In 1851, the Flint Hill School was constructed in Flint Hill, Virginia, an area that was was eventually renamed to Oakton in 1883, along present day Chain Bridge Road and Jermantown Road. At the time the school was open it was illegal to educate African Americans in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Mary Holland Bell, who was eighteen years old at the time, was designated as the first teacher of the school oriented for the education of white children.
Mary had an African American child who came to the footsteps of the school to listen to her lessons. Mary allowed this to happen, but this action caused ire with her and the locals in Oakton, Virginia.
Mary was very progressive for her time, due to her practice of eastern influences such as meditation and yoga while living in Virginia. Historians know this since in 1914, Mary, at the age of 72, recorded her practices of mediation and yoga in her diary.
In the 2012, historical markers were placed in the presence of Mary’s great-great granddaughter in the honor of her relatives legacy as the first schoolteacher of Oakton, Virginia.