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Recognizing Dr. W. T. Griggs
by Jeanne Meekins Murray

The following is an excerpt from a booklet in the Currituck Library’s “Currituck Schools” folder on the history of Poplar Branch High School, renamed Dr. W. T. Griggs High School when it was reconstructed in 1940. Sometimes we forget how much hard work and personal sacrifice went into starting and maintaining schools in rural counties such as Currituck. So as a tribute to the memory of Dr. W. T. Griggs, here is a short excerpt from the publication:

“Whereas, Dr. W. T. Griggs has been one of the County's most progressive citizens for many years and

Whereas, he has served in the schools of Currituck County both as teacher and superintendent and

Whereas, he built the first two room school building in Currituck County and began the first consolidation of schools in Currituck County and

Whereas, he was the first superintendent in North Carolina to apply to Doctor J. Y. Joyner for the establishment of a high school under the public school laws of 1907 and did establish the first public high school in Currituck County, and, because of the refusal of the Board of Education .to guarantee the cost of said school, he became personally responsible for the expenses of running said school and maintained said school at personal expense to himself and

Whereas, he refused to charge tuition to any student in said school but invited anyone to attend and boarded, at his personal expense, many of the students in said high school and

Whereas, he personally canvassed the county and was influential in having passed a special tax and raised the school term the county over and

Whereas, he established the first eight months school in Currituck County and

Whereas, he has been the leading physician in his section of Currituck for many years and

Whereas, he -was largely instrumental in completely eradicating typhoid, diptheria, small pox and other scourges, of mankind from his section through his modern and progressive methods long before the day of Public Health Departments and

Whereas, over five thousand babies have been delivered by him during his lifetime with a low mortality rate of which any physican could be proud and

Whereas, he has been en advocate of good roads and was chairman of the Highway Commission for twelve years and

Whereas, in general he has been the moral, physical and financial mainstay of his section for many years and

Whereas, many citizens of the county have requested that the Board of Education properly recognize the contributions of Doctor W. T. Griggs to the up-building of his community and county,


by the Board of Education of Currituck County:

Section I. That at the completion of the new building now being constructed on the grounds of the Poplar Branch High School, the full name of said school shall be the Doctor W. I. Griggs High School of Poplar Branch, North Carolina, and full name of the school shall appear on the seal of the school, diplomas, all certificates of merit and in all other similar places.”

William Thomas Griggs was born Feb. 14, 1866 in Harbinger, NC. He received his medical degree from UVA in Charlottesville in 1896 and he served the people of Currituck in many capacities in his career. He died in 1947. For more information on Dr. Griggs, his life, and his practice, see Currituck County Heritage, a book published by the Albemarle Genealogical Society and available for sale and for loan at the Currituck County Public Library.

For a more complete history online, including this excerpt, see http://www.ncgenweb.us/currituck/misc/poplarbranchhighschoolhistory.html.


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