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Who are the schools named after?

Ben Steelman


* Alderman Elementary School — Edwin Anderson Alderman (1861-1931), a prominent education reformer. Born in Wilmington, he graduated from the University of North Carolina, worked for many years with the N.C. Board of Education and helped found the N.C. Normal and Industrial School in Greensboro (today the University of North Carolina at Greensboro). He served as president of the University of North Carolina (1896-1900), president of Tulane University (1900-1904) and president of the University of Virginia (1904-1931).

* Anderson Elementary School — Adm. Edwin Alexander Anderson (1860-1933) was born in Wilmington and graduated from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1882. He saw combat off Cuba in the Spanish-American War and earned the Medal of Honor for courage under fire while commanding a naval landing force during the U.S. intervention in Veracruz, Mexico in 1914. Promoted to rear admiral, he commanded a patrol squadron with the U.S. Atlantic Fleet in World War I and later commanded the U.S. Asiatic Fleet from 1922-1923. As such, he directed U.S. relief efforts in Japan following the massive Tokyo earthquaker of 1923.

* Ashley High School — Sgt. 1st Class Eugene Ashley Jr. (1930-1968), an Army Green Beret, born in Wilmington, was awarded the Medal of Honor posthumously for “conspicuous gallantry and intrepidity” near Lang Vei, Vietnam. Ashley led five assaults against superior North Vietnamese forces in an effort to rescue a besieged detachment of fellow Green Berets before being fatally wounded.

* Bellamy Elementary School — Heyward C. Bellamy, superintendent of New Hanover County schools, 1968-1981.

* Codington Elementary School — John B. Codington (1925-1994), a Wilmington surgeon, was a member of the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1966-1978, and a state senator 1993-1994. A graduate of New Hanover High School, Codington devoted his vacations for 15 years to work at a medical mission outside Port-au-Prince, Haiti.

* Eaton Elementary School — Hubert Arthur Eaton (1916-1991), a Wilmington physician, was lead plantiff (with his daughter Carolyn) in the 1964 lawsuit that led to the 1971 desegregation of New Hanover County schools. Eaton was also active in the desegregation of Wilmington College (later UNCW), the county’s hospitals, the Municipal Golf Course and the county library system. He ran for the New Hanover Board of Education in 1952, 1954 and 1956, the first African-American to seek public office in the county in the 20th century. Later he was a trustee of Cape Fear Technical Institute (later Cape Fear Community College), 1963-1973, and a trustee of the University of North Carolina Wilmington, (1977-1985). A nationally ranked amateur tennis player, Eaton also served as guardian and mentor to Wimbledon champsion Altheat Gibson while she attended Williston High School in Wilmington.

* Freeman Elementary School — Mae Rachel Freeman (1941-1996), a county PTA leader, was a member of the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1984-1994.

* Gregory Elementary School — James John Howard Gregory (1827-1910), of Marblehead, Mass., was a teacher and principal who later made a fortune in the seed catalog business. He donated thousands of dollars of his profits for the construction of church and school buildings in the Wilmington area. (Among the beneficiaries was Gregory Congregational Church.) In 1884, a local school for African Americans, the New Hampshire Memorial Insitute, was renamed Gregory Institute in his honor. Later renamed Gregory Normal Institute, it remained open until 1921.

* Hoggard High School — John Thomas Hoggard (1899-1965) was a Wilmington physician, surgeon and banking executive. He was a member of the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1935-1952. As board chairman (1947-1952), he was instrumental in the founding of Wimington College (later the University of North Carolina Wilmington). He was later president of Wilmington College, 1952-1958. and chairman of its board of trustees. 1952-1965; as such, he played a key role in acquiring the original land for UNCW’s present campus.

* Howe Pre-K Center — Mary Washington Howe (1852-1900), first and only female principal of Williston Grammar School, serving for 20 years.

