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Madison County ILGenWeb Coordinator - Beverly Bauser

 

History of Shurtleff College

 

HISTORY OF SHURTLEFF COLLEGE TRUSTEES ORGANIZATION
By George T. Brown, Esq.
Last August, I sent you, because I wished it published, the documentary history of the origin of Shurleff College. By request of the faculty, I now send you for publication an account of the humble part which I acted in the trustee organization, and in teaching the school from its commencement, September 1832 to June 13, 1836. I then wrote in the third person, because my labor was in common with the trustees. I now write in the first person, because the labor of bringing together men who would unite in responsibility as trustees, as well as the subsequent labor of teaching, was mostly individual, and on individual responsibility.

In moving to Illinois with my family in 1830, onboard of a boat from Louisville to St. Louis, I was made known to Senator Kane, returning from Washington to his family in Kaskaskia. Before leaving the boat, the Senator gave me a pressing invitation to visit Kaskaskia, pledging me an encouraging school, if after looking around, I should wish to teach.

Soon after arriving in the State, I received a commission to ride three months in the service of the Sabbath School. In fulfilling this commission, I obtained a general knowledge of the state of the Baptist Church and ministry. Preaching I had hoped to make my labor, but finding that this demanded itinerancy and absence from family beyond what seemed to me my duty, I concluded that I could best serve the interest of Christ by teaching youth. Accordingly, in November, I made it in my way to visit Kaskaskia, where, in a few hours, negotiations were closed for opening a school. To Kaskaskia, therefore, with my children, I shortly removed. In that town I continued in a pleasant and remunerating school, six quarters. In the Fall of 1831, the late Dr. Going, sent out by Eastern Baptists, called on me and spent some days in my family. He stated that his official visit to Illinois was to see what could be done immediately and prospectively, most effectually to advance the interest of Christ’s Kingdom – that from the information he had gathered, a Seminary, theological and literary, was of primary importance, and he expressed it as his decided opinion that it was my duty to remove north to Alton, and to make an effort to raise such a Seminary. I replied that the subject had been on my mind, and had already taken deep hold of my heart, and though it might be accompanied with heavy pecuniary sacrifices, I might probably make an effort.

Accordingly, in the winter of 1832, I wrote to a friend in Alton stating my thoughts and wishing his opinion. He returned answer, expressing doubt of its practicability. Yet, not long after, I wrote again, stating that my mind was made up to move north and to call at Alton, and see what could be done. Though the Alton friend discouraged, yet I had some confidence of success, for I could show to friends that the enterprise, without risk of material loss, might greatly enhance their prosperity, and that the risk would be on my part, a stranger, ready to settle with them, or with any other, in an eligible location, who would become co-workers in the enterprise. They might well be appalled at the proposal of buying land and putting up a building, and sending a thousand miles for a teacher, and engaging to meet his traveling expenses and his salary, while wholly uncertain whether he would answer expectation. But the proposal of profit, without risk, I thought might gain the ear and heart and prevail. Accordingly, though pressed by the late Judge Pope and other gentlemen of high standing and wealth, to give them terms on which I would continue by school in Kaskaskia, yet duty pressed my removal north. And on April 1, I boxed my goods and took passage on a boat for Alton.

In the morning after landing, I had an interview with brethren Stephen Griggs and William Manning Jr., recent immigrants from Boston, and found them ready to engage in my feasible plan. Soon after I arrived in Upper Alton, and commenced the survey of that place as a site of a Baptist Seminary, I inquired for the schoolhouse and was led to a building of brick walls, 24x30, roofed, and was informed that these walls had been standing thus erected about three months, and that the beginners were not able to finish. I inquired for their school, and was taken to a log cabin, story and a half high, one room on a floor, and the door being opened, was introduced to Mrs. Bailey, in the midst of her school, and on ascending on the right a flight of steps, was introduced to Rev. Alvin Bailey in his study, which was lighted through the stairway, and a small window in the end of the cabin. This cabin was also the meeting house for the church on the Sabbath. Of course, the cleaning and cooking and eating were done during the recesses of the school. Thus lived the indefatigable mister and his wife, and this in the church, which in regard to the support of the pastor was in advance of the two hundred Baptist churches in the State. This may deserve to be told, when Baptist ministers shall no longer be straightened in salary, to show to what straights a pioneer Baptist minister and his accomplished and intellectual lady were pushed in the early settlement of the State. And if ever a daguerreotype shall be taken of Shurtleff College, by the side should be placed, if permitted by Mr. Bailey, the daguerreotype of that cabin and of Mrs. Bailey in her school, and of Mr. Bailey in his study above. These appearances were not flattering, yet did not abate zeal in regard to a Seminary. Patient, self-denying labor might succeed.

In the meantime, the friends in Edwardsville had engaged for one quarter a school for me. I accordingly, with my children, removed to that town, and accepted the proffered hospitality of the hospitable Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, of board of myself and of a son, and providing board in another family for my other children, I opened the school. This residence with Dr. Edwards gave opportunity in full to consult in regard to the Seminary, and to find him as ready as Griggs and Manning, to join in any feasible plan. Other friends in Edwardsville would join on condition the Seminary Should be located with them, not otherwise. And they advanced arguments not a few, to locate it with them, such as a tolerable schoolhouse, and a population able to maintain a respectable school, &c.

Yet Alton, though then very forbidding, prospectively had advantages, especially the very important one – ease of access by the Mississippi. And Alton, it was settled, should be the site of the Seminary.

Thus, on the show of $3000 reserved for securing land, and the understanding that the school should be maintained without material pecuniary liability of the trustees, beyond that of school room, I found three Baptists – Benjamin F. Edwards, Stephen Griggs, and William Manning - and one Presbyterian – Enoch Long – ready to join in the enterprise. Accordingly, I drew an article of agreement, an exceedingly embarrassing one to frame. The difficult point was to secure trustees who would through ages continue the Seminary in close connection with those Baptists, well known, and ordinarily designated through Illinois by the name, missionary Baptist.

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE ANNUAL EXAMINATION
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 24, 1841
By reference to the notice of this institution, in the column of advertisements, it will be seen that its annual examination will take place next week at Upper Alton, commencing on Tuesday the 27th inst., at 9 a.m., and continue for two days. On the evening of each of those days, addresses will be delivered by gentlemen of the highest literary attainments; and on Thursday evening, the annual exhibition in declamation of the students will take place. We confidently hope that not only our own citizens, but also the friends of education in the adjoining counties, will spare the time to witness the examination of this young but thriving and invaluable institution. Nothing that we could say will convey even the first idea to those unacquainted with Shurtleff College of the high attainments and qualifications of those to whom the different branches of education are entrusted as instructors, nor of the extent and commodiousness of the college buildings. The institution, in all respects, is not only an ornament to the state, but in the entire west; and it richly merits and should receive the fostering care and protection of an enlightened public.

With two such institutions of learning as Shurtleff College at Upper Alton for males, and Monticello Seminary for females, Madison county may successfully challenge competition with any other portion of the valley of the Mississippi for the superior advantages held out by them for the education of the rising generation. They have thus far, been reared and fostered thro' the untiring and ceaseless exertions of a few benevolent individuals, accompanied by care, perplexities and anxieties which have been well calculated to discourage the stoutest hearts. But perseverance in a great and good cause has crowned their efforts with success; and their reward will not be merely in this world, but in that which is to come. Many an individual, both male and female, who, from adverse circumstances, would but for these institutions have been deprived of instruction, will now, through the advantages held out by them, receive liberal educations, and doubtless become bright and valuable ornaments of society. All such, at least, cannot but cherish, even to the latest moments of their earthly existence, feelings of the deepest gratitude and veneration towards those who, by their time and money, contributed, in the early history of our state, to the establishment of these invaluable institutions of learning. We trust the prosperity and usefulness of both Shurtleff College and Monticello Seminary will continued to increase for ages yet to come.

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE - LETTER FROM A PARENT
Source: Alton Telegraph, August 27, 1842
Mr. Editor - In looking over the late catalogue, I had 80 pupils - 43 in Classical, and 43 in English studies; but 13 only from Alton city - 30 are from a distance. Why do the Altons neglect this institution? Are the teachers negligent or incompetent? If so, they ought to be displaced, and thorough men put in their stead; for the college should be a blessing to this vicinity.

1st. Each boarding student leaves at least $100 with our merchants, boarding houses, washers, wood cutters, mechanics, &c.; 50 pupils would leave $5,000 per annum; 100, $10,000 - no small sum for these hard times. What class of inhabitants will not be benefited by these $10,000!

2d. The prosperity of the college will enhance the price of rents, and thus benefit holders of real estate in Upper Alton.

3d. The children of the city can be educated for little beside the tuition - for they can board at home - $10 to $24; whereas, if they are sent abroad, the expense will be about $100. The Trustees already have to supply a considerable sum to pay the faculty, for the income of the school does not support it. If they are crushed in these hard times, we shall be compelled to send our sons abroad, at four times the cost necessary for us now at Shurtleff College. This matter ought to interest us parents, who have sons to educate. I feel on this subject intensely, as I have several to be educated; if the college winds up, then I am of necessity driven to expend four times as much as now for their instruction.

The Trustees have lately appointed Major George W. Long, Professor of Civil Engineering and French Language, and Dr. Edwin James, Professor of Chemistry, Mineralogy, and Botany; and a Philosophical and Chemical apparatus is to be purchased. The Medical College will, I learn, begin fall operation in November. Our own interest requires us to patronize this institution.

For the last term, board, lodging, &c., has been at from $1.50 to $1.75 per week. Table board can be procured at $1.00 per week, and the student room in the college building. Where can it be obtained cheaper!

