Principal Henry T. White’s 1920 Parker-Gray Class

First Faculty of PG
1920 Principal Henry T. White and First Faculty

Prior to 1920, the colored boys and girls of Alexandria were taught separately in two buildings.  The boys were in Snowden School, on the west side of South Pitt Street near Gibbon Street.  Mr. John F. Parker was principal of Snowden School.  The girls were in Hallowell School on, the east side of North Alfred Street between Princess and Oronoco Streets.  Mr. Henry T. White was their principal.

Mr. Henry T. White was selected to be the first principal of the combined schools of Snowden and Hallowell for black boys and black girls.  The school was named Parker-Gray School after Mr. John F. Parker and Miss Sarah A. Gray.  Ironically, Mr. John F. Parker’s declining health might have prevented the School Board for selecting him as the principal of the school that was named after him.

Mr. Henry T. White was born in 1862 in Pittsylvania, Virginia.  He was married to Marcella Mayhew.  He and his wife migrated to Alexandria in the late 1880s.  Though he was principal at Parker-Gray, he taught classes.  He taught 7th and 8th grades in 1920 – 1921 school year.  The students were:

Margaret Bell, age 15, grade 8th

Thomas Bell, age 13, grade 7th

Llewellyn Butler, age 14, grade 7th

Corinne Byrd, age 13, grade 8th

Ellen Carter, age 12, grade 7th

Ida Colbert, age 15, grade 7th

Elizabeth Contee, age 12, grade 7th

Rosena Dixon, age 13, grade 7th

William Ellis, age 13, grade 7th

Rosier Gaddis, age 13, grade 7th

Anna Gaines, age 15, grade 7th

Ruth Gilliam, age 12, grade 7th

Eva Hill, age 15, grade 7th

Norris Hopkins, age 12, grade 7th

Gladys Lewis, age 15, grade 8th

Charles Lucas, age 12, grade 7th

Patrick H. Lumpkins Jr., age 13, grade 8th

Lucille Majors, age 15, grade 7th

Wibrow Martin, age 15, grade 8th

Edgar McGee, age 12, grade 7th

Elbert Norton, age 15, grade 8th

Nannie Parker, age 14, grade 7th

James Redd, age 13, grade 7th

Mildred Russell, age 14, grade 7th

Samuel Shanklin, age 15, grade 7th

Esther Speaks, age 12, grade 7th

Florence Stewart, age 15, grade 8th

Richard Strange, age 15, grade 7th

Wallace Strange, age 12, grade 7th

Ernest Turner, age 15, grade 7th

Edmonia Washington, age 15, grade 7th

Kathleen V. White, age 13, grade 7th

Eliza Whitmore, age 15, grade 7th

Marie Jones, age 14, grade 7th

Dr. William H. Madella (Snowden School Teacher)

Dr. William H. Madella
Dr. Madella's Snowden Class - 1896 - 1897

Dr. William H. Madella was one of the first teachers at Snowden Public School for black boys founded in 1870. 

Dr. Madella was born in 1855.  He married Ms. Senia M. Walker.  He taught 4th and 5th grades at Snowden School for the school year of 1896 – 1897, and he had 47 students in class.  The students were:

