Education

 

Reverend William McWhir became headmaster of Sun­bury Academy in 1791. He replaced Reverend Reuben Hitch­cock, who remained at the school as a teacher. McWhir was a Presbyterian minister, a native of Ireland, graduated from Belfast College, and was licensed to preach by the Presbytery of Belfast. He emigrated to America in 1783, settled in Alex­andria, Virginia, and for ten years was principal of an academy of which George Washington was a trustee, and whose step­children he taught.

 

Reverend McWhir raised the standards of Sunbury Acade­my until it became one of the best schools in Georgia. He married Mary Lapina Baker, widow of Colonel John Baker, and they had no children

 

In the early years of the nineteenth century, there was a demand for some sort of public education in all parts of Georgia. The only system of public education approved by the state legislature was privately operated schools. The only such school in Liberty County was Sunbury Academy.

 

 

Walthourville Academy

Walthourville Academy was incorporated by the General Assembly in 1823. Its first commissioners were Samuel J. Axson, Brigadier General Daniel Stewart, Thomas Bacon, Thomas Mallard, and Samuel Smith. The school house was built on property donated for the purpose by Andrew Walt­hour. The first headmaster was Edward Pyncheon.

 


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 27-31; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office 

 

 

 

Taylors Creek Union Academy / Liberty InstituteIn 1833 the General Assembly of Georgia incorporated the Taylors Creek Union Academy with Eli Bradley, Enoch Daniel, Robert Hendry, James Laing and William H. Martin as trustees. The school operated continuously, except for a short time during the War Between the States, until the community came to an end in 1941, when it was included in the Fort Stewart area.

 

Among the early teachers were the Reverend Moses W. Way, his son, Moses, the Reverend John W. Turner, Samuel J. Andrews, Joseph I. Daniel, Miss Alice Wilson, George Mills and James Robert Hendry, who substituted.

 

When the high school was added to the academy, the name was changed to Liberty Institute, and it became one of the most recog­nized schools in the state. Ministers, doctors, lawyers and business leaders received their early education here. Mell A. Morgan, a graduate of Emory College, was employed as principal from 1887 until 1889. Other teachers until 1900 included M. A. Morgan, George Dorough, Miss Clifford Daniel, Alex Geiger, Elias Benton, J. W. Twitty and William E. Rambo.

 

Poor Schools, the forerunner of public schools, were estab­lished by the General Assembly on December 21, 1833. The schools were for children of those parents financially unable to send them to a tuition school. The Liberty County Infer­ior Court was given the responsibility of setting up the schools, and collective farms when such help was needed. There were Poor Schools in Liberty County by the winter of 1834, but no collective farms were ever established in the county.

 


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 27-31; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office 

 

 

 

Tranquil Academy, which later became Tranquil Institute, was incorporated at Flemington, by the General Assembly in 1835. Its first trustees were Robert Quarterman, Ezra Stacy, Simon Alexander Fraser, and William J. Way.

 

In 1875 the Georgia Department of Education said that Tranquil Academy had one teacher, 19 pupils, and the monthly tuition rate was not recorded.

 


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) 27-31; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office 

 

 

BI graduation 1888Bradwell Institute was established in 1871 from the Hinesville Academy which was organized in 1841. The academy was closed during the War Between the States but was reopened and reorganized following the war by Samuel Dowse Bradwell, the son of Colonel Bradwell and Isabelle Fraser Bradwell. He was captain of the Liberty Volunteers, a military organization in the county. The name, Bradwell Institute, was given the new school honoring the founder of the first school in Hinesville.

 

 

First School Commis­sioner

  

John Boyd Mallard (1808-1877), son of John and Lydia Mallard of Liberty County, became the first schools commis­sioner of Liberty County in 1872. He graduated from Sunbury Academy, and attended the Theological Seminary at Colum­bia, South Carolina. He was a teacher at Walthourville Union Academy, principal of the Midway Female Seminary in Baldwin County, Georgia, and a professor at Oglethorpe College. He was a deacon in Midway Church, and an historian.

 

The citizens of Liberty County were taxed $2.79 per $1,000 worth of property they owned for school purposes in 1875. The Georgia Department of Education says that there were five privately owned schools for white students in Liberty County in 1875.

 

 

Consolidation Of Schools (1919-1930)

 

In 1919 the county had 98 public elementary schools (white & black), and a public high school. Bradwell Institute charged tuition and received state and county funds. Dorches­ter Academy charged tuition and was supported by a mission­ary organization and others, but no state and county funds.

 

The school consolidation was a slow process because the Liberty County Board of Education had to construct five new school buildings with funds provided by taxes and the issuance of bonds in some cases. School buses were needed for four of the schools. Some were owned by the county, while others were privately owned and leased to the county.

 

This is how the consolidated school system for white students in Liberty County appeared in 1930 after ten years of constant effort by the Liberty County Board of Education:

 

Fleming Elementary School: Erected in 1922. It had an auditorium, two classrooms, and two teachers. It was located in the eastern part of the county 15 miles from Hinesville.

 

Bradwell Institute Elementary and High School: Erected in 1926. It had an auditorium, 13 classrooms, and 13 teach­ers. Its consolidation eliminated schools at Flemington, Pine Grove, Palmetto, Allenhurst, and Gum Branch, and Walt­hourville. It was located three blocks from" courthouse square in Hinesville.

 

Dorchester Elementary and Junior High School: Erected in 1927. It had an auditorium, four classrooms, and three teachers. Its consolidation eliminated schools at Sunbury, Colonels Island, Riceboro, and Jackson Chapel. It was lo­cated in the coastal part of the county 16 miles from Hines­ville.

 

Taylors Creek Elementary and Junior High School: Erect­ed in 1930. It had an auditorium, four classrooms, and three teachers. The consolidation eliminated schools at "Millwood Sunny Glen, and Sardis. It was located in the upper part of the county seven miles from Hinesville.

 

 

Liberty County Board of Education Reports 

  

The Liberty County Board of Education reported in 1943 that approximately 2,500 children were enrolled in Liberty County public schools. They were taught by 83 teachers. The number of students at Bradwell Institute increased from 439 in 1940 to 672 in 1943.

 


From "Sweet Land of Liberty, A History of Liberty County, Georgia" by Robert Long Groover; Page(s) Epilogue; Used by the permission of the Liberty County Commissioners Office

 

LIBERTY COUNTY GEORGIA

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Mailing Address

Liberty County Historical Society
PO Box 982
Hinesville, GA  31310

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