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

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

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After a few years the Masonic Lodee relinquished
the management of the school and it became a pre-
paratory school for boys. At this juncture Judge


John Harper, a wealthy, liberal, and public-spirited
citizen, donated a beautiful grove contiguous to the
old school building, and a $6,000 brick house was
erected. This building was of the best material and
workmanship, as time and hard usage have proven.
It withstood the cyclone that swept over the town in
1870, and the less violent, but equally destructive, at-
tacks of the jack-knives of a generation of school

This school continued until the exigencies of the
War between the States converted it into a hospital
for Confederate soldiers, and for some time after
peace was declared it served as a refuge for weary,
travel-worn soldiers.

For a short time it was degraded from its original
purpose and converted into a factory for furniture
for a time only, for the citizens, aroused from their
lethargy and determined to restore the old building
to its former use, re-established the school. Both
boys and girls were admitted to this re-established
school. The discipline was rigid, the teaching thor-
ough; the examinations were conducted publicly; and
visitors were often requested to quiz the pupils.

During the half century that had elapsed since the
establishment of the school many changes had been
made, and the building had been used for several
purposes. Another, and the last change up to date,
was made in 1900, when the school became again a
school for girls, the name was partially restored, and
it became known as the Auburn Female Institute.

The graduates of this Institute are admitted to the
junior class of the Alabama Polytechnic Institute,
also located in Auburn.

When the last change was made the old building
had served its purpose and its usefulness was passed,
and it was torn down and a modern schoolhouse
erected near the site of the old schoolhouse. The
same grand old oaks beneath whose shades some of
the noblest men of Alabama played " town-ball " and


marbles, shelter the school girls of the present day
as they indulge in the pastimes so dear to the modern

In 1900 Prof. G. W. Duncan was principal; his as-
sistants, Misses Potterfield and Martin.

(The material for this sketch was furnished by
Miss O'Hara of Auburn, Alabama.)

Orrville Institute, Dallas County, Alabama, 1852

This school was established by James R. Malone,
and was in a flourishing condition some years before
application was made for a charter. The trustees
named in the charter were Wiley Thomas, James F.
Orr, Henry Cobb, Edward B. Halloway, John McEl-
ray, James White, Felix G. Adams, Lewis B. Moseley,
Abner Y. Howell, P. T. Woodall, James D. McElray,
B. E. Cobb, John A. Norwood, and Alfred Averzt.
" These trustees were authorized, with the consent and
concurrence of James R. Malone, but not otherwise,
to make such rules and regulations for the government
of said institution as they deem expedient, provided
such regulations are not in conflict with the constitu-
tion of the State and of the United States. If James
R. Malone should sell his interest to said trustees,
then they shall have full and exclusive control of said

" This institution shall not hold property to exceed
$10,000, exclusive of buildings, apparatus and library.
The principal, James R. Malone, and his associate
teachers and their successors, who shall be styled the
faculty of Orrville Institute, shall have power to or-
ganize said institution on a college basis, and the same
is hereby declared to be a college proper, and said
faculty of said institution shall be empowered to con-
fer degrees, honors and diplomas, arid have all the
rights and privileges and immunities of all regular

This charter was approved February 9, 1852.


The College continued in active operation until
closed by the exigencies of war. The buildings re-
mained intact, and when schools were reopened after
the War between the States they were turned over
to the use of the public schools.

East Alabama Female College, Tuskegee, 1852

According to the terms of the charter of the Col-
lege, which was, granted January 27, 1852, the faculty
of said college may instruct in all the arts and sciences
usually taught in similar institutions, and grant di-
plomas and confer all degrees of literary distinction
which can be conferred by other institutions of learn-
ing in the United States.

One section of the charter is a stringent law against
the sale of liquor within three miles of the College.

No license shall be received in justification for a
violation of this law.

The property was limited to $130,000 exclusive of
apparatus and library ; the grounds to fifteen acres.

Baptist Female Institute at Moulton, Alabama,

The trustees of this Institution were appointed by
the Muscle Shoals Association, No. 13. They were
empowered to grant diplomas, and to make such regu-
lations as were not contrary to the constitution of the
State or of the United States. A two-thirds vote
was necessary to elect a principal.

