North Carolina Era 7: New South – 1876 - 1900: Subscription Schools in Western North Carolina Lesson Plan
LESSON: Subscription Schools in Western North Carolina
UNIT: Era Seven – New South – 1876 - 1900
- The learner will analyze two primary source documents.
- The learner will gain an understanding of the use of subscription schools in Western North Carolina.
- LEARNING TARGET: I can explain how subscription schools served the needs of families in the 19th century.
- Time needed: 20 minutes
- Materials/Equipment: Copies of the original document (and transcription) from 1876 and the transcription from 1877 for pairs of students.
- Ask students what a ‘subscription school’ was. Many will be able to guess simply from the name. [a short term school in which parents paid for their students to
- Give each pair of students’ copies of the subscription school from 1876 and 1877 and have them read through them
- Ask the following questions:
- When and where was each written? [November 14, 1876 and March 1, 1877, both in Madison County, NC.]
- What levels would be taught in the schools? How would we differentiate between those levels today? [Primary, Intermediate, Upper level – generally, elementary, middle and high school levels]
- How much would each level cost? How was payment accepted other than cash (specie)? [$1.00, $1.25, $1.50 per month; could barter with produce at market price]
- How many students were enrolled in the winter session? The spring session? Why might this be? [winter – 31 ½ ; spring – 11 ½. This could
simply be that children were needed for farm work. Some students may indicate that some parents were not satisfied with the work in the winter
- What might be a ½ student? [this could be for attending ½ of the time or it could be for ½ of the courses available]
- What do you believe would be the effect of these schools? Was this a reliable form of income for the teachers? [answers will vary]
- Why do you believe that regions needed to have subscription schools? [students may recognize that schooling was uneven during the time of reconstruction – some places had free public schools and other did not. In some areas the only public schools were primary schools.]
- Assessment will be from class participation and discussion.
- The J. B. Lunsford in these documents is the father of Bascom Lamar Lunsford.
- Southern Appalachian Archives – Lunsford Collection
- According to From These Stones: Mars Hill College First Hundred Years by John Angus McLeod page 99
“The figures following the names of the subscribers represent the number of pupils they agreed to send and/or support. For example, one subscribing one-half pupil was entitled to send one pupil half time. A subscriber paying for one pupil might send three pupils one-third time each. Sometimes in these subscription schools a man with a large family might subscribe one pupil and send a number of his children to the school at