When I was a child, a place got built near my family that was to be a school for children. It was the talk of the neighborhood that children were going to be taught to read and write. In the 1840s, education was something that was reserved for people who had the money to spend on it, and there were African American and white families alike who didn’t have money to do so. My family knew Charles D. Warfield very well. He was one of the men who was responsible for forming the Warfield Academy. An application was made to the General Assembly for a charter for the Academy, and it was granted in 1846.

My parents would have loved for me to be educated as a child so that I could read and write. Since I was free, opportunities were available to me that I know did not exist for enslaved people in Howard County. The Patapsco Female Institute, located in Ellicott Mills, was a finishing school for girls. Even women from meager backgrounds had a chance to attend PFI because of a scholarship program that involved the local government giving them.

People like me did not receive scholarships to attend Patapsco Female Institute.

People like me did not attend the Warfield Academy.

My family would work after the Civil War to remedy that for African American children for decades to come.

The men who ran the Warfield Academy didn’t pay their bills, got sued, and saw the building get sold at Sheriff’s sale. It is said that the Patapsco Female Institute had land donated to them from an Ellicott. Mount Gregory did not get land donated to them. In May of 1867, nine men of color participated in a deed transaction that is the first recorded African American activity for the parcel. They did so at a cost of $1500, which was not a small amount of money in those days. Their efforts got reported to the Freedmen’s Bureau, which recognized and wrote about it.

The person writing my story, Marlena Jareaux, came across a Maryland Historical Trust writeup regarding Mount Gregory while researching about me and Howard County. It indicated that Warfield Academy had been a place educating African Americans, which led to her searching for proof of my possibly having attended there. Because other researchers and people may also be led to think the same, an addendum now appears on the MHT writeup correcting the misinformation. The full addendum that was done in order to correct the county’s misinformation and add to the rich history of Mount Gregory can be found below. The MHT writeup won’t have many of the newspaper articles that you will see in the version below, because their main focus is primarily on the historical buildings themselves. Mount Gregory United Methodist Church in Cooksville is rich with history that includes many people who were instrumental in attempting to uplift the lives of area African Americans for many years after the Civil War. It’s important that history not leave out accurate information that depicts the perseverance of people who fought and toiled for opportunities that were often given to others. This is definitely not all of the history of Mount Gregory (still in operation in Howard County), but it’s a good start of the earlier missing history.