Southwood College

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Southwood College was founded in 1874 in Salemburg, North Carolina and closed in 1973. For many years, two schools, Edwards Military Institute and Pineland College, operated on the same site; on July 1, 1965 the institutions officially became Southwood College.


The history of Southwood College began in 1875. Isham Royal founded Salemburg Academy, a one-room, private educational institution for girls. Private academies such as Salemburg flourished before the widespread introduction of public schools. One of the first principals was Marion Butler, later U.S. senator from North Carolina. In 1914, the program reorganized as the Pineland School for Girls following receipt of a donation of $70,000 from Benjamin N. Duke, son of Washington Duke, namesake of Duke University, and a commensurate contribution from local citizens[1]

In 1926, the curriculum was broadened, several more buildings constructed, and the library expanded. The school became Pineland Junior College and served as a female only institution. The Edwards Military Institute, was added and was named for Methodist minister Anderson Edwards, who had contributed his life savings to the construction of the military academy.[1]

In 1952, the schools had the youngest college president in the United States, Willard Jackson Blanchard, a World War II veteran, who at the time was thirty-two years old.[1]

On July 1, 1965, the two schools merged and became Southwood College. The school closed its doors in 1973. That year, the North Carolina Department of Justice took over the grounds, and developed the North Carolina Justice Academy for the training of North Carolina criminal justice officers.[1] The North Carolina Justice Academy still utilizes the Blanchard Learning Resource Center, the Royal Classroom Building, the Jones Auditorium, a cafeteria and an office building that were originally part of Southwood College.[2]

Names Through the Years[3]
Salem Academy/Salem High School 1874-1905
Salemburg Academy/Salemburg High School 1905-1914
Pineland School for Girls 1914-1924
Pineland Junior College 1924-1935
Edwards Memorial School 1933-1935
Pineland College & Edwards Military Institute 1935-1965
Southwood College 1965-1973


Principals, Headmasters, and Presidents of Southwood College and its predecessors[3]
Isham T. Royall 1875–1886
Marion F. Butler 1886–1889
Major George Edwin Butler 1889–1892
William Edward Darden 1892–1893
Alexander Franklin Howard 1893–1895
Rev. William Charles Barrett 1895–1898
Rev. Franklin T. Wooten 1898–1899
John J. Hendren/George Franklin Edwards 1899–1900
George Franklin Edwards/ Mollie Roberts Edwards 1902–1907
Mr. Claude C. Howard/Mrs. George Franklin Edwards 1907–1908
William Jackson Jones/Mollie Roberts Edwards Jones 1908–1945
William Jackson Jones 1945–1949
Willard Jackson Blanchard 1949–1957
Robert Burnes Isner 1957–1958
Joseph Davis Farrar 1958–1959
Robert Burnes Isner 1959–1962
Willard Jackson Blanchard 1962–1972



  • Oscar M. Bizzell, The Heritage of Sampson County (1983)
  • William S. Powell, Higher Education in North Carolina (1964)
  • (Raleigh) News and Observer, October 30, 1949
  • Paul Pleasants, "One Small College Pays its Own Way," The State (July 1952)
  • Don Britt, "Outstanding and Unique Facts About Pineland College-Edwards Military Institute," (typescript report in files of Research Branch, North Carolina Office of Archives and History, n.d.)
  • North Carolina Justice Academy website. "History of the Justice Academy". 

Coordinates: 35°00′59″N 78°30′26″W / 35.0165°N 78.5072°W / 35.0165; -78.5072