Donated by:  Bill Boggess

St Johns' College of Arkansas was state's first chartered
institution for higher learning, ---- however, third to open her
collegiate door, following Arkansas College and Cane Hill College.

            WHY name St Johns'?

"In the United States, Masonic Lodges are dedicated to St. John the
Baptist and St. John the Evangelist (the two Holy St. Johns). Therefore,
it would have only been natural for the Grand Lodge to dedicate its
institution of higher learning to them.", from librarian of Grand Lodge
of Arkansas May 14,2007.

   Centrally located, was Masonic sponsored school becoming the
premier collegiate facility prior to Arkansas' accepting responsibility
for education. St Johns' College occupied one-hundred and five acres
immediately east of United States Arsenal in Pulaski county, five
donated, one-hundred purchased in 1852, with intent on selling sixty
acres. She's illustrated at upper left corner on Little Rock's, 'bird's
eye view' of 1870's, after 1869 subdivision into "Masonic Addition" to
City of Little Rock, with streets named for lodge members. Her structure
is at bottom, 2nd from left with blind school's first from right.

   St Johns' College educated and trained her students (referred
to as "cadets" by third president's wife), for their life's
responsibilities, to name but a half-dozen:

BORLAND, George Godwin (1846AR-1862TX)
DODD, David Owen (1846TX-1864AR)
ENGLISH, Peyton Danley (1846AL-1921AR)
HEMPSTEAD, Fay (1847AR-1934AR),
ROSE, George Burton (1860AR-1943AR)
NEWTON, Thomas Willoughby, Junior (1843AR-xxxx), with son, T W, III,
married HEMPSTEAD's daughter, Elvyn, having son, T W, IV

"Arkansas' History Wound Itself About St John's" ---

            ---- so wrote Margaret Deane Smith
ROSS (1922AR-2002AR), Little Rock historian, for her 1950 newspaper
tribute to St Johns' College.

   Seldom is ST JOHNS' found spelled correctly, even twice in
"June 24th 1873" letter by president's wife. One needs to review early
Arkansas history for better appreciation for the hardships of life and
education confronted in those pioneering days ---- even though I firmly
believe some modern-day history professors write books unfair to their
subject and to their readers by revealing their personal pent-up
prejudice and/or (?) ignorance.


I)-     Memorial honoring St Johns' College is its 1857 engraved
cornerstone displayed at Albert Pike Consistory, Seventh and Scott
streets, Little Rock, retrieved from building's site after found covered
with overgrowth by author Mrs Bernie BABCOCK, now with plaque affixed to
its top, to wit:

"This cornerstone is from old
St. Johns College of Arkansas
Formerly located East of MacArthur Park
Founded and operated by the
Grand Lodge of Free & Accepted
Masons of Arkansas during a time
prior to the states assumption of
its responsibility in the field of education."

   Two monuments were erected in or near modern day MacArthur Park
honoring her students:

FIRST: To memory of "Capitol Guards" during May 1911 16th Reunion pf
United States Confederate Veterans, fifty years following "Capitol
Guards" (some being St Johns' students), organized on the old United
States Arsenal (1838-1890) grounds (pre-1837, the Jockey Club & race
track). This statute represents a Confederate soldier standing at guard,
placed on a tall white granite pedestal with words, to wit:


During unveiling ceremonies, afore
mentioned Fay HEMPSTEAD, poet laureate of Freemasonry,
read poem entitled "At Camp Shaver," in which high tribute was paid to
the "Capital Guards". Also included was Miss Mary FLETCHER (Mrs Leonard
H. DRENNAN) (1890AR-1982MD), daughter of Colonel John Gould FLETCHER
(1831AR-1906AR), (3 June 1861 Captain, Age 30, Capital Guards. Elected
May 8,1862; Severely wounded in thigh at Murfreesboro, Tennessee 31
December 1862; 6th Arkansas Infantry, Company A, and Mayor 1875-1881),
standing at the east side of the monument, holding a blue ribbon, while
Miss Helen Frances PEAY, granddaughter of Gordon Neil PEAY
(1819KY-1876AR), first captain of the Guards (Mayor 1859-1860), stood on
the south side holding a white ribbon. At a signal, Misses FLETCHER and
PEAY pulled the ribbons while the band played "Dixie" and the old
veterans assembled shouted at the tops of their voices. The screen fell
away, with a shower of roses, the tall granite shaft stood revealed.

