Shenandoah County Library Archives

Shenandoah County Library Digital Archives

Teacher Genevieve McClain With Graduates


Dublin Core


Teacher Genevieve McClain With Graduates


McClain, Genevieve D. Robinson (ca 1895-1983)
Smith, Alfonso "Buck" (1929-2018)
Smith, Daniel (1931-2014)
African Americans - Virginia - Shenandoah County


Teacher Genevieve McClain, seated, flanked by three of her students in graduation gowns.

The students are: (l to r) Alfonso Smith, Unknown, Daniel Smith.

These students are most likely ones Genevieve McClain taught while teaching at Creekside School.

Alfonso and Daniel Smith were brothers.

Genevieve D. Robinson was born in Douglas Grove, Berkley County, West Virginia, to David Henry and Sarah E. (Banks) Robinson. The year of her birth varies depending on the document, anywhere from 1892 to 1898. She was one of nine children and her father worked in a stone quarry when she was a child.

She married William McClain (1876-1931) in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1922. He was the son of Henry and Georgie (Brown) McClain. Genevieve and William may have had a daughter, Genevieve, but little is known about her.

In the 1930 census, they lived in Pittsburgh, PA, but William died less than two years later. It appears Genevieve moved back to West Virginia.

Genevieve worked as an elementary school teacher in Franklin, W. Va., Woodstock, Va., and Stanardsville, Va. In Woodstock, she taught during the late 1940s and early 1950s at Creekside Elementary School, Woodstock's segregated school.

In the 1950 census, she appeared as a boarder in the household of William and Elizabeth Jefferson near Church and Water Streets in Woodstock. She was a schoolteacher. This photograph was undoubtedly taken during her time in Shenandoah County.

She was a retired teacher and lived in Ranson, West Virginia, when she died. Her obituary noted she had been a member of the Jefferson County Committee on Aging and the N.A.A.C.P. She is buried with her husband in Douglas Grove Cemetery, Berkley County, West Virginia.

The identified students pictured, Alfonso and Daniel Smith, were two sons of George Marvin and Genevieve “Jeneva” (McPherson) Smith. In 1940, the two boys (then only 11 and 10 years old, respectively) lived in a household on Water Street that was headed by their 18-year old sister, Lonella. She did not work and the next oldest child, George, Jr., was only 14 years old. No parents were listed.

In the 1950 census, Alfonso was a lodger on S. Main Street and worked as a Handyman in a hotel.

It appears he spent his entire life in Woodstock and retired with over 30 years as a detailer at the Woodstock Garage. He had two sons, Alfonso Smith, Jr., (who pre-deceased him), and Dwight Smith; as well as a daughter, Karen (Smith) Ford of West Virginia.

Daniel Smith did not stay in Woodstock. He married Shirley Delorus (Munday) (1936-2020), born in Atlanta, and spent much of his life with her on Staten Island, New York. They raised a family there; son David Daniel Smith (1963-2020) and a daughter.


Morrison Studio


Morrison Studio Collection - Shenandoah County Historical Society


Shenandoah County Library


Labelled "July 1949" on box of plates.


Identified by Sylvia Dyer, who knew the subjects from Church.
Additional biographical information was compiled from public records.




Genevieve McClain appears in Morrison Studio Collection numbers 006697, 008832, 0014463, 0021891, 0021981, 0025327, and 0025202.



Still Image Item Type Metadata

Original Format

Glass Negative


Morrison Studio, “Teacher Genevieve McClain With Graduates,” Shenandoah County Library Archives, accessed May 29, 2024,


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