Image of Edward Francis Lovill from a Watauga Democrat publication honoring him following his death.
Lovill Hall was named after Edward Francis Lovill. Lovill was born on February 10th, 1842 in Surry County, North Carolina, and died January 4th, 1925 in Watauga County, North Carolina at 82 years old. In May 1861, at 19, Lovill voluntarily enlisted as a private in the 28th Regiment North Carolina Infantry of the Confederate Army in Dobson, North Carolina. He enlisted a little over a month after the the Civil War began. By October of that same year, Lovill was elected 2nd lieutenant, making him a Confederate Army Officer during the Civil War. He was then promoted to captain on April 9th, 1862. Captain Lovill was wounded at Gettysburg, suffering from “V.S. flesh through both thighs.” V.S meaning vulnus sclopeticum, or a gunshot wound. On a separate occasion, General Gardner granted Lovill a two month furlough on October 17th, 1864 after he was wounded in battle. However, Lovill overstayed this furlough, and was listed as absent without leave on the Company Muster Roll for January and February 1865.
After his time in the Confederate Army, Lovill moved to Boone in 1874, establishing a mercantile business there. He became close friends with the Dougherty brothers, and together they co-authored the bill that established the Appalachian Training School.He served as County Commissioner for two years, and in 1883, 1907, and 1920 was elected to the North Carolina Senate as a “Democrat of the purest type.” It’s important to note that the Democratic and Republican parties stood for different ideals in the 1800’s than they do today. During the Civil War, the Democrats led the Confederacy to secede from the United States of America in an effort to preserve slavery and white supremacy. Even after the Confederacy lost the Civil War, southern Democrats fought Northern led Reconstruction and wrote Jim Crow laws to keep African-Americans from gaining equality with whites. The description of Lovill as a “Democrat of the purest type,” suggests that he held some of these beliefs as well.
This page from the Biography of the State Officers and Members of the General Assembly of North Carolina, 1893, gives a brief biography of Edward Francis Lovill. An illustration of Lovill is also depicted.
Lovill became a lawyer in 1885 and was then elected to the North Carolina House for Watauga County. While he was the last confederate veteran to serve on the North Carolina General Assembly in 1885 and 1893, Lovill supported women's suffrage in a time when that was an unpopular opinion. Construction on the Lovill home began while Lovill was the Chairman of the Board of Trustees at the Appalachian Training School.
The first Lovill home, a two story building of native white pine, was completed in 1906. Each bedroom contained “a double bed, a dresser, a small table, a washstand with bowl and pitcher, and two chairs.” Water was piped to the dormitory from springs on the near Dougherty property. By 1907, the Lovill home was overcrowded, and the board of trustees purchased the next door neighbor’s, Mr. McNeal’s, house for overflow. Unfortunately, the McNeal Cottage caught fire and was destroyed on December 31st 1914. In 1915, a second Lovill Home was built to replace the previous as a dormitory for young women. It was a brick two story building, and remained in use until it was demolished in 1967. The current Lovill Hall was completed in 1966, and a dedication for the building was held on October, 22, 1967 at 1:30 pm.