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Thorp Spring Christian College

Rhonda L. Callaway General Entry

Thorp Spring Christian College was chartered on March 1, 1910, by members of the Church of Christ. Thorp Spring had been the site of several other educational institutions. The first college there was established in 1871 by Sam Milliken and Pleasant Thorp. In 1873 Thorp College gave way to Add-Ran Male and Female College (see TEXAS CHRISTIAN UNIVERSITY), founded by Joseph Addison Clark. After Add-Ran moved to Waco in 1896, the campus became Jarvis Institute and later Add-Ran Jarvis College. In 1909 this college was forced to sell its property. On March 1, 1910, trustees of Add-Ran Jarvis College transferred the property to the newly elected trustees of Thorp Spring Christian College for approximately $6,000. The new charter required that all trustees be members of the Church of Christ who followed the New Testament in their daily lives and rejected anything not in the New Testament. The college's first president, A. W. Young, stated that the purpose of the charter was to protect the school from innovations in doctrine and worship. Faculty members were also expected to follow the standards set in the charter.

The college opened its first session on September 14, 1910, with about 150 students. Under the direction of the second president, R. C. Bell, Thorp Spring Christian College became classified as a junior college. It had its best year in 1916, when almost 300 pupils were enrolled. That same year, though, Bell and other faculty members resigned, and the trustees hired all new teachers. In 1917 an attempt to move the college to Cleburne by the new president, C. R. Nichol, was averted. However, the incident proved costly since many of the faculty quit, and once again the trustees were forced to hire new teachers. In 1921 A. R. Holton and C. H. Hale were co-presidents and A. D. Watson was dean. Competition from larger schools as well as from church schools renewed interest in moving the college to a larger city. In 1928 Thorp Spring Christian College moved to Terrell, to a building on fifty acres that had been a country club; 125 students attended. The name was changed to Texas Christian College; Charles H. Roberson was the last president. After only one term the college closed to establish better facilities. In January 1931 a building campaign was begun to raise $100,000 for an administration building, dormitory, and remodeling of the existing building. The administration building was started but never finished; the concrete walls stood for many years, and the property was awarded to the donor-the city of Terrell-in 1937. The school library was eventually donated to the Boles Home. In 1941 the administration building was razed. In the late twentieth century the campus was used for retreats by the Church of Christ.

Thomas T. Ewell, History of Hood County (Granbury, Texas: Gaston, 1895; rpt., Granbury Junior Woman's Club, 1956). Colby D. Hall, History of Texas Christian University (Fort Worth: Texas Christian University Press, 1947). William Franklin Ledlow, History of Protestant Education in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1926). Donald W. Whisenhunt, The Encyclopedia of Texas Colleges and Universities (Austin: Eakin, 1986).


  • Education
  • Defunct Colleges and Universities
  • Religion
  • Church Of Christ

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

Rhonda L. Callaway, “Thorp Spring Christian College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed July 28, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

July 1, 1995