History of Brunswick Mineral Springs
Brunswick Mineral Springs was built in 1785 and has had many owners and uses though the years. Most
of the time it has been used for farming and since colonial time's tobacco has been the king crop. Even today the Dolphin area just north of here is noted for the quality and high value of its tobacco crop. An essential part of a South side farm in the early
1800's was the dependencies (outbuildings). Mineral Springs is notable because so many of these outbuildings are still standing. Take the time to notice the smoke house, the stable, the dairy, the well house the slave quarters, the overseer's house, the tack house, and tobacco barn, and the hospitality house where visitors stayed as you walk around the property. However, agriculture was only one of the property's several uses. The economy of the county between 1815 and 1845 was booming, making leisure available and luxury enjoyable. Life was easy for the plantation owners with the burden of the work placed on the slaves. There was much visiting back and forth, and people would come from lengthy distances to spend long visits with their friends and relatives. They came to Brunswick County to drink and soak in the waters at Brunswick Mineral Springs.
A good school rather than a large one.
In the 1820's and 1830's Col. Adison Powell owned the resort that was famous for its healthful waters. On the property are two springs that are reputed to have beneficial medicinal value. One acts as a cathartic and other as a tonic. Since there were no schools in the area; Powell hired Mr. and Mrs. Bobbitt and Eliza Bobbitt to teach school at the site. Mr. Bobbitt prepared young men to enter college, and the ladies saw to it that the young women learned reading, writing,needlework, painting, music and dancing, the prerequisites for a genteel female existence in those days.
The property continued as a resort even after it became a school in 1826. The school was expanded in 1826 and with the removal of the Female Department to a location half-mile away, and the hiring of another teacher for this portion of the school. Powell ran his resort until 1841, when the place was sold to John J. Gregg, who ran only a boys school at the site. Although Gregg may have been a fine educator, he was a lousy businessman and the school was not a financial success. Gregg sold the 440 acre tract to J. Ravenscroft Jones in 1850. Jones had been educated in New England and had taught at The Brunswick Academy in Lawrenceville, a boy's school which flourished from 1836 to 1860.
Jones wanted to create "a good school rather than a large one." Enrollment was limited to 20. He hired teachers and opened his doors to local and boarding students. But his school was even less successful than Gregg's and lasted only six years.
An ironic footnote is that despite his lack of success he was named Superintendent of Public Schools for Brunswick in 1879 and served until 1883.