Why cannot the Altons supply 75 pupils for this college every term? It is our interest to sustain the concern. It will save us $300 in the education of a son; it will furnish rents for our houses in Upper Alton; it will benefit merchants, mechanics, those who board and work, indeed, all classes, more or less; and it will enlarge our town - for if the college is built up and enlarged, parents from a distance will move to the spot to educate their children under their own eye. ~Signed, a Parent

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton Daily Telegraph, February 3, 1853
The annual catalogue of this institution, for the year ending December 31, 1853, has just made its appearance on our table. It informs us that the college is governed by a board of 28 trustees, of which the Rev. Norman N. Wood, D. D., is President; Moses G. Atwood, Esq., corresponding Secretary; Rev. John N. Tolman, Recording Secretary; and Ebenezer Marsh, Esq., Treasurer – three of the said trustees composing the executive committee. The faculty consists of the Rev. N. N. wood, D. D., President, Professor of Menial and Moral Science and Christian Theology; Erastus Adkins, A. M., Professor of Oratory, Rhetoric, and Belles-Lettres; Rev. Washington Leverett, A. M., Professor of Mathematics and Natural Philosophy; Rev. Warren Leverett, Professor of the Latin and Greek languages; and Mr. Philip P. Brown, Principal of the Junior Preparatory Department. The number of students during the present term amounts to 114; of whom 40 are in the collegiate, and 74 in the preparatory department. The academical year consists of one term of forty weeks, beginning on the third Thursday of September, and ending on the fourth Thursday in June – the whole expense per year, for tuition, boarding, room rent, fuel, lights, books, and incidentals amounting to about $120 per annum.

Shurtleff College is located in the pleasant village of Upper Alton, about two miles from our steamboat landing, in a high and healthy situation, and within a few minutes ride from Alton – an omnibus line running regularly between the two places every day. The discipline of the institution is strictly paternal, and the faculty stand deservedly high in the estimation of the public, as well for their acknowledged ability as teachers, as for their correct deportment as Christians and gentlemen. The college cannot fail to command the general confidence and continue to prosper, so long as it shall remain under their control.

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE – ITS FOUNDERS
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, August 12, 1853
At a meeting of Messrs. Benjamin F. Edwards, Hubbel Loomis, Enoch Long, Alvin Bailey, William Manning Jr., and Stephen Griggs, at the dwelling house of Mr. William Manning in Alton, June 4, 1832, to take into consideration the establishment of a Seminary as the foundation of a college. Benjamin F. Edwards was chosen Chairman, and Stephen Griggs, Secretary, of the meeting. On motion, it was

Resolved, That the following agreement and arrangement be entered into, and it is hereby entered into and ratified: that the said Benjamin F. Edwards, Hubbel Loomis, Enoch Long, William Manning, Stephen Griggs, George Smith, and Cyrus Edwards, be a Board of Trustees, to receive a deed or deeds of land for the Seminary, to whom six other Trustees shall be added, and to the union meeting of the Baptists in Illinois shall be made the offer of appointing three of the Trustees, and to the Northern Baptist Education Society, shall be made the offer of appointing the other three. And should the above-named meeting or society …. [missing]

An interesting chapter might be written of the literary state of Alton in 1832, and of the failure in two years of raising money enough in Alton to put up a schoolhouse, 33x40. Yet, the Seminary sustained a school, which before the donations of Messrs. Shurtleff and Edwards became available, was doing a good business. As good a business for Baptist ministers as the college has at any time done within fifteen years past. Signed Hubbel Loomis.

 

HISTORY OF SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, October 7, 1853
George T. Brown, Esq., Sir - Last August I sent you, because I wished it published, the documentary history of the origin of Shurtleff College. By request of the Faculty, I now send you for publication, an account of the humble part which I acted in the trustee organization, and in teaching the school from its commencement, Sept. 1832 to June 13th, 1836. I then wrote in the third person, because my labor was in common with the Trustees. I now write in the first person, because the labor of bringing together men, who would unite in responsibility as Trustees, as well as the subsequent labor of teaching, was mostly individual, and an individual responsibility.

In moving to Illinois with my family in 1830, on board of a boat from Louisville to St. Louis, I was made known to Senator K**ne, returning from Washington to his family in Kaskaskia. Before leaving the boat, the Senator gave me a pressing invitation to visit Kaskaskia, pledging me an encouraging school, if, after looking around, I should wish to teach. Soon after arriving in the State, I received a commission to ride three months in the service of the Sabbath School. In fulfilling this commission, I obtained a general knowledge of the state of the Baptist church and ministry. Preaching I had hoped to make my labor; but finding that this demanded itinerancy, and absence from family beyond what seemed to me my duty, I concluded that I could best serve the interest of Christ by teaching youth. Accordingly, in November, I made it in my way to visit Kaskaskia, where, in a few hours negotiations were closed for opening a school. To Kaskaskia, therefore, with my children I shortly removed. In that town I continued in a pleasant and remunerating school, six quarters. In the fall of 1831, the late Dr. Going, sent out by Eastern Baptists, called on me and spent some days in my family. He stated that his official visit to Illinois was to see what could be done immediately and prospectively, most effectually to advance the interest of Christ's Kingdom - that from the information he had gathered, a Seminary, theological and literary, was of primary importance, and he expressed it as his decided opinion that it was my duty to remove north to Alton, and to make an effort to raise such a Seminary. I replied, that the subject had been on my mind, and had already taken deep hold of my heart, and, though it might be accompanied with heavy pecuniary sacrifices, I might probably make an effort.

Accordingly, in the winter of 1832, I wrote to a friend in Alton stating my thoughts and wishing his opinion. He returned answer expressing doubt of its practicability. Yet, not long after, I wrote again, stating that my mind was made up to move north and to call at Alton and see what could be done. Though the Alton friend discouraged, yet I had some confidence of success, for I could show to friends, that the enterprise, without risk of material loss, might greatly enhance their prosperity; and that the risk would be on my part, a stranger, ready to settle with them, or with any other, in an eligible location, who would become co-workers in the enterprise. They might well be appalled at the proposal of buying land, and putting up a building, and sending a thousand miles for a teacher, and engaging to meet his traveling expenses and his salary, while wholly uncertain whether he would answer expectation. But the proposal of profit, without risk, I thought might gain the ear and heart, and prevail. Accordingly, though pressed by the late Judge Pope, and other gentlemen of high standing and wealth, to give them terms on which I would continue my school in Kaskaskia, yet duty pressed my removal north. And on the first of April, I boxed my goods and took passage on a boat for Alton.

In the morning after landing, I had an interview with brethren Stephen Griggs and William Manning Jr., recent emigrants from Boston, and found them ready to engage in my feasible plan. Soon after I arrived in Upper Alton, and commenced the survey of that place as a site of a Baptist Seminary; - inquired for the school house, was led to brick walls 24 by 30, roofed - and was informed that these walls had been standing thus erected about three months, and that the beginners were not able to finish. I inquired for their school, was taken to a log cabin, story and a half high, one room on a floor, and the door being opened was introduced to Mrs. Bailey, in the midst of her school, and on ascending on the right a flight of steps, was introduced to Rev. Alvin Bailey in his study; lighted through the stairway, and a small window in the end of the cabin. This cabin was also the meeting house for the church on the Sabbath. Of course, the cleaning, and cooking, and eating were done during the recesses of the school. Thus lived the indefatigable minister and his wife; and this in the church, which in regard to the support of the pastor was in advance of the two hundred Baptist churches in the State. This may deserve to be told, when Baptist ministers shall no longer be straightened in salary, to show to what straights a pioneer Baptist minister and his accomplished and intellectual lady were pushed in the early settlement of the State. And if ever a daguerreotype shall be taken of Shurtleff College, by the side should be placed, if permitted by Mr. Baily, the daguerreotype of that cabin, and of Mrs. Baily in her school and of Mr. Baily in his study above. These appearances were not flattering, yet did not abate zeal in regard to a Seminary. Patient, self-denying labor might succeed.

In the meantime, the friends in Edwardsville had engaged for one quarter, a school for me. I accordingly, with my children, removed to that town; and accepted the proffered hospitality of the hospitable Dr. B. F. Edwards, of board of myself and of a son, and providing board in another family for my other children, I opened the school. This residence with Dr. Edwards gave opportunity in full to consult in regard to the Seminary, and to find him as ready as Griggs and Manning to join in any feasible plan. Other friends in Edwardsville would join on condition the Seminary should be located with them, not otherwise. And they advanced arguments not a few, to locate it with them, such as a tolerable school house and a population able to maintain a respectable school, &c. Yet Alton, though, then very forbidding, prospectively had advantages, especially the very important one, ease of access by the Mississippi. And Alton it was settled should be the site of the Seminary.

Thus, on the show of $*000, reserved for securing land, and the understanding that the school should be maintained, without material pecuniary liability of the Trustees, beyond that of school room, I found three Baptists, B. F. Edwards, Stephen Griggs and William Manning, and one Presbyterian, Enoch Long, ready to join in the enterprise. Accordingly, I drew an article of agreement, an exceedingly embarrassing one to frame. The difficult point was to secure Trustees who would through ages continue the Seminary in close connection with those Baptists, well known, and ordinarily designated through Illinois, by the name, missionary Baptist. Rev. Hubbel Loomis

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE BUILDING COMPLETED
Source: The New York Times, December 24, 1853
The new College buildings at Upper Alton, Illinois, are now completed, and ready for use. The 29th inst. has been appointed for a general gathering of the friends of this institution, on the occasion of the opening of the rooms for congratulatory and dedicatory services.