No law concerning sale of liquor, but a fine of
$1,000 was imposed on any bowling-alley within three
miles of the institution one-half allowed to the pros-
ecutor and one-half placed in the county treasury.

This school was closed by Federal troops, the build-
ings destroyed, and never rebuilt.


Salem Female Academy, Jefferson County, Alabama,


This academy was maintained by a stock company,
and the trustees elected by stockholders. The shares
were $25 each, and one share entitled to one vote,
either in person or by proxy. The stock was trans-
ferable, but limited to $20,000.

The trustees had full power to decide as to the
competency and number of teachers, to make rates
of tuition, and to grant diplomas on adequate attain-
ments as well as certificates or other evidences of
scholarship, and in short do any and every thing neces-
sary and proper to promote the objects of said institu-
tion, or which other institutions of like kind may
lawfully do. This charter was approved February
10, 1852.

Rehoboth Academy, Rehoboth, Wilcox County, Ala-
bama, 1852

The corporation of this academy was perpetual, but
it was not a stock company.

The trustees had the same powers as the trustees
of Salem Academy. This charter was approved Feb-
ruary 9, 1852.

Isbell College, Talladega, Alabama, 1847-1908

In 1847 the Presbyterians of Talladega County re-
solved to establish a school for girls in the town of
Talladega, where their own daughters and as many
others as would patronize the school could obtain col-
legiate training.

They appointed a board of trustees to carry out
the measure. The names of these trustees are a guar-
antee to all Alabamians that the school was excellent
in all its apppointments ; they were Lewis E. Parsons,


Alexander White, Dr. J. E. Knox, Rev. A. B. Mc-
Corkle, Major James, General William B. McClellen,
Andrew Cunningham, Thomas Cameron, and Colonel
Henry Rutledge.

These trustees obtained a charter which empowered
them to establish a school on a college basis, and they
erected suitable buildings, which cost $20,000. The
buildings were completed in 1849, an d in October of
that year the school opened under the management of
President Hoyt, a Presbyterian minister.

In 1854 the trustees made a proposition to the Synod
of Alabama to transfer the school and the buildings
to the Synod and change the name from Presbyterian
Collegiate Institute to Synodical Institute. The prop-
osition was accepted, and in 1856 the transfer was
made, and from that time the Institute was under
the control of a board of trustees appointed by the
Synod, who made reports to the Synod at its annual
sessions. In 1888 the Presbyterian Church in Talla-
dega requested the Synod to transfer the Institute to
the church. After two years' negotiation this was
done, and the transfer was made in 1890* and the name
changed to Isbell College.

The departments are, literary, consisting of an aca-
demic and a collegiate course, requiring eight years
to complete both ; music and art.

The buildings originally were large two-story brick
buildings. They have been enlarged and improved,
and facilities required to conduct these departments
according to modern ideas have been added. The
College is still in a flourishing condition.

East Alabama Female Institute, Talladega, 1849

In 1849 the Masonic fraternity of Talladega re-
solved to establish a school of high grade for girls,
which would not be denominational in its teaching.
In 1850 the corner-stone was laid with appropriate
ceremonies, and the building hurried to completion.


This building, which cost $25,000, was placed in
the center of a twenty-acre lot, which was divided
into a campus, a park, and a farm. The building
stands on the top of a hill, which is terraced down
to the level of the street. The terrace immediately
around the house is laid out for a flower garden, the
one below is planted in grass and shaded by live-
oak trees.

The school opened in October, 1851, under manage-
ment of Professor Patrick, president, and Professor
Thomas Cook associate president, with a corps of
competent teachers. The departments of music and
art were well equipped; the former was in charge
of Professor J. W. Blandin, a graduate of the Con-
servatory of Music in Boston; the art department
was in charge of Mrs. Shelly.

The Masons did not realize their expectations in
the success of this college, and in 1854 they sold the
property to the Alabama Conference of the Methodist
Episcopal Church South. The school did not suc-
ceed under this management, and in 1858 the Confer-
ence closed the school and rented the property to Dr.
Joseph H. Johnson of Cave Springs, Georgia, who
opened a school for the deaf, October i, 1858.

