MCKENZIE COLLEGE. McKenzie College, three miles southwest of Clarksville, Red River County, was organized by John W. P. McKenzie in 1841 in a log cabin. The original enrollment was sixteen, and growth was slow. Until 1846 the school offered high school work only. In 1848 the institution was chartered as McKenzie Institute, and progress was accelerated. By 1854 it had 300 students and nine faculty members. The college had an administration building and three dormitories, two for boys and one for girls. Its equipment was considered first-class, and the library probably had between 2,000 and 3,000 volumes. About half of the students came from the Red River area, 40 percent came from other sections of Texas, and 10 percent from Louisiana and Arkansas. Tuition, board, room, and laundry cost $180 for ten months. Private piano lessons were $60 a term. Sometimes the tuition was paid with produce or with the horse and saddle the student had used to reach the school. The school had compulsory prayers at 4 A.M. and compulsory chapel attendance; it afforded varied social contacts and stimulation from the personality of McKenzie, and students were said to return home reluctantly at the end of the ten-month session. Both B.A. and M.A. degrees were granted in 1860. McKenzie College, for several years the largest college in Texas, was always a Methodist institution, although it was actually controlled by the Methodist conference for one year only. It trained almost all of the Texas Methodist ministers of the period. McKenzie deeded the school to the church in 1855 but on conditions that the conference could not fulfill. Again in 1860 he made a conditional deed of the property to the conference. By the summer of 1861 most of the student body had gone into the Confederate Army, and the church returned the property to McKenzie. The school adapted itself to the times by offering military drill to students. In 1863 enrollment dropped to thirty-three, and the average enrollment from 1864 to 1867 was seventy-four. McKenzie and his son-in-law, Smith Ragsdale, no longer able to keep the school independent financially, closed it on June 25, 1868.
Image Use Disclaimer
All copyrighted materials included within the Handbook of Texas Online are in accordance with Title 17 U.S.C. Section 107 related to Copyright and “Fair Use” for Non-Profit educational institutions, which permits the Texas State Historical Association (TSHA), to utilize copyrighted materials to further scholarship, education, and inform the public. The TSHA makes every effort to conform to the principles of fair use and to comply with copyright law.
For more information go to: http://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/17/107.shtml
If you wish to use copyrighted material from this site for purposes of your own that go beyond fair use, you must obtain permission from the copyright owner.
The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this article.Handbook of Texas Online, B. E. Masters, "McKenzie College," accessed May 24, 2016, http://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/kbm15.
Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.
Get Texas history every day,
with day by day
Each day's email tells a little bit more of the story of Texas and links to our collection of more than 27,000 articles