Carl L. McFarland

CHAPEL HILL COLLEGE. Chapel Hill College was located at Daingerfield on land donated by Allen Urkhart to the Marshall Presbytery of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church. The school was chartered on February 7, 1850, and opened in February of 1852 in a two-story frame classroom building, with Rev. William E. Beeson as president. A month later Chapel Hill College became the first college in Texas to provide for the free education of those entering the Presbyterian ministry, a response by the board of trustees to initial low enrollment. In addition to its preparatory program, the school offered college-level courses leading to a bachelor of arts degree. But the college was not well supported, perhaps because of its northern location, and in 1856 the property was transferred to the Texas Synod of the Cumberland Presbyterian church. The synod constructed a new brick building for the institution in 1858 and set an endowment-fund goal of $20,000, but before that goal could be met rumors of an impending invasion by Union forces in 1860 led Beeson to dismiss all of the college-level classes, leaving only the preparatory department in session. The college continued to operate through 1865 with only two full-time instructors and emerged from the war years free of debt and with plans for recovery. In 1869, however, Beeson resigned his post to become president of the newly formed Trinity University, and the Texas Synod transferred its support to that institution. Chapel Hill College lost its function as a college and continued as a secondary and preparatory school under the Marshall Presbytery until the early 1890s, when public schools opened and Chapel Hill closed.

Robert Douglas Brackenridge, Voice in the Wilderness: A History of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas (San Antonio: Trinity University Press, 1968). Thomas H. Campbell, History of Cumberland Presbyterian Church in Texas (Nashville: Cumberland Presbyterian Publishing House, 1936).

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

Handbook of Texas Online, Carl L. McFarland, "CHAPEL HILL COLLEGE," accessed February 28, 2020,

Uploaded on June 12, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
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