In 1860 the State bought the property for $16,000,
and in February, 1860, the State Institution for the
Deaf and Dumb was organized. In 1866 the School
for the Blind was added, and in 1887 the Academy
for the Blind was established, all under the supervision
of Dr. Johnson, who continued in charge until his
death, when he was succeeded by his son.

When the State bought the property it was en-
larged and a herd of Jersey cattle placed on the farm.
This farm supplies the school with vegetables and
milk and butter, and affords a means for training
in practical agriculture and dairy work.

The departments of the school are furnished with
suitable appliances for teaching, and the teachers are
experts in the different lines of work.


In 1890 the State bought an adjoining tract of land,
erected suitable buildings, and in 1892 opened a sepa-
rate school for deaf and dumb and blind children of
the African race.

(The material for this sketch was furnished by Mr.
L. L. Lewis of Talladega, and obtained from cata-
logues sent by him.)

Oak Bowery Female College, Oak Bowery, Alabama,


This school began as Oak Bowery Academy, whose
charter was approved December 25, 1837. By terms
of the charter the corporation was perpetual and en-
titled to a common seal alterable at pleasure, and
the property rights and judiciary powers were

The first amendment to this charter was approved
February i, 1843, an d read as follows: "After the
passage of this act the Oak Bowery Academy shall
be known as Chambers Collegiate Institute. Henry
C. Marcell, J. Alma Pelot, and their successors, to-
gether with the present board of trustees, shall have
the power to confer degrees and fill vacancies both in
the board of trustees and professors, provided no va-
cancy shall be filled unless there be present and voting
a majority of the trustees."

The second amendment was approved February 4,
1850. An entirely new board of trustees is named
in this act, most of them Methodist preachers, and
they and their successors are declared a body cor-
porate by the name and style of the " Oak Bowery
Female College/' under the direction of the Methodist
Episcopal Church South.

The College was in charge of a first-class faculty,
and did efficient work of a high order. It was not
closed by the exigencies of war, but continued ef-
fective some years after the war closed, when it was
merged into the public-school system.


Alabama Conference College, Tuskegee, 1854-1908

This College was chartered in 1854, under the name
of Tuskegee College. The usual powers concerning
honors, diplomas, and literary distinctions were
granted; the amount of property was limited to $130.-
ooo and the land to fifteen acres.

Rev. A. A. Lipscome was the first president, and
continued in office until the close of the War between
the States. It was not closed during the war ; indeed,
it was quite prosperous until the Reconstruction
caused utter financial ruin.

At one time the closing of the College seemed in-
evitable in spite of the utmost endeavors of its friends.
Rev. J. W. Rush, Rev. M. S. Andrews, and Rev.
Henry D. Moore particularly exerted themselves in
its behalf. The Methodists were anxious to build up
this College. They had already donated to the State
two colleges the East Alabama College for men at
Auburn, and LaGrange College at Florence; the first
became the A. & M. College, the second the State

After strenuous efforts they succeeded in paying the
debt on the College, and in 1872 they applied for a
new charter.

By the terms of this charter the property limitations
were removed ; the College was recognized as the
property of the Methodist Episcopal Church South;
and the name was changed from Tuskegee College
to Alabama Conference Female College. John Mas-
sey, A.M., LL.D., was elected president and a new
board of trustees was also elected.

The attendance at the opening of the next session
was encouraging, and since that time the numbers
steadily increased. Only a few years after Dr. Massey
took charge it became necessary to enlarge the build-
ing, and in a few years it became necessary to erect
another building, and still another to meet the demands


of the school. The school now has suitable buildings
for all its departments, well equipped laboratories,
and gymnasium, and studios for music and art. The
curriculum has been changed to accord with modern
ideas of a college course.

The literary departments of this institution were
from the beginning and are, primary, preparatory, and
the college proper. This gives the advantage of send-
ing all the girls of a family to the same school. Though
entirely separate they are under the same manage-

The alumnae, now numbering hundreds, have
formed an alumnae association, which meets during
commencement week, in Alumnae Hall in the College.

