Major Francis L. Dade
The Dadeville area was the junction point where the roads met leading from Georgia and Tennessee to the trading posts at Wetumpka and Montgomery. As early as thr 1800's there were Indian trading post on the land. John H. Broadnax surveyed the City of Dadeville about three years before Tallapoosa County was formed. The town was named for Major Francis L. Dade, a hero in the Seminole war in Florida.
Dadeville was named for Major Francis Langhorne Dade, who died in the Seminole War in 1835. The town was granted a charter in 1837 and was first incorporated in 1858, lost its charter during the Civil War, and was incorporated a second time in 1878. Dadeville has been the Tallapoosa County seat since 1838.
Dadeville was home to the Graefenberg Medical Institute, Alabama's first medical school, which operated from 1852 until the outbreak of the Civil War; attempts to rehabilitate the school after the war failed, and the building burned in 1873.
Completion of the Thomas Wesley Martin Dam on the Tallapoosa River in 1926 and the subsequent creation of Lake Martin had and continues to have a strong economic impact on Dadeville.
Colleges in Dadeville
Graefenberg Medical Institute, Alabama's first medical school, which operated from 1852 until the outbreak of the Civil War; attempts to rehabilitate the school after the war failed, and the building burned in 1873.Founded by Dr. Philip M. Shephard; first medical school to open in Alabama; Dr. Shephard died in 1861 and the school closed; the building burned in 1873; approx. 50 students graduated including three sons and a daughter. Louisa Shepard of Dadeville, Alabama, was the first southern woman to be awarded a medical degree from a southern institution. She graduated from the Graefenberg Medical Institute operated in Dadeville by her father, Dr. Philip Madison Shepard, from 1852 until 1861. The school was chartered by the Alabama legislature. The female Dr. Shepard apparently received much resistance to her medical practice, and soon moved to Texas to marry and raise a family. Graefenberg Medical Institute was a remarkable medical school both for the time and its location in a small town in a very rural state. The medical and other schools occupied a large, three-story building that contained numerous anatomical specimens, a decent library, around 1,000 photographic plates, laboratory and medical equipment, a mineral cabinet, and classrooms and auditorium. Students saw patients in the infirmary or followed Dr. Shepard as he visited the sick in their homes. Students boarded with Dr. Shepard and his family. Two sessions were offered May to October and November to March at the rate of sixty dollars; cheaper rates were available for summer students. Only one session was required to graduate; however, the student had to pass a final examination open to the public that the Board of Trustees administered over three days and nights and which included over 5,000 questions. About fifty students graduated from this school before it closed in 1861.Near the end of the century several of these graduates were still practicing medicine in Alabama: John F. Wise (1856) in Chilton County; S.H. Dennis (1858) in Pike County; Anderson Welcome Duke (1849) and Erastus Hood McLendon in Randolph County; and Orlando Tyler Shepard (1854), Watt Francis Smith (1854), and Philip M. Shepard (1854) in Tallapoosa County, John Calhoun Aikens (1846) was listed as practicing in Macon County as late as 1904.
Octavia Walton Le Vert College: Open 1860 - 1861 Founded by Dr. Philip M. Shephard and shared building with Graefenberg Medical Institute and Winston Male College; closed by Civil War and never reopened; building burned in 1873.
Winston Male College: associated with Graefenberg Medical Institute and Octavia Walton Lee Vert Normal College for Young Ladies; shared building that burned in 1873.
Dadeville Masonic Seminary: 1852 Blandon states, "It had all the powers and privileges of a regular college." Starting in 1844 in Lexington, Missouri, at least 30 colleges and universities have been started by American Masonic Lodges and Grand Lodges, mostly in the Southern Jurisdiction. It is amazing to think that a local lodge would even think about an undertaking as massive as a college, but it 'was part of the Masonic tradition of meeting the community needs. Most of these schools dosed long ago, but a few served as the foundation for contemporary institutions.
Written by April Wood James
Dennis Hotel Old homeplace just off 34 in Dadeville.
Source: Records of April Wood James Source: submitted by Donna Poczekaj 22 Jan 2015
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