Madison County, Illinois
Consisting of Three Volumes in One:
I. THE SEMI-CENTENNIAL AND GENERAL CATALOGUE.
II. THE JUBILEE ANNIVERSARY, WITH ADDRESS AND POEM.
III. THE CENTENNIAL-JUBILEE MEMORIAL ROLL- BOOK.
Alton, Ill Daily Telegraph Steam Print 1877
This Building was erected at Rock Spring, Illinois, under direction of ELD. JOHN M. PECK, in 1827, and destroyed by fire in 1862.
The first Institution of Learning, above the grade of a common, primary School, established in the West." "In 1831, the School closed with the view of its removal to Upper Alton, as the commencement of a College, and opened again, in 1832, under the name of Alton Seminary," (now Shurtleff College.) John M. Peck, D. D.
OFFICERS AND STUDENTS
EMBRACING THE ENTIRE HISTORY OF THE COLLEGE, FROM ITS BEGINNING IN THE ESTABLISHMENT OF ROCK SPRING SEM-INARY IN 1827, AND INCLUDING ALTON SEMINARY, ORGANIZED IN 1832, ALTON COLLEGE, CHARTERED IN 1835, AND SHURTLEFF COL-LEGE, SO NAMED IN 1836.
SHURTLEFF COLLEGE had Its origin in a "Theological and High School" known as Rock Spring Seminary, established in 1827, under the labors of Rev. John M. Peck, D. D., and through the help of contributions received from a few friends in New York and New England. In THE BAPTIST MEMORIAL for 1842, Vol. 1, page 205, Dr. Peck says : "In 1827 the Rock Spring Theological High School was opened. Rock Spring is a country situation, 18 miles East of St. Louis, and on the great stage road to Vincennes and Louisville. The Seminary commenced with 25 students of both sexes, which number was increased in a few weeks to 100. At that period no school for boarders, under Protestant direction, existed in Illinois or Missouri. In 1831 the school closed with the view of its removal to Upper Alton, as the commencement of a College. The Institution opened again in 1832, under the name of Alton Seminary."
Dr. B. F. Edwards, now resident in Kirkwood, Mo.,- the sole survivor of the Rock Spring Board, a member of the Alton Seminary Board, and chairman of the meeting in which this new organization (rendered necessary by the change of location) was effected, says : "Rock Spring Seminary was removed to Upper Alton and there continued as Alton Seminary, and it was definitely understood because of a previous agreement to remove that this was to be done when the new location at Upper Alton was decided upon, and the new organization there was formed."
This statement of facts occurring in the early history of this College, and which at last definitely fixed its present location, is confirmed by abundant materials found in the published works and letters of Dr. Peck still extant; in a memorial volume inscribed to Dr. Peck and prepared by Hon. John Reynolds, Ex-Governor of Illinois, and in the opinions of many other living witnesses whose testimony might be added to that already given,
In pursuance of the plan of removal there was an early transfer of the movable property of Rock Spring Seminary to Alton Seminary, consisting, as we are told, of "some $300 or $400 worth of property," embracing, among other things, the library of the Rock Spring Seminary, most of which is still in the possession of the College. One teacher also, John Russell LL. D., who was Principal at Rock Spring after the first year, followed the school to its new location, and was appointed to the position of Principal also in Alton Seminary, during a temporary absence in the interests of the school, of Rev. Hubbel Loomis, Principal de facto.
The deep interest in the educational affairs of the West felt at that time by Eastern Baptists is strikingly exemplified by the fact that while this subject of removal was being agitated, Rev. Jonathan Going. D.D., of Massachusetts, was sent as a Special Adviser, to Illinois. He carefully examined the field and gave his voice and influence in favor of the new location, which was also heartily accepted by the Western friends of the enterprise.
The new organization rendered necessary by this change of location was effected at Upper Alton, June 4th, 1832, under the name of the "The Board of Trustees of Alton Seminary." Its object was declared to be "to take into consideration the establishment of a Seminary as the foundation of a College." The school was put in operation and Rev. Hubbel Loomis was elected Principal, to whose wise plans and efficient labors, is, undoubtedly, to be attributed much of what Shurtleff College has since become.
The next chapter in this history, prepared for use in another connection by Prof. Washington Leverett, LL. D., and based upon the official records of the new Board, is here inserted in his words : "Of the seven original Trustees," i. e. composing the new Board, "five were members of Baptist churches, and all agreed that a prominent object of the Association was and ever should be the elevation of the Christian Ministry in general learning and theology in the Valley of the Mississippi, and that always at least two-thirds of the Trustees should be members of good standing in the Baptist Communion.
