Write Again … Jeopardy or Family Feud?

Published 5:01 pm Wednesday, November 30, 2022

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This week’s column, friends, is a result of more than a little collaboration. For sure.

Included in this joint effort are Steve Cochran, more formally Colonel W.S. Cochran, USMC; Ray Midgett, whose decision to relocate here a while ago and who has become, serendipitously for us, an outstanding historian of our region.

Especially informative, the main point of this endeavor is a piece titled ‘Memories’ – Looking Back on Earlier Days in Washington.’

Confused? Think my use of full and partial quotes is questionable? I offer no defense. I am too.

To further confuse, let me pass along the preface to ‘Memories’:

This article is a very brief outline of the history of education in Washington, North Carolina. The information in it comes from a paper written years ago by Mrs. Eva Kornegay.  There are probably very few of us still around who are familiar with that name.

Perhaps for those who find this boring, may I suggest you watch “Family Feud,” a real intellect stimulant.

Now, a bit of the ‘Memories’ piece:

‘From our beginning some people had been able to secure an education, either by tutors in the home or by attending private schools spotted about the town. There have always been such schools. They continued even after the establishment of our public graded schools, for many people were prejudiced against free schooling, so private schools continued to thrive. (There seemed, even then, to be no lack of prejudice. What a surprise.)

We had here a state-chartered Academy from 1808. (For brown and black children? What do you think?)

So, the beginning of our public school system here in Beaufort County was laid off into twenty-seven districts, with Washington being no. 15. Monies could only be used for purchase of school sites and the erection of school houses or the rental of same.

The first school committee was composed of Eli Hoyt, Benjamin Runyan, and Thomas H. Blount. The last name of each of these men is extant even today.

Now, there is a lot of esoterica relative to all this that I could, but won’t, share with you. Please feel free to thank me for that.

Let me conclude this non-sequential endeavor by providing these dates:

A public graded school was eventually begun, with the “whole burden of


running the school assumed by Mr. W.Z. Morton. He became known as the ‘Father of Education’ in Washington.”

Long before this point in my scribblings I suspect you got MEGO,’ that is, “My Eyes Glaze Over.” I know I would have.

To end our misery here, let me share dates of interest about our schools: In 1942 enough tax was approved to build the Old Ford School. Then in 1952 Washington High School was included in the tax distribution. John C. Tayloe (1960); Eastern Elementary in 1966; and racial integration was achieved in 1968.

Those of you still hanging in here have probably gotten ‘MEGO’ again. I know I would have.

Thanks again to Col. W.S. Cochran; Ray Midgett (much more than an ‘amateur’ historian; Mrs. Eva Kornegay; Mr. Jim Ellison and Miss Lucretia Hughes.

If I have left anyone out, please accept my apologies; and thanks also.