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History of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) online

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R. Sapp, H. Packard, 0. C. Comstock, Benjamin Faxon. E. J. House,
and L. D. Crippen.

The faculty were Rev. Clark T. Iliniiian. A. .M.. president and jiro-
fessor of moral and intellectual science; Rev. E. W. .Merrill. A. M.,
professor of ancient languages and elocution ; Rev. Norman Abbott, A.
M., professor of mathematics ; Rev. L. R. Fiske, A. B., professor of
Natural science; Lsaac C. Cochrane, professor of primary English liter-
ature ; ]Miss Sarah Hurst, principal of female department and teacher
of modern languages and fine arts; Jlrs. Mary E. Church, teacher of
music; Joseph Chandierlain, teacher of Indian department: Josejih
French, steward ; Rev. W. H. Brockway, general agent.

During the year 1850 there were 355 students in attendance. It
will be noticed that the course of study was essentially the old, traditional
classical course with a modest introduction of the subjects of science,
modern languages and English. The department for the instruction of
Indians was unique and suggestive of the early missionary spirit of the
institution. The catalogue of that year made the modest statement for
the musical department that "Lessons will be given on the piano and
melodeon." It takes a half-dozen pages of the modern college year book
to make adequate announcement of instruction in piano-forte, voice, pipe
organ, violin, violoncello, orchestral instruments, chorus, oratories, can-
tatas, concerts, recitals, et cetera.

Rev. Clark T. Hinman, D. D., a minister of inspiring eloquence and
of great pulpit power, was principal of the seminary for four years and
president of the collegiate institute for three years, from 184(i to 1853.
He was afterwards largely instrumental in founding the Northwestern
University at Evanston, and became it.s first president.

For the following very vivid and interesting account of one phase


of Albion's history, the writer is indebted to the Rev. M. A. Daugherty,
who was for several years the very able field agent of the college : " It
may be of interest to recall a chapter of its history in the transition from
the Albion Seminary and Wesleyan Female College to Albion College.
This required a change in the charter. One of the features of the re-
vised charter was unique, and born of the unfortunate experience of the
institution in getting into debt. It was the creation of a new corporation,
distinct from the board of trustees, to hold and invest all the funds con-
tributed for endowment, making it impossible for the trustees, no matter
how great their necessity, to use a dollar of the endowment fund for
current expenses.

"That matchless man, Clark T. Hinman, when president of the insti-
tution, had raised an endowment fund of $100,000 by the sale of scholar-
ships entitling the owner to free tuition for one pupil forever. Every

RoBixsux Building

$100 represented such a scholarship. The principal was to be invested
and held a sacred trust forever, and the interest only to be used for
current expenses. The fund was partly cash, and pArtly in notes, given
for scholarships, on which the makers paid ten per cent annual interest
till it suited them to pay the principal. The income was scanty, the
wants of the school plenty and pressing. The trustees had money in
hand belonging to the endowment fund. To be sure, it was a sacred
trust, and they had solemnly promised never to pervert it. But it was
needed so badly, and they must cither have money or close the school.
They were good men, true fiifiids nf the church and the college, con-
fronting as they saw it, a great (lihMiinia, one horn a closed school, the
other a pei'version of a sacred fund. They made the fatal mistake of
selectiiii;' the latter. They borrowed the endowment fund, as they said,
and intended to repay it. But wants accumulated so fast, income was so


iu;uk'(|uato,*tliey were ik'wv able to pay. Having eiitei-ed u|)oii this fatal
policy, it was easy to eoutinue it, aud this they did till all cash was iu
hand and all notes that they eould collect were used up. The eud had
come. The institution was without means, and w'hat was far worse,
was left without many friends, and with an army of open enemies or
indifferent constituents. The college and its managers were covered
with odium. Every prominent minister and layman in both confer-
ences had scholarships, anathemas for the trustees, and hostility or cold-
ness for the institution itself. Meanwhile a poorly-paid but heroic
faculty had kept the doors open and taught all who came. The north
and central buildings had grown dilapidated, the grounds unsightly,
being uniuclosed and dug into pits to get gravel to mend the ways of
the village. The walls of the north building were up and- roofed, and
had been for some years, but inside unfurnished, and outside unsightly,
'lehabod' was written everywhere.