"In March, 1833, the State Legislature granted a charter incorporating the seven gentlemen who were named as 'The Trustees of Alton College of Illinois.' To prevent any complication of 'Church and State' it is supposed and to exclude all sectarian ascendency, this charter provided that no 'particular religious faith should be required of those who become Trustees of the Institution.' Nor could any 'Professor of Theology ever be employed as a teacher at said College, nor any Theological Department be connected there-with or in any manner attached thereto,' without rendering the act granting the charter 'null and forever void.' The charter was not accepted. Nor were efforts to forward the object of the Association thereby retarded. In January, 1835, measures were adopted to raise $25,000 for 'the immediate wants as well as the permanency and prosperity of the Alton Seminary,' viz: $10,000 for buildings, $7,500 a fund for salaries of professors, and $7,500 a fund to aid beneficiary theoldgical students. The self-constituted Trustees proceeded to lay off streets, town lots and a college campus, and appointed and commissioned itinerant agents to solicit funds and enlist the co-operation of friends of advanced education in several of the Eastern, Middle and Western States. *"
"In February, 1835, a new charter was granted, in its general features sufficiently liberal, but retaining the offensive proviso with reference to a Theological Department. However, this charter was accepted. Without dissolving then* mutual covenant the seven subscribers to the original compact, with other elected members, became a distinct Board of 'Trustees of Alton College of Illinois.' The Association now conditionally surrendered to the new corporation its entire property 'reserving fifty acres of the land for the education of the ministry of the gospel, and also such donations as may have been made for this special object.' In accepting the property surrendered, the College Board placed on their records a resolution, 'That it is understood in good faith that the principles of the original compact of the said gentlemen herewith recorded, be preserved by this incorporation inviolate, so far as said compact is compatible with the charter of this incorporation.' The feature of the compact thus specially guarded was, 'That it is and shall ever continue to be & prominent object to aid in the education of young men of genuine piety designed for the Gospel ministry in this section of the Valley 'of the Mississippi.'
"The original Association now assumed for its name, 'The Trustees of Alton Theological Seminary.' The two Boards, thus composed mostly of identical members, co-operated harmoniously in advancing their cherished enterprise. The Trustees of the Seminary appointed their Professor of Theology, and the Trustees of the College appointed their Professors, and their teachers of the Preparatory Department, and students in both Institutions pursued their preparatory studies hi the same classes and boarded to-gether at the common refectory.
"In January, 1836, the charter of the College was amended by changing the name of the Board to 'The Trustees of Shurtleff College of Alton, Illinois.' This change was in consideration of the then very liberal donation of $10,000, to the endowment of the College, by Benjamin Shurtleff, M. D., of Boston, Mass.
"In February, 1841, the offensive provisos of the college charter were repealed by the Legislature, and the Trustees were authorized to organize 'additional departments for the study of any or all of the liberal professions.' Soon after this a schedule was made of all the property belonging to the Seminary and held by its Board in trust for Theological purposes, and in the following July, its Trustees, at their annual meeting, closed the records of its history as follows :
" 'Whereas, by an amendment of the charter of Shurtleff College granting the right, the Board of Trustees of that Institution has established a Theological Department which supercedes the necessity of a separate organization, " 'Therefore resolved unanimously, that all the property of this Institution herewith be transferred to the Theological Department of Shurtleff College.
" ' Resolved That this Board be dissolved, and all its books and papers be transferred to the Trustees of Shurtlefi College for its Theological Department. "
From the foregoing it appears that Theological instruction has been a prominent idea in the plans of its friends from the very Inception of the Institution. The original school at Rock Spring was called a Theological School. In consequence of the pra iso originally belonging to the charter of the College, first granted in 1833, 'preventing the existence of a Theological Department, a separate Association was formed, known as "The Trustees of Alton Theological Seminary." Under the auspices of this body, Rev. Lewis Colby was elected Principal of the Theological Seminary, and served acceptably in this capacity during the years 1835-6 and 1836-7. When the College charter was amended by striking out the offensive proviso alluded to above, a Theological Department was at once established, in which Alton Seminary wag merged. Special arrangements were made for carrying on Theological instruction, which has been maintained, although with varying success, until the present time.
Under its present organization the Theological Department is accomplishing efficient work and is in the enjoyment of brighter prospects than for many years previous. Its funds are sufficiently ample for present purposes, and it is not anticipated that any emergencies will arise which will justify its suspension. In fact, as this sketch well demonstrates, there are insuperable obstacles, both legal and moral, to the abandonment of the sacred trust which the Fathers have imposed upon us. On the contrary, it is hoped and expected that the future will see not only permanency, but growth and advancement in this special Department.
From 1836 to 1841 the average number of students in attendance was eighty-eight, and of instructors four. During this period Rev. Prof. Washington Leverett, LL.D., being the senior officer, acted as President of the College. In 1840 Rev. Adiel Sherwood, D. D., was elected to the Presidency, which position he filled until 1846. During his Presidency Professors Zenas B. Newman, Washington Leverett and Warren Leverett, were associated with him in instruction. During the years 1847 1849 Dr. Washing-ton Leverett was again acting President of the College, and Warren Leverett, Erastus Adkins, Justus Bulkley and William Cunningham were instructors. In 1850 Rev. K N. Wood, D. D., accepted the Presidency, which he held for five years. Rev. S. Y. McMasters, LL. D., succeeded him in 1855, as President pro tempore, and the next year Rev. Daniel Read, LL. D., became President and served 14 years. After an interval of nearly three years, during which the duties pertaining to the Presidency were performed by Professors Bulkley and Fairman, Rev. A. A. Kendrick, D. D., present incumbent, entered upon his duties. The names of the additional Professors and Instructors are given in the table following this sketch.