 

WHO IS THE FATHER OF SHURTLEFF COLLEGE?
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, June 29, 1854
Mr. Editor Brown - I see by the late numbers of the Alton Courier that has come up here to Pekin, that a shocking display is going on in print as to who is the "paternal relative" of Shurtleff College, which institution, I am told, is situated somewhere in the neighborhood of Upper Alton. The Rev. Hubbel Loomis has written a "history" to prove that he is the father of the College, and says he loves it dearly for it is his own child. But the Rev. Dr. Peck has come out with his bundle of "facts," and proved equally strong that Mr. Loomis is not the true father of the child, and hints pretty plainly that he, himself, is. I am most desput [sic] sorry to see too such worthy clergymen at loggerheads, or it is always the case when the clergy drive at each other - it is "go it boots," with them. Now, Mr. Editor Brown, I want much to settle this dispute amicably between them; for I am afeard they will make a horrid breach in the church by thus lamming away at each other, and I shouldn't wonder if they made a pair of breaches before they have done with the College dispute. Why can't they agree that each is the father of Shurtleff College, and each had a hand in the child? Bless your body, Mr. Editor Brown! Many a child has two fathers, and some of them half a dozen, at least. There is one up in our part of the Sucker State, that I say, if the truth was known, had forty. Of course, literary children is what I speak of Madam; so don't get into a "sterricky fit," if you please, madam, about what I have just said. Cousin Ichabod Bone

 

JOHN MASON PECK RESPONDS TO COUSIN ICHABOD BONE
Source: Alton Weekly Courier, July 13, 1854
I see no profit or honor to be gained in contending with the venerable old gentleman who has been put forward as a claimant to the paternity of Shurtleff College. Could I reach the person or persons who committed the misdemeanor against the fundamental principles and rules of corporate bodies, by furnishing extracts from the Book of Records, I could afford to give him or them a severe castigation. But for two old men, whose memories cannot be relied on, to quarrel in the papers and bespatter each other's garments in a matter so exceedingly trivial, is surely too ridiculous for the wisdom and gravity of age. Some apparently young and facetious writer of the "Bone Family" has presented the subject in its true light. The intention of my former replication was to stop, if possible, an exposure of facts and events from June 1836 to 1850, which had far better be forgotten.

It is enough for me at present to refer to Dr. B. F. Edwards of St. Louis, and George Smith, Esq., of Upper Alton, for proof that the project of Shurtleff College (at first Alton Seminary) was contemplated, arranged, a subscription raised to erect the first building of some $1,500 or $2,000, and negotiations for the land commenced by certain gentlemen, while Mr. Loomis was teaching a seminary in Kaskaskia. Probably he has forgotten what my journal testifies (habitually kept of all these and other events), that the writer, by the special request of these gentlemen, rode through deep mud to Kaskaskia on the 28th and 29th of February 1832, for the special purpose of engaging Mr. Loomis to relinquish his school there and remove to Alton; that the plan was to have him engage in a school temporarily, as a preparatory step to entering the seminary as Principal, soon as the building then projected could be made ready. He is certainly not to be blamed for not recollecting the repeated interviews and correspondence between Dr. Edwards and the writer; for probably he knew nothing about them. Dr. Edwards was at first in favor of the location at Edwardsville, but subsequently he yielded his predilections and entered cordially into the views of the gentlemen at Upper Alton.

Probably he has forgotten being present at the annual meeting of the Trustees of Rock Spring Seminary, held July 20th, 1831, where he was courteously invited to a seat with the late Rev. J. Going, from Massachusetts, when the following resolutions were discussed and unanimously adopted:

Resolved, That the Trustees will hold themselves ready to receive proposals from any quarter in this part of the State, and consider the propriety and expediency of a change in the location.

Resolved, That James Lemen, Hubbel Loomis, B. F. Edwards, George Churchell, James Pulliam, J. M. Peck and George Stacey be a committee to ascertain the wishes of the stockholders and the public in relation to a change in the location of this Seminary, and what further steps can be taken to put the Seminary on a respectable standing, and report at the next meeting.

Doubtless he has forgotten that this committee met at Edwardsville on the 26th July, 1831, and all were present but George Churchill, Esq. The late Rev. J. Going was present, and had an important part to perform in giving advice to this committee. Mr. Loomis probably was entirely ignorant of the fact that for some months previous a correspondence had taken place between the writer and Rev. Dr. Going, relative to the conversations already alluded to with individuals who were in favor of a removal of the Institution to Edwardsville or Alton, and that this subject had a specific place in the mind of Mr. Going in visiting this State.

The writer looked to him as a kind of representative of Eastern patrons, who had contributed liberally to establish that Institution, and did not deem it wise or prudent to encourage the project without his approbation. From the resolutions adopted by that committee and placed on the Book of Records now before me, I select the following:

Resolved, That a sub-committee of three persons be appointed to receive proposals from Alton, or such other place or places as they deem expedient, to encourage the location of the Seminary.

B. F. Edwards, Paris Mason and Ephraim Marsh were appointed. The proposals were reported verbally, and led the Trustees of Rock Spring Seminary to relinquish their claims to the location, and justified them in removing their library and other property at a subsequent time.

A slight error in date was made in my first communication. It was not in July, but in June, after our return from the organization of the Edwardsville association, that the Rev. J. Going, Dr. Edwards and the writer returned to Alton (as Upper Alton was then called), and made the exploration referred to, as George Smith, Esq., doubtless recollects, and which is recorded specifically in my journal of June 28th-30th.

The affairs of the Seminary and its removal were topics of frequent consultation between Rev. Mr. Going and certain brethren during the period of the association. Rev. Mr. Loomis was not there, and probably knew nothing of our arrangements. The meeting of June 4th, 1832, which Mr. L considers as the commencement of his "fatherly" claim, was the consummation of a series of consultations and plans begun more than twelve months previous. He was one of the number who officiated at the birth, and as he paid his perquisite for the new dress, and performed the duties of nurse, there is no objection to his being regarded an accoucheur [a person who assists during childbirth].

The writer occupied a delicate and important position as the reputed "father" of Rock Spring Seminary, and did not deem it expedient to be known as one of the Trustees in the new organization. He had a duty to perform in preparing the minds of patrons in the Atlantic States, and of numerous friends of the Institution in Illinois and Missouri, that no unpleasant feelings might result from the transfer. It was regarded by him as sound policy. He was consulted in every step taken, and gave his approbation to every measure adopted, both before and subsequent to the organization of the new Board on June 4th, 1832.

And now, Mr. Editor, a word in your ear, if you please. When I sat on the tripod, which has been over twenty years of my life, I had a few common-sense rules for my government as editor. One was to permit no controvertist to publish more than two communications on one subject. This is the common sense of mankind in all oral discussions, and why should not the editor of a newspaper act the presiding officer in all paper debates, and apply the rule to all controvertists? In all Parliamentary and judiciary proceedings, no man is permitted to make more than two speeches. Why should the pen and press be made a "perpetual motion!" This rule, if strictly applied by editors, would work well and put a stop to the ravages of that dangerous disease called by school boys cacoethes scribendi. The "free discussions" of clergymen are characterized for freedom and boundless extension, often to the grief and annoyance of their readers. My statements in these replications are mere intimations of materials in great abundance, but held in reserve for such "Documentary History." But I have a lurking suspicion that were I to discharge a tithe of the contents of my "documentary" budget into the columns of your paper, it would not pay for the ink wasted, to say nothing of improper feelings engendered in the community. My judgment coincides with your interest, that in all such controversy you "shut down the valve" after the steam has been let off, twice, with the expressive sign, "refused." Signed J. M. P. [John Mason Peck], Rock Spring, Illinois, June 30th, 1854.

 

MEMOIR OF REV. JOHN M. PECK, D. D.
Source: Alton Telegraph, July 22, 1864
Dr. Peck was in the true sense of the word, a pioneer, in all that pertained to the physical, educational, moral and religious development of the West. Coming to Illinois while yet a territory, with a population of less than 30,000, he lived to see it the first agricultural state of the Union – the fourth in population.

Peck was emphatically a self-made man. On June 9, 1813, he was ordained to the work of the Gospel ministry by the Baptist Church at Catskill, New York. In May 1817, he was appointed a missionary to the West, reaching St. Louis in December of that year. The population of that “village” was about 3,000, of which one-third were slaves. The character of the inhabitants is thus described by Dr. Peck in his journal:

“One half, at least, of the Anglo-American population were infidels of a low and indecent grade, and utterly worthless for any useful purposes of society. Of this class, I allude to, I cannot recollect an individual who was reclaimed, or became a respectable citizen. The reader will keep in mind that at this period, there were no foreign emigrants among us. The boast was often made that the Sabbath had not crossed the Mississippi, and never should. The Rev. Dr. Blackburn of Tennessee made a visit to this remote village in 1813, and preached to an audience respectable in numbers. This was the first gospel sermon ever preached in the town.”

In June 1818, Dr. Peck visited Kaskaskia, then the seat of government. Madison, Bond, and Crawford were the three northern counties across the State. All north was a wilderness, and one half of the territory was supposed to be uninhabitable.

The establishment of a Theological Seminary was from the first a cherished object. In search of a suitable location, he visited Upper Alton, when in 1834 he had the pleasure of seeing the foundation laid of that now flourishing institution - “Shurtleff College” – and of which he justly claimed the honor of being founder. Although somewhat lengthy, we copy the description of his first visit on February 23, 1819:

“We left St. Charles on February 22, 1819, and rode to the “Point,” towards Smeltzer’s Ferry, then located about three miles above the site for a city. Here, we crossed the river a little after sunset, and had five miles to ride to the inhabited village. For three miles the pathway lay along the brink of the low water of the river, under the cliffs. Not far from the present site of the Alton House, there was a building, but whether a rough frame or a log house it was too dark to perceive (there were four cabins on the town site). Here, we obtained directions how to find and follow the dubious pathway through the brush and forest, up a long hill to the village [Upper Alton]. It was cloudy and dark, but on emerging from the forest, we found on every side the appearance of campfires. Log beams, piles of brush, old stumps, and other combustible materials were glowing with heat, and spreading an illumination over the plateau. Inquiry was made for a tavern or boarding house, and we were directed to a long, low, ill-looking log house. It was about forty feet in length, and probably sixteen feet wide, the doorway for the entrance at the west end, and the dining room as it seemed to be used for eating purposes, was the first room entered.

