Eastern Texas Female College

By: Claudia Hazlewood

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 1, 1995

Eastern Texas Female College was at the corner of Fannin and Charnwood streets in Tyler. It was originally the female department of Tyler University, which was founded in 1853 by the Cherokee Baptist Association, and was under the direction of G. C. Baggerly and his wife in 1855. Two years later fire destroyed the main building, and only the women's classes were conducted that year. The female department was renamed Eastern Texas Female College and also known as Tyler Female Seminary; it was one of two Baptist female seminaries in Smith County. The college consisted of a sizable two-room frame building for regular classes and a separate large building in the schoolyard for music lessons and practice. J. T. Hand became president in 1860, when the enrollment reached eighty-seven. Mary Spear, Mollie Moore, and B. R. Lignoski taught piano, guitar, harp, drawing, oil painting, and French, as well as the basic courses. School began at eight in the morning and ended at dusk. No expensive clothing or jewelry was allowed. An unsuccessful attempt was made in 1861 to transfer the school to the Eastern Baptist Convention. Heavy debts and poor enrollment caused the college to operate at a loss. A fire destroyed much of the facility in 1862, and Hand conducted classes in his home for over two years. In 1865 the regents leased the building and equipment to Hand, who continued to operate the school as Charnwood Institute.

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Vicki Betts, Smith County, Texas, in the Civil War (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1978). Alice Douglas, ed., "Recollections of a Centenarian," Chronicles of Smith County, Spring 1966. Donald W. Whisenhunt, comp., Chronological History of Smith County (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1983).


  • Education
  • Defunct Colleges and Universities
  • Religion
  • Baptist
  • Women

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

Claudia Hazlewood, “Eastern Texas Female College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed December 03, 2021, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/eastern-texas-female-college.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 1, 1995

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