Switzer, David S. (1844–1929)

By: David Minor

Type: Biography

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 2014

David S. Switzer, school administrator, the youngest child of seven sons and two daughters of Samuel and Mary Switzer, was born in 1844 at Spartanburg, South Carolina. He traveled with his father to Mississippi and spent a year working on a plantation that his father purchased there. He returned to Spartanburg to attend South Carolina College, but the Civil War interrupted his education, and he joined the Confederate Army before his seventeenth birthday. He was twice captured, at Perryville, Kentucky, and Jonesboro, Georgia, and twice wounded; he left military service in 1864 after the second wound left him disabled. Switzer taught school in 1865 and saved enough money to attend the University of Mississippi, where he graduated first in his class in 1870. He then traveled to Texas to teach at Greenwood Masonic Institute in Round Rock. Four years later he accepted the offer to become principal of Comanche Masonic Institute. In 1880 he moved once more, this time to become head of Granbury High School. He transformed the high school into a college and led it to establish a reputation for high academic standards. After Granbury College was moved to Weatherford and combined with Grover Cleveland College to form Weatherford College in 1889, Switzer continued as president of the school. With the assistance of his wife, Rebecca (Mays), a music teacher whom he married in 1873, Switzer managed to offer a variety of liberal-arts courses. He resigned the presidency in 1902 to open his own school, Switzer Women's College in Itasca. Twelve years later he moved his wife and eight children to Dallas. There the Switzers established the Switzer School of Music. The family remained in Dallas after Switzer retired. He died in August 1929 and was buried in Weatherford.

History of Texas, Together with a Biographical History of Tarrant and Parker Counties (Chicago: Lewis, 1895). Gustavus Adolphus Holland, History of Parker County and the Double Log Cabin (Weatherford, Texas: Herald, 1931; rpt. 1937).

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

David Minor, “Switzer, David S.,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed August 19, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/switzer-david-s.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 2014

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