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The history of the Hayden High School is in itself unique. The founder, Mrs. Della Irvin Hayden, had taught in the Public Schools in Southampton County for a number of years. During these years of teaching experience in the County, she recognized that there was a great need for better educational advantages for the young people she taught than were being offered by the Public School System. Inspired by the recognition of these needs, Mrs. Hayden, Reverend Guy Powell and a number of other citizens began to formulate plans for the establishing of a high school for Negro youth in Southampton County.

Incidentally at this time, Mrs. Marriage Allen, a great missionary and temperance worker in London, England was visiting in America. Mrs. Allen was inspired by the plans set forth by Mrs. Hayden and others and gave four acres of land near Franklin, Virginia for the purpose of establishing this much needed school so as to increase the educational opportunities for the Negro youth. The land was conveyed by Mrs. Allen to the Franklin Normal School on which the original buildings were erected and later to become Hayden High School. The signature of Mrs. Allen, as a resident of London, England, was a acknowledged before the Honorable Francis Frigout, Deputy Consul of the United States of America, in the City of London on August 1, 1906, and was recorded in the Clerk's Office in Courtland, Virginia, March 22, 1907.

About the time Mrs. Allen was influenced to give the land for the school, Mrs. Della I. Hayden was called to Petersburg, Virginia, as Lady Principle of the Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute, a position she held for thirteen years. While there, there was a constant longing and desire that sprang out of the knowledge of the great need of the community, to return and establish this school for its moral uplift. She planned in the mean time to foster the work and remain at Petersburg. To execute that plan, Reverend Guy Powell employed a teacher and ran the school for one year, after which the work was temporarily suspended.

In November, 1903, Mrs. Hayden resigned her position in Petersburg and returned to Franklin, Virginia. Immediately upon here return, she was elected Principal of Franklin Normal School and opened the school on January 4, 1904, in a small building owned by the widow of the late Reverend Guy Powell, with an enrollment of twenty-one pupils. Meanwhile, with the help of the Trustees, the principal was successful in erecting a building with four rooms which was completed in 1905 at a cost of $900.00.

In 1906, Mrs. Marriage Allen returned to the United States, revisited the school and was so impressed with what she saw had been accomplished, she immediately made plans for the erection of a dormitory for girls. She advanced $6,000 for this project and allowed the school ten years to refund the money.

With the assistance of the Friends Society, Churches, Associations, private donations and the Trustees, the school progressed steadily until the death of Mrs. Hayden in December, 1924. Along with Mrs. Hayden, much credit must be given to the Trustee Board whose membership was composed of Attorney W.H. Reid, Reverend W.R. Blow, Mr. W.R. Thomas, Mrs. Annie W. Holland, Dr. J.N. Candy, Reverend P.W. Diggs, Mr. J.W. Weaver, Mr. Thomas Johnson, and Reverend W.R. Ashburn.

The members of the first faculty included, Mrs. Della I. Hayden, Principal, Miss Estell Nelson, Miss Corinne Jordan and Miss Thressa O. Johnson.

In the fall of 1921, the Southampton County School Board began classes for Negro youth on a secondary level in a small four room building located near East Main Street in the Town of Franklin. This was the first attempt to provide high school education for Negroes at public expense. Mr. Harry R. Logan became the first principal, along with Mrs. Ethel Harris, Mrs. Ada U. Cary and Mrs. Odell S. King composed the faculty. This public high school, know as the Franklin Town School, was destroyed by fire in 1926. The loss of this building left the School Board without facilities with which to carry on Public Education. However, for the remainder of the school year, classes were conducted in a lodge hall and local churches. In a meeting of the Trustee Board of the Franklin Normal School on October 3, 1926, the Trustees entered into an agreement with the Southampton County School Board to the effect that the said board would be permitted to use the facilities of the Franklin Normal School, and that the said Board assume all operating costs. The school was operated under this agreement until 1930.

The Public High School had its first graduating class in 1925 with the following graduated: William Boykins, Andrew Perry, Clarence Artis, and Elijah Johnson.

On August 19, 1930, the Trustee Board of the Franklin Normal School met and passed a resolution which reads in part " . . . NOW THEREFORE, be it resolved by the Board of Trustees of the Franklin Normal and Industrial Institute, that the said corporation cause to be prepare, executed by the Chairman of its Board of Trustees, and attested by its Secretary, with the corporate seal affixed thereto, a deed of bargain and sale, and delivered to the Southampton County School Board in accordance with the provisions of Section 3876 of the Code of the State of Virginia, for and to the following tracts of land now owned by the said corporation . . ."

With the transferring of this property to the Southampton County School Board by the Trustees of the Franklin Normal and Industrial Institute, the Hayden High School came into being; thus writing the final chapter in the history of the Franklin Normal and Industrial Institute.

Members of the Trustee Board who participated in the transaction were Dr. JJ.M. Candy, Reverend M.C. Allen, Mr. W.R. Thomas, Dr. F.N. Harris, Attorney Thomas H. Reid, Mrs. Annie W. Holland, Mrs. Sarah P. Diggs, Reverend L.J. Alenxader, Dr. W.R. Ashburn, Mr. N.L. Rodgers, Mr. H.D. Bess, and Mr. N.E. Smith.

Just what this school has meant to the community and the people of Southampton County, can best be told in the citizens it has produced and the attainment of its graduates. In the first graduating class of 1907, there was only one graduate, Mrs. Julia Johnson Buck. In the class of 1908, there were three members, Mrs. Maude Weaver Winston, Mrs. Hattie Cobb Vaughan, and Mr. M.C. Clark. Mrs. Winston is remembered for her outstanding work in Southampton County in the field of Education and Welfare. Mrs. Vaughan spent most of her life in Franklin and was of invaluable service to the community, serving for more than forty years as organist and choir director of First Baptist Church. Mr. Clark was one of America's top insurance executives, serving as President of the Dunbar Life Insurance Company.

From the founding of the school in 1904, records show that more than 600 young people have graduated from the school. From this long list of graduates are found many prominent men and women in all walks of life.