(Facts contained in this sketch are taken from ad-
vertisements in papers, and from Acts of Legislature,


Montevallo Female Institute, Montevallo, Alabama

By act of the General Assembly of Alabama, ap-
proved February 6, 1858 (Acts of Alabama, 1857-58,
page 88), the_" Montevallo Male and Female In-
stitutes of the Union Synod of the Cumberland Pres-
byterian Church of Alabama " was incorporated.
Among the powers granted were, " grant diplomas,
and confer all the degrees of literary distinction usually
granted in similar male and female institutes of learn-
ing in the United States."

These institutes, for there were two separate and
distinct schools, began work October, 1857. The girls
were taught in the building now used for the Monte-
vallo Industrial School ; the boys in a building which
has been converted into a private residence.

Dr. Roach was the first president ; he was succeeded
by Rev. A. J. C. Hail.

The Synod ceased to operate the school in 1864,
and during the latter part of the War the building
used for the girls' institute, now the chapel of the


Industrial School, was used as quarters for soldiers
camped in Montevallo.

Shortly after the War the Synod turned over the
chapel and lot to Rev. W. H. Meredith, who with his
wife continued the Montevallo Female Institute till
about 1875, after which time Mrs. Meredith continued
to teach a mixed school until 1887 or 1888. The In-
stitute was considered a high-grade school, and af-
forded an opportunity for advanced study that many
otherwise would not have had.

In 1888 the Alabama Industrial School for Girls
was established in the old buildings of the Institute.
Rev. Frank Peterson was the first and only principal.

Greenville College, Greenville, Butler County, Florida

This institution was organized on a regular college
basis February 5, 1860.

Clayton College, Barbour County, Alabama

This was also declared a college by its charter, and
all the powers and privileges of a college granted to
it. Its property rights and judicial powers were clearly
defined, but the amount of property exclusive of
buildings and equipment was limited to $50,000. This
charter was approved February 10, 1860.

Only four days after this charter was approved, a
charter was granted to Woodlawn Institute, Marengo
County. This was also empowered to confer degrees
and grant diplomas.

Hamner Hall Seminary, Montgomery, Alabama, 1860

This school was established by the Protestant Epis-
copal Church. It opened October, 1859, and its char-
ter was approved February 10, 1860. It was situated
in the western suburb of Montgomery in a large,
beautiful grove of oaks. Ample provision was made


for accommodating boarders, and for a few years it
prospered. Soon after the close of the War between
the States the boarding department was discontinued,
but the school continued until about 1890, when it
ceased to be profitable.

There were two other high-grade schools for girls
opened about the same time as Hamner Hall the
school of the Misses Follansbee on Perry street, and
Mrs. Chilton's school on Sayre street. The last was
closed on account of the ill health of Mrs. Chilton,
and the building rented to the Public School Trustees.
The school of the Misses Follansbee continued until
about 1890. These schools did efficient work and are
gratefully remembered by many of the leading women
of Montgomery.

Canebrake Female Institute, Uniontown, Perry
County, Florida

This was chartered February 4, 1850. Though
called an institute, it was a college and had the power
to confer degrees. The school opened under favorable
auspices October, 1849, an< ^ continued until 1862,
when the building was burned and never rebuilt.

Though a small college, it was fairly well equipped.
It was furnished with chemical and physical apparatus,
and globes, charts and a telescope ; also musical instru-

The prime object of its organization was to give
an opportunity to the girls of the Canebrake section
to obtain collegiate training free from the evils of a
large boarding-school; and this it effectually did dur-
ing its short existence.

Chunnanugga Ridge Institute, 1846

This was another small college that did good work
until closed by the exigencies of war.


Its charter was approved January i, 1846. The
amount of property allowed by this charter was limited
to $20,000, exclusive of building and equipment. This
charter was amended to give full collegiate powers to
the College, and allowing property to the amount of

Courtland Masonic Institute, Laivrence County,

This was the property of Courtland Lodge, No. 37.
Trustees were elected by the Lodge. The charter,
dated February 8, 1854, granted the power to grant
rewards of scholarship. .

Gainsville Institute, Sumter County, Alabama

The Institute could confer degrees and grant di-
plomas. Charter dated February 8, 1854.

Forest Hill Seminary, Talladega County, Alabama

This had the same powers as Gainsville Institute.
Amount of property, exclusive of library and appa-
ratus, was not to exceed $50,000. Date of charter,
February, 1855.

