Waco Female Seminary

By: Mary M. Standifer

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: August 1, 1995

Waco Female Seminary was the name of one and possibly two schools that operated in Waco in the 1850s. Mrs. A. E. Rowe, formerly cosuperintendent of Clarksville Female Academy and daughter of James Sampson, Cumberland Presbyterian minister and head of Clarksville Academy, was the principal of Waco Female Seminary in 1856. At the end of the 1856–57 term the school had been in operation for six years. It may, therefore, have grown out of Waco Male and Female Academy, a school that was chartered on December 3, 1850. The 1856–57 catalogue listed 102 students, divided among the primary and secondary departments and the "regular course" (freshman through senior levels). After the 1856–57 term the school buildings were sold, and the school moved to Bosque, five miles north of Waco. John C. Collier, who had taught at the seminary during its last year, became president of the new school, which was later chartered as Bosque College and Seminary. The new school's prospectus announced that the faculty of Waco Female Seminary had been retained. Mrs. Rowe was still with the school in the summer of 1858. Except for the loss of two individuals, the board for the Bosque school also remained the same as that for Mrs. Rowe's seminary. It is unclear whether the seminary was the same as the nondenominational Waco Female Seminary that was chartered on August 7, 1856. With the exception of George Bernard Erath, the board of nine trustees listed in the 1856 charter is entirely different from the list of twelve trustees that appears in the 1856–57 catalogue for Mrs. Rowe's school. The August 1856 charter did provide for an election of trustees on January 1, 1857, which might explain the change. The situation is further complicated by the fact that the charter of Waco Female College, granted on February 11, 1860, describes the college as a consolidation of Waco Female Seminary and Waco Female Academy.

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Belton Independent, July 17, 1858. James Milton Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas: Baptist Standard, 1923). Clarksville Northern Standard, July 14, 1849, August 31, 1850. Hans Peter Nielsen Gammel, comp., Laws of Texas, 1822–1897 (10 vols., Austin: Gammel, 1898).
  • Education
  • Defunct Elementary and Secondary Schools
  • Religion
  • Presbyterian
  • Women

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

Mary M. Standifer, “Waco Female Seminary,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed June 30, 2022, https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/waco-female-seminary.

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

August 1, 1995

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