"This was the state of things that confronted its friends in 1865.
Its friends of to-day have no such conditions to face. They have a
public sentiment widely sympathetic, a condition highly respectable,
resources not what they should be, but equal to good work, a hopeful
and splendid outlook, and halls crowded with promising young men and
women. Had it not been for such men a.s Owen, Preston. Sheldon, Gale
and others among the laymen, and Cogshall, Hrockway, Fitch, Jocelyn,
Perrine, Gillett, Smart, Clements, Reed and others among the preachers,
but for their heroism and devotion. Albion College would have found its
grave in 1865 or before. But 1866 was the centennial year. The friends
of the college succeeded in carrying through l)Oth the Michigan and De-
troit conferences a resolution to celebrate the centennial of iiethodism
in America by raising -iilOO.UOO for the endowment of Albion College.
Each conference appointed a committee to plan and supervise the effort.
Albion was asked to raise $25,tK)U as the condition on which the institution
was to remain at Albion. 1 know well the plans of the Michigan con-
ference for I was chairman of its committee and the laboring oar and
supervision of the work fell to me. AVe had the cause presented to the
people at every appointment and contributions solicited. We also em-
ployed Rev. Thomas Lyon to canvass every charge, and to his thorough
and skillful work was largely due our success. Albion raised her .+l'.").()0() ;
the .Michigan conference raised in addition about $55.00(1 and tin' De-
troit conference about $20,000. and thus Albion College hatl her first
$100,000 of endowment.

"In 1867 it was determined to appoint a financial agent. The insti-
tution was not much in debt, but without means to pay teailicis or
repair buildings. The endowment fund was mostly in notes scatfcnd all
over the state and needed attention. The trustees and my eoiitVii'iuc
asked for my appointment. Bishop xVmes, against my earnest protest,
complied. The endowment fund committee also made me their agent,
to collect and look after the notes and interest on them, and to i)ay the
taxes and make sales of the real estate that had been conti-iliuted to
this fund.

"The first necessity was money to pay the teachers. Churches iu
every part of the state, in town and country, were visited and help


asked, and a healthy sentiment created. The preachers and the people
nobly responded and current expenses were met without debt or borrow-

"The next thing pressing was money to repair and .rejuvenate the
north and central buildings, and complete the south building and enclose
and grade and ornament the grounds. A meeting was called at Central
church, Detroit, at which it was resolved to raise $10,000 for this pur-
pose. This sum was pledged after considerable effort. It had been
conditioned on raising the whole or none. A meeting of the trustees
was called, to which every subscriber to the fund was invited to show
that the money was pledged, and to determine how it should be expended.
At this meeting it was resolved to borrow $10,000 to be paid from this
$10,000 fund when collected. To this there was much oppo.sition as a
dangerous step. It was the camel 's nose. But the needs were so press-
ing. Our appearance was so truly shabby and humiliating that pride
overrode prudence, and the debt incurred. The $10,000 was collected
slowly ; subscribers given time, if they requested it, as we had the money
for the improvements. But interest at ten per cent was enlarging the
debt, some subscribers failed, and the subscription, though a good one,
failed to pay all the principal and interest of the loan, and thus was
created the nucleus of a debt tliat has haunted and burdened the insti-
tution for thirty years. But with the $10,000 the college put on fine
new clothes, and when the south building was linished and our new
chapel was ready to dedicate, a Methodist state convention was largely
attended. The hospitality of Albion was severely taxed. It proved a
most important and epoch-making occasion.

