S C H O O L S
The educational process began to take form in the Western District, when an act was passed on October 18, 1825, to establish the "Old Academy" at Lexington, in Henderson County. It was Duncan MacIver who introduced the bill in the General Assembly to establish Academies in each county in accordance with "An Act to establish Academies in the several counties in this state and for the appointment of trustees thereof."
The first Lexington Academy was constructed about 1837, and the walls were said to be thirteen inches thick. Mr. W.A. Lawler, in a personal letter to the writer, fives a very interesting story about this old academy which dates back to Civil War days. The story is that Colonel Robert Ingersol, the noted infidel, occupied the building for a period of time as his headquarters. When General Nathan Bedford Forrest made his first raid into West Tennessee, he learned about the occupant of the building and rode directly up in front of the old academy and expressed a desire of capturing Colonel Ingersell personally. However, it seems that the Colonel "saw him first" and ran out the back door, down north Main Street, and hid under the building of the old Presbyterian Seminary. General Forrest gave chase, found him there and finally made the capture personally.
Factual documents of this reported incident has not been confirmed, but further information has been received from Mrs. J.C. Davis, Horn Lake, Mississippi, who relates that same story about Colonel Ingersoll's capture by General Forrest. She also states that her father, Mr. Charles R. Scott, living in Lexington the greater part of his life and at one time taught in the "Old Academy." Mr. Scott later owned the property and built a house on the academy lot.
The later history of this old institution developed into a second Lexington Academy about 1890. Seymour A. Mynders was its first principal. He later became Superintendent of Public Instructions of the State of Tennessee and president of what is now Memphis State College, organized in 1912.