Our readers are aware we had been in some dirty places. The table was supported by forks driven into the ground, on which rough, newly-sawed boards extended perhaps twenty feet. An old cloth, filthy like the rest of the establishment, covered a portion of the table. A supply of dirty dishes indicated that several boarders might have had a late supper. The part from which the dishes and cloth had been removed was occupied by three parties with cards, or something resembling spotted pieces of pasteboard, all in harmony with the rest, for the cards and men were the dirtiest objects I had seen since our pilgrimage in the Boone’s Lick country. On inquiry for the landlord, a shock-headed [shaggy, thick hair], begrimed [dirty] features, and soiled garments that appeared to belong to a “human,” came in. The first thing was to find a stable and feed for a wearied horse. On exploring the premises, I found him in a log pen with some boards over one-half the roof, and the mud mid-leg deep. Seeing no chance for better quarters, I left him munching corn, of which he had a supply. It did not take many minutes to frame and carry into effect a resolution to find better quarters for his rider. While living in St. Louis the preceding year, I had formed a slight acquaintance with the family of Doctor Erastus Brown, who in Autumn had removed to Upper Alton. Offering a dirty, ragged boy a dime to pilot me to Dr. Brown’s, slinging my saddlebags on the arm, and climbing over stumps and logs, brought us to the snug, neat, newly-built log house – no, we will call it a “cottage” – where we found the doctor, his lady, and two or three little ones, in as comfortable quarters as any decent folks deserved to have in those frontier times. ‘Doctor, I have called to impose myself upon your hospitality,’ and gave him a brief sketch of my recent adventures, amongst wretchedness, filth, drunken ribaldry, and low profanity of the boarding house. Both declared a hearty welcome, and regretted I did not call on them on my first arrival. I told the good lady not to get supper, for I had eaten a late dinner, and it was drawing towards bedtime, but in the quickest time she had the tea made and the table spread. I told her I was used to sleeping on the floor with my saddle for a pillow, and saddle blanket for covering, but I was ushered into a neat little room with a bed and covering fit for a prince. In all my wanderings, I never experienced as great and sudden a transition from wretchedness and filth to comfort and happiness.

In the morning, after an early breakfast, in company with my friend, Dr. Brown, I made an exploration through the town, was introduced to several citizens, and learned all that was necessary of Upper Alton, at that time as the site for a seminary of learning. There were on the spot between forty and fifty families, living in log cabins, shanties, covered wagons, and camps. Probably not less than twenty families were destitute of houses, but were getting out materials and getting up shelters with industry and enterprise. I had become acquainted with the extremes of the social state, and had no opportunity to enlarge my experience. Doubtless there were other families living as comfortably as the one whose hospitality I had shared.

I found a school of some twenty-five or thirty boys and girls, was taught by some backwoods fellow, but the chance for a boarding school was small indeed. There was the old settlement about the forks of the Wood River and Rattan’s Prairie [Godfrey] that might furnish a few scholars. The Macoupin settlement – real frontier rowdies – was thirty miles north, of a dozen families, then three families had ventured over Apple Creek. The immigrants to the Sangamon Country went there the preceding winter. Peoria, on the Illinois River, was an old French village of twenty-five cabins. Morgan, Cass, Scott, and all those counties along the Illinois River were the hunting grounds of the Indians. The late Major Wadsworth and half a dozen families had made their pitch in Calhoun County. All the country to the east and north was one vast wilderness. Where then could scholars be found to fill a seminary at Upper Alton? After deciding all such questions, I gave a fellow a quarter to clean the mud from my horse, paid for his fare, received a hearty invitation from Dr. and Mrs. Brown to call on them the next time I visited Alton, and made my way by another path back to Smeltzer’s ferry. It was three or four years before I again visited Upper Alton, during which period quite a town had sprung up, but I never could find the locality of the dirty tavern house, never again saw the family or its inmates, and so fortunate as not to learn their names. It is thought that not one of that breed can now be found in Madison County.”

At this period, the Baptist churches were greatly agitated with the question of “mission” and “anti-mission.” Dr. Peck coming out as the appointee of the Baptist Board of Missions was the acknowledged leader of the former party. The ministry at that time were largely “unlearned and ignorant men” – a fear of being supplanted in their influence with the people by those more highly favored was probably the secret of their opposition. “College-learned men” and “book preachers” were their especial abhorrence. To counteract these absurd prejudices and to prepare the way for the future successful prosecution of his chosen work, and as less liable to objection, Dr. Peck set about the establishment of Sabbath Schools and Bible Societies. On the October 5, 1822, we find the following entry in his [Dr. Peck’s] diary, giving an account of his visit to Carrollton, Greene County:

“The Sunday School met and recited lessons. I found four or five of the children under serious impressions.” It is probable, that this was the first Sabbath School organized in Illinois.

In February 1823, we find the record of the organization of Bible Societies at Carrollton and at Edwardsville, Madison County. In November 1824, he mentions attending the organizations of a society for the suppression of intemperance in one of the central counties of Illinois, and this is marked in the margin of his journal as the first society in the State.

He came soon to the conclusion that no Auxiliary Bible or Sunday School Society was reliably established, until it had been re-visited at the end of a year or two of its history, to set in order things that were wanting, and by continuous exercise on the part of its officers and managers, they had found the habit of earning success by patient and energetic well doing. His missionary field embraced Illinois, Indiana, and Missouri. In October 1826, on his return from a trip in the latter State, he makes the following entry:

“I am happy to find among the slaveholders in Missouri, a growing disposition to have the blacks educated and to patronize Sunday Schools for the purpose. I doubt not, but by prudent efforts this may be extensively.”

December 5, 1833, in the evening, the anniversary of the Illinois State Temperance Society was held at Vandalia (then the capital of Illinois). Several addresses were delivered, and an impulse given to the cause. The policy of distributing temperance publications largely was adopted.

In July 1835, he visited the East on business connected with the college and the general religious interests of the West. His experience as recorded below does not differ from that of pioneers in later days:

“I regret to see men who have borne the heat and burden of the day cast into the background towards evening. Such is human nature. Such may probably be my fate. Well, if those who enter the field for whom others and myself have pioneered out the way, thrust us back as lumber of a past age, be it so, provided they will sustain the cause and carry forward the great work.”

On a missionary trip into Missouri in 1838, the following incident occurred:

“Was hospitably entertained during its session by an intelligent and liberal-minded man, Mr. A., who kept a small distillery to make whiskey for his own use. He acknowledged that he loved it, and sometimes got drunk. His guest availing himself of the man’s frankness, gave him repeated and earnest admonitions during his sojourn. The result was that he soon became an active, praying Christian, and, of course, put away his strange gods. Yes, much more than this was effected. The holy flame of converting grace becoming thus kindled, spread in different directions.” In a ‘footnote’ subsequently added to this part of the journal, it is stated that “this revival spread through the country, and many professed Christ and were baptized. The churches took quite a different course in regard to practical religion from this time, said to be caused principally by my very plain preaching. I preached under a peculiar impulse, as for my life, to both saint and sinner, and God blessed the Word – his own Word – abundantly. To him be all the praise!”

In October 1842, he attended the opening of the Croten Water Works in New York, of which he gives the following account:

“As a temperance man and an advocate, one of the most delightful and noticeable characteristics of that immense gathering was the almost universal prevalence of the temperance reformation. Of all the miles of procession, and the acres of people who were mere spectators, scarcely one could be seen intoxicated.” In the evening of the same day, he attended a temperance meeting, and heard Hawkins and Anderson of the original Washingtonians, give some of their “experience.” In this way, he says, more than the thousand-dram shops in New York City had been shut up effectually, and an untold amount of misery and ruin had been prevented. But we must bring this already lengthy article to a close by giving one more extract:

On May 1848, he attended the anniversary of the American Temperance Union, and gives the remarks of the venerable Dr. Beecher. He stated that in 1811, he attended two ordinations in Connecticut, where rum, brandy, and all sorts of intoxicating liquors were profusely drank, even clergy; that at the General Association of Congregationalists in 1812, a committee on this subject reported that nothing could be done to arrest the evils of intemperance, when he (Dr. Beecher) moved a recommitment of the report, and was added to the committee, who thereupon brought in a resolution recommending the disuse of ardent spirits at ordinations and like occasions; that this led on to his six sermons, preached and since published, and that here, and in this way, originated the great temperance movement.

 

CORNERSTONE LAID FOR NEW BUILDING
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 23, 1865
The closing exercise of the commencement week was laying the cornerstone in the new college edifice. It may be proper to state in the outset, that the new building will be 185 feet in length and 81 feet in width, four stories high, and built of stone. It will stand about ten rods northeast from the present building, and will cost, when completed, about $75,000. The present building has become too small to accommodate the large number of students already in attendance, saying nothing of the large prospective increase from Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, and other States.

The exercises were opened with prayer by the venerable Rev. Hubbel Loomis, who has just celebrated his ninetieth birthday, who may justly be called the founder of the institution, and for many years its principal. This was followed by an address by Rev. Dr. Bulkley, giving many interesting personal and historical reminiscences. But as this address will be published, we will attempt no analysis of it at this time.

Next in order was a very long and very able address by President Read. From nine o’clock a.m. until nearly five p.m., with a brief intermission for dinner, the audience had been treated with good things till they were in the condition of the boy we read of, who, when the plum pudding was brought on at dinner, began to cry. On being asked by his anxious grand-dame the cause of his grief, replied that he had eaten so much roast turkey, he had no room for the plum pudding. We greatly fear the tired audience did not fully appreciate, as they would have done under other circumstances, the delicious dessert so carefully prepared for them.