SECOND: To memory of former student David Owen DODD, "Boy Martyr of the
thought to have worked in Masonic member Alderman James A HENRY's,
mercantile store, --- in 1926 by 1890 created United Daughters of the
Confederacy, a large piece of granite with a commemorative plaque
attached, to wit:

     "In Memory of
    David O. Dodd
The boy hero of the Confederacy
This marks the place of his execution January 8, 1864 Erected by the
memorial chapter U.D.C.1926"

Originally located one block east of former United States Arsenal
building (wherein General Douglas MacARTHUR (1880AR-1964NY) was born
<>), marking
site on St. Johns' college former property of DODD's execution as a spy,
by hanging, January 8, 1864 at three o'clock in afternoon, coldest day
of the year with ice covering river and snow under foot, before a crowd
estimated 5,000 to 6,000. Hanging ordered by Major General Frederick
STEELE (1819NY-1868CA), United States Army. DODD's body removed to Dick
JOHNSON's Rock street home, following day interned in Mount Holly
cemetery in plot donated by Barney NIGHTON where in 1913, an eight-foot
tall spire was placed. Interstate Highway 30's access road now covering
hanging site with 1926 monument currently (May 2007) found at the
University of Arkansas, Little Rock, Law School's parking lot. Many
other memorials exist to DODD.

   St Johns' College organization began 1848 as a thought of
Elbert Hartwell ENGLISH (1816AL-1884AR). Then through the efforts of
Masonic Grand Lodge of Arkansas, reportedly following creation of
similar schools in neighboring states (Missouri(ah) ca1844). Grand
Master of Masons Elbert H ENGLISH,

"...his brain and heart in it [St Johns'] as long as he lived.",

the fourth Chief Justice of Arkansas Supreme Court, considered father of
St Johns' College (some credit Albert PIKE, who became a mason1850),
once law partner and junior editor with fellow mason Solon BORLAND,
Esquire (1811VA-1864TX),
<>. Elbert addressed
Arkansas' problem of no higher education in 1850, year following Solon's
son Thomas age 16, attended Alexandria Boarding School, Alexandria,
Fairfax county, Virginia under Benjamin HALLOWELL (1799-1877), then in
1850 at Blue Lick Springs, Nicholas county, Kentucky in Western Military
Institute, where its said many Little Rock boys attended, under Colonel
Edwin Wright MORGAN (1814PA-1869PA), --- both Elbert & Solon with 4 y/o
sons. A committee was formed to establish an institution of higher
learning somewhere in Arkansas:

Charles ADAMS, John DRENNEN,
Joseph H EGNER, Elbert H ENGLISH, Rev Joshua F GREEN (1820-1854), Thomas
D MERRICK (Mayor 1854), Albert PIKE (1809-1891), Christopher C SCOTT,
Nathanial G SMITH, William H SUTTON, James H WALKER, and George
Claiburne (Claiborne?) WATKINS (Arkansas' third Chief Justice, 1853/4,
as infant fell overboard on boat journey with mother, Maria, to Little
Rock, arriving 11 March 1821 to find one house and a few cabins. Father,
Major Isaac WATKINS was assassinated 13 December1827 by John SMITH)

   She was chartered December 31, 1850 with name, St Johns'
College of Arkansas, by action of Thompson R FLOURNOY, Speaker of the
House of Representatives, John R HAMPTON, President of the Senate and
signed by Governor John Seldon ROANE (1817TN-1867AR), under whom Major
Solon BORLAND served in Mexican war and who was noted for his advocacy
of state system of education and roads,
St Johns' reportedly opened for preparatory classes September 1, 1857,
collegiate classes October 10th,1859.

