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ST. PAUL'S COLLEGE

ST. PAUL'S COLLEGE. St. Paul's College, in Anderson, a diocesan school of the Protestant Episcopal Church designed primarily to provide general education and ministerial training for young men, opened on January 5, 1852. Its campus was a twenty-five-acre tract previously occupied by the Masonic Collegiate Institute and donated to the school, along with the two buildings on it, by the local Masonic lodge. Rev. Charles Gillette, principal, financial agent, and driving force behind the establishment of the institution, not only enlarged the campus and expanded its dormitory and educational facilities within two years but also undertook on his own initiative and without church sponsorship the operation of a girls' school at the request of the Anderson Masonic lodge. Assisted by Joseph Wood Dunn and Hannibal Pratt, he offered to the initial student body of forty-three boys instruction in English, geography, history, classical languages, and the sciences. The girls' school was conducted at the outset by Gillette's sister, Jeanette, and its curriculum included many of the same subjects taught in the boys' division, as well as French, piano, drawing, painting, and needlework. The duties of principal in the girls' division were assumed by Rev. Jonah B. T. Smith in 1854. The school was authorized by state legislative charter on February 4, 1853, to confer degrees. In spite of its name-and like numerous nineteenth-century educational institutions called "colleges"-St. Paul's functioned almost exclusively as a secondary school or "academy"; only three pupils attained collegiate rank, and no degrees were ever awarded. About half of the student population boarded on campus. Anson Jones served as one of the original trustees, contributed financial support, helped draft the institution's charter, and boarded his two sons there. The number of pupils in the two divisions climbed to sixty-four in 1853 and by 1854 had reached 100. Nevertheless, the steady growth of enrollment and the $200 annual fee per student (including tuition, board, and all expenses) could not alleviate the school's chronic indebtedness. A general failure of financial support from the Episcopal Church, controversy within the Texas diocese over the proper location for the institution, sectarian hostility within the community, and the local establishment of competing schools by members of rival denominations all contributed to the demise of St. Paul's College in the fall of 1856. As part of the settlement of the school's affairs, its grounds and buildings were reconveyed to the Masonic lodge. From 1861 to 1902 these same facilities housed a girls' school known as Patrick Academy.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Imogene W. Clarke, Anson Jones after the Annexation of Texas, 1846–1858 (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1938). Herbert Gambrell, Anson Jones: The Last President of Texas (Garden City, New York: Doubleday, 1948). Grimes County Historical Commission, History of Grimes County, Land of Heritage and Progress (Dallas: Taylor, 1982). DuBose Murphy, Short History of the Protestant Episcopal Church in Texas (Dallas: Turner, 1935). Mabel Dougherty Nall, A History of the Educational Activities of the Protestant Episcopal Church in the Diocese of Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1935).

Dan Ferguson

Citation

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.

Dan Ferguson, "ST. PAUL'S COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbs49), accessed December 29, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.