I shall never forget the oft repeated prayer
Dudley wrote to "The Morning Star," the Free Will Baptist publication: All the colored people manifested the greatest kindness towards us. I shall never forget the oft repeated prayer: “O, Lord, bless the teacher that comes a far distance to teach us. Front and fight her battles and bring her safe home to Glory, if you please Jesus.”
The focus shifted to having a permanent school building. State law, due to amendments in 1865, segregated students by race. State law by 1867, also required moving the task of providing education to African Americans
68_from the mission schools to the local school board.
from the mission schools to the local school board. But before a reorganization removed the Freedman’s Bureau altogether from Jefferson County in October, 1868,
69_the new school, providing some 20,000 bricks and cash for materials
Bureau leadership prodded the Charlestown’s school board to building the new school, providing some 20,000 bricks and cash for materials to match revenues the township school board was to collect to build the permanent school for its African Americans. The school under new management opened in time for the fall session in 1868.
70_The Freedmen Bureau men also engineered a suit. It led to a decision by Unionist-leaning Judge Ephraim B. Hall in the Tenth District of the circuit court reaffirming the right to an education for African Americans in that circuit. The ruling was then circulated and became becoming a de facto policy throughout the state.
71_Another teacher (Sarah Jane Foster) wrote in her diary: “And here, I must confess that the teachers at Charlestown and Shepherdstown vehemently assert that the colored people of their charges will compare favorably with any. Appearances at Charlestown indicate as much.”
72_Wrote Strother how the School Board finally came around
Wrote Strother how the School Board finally came around, tossing their low expectations: The County Commission of Examiners report most favorably of the general intelligence exhibited by the colored pupils, and of their progress in all the elementary branches of common-school education.
73_One of the bright faces in the classroom
One of the bright faces in the classroom to benefit was the inquisitive Hamilton Hatter, who saw
74_his world opening
his world opening and vast through reading, it was the road to his future.
With generous, community-minded support from American Public University System. (The sentiments in this production do not in any way reflect modern-day policies of APUS). More at apus.edu
Researched, Written, Produced, Narrated – Jim Surkamp
"My Heart is in the Mountains" from Lantern in a Poet’s Garden, Poem by Daniel Bedinger Lucas (public domain) Music by Terry Tucker, c (the copyright symbol) 2010, GHF Music, (terrytucker.net)
Cam Millar – Tumble Blue 2, Waterdogs 1 (cammillar.com)
Shana Aisenberg – twelve-string guitar, banjo copyright Shana Aisenberg. (shanasongs.com)
children playing, hand bell, crickets – from “free sfx.uk.com”
Burke, Dawne R. (2006). “An American Phoenix: A History of Storer College from Slavery to Desegregation,” Pittsburgh, PA: Geyer Printing House.
Crayon, Porte. (Strother, David H.) “Our Negro Schools” Harper’s New Monthly Magazine, New York, NY: Harper and Bros. Volume 49 Issue 292 (September, 1874).
Lucas, Daniel B. (1913). “The land where we were dreaming, and other poems of Daniel Bedinger Lucas.” Kent, Charles William, joint ed. Boston MA.: The Gorham Press.
“Sarah Jane Foster: Teacher of the Freedman, The Diary and Letters of a Maine Woman in the South After the Civil War,” Picton Press: Rockport, ME., 2001, Wayne E. Reilly editor.
Stealey, John E. “The Freedmen’s Bureau in West Virginia.” West Virginia History 39 (Jan/April 1978): 99-142.
Taylor, James L. “A History of Black Education in Jefferson County, West Virginia, 1866-1966.”
Trowbridge, John T. (1866). “The South: a tour of its battlefields and ruined cities, a journey through the desolated states, and talks with the people: being a description of the present state of the country – its agriculture – railroads – business and finances.” Hartford, Conn., L. Stebbins.