Two years later the second college was chartered, Reverend Robert
GRAHAM's <,robt.htm>
Arkansas College (1852-1862), (Elbert H ENGLISH a board member with
Robert GRAHAM a board member at St Johns') December 14, 1852, located in
Fayetteville on what is now College Avenue just south of Dickson Street,
where the First Christian Church later stood. College Avenue took its
name from the college. On July 4, Arkansas College awarded the first
collegiate degrees in the state to its seven graduates. Linda ACREY's
g,grandfather, Pleasant Harrison LOYD attended 1861-1862 later serving
the "36th Arkansas CSA".

The third chartered on the following day, December 15th, Cumberland
Presbyterian Church's Cane Hill College (1852-1891), reportedly opening
its collegiate door in1858.

   Solon BORLAND, M D, while serving in the United States Senate
(1848-1853), introduced a bill in Congress on December 31, 1849,

"...which had already passed the Senate, and which, if it were enacted
into law, would yield as he surmised, ample funds with which to carry
out the most admirable system of common school education that can be

The senator's action was followed by State of Arkansas (no doubt other
states as well) passing its first serious attempt to establish a system
of common schools, signed by Governor ROANE so reported January 11, 1851
in Arkansas Gazette. (HOWEVER, it wasn't until 1868 that Arkansas had
common public schools).

   It was agreed St Johns' College of Arkansas shall be in a
location which is generally, healthy, accessible and a moral community,
with approval by ballot of not less than two-thirds majority vote. The
third day of 1851's communication such balloting occurred and upon their
sixth ballot, city of Little Rock was selected, meeting all
pre-established requirements.

   Masons set forth "zealously", following board of trustees
meeting April 2,1852, to acquire a large tract of land. Many offered
donations or tracts at reduced price complicating the task. Finally,
July 16, 1852 they bought a one-hundred acre tract, fronting on what
became Ninth street, adjacent to east side of Arsenal grounds having a
nice frame structure near its northwest corner. Intention was to sell
sixty acres. Price reportedly paid was either $4,214.73 or $5,500. (In
1855, they had Solon BORLAND, Robert W JOHNSON and E A WARREN seeking
(unsuccessfully) to obtain the Arsenal grounds from U S Congress for
their site.)

   From the 1852 communcations came
forth, --- each Lodge would be enitled to one student without charge,
provided he:

"... teach a primary school, for the benefit of the children of the
membership of each Lodge, and their orphans, until he shall feel he has,
according to his ability, discharged himself from any obligation to said
Lodge, more than reverence for a great benefactor."

    Proposed funding for their school was agreed during 1853
communication to be: a levy of $2.00 per anum per member, payable
semi-annually to their Lodge who in-turn was responsible for payment to
the Grand Lodge. Reportedly two Lodges disagreed, one later agreeing,
the other did not, so it, the Calhoun Lodge No 50, was suspended until
succeeding communication. History professor Michael B Dougan wrote the
lodge at Helena refused to make payments (see below).

   At 1854 communications was reported to be over fifteen thousand
dollars in fund.

   Feelings reportedly surfaced during
1855 communication over proposed college's location (?). A review of
payments revealed $1,907 was paid with $2888 outstanding, having a total
in account of about $20,000.

"At the annual communication of the Grand Lodge, in 1856, Hon Solon
BORLAND, in behalf of the Board of Trustees of the College, submitted a
very able report, reviewing the subject of the College in detail,
referring to the circumstances under which it was undertaken, the
embarrassments [??] which interfered with its progress, its condition at
that time, the benefits it was designed to secure to the order and
prosperity, as well as to the State and country at large, and proposing
some measures looking to its advancement and early completion."

   August 4th 1857 notice was published in Arkansas Gazette that
building for the preparatory school was completed and classes would
commence September 1 under James M MATHEWS, A M, retained from Shelby
College, Kentucky.

