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

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

. (page 22 of 24)
Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 22 of 24)
Font size
QR-code for this ebook

for boys and girls were maintained.

Notwithstanding the Republic of Texas made liberal
provision for schools, the early schools of a higher
grade were denominational schools.

The Methodists entered this field of activity at an
early date. Rev. Martin Ruter, first missionary to
Texas, visited Houston in the latter part of 1837, and
preached before Congress and made a fine impression
on the officers of the government. Consulting with
leading men, he laid plans for the establishment of a
literary institution. However, these plans did not def-
initely locate the institution in Houston, though that
seems to have been Dr. Ruter's intention. After his
death in May, 1838, his friends formed a company,
and bought a league of land near Rutersville, and
located the college there.

The school was opened to pupils in the fall of 1838,
and its charter was approved February 5, 1840, undei
the name of Rutersville College, and according to the
terms of the charter it had the usual powers granted
to colleges.


By the liberality of the Texas Congress and private
individuals, Rutersville College received a large en-
dowment of land ; but the trustees had no money, and
this land was sold and bartered to erect buildings, to
pay teachers, and pay mechanics. Good buildings
were erected and the best teachers available employed,
and thus the endowment was expended, and the people
had the benefit of a good school, that exerted no in-
considerable influence throughout central and western

After the endowment was expended the school be-
came dependent on tuition fees, and in 1847 ceased to
be a Conference school, but continued until 1850, when
it was consolidated with the Monumental Institute, a
school established on an undenominational basis.
This school retained the original charter powers of the
Rutersville College, and the charter was amended
August 6, 1856, changing the name to Monumental
and Military Institute, otherwise retaining the same
powers. This last arrangement continued until 1861,
when the majority of the men left college halls for the
army. This so much reduced the number of students
that the school did not reopen in the fall, and the con-
ditions during the Reconstruction period were such as
to forbid any attempt to reopen the college. Thus
passed out of existence the first college established in

McKenzie Institute, Clarksville, Texas, 1840-1908

McKenzie Institute was commenced as a private co-
educational school by Rev. J. W. P. McKenzie, near
ClarksVille, Red River County, in 1839 or 1840. It
soon became very popular, and the annual attendance
was from 200 to 300. The school had been in active
work about fifteen years when Mr. McKenzie applied
for a charter, which was approved February 5, 1854.
The charter name was McKenzie Institute, but it was
really a college, as the charter granted the power to
grant diplomas and confer degrees.


In 1859 Dr. McKenzie donated the buildings and
grounds, valued at $40,000, to the trustees for the
East Texas Conference. In 1860 the charter was
amended by changing the name to McKenzie College.
This school was always co-educational.

The War between the States very materially inter-
fered with the prosperity of the school, and the attend-
ance has never been so large since 1860 as it was prior
to that date. The school is now correlated with the
Southwestern University, and recognized as a training
school for that institution.

Chappell Hill College, Chappell Hill, Texas, 1850-1908

In 1850 the citizens of Chappell Hill established
schools for boys and girls. These schools were suc-
cessful as to numbers, and were taught by the best
teachers obtainable. While the schools were satisfac-
tory as grammar schools, the citizens desired some-
thing higher a more advanced course for their chil-
dren, and in 1855 Soule College for men and Chappell
Hill Female College for women were established.
These colleges were partially endowed, but this fund
was rendered unavailable by the results of the War
between the States ; however, the college for girls con-
tinued to receive pupils, depending solely upon tuition
fees. The first interruption to the work of the College
was in 1867, when a visitation of yellow fever caused
the closing of the school, and for a time it was dis-
organized; but in 1870 it was reorganized, and still
continues to do good work, though it is not now rec-
ognized as a first-class college.


Paine Institute, Coliad, Texas, 1854

Another school of high grade established by the
Methodists was Paine Institute, which was opened to
pupils in 1854, and was chartered August 6, 1856. By
the terms of this charter the Institute w r as empowered


to grant diplomas and to confer degrees. The school
became popular immediately but labored under the dis-
advantage of being in debt, until 1868, when the $2,000
then due was paid.

