Asheville Home School
|Title||Asheville Home School|
|Alt. Title||Asheville Normal and Affiliated Schools|
|Alt. Title||Dedication of the Florence Stephenson Building|
|Creator||Home Mission Monthly|
|Subject Keyword||Florence Stephenson ; Asheville Home School ; William Goodell Frost ; Southern Appalachian mountains ; Appalachia ; moonshine ; education ; preaching ; religion ; quilts ; homespun ; weaving ; "poor whites" ; Asheville Normal School ; Samuel Jeffrey ; George Vanderbilt ; Grace Dodge ; Dr. and Mrs. D. Stuart Dodge ; Dodge Chapel ; William H. Lord ; architecture ; architects ; Gallatin Roberts ; Rev. Lewis McKendree Pease ; Ann Pinney Pease ; Dr. David Stuart Dodge ; Elizabeth Boyd Dodge ; Dr. Thomas Lawrence ; Presbyterian Women's Board ; Women's Board of Home Missions ;Mrs. Lawrence ; Miss Mary Johns ; Mrs. Byers (Miss Stephenson's sister) ; Miss Melissa Montgomery ; Miss Elizabeth Williams ; Miss Frances Goodrich ; Miss Bickerstaff ; Marion P. Hallock ; Dr. R. F. Campbell ; Young Women's Christian Association ; YWCA ;|
|Subject LCSH||Asheville Home School -- Asheville -- North
|Description||Pages from the Home Mission Monthly that record the dedication of the Florence Stephenson Building on the campus of the Asheville Normal and Affiliated Schools, Asheville, NC. Included are excerpts from speeches and a roster of attendees. The Asheville Normal and Affiliated Schools were predecessor institutions of the University of North Carolina Asheville.|
|Date||Date digital: August 23, 2008 ; Date original:|
|Type||text ; images|
|Source||Series 27: Pine Mountain Settlement School, Scrapbook- to 1929. Reproduced with permission.|
|Relation||William Goodell Frost articles ; Kentucky Virtual Library collections <http://www.kyvl.org/>
Berea College Southern Appalachian Archives < http://www.berea.edu/library/Special/saarchives.html>
Transylvania College Archives <http://www.transy.edu/libspcoll.html>
Univ. of KY Appalachian Archives <gopher://gopher.uky.edu/1MENU%20LIBRARY%21191/APPAL.INFO>
3D Pine Mountain Settlement School <http://www.kingdomcome.org/maps/pmss.html>
National Historic Landmarks Database <http://tps.cr.nps.gov/nhl/detail.cfm?ResourceId=1756&ResourceType=District>
|Coverage||Temporal: ; Spatial: Southern Appalachians|
HOME MISSION MONTHLY
special training and a year was spent in the New York City Mission Training School (Interdenominational). We learn with interest that she was the first one trained for service outside their own department of work in the city. Their board waived their rule to meet her request, and thereafter enlarged their scope to include training for home and foreign missions.
When asked by the Presbyterian Woman's Board to state preference of field, the privilege of making choice was declined. The Board then assigned her to Alaska, but Dr. and Mrs. D. Stuart Dodge, having had credentials of many applicants put in their hands to help find a principal for Home School, soon to be opened at Asheville, North Carolina, chose her. Special preparation for the new feature of industrial work was made by a number of months' study and practical training in the institution, that year opened by Miss Grace Dodge, Mr. George Vanderbilt, and others at 9 University Place, New York, and named the Industrial Educational Association, which within a few years was the nucleus from which grew Teachers College on Morningside Heights. Appointment for Asheville was made April, 1887; work as principal was- begun September of the same year; and school opened October 5th, that date since known and commemorated as Founders Day.
For thirty-one years Miss Stephenson held this important position. Her resignation from Asheville Home School in 1918 was accompanied by the statement that by September, 1919, she would be ready for service in some position demanding less responsibility than that of principalship. Her one condition was that it be not near Asheville, lest her presence hinder those to whose care her former work had been assigned. The Woman's Board made her principal emeritus and commissioned her to teach social hygiene in their boarding schools where girls are being educated. For three years she did this work, remaining two months in each school. In September, 1922, she was called to the principalship of New Jersey Academy, Logan, Utah, where she has consented to remain another year.
In so limited a sketch it is possible only to touch the high places of so many years' service in this southern mountain field. One says of her: "I am simply overwhelmed when I think of what God has done through this one small woman with a mother heart so big that she has never known people enough to love and help. Reverently I say that she has been as God's hand stretched out to uplift my sisters in the North Carolina mountains—nor to help them alone. One day she will see a mighty army, gathered from the four corners of the earth, reached directly or indirectly through her influence and prayers."
In the progress of years I think of her as linking the past with the plans of the present and hopes of the future. New projects were graciously submitted to Dr. Pease and Dr. Lawrence for approval. Radical changes were effected, not with meteoric flash, but rather by the silent, steady processes with which nature usually operates.
