A Guide to the

Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908

SC 0238

Compiled by: Tiffany Cole, April 2017

 

Descriptive Summary

 

Repository: Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University

Title: Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908

Collection No.: SC 0238
Creator: Unknown

Extent: 2 legal folders; .08 cubic feet

Language: English

Abstract: The Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908, is comprised of one bound volume of notes on Dr. Benjamin Mosby Smith’s lectures; the constitution, by-laws, and meeting minutes of the Johnsonian Lyceum (meetings were held at Copp’s Schoolhouse in Maurertown, Virginia which was located in the Johnson Magisterial District); and unrelated personal property lists of Shenandoah County residents.

 

Administrative Information

 

Access Restrictions: Collection is open to research. Researchers must register and agree to copyright and privacy laws before using this collection. Please contact Research Services staff before visiting the James Madison University Special Collections Library to use this collection.

Use Restrictions: The copyright interests in this collection have been transferred to the James Madison University Special Collections Library. For more information, contact the Special Collections Library Reference Desk (library-special@jmu.edu).

Preferred Citation: [identification of item], [box #, folder #], Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908, SC 0238, Special Collections, Carrier Library, James Madison University, Harrisonburg, VA.

Acquisition Information: This collection was purchased on Ebay in February 2017 from a seller in Clemmons, North Carolina.
Processing Information: Loose pages were removed and foldered separately. These items include a multi-page inventory of personal property sold, presumably from the estate of George M. Conner, and a note with calculations.

Bio/Historical Note:

Given that the creator of the Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger is unknown, the following biographical/historical note is written in general terms.

Copp’s Schoolhouse, originally located east of Route 11 on Route 600 in Maurertown, Virginia, was one of the oldest schools in Shenandoah County. The land for the school site was provided by Nicholas Doll ca. 1807 and was originally known as Doll School. The school functioned as a church and a school and also hosted other gatherings. At least for three dates in February 1867, Copp’s Schoolhouse hosted the weekly meeting of the Johnsonian Lyceum, an organization comprised of local men who would pose and discuss esoteric topics. Copp’s Schoolhouse eventually closed as the school age population shifted and other neighboring schools were built. The schoolhouse was razed ca. 1877 to erect the Valley Pike Church of the Brethren.

Scope and Content:
The Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908, is comprised of one bound volume of notes on Dr. Benjamin Mosby Smith’s lectures; the constitution, by-laws, and meeting minutes of the Johnsonian Lyceum (meetings were held at Copp’s Schoolhouse in Maurertown, Virginia which was located in the Johnson Magisterial District); and unrelated personal property lists of Shenandoah County residents.

The notebook begins with 12 pages of undated notes in an unknown hand titled “Interpretation of Dr. B. M. Smith’s Lectures.” Dr. Benjamin Mosby Smith (1811-1893) was a native Virginian and attended Hampden-Sydney College in Hampden Sydney, Virginia and Union Seminary in Richmond, Virginia. In 1854, he was elected chair of Oriental Literature at Union Seminary. The topics discussed in the notes include design of ministry, bible criticism, integrity of the Hebrew text, and Hebrew manuscripts.

The following four pages include the constitution and by-laws of the Johnsonian Lyceum which met, at least for three meetings in February 1867, at Copp’s Schoolhouse in Maurertown, Virginia. The lyceum’s prime directive was the “cultivation of the mind and the improvement of its members in the art of [practical] speaking by the discussion of questions of practical importance.” Also included is a list of members totaling 18 people. Members include N. Milton Rhodes (who is identified later in the notebook as the lyceum’s president), Andrew M. Wright, Joseph B. McInturf, Joseph Doll, Silas Crabill, David Saum, and James Rosenberger. Three pages of meeting minute notes of the Johnsonian Lyceum follow. The general agenda for the meetings was to take roll, pose questions for future discussion, and discuss and vote on a question posed at a prior meeting. Questions proposed for discussion included “Does virtue always ensure happiness?,” “Is the hope of reward a greater incentive to action than the fear of punishment?,” Which deserves greater praise: Columbus for discovering or Washington for defending America?,” and “Is the mind of woman inferior to that of man?” The latter question was debated at the February 20, 1867 meeting and, after some discussion, the lyceum voted in the negative.

Thirty-two pages of additional lecture notes follow the Johnsonian Lyceum’s meeting minutes. Topics are similar to the earlier lecture notes and include mentions of Jewish manuscripts, papyrus, and early inks.

The notebook then transitions into an account book and includes eight pages of account information between Cline, Seiberling & Co. and N. Milton Rhodes. According to the accounts, dated 1872-1875, Rhodes was primarily purchasing farm implements and paying for miscellaneous repairs.

The remainder of the ledger dates from 1882 to 1908 and is comprised of inventories of personal property appraised and sold, and other miscellaneous financial statements. Individuals whose estates are sold off include John Fetzer, Isaac Wisman, William P. Stultz, and George M. Conner. Purchasers names are also listed; all are likely Shenandoah County residents.

Various handwritings are present throughout the notebook and ledger. The creator(s) is unknown, though it is likely that N. Milton Rhodes was responsible for some of the notebook’s content.

Arrangement:
The notebook and loose pages are foldered separately.

Bibliography:

Gochenour, Zula. Works Progress Administration of Virginia Historical Inventory: Copp’s School House Site and Valley Pike Cemetery Site, 1936.

Shenandoah County Historical Society. Reflections: Early Schools of Shenandoah County, Virginia. Woodstock, Va.: Shenandoah County Historical Society, 1995.

Sweetster, William B. Jr. A Copious Fountain: A History of the Union Presbyterian Seminary, 1812-2012. Louisville: Westminster John Knox Press, 2016.

Contents:

Folder Title Box : Folder
Copp’s Schoolhouse Notebook and Ledger, 1867-1908 1:1
Loose documents, undated 1:2