This school had a fair degree of success for more
than twenty-six years, then it was made a part of the
public-school system.

The next year, 1855, the Methodists established
Paris Female Institute, in Paris, and the Starkville
Female High School in Starkville. However, pre-
vious to the establishment of these schools the same
denomination had established Waco Female Academy
in 1850. The charter of this school was approved
December 31, 1850. No mention is made of honors
in this charter, but it was amended or changed August
7, 1856, and then the name was changed to Waco
Female Seminary, and the trustees were empowered
to grant diplomas and confer degrees. The school
then became the property of the Methodist Confer-

In the Acts of the Legislature of Texas, Volumes
VII and VIII, may be found the charters of Waco
Academy, granted August 15, 1856, and of the Union
Female Institute, granted February 16, 1858; also the
act by which the Academy, the Seminary previously
mentioned, and the Waco Institute were consolidated.
This act was passed February, 1860, and the name and
style of the school henceforth was Waco Female Col-
lege, which under this charter has all the powers and
privileges usually granted to colleges.

This school was never endowed, but for many years
had a large patronage. Notwithstanding, a heavy
debt was incurred, and in 1895 or 1896 the property
was sold to liquidate this debt, and the school passed
out of existence after a successful career of about one-
half century.

Another Methodist college for girls was Segiiin Col-
lege, established in Seguin in 1858, and continued in
successful operation until 1895, when the patronage


began to decrease, and somewhat later it was incor-
porated in the public-school system.

Wesley College, San Augustine, Texas, 1842

As Rutersville College was in the western part of the
State, almost on the frontier, the Methodists thought
best to establish a college in the northeastern part of
the State. Accordingly, in 1842, they asked for a
charter for a college to be located in San Augustine.
As was Rutersville, so Wesley College was co-educa-
tional. For a time it was very popular and gave to
hundreds of young women an opportunity to acquire
a collegiate training, which otherwise they could not
have had.

The College was not endowed, and depended en-
tirely on tuition fees for its maintenance. There was
trouble about the title, and the East Texas Conference
relinquished all claims to the property; however, the
school continued under local management and patron-
age until 1868, when the buildings were destroyed by
fire during the session of the East Texas Conference
in San Augustine.

Baylor College, Belton, Texas, 1845-1908

While the Methodists were the pioneers and actively
engaged in establishing schools for boys and girls, the
Baptists were not idle or indifferent. The first college
established by them was Baylor College and Baylor
University. The charter of this institution was
granted by the Republic of Texas, February i, 1845.
Thus the establishment of this college antedated the
admission of Texas into the Union as a State. The
design of the Baptist fathers in Texas was to establish
in what was then a frontier region an institution of
high rank for the education of their sons and

Baylor College was at first only a department or


annex to the University; but this plan did not meet
the approval of those interested in the school, and after
a trial of twelve years of co-education the board of
managers decided to make the departments separate
schools, and the department for girls was chartered
under the name of Baylor College, and committed to
its own board of control and trustees.

In 1851 Mr. Horace Clark was elected principal of
the girls' department, and in 1867, when the College
was established, he became its first president. He held
this position some ten years. During this time the in-
stitution gained a State-wide reputation.

This institution was first located at Independence,
but in 1885 the State Convention decreed the removal
of the College to Belton. The citizens of Belton fur-
nished the building.

The buildings are a main building, a T-shaped
structure of cut stone, three stories in height, modern
in style of architecture, and furnished with modern
conveniences. Surrounding this building are a num-
ber of resident cottages, dining-hall, laundry, and en-
gine-room; and just outside the campus are the
alumnae cottages, seven in number ; a building for the
accommodation of the industrial department of the
college, " Cottage Home/' a building of cement blocks,
three stories in height ; and a new administration build-

The equipment consists of chemical and philosophi-
cal apparatus well suited for all experiments and illus-
trations necessary for the study of the natural
sciences; a museum, consisting of minerals, fossils,
botanical and zoological specimens, and articles of his-
toric or ethnological interest; a library of well-chosen
books, selected from standard authors ; and each of the
societies the Historical and Academia has a library,
one of which is the Effie Smythe Memorial Library
founded by Mr. T. V. Smythe in memory of his
daughter Effie, who was a member of the Academia
Society. There are also a reading-room, a large sup-


ply of instruments for the music department, and the
necessary outfit for the art department.