"The prime object of this convention was to consider how the endow-
ment fund could be increased by another $100,000 though ostensibly to
dedicate the new chapel and swell the now rising tide of public favor.
After much discussion liy llic strong men of both conferences, clerical
and lay, in which all achiiittcd tlu- college needed and deserved it, that
prince among good men, Uavid Preston, arose, and in his direct and
laconic style, said: 'If Bro. Daugherty will raise $50,000 from not over
fifty men, I will pledge myself to raise $60,000 from the rest of man-
kind.' Bro. Daugherty said he could and would do it. The doxology
was" sung, and amid great rejoicing the first Methodist state convention

' ' The $50,000 was pledged before the next ensuing session of the con-
ference by less than fifty persons. In this work the agent was assisted
by Rev. Seth Reed a part of the time. Bro. Preston arranged to have a
collection taken in every cojigrcgntion in Imth conferences on the same
Sunday, and to have the result icportcd In liim jjromptly. He flooded
the ]Methodist churches with larts and exhortations printed and sent
out by tens of thousands, elu(|ueut and brotherly appeals. They greatly
stimulated interest in the college, but the result was disappointing.
Only a fraction of the $60,000 was thus gained. But nothing daunted,
he took the field in person and called to his assistance the agent and
others, and pressed the canvass till the whole sum was raised. And thus
Albion College gained her scediid .-l^liiojiCO.

"The men most closelv connected with the history of the institution


in tliust' (lays wvvv sure that (lod had iircd of it and was ph-inninj^ f,,,- it
a great futuru. Some of them were mig'hty men ot prayer, and all
plainly saw and aeknowledgeil ids guiding hand anil favoring providence.
Some still linger to behold and rejoiee in what they helped to do, but
most of tiiem with joy eestatie look down upon it from the golden
towers of the New Jerusalem. "

Rev. L. R. Fiske, of this faeulty, after teaching for some time in the
Michigan Agricultural College, and serving the church as pastor with
great distinction, became tiie presitlent of Albion College in 1877, con-
tinuing in his office with great efficiency for full twent.y years.

Of the young men who attended the school at this early time, and
who here prepared either for college or for life, may be mentioned the
Hon. Wirt Dexter, a very eminent Chicago lawyer; General Clinton B.
Fisk, the soldier, statesman, and philantropist of blessed memory ; Hon.
Sterling ^Morton, secretary of agriculture under President Cleveland;
Judge John W. McGrath, once a member of the supreme court of Mich-


igan; Rev. Arthur Edwards, the forceful and influential editor of the
Northwestern Christian Advocate for so many yeai-s ; Hon. Ashley Pond,
a noted lawj-er of Detroit, and others. Dr. Edwards once told the writer
of his great delight in finding in the records of the Clever Fellows' So-
ciety, one of the leading literary societies of the school, the statement of
his election to the first office ever conferred upon him by the vote of his
fellow men.

It would require volumes to be written to adequately set forth the
self-sacrificing labors of many of the men and women who gave the best
they had for the upbuilding of the institution. One man may be men-
tioned here as a typical example of the spirit manifested by many others.

The services of William H. Brockway for Albion College covered a
period of nearly forty years as agent, member and president of
the board of trustees, treasurer, and chairman of the executive com-
mittee. Born in Vermont in 1813, he came to Jliehigan in 1831, and
very soon was licensed to preach the gospel. He is said to have been the
first Methodist preacher licensed in the state. He was first appointed
to the Huron mission, including Ypsilanti, Detroit, and Monroe ; next
to Mt. Clemens: then the Saginaw mission; back to the Ypsilanti cir-


cuit, and finally to the Lake Superior mission for ten years, serving
during the most of this time as chaplain at Fort Brady, Sault Ste. Marie.
He came to Albion in 1848 and began his service as presiding elder of
Indian missions for lower Michigan, as pastor at South Albion, and at
the same time as agent for the college. He was also an active business
man, building houses and stores in Albion and superintending the
grading of the branch of the Lake Shore railroad from Jonesville to
Lansing. He was active in public affairs, member of the state house
of representatives, state senator, a trustee and president of the village.
During the Civil War he was commissioned by Gov. Austin Blair as
chaplain of the Sixteenth Michigan Infantry. He was later one of the
founders of Bay View. Such a man of action was W. H. Brockway ; one
who knew the hardships of pioneer life, and by a self-reliant and coura-
geous spirit conquered all the difficulties he was called upon to face.
And it is safe to say that of all the interests which engaged the service
of this rugged character, the one all absorbing ambition of his heart was
to contribute to the prosperity of the school at Albion. All his life
long he was devoted to its service. His enthusiasm and loyalty were
communicated to others, and so the good work goes on.