A list of articles to be deposited in the cornerstone was read by Professor Mitchell:
1. Bible
2. Greek Testament
3. The Articles of Faith of the Baptists.
4. Historical Discourse, by Rev. Dr. Bulkley; extracts of Records of Shurtleff College, by Rev. H. Loomis
5. Specimens of postal currency in use in 1865.
. Rev. H. M. Gallagher’s speech at the congregational reunion in New York City.
7. Address of Dr. G. S. Bailey to the American Baptist Home Mission Society.
8. General Catalogue of Shurtleff College, 1834-64.
9. Minutes of the Edwardsville Baptist Association, September 23 and 24, 1864.
10. Announcement of Theological Department of Shurtleff College, for the session of 1865-66.
11. Catalogue of Monticello Seminary, for 1864-65.
12. Missionary Magazine, June 1865.
13. Illinois Baptist Anniversaries.
14. Catalogue of Shurtleff College, 1863-4.
15. The Good Templar, June 1865.
16. The Christian Times, June 8, 1865.
17. The Macedonian, June 1865.
18. Christian Watchman and Reflector, June 8, 1865.
19. The National Baptist, June 8, 1865.
20. Chicago Evening Journal, June 3, 1865.
21. Examiner and Chronicle, June 8, 1865.
22. The Western Baptist, May 18, 1865.
23. The Christian Banner, June 1865.
24. The Freedman’s Journal, May 1865.
25. The Christian Era, June 3, 1865.
26. Springfield Republican, June 10, 1865.
27. The Alton Daily Telegraph, June 14, 1865.
28. Tri-Weekly Missouri Republican, May 24, 1865.
29. Daily Missouri Democrat, June 15, 1865.
30. Statement concerning the Sigma Phi Society of Shurtleff College.
31. Miniature photograph of President Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation.
32. Address to posterity.
33. Picture of old college edifice.
34. Statement concerning the Alpha Zeta Society of Shurtleff College

An impressive prayer was offered by Rev. Dr. Paitison of Shurtleff College, an original hymn composed by Professor O. L. Castle was then sung, and the services closed with the benediction by President Read. The whole exercises were deeply impressive, and as the large audience separated, many prayers and good wishes went up for the prosperity of old Shurtleff.

 

FATHER LOOMIS’ 91st BIRTHDAY CELEBRATED
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 8, 1866
Last Thursday, May 31, was a day long to be remembered by some of us in Upper Alton. Father Loomis is by far the oldest man in Upper Alton. Thursday marked his 91st birthday. In the morning, he walked down to see, perhaps, the next oldest citizen in this vicinity – Father Elwell, who cannot be far from eighty years old, who is now very sick (he thinks himself it is his last illness). The day had not far sped before Father Loomis had a call from a neighbor. Presently, another stepped in for a moment, and then another, and so the stream kept coming in all day, until a large proportion of the citizens of Upper Alton had called upon the aged patriarch, congratulating him upon having reached so ripe an age. Doubtless it was to him a pleasant surprise.

It was five o’clock when I called, and the old gentleman, to my surprise, did not appear to be weary from his walks and numerous calls, but waited upon me to strawberries and cream, and cake, moving about as nimbly as I had seen him do twenty years ago. Ask him how he is. His answer almost invariably is, “Comfortable, comfortable.” He has none of the pains and aches of other men. We think it remarkable. But really, this is the way all men ought to die – with old age, and not prematurely by disease. Unfortunately, the evil is traced back to the third and fourth generation.

 

LETTER FROM REV. HUBBEL LOOMIS
To the Union College Alumni in Chicago, dated April 10, 1871
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 5, 1871
“The sound of Union College is pleasant to my ear, recalling associations which now in my extreme age, born May 3, 1775, are somewhat exhilarating. If my heart continues to beat, it will be with the alumni at the table April 25, but my body cannot be, as it is more nearly akin to the grave than to the social circle. Herein find $4, however, for a plate at the festival table. My ordinary freedom from bodily pain is all I could ask for of God, but to get abroad and lodge away from my old bedroom is impossible. Although I cannot now talk in the ears of dear friends, I hope to meet them in the better world, where spirits will freely communicate in language of unmistakable perspicuity, and without the least stammer or hesitancy. To tell the existing incidents of boyhood is mentioned in your invitation to the dinner table, as one of the particulars which may for a moment find a place. But the incidents of the closing part of the eighteenth century, who can tell what to present first in it?

In 1797, I taught in Cherry Valley Academy with President Nott, and roamed west into Springfield, Warren, and Richfield – then the far west of New York. In 1810, I rode as a missionary to Angelina, three miles from the Genesee River, and had repeated chats with Major Cooper, who had cut a wagon track fifteen miles further, was founding a town on the Alleghany River at Olean Point, but from which to Lake Erie no horse path had been cut. In 1830, I moved to Illinois, and in April 1832, I settled in Upper Alton and commenced the Alton Seminary, now Shurtleff College, then bordering the far West, and then I heard of some shanties being put up in Chicago, known to a few as a place of Indian massacres. If then in poetic hallucination a man had told what Chicago in forty years would become, who would have lent a listening ear? Chicago, how changed, how wonderfully changed! But literature, science, the topic of college life, how wonderfully changed, how wonderful their advance, and with what strides they now are advancing! Truly, what we shall be, we know not now. Of what Illinois will become, we certainly hear prophecies that show vigor of imagination. Chicago! Is it now the city of colleges? How long before each of them will number its graduates as did Union College under President Nott, and give them breadth and symmetry like Berlin and Gottengen.

But I close, for my penmanship and style partake too much of old age to be read with ease, or to be heard with pleasure. Wishing all the friends at the table pleasure and profit long to be remembered.
Yours in the fellowship of Union College,
Hubbel Loomis

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton Telegraph, June 21, 1872
On Wednesday, an important business meeting of the Board of Trustees was held. From the report made by the financial agent, and from other statements by members of the Board, it appeared that the financial prospects of the institution are brightening. Especially is the prospect for the future full of promise. A number of changes were made in the officers of the Board. The following members, whose term of office expired on that day, were re-elected for three years: Messrs. J. L. Blair, Rev. M. D. Bevan, Richard Flagg, Thomas Hobson, Washington Leverett, and David Pierson. Also, the following new members were elected for three years: Rev. G. J. Johnson, D. D., of Alton, and Rev. D. T. Morrell, and Messrs. E. B. Starkweather and G. W. Ingalls, of St. Louis.

Vacancies in the class whose term expires in June 1873 were filled by the election of Prof. Ebenezer Marsh Jr. of Alton, and Messrs. F. J. Comstock and M. M. Manning of St. Louis.

The present officers of the Board are:
President – Rev. N. Butler
Recording and Corresponding Secretary – N. M. Wood
Treasurer – Washington Leverett
Auditor – D. D. Ryrie, Esq.
Executive Committee – Rev. A. A. Kendrick, John L. Blair, and E. W. Pattison.
Trust Fund Committee – Richard Flagg, Washington Leverett, and George K. Hopkins.
Curator of Grounds and Buildings – Washington Leverett.

 

ADDITION TO SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton Weekly Telegraph, June 20, 1873
The last number of the Qui Vive [paper of the Shurtleff College] states that at the meeting of the Board of Trustees of Shurtleff College, held on the 11th inst., "most of the afternoon session was devoted to the discussion of the proposition of Mr. H. N. Kendall to sell his private residence to the College for the special use of the ladies' department, and the conclusion at length was unanimously reached to accept the offer. The building, with ten acres of ground, have accordingly been purchased for $20,000. The purchase money is made up by a donation of $10,000 from Mr. E. Gove of Quincy, and $10,000 owed to the college by Mr. Kendall, including his original subscription of $7,500 to the President's chair." This splendid property formerly known as "Rural Park Seminary," being already fitted up with a large number of dormitories and all the necessary appliances of an educational institution, can be occupied at once. It is surrounded by the most delightful grounds of any institution in the west. This addition to the facilities of the college is justly regarded as most valuable and important.

 

OBIT OF BENJAMIN FRANKLIN EDWARDS
Board Member of Rock Spring Seminary; Trustee of Shurtleff College
Source: Alton Telegraph, May 3, 1877
Dr. Edwards was a distinguished practitioner of medicine for over fifty years in this section of Illinois and in St. Louis. He was a prominent member of the Baptist Denomination. He was a warm friend of the cause of education, and did much to further its progress, especially in the early history of the State. He was for a number of years one of the most efficient trustees of Shurtleff College, and prior to that, of Alton Seminary and Rock Spring Seminary, of which institutions Shurtleff College is the successor. His practical identification with the educational interests of the State, therefore, dates back to 1827, the year in which Rock Spring Seminary was founded. With him passes away the sole survivor of the Rock Spring Board. His eminent and useful career, extending over a period of nearly three score years of active labor, was distinguished by benevolence, philanthropy, and devotion to the best interests of the State and community in which he lived. Among the early pioneers of Illinois none are more worthy of honor and grateful remembrance. It is given to few men to live such a life as he lived, or to make a more permanent imprint on the formative age of a great commonwealth.

 

CLASS RIVALRY AT SHURTLEFF
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 8, 1900
Class rivalry has been at white heart at Shurtleff the past week between the Freshmen on one hand and the Sophomores and Seniors on the other. The Freshmen had the audacity, according to the views of the other classmen, to float a flag from the lightning rod on the belfry of the dormitory, after infinite trouble and the danger of breaking the necks of the boys who placed it there. The other classmen vowed it should come down, and the Freshmen defended it by several of them sleeping on the trap door leading to the belfry and guarding it by day. Yesterday the two older classes attempted to remove the flag and they took it down, but in a struggle with the Freshmen were compelled to restore the flag to the Freshmen. President McKay took a hand and has ended the rivalry.

