A Free School
Outside Beaverdam--Free schools were set up, for the most part, by the local gentry, to provide a free education for working class children before the public school system was established in Virginia. In 1659 one Thomas Eaton left 500 acres, buildings, livestock, and two slaves for a school to serve Elizabeth City County. In 1820 the Virginia General Assembly began to oversee the establishments of such schools setting boundaries, appointing trustees, etc.
This particular school was know as the Hall Free School and was established by an act of the General Assembly on February 6, 1846. The establishment of the school was a condition of the will of Arron Hall, "To establish a free school in the neighborhood of my residence in order that the youth of my acquaintance may enjoy the benefit of the school...to include at least reading and writing in the English language and arithmetic."