When Baylor College was a part of Baylor Uni-
versity of course the curriculum was the same for boys
and girls. After the separation the standard was not
lowered, but raised if any change was made. It has
always been an institution of high rank.

The motto of the College has always been, " A
liberal education with true womanliness." Its aim is
to cultivate the intellect and at the same time to pre-
serve and perfect the truest womanhood.

The degrees conferred are Bachelor of Literature,
Bachelor of Science, and Bachelor of Arts. Diplomas
and certificates are conferred on pupils of music and
art who complete the prescribed course in these depart-

The College also offers a post-graduate course, and
on those who successfully complete this course the de-
gree of M. A. Mistress of Arts is conferred.

Baylor claims to be the pioneer in higher education
of women in Texas, but this claim is not well founded.
Rutersville College was founded seven years prior to
the establishment of Baylor, and on the same plan
co-educational. Though Rutersville did not obtain a
charter when founded, it did obtain one prior to the
establishment of Baylor.

These three colleges Rutersville, 1838, Wesley
College, 1842, and Baylor College, 1845 were tne
three pioneer colleges established in Texas. The first
and second were Methodist institutions.

The interest in education, especially the education of
girls, was increasing about as rapidly as the popula-
tion was increasing, and during the decade from 1850
to 1860 eleven schools of high grade were established.
With few exceptions these were discontinued by war.
Some were merged into the public-school system as
high schools; one yet remains independent.


Margaret Houston Female College, Danger-field, 1856

While the Methodists were busy establishing schools,
the Baptists were not idle. They began very early to
foster the cause of education, and established one col-
lege in 1845, and another, the Margaret Houston, in
1856. This college was under the direct supervision
of the Baptist Convention and a board of fifteen
trustees ; the teachers were to be known as professors,
and the property was limited to $300,000. The char-
ter was approved August i, 1856.

Undenominational Schools

From the list of schools chartered by the Legislature
the following list of schools for girls has been ob-
tained :

Union Academy, Washington County, chartered
February 4, 1840.

Wheelock Academy, Wheelock, Robertson County,


Mount Vernon Academy, Titus County, January 24,

Richmond Academy, Richmond, Fort Bend County,
February 13, 1852.

Bastrop Academy, Bastrop, January 24, 1852.
This academy was established by an Educational As-
sociation, and its charter granted the power to grant
diplomas and confer degrees.

Linden Academy, December 15, 1853.

New Danville Masonic Academy, January 24, 1854.

Comal Union School, San Marcos, Comal County,

Shearn Union School, November 30, 1853.

Undenominational Institutes and Colleges
LaGrange Female Institute, LaGrange, Fayette
County, 1846.

Galveston Seminary, Galveston, Galveston County,


was an interdenominational school, though the Metho-
dists were the leaders in the movement by which the
school was established. Notwithstanding the fact that
the Galveston City Land Company, at its first meeting
April 13, 1838, set apart one block of land for a col-
lege for men, and three valuable and eligible lots for
a seminary for girls, the citizens did not make use of
this valuable gift for some years after the city had
attained considerable size. Schools by private indi-
viduals were taught from 1838 and down to the present
day, but no school of any importance was established
in Galveston until 1843, when the Galveston Seminary
was opened to pupils, with the Misses C. S. and E. M.
Cobb as principals. The school obtained a charter in
1849, but it was not until 1857 that the new building
erected on the ground donated in 1838 was ready for

Masonic Female Institute, Marshall, Titus County,
January 24, 1850.

Cold Springs Collegiate Institute, Cold Springs,
1852. Conferred usual degrees.

Henderson Female College, Henderson, Rusk
County, 1856.

Milam Institute, Cameron, Milam County, August
5, 1856.

