Write Again…The Bingham School subjects

Published 11:47 am Wednesday, March 3, 2021

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Sarah Paul Cox, aka Sally, aka (by me) my incomparable first wife, is the granddaughter of the late Albert Mayhew Paul, on her maternal side of the family. He was born in 1890 and died in 1954.

Perhaps you recall a fairly recent column in this space about the Bingham School. Actually, I “borrowed” a column written decades ago by News & Observer columnist Charles Craven.  I gave him attribution.

Well, should you now wonder, if there is a concatenation between Mayhew Paul and the Bingham School, there is.  

You see, Mayhew went there in 1908-09. The school was established in 1793, “and located since 1891 on the Asheville Plateau” according to the “Report of Cadet” forms his parents received regularly.

Under the heading “Report of Scholarship” is a listing of all subjects offered at the school, and Mayhew’s grades for those he was taking. According to the grades he received for the period ending November 18, 1908, he was a very good student. Very.

Let me list the subject offerings of the school: 

  • English – Spelling, Writing, Grammar, Composition;  Reading, Dictation;  Rhetoric, English Literature.
  • History – U.S. History, Civics, English History, General History, Roman History, Greek History.
  • Geography – Political Geography, Physical Geography.
  • Latin – First Year, Second Year, Third Year, Fourth Year.
  • Greek – First Year, Second Year, Third Year.
  • French – First Year, Second Year.
  • German – First Year, Second Year.
  • Spanish – First Year, Second Year.
  • Mathematics – Arithmetic, First Year, Second Year;  Algebra, Sophomore, Junior, Senior; Geometry, Junior, Senior; Trigonometry, Senior.
  • Commercial Science – First Year, Second Year.
  • Physics – First Year, Second Year.
  • Chemistry – First Year, Second Year.

On Mayhew’s report he received five (5) demerits. It noted that “Demerits do not always indicate the grade of conduct, as they may result from mere carelessness or thoughtlessness, without any bad spirit.”  

The “cadets” wore uniforms.

Sally and I spent two nights at the Bingham School, to attend a family wedding. No, not in Asheville, but the former school located just outside Chapel Hill. This facility is used as an event venue now, and is scenically situated on really lovely grounds, away from any vestige of commercialism.  

I never knew then that there was another Bingham School at one time. Did the two schools ever operate at the same time? That I don’t know.

Mayhew’s wife, Nellie Miles Paul, was a prolific writer of poetry. She was a genuine talent.  Two volumes of her poetry are now at Brown Library. Her first grandchild, Paul, collected and published her works, wonderfully illustrated.

Thanks for spending time with me.