Bosque College and Seminary

By: Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl and Mary M. Standifer

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: April 25, 2019

Bosque College and Seminary was a nonsectarian school in Bosque (later Bosqueville), about five miles north of Waco. It succeeded Bosque Academy and also Waco Female Seminary, which held its last term in 1856–57. The same faculty and virtually the same board of trustees that had managed the Waco seminary were involved in establishing the school at Bosque, which received its charter on February 16, 1858. John C. Collier, a Cumberland Presbyterian minister who had headed Bosque Academy in 1854 and taught at the Waco Female Seminary during its last year, became president of the college. Among the trustees who served both institutions were Herman Aiken, Noah T. Byars, George Bernard Erath, and Amos Morrill. The prospectus for the female division announced an annual session extending from September 1 to July 1, with the only break being a one-week holiday at Christmas. The school would encompass primary and preparatory departments, in addition to the "regular course" (freshman through senior levels). Classes would include Latin, Greek, French, Spanish, German, and Italian; music (melodeon and piano); drawing and painting; and lessons in wax, fruit, flowers, and embroidery. Other studies included algebra, trigonometry, chemistry, astronomy, rhetoric, logic, political economy, and mental and moral philosophy. By 1858 Hebrew and the guitar, violin, and flute had been added to the curriculum. Although the school was nonsectarian, tuition was to be free for daughters of full-time clergymen, or clergy of limited means.

The Bosque school was the first coeducational college in McLennan County, though the male and female departments were originally located a mile apart. In 1860 Collier sold the Bosque Male College to the trustees but continued to teach and serve as president. The school prospered and had as many as 400 students in 1861, but the Civil War thinned its ranks: that year a company of 100 male students left to enlist, and in 1863 Collier resigned to become a scout in Ross's Brigade. In late 1863 or in 1864 Solomon G. O'Bryan took over as president of Bosque Male and Female College, a position he held for two years. (O'Bryan had taught in either the Bosque academy or the college while he was pastor of the First Baptist Church, Waco, in the 1850s.) The school, also known as Bosqueville Male and Female College, apparently closed about 1865.

Robert Douglas Brackenridge, Voice in the Wilderness: A History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1968). William Franklin Ledlow, History of Protestant Education in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1926). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Bosque College).

  • Education
  • Defunct Colleges and Universities
  • Religion
  • Nondenominational and Interdenominational

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

Vivian Elizabeth Smyrl and Mary M. Standifer, “Bosque College and Seminary,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 29, 2022,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

April 25, 2019