Burwell School

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Burwell School Historic Site
Burwell School, Hillsborough, Orange County.jpg
Burwell School is located in North Carolina
Burwell School
Burwell School is located in the US
Burwell School
Location North Churton Street
Hillsborough, North Carolina, United States
Coordinates 36°4′45″N 79°6′0″W / 36.07917°N 79.10000°W / 36.07917; -79.10000Coordinates: 36°4′45″N 79°6′0″W / 36.07917°N 79.10000°W / 36.07917; -79.10000
Area 1.8 acres (0.73 hectares)
Built 1821 (house); 1837 (converted to school)
Architectural style Federal
NRHP reference # 70000465[1]
Added to NRHP September 15, 1970

The Burwell School is an American historic site and former school, located in Hillsborough, North Carolina. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and located in the Hillsborough Historic District.[1]


The house was first built in 1821 by Captain John Berry, a carpenter in the area. In 1835, Reverend Robert Burwell, his wife, Margaret Anna Burwell, and his two oldest children, Mary and John Bott, moved into the home after the Hillsborough Presbyterian Church bought the property to serve as a parsonage. Living with them was their slave Elizabeth Keckly (then Hobbes), who would as a freed woman be known for her association with First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln.[2]

Two years later, James Webb approached Mrs. Burwell and asked her to educate his daughters.[3] She agreed, and opened a school for young ladies in her home. The school ran from 1837 to 1857, and enrolled more than 200 girls over those twenty years.[4] In 1848, the Burwells hired the home's original builder to expand the home after they purchased it from the church. After Reverend Burwell left his position with the church, he joined the school's teaching staff, which also included several graduates of the program.[2] The Burwell School remained open for 20 years before they shifted their attention to founding a women's college in Charlotte, North Carolina, that evolved to become Queens University of Charlotte.[2]

In the years that followed, two notable families lived on the site: the Collins family from Edenton, North Carolina, and the Spurgeon Family, who were descendants of one of the Burwells' students. In 1964, the Historic Hillsborough Commission bought the property from the Spurgeon family and restored it to appear historically accurate for the antebellum period. The site is open to the public for tours and events.[5]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ a b c Historic Hillsborough Commission. "Burwell School". "Students at Burwell School". Retrieved August 19, 2011. 
  3. ^ Engstrom, Mary Claire (2007). The Book of Burwell Students. Hillsborough, North Carolina: Historic Hillsborough Commission. 
  4. ^ Powell, William, S., ed. (2006). Encyclopedia of North Carolina. Chapel Hill, North Carolina: University of North Carolina Press. p. 159. 
  5. ^ Historic Hillsborough Commission. "Burwell School". About the Burwell School Historic Site. Archived from the original on September 11, 2011. Retrieved August 19, 2011. 

External links[edit]