For friendship embracing all ages, temperaments, and conditions, with a constancy which survives the shock of events of years, she has great capacity, while her faculty members gladly attest her appreciation and the inspiration it was to them. Circumstances made it necessary for one vivacious young woman to sever her connection just before the opening of the second year's engagement. In expressing her sense of personal loss thereby, this college graduate added, "It does not seem fair to leave just as you have licked me into shape."
High spirited, she was known to an intimate as "Fire Opal," and, by way of contrast, impression made upon a man accustomed to reading character, was of "great reserve power," while another man of vigorous type was heard to say to her, "I believe in you like thunder and lightning." And others voice their thought in regard to her: "To have known Miss Stephenson is an almost tangible asset in one's wealth of experience, a truly important addition to one's possession of faith in herself, in others, and in God. The qualities which stand out as I try to phrase what she meant to me as a teacher, and means to me now as a friend, are her wise firmness, her fine dignity, and the simple loving humanness that characterizes her dealings with others, always marked with that indispensable part of a powerful and loved personality—a keen and kindly sense of humor." The Pine Knot, ever burning to serve others, calls forth this tribute: "To me, Florence Stephenson is first of all a lighter of torches. The outstanding trait of her character, as I have known her for many years, has been her ability to impart to those who have come under her influence something of her own spiritual possession, not as radiating from her personality or confined to it, but as a gift, so lighting in other souls the Flame which has burned with such radiance in If own."
Between two lines of pupils, faculty members and guests marched across the campus headed by Dr. Calfee, president of Asheville Normal and Affiliated Schools, and Mrs. Bennett, president of the Woman's Board of Home Missions
Dedication of Florence Stephenson Building
Mayor Roberts told how he had watched the institution for years with unbounded admiration and said he thought no other single influence had done so much toward making educational standards in the "new North State."
Miss Marion P. Hallock spoke on behalf of the faculty in appreciation of the new building, which will afford increased opportunity for service. She pledged the faculty to carry on the same ideals on which the school was founded.
Miss Edwin Padgett, a member of the senior class of Normal School—chosen to represent the student body on the program, since she had been a Pease House girl, had continued through Home School, and was now completing the Normal course—gave a full outline of opportunities offered in the Asheville schools and told how the pupils when at home demonstrated to their parents that money devoted to education was not an expense but an investment.
It was a special delight, at the close of Miss Stephenson's "Historical Sketch," to have a number of those associated with her in the early days of the school stand in a group to receive greetings;
The dedicatory address by Dr. Cleland B. McAfee set high standards for those who will use the building and those who are financially responsible for its maintenance. The special phrase used in addressing the Home School pupils touched many deeply—"If you live in God's building, be God's girls."
The architect, Mr. W. H. Lord, handed the keys of the completed building for official acceptance to the president of the Woman's Board. All Board members and officers stood while Mrs. Bennett made the address of acceptance. In this she pledged the Board in the words of an African, saying, " 'The vow made yesterday will be kept to-day' and to-morrow and on."
Dr. Calfee, in accepting the building for service, used Paul's words to Timothy, "Keep that which is committed to thy trust," as fitting the spirit of the girls going forth from the schools.
Dr. R. F. Campbell, pastor of the First Presbyterian Church, Asheville, offered the dedicatory prayer, after which all joined in singing the
Dedication Hymn written by Mrs. D. E. Waid.
* * * * *
The dedication of the Florence Stephenson Building was the real reason for ten women leaving New York for Asheville, but the short
Fronhorses and plows began the excavation to the daythe building was pronouncedvisit also gave opportunity to see the student body of each school at work and at play. We left the train at Swannanoa that we might see Farm School. The boys, themselves, took charge of assembly hour, one making an address of welcome, others singing, and the one who had won the state declamation championship giving his declamation. After luncheon, cooked and served by the boys, we went over the farm and listened to boys who in turn explained the special project for which each was responsible.
Motor cars took us to Asheville in time for the dinner given by the Rotary Club in the new building. Our great pride was not in the fact that there was a dining-room large enough to seat two hundred at one time, but that our own Normal School girls cooked and served the meal, in a manner approved by all.
Saturday morning the girls had charge of the
assembly hour and showed themselves fully as poised and capable as had Farm
Dr. McAfee preached in Dodge Chapel Sunday morning. One of the finest experiences of the days was the afternoon hour when Dr. McAfee, as a member of the Board of Foreign Missions, met in this home mission school the thirty-five student volunteers for foreign missions. In addition to these thirty-five, thirty are pledged for home mission service, seventeen to become nurses, and 124 to be teachers. Thus 206 out of 306 students in the Normal and Home Schools are definitely pledged to Christian service— a record not surpassed in many institutions. We left these schools encouraged over the possibilities in the boys and girls of the southern mountains and with a great longing in our hearts to give more of them this opportunity for a Christian education.