East Alabama College, Tuskegee, Macon County

This was under auspices of the Baptist Church. It
was burned about the close of the War between the
States, and never rebuilt. Charter granted January
27, 1852.

Robinson Institute, Autauga County, Alabama

The charter approved January 2 1,1845, was amended
February u, 1850, by changing the name to McGehee
College, with all'the powers and privileges of a college,


and a normal department was added to the College.
This was the only college established in Alabama by
the Protestant Methodist denomination.

Glenville College
Charter dated February i, 1852.

Lowndesborough Institute, Lowndesborough, Lowndes
County, Alabama

Charter dated January 29, 1852.

Gaston Institute, Sumter County

The trustees had power " to make such rules and
regulations and prescribe such forms for granting di-
plomas, certificates, or other evidences of scholarship
as they may choose." Charter dated February 4,

DadevilU Masonic Seminary, Dadeville, Tallapoosa
County, Alabama

This was under control of Tohopeka Lodge, No. 71,
and Chapter No. 45, of Dadeville. It had all the
powers and privileges of a regular college. Charter
approved February 4, 1852.


Some Other Institutes, Seminaries, and Colleges

LITTLE is known of many institutes, seminaries, and
colleges that once were efficient schools, except what
can be found in the " Acts of the Legislature." Among
these are:

Columbia Institute, Henry County. Charter ap-
proved February i, 1843.

Robinson Institute, Autauga County. Date of char-
ter January 21, 1845.

Central Masonic Institute, Dallas County. Date
of charter January 13, 1846; power to grant diplomas
and confer degrees granted January 29, 1850.

Orion Institute, Prospect Ridge, Pike County.
Charter granted January 25, 1845; repealed February
10, 1848.

Union Franconia Institute, Pickens County. Char-
tered March i, 1848.

Pickensville Institute, Pickens County. Chartered
January 29, 1848.

Dayton Literary Association changed to Masonic
Institute, Dayton, Marengo County, January 24, 1848.

Hayneville Institute, Lowndes County. Chartered
February 5, 1848.

Montevallo Collegiate Institute, Montevallo, Shelby
County. Chartered February 6, 1848.

Mobile High School, Mobile. Chartered February
3, 1850.

Wilcox Institute, Camden, Wilcox County. Char-
tered January 31, 1850; amendment granting power
to confer degrees and grant diplomas, February 2,

Carrollton Academy given power to confer degrees


and grant diplomas, January 26, 1850. Seal of the
Academy and the signature make them valid. Carroll-
ton is in Pickens County.

Octavia Walton Le Vert Normal College, 1860

This college was located in Dadeville, Tallapoosa
County, Alabama, and began its career under favor-
able auspices. It was named for Madam Octavia Wal-
ton Le Vert, who was very popular in Alabama.
Strange as it may seem to some that any attention
was paid to normal training of teachers prior to the
advent of the public-school system, nevertheless it is
true that this college was organized and chartered
for that very purpose. However, there was scarcely
time to show what the work would be before it was
closed by the War between the States.

Synodical Female College, Florence, Alabama, 1854

Florence is situated on the Tennessee River, and is
one of the oldest towns in the State of Alabama, hav-
ing been laid out under the direction of The Cypress
Land Company, in 1818, by an Italian, Mr. Sinoni,
who named the new town in honor of his native city,
Florence, Italy. The population increased slowly;
even as late as 1870 it was only 2,000; notwithstand-
ing, the interest in education was always great. The
first school was taught by Mr. Charles Sullivan; his
successor was Rev. Wallan, an Episcopal clergyman.

Later Mrs. Caroline Lee Hentz had a large and
flourishing school for young ladies. She employed a
German professor of music, a native Frenchman to
teach French, and competent teachers of art. After
her departure in 1842, the Florence Female Academy
was organized, but not chartered until 1848. The
curriculum was the usual academic course of study,
with departments of music and art.

When the town was laid out The Cypress Land


Online LibraryI. M. E. (Isabella Margaret Elizabeth) BlandinHistory of higher education of women in the South prior to 1860. → online text (page 8 of 24)