It is a fact worthy of mention that the instruction furnished by the institution has been of a high order from the very outset. Indeed, so wisely was the curriculum of studies projected, that no radical changes hi the various courses pursued, have been called for to meet the demands which modern views upon education have made. The Institution has been brought up to its present position by building carefully upon the foundations originally laid, increased facilities of instruction having been acquired, and better work having been done, but with little modification of the ideas upon which the College was at the first projected. The advanced course of study insisted upon as a prerequisite to a degree goes far to account for the comparatively limited number of graduates, particularly when the general and public opinion of the West during this period, concerning liberal education, is taken into the account. The good which this College has accomplished, through the educational facilities which it has furnished, must therefore be sought for in great measure outside of its list of graduates, in the training, more or less complete, which over Three Thousand young men and not a few young women, have received within its walls. The average number of students in attendance during the last twenty years has been about one hundred and twenty, of whom nearly one-fourth have been ministerial students. Just how many, in all, have entered the ministry, we cannot tell, but the number is known to be several hundred.
During the late war between the States, a very large number of students enlisted in the service of the country at least 140 of previous students and those connected with the College at the time, were in this service, in the year 1864, so that the school was, for a little while, virtually suspended. Several of these students rose to great distinction as soldiers, becoming Majors, Colonels, Brigadier Generals, and two rising to the rank of Major General.
But the students of this College have distinguished themselves and honored their Alma Mater, not only by their patriotism and bravery, but as jurists, and statesmen, teachers and editors, as well as by ranking among the first of the Christian ministers of the land. Two, who were formerly students in this College, are now representing a single city in our National Congress, and Still more honorable than this, is the fact that four of the graduates of Shurtleff College are now missionaries of the Cross among the heathen in foreign lands.
As the school has maintained its original idea, by establishing and sustaining a Theological Department, so it has again opened its doors to pupils of both sexes, in harmony with the more advanced ideas of the present age. Ladies have been graduated, during the last few years, from the full classical course of this College, by the side of young men, and won first honors in competition with them.
Notwithstanding this Institution had its beginning when the country was yet in its infancy only a few years after Illinois became a State, and while most of the people of the West were yet poor, and the Baptist denomination especially, on which the College was mainly dependent, was feeble still, it has grown, if not with equal rapidity, nevertheless, somewhat in propor-tion, with the growth of the country and of the denomination, and to-day not including any Centennial or Jubilee contributions has a valuable property, consisting of its buildings and grounds worth at least $50,000; trust funds and invested endowments of several chairs, over $75,000, which last are all free from liabilities and incumbrance; and then additional outside properties and claims for at least $25,000 more, making a total of at least $150,000, besides Libraries, Apparatus and Furniture, in present possession of the College. And, still, valuable as its accumulations for the past half century have been, they were far from sufficient for the proper support of the Institution.
The year 1876, the Centennial of the Nation, was an important one in the history of this College. As the result of the inadequate endowments, and in spite of all possible economy in administration, on the part of a faithful Board of Trustees, the year came in with a large debt standing against the College, and very small and insufficient provisions for its payment. Therefore, while most of the other of our denominational schools of the land were moving to effort and seeking relief, this College also started an effort to raise at least $100,000 a sum sufficient, not only to pay all debts, but to so increase the endowments of the College as to prevent a recurrence of debt, and render the College hereafter more efficient and independent. Rev. G. J. Johnson, D. D., was secured as Financial Agent, and Dr. Bulkley, of the College, consented to co-operate with him. As the result of their labors, and the assistance rendered by others, above $75,000 in all were secured a part however, being conditional upon securing the whole of the proposed $100,000.
And now the glad Jubilee year of the College has come, and it has been resolved that the effort for the balance of the $100,000 desired shall not be suspended or relaxed, but, on the contrary, pressed forward with renewed vigor, and, not only the $25,000 balance be raised, but, if possible, $25,000 more, as a special Jubilee Offering.
In closing our brief sketch, we may not perhaps do better, than to adopt the earnest words of the General Agent of the College, who, having served it through the Centennial year, is still prosecuting the work and consents to serve, at least through a portion of this Jubilee year, and now again appeals to the friends of the College thus:
"Ought not such a College, enjoying the pre-eminence of being the oldest Institution of Learning in the Mississippi Valley, and, in fact, in all the West in a territory embracing fully three-fourths of the area of our American Union; a College that has already done the good this has, and is so favorably situated to do the good this is, and now celebrating its Jubilee year, to be liberally provided for by its friends? What possibly could we do that was becoming and do less for it than, as a JUBILEE OFFERING, to raise FIFTY THOUSAND DOLLARS in its behalf, including what may be necessary to complete fully the Centennial effort, so far advanced, to raise $100,000? Let it be done. "
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