Stonewall Jackson Training School
|Emma Hudson Eagle, 1939.|
A native of the Rocky River community, Emma J. Hudson was born the fourth of six children to farmer Seth Hall Hudson and Frances Alvira "Fannie" White on 8 Dec 1858. Her father was a Confederate soldier, and although he survived the war, he died shortly after his return. After his death, the family moved to Concord. In a 1939 interview, The Concord Tribune described Emma's childhood schooling in the years after the war:
"She went to an old log school house with an immense log fireplace at one end. One long desk was nailed to one side of the room and there the older students sat to do their writing. The others sat on crude, backless benches made of slabs with legs made of poles. Her first teacher was a schoolmaster named Robert Brown and he had between 75 and 80 children on his roll...her last teacher being James C. Fink, who at the time was but little older than herself."As her siblings left home, Emma stayed as a companion and caretaker of her mother. After her mother's death, Emma married widowed farmer Joseph Travis Eagle, Sr. in 1903 when she was 45. For the next seven years they lived at his home in Rowan County. Joseph, who was 18 years her senior, died in 1911. Emma then returned to Concord.
|Uniformed boys and an instructor pose on the steps of the |
King's Daughters cottage, c. 1920s. Photo: Images of America,
Concord, by Michael Eury.
Although she left several times to care for family members, over the next 20 years Emma served in various capacities at the school, primarily as a matron and director of the Sewing Room. She watched the school grow from two residential "cottages," or homes, housing about sixty boys, to fifteen cottages with nearly five hundred.
The King's Daughters cottage, where she first worked, was named for the organization which donated the funds for its construction. Erected in 1908 and opened January 12, 1909, it was built of solid brick and a slate roof. All the cottages were similar in size and interior arrangements, equipped to accommodate about 30 boys. Each had two stories and a basement. The basement contained a pantry for food supplies, a locker room, a clothes room, and bathroom and bathing facilities. On the first floor of each cottage was a kitchen, dining room and sitting room for the boys and cottage parents. The second floor had a dormitory for the boys and living quarters for the cottage parents.
|House boys and matron preparing a meal, c. 1940s. Photo: History of |
the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School (1946).
|Working in the Sewing Room, c. 1940s. Photo: History of the |
Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School (1946).
Emma Hudson Eagle was a devoted member of Rocky Ridge Methodist church and the Women's Missionary Society and was known for her talents in crochet and quilting. Although she had no children of her own, she cared for many. She died 28 Nov 1944 at the age of 85 and is buried at Oakwood Cemetery in Concord.
The original cottages of the now named Stonewall Jackson Youth Development Center are no longer used and have fallen into disrepair and neglect, however, they are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
- "Tribune's Minute Biography," The Concord Tribune, 3 Dec 1939.
- History of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Training and Industrial School, by S. Glenn Hawfield, (1946), https://archive.org/details/historyofstonewa00hawf