 

GHOST DANCERS OUT IN FULL FORCE LAST NIGHT
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 26, 1901
The ghost dancers from the dormitory were out in full force last night and succeeded in "making night hideous" for various members of the Shurtleff faculty and cottage girls. They even made a call of the Western Military Academy, sounding the call for fire on the bugle, and after rousing a number of people over there, they gave the college yell and departed.

 

Dr. Adin A. KendrickTHE DEATH OF DR. ADIN A. KENDRICK
Former President of Shurtleff College
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 7, 1902
Dr. Adin A. Kendrick, one of the best-known college men of the West, former President of Shurtleff College, and at the time of his death honorary dean of the theological school, died at 3:45 o'clock this afternoon at his home in Upper Alton. Death was probably due to apoplexy, from which he had been a sufferer over one year. He was in the home, and no one but Mrs. Kendrick was with him. Mrs. Kendrick found him lying on the floor of a back room of the house, where he had fallen a few minutes before. Dr. Kendrick became President of Shurtleff in 1872, and continued as President of the school until 1894, when he resigned and was succeeded by Rev. Dr. Austen K. DeBlois, who is now in Elgin. Dr. Kendrick has ever since been an adviser of the institution, and was dean of the theological school until he was stricken with apoplexy. His health made retirement compulsory, but he remained the nominal head of that department. His last year was passed in quiet and rest. Dr. Kendrick was in his 67th year. He came to Shurtleff as president after closing a successful pastorate of the Beaumont street Baptist church of St. Louis. When he gave up the presidency, he resumed preaching and went to the Emmanuel Baptist church of St. Louis, where he remained five years. He leaves besides his widow, five children: A. J. Kendrick of Fort Smith, Arkansas; C. J. Kendrick of Waverly, Illinois; E. A. Kendrick of Buffalo; Mrs. R. C. Dennison of Janesville, Wisconsin; and Miss Mary Kendrick, who is now in Boston.

Tribute of a Friend and Co-Worker in Shurtleff's Cause
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 8, 1902
Adin A. Kendrick was born in Ticonderoga, N. Y., January 7, 1830. His father and grandfather were physicians, the latter, Dr. Adin Kendrick, in Poultney, Vermont. The family in its various branches embraced many representatives of prominence in the professions of medicine, law and theology; among them were Rev. Clark Kendrick of Vermont, Rev. Ariel Kendrick of New Hampshire, Rev. Nathaniel Kendrick, D. D., one of the founders and the first President of Madison (now Colgate) University at Hamilton, N. Y., and Prof. A. C. Kendrick, D. D., the noted Greek scholar, for many years a member of the faculty of Rochester University. Dr. Kendrick's early education was received at Granville Academy, Washington county, N. Y. His tastes for intellectual pursuits were developed at an early age. When twelve years old he was amply fitted for college, and was only delayed from entering by ill health. His college training was received at Middlebury College, Vermont, where he graduated with honor. Having chosen the profession of law, he was admitted to the bar, and practiced one year in Wisconsin and one year in St. Louis. White at the latter place, he became convinced of his duty to devote his life to the gospel ministry, and although the practice of law was a delight to him, he deliberately turned from it, and entered upon a theological course at Rochester University. Graduating here in 1861, he went to Chicago as pastor of the North Baptist church. In January 1865 he accepted the appointment of assistant pastor of the Second Baptist church, St. Louis. A year and a half later, he assumed pastoral charge of the Beaumont street Baptist church of that city, where he continued until his election to the Presidency of Shurtleff College in June 1872. Dr. Kendrick's life was one devoted to the Master, whose cause he had espoused at the early age of 14 years, at which time he united with the Baptist church in Granville, N. Y. This devotion was shown in the abandonment of his first choice for a profession, and the touchstone of his life has ever been the call of duty. While attaining eminence as an orator, an educator and an administrator of many and varied trusts, Dr. Kendrick was above all a preacher. He never lost sight of his duty in this regard; nor for a moment laid aside his work of preaching the gospel, even in the midst of duties both exacting and distracting. And those who have heard his sermons will long remember the marvelous clearness of statement that characterized them, revealing a mind of legal trend directed to the proclamation of divine truth. Dr. Kendrick's tenure of the Presidency of Shurtleff College covered a period of twenty-two years. To this institution he gave the best of his life, and surely he accomplished a magnificent work. His labors while here were not only productive of much physical good to the college in respect of equipment and growth, but his life was a constant inspiration to the hundreds of young people who came under his touch and learned to love him. Feeling a drawing towards active pastoral work once more, Dr. Kendrick resigned the Presidency of Shurtleff in June 1894, accepting a call to the pastorate of the Immanuel Baptist Church, St. Louis. After five years of service in this field, he returned to Shurtleff in September 1899 as Dean of the Theological Faculty, a position which he has held till the present time. During the vacancy of the presidential chair between the administrations of Dr. De Blois and Dr. McKay, Dr. Kendrick was Chairman of the Board of Control. He has been for thirty years intimately identified with every hour of Shurtleff's life, and many of her sons and daughters will mourn his loss as that of a father, while his associates will sadly miss his valued counsel. Possessing a mind of peculiar powers of analysis, he was quick to plan, and always ready to embrace the opportunity for progressive action. It was a peculiarity of his that no emergency found him unprepared. He planned not only for the probably, but as well for the possible advantage of the interests under his direction. Dr. Kendrick was among the foremost theologians and educators of the West, with the modesty of true greatness, but fearless in defense of the right. His uniform courtesy won him the esteem of all, and those who best knew the man will mourn most deeply the death of the scholar. The educational world has lost an accomplished instructor; the church has lost a faithful exponent of God's truth; the State has lost a citizen of honor and prominence; but these, his neighbors and associates, have lost a friend - one who has let slip no opportunity so to prove himself during the years of his life among them. No bells will be rung at Shurtleff College until after Dr. Kendrick's funeral, and the college will be in mourning. Tuesday morning President McKay spoke at the chapel services, taking for his subject Dr. Kendrick's life and career. A memorial service will probably be held Sunday, in which the public may be invited to join. Mrs. Kendrick desires that the funeral be as unostentatious as possible, as she believes Dr. Kendrick would have so desired it, but owing to his prominence as a public man it is probably that there will be a large outpouring of his old friends and young ones too. The time of the funeral is not definitely set, but it may be held Thursday afternoon.

In His Last Long Slumber
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, April 10, 1902
In the sleep into which he peacefully and quickly fell last Monday afternoon, Adin A. Kendrick, Baptist minister, president of Shurtleff for nearly a quarter of a century, scholarly gentleman and consistent follower of his Master, was laid away this afternoon in Oakwood, to sleep until the advent of the great day which he has so confidently preached the greater part of his lifetime. His leaving this earth was just as he would have wished, cut down while he was closing his period of active usefulness. The funeral was the occasion of a gathering of notable people of the college alumni and friends of Dr. Kendrick. The funeral services of Dr. A. A. Kendrick were held this afternoon at the family home at 2 o'clock and at the Upper Alton Baptist church at 3 o'clock. Only the family and intimate friends attended the services at the home. Rev. L. M. Waterman conducted this service, taking for his text Proverbs 27:9, "Ointment and perfume rejoice the heart, so doth the sweetness of a man's friend." Mr. Waterman made a beautiful application of this text to the life and character of Dr. Kendrick. At 3 o'clock the funeral party reached the Baptist church, where a large company of people were assembled. President S. A. McKay of Shurtleff conducted this service. He took for his text: 2nd Samuel 3:38: "Know ye not that there is a prince and a great man fallen this day in Israel?" Many present remembered that Dr. Kendrick used this same text when he preached the funeral sermon of Dr. Charles Fairman, for many years a Professor in Shurtleff College, and they were reminded of the fact that many of the men with whom Dr. Kendrick was associated had passed on before him. Dr. McKay's eulogy of Dr. Kendrick was both eloquent and thoughtful. The students and faculty of Shurtleff marched in a body to the church, where they formed in line and waited for the funeral party to pass in. The music was under the direction of Prof. W. D. Armstrong, who presided at the organ. The music was by a double quartet composed of Mrs. Thomas, Mrs. Waggoner, Mrs. Neff, Miss Cushing, Prof. Ray, Messrs. Worley, Wightman and Edwards. The floral offerings were beautiful. A large number of friends from a distance attended the services. Among them were Mr. and Mrs. Justin Kendrick and two daughters, of Webster Groves; William Watson and Mrs. William Nolte of St. Louis; Rev. George Steele of Ironton, Mo., of the theological class of 1884; Mr. Neece and daughter, Miss Minnie, of Waverly; M. W. Weir of Belleville; Rev. and Mrs. S. A. Bemis, Rev. Dr. W. W. Boyd, of St. Louis; Rev. H. H. Branch of Carbondale. The funeral was the largest ever known in this vicinity, and the general expressions of personal grief best showed the feeling of bereavement which has befallen the Shurtleff College circles, and the entire community in the death of Dr. Kendrick.

 

LETTER WRITTEN BY STUDENT IN 1848 FOUND IN CEILING ABOVE DORMITORY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 15, 1902
The work of repairing the college dormitory has brought many interesting facts to light about former habituer of the dormitory, but the most interesting find this season was made the other day. A new ceiling is being placed in the room now used by the Commercial Department, and as the workmen were tearing the old lath and plaster, they found a glass bottle tightly corked which held a paper. The bottle was turned over to President McKay, and when broken, was found to contain the following bit of ancient history:

"This is in memory of ancient times. Be it known to all persons who may happen to light on this Mss., that I, S. G. Russell, did write this in the year of our Lord, one thousand eight hundred and forty-eight. And, be it known, that I am at college; that I inhabit Green County, Bluffdale, State of Illinois, and that James K. Polk is President of the United States, and that there has been a revolution in France, and that all Europe is in arms for Liberty; that I am a Whig and so is a majority at this college, and that Henry Clay is now the supposed candidate for the presidency, although some surmise Z. Taylor. The war with Mexico is over, General Shields has been in town and county. S. G. Russell, Onho Domini, 1848."