   November 6th, 1857, afore mentioned granite cornerstone,
quarried at Big Rock, was "set" for this Gothic Revival styled,
fifty-seven foot wide, eighty-seven foot deep, two four story towers
with balance three story, westward facing, first (East) wing of their
brick building at Tenth and Barber Avenue and McGowan and Welch Streets
for estimated $20,000 building, to be on "eternal granite" foundation,
walls of "hard brick" [should have been (?) "fire brick"] with "slate
roof", such that

"...nothing but engines of war, or earthquake, shall be able to

Building was reportedly destroyed by fires following The Brooks-Baxter
War, of1874,
Judge Elbert H ENGLISH addressed the gathering with Grand Master Luke E
BARBER (thirty-nine year clerk of Supreme Court) overseeing the Masonic
ceremonies, represtenting some 5,000 masons in 115 Lodges within

   During 1858 the masons set about
completing plans, buying materials and signing contracts for the
construction of their building.

   School's Board of Trustees were:

      WATKINS, George C - President
      DODGE, Roderick L - Treasurer
      ENGLISH, Elbert H - Secretary

General William Eliot ASHLEY
(1823AR-1868AR) (Mayor, 1857-58 & 1861-63), Luke E BARBER (1806-1886),
John J CLENDENIN (1813-1876), George A GALLAGHER (1824-1878), James A
HENRY (1817-1899), G McPHERSON, Thomas D MERRICK, and Samuel W WILLIAMS.

   Summer of 1859 two University of Virginia and in 1860 one
Virginia Miitary Institute graudates were retained to head their school.

PRESIDENT: John Baker THOMPSON (1834VA-1862TN)
highly recommended by president of University of Virginia, a
mathematician, most recently professor at Albermarle Female Institute,
and University of Virginia, Charlottesville, Albermarle county, Virginia
(Virginia's 39 independent city status' within her 95 counties allowed
after 1871) and with his close friend and fellow professor at Albermarle
Female Institute vice-president.

VICE-PRESIDENT: William Naylor BRONAUGH (1833VA-1862VA)
strong in the languages (listed in Elbert H English's 1857 speech as
Frank (?), but, ---- 1871published biography, military and other records
list William Naylor as vice-president with Frank, his brother whom he
financed through medical school, as surgeon in 2nd Battalion Arkansas
Infantry) while there, wrote a book on Latin language but killed before

COMMANDANT: John William LEWIS (1837VA-1882AR)
<> (ID 952, with class photo) and Professor
of Math, (incorrectly noted as Major John B LEWIS), from Virginia
Military Institute, Lexington, Rockbridge county, Virginia was employed
as Professor of Math and Tactices where he graduated 7th of 29, Class

   Colonel THOMPSON with wife Alice
POWERS, eldest daughter of his Staunton, Augusta county, Virginia school
teacher, the honorable Pike POWERS, Esquire, she then of
Charlottesville, found in household #417 on Eighth Census, 1860, in Gray
Township, later reportedly boarding with William Edward WOODRUFF
(1795NY-1887AR) in his new 2-1/2 story home on twenty-five acres (later
"Woodruff's Addition") north across Ninth street from school (re-faced
north when later remodeled, 1077 East Eighth street) where Alice died
in1860. She was buried in Hollywood cemetery, Richmond, Henrico county,
Virginia, later her husband reinterred next to her. Her portrait was
given to afore mentioned Fay HEMPSTEAD's mother, Elizabeth Rebecca
(Beall) HEMPSTEAD, by THOMPSON, ending at one time with granddaughter
Mrs Janet Laurie (Hempstead) PIERCE, Fay's daughter, with poem on back
composed by Fay's mother. In 1871 when Fay brought his bride home from
Charlottesville they found she was related to Mrs THOMPSON.

    Arkansas, once "The Land of
Opportunity", was a work in progress, population nearly doubling since
school was chartered. Once noted: Arkansas was ONLY state capable to
self-sustain itself.

