Masters Theses

Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science



Major Professor

John J. Dulles

Committee Members

Orin B. Graff, Loyal Durand Jr.


Foreword: This problem originated at the moment the writer glanced at a letter tacked on a barracks wall at the United States Army Separation Center, Camp Atterbury, Indiana, on a day in mid-September, 1945. The particular piece of correspondence was addressed to "Discharge Officers of Field Grade with College Degree"; the message announced that Augusta Military Academy was interested in contacting said officers in regard to employment as teachers; with the signature bearing the name of the Commanding General of the Fifth Service Command, Columbus, Ohio. As a result, what began as "Discharge to accept unemployment in a critical industry (New York Central Railroad)", ended forty-eight hours later when the writer began his first year as an instructor at Augusta Military Academy. This phase continued for one academic year until June 5, 1946 brought the usual graduation ceremonies, and the traditional playing of "Auld Lang Syne" as the cadets assembled for their final formation, the "Last Fall In". Five days later the former 8th Grade Instructor of the Augusta Military Academy was a student at the University of Tennessee, committed to a program of study which was hoped would eventually lead to the award of a Masters degree in Education. The 1946 Summer Session was completed, and by late October the Committee on Graduate Study was beginning to inquire as to what the subject of the required thesis might be. After several conferences with Dr. Orin B. Graff, faculty adviser to the writer, the answer forthcoming - an attempt would be mad to submit an acceptable thesis entitled, "History of the Augusta Military Academy".

As the title indicates, it concerns itself with a boy's military academy, not too many of which exist in the United States, but of which the state of Virginia has seven. Virginia is mentioned because Augusta Military Academy is located at Fort Defiance in Augusta County of that state; the county, incidentally, which gave the school its name.

This thesis is significant in three ways. It is of interest to the thousands of alumni of Augusta because it records for the first time the history of their school. It is of interest to the teaching profession in that it describes the back-ground and development of one of the military preparatory type of educational institutions. To anyone who might read it, it offers one small phase of life in the Shenandoah Valley.

One source of data was the administrative records of the academy which were made available "in toto" by the generous and unprecedented action of the school's principal, Colonel Charles S. Roller, Jr. Another important source derived from the thoughtfulness of Mrs. Hinton Roller Somerville who permitted unhampered use of her father's fine library which contained many of the academy publications of years past when her father, the late Colonel Thomas J. Roller, was Co-Principal. The third member of the Roller family to contribute so sincerely was the founder's only daughter, Mrs. Maggie Bell Roller Robinson, widow of the late Lieutenant Colonel Warren S. Robinson who was an instructor at Augusta for thirty-six years.

Of equal importance were the contributions of the alumni and friends of Augusta Military Academy, who contributed not only their time in interviews, but also newspapers, clipping, old document, and other items which were pertinent to the academy. Particular mention on this printed material of decades ago must go to Miss Mary Lewis McCue; and to the following men who attended the Augusta Military Academy: John Cyrus McCue, and Chris V. Parkins of the class of 1892; John D. Crowle of the class of 1894; Dr. J. L. Alexander of the class of 1897; Mr. Frank Van Pelt of the class of 1899, and Mr. J. F. Walker of the class of 1901. The history of the alumni after they left Augusta are not herein considered, for while this would present an interesting study in itself, it does not come within the scope of the present study.

In the task of organizing the material and preparing it for presentation to the graduate school committee the writer has had the guidance and assistance of Dr. John J. Fuller, a member of the faculty of the College of Education, University of Tennessee.


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