The paper on which the above was written is rather heavy, blue tinted paper with an anchor entwined with snakes on the upper left-hand corner. The bottle that held it had Sand's Sarsaparilla [soft drink] in raised letters, which is said to have been a popular medicine of that time. It is probable that no one here now remembers S. G. Russell, but reminiscences from him, if he is alive, would certainly be interesting.

 

ANDREW CARNEGIE TO GIVE $15,000 OF $30,000 LIBRARY BUILDING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, March 5, 1907
Andrew Carnegie, who says it is a crime to die rich, has promised to give Shurtleff College $15,000, which will be half the cost of a proposed library building. The college must raise $15,000 and Carnegie will give the remainder. The promise to give this sum to Shurtleff is the result of long correspondence which began last April. Andy Carnegie, the canny Scot, had one objection to giving any money to Shurtleff. He had heard that the college was educating too many students free of charge, and with the thrift characteristic of his people, Carnegie entered a vigorous protest against it. He told college President Riggs, who has been carrying on the correspondence, that he did not believe in educating anyone free of charge, as he seemed to believe Shurtleff was doing with most of its students, and he expressed a belief that the students should pay. President Riggs had considerable difficulty in persuading Carnegie that the system being followed by Shurtleff with regard to divinity students who were unable to help themselves, or students of any other denomination than Baptists, was perfectly proper and was doing a good work among a class of young men who would have something to show for their advantages and benefactions later on. Carnegie at last agreed to waive his objections, and the sum will be forthcoming as soon as Shurtleff can raise her share.

Dr. Riggs said that he is confident that the college will have an endowment fund of $150,000 to announce by commencement season. Another attempt will be made to get something from Rockefeller, who is giving large sums to Baptist colleges. Rockefeller, it is said by a former trustee of Shurtleff, formed a bad opinion of Shurtleff College through an incognito visit he made there many years ago. He is said to have registered at the Madison Hotel as "John Davis," and then went to Shurtleff College to make a personal inspection. He found the president of the institution, at that time, working as a day laborer. It was the practice of the then president to get some physical exercise by doing hard work to keep his health in good trim. "John Davis," as he was then, snorted, sniffed and turned around and left the place. It has been a very difficult task to remove the hasty impression he gathered through that incognito visit. It is hoped, however, that it will be possible to remove the bad impression by showing that it is not the custom of the college president to earn his salary by doing a day laborer's work, and that the president of Shurtleff College is very much like other college presidents.

NOTES:
Shurtleff College in Upper Alton was founded by Rev. John Mason Peck in 1832. He first founded Rock Spring Seminary on his farm near O’Fallon, Illinois, and moved his college to Upper Alton in 1832, calling it first Alton Seminary. The name changed to Shurtleff College after a large financial donation was made by Benjamin Shurtleff, who lived in the East.

Andrew Carnegie was a wealthy Scottish philanthropist, who made his money in the steel industry. During the last 18 years of his life, he gave away $350 million (about $65 billion in 2019 dollars) to charities, foundations, and universities, which amounted to almost 90 percent of his fortune. The new library at Shurtleff College, named Carnegie Library, was erected in 1912, and still stands at the corner of College and Seminary in Upper Alton. It is now part of the SIUE Dental School.

 

ROBERT T. LINCOLN ASKS FOR COPY OF FATHER'S PAINTING
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, August 8, 1910
Robert T. Lincoln, son of Abraham Lincoln, has written to the regents of Shurtleff college for a photographic copy of a large oil painting of his father, which has hung for many years in Shurtleff college chapel. The painting was made from life, evidently before the day when Lincoln was president, by A. J. Conant, now living or supposed to be alive in New York City. Mr. Conant belonged to a family which formerly lived in Upper Alton, and it is said that Lincoln sat for the picture at Springfield. It shows Lincoln without the beard. The son had evidently heard of the picture being in Shurtleff college, and he wants to see a copy of it. Dr. Ray will have a photograph made and will send it to the only son of Abraham Lincoln. Mr. Conant was prominent as an artist and was connected with Shurtleff college fifty years ago. The painting is fully fifty years of age. It is believed to have been made about the time of the Lincoln-Douglas debates.

NOTE: In 1860, Alban Jasper Conant was commissioned to paint Abraham Lincoln's portrait at Springfield, Illinois, a few weeks prior to elections. Entering Lincoln's office, he saw Lincoln standing at the far end of the room, surrounded by friends and enjoying a pleasant conversation. Up to this time, Conant had seen only newspaper pictures and poor photographs which exaggerated Lincoln's rugged features. Conant decided then and there to do his upmost to paint the beaming expression of a smiling Lincoln.

The next morning at the appointed time for the painting, Conant found Lincoln sitting at a table with a large quantity of mail, writing and dictating to his secretary. His appearance was no longer smiling, but somber. Conant took time to talk to Lincoln, mentioning the debate with Stephen Douglas, his store keeping experiences, and how he became a lawyer. Conant was helped by frequent visitors who sat behind him, keeping up the animated conversation. Following the completion of Lincoln's portrait, Mrs. Lincoln was very pleased. She stated, "O that is excellent, the best that has been taken, he looks there as he does when he has his friends about him. I hope that he will look like that after the second of November (Election Day)."

The portrait, called "Smiling Lincoln," hung at Shurtleff College, and later became the property of the Southern Illinois University, Edwardsville, when the college purchased Shurtleff for their dental school, although this was done in mistake as the painting was not included in the sale.] Source: St. Louis Arts and Artists

 

FIRE DESTROYS HOME OF CO-EDS AT SHURTLEFF "DORM"
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, November 29, 1912
Fire destroyed the Martha Wood Cottage, the home of the Shurtleff college co-eds, Thanksgiving afternoon. The cause of the fire is not thoroughly established, and it is attributed to the heating plant, although there was practically no fire in it, the building having been vacated by all its tenants for the holiday. President Potter said that he believed the furnace did start the fire, but that the flames must have long smoldered before breaking out. The peculiar feature of the fire was that the furnace is in one corner of the building and the flames burst forth in the corner diagonally opposite, showing the fire had traveled a long distance before making itself manifest. The building, which was erected by private subscription in 1888, was of brick, two stories in height, and although there was nobody in the place, the girls had left much of their clothing in the building while they went away to spend Thanksgiving. The loss to students will be heavy.

 

PAINTER OF LINCOLN PORTRAIT, WHICH HANGS AT SHURTLEFF COLLEGE, IS DEAD
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, February 6, 1915
Press dispatches have carried news of the death of Alban Jasper Conant, in the 94th year, at his home in New York Thursday. The death of Mr. Conant is of unusual interest to Alton people, in that he lived here many years ago, and one of his most celebrated paintings, the portrait of Abraham Lincoln, now hanging in Shurtleff College, is known to many Alton people. Mr. Conant has lived with his daughter, Mrs. Carrie Conant Smith in New York. A few years ago, when failing eyesight caused him to give up painting, the daughter of the old man sent for Paul Harney of Alton, to go east and paint some pictures the aged man was vainly trying to make. There was nothing but hideous daubs to show on the canvass where the old painter was trying to put the results of what he believed was his old-time skill. To make the pictures presentable, the Alton artist was employed and he finished them. He had painted many historic pictures as well as portraits of famous men. The picture of Lincoln hanging in Shurtleff college is one of the few paintings from life, and is of great value. Mr. Conant was a student of archaeology, and in the early days he made many researches in the vicinity of Alton to bring to light long buried relics. He wrote a book on the subject "Footprints of Vanished Races of the Mississippi Valley." Conant's death was unexpected, as he was around as usual the day before the end came. Beside his daughter he leaves one son, A. J. Conant Jr.

 

OLDEST COLLEGE IN THE WEST WILL BE 92 YEARS OLD ON WEDNESDAY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, December 30, 1918
Shurtleff College, founded by John M. Peck, will be 92 years old on Wednesday - New Year's Day. The college was organized at Rock Spring, Illinois, and the first board of trustees for the institution was formed on New Year's Day, 1827. The college continued in existence five years from that date, and was then moved to Upper Alton, where it has continued ever since. The 92nd commencement of Shurtleff College will be held next spring.

 

SHURTLEFF SCHOOL OF MUSIC - FIRST TERM BEGINS MONDAY
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, September 7, 1900
First term begins Monday, September 17. A high standard of instruction will be maintained by the management, and the different courses of study broadened and extended. Mr. W. D. Armstrong, President of the Illinois State Music Teachers' Association, will continue to have charge of the department. The following testimonials will show the standing of the school:

"One of the well-known schools of the West," Music Review, Boston, Massachusetts.
"Mr. W. D. Armstrong is a musician of exceptional ability; his compositions have won great celebrity." The Etude.
"An excellent organist, one of Dr. Garrett's pupils." London Musical Times.
"Interesting and effective performer and composer." Mr. Clarence Eddy, Paris, France.
"A composer and organist of note." Chicago Tribune.
"An eminent teacher and pianist." Mr. Charles Kimball.

 

JOHN D. ROCKEFELLER VISITS SHURTLEFF COLLEGE INCOGNITO
Source: Utica, New York Observer, March 7, 1907
College President Refused to See Him When He Called Incognito
Andrew Carnegie's conditional gift of $15,000 to Shurtleff College in Upper Alton. Ill., has revealed the fact that John D. Rockefeller had previously visited the school, incognito, while efforts were being made to obtain a donation from him. The gift of Carnegie is expected to cause Rockefeller to contribute again. He gave Shurtleff $15,000 a year ago. His later denial of support to Shurtleff, which is a Baptist Institution, is believed to have been due to his experiences while inspecting the school. When Rockefeller visited Alton, he registered at The Madison Hotel as John Davidson," using his middle name for the last. He rode to Shurtleff College and asked to be shown through the buildings. The president was busy and didn't greet Rockefeller or accord him an interview. None learned until long afterward that the quiet man, whom they had regarded as a curious visitor, was the millionaire. Rockefeller's identity was learned through a letter that came to the host addressed to John D. Rockefeller.

