Virginia Ann Fuller
At a Glance
Virginia Ann Fuller was the daughter of Eliza May Phillips and Solomon Fuller, a well-known saddler in Hillsborough, NC. Virginia Ann was born into families of saddlers on both sides of her ancestry as her maternal grandfather, James Phillips, [Jr.], was also a saddler. Virginia Ann's father, Solomon Fuller, died when she was only sixteen years old .
Virginia Ann Fuller is the only member of the James Phillips family to be listed in the Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51 . She attended the school as a day student in the 1840s. It is likely that she began to teach to support herself. The Fuller family lived near the Episcopal Academy on E. Tryon Street, and it is possible that Virginia found her first employment there. Ruth Blackwelder's The Age of Orange states that Virginia served as the principal of the academy, apparently near the end of its existence.
At the age of twenty-five and on the eve of the Civil War, Virginia married John M. Blackwood of the patriarchal Blackwood family of New Hope, NC. Her young husband left almost immediately to serve in Co. F, 33 NC Regt., C.S.A.
Exactly when Virginia opened her own school in the Blackwood home in Hillsborough is uncertain. On December 6, 1865, Virginia advertised in The Hillsborough Recorder  that her school would open on January 25, 1866 for the spring term and would continue twenty weeks. She thanked her former patrons and gave the impression that the school was continuing its schedule. She offered:
One half of the fees were to be paid in advance, one-half at midterm, but provisions were to be accepted in lieu of payment. It seems unlikely, however, that Virginia's school could have long survived the competition of the Nash & Kollock School on W. Margaret Lane and Mrs. Huske's School at Poplar Hill Plantation in Orange County, NC run by former Burwell student Annabella Giles Norwood .
Virginia and her husband had three children together. Both Virginia and John M. Blackwood along with their daughter Pearle Helen Blackwood are buried in the Hillsborough Memorial Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC .
Virginia Ann Fuller was born on September 27, 1835, in Hillsborough, NC. She died on August 5, 1905, and was buried in Hillsborough Memorial Cemetery in Hillsborough, NC.
Places of Residence
- Mary Claire Engstrom. The Book of Burwell Students: Lives of Educated Women in the Antebellum South. (Hillsborough: Hillsborough Historic Commission, 2007).
- Burwell School Catalogue of 1848-51.
- The Hillsborough Recorder was published from 1820 to 1879 by Dennis Heartt. It was a weekly newspaper.