Genealogy and History
The subjoined history of this college is from the pen of Mr. J. F. Hyde, teacher in the city schools, and compiler of the Lincoln Directory:
The proposition to found a college here was first made by Revs. James Ritchey and Elam McCord, in the Synod of Indiana, at its meeting held in 1864; and was heartily advocated by Revs. Azel Freeman, D.D., A. J. Strain, and other members of the Synod. The proposition as made, was to include, in addition to the Synod of Indiana, the Synods of Sangamon, Central Illinois, and Illinois, in the State of Illinois; and the Synod of Iowa; all of which espoused the cause with the spirit and enthusiasm peculiar to the ministry of those states.
Among the most zealous advocates were found such men as Revs. J. B. Logan, J. R. Brown, S. Richards, A. J. McGlumphy, James White and J. C. VanPatton, of Illinois, and Revs. J. R. Lowrance and W. F. Baird, of Iowa.
As soon as the several Synods embraced in the proposition had fully decided to undertake the enterprise, a commission consisting; of Rev. S. Richards, for the Synod of Sangamon; Rev. J. C. Smith, for the Synod of Central Illinois; Rev. J. H. Hughey, for the Synod of Illinois; Rev. James Ritchey, for the Synod of Indiana; Rev. J. R. Lowrence, for the Synod of Iowa, was appointed to receive bids and determine upon the location, which was competed for by Newburg, Indiana; Mt. Zion, Cherry Grove, Virginia, and Lincoln Illinois.
Rev. James White, at that time pastor of the C. P. Church at Lincoln, espoused the cause with zeal and energy; and to his untiring exertions and influence, backed by the hearty assistance of such men as A. C. Boyd, Col. R. B. Latham, and other citizens of Lincoln, is due much of the credit of the final location.
At the suggestion of A. C. Boyd, James White and others, a meeting of the citizens was called at the Court House, in the fall of 1864, which was largely attended, and, notwithstanding that for three years they had been constantly called on for aid to carry on the war, a subscription of over $25,000 was raised as a donation toward defraying the expense of the building, provided the decision of the Commission was favorable to this locality.
Mr. White was appointed a delegate to meet the commissioners at Mt. Zion, in February, 1865, to represent the interest of Lincoln, and presented the matter to them in its most favorable light, aided by the large subscription, and the assurances of the citizens that "The young and nourishing town of Lincoln, as well as the young and prosperous county of Logan, having as yet no institution of learning of a high grade, would hail with joy and pride the location of your college at this place, and would take a lively interest, as well as a commendable pride, in fostering and endowing the institution, and the college would, perhaps, meet with less opposition and competition here than at any other point."
Yet with all this array in his favor, Mr. White was barely able to, secure a visit of the commissioners at this point, so strongly was each member urged and instructed to favor home locations. Succeeding in the object of his mission, however, the commissioners agreed to visit this place on the following day.
The morning was cold, rainy and dreary; yet the citizens came forth to meet the commission with a hearty welcome, and accompanied them to the various sites offered.
The decision of the commission was favorable,-and in due time the university, and the hillock on which it stands, was consecrated to the cause of Religion, Art, Science and Culture.
Ground was broken for the erection of the college building on the anniversary of the honored man whose name it bears (suggested by the late John Wyatt, Esq., one of the first trustees). The work of laying the foundation was pushed forward vigorously under the general supervision of A. Mayfield, Esq., and on Thursday, September 14, 1865, the ceremony of laying the corner stone took place on the grounds of the University, in the presence of a large assemblage of Masons, Odd Fellows, and other benevolent associations; the clergy, teachers, returned officers and soldiers of the war, together with many citizens of Logan and surrounding counties, and friends of the institution. The oration was delivered by Governor Richard J. Oglesby. The exercises were interspersed by vocal and instrumental music, and were satisfactorily enjoyed by all present.
In the fall of 1866, the building was so far advanced that it was formally opened for the reception of students.
The building has since been finished and furnished with all the appliances of education found in the best colleges and seminaries, and the spacious grounds surrounding it have been beautified with shade trees and other improvements.
The Presidents of the University have been, 1st: Rev. Azel Freeman, D.D., who served for four years, giving universal satisfaction by his liberal spirit, his zealous piety, his profound learning, which gained for him the esteem and confidence of his students and co-laborers; and his earnest Christian character so firmly impressed itself upon the individuality of the institution that many regretted his retirement.
2d. Rev. J. C. Bowdon, D.D., succeeded to the presidency; but finding the institution under such a substantial organization, that he contented himself with carrying out the plans already commenced. He remained with the institution until his death, and was succeeded by
3d. Rev. A. J. McGlumphy, D.D., elected to fill the vacancy, which position he still retains.
The University, though under the control of the C. P. Church, is not sectarian in its character. All candidates for admission who pass a satisfactory examination, and sustain a good moral character, whether male or female, whatever their religious preferences may be, are admitted.
The institution is under the management of a Board of Trustees, consisting of fifteen members - three from each of the Synods before mentioned - and working under an act of the Legislature of the State of Illinois, passed February 6, 1865, incorporating the following-named persons the first Board of Trustees, viz.:
For the Synod of Sangamon-Hon. G. H. Campbell, J. S. Metcalf, Esq., A. Mayfield, Esq.
