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School Laws of the State of Mississippi (Classic Reprint)

School Laws of the State of Mississippi (Classic Reprint)

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Excerpt from School Laws of the State of Mississippi

The first State Superintendent of Education was Henry R. Pease. He was born in Connecticut, February 19th, 1835. After receiving a liberal education he taught for eleven years. He entered the Union Army as a private and rose to the rank of Captain. Mr. Pease served as Superintendent of Education in Louisiana while that State was under military rule, and later was appointed Superintendent of Education of Freedmen in Mississippi. He was elected Superintendent of Education on the ticket with Alcorn in 1869, and upon him devolved the duty of organizing the system of free schools. His competency was never questioned, but he failed to satisfy the demands of the colored race for office, and was set aside. He afterwards served in the United States Senate for a short time.

The successor of Mr. Pease was Thomas W. Cardoza, a negro, who, at the time of his election in 1873, was under indictment for malfeasance in office while circuit clerk in Warren County. In 1876, on account of misappropriation of school funds, he was impeached, but was allowed to resign.

Governor Stone appointed as Cardoza's successor Thomas S. Gathright. Mr. Gathright was educated at Tutwiler, Alabama, and at the time of his appointment as State Superintendent, was principal of the Somerville Institute, Gholsen, Noxubee County, Mississippi. Senator A. J. McLaurin, Dr. A. G. McLaurin, Judge John Enochs, D. M. Mayers, and many other prominent Mississippians, attended this Institute. Superintendent Gathright was not a candidate for re-election and immediately following the expiration of his term of office, accepted the presidency of the Agricultural and Mechanical College at Bryan, Texas, which position he held with credit until his death.

The fourth man to hold the office of State Superintendent of Education was Dr. Joseph Bard Well. He was born in Hereford County, North Carolina, in 1828. When he was only three or four years old, his father moved to Oktibbeha County, Mississippi. After attending school at Viney Grove Academy, Lincoln County, Tennessee, and later at Louisville, Mississippi, he entered the College of New Jersey, at Princeton, and was graduated in 1847. Dr. Bardwell was licensed and ordained to preach at Philadelphia, Mississippi, in 1853, and at the time he became State Superintendent of Education, he was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church at Meridian.

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