Right the Record: Annie Laura Payne Lovell


Portrait of Annie Lovell


  • Born on October 30, 1892, to Sawney Payne (of Louisa County) and Cora Lee Gatewood Lewis Payne (of Culpeper) on Piedmont Street (all white neighborhood at that time) in the Town of Culpeper, Virginia.
  • Her father was a prominent businessman, licensed barber, proprietor and owner of Payne’s Barber Shop on North Main Street and her mother was a schoolteacher prior to raising her family.
  • She and her maternal family were members of historic Antioch Baptist Church on West Street since the church’s organization in 1865.
  • Her early education between the age of five and six years old, she went to live with her maternal aunt and her husband in Altoona, PA to attend a majority white school; she came home during the summer months.
  • Returned to Culpeper at ten years old and received her education under the instruction of colored teachers with colored classmates. One of her teachers was prominent teacher/principal Reverend Willis J. Madden.


  • Attended and graduated from Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute (now Virginia State University) in Petersburg, Virginia on May 15, 1913, with her degree in Business; Vice President of her graduating Class of 1913.
  • Returned to her native Culpeper to begin her teaching career in the public school system for colored students; she and her older sister taught in various one room schools within the county.


  • She transferred to Culpeper Graded School No. 2 (colored) on South Main Street in the Town of Culpeper during the mid-1920s.
  • She was among the first of sixteen African American women in Culpeper County to register to vote on September 30, 1920. She stood up and spoke out with determination to succeed.
  • Annie Laura met her future husband, William M. Lovell, a building contractor, while she was teaching at Buena school.


  • Married her husband in 1932. William was the son of Reverend Ernest M. and Mary Wilhoite Lovell. They had one daughter, Annette L. Lovell Jeffers Jackson.
  • She was among the first faculty to teach at the newly constructed CCTS in 1936 (aka A.G. Richardson Elementary School) on the Old Fredericksburg Road where she advocated for equal education, materials, and structure for African American students in Culpeper.


  • Annie Laura retired from teaching in Culpeper County Public Schools in the mid-1950’s after forty plus years of service. She continued to educate informally as she was dedicated to teaching in the classroom as well as teaching the lessons and principals of life.


  • Active in and contributed to community, church, education, hospital, political and voting agendas, friendships, neighborhood relationships, etc.; she and husband were charter donors of $100 or more to Culpeper Memorial Hospital in 1960 (plaque is displayed on wall in the ER department)
  • Highly respected citizen in the community e.g. neighborhood, Town of Culpeper, church, Culpeper school system, and Culpeper businesses. She left an outstanding legacy!


  • Lived a full and productive life until her death on February 15, 1990, at the age of 97 years old; she was the last of her generation of the Payne family; she is buried beside husband William, who died on April 13, 1973, in the Payne Family plot in the Oddfellows section at Fairview Cemetery.

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