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton, Illinois - Reid's Brochure of a Notable American City, by James Allan Rein, 1912
Shurtleff College was the outcome of promptings, principally, of the heart and brain of the Rev. John M. Peck, one of those hardy, courageous pioneer preachers who came West early in the last century. He was an ardent Baptist who knew from personal experience the desirability of a collegiate training in equipping one for either a theological or other phase of professional life. To aid him in his cherished desire he "went up and down the country" - to the East a number of times on "horseback" - and succeeded finally in establishing the college, after a temporary existence in St. Louis, permanently in Upper Alton in 1836. It was named in honor of Dr. Benjamin L. Shurtleff, a wealthy Boston physician, who subscribed liberally towards it financing. The College is doing fine work, and has had among its students many who have in after life been distinguished, Gen. John Pope, a famous corps commander in the Union Army, among them. It is conducted on the same general principles as Brown, Yale, and Harvard in the East, the theological being an elective and not a necessity in its curriculum.

 

SHURTLEFF COLLEGE
Source: Alton Evening Telegraph, January 20, 1912
Shurtleff College in Upper Alton had its origin in a “theological high school” known as Rock Spring Seminary, established in 1827 by John Mason Peck, a man who was in many respects one of the most remarkable men in the early history of Illinois. Leaving Litchfield, Connecticut on July 25, 1817, he completed the 1,200-mile trip in a small covered wagon, entering the Illinois Territory on November 6, 1817. From that date, until his death April 12, 1857, his mind and pen and his rugged physique were all brought under tribute in the interests of education. He was a mighty preacher, a far-seeing business man, a convincing solicitor, and a devoted missionary. But beyond this, he was an ardent advocate and untiring helper in the cause of education.

During the forty years of his life in this region, he did much to influence legislation in educational matters by editorial writing, voluminous correspondence, and by his person work. He maintained the conviction that “one prime essential for the religious welfare of the West was the establishment of a seminary of a comprehensive and unique character, where the elements of a good, thorough English education should be open to all on very economic principles, and where teachers of common schools could receive better instruction than many of them had enjoyed, but especially where ministers of the Gospel might be trained” for the work so much needed in this rapidly-filling Illinois country.

The privilege was finally given him to see his conviction realized, after he had spent nearly ten years in the service of God in varied labors. In 1827, Rock Spring Theological High School was opened in St. Clair County, to both male and female. The land, which was donated by Mr. Peck, was located 18 miles east of St. Louis, on the stage road to Vincennes and Louisville. The school began with an attendance of 25, which in a few weeks increased to 100 pupils. Nearly everything connected with the enterprise rested upon his shoulders, and he was constantly performing the usual work of two or three men, besides his preaching and mission agency, Bible and Tract Society, and Sunday School work.

Early in September 1827, a boarding house was erected, and on November 1, 1827, the Seminary was opened for the admission of pupils. This was really the birth of Shurtleff College. Peck surrounded himself with a corpse of teachers sufficient for the demands of the school. An act of the Legislature incorporating the infant seminary readily passed the lower house, but was defeated in the Senate by the vote of a single anti-mission Baptist minister.

The first principal of Rock Spring Seminary was Rev. Joshua Bradley, an honor graduate of Brown University, who gave a long life to the establishment of schools and churches. On June 20, 1831, Dr. Jonathan Going of Worcester, Massachusetts, who had been associated with Mr. Peck in New England, arrived at the latter’s home in Illinois. The two men devoted themselves for the next three months to canvassing the problem of finding the most efficient way to promote the work of home-evangelization. They traveled through Illinois and contiguous States, and before they parted at Shelbyville, Kentucky, in September, they agreed on the plan of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. The two men also discussed the future of the Seminary, and decided a site in Upper Alton would be a good place to build a new and more imposing institution. During the following year, the site was purchased. Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards, who was later a member of the governing board of Rock Spring Seminary and Alton Seminary, commented that “Rock Spring Seminary was removed to Upper Alton, and there continued as Alton Seminary.”

Rev. Hubbel Loomis, a native of Connecticut, a man of liberal education and scholarly tastes, had come to Illinois a few months previous to the Seminary being moved to Upper Alton, and had established a flourishing school in Kaskaskia. There, Mr. Peck met him, and recognized his qualifications for the principalship of the Alton school, and in 1832 Peck visited Loomis to persuade him to close his Kaskaskia School and undertake the establishment of one in Upper Alton. Mr. Loomis closed his school, and in April, moved his family to Upper Alton. This preparatory school thus began in Upper Alton, and was operated under the direction of Mr. Loomis for over a year.

In 1831, Dr. Going visited Mr. Peck, and made the proposition to remove his school from Rock Spring to Alton. The proposition was accepted, but the exact date of the removal of Rock Spring Seminary to Alton is unknown, and its merging with the Alton Seminary is not of record. The Rock Spring Seminary was moved to Upper Alton and combined with the Alton Seminary, consisting of some $300 or $400 worth of property, including the library of Rock Spring Seminary. In 1834, Mr. Peck wrote in his journal that he should go to the Atlantic States, and collect funds for the Alton Seminary.

On June 4, 1832, a meeting was held at the dwelling house of Mr. William Manning in Alton, attended by Messrs. Benjamin F. Edwards, Hubbel Loomis, Enoch Long, Alvin Bailey, William Manning Jr., and Stephen Griggs, “to take into consideration the establishment of a Seminary as the foundation of a college.” Dr. Benjamin F. Edwards was chosen Chairman, and Stephen Griggs, Secretary. Messrs. Long and Edwards were authorized to negotiate for the purchase of a tract of 122 acres of land, which included the present college campus.

On July 7, 1832, Messrs. George Smith and Cyrus Edwards subscribed to the articles of association previously subscribed by the seven men attending the June meeting. These nine men each donated $125 in cash for the use of the Seminary, and arranged to borrow, upon their joint note, a sum sufficient to pay for the land.

In March 1833, the State Legislature granted a charter, incorporating the seven men as the Trustees of Alton College of Illinois. The charter provided that no Professor of Theology could ever be employed at said college, nor any theological department be in any way connected therewith, without rendering the act null and void. The charter was not accepted. Measures were adopted to raise $25,000 for buildings, salaries of professors, and the aid of beneficiary students. The trustees proceeded to lay off streets, town lots, and a college campus, and appointed and commissioned agents to solicit funds and to enlist the cooperation of friends of advanced education in the Eastern, Middle and Western States.

In the 1834-5 session of the Legislature, a new charter was granted which, although not entirely satisfactory, was accepted on March 6, 1835. Hubbel Loomis was chosen President of the board, and William Manning Jr., Secretary. John M. Peck, George Haskill, and Alfred W. Cavarly were added to the Board of Trustees. Fifty acres of land having been reserved to be held in trust, the remainder of the lands of the Alton Seminary was transferred to the college.

In the meantime, Peck was representing the college in New York and New England. He traveled almost 6,000 miles in eight months – nearly the entire trip on horseback. Progress was slow, and his success was varying, but increasing. On October 7, 1835, he wrote from Boston that he had on the previous day an interview with Dr. Benjamin Shurtleff of Boston, in which he had received a proposition for a donation of $10,000 – one half for building purposes, and one half to establish a professorship of rhetoric and elocution. Dr. Shurtleff was a man of scholarly tastes – a graduate of Brown University and Harvard Medical College.

In January 1836, the charter of the college was amended by changing its name to “The Trustees of Shurtleff College of Alton, Illinois.” In February 1841, the trustees were authorized to organize additional departments for the study of any of the liberal professions. Soon after this, all the property belonging to the Seminary was transferred to the theological department of Shurtleff College. Thus was the work of Mr. Peck at Rock Spring, of Mr. Loomis at Kaskaskia, and of both at Alton.

At the preliminary meeting held on June 4, 1832, among other items of business was the appointment of a committee to report a plan of an academic building, at a cost of $800. This was later modified to read $1,200. This building was made tenantable by the opening of the 1833-4 school year, but the upper story was not completed until later. The building was later changed by the removal of the upper floor. It was used as a Chapel for many years, and later a library.

The second building was the boarding house – a stone building located opposite the campus, built in 1835-6. It served its purposed, and passed out of the hands of the college before 1912. During the Civil War, it was occupied for a time by the Government as a recruiting headquarters. Later, it was purchased by Professor O. L. Castle, who removed the old building and built a handsome residence in its place.

On April 24, 1839, the trustees decided to erect a large building that would serve the growing needs of the college for many years. With the help of the experience of Dr. Peck, the four-story brick building, containing 64 rooms, was erected. Mr. Zephaniah Lowe was the contractor. In later years, hot water heating was added, which replaced individual fireplaces or stoves. Bathrooms were added, and the tall chimneys were removed. The old 8x10 glass in the windows were replaced. An old bell, which used to swing over a popular Mississippi River steamer, was hung on the building.

In about 1872, Shurtleff college was opened to young woman. In later years, the chapel, gymnasium, girl’s dormitory, Martha Wood Cottage, boarding hall, and science annex were erected as demands were met. The new Carnegie Library was erected in 1912, and one building used as a lady’s department for some years passed into other hands.

Shurtleff College ceased to exist on June 30, 1957, when it became part of the Southern Illinois University. The students enrolled at the time were allowed to continue their education, and the last Shurtleff students (28 in number) graduated in 1958.

 

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