THE HISTORY OF HAZELWILD FARM
Hazelwild Farm is located on the 600 acre ancestral homestead of Anna Elizabeth Morrison. Miss Morrison was a dairy farmer, public teacher & coach. She established the foundation to continue her life-long career of education & care for children. As a non-profit organization, we are dedicated to the academic & physical development of children & adults, in honor of Miss Morrison.
ABOUT ANNA ELIZABETH MORRISON
Since 1951: The early days of Hazelwild Farm Camp with "Aunt Sissy"
Hazelwild Farm Educational Foundation had its beginnings in the summer of 1951, when Anna Elizabeth Morrison, a health and physical education teacher at Spotsylvania High, started Hazelwild Farm Camp. In doing so she realized a life-long dream to provide an opportunity for city kids to “come out to the country and watch things grow.”
That first Hazelwild Farm Camp had just ten campers. Miss Morrison boarded them in her family’s home on the farm. This close family-like association was to give rise to an enduring Hazelwild tradition – the campers knew her nieces and nephews called her “Aunt Sissy,” and, since they were now part of the Hazelwild family, the campers insisted on calling her that as well. The name stuck, and Miss Morrison became known to generations of Hazelwilders as their Aunt Sissy. She kept her campers busy with farm related activities, fun and games. And horses. Horses are what has always made Hazelwild different from many camps, and, with her intense love of horses and horseback riding, making them an important part of the camp was natural for her.
At the time, Hazelwild was a working dairy farm which grew much of its own food. The farm was also home to a number of horses. Miss Morrison, in addition to teaching, fully participated in all the activities you’d expect to see there – this was, after all, her family’s farm.
Anna Elizabeth Morrison -
A Life Devoted to the Education of Children
Anna Elizabeth Morrison was born in 1901, the second of six children, and grew up on Hazelwild, immersed in rural farm and family life. Her father, George Huston Morrison, was a farmer, businessman, and community leader. He was a Fredericksburg City Councilman, deacon and elder of his church, and, for many years, the official Fredericksburg area weather observer. His sense of community involvement was to be shared by his daughter.
In 1926, Miss Morrison graduated from the State Teachers College, later to become the University of Mary Washington, with a degree in Education. Planning to pursue a career in medicine, she began graduate work at the University of Wisconsin, but returned home to care for her ailing parents and help run the farm. She soon started teaching, and, in 1942, began her long association with Spotsylvania High School.
In 1960, at the age of 59, when many start to look to retirement for leisure, she was just getting started. In addition to the camp, that year she also started Hazelwild Day School. Besides directing the camp and day school, training horses and teaching riding lessons, she oversaw 53 head of cattle, 50 horses, and hay and corn fields. She also found time to serve as a member of the Spotsylvania Farm Bureau, president of the Spotsylvania Women's Club and, in 1983, was a charter member of the Spotsylvania Presbyterian Church, which held its first meetings at Hazelwild. Miss Morrison, like her father, had become a community leader.
Once, when she was 70, someone asked her what her secret to life was. She replied that there was just a vast amount of things to do, and that she spent most of her waking hours doing them.
In 1993, at the age of 92 and still going strong, Miss Morrison received an honorary doctor of humane letters degree from Mary Washington College in recognition of her life-long work with children.
Anna Elizabeth Morrison passed away in 1997 at the well lived age of 95. She was a resourceful, determined, and, by all accounts, quite remarkable woman who devoted her life and property to the academic and physical education of our youth. Hazelwild Farm Educational Foundation is her living legacy. To all of us here at Hazelwild, Aunt Sissy remains our inspiration and Hazelwild’s guiding spirit.