Historical Sketch of Asheville Home School
Extracts from address by Florence Stephenson at the dedication of the new building which bears her name.
A FEW years ago the Young Women's Christian Association [YWCA] of this city observed their jubilee and I was called to give a historical sketch. As I left the platform, a former Home School girl met me and said, "I enjoyed your speech more than any other part of the program because I knew every word you were going to say." To the audience to-day the history of this campus is well known, for here are present members of the Woman's Board, members of the faculty, the student body, some students of past years, and citizens of Asheville. Trusting that you are in the same frame of mind as was that young girl, I will rehearse a few facts.
When Mr. and Mrs. Pease first found their way to Asheville in 1872, before a railroad extended farther than Old Fort, they drove over what we would now consider impossible roads. For many years these servants of the Master had been at work in the most difficult of fields at Five Points, New York City. They sought quiet rest at Asheville, then an almost unknown resort. Not many years later Mr. Pease's health failed and they again came to the mountains of North Carolina, not as sojourners for a little time, but to make their home here.
Having always been generous beyond their ability to give, they possessed little means, but since all money is the Lord's and at His disposal, He evidently directed one of his servants to bestow a generous gift upon these two, who had given their all and themselves to His service. This made it possible for Mr. and Mrs. Pease to purchase a home—the first they had ever owned. Looking about, they saw this hilltop, covering thirty acres, and paid the purchase price, $5,000. The only building located thereon was a small cottage with four rooms, which is the nucleus from which the Home School grew. These weary servants of the Master had come here, as they believed, to rest for the remainder of their lives, and named their home "Sunset House."
Driving about the country, they learned, more and more, the educational needs of this section, and were stirred to do something for the betterment of the boys and girls of the mountains. Asheville was becoming known as a health208
resort, and they decided to enlarge their house and take boarders, to the end that they might receive girls to train in housewifery and to read and write. Their house became the most popular in town, and friends from the North as well as South came to be their guests. They employed about ten girls from the mountains. Mrs. Pease and some of the guests taught them a part of each day, and it was a great satisfaction to see the progress made in character and learning.
As time went on they desired to found a permanent institution and devised the plan of offering their property to an organization willing to pledge itself to carry on school work and to pay them an annuity during the few years remaining to them in this world. They talked with many friends of their desire to establish a school on a permanent basis and found a responsive chord in the heart of Miss Elizabeth Boyd, who had spent some winters with her invalid mother in Columbia, South Carolina, where she had gathered around her young girls whom she taught to read and write and whom she instructed in kitchen-garden classes. At Columbia, South Carolina, Dr. D. Stuart Dodge met Miss Boyd, who afterward became his wife. Her zeal in service for Southern mountain girls never wavered. She stirred the heart of her husband and informed the Woman's Board of Home Missions of the great need for Christian education among these people.
In conference with the Woman's Board, it was decided that if Dr. Dodge furnished a site for a school for girls, the Woman's Board would supplement the funds needed to support students, providing these girls did as much as they were able toward defraying expenses.
Dr. Lawrence had been a guest at Sunset House, and Mr. and Mrs. Pease had confided to him their plans and hopes. He told Dr. Dodge of the ideal situation at Asheville, which he thought could be secured. Dr. and Mrs. Dodge came to see Mr. and Mrs. Pease and arrangements were made for the transfer of the property. Agreement was made that Dr. Dodge pay an annuity during the lifetime of Mr. and Mrs. Pease and the deed passed into the hands of the Board of Home Missions. In my last conversation with Dr. Dodge, he expressed great satisfaction because he had been able to meet the material needs of these saints of God who had given themselves to the work, and at the same time see schools established and fostered for young people of the mountains.
Besides paying this annuity, Dr. Dodge built our beautiful chapel in memory of his wife and from time to time has bestowed most generous gifts. His gifts have been abundantly blessed because bestowed by the living hand instead of waiting to leave a cold endowment fund.
Through the Woman's Board thousands of contributors of small sums have been supporters of this institution. It has ever been near to the heart of the Church. All students, as far as able, have helped to meet their own expenses and, I dare say, in this have attained about the same percentage of self-support as do young people in our state universities and our public high-schools, supported by public funds, or in our colleges.
Within one week after Home School opened, Captain Thomas W. Patton came to call and gave money for a school. His was the first evidence of sympathy and faithfulness at the hands of the business and professional men of Asheville.
Home School began its work, October 5, 1887, with sixty boarders and sixty day pupils, because there was as yet no public school in Asheville. Enlargement of the house was going on when the school opened, and we literally stood, wherever we could find a place, and the house was built around us. Twice more additions were made and we were always crowded to the limit.
