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Title: Warren County Seminary
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An early law in this state provided that a certain class of fines in the justice and circuit courts of the county should go (after the sum of four hundred dollars had been accumulated) toward supporting a county seminary in which pupils desiring a higher education might be properly fitted for such institutions as colleges and universities. In June, 1849, this fund amounted to one thousand and twenty-four dollars. The year before that, B. F. Gregory and others, of a progressive type of Warrne county men, petitioned the county commissioners to use such funds as were on hand for the establishing of such a seminary in Warren county. The prayer being heard and answered, a committee was appointed to purchase the best site for such seminary in the town of Williamsport. The committee selected-all excellent men-were Messrs. Gregory, Boyer, buell, Bryant and McAilly. Lebanon wanted this institution, but their petition was finally denied. In 1850, the contract for the erection of the seminary building was awarded to Richard Treadway for the sum of one thousand six hundred and ninety-nine dollars. The structure was of brick, two stories high. It was handsomely painted and "penciled," making it very attractive. It was finished in December, 1850. It was used for high school purposes by the williamsport district several years, as the laws of 1852 giving the state, and each county therein, the right to a free school system, the idea of a seminary was abandoned. The building was sold in 1857, or thereabouts, for seven hundred dollars to Henry Regar. It stood on lots 78, 79 and 82 of the West addition to Williamsport. In July, 1862, the trustees of the Williamsport Masonic lodge purchased the building for eight hundred and sixteen dollars. On account of the new school laws in Indiana these "county seminaries" were doomed to dismal failure, otherwise they might have been an improvement over old methods.

What was known as the State Line City Seminary was established by a stock company in 1860, at State Line. The town was very prosperous, and seemed destined to become a thriving little inland city. The place had run up to one hundred and fifty pupils in school, and its progressive citizens wanted better facilities for education. Among the stockholders were Col. E. F. Lucas, A. Y. Taylor, Perrin Kent, Darius Duncan, J. R. Johnson, B. F. Marple and James Lewis. Elbridge Marshall became first principal of the institution. Colonel Lucas donated ten acres of land adjoining the town on the east to the uses of the seminary. The township trustees gave six hundred dollars toward the enterprise, with the understanding that the lower story should be used, more or less, for the district school purposes. The building was a two-story brick structure, costing about five thousand dollars. Tuition was paid to principal Marshall for his services. Many students came in from abroad, and hence had to board in town. For the three years Professor Marshall conducted the school, it reflected much credit on its founders. The system was rigid and the course a thorough one. It built up the morals of the town and drove out the baser element that had already become well seated there. Marshall was succeeded by J. P. Kouts, who succeeded in increasing the attendance. In 1864 and 1865 the stockholders thought they were not getting enough out of the school as an investment, and concluded to dispose of the institution. J. H. Braden purchased it, the township probably retaining a certain small interest in the same. Braden bought it as a speculation, and two or three years later sold it to the trustees of the township for two thousand seven hundred dollars. But in the final settlement, the institution had cost the township about five thousand dollars and they had nothing then to show for it. The seminary then became a graded school, owned by the township. When the laws were changed and the town was incorporated, the building became the property of the town, and thus continued until it ceased to be used for school purposes, in about 1882. Eventually, a portion of this building was employed in the construction of the new school house.

The West Lebanon Seminary was in fact a combined church and school building. It was built and designed to be managed by the Methodist church at West Lebanon-rather the old town. The lower story was to be used by the young ladies for a seminary, while the upper story was to be the class room for the church. Funds were raised by popular subscription. It is believed that the township trustees also helped in the matter of finances and hoped to send pupils of the district there. It was erected in 1851, but never reached the sanguine hopes of its founders. The plans, however, were thwarted and in the end it did not prove a success as an educational institution. The common free school system coming in, took the place of the school and that practically ended the undertaking.

Green Hill Seminary was another enterprise calculated to better the condition of education in Warren county. An alteration in the territory of the conferences of the United Brethren in Indiana, especially along the Wabash valley, increased the demand of that people for a denominational school somewhere in the vicinity of Attica, and Green Hill (Milford as then known) was selected as the site of the school, owing to its beautiful location and freedom from immoral surroundings. Then, too, the denomination was very strong in that neighborhood at that time. The building was erected in 1869, partly with funds furnished by the Upper Wabash conference and partly by donations from citizens of Green Hill. The building was a large, two-story structure, divided into amply school rooms, its cost being nine thousand dollars. When the school opened it had eighty students, mostly from abroad, and it gave "tone" to the community. Boarding houses sprung up rapidly and assistants wre added to aid the principal. The higher departments embraced the studies preparatory to entering college. Year by year, for some unknown cause, this institution dwindled down until in 1883 it had but fifteen scholars. It was one among the many denominational schools that could not survive the broader notions of learning and a more liberal view of Christianity. It went down along with real tight-laced sectarian religion.


[Page 266-268.]

Date: 1/1/1913
Origin: Past and Present of Fountain and Warren Counties Indiana
Author: Thomas A. Clifton, Editor
Record ID: 00001296
Type: Book
Source Archive: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Date Entered: 8/10/2001
Collection: Williamsport-Washington Township Public Library
Entered By: Leslie J. Rice

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