Braxton Bragg Comer, Governor of Alabama (see Drewrys in Government), was instrumental in reforming education within Alabama during his term causing his name to be written in the annals of Alabama as the great "educational governor." Governor Comer encouraged liberal appropriations commensurate with the expected resources of the treasury and the needs of the educational system, including common schools, and the institutions of higher learning, and that for both races. Large sums were appropriated for the improvement of old buildings or the erection of new ones at the university, at Auburn, Montevallo, the nine agricultural schools, the Normal schools, and the state supported institutions of an eleemosynary character. Appropriations were made to aid in the building of rural school houses. Necessary increases were made to the maintenance funds of all state institutions. County high schools were established. Possibly no one of the many important things accomplished in his administration had more far reaching results than the founding of the county high schools. The Alabama Boys Industrial School, passed from benevolent to state control and responsibility. The curriculum of the entire educational system was raised and the state placed in the forefront of its sisters. Beginning with the common schools the establishment of the county high schools, the recreating and reindividualizing of the nine agricultural schools, the state normal schools, the Girl's Technical Institute at Montevallo, the Polytechnic Institute at Auburn, the university, all bear splendid evidence of the new impulse given to the educational system of the state in Governor Comer's administration. In recognition to his services to education, both the university and the Alabama Polytechnic Institute named their handsome new buildings in his honor. When the "watchdogs" of the treasure protested against the amazing increase in appropriations for education, the "educational governor" remained undisturbed and declared that he was considering future citizenship as well as contemporary taxpayers; that with more training in how to think and how to work, posterity would have a proportionately greater earning capacity and he would rest his case with posterity who would help pay the debt. During the early period of his experience as a cotton mill operator the labor was drawn from native country families, who coming from remote hillside farms, were as entire families frequently illiterate and formed an unskilled and cheap class of labor. These same families placed within reach of schools and the awakening influence of community life, rapidly advanced in efficiency and usefulness and enjoyed a steadily increasing wage and better living conditions. In Governor Comer's administration a child labor law as passed restricting the age limit in the mills to not under 12 years and also a compulsory educational law requiring mill children under sixteen years to attend school at least eight consecutive weeks during the school term. The mills managed by Governor Comer all showed the widest provision for the physical comfort and health, education and high living conditions of all employees, and also through the state there has been as an effect of the educational policies adopted by him, a distinct progress in the citizenship of the state, and the great success of his administration is easily distinguished.
John Eldridge Drewry (picture) was born at Griffin, Georgia, June 4, 1902, the son of Judson Ellis and Verdi May Harrell Drewry. He received his A.B. degree from the University of Georgia, 1921, B. J. degree, 1922 and A. M. degree 1925. He also did graduate studies at Columbia University in 1924 and 25. Following graduation, 1921, he entered his chosen profession, journalism, as a reporter and news editor for the Atlanta Journal and continued in association with that paper until 1939 when he became associated with the Atlanta Constitution. He became an instructor in journalism at the University of Georgia, 1922 - 4, an adjunct professor, 1924 - 6, associate professor, 1926 - 30, and professor beginning in 1930. Appointed a director in 1932 and dean of the journalism school in 1940. John Eldridge Drewry served the Henry W. Grady School of Journalism of the University of Georgia with distinction his entire working life and was known as "Mister Journalism." Outside of the education community he was also widely known and respected. He was instrumental in establishing the George Foster Peabody Awards. A prime candidate for the University's presidency in 1948 was missed when Mr. Drewry's personal life became embroiled in a bitter divorce case. He retired as dean of the journalism school in 1969 and took the title of dean emeritus after heading the school for 47 years. He was the author of many books and brochures on journalism. He passed away February, 1983.
Dr. Nicholas Butt Drewry (picture), a physician and druggist in Griffin, Georgia, served for many years as president of the board of education of Griffin, beginning in 1880. On December 6, 1904, he was elected mayor of Griffin, in which office he gave a most progressive and satisfactory administration. Dr. Drewry was considered the "father of public education" in Griffin, Georgia.
William Sidney Drewry (picture) was born at Petersburg, Virginia, on July 14, 1869 and was an extremely successful in the insurance business with his brother John Colin Drewry. While he is not remembered primarily for his contributions to education, he could have definitely left an indelible mark had his life's road taken another turn. William Sidney Drewry attended public and private schools at Drewryville, Virginia, and then attended the University of Virginia where he graduated with the degrees of Bachelor of Arts, Bachelor of Philosophy and Master of Arts, an admirable scholastic performance at a time when the University of Virginia stood among the foremost institutions of learning in the world. Leaving college Mr. Drewry had chosen teaching as a life work. He taught two terms at Cleveland High School, Markham; inn 1893 became a teacher in Margaret Academy, Accomac County. The following year he founded the Fayetteville Military Academy, Fayetteville, North Carolina and was assistant principal there for two years. Deciding to continue his higher education William entered Johns Hopkins University, Baltimore, Maryland, where he graduated in 1900 with a degree of Doctor of Philosophy. His dissertation for graduation was a historical study of the slave insurrection that occurred in his native Southampton County in 1831 titled: The Southampton Insurrection or The Nat Turner Insurrection. When published his book was recognized as one of the best dissertations for the degree of Doctor of Philosophy ever prepared in the field of American history. At the time it ranked as an important contribution on the subject of slave insurrections in the United States and was referred to in all encyclopedias as the sole authority on the subject. Leaving Johns Hopkins University William took a professorship in the University of Missouri at a time when he had a reputation for being one of the rising young historians of the country. No doubt he would have made a mark in this profession, however, after two years at the University of Missouri Mr. Drewry decided to enter the business world. He returned to Richmond, Virginia and was engaged in the insurance business with his brother.
