Buckner College

Submitted by Jack W. James
Source: The History of the Mansfield School District Area. Oct. 1994

Buckner college was located at Witcherville on the present site of Buckner Park. The college was founded in 1875. A Missionary Baptist preacher, Reverend E. L. Conupere founded the college and named it after Reverend William Buckner, a missionary to the Cherokee Indians. A frame structure 60 x 120 feet and three stories in height was build in 1883 at a cost of $15,000. Citizens of Sebastian and adjoining counties raised the money. The first class was taught in 1883 by Dr. A. S. Warrell who taught there two years. Dr. I. J. Reynolds taught at Buckner College in 1886 to 1888. the college was founded and built by Missionary Baptists and was transferred to the Episcopal Denomination in 1887, later to the Presbyterian and then back to the Baptists. IN the early 1870's , Salem (now called Witcherville) made a proposal, better than the one offered by Charleston, for a Baptist College. G. H. Pettus donated acreage for the campus. G.H. council donated $1,000 toward the building.

The frame building had an auditorium, six classrooms, and living quarters for the President. English, French and Latin were taught at this church school which could seat two hundred students.

A split in the Baptist state convention in 1905 left the Land Mark Baptists in control. A new building was begun but a shortage of funds brought the building of the stone building to a halt.

John W. Goolsby was the last president when Buckner College closed in 1910. The college had a Preparatory and College division.

Other presidents were J. B. Williamson, W. A. Hill, Charles X. Williams, Professor Irby, Professor Vermillion, and Dr. Hansley. One of the teachers was J. O. Kincannon.