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MASONIC FEMALE INSTITUTE. The Masonic Female Institute in Marshall originated as the women's division of Marshall University but on February 16, 1850, was turned over to an executive board appointed by Marshall Masonic Lodge. The lodge chose a board of managers who, on October 5, 1850, selected Thomas B. Wilson as president of the school. The institute, chartered on December 2, 1850, prospered in the early 1850s and had five teachers and fifty-three pupils by 1853. Among the courses offered in 1854 were botany, geology, moral philosophy, logic, political economy, domestic economy, astronomy, ancient languages, modern languages, and what were called "ornamental subjects"- drawing, painting, embroidery, needlework, and the like. The school went through a financial crisis during the Civil War but recovered afterward. In 1876 the school's enrollment was 102, and it employed six instructors. In the 1880s the institute building was rented to the public school system, and the institute continued to operate as a public school for females until the building was condemned in 1910. A historical marker on Franklin and Burleson streets marks the site.


V. H. Hackney, Historical Hallmarks of Harrison County (Marshall, Texas: Marshall National Bank, 1964). Vertical Files, Dolph Briscoe Center for American History, University of Texas at Austin (Marshall Female Institute).

Marie Giles

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Marie Giles, "MASONIC FEMALE INSTITUTE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed November 30, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.