Fishburne Military School (FMS) is a private, military boarding school for boys in Waynesboro, Virginia, United States. It was founded by James A. Fishburne in 1879 and is one of the oldest military schools in the country.
James A. Fishburne was born in Waynesboro, Virginia, on April 10, 1850. An independent and resourceful young man, by the age of sixteen he had earned enough money to enter Washington College (now Washington and Lee University). After graduating in 1870, he embarked on a teaching career that took him to North Carolina, and Kentucky. By 1878, he had saved enough money to start a school and returned to Waynesboro with his bride to realize his dream. With the help of his sister, he opened a day school in 1879 called The Waynesboro High School on Main Street. One year later, Professor Fishburne began the construction of his home on the hill where Fishburne Military School now stands. By 1882, the house was completed—the first in the county with running water and a bath—and the school moved to its present site.
1882 \ Constuction begins on wooden Barracks
In 1882, the name of the school became Fishburne Home School, and construction of the wooden Barracks began. Over the next few years, the school took on much of its military character, becoming Fishburne Military School. This approach provided a disciplined environment, conducive to learning. Cadets learned their rights and privileges, as well as their duties and responsibilities. Professor Fishburne intended the school to prepare its students physically and mentally, while equipping them ‘’for college, university, or practical life.” In 1897, Fishburne Military School became one of the first two military boarding schools in Virginia to be accredited by the stringent Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (SACS). Well over a century later, Fishburne boasts an unbroken record of SACS membership and accreditation in SACS.
1879-1921 \ Plans laid for a fireproof school
From 1879-1916 the school was operated as a Proprietorship. However, it was apparent to Professor Fishburne that a modern, fireproof facility would be required if the school were to continue its place in the forefront of secondary education. He invited businessmen of the community to invest in a private stock corporation that would acquire the school and fund the necessary improvements. The school was incorporated in 1916 and is now on the National Register of Historic Places.