Texas Monumental and Military Institute

By: Julia Estill

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: January 24, 2020

Texas Monumental and Military Institute, formed from the consolidation of Rutersville College, Texas Military Institute, Galveston, and the Texas Monumental Committee at La Grange, Fayette County, opened in October 1856. The plant included the Rutersville College buildings on a ten-acre campus and several one-story barracks six miles from La Grange. Many of the buildings and barracks were built with funds originally collected by the Texas Monumental Committee for the erection of a monument on the lands of H. L. Kreische (now Monument Hill-Kreische Brewery State Historic Site) to commemorate Texans killed in the Dawson Massacre and in the aftermath of the Texan Santa Fe and Mier expeditions. Caleb G. Forshey was superintendent of the institute and teacher of grammar and literature. Bolivar Timmons, a graduate of Kentucky Military Institute, was commandant and taught mathematics. Louis Wüllrich of Göttingen, Germany, taught languages, music, and gymnastics. Maj. William Thornton was an assistant professor; Capt. W. H. Russell of the Texas Navy was steward, and Mrs. Fanny Russell was stewardess. Enrollment was limited to 100 cadets. Tuition for twenty weeks was thirty dollars for preparatory students and fifty dollars for collegiate students. The library was well stocked for the period, and the library fee was five dollars a year. Board, including laundry, lights, and fuel, was twelve dollars monthly. Dress uniforms of gray cost thirty-five or forty dollars; blue broadcloth uniforms and blue cloth top hats with a feather in front were more expensive than the summer uniforms of brown linen with red stripes down the trousers. Military discipline was the rule: drums summoned cadets for roll call five times a day and to study hall, mess hall, and barracks. Drill alternated with fencing and sword practice. Stag dances and swims were diversions. Once a month students engaged in public speaking contests and debates. Annually, on April 21, students and teachers marched to Monument Hill for memorial services. Sam Houston, Jr., was a student at the institute, and his father was invited to attend the review and conduct the examinations in 1860. With the outbreak of the Civil War, cadets and graduates of the institute went into the Confederate Army. The school never reopened.

William Franklin Ledlow, History of Protestant Education in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1926). Leonie Rummel Weyand and Houston Wade, An Early History of Fayette County (La Grange, Texas: La Grange Journal, 1936).

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

Julia Estill, “Texas Monumental and Military Institute,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed May 23, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/texas-monumental-and-military-institute.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

January 24, 2020