   Judge Elbert H ENGLISH's article dated August 8th, from which
Arkansas Gazette printed August 10th, school to open "Monday, October 3,
next" and published September 7, 1859, in Arkansas True Democrat
newspaper, announced it no longer is necessary to send children out of
state for education and among other things, school classes would
commence 3 October, 1859, however classes started the following Monday,
the 10th. School offered preparatory and collegiate departments, each
with 10 month sessions, costing $50 and $60 respectively. School
emphasized the teaching profession by requiring graduates receiving
"tuition-free" instruction to teach in Arkansas schools at least two
years after graduation, but operating as military-like organization with
uniform clothing specified by the Trustees. Within its first year's
fifty students was, afore mentioned, eleven year old (soon to be twelve)
Fay HEMPSTEAD, most likely with thirteen year olds: Solon's son George
Godwin BORLAND & Elbert's, Peyton Danley ENGLISH, clerk of Arkansas'
Supreme Court, 1896-1915.

   Like most other institutions, she closed her door to education
until after the civil war (1861-1867), however her staff, students and
property were far from being strangers to the Confederate cause:

A)- Both, president and vice-president with others, created 1st Arkansas
Infantry, then enlisting May 1, 1861 at Pine Bluff, Jefferson county,
Arkansas (BRONAUGH in Company D). This before Arkansas (on its third
ballot), became 9th state to secede from the Union, May 6th with one
dissenting vote. They were mustered into Confederate service at
Lynchburg, Campbell county, Virginia, 19 May, short two companies for
regiment size. James Fleming FAGAN (1828KY-1893AR) elected colonel
(served in Mexican war under Major Solon BORLAND, M D), James Cade
MONROE lieutenant-colonel and THOMPSON major, later in Tennessee when
reorganized elected lieutenant-colonel. Company D's 3rd-lieutenant
BRONAUGH returned to Pine Bluff summer of 1861, recruiting more
companies, which later became part of 2nd Battalion Arkansas Infantry
under his command when promoted to major. The 2nd remained in Virginia
February 1862 when Major THOMPSON requested the regiment be assigned to

   A.1)- Lieutenant-Colonel John Baker
THOMPSON wrote his father April 4th from near Monterrey, Putman county,
Tennessee, then wounded two days later (his 28th birthday), as part of
an early wave of attack at Shiloh (near Pittsburgh Landing), Hardin
county,Tennessee. Colonel James F FAGAN's letter from Cornith dated
April 9th to THOMPSON's father said, hit with seven bullets, died the
8th, his official report:

"On the right of the regiment, dauntlessly leading the advance, fell
Lieutenant Colonel John B. Thompson, mortally wounded, pierced with
seven balls. His loss no one can feel so sensibly as myself. Like
Havelock, he united the graces of religion to the valor of the soldier."

"THOMPSON was buried on "the field" by his orderly. His remains were
transferred to Hollywood Cemetery, Richmond [Henrico county], Virginia,
postwar, to lie beside his wife. According to Chris FERGUSON's book on
Hollywood cemetery, which has a photo of THOMPSON, courtesy Library of
Virginia."(5/30/07, Bruce ALLARDICE)

Former student Captain Thomas
Willoughby NEWTON, Jr of Company A, also dangerously injured, --
Margaret ROSS reported:

"...was with him (THOMPSON) as he lay dying...",

likely at Cornith, Alcorn county, Mississippi, with his brother, former
student of Kentucky's Western Military Institute, Captain Robert
Crittenden (1840AR-1887AR) of Company F (later a CSA colonel), were in
3rd Regiment, Confederate Infantry, HINDMAN's Brigade, HARDEE's Corps,
while THOMPSON in 1st Arkansas Infantry, in GIBSON's Brigade of BRAGG's
Corps during battle of Shiloh.

   A.2)- Major William Naylor BRONAUGH, with sharp hazel eyes,
auburn hair and slight of frame but highly thought of in Virginia, as of
October 1861 courageously commanded 2nd Battalion Arkansas Infantry,
Confederate States Army, dying a hero, July 5, 1862 from fragment of a
shell to his lower right thigh received early in Seven Days Battle,
4-miles northeast from Richmond, Henrico county, Virginia near
Mechanicsville bridge (Beaver Dam Creek), June 26th. The men surviving
became part of the 3rd Arkansas Infantry.

