I. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) Blandin.

History of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. online

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Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 18 of 24)
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chartered in 1847, and was in successful operation
forty years. The buildings one large building, a
steward's hall, and two smaller buildings were lo-
cated in a large grove. Centre Presbyterian Church
was also situated in the same grove, and its pastor,
Rev. John R. Mclntosh, was one of the first presi-
dents of the College. For a short time during the War
between the States the school was closed, but was
reopened in 1865 under supervision of Rev. Luther
McKinnon, D. D.

The College had six presidents; two before it was
closed by the War between the States and four after
its reopening in 1865.

Several teachers succeeded these presidents, each
of whom had control for a short time. The buildings
are still used for school purposes, but the school has
become a county school sustained by local patronage.
The school closed its effective work in 1887. At that
time the original incorporators were all dead and the
institution was heavily in debt.

Prior to the War between the States it had a yearly
attendance of one hundred or more pupils. It was
always under Presbyterian control, and its faculty was
composed of men and women well prepared to teach.
Its curriculum was the same as that of other schools
of the same rank, and has been given under Edge-
worth Seminary.

Chowan Baptist Female Institute, 1848-1908

Murfreesboro has been the center of a large Baptist
community for a long time, and the Baptists here,
as elsewhere, have always been active in the way of


In 1848 the Chowan and Portsmouth Associations
decided to establish a school for the higher education
of young women. A company was formed, land pur-
chased, and a house erected, at a cost of $1,225. The
school opened in October, 1848, with Rev. A. Mc-
Dowell, D. D., principal. He remained at the head
for a short time only, and was succeeded by Rev.
M. R. Forey, who held the position until August,

Its prosperity was great, and it soon became neces-
sary to have more room, and a large brick building
was erected in 1852.

Rev. William Hooper, D. D., LL. D., was presi-
dent from 1853 to 1862, when Mr. McDowell, the
first president, returned and served until his death in
1 88 1. In 1897, John C. Scarborough, A. B., ex-Su-
perintendent of Public Instruction of North Carolina.
became president.

Throughout the fifty-eight years of its existence the
Institute has never been closed. During this time it
has sent out about five hundred graduates. For a
long time the faculty has numbered ten. The course
of instruction is about the same as that of Greensboro
College and other schools of that grade in the State.

Carolina Pewwle College, Ansonville, North Carolina,

This school was established at Ansonville in 1849,
by a joint stock company. The buildings, costing
$20,000, were erected in 1850, a charter was obtained
the same year, and the school was formally opened in
1851. It was very prosperous. The yearly attendance
was two hundred until the school was closed in 1862.
It was reopened in 1864, an d was closed as a college
in 1868. Since that time the buildings have been used
for a high school. Prof. R. B. Clarke is the present
principal. The College had four presidents : Rev. Alex-
ander B. Smith, of Anson County, 1851 to 1852; Rev.


Tracy R. Walsh, 1852 to 1862; Rev. J. R. Griffith
of Virginia, 1864 to 1866; Professor James E. Blink-
inship, 1866 to 1868.

The curriculum was the same as Edgeworth and
other colleges for women of that period.

Oxford Female Seminary, 1851-1908

Another Baptist college was opened in Oxford, in
1851. At the Baptist State Convention of 1849 tne
following report was made : " The necessity of estab-
lishing a female college for the State, in which suit-
able testimonial of a high grade of scholarship will be
awarded, is seriously entertained by many of our
brethren and is an object worthy of their united and
zealous efforts." The Convention of 1850 was as-
sured by the town of Oxford of at least $10,000, if
the college would be located there. By this same con-
vention the school was located, and trustees appointed,
and Elder J. J. Jones selected as agent. He secured
a charter in March, 1851. Rev. Samuel Wait, D. D.,
was elected president in April, 1851, and the school
began July 21, the same year.

At the end of a year the school was reported $9,000
in debt. The trustees appointed four agents, succes-
sively, who did not collect enough to pay their own
salaries. Then Mr. Wait tried to collect, with no bet-
ter success. In 1857 Mr. Mills offered $5,000 for the
property and it was accepted.

