Cobbs Creek High School

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Date: 1910 to 1940
Location: Cobbs Creek, Mathews County, Virginia, United Statesmap
Surname/tag: Mathews County
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With authorization from the author of the article "Cobbs Creek High School in Mathews Co., Virginia," it has been duplicated here:

Cobbs Creek High School opened in the fall of 1910 and closed in 1940 when the new Mathews High School opened with the consolidation of the three county high schools: New Point, Lee-Jackson, and Cobbs Creek. This article is based on two CCHS annuals for 1919 and 1939 and other records collected by Mary Hudson Barnett, a charter member of the Gloucester Genealogical Society of Virginia. Mary appears in the 1939 annual as a freshman, and her grandmother Mary Rowe Hudson had taught music there. Mary Barnett lives on Cobbs Creek Lane overlooking the Piankatank River. Although the Cobbs Creek community is in Mathews county, there is a historical connection with the communities along the south side to the Piankatank River because all were in Gloucester County until 1791. Mary Barnett’s Hudson family is an example of this connection since her grandfather Hudson lived at “Camden” in Gloucester. But after he died in 1906, her grandmother moved the family about four miles east to the Cobbs Creek community. As shown in the adjacent chart, Mary Barnett’s grandmother married first to Charles Bell and second to William Hudson. Mary Bell, her daughter from the first marriage, married Fred Libby Joslyn who was born in Michigan and moved to Cobbs Creek with his parents and brother in 1905. According to his obituary in 1947, Mr. Joslyn contributed greatly to the society of Cobbs Creek and all of Mathews. He was credited for his work in establishing an automobile business, a local bank, and a successful insurance business. Also, he was a leader in various civic organization and the Spring Hill Baptist Church. Mr. Joslyn joined with the Cobbs Creek community in the construction of the high school in 1910. His obituary stated that he provided the rough lumber for the building. His father and brother were lumbermen prior to moving to Cobbs Creek. His contributions were probably typical of many other good citizens of Mathews. Communities building their own schools was the normal procedure at this time as it also was in Gloucester County. Cobbs Creek High School was built on the site where the Cobbs Creek Post Office is currently located on Buckley Hall Road. The original school building was replaced in 1953 with a new building for the elementary school. An engraved corner stone was placed in a side wall commemorating the original building with these lines: “COBBS CREEK” / “HIGH SCHOOL” / “1910.”

The photograph at the top of this page shows the entire student body of the Cobbs Creek school including a row of teachers in the back. Principle Gartrell stands in the middle, and the shortest teacher was Mary Barnett’s grandmother Mary Hudson. The picture was probably taken around 1916. The two annuals for 1919 and 1939 reflect the living conditions of those years. For the school year of 1918-19, it was a year of post-war recovery with better economic years ahead. For the school year of 1938-39, the great depression continued and a time of war lay ahead. As in Gloucester County, the Mathews schools probably did not publish annuals until the 1939 annual.

The 1919 Cobbs Creek School Annual

The 1919 school annual was named “Memories” and was designated volume 1. The text and photographs were printed on high quality glossy paper. The binding was good, but the cover was a fragile soft cardboard stock. Overall, it suggested healthy economic conditions. The annual shows a low student enrollment with a faculty of seven. This included Mr. Hunter W. Garrett as the principal. From the annual pictures, the enrollment by class was as follows: seniors, 7; juniors, 14; sophomores, 8; and freshman, 13. There were three classes for the elementary students: 6th-7th, 4th-5th, and primary grades. The group pictures in the annual reveal a wide range of participation in school activities. There were music clubs for both high school and elementary students and literary societies for both ages. In athletics, there was football and baseball for boys and basketball and tennis for girls. It was surprising to see photographs indicating eleven-man football, not the normal six-man teams for small schools. Also, the girl tennis team numbered about twenty. The high school literary society was named for the local judge Boyd Sears, and the literary society for the elementary school was named after President Woodrow Wilson. The 1919 annual was dedicated to Principal Hunter W. Garrett, who was born in Prince Edward Co., VA. His obituary stated that he received a B.A. from Hampden Sydney College and a M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute. Also, he was listed in the 1930 Mathews census as an agriculture teacher. His obituary also mentioned that he founded the Ruritan Club in Mathews. The annual gave special recognition “in proud and tearful memory to two alumni killed in the war: Harold Franklin Hatch, class of 1913, and Raymond Richard Collins, class of 1916. Harold Franklin Hatch, b. 1893, d. 10/6/1918, s/o Enoch D. Hatch & Mary Evelyn Cooke, gs/o Newell Atwood Hatch & Emily Susan Thompson, gs/o Mordecai Throckmorton Cooke & Sarah E. Powers, Class of 1913, died in Argonne Forest, France, in WWI Raymond Richard Collins, b. 2/11/1894, d. 10/5/1918, s/o James A. Collins & Lulie M. Rilee, gs/o Jonathan J. Collins & Mary M. Rickle, gs/o Richard Cary Rilee Jr. & Laura C. Massey, Class of 1916, died in Argonne Forest, France, in WWI

The 1939 Cobbs Creek School Annual

The 1939 school annual was named “Treasured Memories” and consisted of loose-leaf soft cardstock pages. The text was printed, but the photographs were pasted on each page. This annual produced at a reduced cost reflects the economic conditions after many years of economic depression. The annual shows a faculty of ten including Principal Mason H. Pully. From the annual pictures, the enrollment by class was as follows: seniors, 15; juniors, 25; sophomores, 16; and freshman, 23. There were five classes for the elementary students: 7th, 6th, 5th, 3rd-4th, and 1st-2nd grades. The 1939 seniors dedicated the annual to Rose Membrine, their homeroom teacher and adviser. However, her photograph was not included with the other teachers. She was born in 1914 in Massachusetts to John J. and Angeline Membrine, immigrants from Italy. Principal Mason Hardin Pully was born in Mecklenburg Co., VA, and he received a B.A. from the University of Virginia in 1935 and a M.S. from Virginia Polytechnic Institute in 1940. He taught Latin and history at Cobbs Creek High School. Engraved on his tomb stone are three lines of Latin and one line with Spanish and French. A Google Translation indicated words to the effect, “I came, I saw, I won, to be and seen, I love, I love you also.”

  • Hunt, L. R., & Barnett, M. H. (2017). Cobbs Creek High School in Mathews Co., Virginia. The Family Tree Searcher, 21(2), 32-48.

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