All through its history the church and the school have been one, and I recall no communion service where there were not some boys and girls who confessed Christ. Through their loyalty and service they have strengthened all denominations in this section and in all States of the Union.
In 1891 Mr. Pease went North and secured considerable money to erect the Normal building, because there was at that time no State Normal School. In 1892 Dr. Thomas Lawrence, who had done such signal service in founding the Home School, was called as superintendent of the Normal School—a man beloved, admired, trusted, honored by all. Mrs. Lawrence was the first principal of the school, and both for sixteen years continued there in service.
I wish time permitted to tell of the beginning of Farm School; of the boy who said to me: "I reckon we are as much account as the girls— I think you might have a school for us"; of the self-sacrificing gifts made by girls of Home School, which amounted to little in money but were great in the Master's sight; of the boy in New Rochelle, New York, who gave the money he had been saving for months to buy a pair of skates. It was these little gifts which inspired New Jersey Synodical Society to set aside two thousand dollars, and Dr. Dodge to offer the balance needed to purchase the farm. Mr. Samuel Jeffrey, a graduate of Cornell University, was called to take charge of the work. The school was opened in 1893 with Miss Hadden as teacher and Miss Williams, who soon came, is still with us.
Long after Home School had branched out into the Normal School, Pease House was built for little girls and first occupied in 1908.
Of the building to be dedicated to-day, I can find no words adequate to express my feeling. I can simply say, for the girls now housed in this beautiful and substantial structure and the future generations that will come into it, I thank the Woman's Board and those whose gifts have made it possible. I am not unmindful of the architect's painstaking plans and careful attention to the work all these months, nor of the workmen who have labored so faithfully, nor of the responsibility borne by President Calfee.
My only feeling of regret is that the Woman's Board and others would insist on doing undeserved honor to my name. I would have chosen to honor the founders and faculty members to whom greatest credit belongs, the sixty or seventy members of Home School and Pease House who during my administration stood loyally and faithfully by the work and without whom I could have done nothing—women called of God, equipped by the Holy Spirit. One by one, I should like to call these names, but can mention only a few outstanding ones: Miss Frances Ufford; Mrs.Hanford Lockford, then Miss Ingersoll; Mrs. Calvin A. Duncan, nee Miss Eleanor Montgomery; Miss Melissa Montgomery, now the beloved and efficient principal of Laura Sunder-land School; Miss Elizabeth Calvert, who inaugurated our domestic art department and Miss Bickerstaff, the domestic science work; Miss Mary Johns, for a score of years my beloved and efficient assistant; Miss Josephine Bundy, my successor, and towering above us all in ability to teach; Miss Byerly, a beloved daughter of Home School, who when Pease House was organized in 1908, was called to serve there and some years later was married to S. R. Newman in our chapel on this campus; Mrs. Byers, who for ten years was sister in service as well as sister indeed; Miss Jeannie S. Fuller, so efficient and successful wherever her lot is cast, and who, with the other two named made Pease House the joy of my heart. Of the long procession of facility members before my vision some are here to-day; many are far distant, but with us in thought. Others have gone
"Where loyal hearts and true stand ever in the light, All rapture through and through, in God's most Holy sight."
No doubt many of us feel, as did the Home School graduate who a few years ago, in writing me, said: "As the time draws near for me to leave old Home School, I feel like I am leaving a dear friend. To me the Home School is not an old wooden building, but a living, throbbing presence ever with me." May all who go forth from the building dedicated to-day take with them the spirit of the institution as a permanent possession.
I close with words quoted from Mr. Pease's farewell address to us when leaving the campus:
"Finally, whatever importance we attach to judicious measures for temporal, social, and moral improvement, may we and our successors never forget the eternal necessity of religion to the welfare of created beings, nor cease to make it our paramount object to bring them to a saving acquaintance with the Gospel of Christ. Upon this depends the worth, as well as the success of all our labors; failing of this, or of an influence tending thither, our toil and our treasure will be as water spilled upon the ground. Bible instruction, daily devotion, weekly divine service, and Sunday schools must be established as an unchangeable part of our| system, and should be attended to with the fervor and zeal appropriate to the pursuit of 'Man's chief end.' May the Gospel in its purity and spirituality, and the devoutly invoked presence of the Divine Spirit never depart from this institution; but may it end, as it began, in simple, humble effort for the salvation of souls."
To-day these five founders of this institution— Rev. Lewis McKendree Pease, Mrs. Ann Pinney Pease, Dr. David Stuart Dodge, Mrs. Elizabeth Boyd Dodge, Dr. Thomas Lawrence—are dwelling in their heavenly mansions, yet we would fain believe that they know of and, with us, rejoice in the development of the Normal and Associated Schools which under the present administration extend an influence even beyond their wonderful vision at the beginning—
"More things are wrought by prayer Than this world dreams of."210