From this time Mr. Mills took charge of the finances
and J. H. Phillips, Rev. R. H. Marsh, Dr. R. H.
Lewis and others had charge of the literary work.
In 1880 Mr. Hobgood bought the property, and since
that time it has been a private school under the name
of Oxford Seminary. The property is worth $20,000.
The faculty consists of ten members. Average annual
enrollment is one hundred and twenty. The curricu-
lum is the same as Greensboro College,

(The material of this sketch was obtained from Ra-


per's " Church and Private Schools of North Caro-

Davenport College, 1858

About 1850 the Presbytery of Concord obtained a
subscription of $10,000 for a girls' college, and soon
determined to locate their school at Statesville. In
1853 the Methodists began to investigate the sub-
ject, and at the Centre Camp Meeting in 1855 raised
a subscription of $12,000 for a school.

Col. William Davenport was one of the most liberal
subscribers, and for him the school was named. With
the money subscribed they erected a brick building
and bought sixteen acres of land, and furniture. In
1857 the trustees offered the whole property to the
South Carolina Conference. The offer was accepted
and Rev. H. M. Mood elected president.

In July, 1858, the school was opened under the
name of Davenport College. Only fifty-six pupils were
matriculated the first year. However, Mr. Mood's ad-
ministration of four years was very successful. He
resigned in 1862, and was succeeded by Rev. R. N.
Price, who remained one year and was succeeded by
Rev. A. G. Stacy. When Stoneman's army invaded
that part of the country, Mr. Stacy took his school
into North Carolina. The army occupied the building
for two days, pillaged and despoiled the library and
furniture, and left little but the naked buildings. After
peace came it was reorganized, and has had various de-
grees of success and many changes. In 1870 the
General Conference transferred that section of the
State from the South Carolina to the North Carolina
Conference. It was expected that the new Conference
would help support the school, but this expectation was
not realized.

The buildings have been consumed by fire, and re-
built. Several principals have presided over its for-
tunes. It has ceased to be a boarding-school and be-
come local.


The average enrollment is about eighty. The last
principal is Mr. Minick, who took charge in 1889, and
has kept the school in a fairly prosperous state ever

Louisburg Female College, 1826-1908

In 1826 the Louisburg Academy was chartered.
This school was probably merged into an institute dur-
ing the thirties, and continued as a small school until
1857, when the Louisburg College was chartered. Mr.
A. M. Ray was in charge from 1845 to l &$6- His
building was small until the present commodious build-
ing was erected in 1855-57. Mr. J. P. Nelson was
president - 1857-58; Columbus Andrews, 1858-61;
James Southgate, 1861-65. It was closed by the war
and not reopened until Dr. T. M. Jones removed
Greensboro Female College to the building in Janu-
ary, 1866. Dr. Jones had about two hundred boarders,
the largest number the institution ever had. In June,
1869, he went to Warrenton, and Rev. F. L. Reid,
D. D., was president until 1878. From that time until
1889 the college was closed, and a high school was
taught in the building. Mr. S. D. Bagley reopened it
as a college in 1889, and kept it five years. Then Rev.
J. A. Green was president 1894-1896, and Mathew S.
Davis from 1896 to the present time.

In theory the College belongs to a stock company
of Louisburg, but really it belongs to Mr. Washington
Duke by virtue of money loaned by him to the school.

When Mr. Green was in charge it decreased in
numbers and popularity, but Mr. Davis and his daugh-
ters have increased the patronage very much.

Statesville Female College, 1857-1908

In 1850 the Concord Presbytery contemplated es-
tablishing a college for girls at Lenoir, but decided to
locate it at Statesville instead. The College was es-
tablished in 1857, under whose management does


not appear. During the War between the States
Rev. J. M. M. Caldwell took charge, and continued
until he went to Greensboro in 1868. Then Rev. E.
F. Rockwell was president until 1872, then Mrs. Eliza-
beth N. Grant and Miss Margaret E. Mitchell, daugh-
ters of Prof. Elisha Mitchell of the University of
North Carolina, took charge until 1884. It was dur-
ing this period that the school made its reputation.

In 1885 Miss Fannie Everett assumed control, and
maintained its reputation until she retired in 1894.
From that time until 1896 the school was closed. In
the fall of 1896 John B. Burwell, A. M., became
president. The College has again begun to manifest
life and influence. Mr. Burwell has a faculty of nine
and offers a course suited to the training of girls, at
very low terms. The property is worth $30,000.