Frances Drewry McMullen graduated Columbia University's School of Journalism and won a Pulitzer Scholarship to study at the London School of Economics. As an undergraduate she attended Randolph Macon Women's College where she graduated with honors. While attending college and immediately afterwards Mrs. McMullen was on staff of several newspapers. In the 1920's she became the first woman political writer on the staff of the Baltimore Sun and later joined the staff of the New York Times where she remained for many years. Continuing her education at the Teachers College of Columbia University Mrs. McMullen received her master's degree in child development. She joined the faculty of the Millburn, New Jersey school system and was, later, a psychologist for the Buxton Country Day School, now the Far Brook School. Best known as a pioneer in progressive education authored and implemented many innovations in education. In recognition of her efforts she was appointed to the board of trustees of the Millburn Public Library in 1956 and served as its treasurer. She retired as a board member in 1971.
Charles Hallette Judson was born at Monroe, Connecticut, April 20, 1820 and died at Greenville, S. C., January 12, 1907. On September 2, 1847, he married Emily F. Bosher, a Drewry descendant. Charles was educated at Hamilton Literary and Theological Institute, now Colgate University, and the University of Virginia. Beginning in 1851 Charles became associated with Furman University, an association that would last the remainder of his life. He was appointed the first member of its faculty and continued to serve the University until his death in 1907. During his life he contributed more than $50,000 to the support of the university and was credited with saving the university during its time of need. He was professor and professor emeritus of math, 1851 - 1907, treasurer, 1855 - 94, member of the executive committee of the board of trustees, 1857 - 97, and acting president of the university, 1902 - 3.
| Elizabeth Frances Coalter,
1900 - 1984, the daughter of Charlotte Eucebia Drewry and her second husband,
St. George Tucker Coalter, graduated St. Anne's School, Charlottesville,
1919; Randolph Macon Woman's College, Lynchburg, 1923, and the Pratt Institute,
New York, NY. Elizabeth owned her own "lending" library in Richmond,
Virginia. She was the first woman admitted as a delegate to the Virginia
|Betty Drewry Bamman
graduated from Mary Washington College of the University of Virginia,
1947, with a BS in education. She retired after 31 years of service teaching
third, fourth and fifth grades and Chapter I reading at Hopewell, Highland
Springs, Arlington, Oceana (now Virginia Beach) and Norfolk school systems.
During her summers she would teach reading and math to soldiers at Fort
|Lucy Moore Drewry,
wife of Joseph Samuel Drewry, Sr., was born June 18, 1894, Cumberland
County, Virginia, and graduated from State Normal School, Farmville, Virginia,
1914. Lucy taught school at Adams Grove, Boykins, Portsmouth, and Richmond,
all in Virginia, schools. During World War II Lucy rode the train daily
from Boykins to Portsmouth, a distance of 60 miles, to teach at Portsmouth.
Her son, Joseph Samuel, Jr., writes: "She loved teaching. It was
her passion next to her church and family." Lucy died in 1991 and
is buried in Boykins, Virginia.
|Lynn Bolles Drewry
, wife of Oliver Frank Drewry, served as a first grade teacher for more
than 30 years in the Chattanooga and Cleveland, Tennessee area. She retired
in 1999. Lynn received her Bachlors from Belmont University (1956), a
Masters from UTC and achieved the highest level of state certification
in career ladder development.
Paula May Sell Drewry, wife of Paul Gardner
Drewry, holds a B.A. in Art Education from Doane College, a B.S. in
Elementary Education and an M.S. in Curriculum and Instruction from
Bemidji State University. During a 31-year teaching career Paula has
taught Middle Level and Elementary Art and regular classrooms. She has
been published in Middle Level publications and a dissemination letter
on the exploratory component of Middle Level education. Paula retired from teaching in June 2007.
Teacher's Honor Roll
The list below honors those Drewry descendants, both living and deceased, who dedicated their life, either whole or in part, to the education our our children and the betterment of our nation's population. Reading the old wills it was evident that the Drewrys always valued education for their children, a tradition that continues today.
Joanne Alston Webb, b 1961, Lancaster
County Virginia Middle School
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