Mound Prairie Institute, 1856. This was a college
proper, situated a short distance north of Palestine,
Anderson County. It had " full powers to confer de-
grees, and the rights and privileges of any college or
university in the State."

Private Schools

Mrs. C. H. Wright, a teacher of many years' experi-
ence and great reputation, took charge of the Mata-
gorda Academy. This school had been in existence
many years, but so far as the record shows never was
chartered. Notwithstanding, the course was the
usual academic course.


Several such schools were taught in Houston, and
according to the advertisements in the Houston Tele-
graph, these schools were of high-school grade; the
modern and ancient languages and higher mathematics
were taught. However, some were more popular and
continued longer than others. Among this class was
the school taught by Mr. A. M. Ruter and Miss C.
Ruter, which commenced April 7, 1856, and continued
several years.

On the ist of October, 1856, Mr. and Mrs. Bolinger
opened the Houston Male and Female Academy in
the Masonic Temple on a permanent basis. This
school seems to have been modeled on the collegiate
plan; its divisions were primary, junior, middle and
senior classes. The curriculum was in part : Algebra,
geometry, natural and moral philosophy, chemistry,
mensuration, trigonometry, Latin, French. Mr.
James A. Bolinger, the principal of this school, was a
native of Kentucky, and had made quite a reputation
before casting his lot in Houston. His first announce-
ment informed the citizens that they would have an
opportunity to give their children a classical education.
The name was changed to Bolinger Academy, and
judging from the favorable notices of this Academy in
the Houston Telegraph it had a successful career until
closed by the chaos of Reconstruction days. Certainly
there were some pleasant times connected with it. One
of these was a May-day picnic in 1858. On this oc-
casion the different classes were distinguished by
badges the primary by green, the junior by pink, the
middle by blue, and the senior by white ; and each class
had a banner of the same color as its badge. The
school formed in line on Court-house Square, and
headed by Fisher's Band, marched to the Tap Road
Station. A short run landed them in a grove near
Bray's Bayou. Here eighty speeches by thirty queens
and fifty knights were made, and ten dialogues recited.
One of these is especially mentioned. It was supposed
to be a conversation between a Yankee and a British


general; the boys representing these characters were
Ed. Taylor and John Hale. After this exercise the
dinner, which had been prepared by the parents of the
pupils, was served. Unless the speeches were very
short, the dinner must have been served about the
middle of the afternoon, and by that time every one
was very hungry.

Houston Academy

This seems to have been a favorite name for schools
of higher grade than the common schools. Several
schools established at different times and taught by
different faculties have borne this name; but the one
which has been known longest and the only chartered
school of that name was established by an " Educa-
tional Association " which was formed in the early part
of 1853. The members of this Association were Col.
Ashbel Smith, Messrs. Cornelius Ennis, L. J. Palmer,
B. A. Shepherd, Wm. J. Hutchins, Wm. M. Rice,
P. W. Gray, T. W. House, Sr., Henry Sampson, A. J.
Burke, M. D. Conklin, Wm. Baker, B. B. Botts, L. J.
Palmer, and some others whose names have not been
recorded. A number of these men subscribed $1,000
each, and Mr. Ennis, or rather Mrs. Ennis, gave one
block of ground instead of the money. The present
Houston High School stands on the same block of

The Association elected a board of trustees, and of
this board Mr. B. A. Shepherd was president. These
trustees applied for a charter, which was approved
August 29, 1856. This charter empowered the
trustees to grant diplomas and to confer degrees.

The building erected was a two-story brick struc-
ture, and cost $30,000. The school was opened to
pupils October, 1857, with Col. Ashbel Smith, prin-
cipal, and a competent corps of teachers. Colonel
Smith retained the position only a few months, and
was succeeded by Mr. Petit, who continued in charge
of the school until June, 1860, when he resigned and


was succeeded by Dr. J. R. Hutchison. Dr. Hutchi-
son was removed by the military authorities of the
Confederate States, who converted the building into a
hospital. At the time of this removal Dr. Hutchison's
enrollment was 150. After Dr. Hutchison left the
Academy he taught a private school in Turner Hall K
where he also preached to the Presbyterian congrega-
tion until their church, which had been destroyed by
fire, could be rebuilt.

