Who is Davis Stuart?

Davis-Stuart School, Inc. (the original name) began when George N. Davis and his wife, Mary Estelle Kinports Davis donated their 574 acre farm near Lewisburg, WV to the Synod of West Virginia, now part of the Synod of the Trinity, Presbyterian Church USA to serve as a home for orphaned and dependent children. The home was chartered in 1919 to a board of directors in memory of Mr. Davis’ father and mother, Col. James Ward Davis and Margaret Lynn Stuart Davis, hence the name “Davis-Stuart.” The initial task of organizing the home out of the farm lay with Dr. J.L. Lineweaver, pastor of the Beckley Presbyterian Church. He served for six months as the first employee of Davis-Stuart, taking a leave of absence from his church. Under the leadership of R.K. Robinson, the first superintendent, the facility began quickly receiving the first residents into an enlarged farm house in the fall of 1920. The facility grew quickly and became a home to as many as 70 youngsters at a time, some as young as six years old. The original program was designed to provide an environment in which children could learn values, habits, manners, and some vocational skills. The girls were taught homemaking techniques and the boys participated in the daily operation of the farm.  The children also participated in school, recreational activities, and worship services.   

In the 60’s the Board of Directors restricted the age of children served to over 12 years of age. In addition to the main campus in Lewisburg, three group homes were established in the state, located in Beckley, Bluefield, and Princeton, WV, each licensed to accommodate six residents. By the 70’s the number of children in each of the six campus cottages was limited to eight and the licensed capacity established at forty-four residents. Also during this time, the program expanded with the addition of staff specializing in education, work training, and family services. The program became more specialized in its focus, utilizing positive peer culture problem solving groups with each cottage to teach the residents how to communicate and assist each other. The focus of treatment was upon the behavioral disorders of the residents. The clinical program was developed in the early 90’s when a licensed clinical psychologist was employed, at which time the agency was able to offer services of diagnostics, treatment and therapy. A nurse was then hired, the activity program evolved into recreational therapy, group therapy was added to the counseling program, and the family services component was developed with the addition of professional staff. In 2000, the fourth group home was established in Maxwelton in memory of Alicia McCormick. As with the other group homes, the Alicia McCormick House is also licensed to accommodate six residents.

Today Davis-Stuart, Inc. operates as a private, non-profit agency governed by an independent Board of Directors and is a validated ministry of the Synod of the Trinity, Presbyterian Church, USA.

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