Stonewall Jackson School for Wayward Boys: A Documentary

History of the Stonewall Jackson Manual Trainin...Concord and Cabarrus County in Vintage Postcards   George Michael Patterson   Google Books

We are currently in pre-production on a documentary about the Stonewall Jackson School for Wayward Boys, (or the Stonewall Jackson Training School). This school was founded in 1907 in Concord, North Carolina by newspaper owner James P Cook. Mr Cook witnessed an orphaned 13 year old boy sentenced to a prison sentence of 3 years and six month of hard labor after stealing $1.13. He devoted the next 17 years, to starting a training school for boys to help educate them and provide them with skills needed to succeed in life after their release from the school. He then spent the rest of his life ensuring the success of that school.

Through the efforts of several woman’s organizations, money was raised to erect the first two buildings on 300 acres of property in Cabarrus County, and over several years the school continued to grow. Additional cottages were built to house the boys, along with industrial facilities, farming facilities, and a printing press; all to help train the boys and provide them with the beginnings of successful jobs once they left the school. there was also a gymnasium built on the property, complete with a swimming pool. The school, which originally housed 30 boys, would eventually become home to more than 500 boys.


In the mid 1970s the school was converted from housing vagrants, runaways, and “feeble minded” boys to housing more violent offenders, and in the mid 1990s, a smaller, more modern detention area was built in the property. Though the site is on the National Registry for Historic Places, the majority of the buildings on the property have been neglected and have fallen into a state of disrepair. Though many local historians and activists hope to see the buildings renovated and put into use, the State of North Carolina seems content with simply letting them rot away

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There are many stories surrounding the Stonewall Jackson Training School. We hope to tell some of those stories. We are currently on the search for both former residents and employees of the school who can share some of their experiences while at the school.

We are also working with local historians from the Historic Cabarrus Association, Inc. to help us to tell these stories accurately.

Anyone who has any pictures or information about the school, or have personal experiences involving the school are asked to contact us so that we may tell as accurate stories about this historical place as possible. If you or someone you know can help, please go to our Contact Us page, and thank you for your help.

See the short SLIDELY video of the property by clicking this link:


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  2. I spent over three years at SJTS in the early ’60s. There are stories could tell that would make people shudder just by thinking of them. I worked the farm, green house, sewing room and chicken farm. The abuse was really there and staff did nothing to try to stop it. I’m glad someone did a story on it years ago called “Somewhere a Child is Crying” and it dealt with the abuse at SJTS. I would like to meet some of the former residents from the early sixties who are willing to share their side of the stories. Maybe we can help stop more abuse in other schools lke Morrison and East Carolina and others. Thanks for coming forward!

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  20. Unfortunately, I have hit many roadblocks on making this documentary. I have not been able to get any cooperation from the state, and though I have heard from several past residents and employees, no one will go on camera to talk about the old school. Apparently there is a lot of trauma and bad memories associated with that place.

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  22. Hi! I came across a link to your website on a blog I was reading about Stonewall Jackson. I actually work at the school across the street and pass by it every day. I am fascinated by it. Have you started filming your documentary? If so, when will it be finished and how will it be available to watch? You should submit it to one of those indie film awards shows! Maybe they would put it on Netflix 🙂

    Good luck!

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