Thursday, June 12, 2014

Randolph-Macon College

DAY THIRTEEN: The name of Randolph-Macon College in Virginia has suddenly become front-page news because the man who defeated Eric Cantor in the Republican primary election on Tuesday, Dave Brat, is on the economics faculty at Randolph-Macon College, and his Democratic opponent in the fall, Jack Trammell, is a Sociology professor at Randolph-Macon. So all eyes will be on Randolph-Macon College not only in Virginia but in the nation.

Randolph-Macon is a familiar name in my family. My father taught English at Randolph-Macon Academy in Bedford, VA in 1925-26. R-M Academy was started in 1896 as a prep school that would feed students into R-M College. R-M Academy became R-M Military Academy in the early twenties, so when my dad taught there, he wore a uniform (he had briefly served in the army in WW I but the war ended weeks after he enlisted).

There were actually two R-M Academies, one in Bedford, and one in Front Royal, VA. Both were founded as feeder schools for R-M College in Ashland, VA.  All three schools had a connection with the Methodist Church. The Bedford campus was closed in 1933 and all students moved to Front Royal. That school - Randolph Macon Military Academy in Front Royal  - still exists and seems to be thriving. It no longer has any formal connection with Randolph-Macon College.

I have some letters my father wrote my mother while he was at R-M in Bedford. They were courting then (hey were married in 1926 in Williamsburg, KY and then moved to Signal Mountain, TN where dad started a church. He mentions climbing the Peaks of Otter, which are outside Bedford, and a prominent geographical feature of that area as the card below shows.

Barney Crockett at Randolph-Macon Academy

The Main Building at RMA, Bedford, VA - no longer standing

The Peaks of Otter

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