For the Synod of Illinois-Rev. J. M. Miller, Rev. J. E. Roach, John Wyatt, Esq.
For the Synod of Central Illinois-A. C. Boyd, Esq., James Coddington, Esq., Rev. J. B. Logan.
For the Synod of Iowa-Rev. David Lowry, G. W. Edgar, Esq., J. F. D. Elliott, Esq.
For the Synod of Indiana-Col. R. B. Latham, Rev. Elam McCord, John Howser, Esq.
Following is a complete list of the names of other persons who have held positions on the Board since its organization: Hon. S. C. Parks, Hon. W. B. Jones, Hon. Wm. McGalliard, Hon. Colby Knapp, Rev. F. Bridgeman, Rev. R. C. Hill, Rev. J. C. VanPatton, Rev. W. C. Bell, Rev. H. D. Onyett, Rev. James Ritchey, Rev. J. T. Ferguson, Rev. C. J. Hill, Rev. W. F. Baird, Rev. S. E. Hudson, Thomas McClure, Esq., Samuel Sargent, M.D., Edward Burton, Esq., J. A. Bell, Esq., S. P. Davidson, Esq., Ezra Davis, Esq., A. Clay, Esq., E. J. Secor, Esq., J. S. Randolph, Esq., Alfred Bryan, Esq., J. H. Danley, Esq., J. A. Hudson, Esq., J. U. Starkey, Esq.
Officers of The Board Of Trustees.
Presidents-Hon. G. H. Campbell, two years; Col. R. B. Latham, nine years.
Secretaries-Rev. J. C. VanPatton, five years; Hon. Wm. McGalliard, two years; S. N. Bridgeman, one year; Prof. A. R. Taylor, three years.
Treasurer--Col. Colby Knapp, two years; A. C. Boyd, four years; Rev. W. C. Bell, one year; Jas. A. Hudson, four years.
Financial Agents-R. M. Beard, Esq., four years ; Rev. J. C. Van-Patton, two years; Rev. I. N. Biddle, one year; Rev. J. S. Grider, one year; Rev. J. A. Chase, one year.
The following-named persons have held positions as forming the Faculty of Instruction:
President and Professor of Mental and Moral Philosophy-- ____ Freeman, D.D., four years; Rev. J. C. Bowdon, D.D., three years; A. J. McGlumphy, D.D., four years. Dr. Bowdon died during his third year, and Vice-President A. J. McGlumphy served the remainder of the year, when he was elected to the Presidency.
Professors of Mathematics-Rev. A. J. McGlumphy, A.M., seven years; Rev. B. F. McCord, A. M., four years.
Professors of Ancient Languages.-Rev. S. Richards, A.M., five years ; Rev. D. M. Harris, A.M., six years; Wm. Mariner, A.M., Prof, of Latin, the present year.
Professors of Natural Sciences.-J. F. Latimer, one year; Rev. D. M. Harris, A.M., three years; A. R. Taylor, Ph. B., five years.
Professor of Elocution.-S. S. Hamill, A.M., five years.
Teachers of Music.-Miss Anna L. Walters, three years; Miss Helen Brewster, two years; Miss Mary E. Gibbs, two years; Miss Dora S. Miller, one year; Miss Laura A. Howell, M.M., one year; Miss Ada Woods, M.M., one year; August Rhu, M.M., two years; F. H. Zimmerman, M.M., the present year.
Professor of Penmanship.-D. R. Lillibridge, M. Acc., two years.
Matrons, and Professors of English Literature.-Mrs. M. E. Miller, one year; Miss Minerva Lindsey, one year; Mrs. C. E. W. Miller, two years; Miss S. J. McCord, B.S., one year.
Professor of Systematic Theology.-Rev. S. Richards, D.D., five years.
Professor of Pastoral Theology.-Rev. J. W. Poindexter, D.D., three years.
Professor of Law.-Hon. R. C. Ewing, one year.
Teachers of Ornamental Painting.-Miss Mary H. Harris, two years; Mrs. I. Wilkinson, one year.
Tutors.-J. R. Starkey, one year; A. H. Mills, two years.
Table showing the number of students in attendance in each scholastic year:
1st year - 171; 2d year - 250; 3d year - 183; 4th year - 211; 5th year - 206; 6th year 240; 7th year - 185; 8th year - 232; 9th year - 305; 10th year - 271; 11th year - 250 (estimated).
There are five Societies connected with the University, devoted to the literary culture of the members.
The names of these Societies are: for ladies, the Neatrophean and Amicitian; for gentlemen, the Amasagacian and Athenian.
The Alumni Society, composed of the graduates of the Institution, now numbers eighty-four members, as shown by the following table:
From class of 1868 - 4;
From class of 1869 - 7;
From class of 1870 - 3;
From class of 1871 - 11;
From class of 1872 - 14;
From class of 1873 - 10;
From class of 1874 - 8;
From class of 1875 - 6;
From class of 1876 - 7;
From class of 1877 - 14.
It will be seen by consulting the statistics embraced in this sketch that the Institution ranks high in an educational point of view, and has so far met with unparalleled success. It is trusted that its future will maintain its good qualities of usefulness in the community, and that the citizens will ever be found ready to appreciate its merits.
[History of Logan Co., Illinois, 1878; transcribed by cddd]
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