   A.3)- John William LEWIS enlisted August 19, 1861 and appointed
Adjutant of the 52nd Virginia Infantry; promoted to 1st Lieut. December
2, 1861; Wounded in action at Port Republic, Virginia; appointed Captain
and Assistant Adjutant General October 7, 1862 and ordered to
Trans-Mississippi to report to Major Gen T H HOLMES; ordered to duty
with Maj. Gen T C HINDNAN's division January 23, 1863 and assigned as
Assistant Adjutant General to Brig. Gen. D.M. FROST; assigned to duty at
Head Quarters, District of Arkansas April 4, 1863; assigned to Brig. Gen
T F DRAYTON's brigade October 17, 1863 but soon back at District Head
Quarters; There on staff of Major-Generals S. PRICE and J. B. MAGRUDER
until assigned as Assistant Adjutant General of PRICE's Division March
7, 1865; Ordered back to Head Quarters March 15, 1865. No further record

B)- Other St Johns' students joined
with thirty-nine year old Captain William Edward WOODRUFF Junior's
artillery company (1860 census, in widow Mary W W ASHLEY's
(1798VA-1865AR) Markham street dwelling, listed above his parents) ie:
George G BORLAND & Henry "Hal" HALLIBURTON, yet others in other units
with some on June 1861 formed part of the "Capitol Guards", Company A,
6th Regiment Arkansas Infantry Volunteers, Confederate States Army under
Gordon N PEAY, which was:

"....recruited from the "first families" of Little Rock, as well as
prominent merchants and skilled artisans. There were a few St. Johns'
College students in the company as well. You'd think that a company of
"blue bloods" wouldn't be as feisty as the typical company of Arkansas
farm-boys, but the Capitol Guards built quite a reputation during the
war, as tenacious fighters and seasoned campaigners. The survivors of
the company were among the "movers and shakers" of Little Rock for the
rest of the 19th century.",

wrote Bryan HOWERTON on Arkansas Civil War Board.

C)- February 6, 1862, Mayor William E ASHLEY (s/o Mary W W & U S Senator
Chester Ashley) reported to Arkansas State Gazette and Democrat, that
school's Board of Trustees granted their property for hospital use.
Therefore constructed on campus were eleven frame, temporary wooden,
structures by the Confederated States of America, designed for 908 beds.
St Johns' College became a large military hospital complex serving over
8,000 patients by 1865 with many surgeons including Dr Henry Montgomery
DYE (1830VA-1878TX). First wounded were from March 1862 battle at Pea
Ridge. Reportedly on May 8, 1862, there were six-hundred injured listed
being cared for. Following Major General Sterling PRICE's
(1809VA-1867MO) defeat at Little Rock, 10 September 1863, it became a
United States General Hospital, with early newspaperman, William E
WOODRUFF senior's home (wife's Judge George Claiburne (Claiborne?)
WATKINS' sister), north across street, used as an officers hospital.
(see 1865 photo in "HOW WE LIVED: ...", page 83 & Quapaw Quarter
Association's 1864 map, page 97).

Such is some history of service to the Confederate States of America by
those at and of St Johns' College of Arkansas.

   Following end of war, during
reconstruction era (1865-1874), another Board of Trustees existed:

Luke E BARBER, William D BLOCHER (1841-1879), Dr Roderick L DODGE
(1808-1893)(Mayor 1847), Elbert H ENGLISH, J W FAUST (1829-1879), Samuel
(1821NY-1896AR) (1854 partnered with Dr Solon BORLAND, Mayor 1866, and
in 1879 one of eight who started University Medical Department), W D
RISON, Rev Thomas Rice WELCH (1834SC-1891AR) (started first & second
Presbyterian churches in Little Rock), Samuel W WILLIAMS.