(III.)— Early History. Third Period.

The original act of the legislature which gave life to a Methodist
school at Albion was the granting of a perpetual charter which can
never be set aside for another. It can only be amended, and that must
' be done by the legislature acting under a concurrent resolution of both
house and senate.

In 1861 the charter was again amended, granting general college
powers and changing the corporate name to Albion College. The courses
of study were at this time greatly enlarged with the set purpose of
making them equal to the best of our American institutions. Such a
spirit has been fostered from that day to this, and to-day the college
challenges comparison as to the thoroughness of the courses offered.
Of course there cannot be as wide a range of courses as at a larger insti-
tution, but in the character of such as are offered the standard is high.

The first class, graduating from the college in 1864, consisted of three
young ladies. Misses Phebe W. Barry, Minnie A. Grimes and F'ranc M.
Sanders. Their college education apparently did not unfit them for mat-
rimony, for the records show that they became the wives respectively
of Lewis B. Agard, Fred W. P^llis and J. N. Nichols. The class of 1865
contained three graduates, young men, William E. Ambler, Henry Gib-
son and John IM. Rice. The institution thus began a true period of
co-education, supplying equal educational advantages to both sexes.

Four other denominational colleges had already been established in
Michigan : Hillsdale College, founded by the Freewill Baptists in 1855 ;
Kalamazoo College, Baptist, also in 1855; Olivet College, eleven years
earlier under the supervision of the Congregational church, and Adrian
College, Methodist Protestant, 1859. The state had also provided a
university, thus affording the young people a choice of the institutions
they would attend. Among these schools there never has been anything



bordering upon antagonism or bitter rivalry, Init on the otlier hand the
most helpful and mutual stinuilation to excellent work which the existence
of so many schools would naturally make. The state, in maintaining a
university, does not intend to supplant or discourage the founding of
church colleges, nor does it intend to become a competitor. In this early
day a sharp distinction was made between the religious and the secular
school, with so much of popular favor and emphasis placed upon the
former that even the university maintained early morning prayei-s,
every day in the week, for several years. Today the basis of compar-
ison is broadened by the addition of another factor involved in the idea

Rev. Thomas H. Sinex, D. D.

of the small college versus the large one. Let the friends of the small
denominational college take comfort and courage in the fact that in high
educational quarters the trend of opinion is largelj' to the conclusion
that in its tinal product, considered from the standpoint of character,
forcefulness and efficiency, the small college has nothing to fear in com-
parison with those institutions which number their students by the

The legislative act of 1861 named the following as members of the
board of trustees : George Smith, president ; S. W. Walker, first vice-presi-
dent ; jManasseh Rickey, second vice-president ; ^Yilliam Farley, treas-
urer; E. Holstock, E. H. Pilcher, W. E. Bigelow, A. M. Fitch, William


Bort, J. C. Blanchard, W. H. Johnson and Clinton B. Piske. These
constituted a body corporate to be known as Albion College. These men
were well known and representative men, members for the most part of
the Michigan conference. Some had been students of Manasseh Hickey.
It is related that he had a favorite place in "Brockway's woods" where
he went daily for his "private" devotions, but that in his enthusiasm
and with his tremendous voice he could be heard for miles around. The
writer well remembers when, as a boy, he sat in his home and heard Mr.
Hickey preach in the ]\Iethodist church some distance away.

