The Trevilian Schoolhouse

 In 2017 the Trevilians one-room schoolhouse, which was in use from 1880 to 1920, was relocated to the Heritage Farm. The schoolhouse was well-maintained by a Louisa County family for many years after it closed as a result of school consolidation. Now the historical society provides programs in the schoolhouse, such as the Free Family Days program, in which costumed interpreters remind people what education was like here not so long ago.  

The History of Education in Louisa County

During the colonial period in Louisa, children were educated in community schools, churches, and later field schools. These schools were paid for by the families of the students.  Neighbors would join together to hire and board a teacher who might also be the clergyman or church reader.  Students of families with means were prepared to enter college by attending boarding or parson’s schools.  By a law passed in 1672 poor children were apprenticed and by 1705 were required to learn to read and write.


In 1760 Reverend James Maury and Revered John Todd, two local clergymen, created classical-style schools in Louisa.  These schools were elite and included such students as James Madison, Dabney Carr, and Thomas Jefferson. Around 1830, the Michie House, now located on our property at the Sargeant Museum and Heritage Farm, was used as a field school, taught by Matthew Maury Michie. 


Public education did not exist in Louisa until 1871 when the citizens voted that one mill on the dollar would go toward the schools.  In 1871 Louisa Courthouse had nine public school teachers.  The first public school in Louisa was established on Elm Street in 1877.  By 1880, there were several one-room schools such as the restored Trevilians Schoolhouse, now located at the  Sargeant Museum and Heritage Farm. 


In the early 20th century Louisa received the first matching funds from the state for public education.  With these funds the historic Louisa High School was built, located in the town on Fredericksburg Avenue.  This school and the buildings and 12.4 acres surrounding it, including the Sargeant/Pettit House, was purchased by the town in late 2002.

In 2017 the Trevilians one-room schoolhouse, which was in use from 1880 to 1920, was relocated to the Heritage Farm. The schoolhouse was well-maintained by a Louisa County family for many years after it closed as a result of school consolidation. Now the historical society provides programs in the schoolhouse, such as the Frugal Fridays and Family Days programs, in which costumed interpreters remind people what education was like here not so long ago. 


The story of African-American schools in Louisa County reveals glimpses of a remarkable community.    A wealth of information about African-American education in Louisa is contained in The African-American Schools of Louisa County, Virginia, presented by the Louisa County Historical Society.