Alexander Wilson

Alexander Wilson:  The man and his schools

Education has always been a priority in the lives of the Scott family. In the late 1840’s, Henderson and Margaret Scott wanted their children to be educated, but there were very few educational opportunities in their Burnt Shops (now Hawfields) community. Scott learned that Dr. Alexander Wilson, a well- known educator, was working in Hillsborough, NC as President of the Caldwell Institute, but looking to move out of that area. Following a conference with Scott, Dr. Wilson purchased fifty acres of land in the Burnt Shops community. Wilson chose to name his school after his Scottish mentor, Andrew Melville, and on July 4, 1851, the “Melville School” opened its doors. Many of the students boarded in nearby community homes or in the log dormitory for boarding students. Wilson’s students included many future prominent leaders in the state and the southeast. After Wilson’s death in 1867, the Melville School was operated by his sons, but soon closed. However, a new school, organized in 1921, was named for the beloved educator, and bears his name today. Over the years, it has been a high school, a graded school (1-11 grades), and is currently an elementary school (K-5).

Featured in the exhibit were photographs and memorabilia of the Melville School, the Alexander Wilson School, former students and teachers.

Exhibition Dates: October 10, 2013 – March 31, 2014