Mr. Burwell has had the largest experience in edu-
cating girls of any living North Carolinian. He was
co-principal of the Charlotte Female Institute for ten
years and principal of Peace Institute for eighteen

(This sketch is also based on Raper's " Church and
Private Schools of North Carolina." These sketches
are not what I hoped to make them, but it is the best
I could do with the material obtainable. I bought all
the books I could find bearing on the subject and wrote
many letters, got catalogues, and got the assistance
of Mrs, DeBernier Wills, who searched old newspa-
pers, and had access to private letters and records, still
I could not obtain just what I wished to make these
sketches interesting and profitable.)

Wesleyan Female College, Murfreesboro, North
Carolina, 1853-1893

Wesleyan College was opened in 1853. It was a
very flourishing institution until it was burned August
5, 1877. During this period as many as 1,500 stu-
dents matriculated. It was rebuilt in 1881, and Prof.


E. E. Parham was president for eleven years. It
was again destroyed by fire, May 27, 1893, and has
not been rebuilt. The property belonged to the Metho-
dist Episcopal Church South, and most of the presi-
dents were members of the North Carolina Conference.


Early Schools in South Carolina

FAILING to find any record of the early schools for
girls in Charleston, a request for such information was
inserted in the Keystone, and in response to this re-
quest the following sketch was sent :


" In glancing over the past and its many changes in
Charleston, there is, perhaps, no more interesting field
than that of the schools in which the last two or three
generations of girls have been trained. Seventy or
eighty years ago the rival schools were those of
Madame Talvanne and Miss Datey. Madame Tal-
vanne kept school in the house on Legare street which
is now occupied by Judge Simoton; and Miss Datey
first opened school on Glebe street, in the large square
brick house known to older generations as the * Bish-
op's Residence/ it having been the home of the Co-
lonial bishops, and part of the glebe assigned to St.
Philip's Church, which still owns it. There was quite
a rivalry between these two schools, each, as is always
the case, claiming superiority for the school to which
she was attached. Both, it is certain, were of recog-
nized merit.

" Of Madame Talvanne's personal history, beyond
that she was a woman of marked characteristics and
culture, I know but little, therefore, may not be able
to say as much as should be said of her. Of Miss
Datey there was almost a romantic side which was
pathetic. With her family, driven from St. Domingo
in one of the many insurrections to which that island


has been subject, after many wanderings, bereft of
all, they were stranded in Charleston, without money
and without friends. There was nothing open to this
lady but menial service, which she most gladly ac-
cepted as affording food and shelter. She was em-
ployed in the Trapier family at Georgetown, and ac-
cepted her lot with courage and endurance; fortu-
nately it did not last long. Mrs. Trapier chanced one
day to see the new * help ' bending over the ironing-
table, and observing the beauty of her hands and the
turn of her wrists, promptly decided that this woman
was not in her proper sphere. She sent for her, and
after some questioning promoted her to the position
of governess, which she filled for many years, until
under the patronage of the Trapiers and other wealthy
families, who desired their daughters to have the bene-
fit of instruction from this highly cultured woman,
she removed to Charleston, and occupied first the house
on Glebe street, and afterward that known as No. 31
Legare street, now the residence of Hon. A. T. Smythe.

" Miss Datey must have been a woman of rare
character, combining firmness and gentleness in a
marked degree. Her pupils always spoke of her with
deepest affection and respect. She was a devout fol-
lower of the Roman Church, and while she made no
effort to influence the belief of her pupils, she so im-
pressed them with her earnest efforts to live worthy of
her own faith, that they would often, in after years,
when hearing aspersions against the creed of the Ro-
man Church, say, ' It isn't so ; Miss Datey would never
have believed it/ About sixty-five years ago this
saintly woman closed her school, and took the vows of
a nun in one of the many orders of her church, and
thus passed from Charleston forever.

" The Misses Murden, ladies whose value as educa-
tors has always been recognized in Charleston, were
pupils of Madame Talvanne. Every thinking girl who
attended the school kept by these ladies has always
felt the value of the ' groundings ' she then received,


particularly in arithmetic, and the same may be said of
their pupils and successors of to-day the Misses Sass.

