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Under the terms of the charter it was made a penal offense, in the sum of $500, for any one to sell merchandise of any character within a mile and a half of the university, and in addition the form of deeds granted in the sale of lots belonging to the university required the forfeiture of such lots to the institution in the event the law was violated.
On November 24, 1836, the university was organized by the election of the following faculty: Rev. Carlisle P. Beman, D.D., president, to hold the chair of chemistry and natural philosophy; Hon. Eugenius A. Nisbet, vice-president, to teach belles lettres and natural philosophy; Rev. Samuel K. Talmage, professor of ancient languages; Rev. Charles Wallace Howard, chaplain, to teach moral philosophy; and Rev. Nathaniel Macon Crawford, professor of astronomy and mathematics. The cornerstone of the main building was laid on March 31, 1837, at which time an address was delivered by Hon. Joseph Henry Lumpkin, afterwards Chief Justice of Georgia. Dr. Talmage, in writing of the school at a later period, thus describes the building: “It is a brick structure, painted white, two stories high, besides a basement. It is constructed after the Grecian Doric order, without and within. The central part contains the finest college chapel in the United States; its whole dimensions are fifty-two feet front by eighty-nine feet deep, including a colonnade fourteen feet deep, supported by four massive pillars, and the vestibule of the chapel is eleven feet deep. The dimensions of the chapel are forty-eight feet by sixty in the main story, and forty-eight by seventy-one in the gallery, the latter extending over the vestibule. The ceiling of the chapel is in the form of an elliptical arch, resting on a rich cornice and containing a chaste and original centre piece. Attached to the building are two wings, thirty feet front by thirty-four deep, and three stories high; making the entire front of the edifice one hundred and twelve feet in length. Each story in the wings is divided into a professor's office in front, and a recitation or lecture room in the rear. There are in the basement story and wings sixteen rooms, affording ample accommodations, museum, apparatus and all other conveniences for college purposes.” On each side of the campus there was a row of dormitories, one story in height, for the use of the student. The other buildings were the president's house, on the south side, below the dormitories; the academy, a large two-story edifice opposite, on the north side; and an old chapel, the interior of which was converted into recitation rooms.
On the first Monday in January, 1838-before the main building was finished—the college commenced operations. The attendance by 1842 registered 125 students, of which number, fifty were in the collegiate and seventy-five in the preparatory department. The college year was divided into two sessions: the winter session from January to May and the summer session from June to November. Commencement was usually on the second Wednesday of the last-named month. In the fall of 1839, at the request of the board of trustees, Presbytery tenderred the institution to the Synod of South Carolina and Georgia, by which body it was eagerly accepted. President Beman resigned his position in 1841, and Rev. Samuel K. Talmage, a graduate of Princeton
and an uncle of the great Brooklyn divine, was elected to succeed him as president. He remained in office until his death, in 1865, a period of nearly twenty-five years. Toward the close of the war, the exercises of Oglethorpe University were suspended, due to the lack of necessary funds and to the impoverished condition of the state. Besides, a large percentage of the young men of Georgia were at the front. From 1867 to 1869 feeble efforts to resuscitate it were made. The office of president was repeatedly declined. Finally, Rev. W. M. Cunningham accepted the office, but, on the eve of the college opening, he died. In 1870, Dr. David Wills succeeded him. The school was then removed to Atlanta, where it opened in General Sherman's former headquarters, on Washington Street, diagonally across from the present State Capitol. But the change failed to produce the expected reinvigoration; and in 1872 the doors of Oglethorpe University were closed. In the opinion of many, no greater misfortune ever befell the state. The apparatus was afterward used by the Talmage High School, at Midway, to which school the other property holdings also reverted. Doctor Wills, the last president of the institution, is living today in Washington, D. C., an old man, verging upon the century mark.
During the spring of 1912 a movement to reorganize Oglethorpe University was launched in Atlanta under the vigorous initiative of Rev. Thornwell Jacobs, a most enthusiastic and wide-awake Presbyterian. The idea was pressed in such a way that it fired the imagination of the church, not only in Georgia, but throughout the South. In less than six months over one hundred men of means were found who ,were willing to lend financial aid to the enterprise; a temporary organization was effected; a beautiful tract of land at Silver Lake, on Peachtree Road, was secured as a donation to the school, and plans devised for laying the cornerstone of greater Oglethorpe University during the monster Presbyterian jubilee, in May, 1913, when four General Assemblies were scheduled to convene in Atlanta : an auspicious time for the Phoenix to rise once more from the ashes.
Two miles north of the Town of Covington is the little village of Oxford. It is reached by a trolley line which meets the Georgia Railroad at Covington, from which point it rapidly transports the visitor to the broad campus grounds of the great school of learning which is here maintained by Georgia Methodists. Called Emory College, in honor of Bishop John Emory, it enjoyed a distinct and independent existence for nearly eighty years, but in 1915 was merged into a far greater institution : Mercer University. The circumstances connected with the establishment of this famous school at Oxford possess an exceptional interest. Dr. George G. Smith, a patriarch of the church, tells the story thus. Says he: "Dr. Olin, who married a Georgia lady and whose property interests were in Georgia, was chosen president of Randolph-Macon College, in Virginia, and was anxious to secure the support of the various Southern conferences. He accordingly asked the Methodists of Georgia to endow a chair in the college with $10,000 and to patronize the institution, giving them some special privileges in return. The conference consented to accept this offer and
THE CRADLE OF EMORY COLLEGE Home of the Late Col. W. W. Clark, Covington, Including Part of the Old Normal School
decided, in addition, to establish a high school in Georgia on the manual labor plan, so popular at the time. The latter was located at Covington. It was not productive of the best results, however, to conduct a high school and a farm at the same time, and the conference, under the influence of Dr. Ignatius A. Few, in 1836, decided to establish a college. For this purpose a charter was granted and a site for the proposed institution was selected about two miles from the manual school. One thousand four hundred acres of land were bought, a village laid out, and, in 1837, the cornerstone of Emory College was laid.”
