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TEXAS BAPTIST COLLEGE. Texas Baptist College, a school for boys in Tyler, opened as the Masonic Male Academy, which was housed in a large brick building northwest of Oakwood (then Tyler) Cemetery. The academy was established after the male department of Tyler University was destroyed by fire in 1857. St. John's Lodge No. 53 sponsored the school, and Capt. T. R. McConnell, a graduate of West Point, provided the military training. The staff offered five grades of study at a fee of ten to twenty-five dollars a semester. Civil engineering and French classes cost students an additional ten dollars, and another dollar was charged for incidental expenses. Other income included $100 from public funds. In August 1860 the lodge sold the academy to the East Texas Baptist Convention. It was rechartered as Texas Baptist College and opened in February 1861. The new charter specified that a board of twenty-three trustees elected by the Baptist General Convention would govern the college. The staff offered two sessions of five months each. Primary classes cost students twenty dollars, preparatory courses forty dollars, and collegiate training fifty dollars. The matriculation fee was five dollars, and an additional dollar covered incidental expenses. Students could board with local families for ten dollars a month. William B. Featherston, a University of Virginia graduate, served as president, and J. R. Clarke was his assistant. Financial difficulties and depletion of enrollment came with the Civil War, and the school was abandoned in 1863.


Vicki Betts, Smith County, Texas, in the Civil War (Tyler, Texas: Smith County Historical Society, 1978). James H. Conrad, comp., Texas Educational History: A Bibliography (Greenville, Texas: Juris, 1979).

Marie Giles


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

Marie Giles, "TEXAS BAPTIST COLLEGE," Handbook of Texas Online (, accessed March 31, 2015. Uploaded on June 15, 2010. Published by the Texas State Historical Association.