Frederick W. Neve: Mountain Mission Education in Virginia, 1888-1948
Davison, Dexter Ralph, Department of Education, University of Virginia
Wagoner, Jennings, Department of Education, University of Virginia
Williams, Alan, Department of Education, University of Virginia
Comfort, Ronald E., Department of Education, University of Virginia
Pietig, Jeanne, University of Virginia
Hackett, Peter, University of Virginia
The purpose of this study was to examine the mountain mission school movement of the Episcopal Church in Virginia between 1888 and 1948. The life of the founder and sustainer of the movement, the Venerable Frederick W. Neve, D.D. (1855-1948), is so inextricably tied to this movement that the study also consists of a biography of Neve. Although public education became law in the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1870, hundreds of children who lived in the Ragged and Blue Ridge Mountain area of that state did not have access to schools. Sporadic efforts at establishing public schools did occur in these mountains, but with little success.
In 1890, Neve opened his first mission in the Ragged Mountain area near Charlottesville. Within the next decade, Neve expanded his missionary work to the Blue Ridge Mountains, where he found hundreds of families living without access to schools, churches or proper medical care. By 1908, Neve had opened twelve schools in the mountains. The educational work of the Church continued to expand until 1920, when there were over thirty missions, including twenty day schools and one boarding school, the Blue Ridge Industrial School at Dyke, Virginia for mountain children. In addition to the schools, Neve opened hospitals, chapels and community centers to form educational- communities that dramatically altered the lifestyles of thousands of mountain people.
With the advent of better roads, the expansion of the state's public school system and the opening of the Shenandoah National Park, the need for the mission schools no longer existed. Indeed, by 1936, each of the mission day schools either had been closed or had been taken over by the state. Blue Ridge School continues to exist as a boarding school for boys.
This study thus chronicles Neve's accomplishments and disappointments as a Christian educational missionary, examines the efforts and impact of missionary teachers recruited to serve a people in an isolated region inadequately served by public schools, and portrays changes in lifestyles and learning among the mountain people as a consequence of the work of the missionary teachers.
PHD (Doctor of Philosophy)
Episcopal Church, Virginia
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