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TEXAS MILITARY COLLEGE

TEXAS MILITARY COLLEGE. Texas Military College, a private primary school, high school, and junior college in Terrell, began operation in September 1915. The college was founded, owned, and presided over by Louis Clausiel Perry, who came to Terrell from Missouri by 1915 and stayed until his death in 1926, after which his widow, Minnie E. Perry, operated the school until February 1949, when she sold the institution's physical plant and grounds to the Southern Bible Institute. Perry, who served as president of Scarritt-Morrisville College, in Missouri, from 1909 until 1915, was attracted to Terrell as a result of discussions with members of the Terrell Commercial Club. They convinced him that facilities left vacant when Wesley College moved from Terrell to Greenville in 1912 were ideal for the foundation of a new school. These buildings had housed institutions of learning since 1897, when W. B. Toon, son-in-law of Robert A. Terrell, established Toon College on the grounds of the Terrell homestead. The octagonal Terrell house became the administration building. Toon College became Terrell University School in 1901, with Toon as principal. By 1904 it was succeeded by the Methodist-run North Texas University School, headed by Rev. Joseph J. Morgan. In 1909 the name was changed to Wesley College, and the Methodists continued to operate the institution in Terrell until they moved it to Greenville. Perry purchased the existing physical plant in 1914 and, with the assistance of local leaders, improved its condition.

Texas Military College opened on September 21, 1915, with Perry as president and professor of philosophy and oratory. He implemented a unique educational and housing system at the school. Under the "home group system," students coming from the same general geographical region were housed together under the supervision of a resident professor. It was believed that under this system the school's instructors and administrators could closely monitor each student's educational, moral, and physical progress. The school offered three levels of instruction: a junior school (grades three through seven), a high school, and a junior college. The physical plant that Perry purchased in 1914 consisted of an administration building and two dormitories; the success that the institution found in attracting students is suggested by the fact that by the time of Perry's death in 1926, the administration building had been enlarged, several new buildings had been constructed, and student enrollment reached 150. In 1940 the institution built an armory, and enrollment had risen to 250. The college temporarily ceased operations in 1943; enrollment was low during World War II, in which a number of the faculty took part. The school reopened in 1946, with B. B. Abrams as president, but was unable to maintain itself. In 1947 Mrs. Perry deeded the property to the city of Terrell. The community, however, also proved unable to operate the institution on a paying basis and returned control to Mrs. Perry. In 1949 she sold the school's physical plant and grounds to the Southern Bible Institute, which in 1950 established a junior college for blacks, Southwestern Christian College, at the location.

BIBLIOGRAPHY: 

Robert Richard Butler, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, University of Texas, 1940). Kaufman County Historical Commission, History of Kaufman County (Dallas: Taylor, 1978). Mabel Covington Keller, History of Kaufman County, Texas (M.A. thesis, North Texas State College, 1950). National Cyclopaedia of American Biography, Vol. 22 (Louis Clausiel Perry). Jack Stoltz, Terrell (San Antonio: Naylor, 1973).

Brian Hart

Citation

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

Brian Hart, "TEXAS MILITARY COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbt15), accessed July 28, 2014. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.