Doctor Few was the first president. Under him, the college was opened, in 1839, and two years later were held the first exercises of graduation. Judge Augustus B. Longstreet, the famous author of “Georgia Scenes,' succeeded Doctor Few. He was formerly an eminent jurist, but relinquished the law to enter the pulpit. He was also at one time an editor of note. On leaving Emory, he became the president of the University of Mississippi. Dr. George F. Pierce, the great orator of Methodism, came next. But he was soon elected bishop. Dr. Alexander Means, the distinguished professor of natural science, succeeded him. Fifty years in advance of his day, Doctor Means predicted the motor car and the electric light. He was succeeded after a year by Dr. James R. Thomas, who was president when the war commenced. The college was suspended during the greater part of this period and the buildings used for hospital purposes under the Confederate Government. The close of the war found the institution without endowment and the people of the South impoverished. But Bishop Pierce took the field, made an earnest plea on behalf of the college and succeeded in keeping the fires alive until prosperity began to return. With the aid of Bishop Pierce's Endowment Society, supplemented by the zeal of a devoted corps of professors, the college began to revive. New buildings were erected, new students were enrolled, and an era of splendid growth was inaugurated. Dr. Luther M. Smith was the president under whom the institution was firmly re-established.
He was elected to succeed Doctor Thomas, who was called to a college in California.
Next came Dr. O. L. Smith, but he resigned to take a professorship, and Dr. Atticus G. Haygood succeeded him. It was during the administration of this great apostle of learning that Mr. George I. Seney, a wealthy banker of New York, attracted by some of the broad views of the new president, gave to the institution the munificent sum of $150,000. With a part of this gift, Seney Hall was erected. The remainder was applied to the permanent endowment fund. Bishop Haygood resigned to administer the Slater educational legacy and was afterwards chosen bishop. He was succeeded by Dr. I. S. Hopkins, who resigned to become president of the Georgia School of Technology,
Emory College was chartered December 10, 1836, with the following board of trustees: Ignatius A. Few, Lovick Pierce, Charles Hardy, William J. Parks, Elijah Sinclair, Samuel K. Hodges, Samuel J. Bryan, Alexander Speer, George F. Pierce, Charles H. Saunders, David P. Hillhouse, William P. Graham, Iverson L. Graves, Lucius Wittich, and John Park. (Prince's “ Digest,' pp. 879-881.)
an institution which was measurably the outgrowth of his own experiments at Oxford. Dr. Warren A. Candler was next called to the executive chair. Under him, the sum of $100,000 was added to the permanent endowment fund. Of this amount, Mr. W. P. Patillo, of Atlanta, subscribed $25,000. The handsome new library building, in honor of the president, was christened “Candler Hall.” On being elevated to the episcopal bench, Dr. Candler was succeeded by Dr. C. E. Dowman, and he in turn by Dr. James E. Dickey, the present head of the institution. Since the incumbency of Doctor Dickey began, the endowment fund of the college has been greatly increased and the roll of attendance considerably lengthened.
There are few institutions in the country which surpass Emory in the standards of scholarships. The discipline is strict and the moral atmosphere pure and wholesome. The library of the college contains something over 25,000 volumes, including a number of rare folios. Three presidents of Emory have succeeded to the episcopal honors, Drs. George F. Pierce, Atticus G. Haygood, and Warren A. Candler. Without an exception the presidents have been preachers. Bishop Candler and Doctor Dickey are both kinsmen of the first president, Dr. Ignatius A. Few. Connected with the college, there is an excellent school of law, of which Judge Capers Dickson is the dean. Besides, there is also a department of pedagogics. The cabinet of minerals at Emory is one of the most unique collections of this character to be found in the South. It contains a number of rare specimens which cannot be duplicated. The college at Oxford is the joint property of the Georgia and Florida conferences of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South.
Dr. Ignatius A. Few, the first president of Emory College, is buried on the heights of the Oconee River, at Athens, Georgia, but in commemoration of his services to Christian culture there stands upon the campus at Oxford a substantial monument on which is chiseled the following inscription to the distinguished founder.
"I. A. Few, founder and first president of Emory College. Elected December 8, 1837. Entered upon his duties, September 10, 1838. Resigned July 17, 1839. ‘Memoria prodenda liberis nostris.'"
“In early life an infidel, he became a Christian from conviction and for many years of deep affliction walked by faith in the son of God." etc.
To the City of Macon, Georgia, belongs the oldest school in existence for the higher education of women. If there are institutions whose pioneer work date further back, an investigation will show that not one of them possessed authority to confer degrees. The first college in the world chartered for the express purpose of awarding diplomas to women was undoubtedly historic old Wesleyan Female College at Macon. It was only to a limited extent that public attention, during the early part of the last century, was directed to the educational needs of the
At first the various Legislatures of the country were averse to chartering even academies which were designed exclusively for women and Georgia was one of the very first states to abandon this policy of