Marvin College was established by the Northwest Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. A committee was appointed to establish a conference college and in November 1868 selected Waxahachie as the location. The college was named for Enoch M. Marvin, a bishop at the General Conference in 1866. It was built in the northeast part of town on forty acres donated by Emory W. Rogers. The school had a three-story classroom and office building and two dormitories. To manage the school, the conference selected John W. P. McKenzie, founder of McKenzie Institute near Clarksville. McKenzie was forced to resign in 1872 due to bad health and was replaced by Jim Pugh, a minister from Mississippi. The college was incorporated on May 8, 1873, by the Thirteenth Texas Legislature.
High school and college courses were taught in geology, military science, chemistry, and telegraphy. A campus newspaper was established, an observatory was built, and a telescope costing $1,200 was purchased for use by students. The school experienced financial difficulties throughout its existence and was lost in 1878. A committee of Charles E. Brown, William G. Veal, and J. D. Shaw, acting for the Northwest Conference, repurchased the college for the church. Marvin College was sold in 1884 for use as a public school, and Marvin Elementary School was later built on the site. The Texas Historical Commission placed a marker there in 1977.