" Fifty years ago the most flourishing school in
Charleston was that of Madame DuPre, who was aided
by her accomplished daughter, Madame Bonnetheau.
This school was kept at the corner of East Bay and
Lauriens streets. It was generally considered an ad-
vanced finishing-school, and would receive more than
one hundred boarding pupils. Many from adjoining
States availed themselves of its advantages.

" The rival of this school was that of the Misses
Bates, those cultivated ladies who kept school on
Church street, beloved and revered by all their pupils.
' Honor ' was the only discipline used.

" There was a marked change in the style of schools
when, about 1854, under the patronage of the Hon.
James L. Petigru, Madame R. A. Togno opened her
French and English school on Tradd street. This was
considered the most select school of its day. Applica-
tion for entrance had to be made one year in advance,
for the number of pupils was strictly limited. French
was the language of the school, and woe be to the
girl who was heard using her English tongue save in
the English classes, during school hours. The poor,
shy, trembling girls, who had never been forced to
rely upon French as a means of expression, felt some-
what as Robinson Crusoe must have felt on his desert
island. ' Madame, puis m'en aller ? ' was probably the
first sentence they found courage to utter. This school
was not dismissed as a whole, but four or five, or
perhaps a class, was dismissed at the same time, hence
the necessity for the request.

'' There were no desks in use ; the girls sat in classes
on long benches. A table in the center of the room was
used when they needed to write. Many were the in-
novations supposed to have been introduced by
Madame Togno, and they were the cause of much
criticism. In the first place, the vacation months had
been heretofore April and December, as most con-


venient to the planters' families. Madame gave no
vacation in these months, and substituted a vacation
from July to October a custom now in universal

" Over the door of the Tradd street house was the
sign, ' Pensionat des Demoiselles,' which an old gen-
tleman in the neighborhood interpreted to mean that
Madame Togno was the French consul, and called on
her for advice as such. When she removed to Meet-
ing street, next to South Carolina Hall, the sign was
not put up. Here the school was carried on most
successfully until the fall of Fort Walker, in 1861,
when Madame removed to Barhamville, near Colum-
bia, taking many of her pupils with her. She re-
mained here a year or two until the death of her
youngest daughter, when she closed her school and
went through the lines to New York.

" She by no means forgot her friends at the South,
many of whom, after the war, received substantial
proof of her affection for them.

" A small woman, of most erect carriage, losing not
a quarter of an inch of her height, full of nervous
energy, Madame never took a seat, but walked up and
down in front of her classes during recitation, oc-
casionally stamping her small foot encased in black
bottines, to give emphasis to her utterances. Notice of
Madame Togno's school would not be complete with-
out mention of that woman so gifted herself, who be-
yond comparison was enabled to impart her knowl-
edge to her pupils in a most attractive form Mrs.
Elizabeth Wotton teaching them so to drink of the
' Pierian Spring ' that the desire often was to ' drink
deep or not at all.' A most ardent daughter of the
South, a firm believer in States' rights, in her eyes
South Carolina could do no wrong. If any of her
pupils have been lukewarm in their allegiance to the
South, the fault does not lie at her door. She did
her utmost to teach them what was to her view the
only right view that could be taken.


" About the time of Madame Togno's advent in
Charleston, under the auspices of C. G. Memminger,
Jefferson Bennett, and others, Mr. F. S. Sawyer, with
a full corps of teachers, was brought from the North
to establish the normal, or public-school system, which
still holds sway in Charleston.

" Madame Petit, for some years prior to the war,
conducted a very flourishing school, her methods be-
ing somewhat that of Madame Togno. They may be
considered the rivals of their day.

