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Edneyville researchers feast on 'yummy' research

Tom Orr and Patsy Farmer Jones peruse a historical document about Edneyville schools. Tom Orr and Patsy Farmer Jones peruse a historical document about Edneyville schools.

Mary Henry, a member of a committee studying the history of Edneyville schools, piqued the panel's interest when she pulled a thick stack of papers from a manila envelope.

 A researcher had gathered the material from the Division of Archives and History in Raleigh.
"It's yummy stuff," Henry said.
Leave it to a room full of local history advocates to gobble up teachers' rosters from middle of the 19th century as yummy stuff. That's what they do.
"It goes as far back at 1849," Henry said. "It shows enrollment, who taught there and how much money they made."
The Henderson County Common School Report from the 1800s is just one of the sources members of the Edneyville Initiative have used. It takes a combination of treasure hunting, interviews with elders and tramping through thick woods to draw a picture of the 16 feeder schools that sent children to the old Edneyville High School. Most of the members are Yellow Jackets or have a close association with the old Edneyville High, which morphed into North Henderson High School in 1993. The old school is now the campus of the Larry T. Justus WNC Justice Academy.
Widely known as the capital of apple country, Edneyville has a proud tradition too of education. It was home to schools up and down the hollers, some tiny, most of them now nothing more than a memory marked by hint of foundation stone or a chimney sticking up through a patch of briars. The current schools superintendent, David Jones, is an Edneyville graduate and was a teacher and coach there; West Henderson High School principal Dean Jones and Flat Rock Middle School principal Scott Rhodes are both Edneyville graduates. So were retired principals Don Dalton, Chuck Pressley and Nolan Ramsey.
The committee is trying to compile as much information as it can about the feeder schools ahead of a ceremony to dedicate a historic Edneyville High School marker in May. It is raising money for a reception, the marker, a bench and stone or brick pavers to commemorate each of the feeder schools. The goal is $4,000, and Rhodes said the effort was going well. If there's money left over after the committee covers the marker and dedication costs, members said they'd like to start a scholarship fund for graduates of North Henderson High School.
The Edneyville project is the latest research enterprise of the broader Henderson County Education History Initiative. Led by School Board member Rick Wood, the countywide panel includes Barbara Case Blaine, Drew Brannon, Lisa T. Edwards, Nancy Edwards, Patsy Farmer Jones, Malvern S. "Buddy" West, Thomas E. Orr and Shannon Baldwin.
Edneyville committee members are co-chairs Rosemary Pace and Nancy Edwards, Linda Bradley, Elizabeth Enloe, Mary Henry, Chuck Hill, Dean Jones, Harold McKinnish, Scott Rhodes, Molly Sherrill, Jayne Stepp and Sharon Walker.
They're searching for information on the following feeder schools: St. Peter's (Edneyville Colored School), St. Paul's School, Barnwell, Chestnut Grove, Liberty, Little Ebenezer, Bat Save (the Little Red Schoolhouse), Bearwaller, Gerton, Gerton (Pump), Middle Fork, Good Shepherd, Point Lookout, Ebenezer, Locust Grove and Fruitland. Those who have information or leads were asked to contact Rosemary Pace at 828-685-1030 or at rosemarypace@yahoo.com.

Dedication set
The Edneyville High School dedication will be at the Justice Academy on Sunday, May 5, from 2 to 4 p.m. The event will include the dedication, reception and tours of the old high school building. Donations may be sent to the Henderson County Education Foundation (designate Edneyville in the memo line), P.O. Box 126, Hendersonville, NC, 28793.