Although the school commenced in 1857, the school
building was not completed until 1858. In the mean-
time the school was taught in rooms in the Masonic
Temple. In November, 1858, Mr. B. A. Shepherd,
president of the board of trustees, announced through
the columns of the Houston Telegraph that the build-
ing was completed and would be occupied by the school
December i, 1858. He also gives the views of the
board and the friends of the institution. " The chief
object of the Institution will be to impart a thorough
English and practical education. Mathematics, pure
and applied, will be taught to those wishing to acquire
such knowledge, as extensively and as thoroughly as
in any of the American colleges. Latin, Greek,
French, and German will also be taught. A small
chemical apparatus and a few philosophical instru-
ments have been purchased and others will be bought
as occasion requires."

In 1865 the trustees regained possession of the
building, and in the fall of that year once more school
began, with Mr. J. A. Hancock as principal. The
school flourished, and very soon the enrollment was
150, a large school for the size of the place.

The school continued fairly prosperous, though other
schools were established in the city. Some seven or
eight small schools and two of equal grade with the
Academy were taught in different parts of the city
until 1879, when the citizens decided to adopt the pub-
lic-school system. Then the Academy became the
high school, and these small schools were city schools.


Much has been added to the curriculum of the " Old
Academy," but the lovely old ladies who were the
graduates of the old school compare very favorably
with the " sweet girl graduates " to-day. Indeed, it
would be very difficult to equal the record made by
the women trained in the schools of the first half of the
nineteenth century, no matter what the equipment or
the methods, or courses of study.

The schools mentioned in these sketches are not all
the schools established for girls and women in the
Southern States, but they are a sufficient number, and
so widely scattered over the country that they will
show the estimate put upon the education of girls in
the Southern States before 1860, before modern sys-
tems were introduced.


Early Schools in Virginia

NOTWITHSTANDING the oft-repeated and generally
received in some sections of our country statement
that the Virginia colonists were opposed to schools, the
very reverse is found to be true, as can be shown from
old records still extant. Of course they had their own
ideas concerning education; and being loyal English-
men, they had no desire to abolish the customs of the
mother country, or to ignore the teachings and tradi-
tions of their fathers. They were almost without ex-
ception loyal, devoted churchmen, whether they were
Christians or not, and as the church taught the doc-
trine that the education of children should be directed
by the church and not by the state, of course they did
not advocate free schools under state control.

Governor Berkeley's oft-quoted remark, " God grant
it may be many years before Virginia will have FREE
schools," when correctly quoted applies to free schools
and not to schools in general.

Schools for girls as well as for boys were established
in Norfolk, Williamsburg, Isle of Wight and other
places early in the seventeenth century; yet the usual
plan pursued was the employment of tutors, which was
necessary because of the distances between plantations
and from towns.

However, Boone in his " Education in the United
States " admits that within ten years after the settle-
ment of Jamestown arrangements were made to estab-
lish a college and a training school. A hundred labor-
ers were sent over and were at work on the building,
under the supervision of a superintendent appointed
for the special purpose, and a president was elected


Rev. Patrick Copeland. Also, in 1621, a preparatory
school was opened in Charles City.

All these plans were completely overthrown by an
Indian massacre which reduced the population from
10,000 to 8,coo, and deranged all the affairs of the
colony. This calamity alone prevented Virginia from
having the first college in the New World. After a
time, when the colony recovered from the shock of
this calamity, they renewed their efforts in behalf of
education, and schools for boys and girls were estab-
lished in all the towns, and free schools also. One of
the earliest of the free schools was established in Isle
of Wight, in 1655, and another in the same place in
1658. (Isle of Wight Records.) Notices of such
schools are found in Williamsburgh Quarterly, Vir-
ginia Gazette, and Isle of Wight Records. These
schools began about the middle of the seventeenth cen-

1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 22 24

Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 22 of 24)