KING WILLIAM, VA. -- King William County supervisors have kept a two-year-old promise and returned the Sharon Indian School to the Indians.

"This is a very fitting time to return this gift," Dr. Linwood Custalow, former chief of the Upper Mattaponi Indians, told the Board of Supervisors after the deed and keys to the school were presented last week.

The school had been used as the King William extension office.

Joe Adams, a member of the tribe, told supervisors two years ago that the land was bought in 1918 by the Upper Mattaponi, who built a school on the property. To get the School Board to furnish a teacher, the land had to be deeded to the board, Adams said.

King William built the current school in 1952; it was in use until 1965, when it was closed and the School Board deeded it to the county.

Custalow said the tribe will use the school as a "tribal cultural center."

The Mattaponi Indians were part of the Powhatan confederacy when English colonists came to Virginia in 1607. Early in Virginia's history, the tribe made peace with the settlers and provided not only food and supplies but also women for wives and servants.