Cape Charles Headlight, May 30, 1893


Infrastructure -- Public : Schools

The Enterprise requests us to explain and answer a question in reference to the location of Margaret Academy. We would cheerfully do so, but our esteemed brother has allowed himself to get mixed up in this question so badly that we cannot reach him. He has stuck a peg and drawn a circle around it, and in it he has written "Location," and nothing else. He can't get his mind out of that circle, and he will admit no other idea to enter it but location. We must, therefore, drop all idea of making Margaret Academy a useful and successful school in discussing the subject, and meet him on his own grounds -- Location. He has privately expressed himself that it should have been at Drummondtown, but as that town neither wants nor asks for the academy, he is for his neighboring town, that offers less help to Margaret Academy than any other point competing for it. We will not discuss, in addition, that it is a town where the Board would do less educating, and where it would be expected to buy out (at present undesirable property) at a good price, because we are to confine ourselves to "Location!" and to show how disinterested it is, we will state in the beginning that every man on that Board has our greatest respect for honesty and integrity, and we believe all are anxious to do their duty as trustees and not as merely acting representatives of their respective localities, which is not a duty at all. We will put the Enterprise's statement in a little different language. All the members of the Board from Lee district voted for Onancock; all save one, from Pungoteague district voted for Onancock. Here are five out of seven within a circuit of eight miles of Onancock, and the other two are within a radius of fifteen miles. There are twenty-five miles of Northampton from Cape Charles up, with but two representatives on the Board. There is one member of the Board from three magisterial districts of Accomack. So it will be seen that nearly all the strength of the Board is well connected around Onancock, and Onancock gets most of the votes. Onancock is held up as the central location, but it is not as central as Keller, Exmore, Parksley or Hallwood, and all of those are more easily reached from Tasley station (two miles from Onancock) than Onancock is. Here, then, are four points, the extreme distance from them being twenty-five miles, of easier access than Onancock; and yet Onancock is held up as central. A person coming from the upper end of the county can get to Keller before he will commence to bump or get muddy over the road to Onancock, and at less cost in cash, vexation and bumps.

Keller is far more central than Onancock, and is located in the widest part of the Peninsula. It is a growing town, with Watchapreague and the neck adjacent to it on the east, Pungoteague and large country on the west, and twice as accessible as Onancock, and more centrally located. Place Margaret Academy on these grounds, Onancock has not the ghost of a chance. Keller will accommodate all the children of the Eastern Shore far more than Onancock, and be less of a neighborhood school. It is to be hoped that the Enterprise will not, however, object to the local patronage at Keller [illegible] Northampton in the past furnished the greatest support in money and scholars to this academy, and is asking to do so again; while Onancock made it a neighborhood school, and now wishes to place it further from Northampton, its field of support. Gentlemen who are guided by the idea of "location" alone, cannot pass Keller for any other point.

Onancock proposes to go on in the same old way, in the same old building, with the same professors, with the same field for scholars, and gladly exchange the owners of the academy property for $4,000; and that is all the milk in the Onancock coconut. Margaret will not play first part at Onancock, but will lose her own old fiddle and hereafter have no music of her own. Margaret Academy will not step down and out in this fashion, but will ever have its own individuality and do its own work to its honor and glory.

Cape Charles Headlight
Cape Charles, Va.
May 30, 1893