It is amazing how you can begin searching history for one thing, and you inadvertently run across things that send you in other directions.
I thought I would take the time to share my most-recent finds.
The first one comes from High Point City Council records for June 1925 and deals with the city hiring a policewoman. This document seems to have been cut and pasted smack-dab in the middle of the minutes, on pages 1 and 2.
The pasted entry seems to be a note sent to council reminding council of the need for a policewoman:
“Your Board feels most kindly the need for a police woman in our city, and we are requesting that you authorize the employment of one at a salary of $159 per month. In the event you do not feel justified in taking this advanced step, we most earnestly request that our executive secretary be invested with police powers.
“Respectfully submitted, Clara I. Cox, George R. Brown, C.C. Muse, A. Robertson, W.D. Brooks, Board of Public Welfare, City of High Point”
Now my curiosity was aroused, so I called High Point police historian Roy Shipman to find out who and when the city’s first policewoman was hired. He told me about an article in the Greensboro Daily News regarding a hire in 1928, and I told him about the council record from June 1925.
According to a July 15, 1928, article in the Daily News, Jane Moxley of Chapel Hill was hired July 14, 1928, as the girls commissioner and policewoman.
Under the headline “High Point Has Policewoman,” the small item announced that “Miss Jane Moxley, of Chapel Hill was elected by the High Point city council to the position of girls’ commissioner and policewoman at its regular meeting here this week. The election followed immediately a decision to create such a position in the city.”
It said Moxley was an experienced social welfare worker trained “for work of this nature.”
It took about three years of arm twisting by the Board of Public Welfare to get council to hire the town’s first policewoman. I think she was more of a social worker-truant officer, assigned to the white schools. I found nothing to indicate she spent time at the black schools.
While discussing this with my friend Marion Inabinett at the High Point Museum, she shared another fact from council records: A Mr. Deal, a local citizen, proposed to the City Council the idea of using his car as an additional police vehicle, if they would provide gas and oil. The council jumped on the offer, and another police vehicle was added to the fleet. Deal was either a big supporter of the police department or the school system. Either way, with this offer, he became part of the lore surrounding our first policewoman.
Probably the woman most history books will recognize, as the city’s first female police officer, would be Sally Cranford-Cook, who was hired full time on Jan. 8, 1973.
I would have to give the honor of first policewoman to Jane Moxely. After all, the City Council created the title and position.
The second discovery also comes from City Council records for 1918 and 1919. It involves a new teacher for Fairview Street School by the name of Flossie Foster.
I didn’t have this information when I wrote my book, ”Our Roots, Our Branches, our Fruits of Knowledge, Black Schools of High Point & Surrounding Area, 1868-1968.” So, I suggest you pencil in these teachers for Fairview Street School for the year 1918: Principal Ossie Davis, Ophelia Davis, Flossie Foster, Ophelia Robinson and Lizzie Dorsett.
According to City Council minutes dated Oct. 29, 1918, “Upon motion of Councilman Hedrick, Dr. Stanton was requested to see the superintendent of the High Point Normal School for Negroes in regard to a more liberal allowance of salary for the colored teacher of the Fairview School.” The correct name of the school Hedrick spoke of was High Point Normal & Industrial Institute.
The city of High Point wanted nothing to do with educating colored kids at that time, so every year, they contracted with the Quakers to do their dirty work when it came to upkeep and salaries.
During the early 1900s, the city of High Point was contracting with the Society of Friends to conduct colored grade schools of the city under a one-year contract that was up for renewal each year. Example: The contract for 1915-1917 was $1,000 to $2,500 per annum. On Oct. 7, 1918, the city agreed to a new contract with an increase in pay to $3,500, for the maintenance of the colored schools.
Foster resigned in August 1919, and the council selected Lelah Walker of Winston-Salem and Lizzie Dorsett to fill positions at Fairview Street.
I found a death certificate for a Flossie Morrison living in Thomasville, married to James Morrison at the time of her death in 1932. She was a teacher at the Thomasville Graded School. The undertaker listed on the certificate is Louis B. Haizlip, along with the doctor, C.J.H. Gaylord, both of High Point.
I can’t prove it, but I do believe this is the same Flossie that left High Point in 1919.