The Educators of Centreville District

Biographies of Persons Found in FCPS Historic Records

The following biographies of the teachers, school trustees, and community members found in the historic records of Centreville District were researched and written by volunteers from District V, Virginia Daughters of the American Revolution.


Oneita W. Adams

Oneita Williamell Adams taught at the Clifton School (white) in the Centreville District during the 1918-19 school year. She was born on January 11, 1897, at Chincoteague Island, Virginia, to Ezra Edward Adams and Nannie May Hill Adams. Oneita was a graduate of Richmond's Woman's College. On the 1920 U.S. Federal Census, she was living at Chincoteague Island and was listed as a public school teacher.  Oneita married Bennett Julian Hogue in 1920, and, throughout her life, was a member and officer in numerous organizations.  During World War II, she served on civil defense and selective service boards. She also once served as the regent of the Colonel William Allen Chapter of the National Society Daughters of the American Revolution. Oneita Adams Hogue died on April 3, 1989, at age 92, and was buried at Peninsula Memorial Park in Newport News, Virginia.

Sadie V. Altman

Sarah Virginia “Sadie” Altman taught at the Legato School in the Centreville District in 1915. She was born on June 7, 1896, in Middleburg, Fauquier County, Virginia, to Henry E. Altman and Hattie Martin Altman. By 1920, she was living with her mother in Washington, D.C., where she worked as a bookkeeper. During that same year, she married James W. Thomas in Ohio. During the next two decades, the couple resided in Washington, D.C., and North Carolina, where Sadie continued to work as an accountant. Sadie was living near Orlando, Florida, when she passed away in January 1980.

Fannie T. Anderson

Fannie Taylor Anderson taught first at the Lincolnia School in Falls Church District, and then at the Clifton School (white) in Centreville District. Fannie was born on July 23, 1878, to Peyton L. and Luemma Anderson. Her father is said to be the first Confederate soldier wounded in the American Civil War. On the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, she was listed as a teacher and was living in Rappahannock County, Virginia. A 1920 Washington City directory listed her working at the Bureau of War Risk Insurance (part of the Treasury Department). On the 1930 census, she was a government clerk living in Washington, D.C., with her widowed mother.  A 1935 city directory listed her as working at the Veterans Administration.  She died on January 30, 1947, in Amissville, Virginia.

Ella M. Ballard

Ella May Ballard was born on March 27, 1887, to Captain John N. Ballard and Lillie Thrift Ballard. After teaching at the Legato School in Centreville District in 1908, she attended Columbia College in Lake City, Florida. Ella died of pneumonia on December 11, 1918, and was buried in Fairfax City Cemetery.

Inez H. Beavers

Inez Harrison Beavers was born in Mercer, Loudoun County, Virginia, in 1883, to Oscar Beavers and Maggie Benton Beavers. She taught in Dranesville District at the Money's Corner School in 1904-05, in Centreville District at the Pender School in 1906-07, and applied for a teaching position in the Town of Herndon. Inez appears in the 1920 U.S. Federal Census in Bear Lake, Idaho, where she worked as a schoolteacher. By the late 1930s, she had moved to Ventura, California, where she continued her teaching career. Inez Beavers passed away in 1977 in Ventura, and was buried with her parents at Ebenezer Baptist Church Cemetery in Bluemont, Loudoun County, Virginia.

Cora L. Buckley

Cora Linn (Carper) Buckley was the wife of Wilton Walter Buckley, a farmer in Clifton. She was born in September 1858, to Thomas J. Carper and Lydia Slack of Fairfax County. Records show that she taught at the Clifton School (white) in 1904, and at the Centreville School in 1921. Her husband Wilton passed away in 1921, and Cora remarried in 1930, at age 72, to Samuel E. Brown. Cora died on June 8, 1952, and was buried at St. Mary of Sorrows Catholic Church Cemetery in Fairfax Station. She was the mother of Centreville District teacher Rosie Buckley and Lee District teacher Rush Buckley.

Rosie M. Buckley

Rose May "Rosie" Buckley was born in Clifton, Virginia, on October 19, 1893, to Wilton Buckley, a farmer, and Cora Linn Carper, a schoolteacher. Rosie was a younger sister of Rush Buckley, a Lee District schoolteacher. Rosie taught in the Centreville School District at Legato (1912), Compton (1914), and Centreville (1915-16). She married Dewey Wiegel of Sardis, Ohio, in 1918.

Minnie Beckwith Hughes

Minnie Elizabeth (Beckwith) Hughes was born on December 7, 1871, in Clifton, Virginia, to Alfred Beckwith and his wife Methelda "Fannie" Curtis, both of whom had formerly been enslaved. Minnie attended the Clifton “Colored” public school which was held in the Primitive Baptist Church in Clifton, until around 1878, when a one-room schoolhouse was constructed. In those days, the students used slate boards and chalk instead of paper and pencils and sat in rows on long benches.

I attended this school until I was almost 15. Finally, the teacher, who had been there several years, told my father I had learned all I was ever going to learn there. There were no secondary schools readily available. At this time, I stopped school and went to work. Much of the time I worked at a hotel which was then in Clifton. I continued to desire for an education and a means to obtain one. Finally, in 1890, a new teacher came to Clifton and boarded with my family. She was a graduate of Hampton Institute in Hampton, Virginia. I immediately applied for the fall term beginning in 1891. I then had almost a year to work and save. My trip to Hampton was an exciting one, for this was my first, long trip from home and I went by train and boat.