The faculty at this time were: Rev. Thomas Sinex, D. D., president
and professor of moral philosophy and political economy; Rev. C. C.
Olds, A. M., professor of natural science; John Richards, A. M., pro-
fessor of ancient languages ; Miss Julia F. Robinson, principal of female
department and teacher of French and fine arts; Miss Charlotte Innes,
assistant teacher ; Henry Meakin, professor of music. The whole number
of students in 1861 was 200.

In 1865 the legislature was again appealed to and steps were taken to
place the college on a better financial basis. By this act John Owen and
E. G. Merrick of Detroit and E. J. Connable of Jackson were constituted
an "endowment fund committee" to receive, hold in trust and invest
all moneys contributed for the endowment of the college, and to pay
to the trustees semiannually all interest accruing therefrom. The great
struggle through which most institutions of learning pass is the effort
to procure funds to meet current expenses. Colleges which do not de-
pend directly on the state or which do not exist through private benefi-
cence are badly crippled in their work unless endowed. Only a small
revenue can be obtained from students' fees.

The board of trustees at this time, 1865, were : James W. Sheldon,
president; Martin Haven, first vice-president; S. W. Walker, second
vice-president ; A. M. Fitch, treasurer ; George Smith, Julius D. Morton,
S. Clements, David Preston, A. Billings, William Bort, W. H. Brock-
way and J. S. Tuttle. Rev. Israel Cogshall was agent.

The members of the faculty were: George B. Jocelyn, D. D., i:)resi-
dent and professor of mental and moral science ; Rev. W. H. Perrine,
A. M., professor of natural sciences and fine arts; W. H. Shelley, A. M.,
profe.ssor of Latin and Greek languages ; ilrs. Livonia B. Perrine, A. M.,
professor of mathematics; Miss Rachel Carney, M. S., preceptress and
professor of modern languages; ]\Iiss Juliet Bradbury, 21. S. A., and Miss
Elizabeth Hollingsworth, teacher of instrumental music.

During the period vigorous efforts were made to establish a permanent
endowment fund. After much consultation a plan was devised and set
in operation by which the people of Albion an vicinity were to raise
$25,000 and the Jlethodist public in the remainder of the state $75,000
thus providing $100,000 in all. The greater part of this was realized.

Man.y of the names already recited are worthy of a much more ex-
tended notice that can be given them here — strong, stalwart i\Iethodists
who stood in their lot and place and assisted in the carrying on of this
most important work. Among these will be remembered William H.
Perrine for his great ability and strong and manly virtues. He was born
at Lyons, N. Y., Oct. 8, 1827, of Huguenot extraction. He worked his





way through Hiilsdali' ('ollci;v l)y Icarliing jiiid pn-aching. Whik- in
college he was stationed at Soutli Allnoii aiul -lacksoii, and after gradua-
tion he served as pastor at Hastings, Detroit, Adrian, Ann Arbor, Flint,
Lansing, St. Joseph and Albion. October 7, 1854, he married iliss L.
E. Benedict. I\lrs. Perrine filled the chairs of languages and mathe-
matics, and also acted as preceptress with great ability. In 1858 and
again in 1868 ilr. and Mrs. Perrine visited Europe and the holy land.
In 1871 be received the degree of doctor of divinity from Albiou College.
lie was a forceful and intluentiaj meiiiber iif sex-cral general conferences
and was a conspicuous person in cburcii affairs.

Ke\'. Gk(.ikge B. Jocelyn

The greatest credit, however, for lifting the college out of its period
of great discouragement nni.st be given to the sagacity and executive
efficiency of Dr. George B. Jocelyn. Born in New Haven, Conn., he
lived a strenuous life and died a comparatively young man at the age
of fifty-three. His biographer says that when be came to the presidency
of the college he found it out of money, out of credit and out of friends.
He left it with its finances on a sound foundation and larger in amount
than anj' college in Michigan. His previous life bad fitted him to become
a successful college president. At twenty years of age he had conducted
a select school at X'inccnncs. Iiiil. Attc: \\ai

Online LibraryWashington GardnerHistory of Calhoun county, Michigan : a narrative account of its historical progress, its people, and its principle interests (Volume 1) → online text (page 18 of 74)