Saturday, December 2, 2017

The First School Teacher and Her Great Granddaughter

A dress worn by a woman thought to be the first school teacher in St. Tammany Parish was donated in 2010 to the School System’s archives by her great granddaughter. The long black dress was handmade and worn by Charlotte Lovering Morgan, the great grandmother of Charlotte Morgan Weed, 80, of Shreveport. 

According to Ms. Weed, her great grandmother is remembered as the individual who started and taught in the first school in St. Tammany Parish, which was located in the Mandeville area around 1890. According to newspaper records, Ms. Lovering died on March 23, 1915, and was buried in the Morgan family tomb in Mandeville. 

She was the mother of the Honorable Lewis L. Morgan and the stepmother of James Band and Miss Evelyn Smith.
The dress features elaborate stitch work and ornamentation, with numerous hidden pockets. She believes the dress was worn on special occasions. “I’m sure she did not wear clothes like that daily,” she said.  The 120-year-old dress was placed on a manikin and a sealed acrylic plastic box was lowered in place to protect it.

 Ms. Weed said she grew up in Covington across from the Covington Grammar School building which is now the C. J. Schoen Administrative Complex. She was a good friend of C. J. Schoen with whom she went to school. Having come from a family with a long line of teachers, Ms. Weed became interested in becoming an educator at an early age. 

She was valedictorian of the Covington High graduating class in 1947 and went to college at LSU. Upon graduation, she taught a third grade class in 1952 at Covington Grammar School. “I loved being a teacher and have many happy memories of that time,” she said. Later in life she sold real estate and had a decorating business.

The dress was delivered to the School System by Ms. Weed’s daughter, Dorothy Kristin Hanna, and her husband Bruce Allen, who set up the dress using established historic preservation techniques. Mr. Allen is a professor of art and chairman of the Department of Art and Visual Culture at Centenary College in Shreveport, and as a result of his expertise the dress had been carefully preserved in museum-quality storage boxes.

Source: St.Tammany Parish School Board