* Johnson Elementary School — Dorothy B. Johnson (1914-1984), a teacher in New Hanover County schools for more than 30 years, state president of the N.C. Association of Classroom Teachers, member of the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1976-1984. She was the first African American elected to the school board in modern times.

* Laney High School — Emsley A. Laney (1940-1999), a prominent Wilmington banker, was a member of the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1941-1973.

* Murray Middle School — Charles P. Murray Jr., a Wilmington native, graduated from New Hanover High School and attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill before being drafted into the army in 1942. As a 1st lieutenant with the 3rd Infantry Division, Murray was serving as acting company commander on Dec. 16, 1944, when he and a scout platoon encountered a much larger German force, estimated at more than 200 men, near the town of Kayserberg, not far from Strasbourg. Murray personally called in artillery strikes and attacked the enemy with a grenade launcher, a Browning automatic rifle and a mortar. Although wounded by grenade fragments, he retained command until all his men were deployed, successfully blocking a German counterattack. For conspicuous heroism, Murray received the Medal of Honor on July 5, 1945. Murray made the Army a career and retired with the rank of colonel in 1973, after commanding an infantry brigade in Vietnam.

* Noble Middle School — Marcus Cicero Stephens Noble (1855-1942) was superintendent of Wilmington city schools, 1882-1898; a reformer, he founded the city’s first separate high school. From 1898-1934, he taught at the University of North Carolina and was made dean of its School of Education in 1913.

* Parsley Elementary School — Walter L. Parsley (1856-1941) was owner of the Hilton Lumber Co. and a community leader in the Masonboro Sound area. In 1913, he donated 2-1/3 acres of land to New Hanover County for use as a school, part of Parsley’s modern-day campus. The foundations of the original two-room schoolhouse built on Parsley’s donation can still be seen on the grounds.

* J.C. Roe Pre-K School — James Clarence Roe (1899-1955) served on the New Hanover County Board of Education, 1935-1955. He was instrumental in brining Junior ROTC to New Hanover High School. Roe was also the longtime chairman of the board of James Walker Memorial Hospital. He was a partner in the old Foy-Roe department store at 9-11 N. Front St., Wilmington [Map this], where Front Street Brewery is now located.

* Roland-Grise Middle School — Herrick M. Roland (1895-1987), a World War I veteran, was superintendent of New Hanover County schools, 1936-1960. Jesse W. Grise was Roland’s longtime assistant superintendent.

* Snipes Academy of Arts and Design — Annie Herring Snipes (1895-1977) was first principal, in 1943, of Chestnut Street School, and she remained on the job there until retiring in 1961. (The school was later renamed Snipes Elementary School, 2150 Chestnut St., Wilmington [Map this]). A career educator, Snipes had earlier served as principal at Winter Park School and Isaac Bear School.

* Trask Middle School — Emma B. Trask was a local church and civic leader. Her son, former New Hanover County Commissioner Raiford G. Trask, donated large tracts of land to the school system in in 1973.

* Virgo Middle School — David Clarke Virgo (died 1955), first principal of Williston Primary and Industrial School (1914), was a pioneer in vocational and industrial education. He worked in the segregated New Hanover County schools for nearly 50 years. A civic leader, he was president of the City Improvement League and headed fund-raising drives for Wilmington’s Community Hospital and for a YMCA facility for the black community.

* Williston Middle School — Samuel Williston (1795-1874), a philanthropist from Easthampton, Mass., donated considerable sums of money to the American Missionary Association to open schools for freed slaves in Wilmington and other Southern cities after the Civil War. The original Williston Graded School was located on South Seventh Street between Ann and Nun streets. Williston Primary and Industrial School, a segregated facility for African-American students, opened in 1915 at Tenth and Church streets. It continued to operate, in various buildings, in 1968, leaving behind a loyal body of alumni.


* Trask High School — C. Heide Trask (died Nov. 4, 1957) was a prominent farmer in Pender and New Hanover counties and a pioneer in the refrigeration and transportation of fresh produce. The Trask family donated 100 acres of the school’s campus.

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