 Raymond Murray – age 11, grade 5th

Alfred Williams – age 13, grade 5th

Marshall Raines – age 14, grade 5th

Alfred Hamilton – age 10, grade 5th

Harry Anderson – age 11, grade 5th

Horace Hill – age 12, grade 5th

Raymond Bentley – age 13, grade 5th

Frank Chinn – age 12, grade 5th

Ralph Jackson – age 11, grade 5th

Basil Bush – age 14, grade 5th

Morris Murray – age 10, grade 4th

Edgar Johnson – age 12, grade 4th

Alfred Johnson – age 11, grade 4th

William Lomax – age 13, grade 4th

Isaac Thornton, age 11, grade 4th

Lawrence Arnold, age 11, grade 5th

Eppa Murray, age 14, grade 5th

Douglass Richardson, age 12, grade 5th

Lemont Haney, age 15, grade 5th

Temple Carter, age 13, grade 5th

Grafton Cupid, age 13, grade 5th

Daniel Griffin, age 16, grade 5th

Philip Webb, age 13, grade 5th

Charles Smith, age 14, grade 5th

John Williams, age 16, grade 5th

Arthur Acey, age 13, grade 4th

Robert Bush, age 13, grade 4th

Boyd W. Burke, age 13, grade 4th

Robert Cole, age 13, grade 4th

William Jackson, age 16, grade 4th

Wesley Lucas, age 15, grade 4th

Joseph Lucas, age 13, grade 4th

Herbert Murray, age 10, grade 4th

Frank Rose, age 15, grade 4th

Louis Raines, age 13, grade 4th

Ellis West, age 13, grade 4th

David White, age 15, grade 4th

Alfred White, age 13, grade 4th

Edward Brown, age 12, grade 4th

Ernest Adkins, age 14, grade 5th

Frank Jackson, age 14, grade 5th

John Peters, age 15, grade 4th

Julian Earley, age 11, grade 4th

Edgar Lewis, age 14, grade 5th

Angus Lewis, age 15, grade 5th

Howard Barret, age 14, grade 4th

Harry Carter, age 16, grade 4th

Colonel John McKee

Partial listing - Baltimore Afro-American - April 12, 1902

John Mckee was one of Alexandria, Virginia most successful African Americans.   At the time of his death, he was known as the wealthiest African American in the country. 

He was born in Alexandria, Virginia around 1819.  In 1838, he registered as a freed person of color in Alexandria.  The registration stated, “John McKee is a bright mulatto boy, about 19 years old, 5 feet 4½ inches tall, who is straight built with light colored eyes.  He was born free, as appears by oaths of Betsey Beckley and Fanny Beckley.” 

Colonel John McKee
Colonel John McKee

When he was in his teens, Mr. McKee was indentured as a brick maker.  He later ran away to Baltimore, Maryland; but was brought back to Alexandria by his Uncle to finish his time of indenture. 

John was 21-years old when he migrated to Philadelphia and worked in the livery stable.  Later he started working for James Prosser, a well- known restaurant owner on Market Street in Philadelphia.  He married his employer’s daughter. 

When the civil war started, John organized and became the Colonel of the Thirteenth Regiment, National Guard of Pennsylvania (N.G.P.) in the Fifth Brigade under General Louis Wagner.  Later, John became the Colonel of the Eighth New Jersey colored regiment. 

From that time on, John was known as Colonel John Mckee.  He became wealthy in real estate.  At the time of his death, he owned 300 to 400 houses.  He was the founder and owner of McKee City on the West Jersey Railroad in New Jersey a tract of 4,000 acres divided into twenty-one farms.  He also owned about 300,000 acres of coal and oil land in Kentucky and Logan County, West Virginia, and a tract of twenty-one acres at Fifty Street and Oregon Avenue in Philadelphia.  He owned over 23,000 acres of land in two-counties in New York, and sixty acres of land on the Delaware River as well as many other properties in other States.  

Colonel John McKee died April 6, 1902 at his home at 1030 Lombard Street in Philadelphia.   His funeral was at Central Presbyterian Church and his internment was at Olivet Cemetery.  John had one living daughter at the time of his death, Mrs. A.P. Syphax.  He also had six grandsons and two of his grandsons lived in Washington, DC.  

John’s accomplishments were outstanding for a black man that was born in the early 1800s.  His total asset at the end of his life was between $1.5 million to $2 million.   Others at the time of his death said it was $4 million.  John left a quarter of a million dollars to family members and friends.  The bulk of his money and property went to the Catholic Church to establish a school for fatherless children of both races.  Even today, there are scholarships for fatherless children in his name.  

 John will be remembered as one of Alexandria most successful African Americans.

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