In 1894, Minnie began student teaching at the Hughesville School which was once located on Hope Park Road near Popes Head Road in the Centreville District. She graduated from Hampton Institute (now Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia) in 1896, and returned to Fairfax County, where she taught school at Hortontown (Centreville), Burke Station (Pearson), and Clifton. On October 15, 1902, she married Philip Edward Hughes in Falls Church. At the end of the 1902-03 school year, Minnie stopped teaching so that she could start a family. She returned to teaching in 1909, first at the Black Rock (Cub Run) School near Centreville, then at the Hughesville School from 1911 to 1916, after which she transferred to the town of Fairfax’s school for African-American children.

When thinking back over my teaching career, I have innumerable memories. Until the thirties, I drove a horse and buggy to school. For years I started the fire at school. On Fridays, the other children helped with the cleaning. At the time of my retirement my salary was $65.00 (per month). I remember the great preparations and the activities of the Field Days, the last day of school, spelling bees, the league meetings, the county teachers’ meetings, sending someone for water, the continual lengthening of the school term, and my girls being more studious than my boys. Mostly, however, I remember the students and their parents. During my career, I often thought of the lines: “I shot an arrow into the air. It fell to earth I know not where.” A teacher daily shoots the arrow of knowledge and hopes it will find its mark in the hearts and minds of the students. Frequently the evidence of its having found its mark is not apparent for years.

Minnie Beckwith Hughes lived to be 103 years old. She is buried at Clifton Union Cemetery. You can learn more about Ms. Hughes in this Fare Facs Gazette article.

Black and white photograph of Minnie Beckwith Hughes.
Minnie Beckwith Hughes, Fairfax Schools Bulletin, Vol. 7, No. 1, September, 1970

E. Pearl Payne

Ethel Pearl Payne, who went by her middle name Pearl, was born on April 8, 1890, in Fairfax, Virginia, to Sanford and Augusta Smith Payne.  She attended the Clifton School and was listed on the school’s honor roll in the Fairfax Herald newspaper in 1904 and 1905. Pearl taught at Centreville School Number 9 (1907), the Elgin School (1909), and the Chantilly School (1910). After her marriage to Eugene Hutchison in April 1915, Pearl moved to Culpeper, Virginia. She died at Fairfax Hospital on December 24, 1976, at the age of 86.

James E. Sadler

James E. Sadler was born in Fairfax County, Virginia, on October 21, 1878. He married Mattie E. Brooks, a fellow Fairfax County teacher, on December 31, 1902. James Sadler taught at the Floris “Colored” School in Dranesville District (1899), at the Cub Run School in Centreville District (1904), the Oak Grove School in Herndon (1909), and at several schools in Lee District in the early 20th century. He would later go on to become the publisher of the Eastern Observer – an African-American newspaper. In 1918, James, then working as a secretary of the National War Work Council of the Young Men’s Christian Association (YMCA), obtained a passport to travel overseas to Great Britain and France to work with soldiers serving in the American Expeditionary Force. By 1920, James and his wife were living in Montclair, New Jersey, where James worked at the post office. After Mattie passed away in 1924, James married Bertha Burnett, widow of Hayes Burnett, the first black doctor to practice medicine in Montclair, New Jersey. James Sadler began working on ships as a steward and was listed as “missing” after the troop transport ship on which he had been working was sunk during World War II. James’ second wife, Bertha, died in 1960, and had been very active in church and civic organizations and was a well-known as a tennis player in her early years.

Black and white passport photograph of James E. Sadler.
James E. Sadler, 1918

Mattie E. Sadler

Mattie E. (Brooks) Sadler taught in both the Centreville and Lee Districts at Pearson (1905-07) and Clifton (1907-08). She was born in August, 1882, to Lawson W. Brooks, a Baptist minister, and Martha “Mattie” A. Gaskin. Mattie married James E. Sadler, a fellow Fairfax County public school teacher, in 1902. By 1920, the couple had moved to Montclair, New Jersey, where Mattie later became president of the Montclair branch of the Anti-Lynching Crusaders, an organization of women against mob law. She died on July 21, 1924.

Elizabeth J. Swetnam

Elizabeth Jones “Bessie” Swetnam was born on September 16, 1888, to Ecca Swetnam and Mary Ford. Elizabeth taught in the Centreville District at Clifton (1908-09), and in the Lee District at Fairfax Station (1909-10). Her sister, Roberta Randolph Swetnam, was also a teacher in the Lee District, as was her cousin, Daisy Swetnam. Elizabeth married William V. Ford, a lawyer who later became a judge, in 1920. They lived in Ford's family home in Luray, Virginia, where Elizabeth died on May 19, 1966. The home, originally named Kanawha, was renamed Tuckahoe by Elizabeth, and was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1999.

School Trustees

Robert R. Buckley

Robert Randolph Buckley, commonly referred to as R. R. Buckley in school board records, was born in 1864. He served his community as the first mayor of the Town of Clifton (1902-1904), as the Centreville District Supervisor on the Fairfax County Board of Supervisors (1905-1914), as postmaster of the Town of Clifton, and as a member of the Centreville District School Board (1904-1907). The son of Eppa Buckley and Frances Kincheloe of Clifton, Robert Buckley and his brothers Daniel and Joshua owned and operated Buckley Brother's General Store. Robert Buckley died in 1944, and was buried in the Fairfax City Cemetery.