Chuckatuck Male and Female Institute

Researched and written by Lynn K. Rose

The Chuckatuck Male and Female Institute was formed in 1855.  It was founded by James Jasper Phillips, later a Colonel in the Civil War.  An 1851 graduate of VMI he sent many of his male students there.  The school he established was thought to have been located first at his home next to Wesley Chapel Church and later next to the Masonic Hall in Chuckatuck.  The latter building came to be known as the Village or Black Hall and was used for school functions as late as the 1930s. At the outbreak of the war he formed a unit that included young men who had been his students.  By 1857 the Institute became a female boarding school with courses ranging from Italian languages and literature to ornamental needlework. Frank Spady, Sr.’s grandmother, Maggie Mae Pitt, and her sister, Mary Lou Pitt, attended a female academy next to Wesley Chapel in the late 1900s.  Mr. Phillips’ former home burned and now four homes sit on the large lot.

The earliest schooling outside the home for some of my ancestors at Everets came from a neighbor and teacher, Miss Kate Cowling, sister to Miss Mollie.  In the early 1880s my great grandfather, John J. Kirk,, and a neighbor, Mr. Claude Minton, hired a teacher for the children of both families.  A small schoolhouse was built near the Kirk home.  The teacher, Miss Suzy Gilliam, lived for two years with each family.  After the Minton children finished school the teacher continued teaching my grandfather and his two sisters for two more years.  She was provided room and board plus $7 or $8 per month.  Later these children attended a school in Isle of Wight County, probably the same one Dr. Newman attended. Miss Gilliam taught at this school also.  One of my great aunts, Emma Paul Kirk, went to school for two years at the Suffolk Collegiate Institute and two years at the Southern Female College in Petersburg before returning to Everets in 1902 to teach for $25 a month.