" After the war the two Misses Bates, the only
remaining members of a large family, returned to
Charleston and re-opened their school, but owing to
the death of one, and the advancing years of the
elder of the sisters, it did not last long. Then, for a
time, Mrs. Hobson Pinckney, a gentlewoman in every
sense of the word, divided with Miss Winston the
honor of conducting the two best schools in Charles-

" The college girl of to-day has perhaps many ad-
vantages over her mother, but in Charleston the stand-
ard of study has always been a high one, which is
evidenced by the gentle, refined old ladies we see all
around us, who unfortunately are so fast passing away
that they will soon be only a cherished memory, leaving
for us an example worthy of imitation of what a high-
bred woman should be. Had their education not been
of a high grade they would not have been the women
they are. Brought up in the homes of refinement, they
acquired that tact and 'savoir-faire' that only at-
trition can give. Whence but from this training has
come that wonderful endurance which has so uncom-
plainingly borne the many untold privations brought
about by the misfortunes of our country? Endurance
which teaches us that the story of the Spartan boy
and the fox may be an allegory.

"M. B. W."

(This sketch is given as written by M. B. W., who


kindly sent it in answer to an advertisement for in-
formation concerning early schools in South Carolina.)

Presbyterian Seminary, Anderson, South Carolina,

Certainly as early as 1835, and perhaps earlier, the
Presbyterian Synod of South Carolina established a
school for girls at Anderson, known as the Presby-
terian School. The first principal of the school of
whom there is any record was a Mr. Leverett; his
successors were Mr. McElroy, Mr. Pressley, and Mr.
Jones. These principals were assisted by competent
teachers. The curriculum embraced the usual Eng-
lish studies, and French, music, painting, drawing, and

For several years no diplomas were given, but about
1840 the charter was amended and the power to con-
fer degrees granted. This school was very popular,
girls from every part of the State attended it; but as
there was no boarding-department, they boarded with
the citizens. The school was closed by the War be-
tween the States.

(Information in this sketch was obtained from a
letter written by Mrs. Lulah Ayer Vandiver of An-
derson, South Carolina.)

The Johnston Female University, Anderson, South

About 1850 there was established in Anderson,
South Carolina, a school for girls quite famous in its
day in upper Carolina. This school was known as The
Johnston Female University, and was endowed by
the Baptists of South Carolina. Dr. Wm. B. Johnston
was chancellor from its inception until it was broken
up by the War between the States. Girls from all
parts of the State attended this school, and there were
several boarding-houses erected for the exclusive use


of these students. The degrees A. B. and A. M. were
conferred. Judging from some women I know who
were educated at this school, it must have been a
school of high grade.

(Written by Mrs. Lulah Ayer Vandiver.)

Greenville Female College, Greenville, South Carolina,

Greenville is situated in the northwestern part of
South Carolina, in the Piedmont section of the Blue
Ridge Mountains. Its pleasant and healthful climate
renders it a suitable location for a school.

Greenville College was founded in 1854. It is the
property of the State Baptist Convention of South
Carolina. The affairs are managed by a board of
trustees appointed by the Convention to manage this
college and Furman University. The board of trus-
tees appoints an executor for the management of the
affairs of these institutions. Its officers and teachers
all receive stipulated salaries, so that no one has
any personal interest in the pecuniary profits arising
from its management. Its object is not to make money,
but to offer its patrons the best possible educational
advantages. Should any profit arise from enlarged
attendance it would be promptly applied to the im-
provement and enlargement of the institution.

The buildings are on a quiet, retired, and beauti-
ful elevation in the northwestern portion of the city.
There are three large three-story brick buildings con-
nected by three-story brick connections. The build-
ings have all modern conveniences.

The collegiate course is divided into the following
schools : I. School of English and English Literature ;
II. School of Ancient Languages; III. School of
Modern Languages; IV. School of Mathematics; V.
School of Physical Sciences; VI. School of History;
VII. School of Political Sciences; VIII. School of
Mental and Moral Sciences and Theistic Studies ; IX.


School of Pedagogics ; X. School of Bible Study ; XL
Conservatory of Music; XII. School of Art; XIII.
School of Expression and Physical Culture; XIV.
Business Department. The fourteen schools are sepa-
rate and distinct, each in charge of a competent teacher
with necessary assistants. Pupils may become candi-
dates for graduation in any one or all of these schools,
though it is hardly possible to pursue successfully more
than five at the same time.

Primary and kindergarten departments are under
the general supervision of the College, but entirely
separated from the other departments. The Kindergar-
ten Normal Course is offered for the benefit of those

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Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 18 of 24)