City Directories and History: While visiting Historic Brattonsville, Dr. Phil McDaniel, the Rock Hill School Supt. Dist. #3, and Wade B. Fairey, Sr., the long-term Executive Director of the site, began discussing means of creating meaningful programs for students in the York County School systems. Emerging from that afternoon’s meeting both the Carroll School preservation project and the Brattonsville Academy came to fruition.
The Carroll School house, a Rosenwald school for rural African-American students living in the rich agricultural area of York County known as the “Black Jacks”, was for a time under the leadership of Rock Hill School District teacher, Mrs. Melanie Hornsby, who inspired thousands to visit and learn at the center. In 2012, the York County Cultural and Heritage Museums took over the operation of the school project and in 2015 the Rock Hill School District once again resumed teaching opportunities at the rural school.
Historically, the school building at the intersection of Mobley Store Road and Williamson Road was a Rosenwald school known as the Carroll School. It was built in the early 1920s from monies collected by area residents to match a $1,000 grant from the Rosenwald Chicago philanthropist and president of Sears, Roebuck and Co., Mr. Julian Rosenwald, for rural education in the South. The “Rosenwald Schools” were built from standardized blueprints and used the three-teacher plan — having three classrooms and an industrial room. Besides their basic educational needs, the girls learned cooking while the boys undertook tool making and farming techniques. The structure is a single story rectangular, lateral gable building with an entrance bay porch at the front. [Historic Properties of York County, SC – 1995]
Turning back toward Rock Hill we came by the Duncan farm and stopped for a moment’s chat with John Henry Duncan, who is perhaps the oldest citizen of that community. Mr. Duncan lived in the “Black Jacks” when there were not very many white neighbors there and few are there now who were there when he was a young man in the community. (The following is taken from A. M. Grist’s weekly column, “Just A-Rolling Along the Way,” published in the Yorkville Enquirer, Dec. 6,1931. John K. Scoggins acted as Grist’s guide.)
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