Blog Series: Early Texas collegesBlog Series
Austin College was established by the Brazos Presbytery of the Old School Presbyterian Church as a men’s college and theological school in 1849. The presbytery appointed Daniel Baker, James Weston Miller and William Cochran Blair to find a site somewhere between the Brazos and Trinity rivers. Huntsville was chosen as the location because the citizens proved them with $10,000 and five acres of land. The college was named in honor of Stephen F. Austin and two of its charter members of the board of trustees were Sam Houston and Anson Jones. After the founding, Baker continued to play a huge part in the college, traveling all over the country raising funds and served as President from 1853 to his death in 1857. The Texas Synod of the Presbyterian Church decided to move the school to Sherman in 1876. The college grew steadily until a homesick prep-school student destroyed the main building by a fire in 1913. The citizens of Sherman stepped in and contributed $50,000 to build a new library and auditorium. In 1918 the school became coeducational.
Information courtesy of Austin College and the Texas State Historical Association. Photo below is of the original building at Austin College in Sherman. Photo courtesy of Graham Landrum and “An Illustrated History of Grayson County, Texas”, 1960.