Rev. A. P. Funkhouser

 

Rev. A. P. Funkhouser was one of the most controversial school superintendents in the history of Rockingham County Public Schools. Abram Paul Funkhouser was born near Dayton on December 10, 1853 and was educated in private schools in the area. He went to college for three years (1872-75) and when returning to Rockingham, he founded Shenandoah Seminary at Dayton (later Shenandoah College). In 1881 he returned to Otterbein University where he graduated in 1882. In 1883, he was appointed Superintendent of Rockingham County Public Schools. His appointment in 1883 was a political appointment made by the State Board of Education. He was a Republican in the heavily Democratic Shenandoah Valley and was appointed in spite of the fact that the Rockingham County school board recommended the reappointment of his predecessor, Jasper Hawse. The Republicans and their allied "Readjusters" had taken over the state legislature and were in the practice of appointing Republicans to superintendencies and school board seats. The political climate changed in the election of 1884 and with a new State Board of Education appointed, Superintendent Funkhouser's appointment was never confirmed. In his short three-year term he was faced with controversies relating to textbook selection and racial policies and well as general dissatisfaction with his appointment. After his successor, George Hulvey, was appointed in 1886, Dr. Funkhouser returned to church work and became very active in the leadership of the United Brethren Church. He also served as President of Lebanon Valley College in Pennsylvania. Later he founded the Assembly Park north of Harrisonburg (Park View) and served a term as Postmaster in Harrisonburg during the McKinley administration.

 

Dr. Funkhouser died at his home near the Assembly Park on July 6, 1917 at the age of 63.

 

 


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