The Paine Female Institute began in 1852, when the citizens of Goliad, under the guidance of the Methodist Church, held a public meeting to establish a college for women to replace the defunct Hillyer Female College. They elected a board of trustees, including Rev. Jesse Hord as president of the board. Hord, a Methodist minister, held classes in his home until a permanent two-story building was completed in 1856. At that time the school's charter placed it under the direction of the Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The church assisted financially, and dancing and parties were forbidden at the school, but the charter prohibited religious tests for principals, teachers, or students. The wide-ranging curriculum included courses in chemistry and philosophy. Students were required to provide their own writing utensils and paper, even though some courses cost as much as twenty dollars a semester. In 1874 the minutes recorded an enrollment of 130 pupils and a staff of seven teachers. Beginning with the first semester, the school allowed eleven-year-old and younger boys to attend. The practice was ended in January 1862, only to be reestablished when the Civil War forced the closing of nearby Aranama College. The school's name was then changed to Paine Male and Female Institute. Disharmony between the renamed West Texas Conference and the board over who controlled the school eventually led the trustees in 1877 to sell the school to the Goliad College Company for $1,500. The proceeds of the sale were used to support the Methodist Episcopal Church in Goliad. In 1884 the Goliad College Company sold the school for $7,000 to one of its teachers, Alexander A. Brooks, who sold it to Goliad High School in 1885.