1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Hampton (Virginia)

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HAMPTON, a city and the county-seat of Elizabeth City county, Virginia, U.S.A., at the mouth of the James river, on Hampton Roads, about 15 m. N.W. of Norfolk. Pop. (1890), 2513; (1900) 2764, including 1249 negroes; (1910) 5505. It is served by the Chesapeake & Ohio railway, and by trolley lines to Old Point Comfort and Newport News. Hampton is an agricultural shipping point, ships fish, oysters and canned crabs, and manufactures fish oil and brick. In the city are St John’s church, built in 1727; a national cemetery, a national soldiers’ home (between Phoebus and Hampton), which in 1907–1908 cared for 4093 veterans and had an average attendance of 2261; and the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (coeducational), which was opened by the American Missionary Association in 1868 for the education of negroes. This last was chartered and became independent of any denominational control in 1870, and was superintended by Samuel Chapman Armstrong (q.v.) from 1868 to 1893. The school was opened in 1878 to Indians, whose presence has been of distinct advantage to the negro, showing him, says Booker T. Washington, the most famous graduate of the school, that the negro race is not alone in its struggle for improvement. The National government pays $167 a year for the support of each of the Indian students. The underlying idea of the Institute is such industrial training as will make the pupil a willing and a good workman, able to teach his trade to others; and the school’s graduates include the heads of other successful negro industrial schools, the organizers of agricultural and industrial departments in Southern public schools and teachers in graded negro schools. The mechanism of the school includes three schemes: that of “work students,” who work during the day throughout the year and attend night school for eight months; that of day school students, who attend school for four or five days and do manual work for one or two days each week; and that of trade students, who receive trade instruction in their daily eight-hours’ work and study in night school as well. Agriculture in one or more of its branches is taught to all, including the four or five hundred children of the Whittier school, a practice school with kindergarten and primary classes. Graduate courses are given in agriculture, business, domestic art and science, library methods, “matrons’” training, and public school teaching. The girl students are trained in every branch of housekeeping, cooking, dairying and gardening. The institute publishes The Southern Workman, a monthly magazine devoted to the interests of the Negro and the Indian and other backward races. In 1908 the Institute had more than 100 buildings and 188 acres of land S.W. of the national cemetery and on Hampton river and Jones Creek, and 600 acres at Shellbanks, a stock farm 6 m. away; the enrolment was 21 in graduate classes, 372 in day school, 489 in night school and 524 in the Whittier school. Of the total, 88 were Indians.

Hampton was settled in 1610 on the site of an Indian village, Kecoughtan, a name it long retained, and was represented at the first meeting (1619) of the Virginia House of Burgesses. It was fired by the British during the War of 1812 and by the Confederates under General J. B. Magruder in August 1861. During the Civil War there was a large Union hospital here, the building of the Chesapeake Female College, erected in 1857, being used for this purpose. Hampton was incorporated as a town in 1887, and in 1908 became a city of the second class.