   After used as a post-war general hospital, Federal's returned
school's property in fairly good shape, spring of 1867. Is it safe to
assume they kept some structures for school use, view Arkansas History
Commission's images #1143, ca 1864 & 5097.16, ca 1868 (notice two story
building along side main building)? Trustee's set forth to refurbish,
restock, restaff then reopen Arkansas' premier college's door for
classes starting October 1,1867, before Arkansas was re-admitted into
the United States on 22 June1868. Luke E BARBER (1806-1886AR) was
president, ably assisted by 1855 graduate of Colby College, Confederate
veteran officer and ex-prisoner of war, Oliver Crosby GRAY
(1832ME-1905AR) <>
(teaching seven of the sixteen years college door was open), a
mathematician and former headmaster of Princeton Female Academy, Dallas
county, since 1860, less war years. GRAY enlisted June 1861 under
Colonel Solon BORLAND, M D, in what became Company A, of 3rd Regiment
Arkansas Cavalry, Confederate States Army, fighting more skirmishes than
did any other Arkansas unit. GRAY entered as private, became 1st
sergeant, elected 1st lieutenant, promoted to captain, appointed
divisional provost marshall, resigned Army to join Navy, captured,
imprisoned, exchanged, returning home April 1,1865.

Amongst GRAY's pupils were: Judge Robert Barnett WILSON (1850TN-xxxxAR)
whose bed Governor Baxter's heavy weight broke the night of April 15,
1874, and --- M A AUSTIN, John M BLACKWOOD, Hoarce O DALE, John G
MILLS, John PIETCHER, Sam PRICE, John Milton & George Burton ROSE, J E
WILLIAMS, Frank WITTENBERG, W R WORTHEN to name a few of thousands who
benefited from Colonel O C GRAY during his forty-five years teaching in
his adopted Arkansas.

   Upon GRAY's December 1905 death,
former student George B ROSE's 850+ word tribute at funeral
in part said:

"Perhaps the time he has the best
opportunity to show his capacity was when he was at the head of St
John's College in this city; and the numerous men of our state who in
the old days attended that institution all regarded him with a love and
respect that were only strengthened with the passing of the years, and
with a ripened experience that enabled them to appreciate even more
fully the value of his services and magnitude of their debt to him. A
military school, it gave him an opportunity to display his fine
qualities as a soldier; and while he never forgot his dignity as
commandant, he took a personal interest in each cadet, and bound them to
him with hooks of steal, whose grip time only tightened. In this solemn
hour when the guide and instructor of our youth lies cold in death many
a strong heart is bowed with grief for his loss, and from every corner
of our state there go forth blessings from grateful hearts."

Pallbearers were: John W BLACKWOOD,
John G FLETCHER (died following month), J H HARROD, Jesse HART, J E

   1869 found more than one-hundred students enrolled. A list of
some students compiled by Melissa TOBAT mostly, from "Arkansas Families:
Glimpses of Yesterday Columns from the Arkansas Gazette" by Lucy Marion
REAVES, Edited by: Desmond Walls ALLEN:

   Josiah Nichol BELCHER (1852-1933)
   Isaac Thomas CATES Jr
   Dotey CLARKE
   Julian EAKIN
   Frank Martin FLETCHER, b. 1858
   Orlando HALLIBURTON, b. 1851
   William Blackmore HUGHES
   George J. LESCHER, b. 1848
   Robert MORROW
   Philip Drennaen SCOTT, b. 1855 and,
   Eugene HANGER (1860AR-1880AR), brother-in-law to Mrs Frances
(Fanny) Marion (Harrow) HANGER (1856IA-1945AR), w/o Frederick HANGER
(1855AR-1900AR) who saved Fanny BORLAND's poem "At My Father's Feet"
(Solon BORLAND) as published by Fred ALLSOPP in his 1933 "Poets and
Poetry of Arkansas"

   Other known students: Lieutenant William Field RECTOR
(1847AR-1863xx), s/o Henry Massie RECTOR an adjutant killed in battle,
Colonel W H HALIBURTON's son Hal and Doctor W A NOEL's son Dr James W

   The school for the blind moved from
City of Arkadelphia, Clark county to Little Rock, Pulaski county nine
blocks west of St Johns'. Its first brick three story building in 1869
was dedicated to "Colonel Gray". This on former Senator William Savin
FULTON's (1795MD-1844AR) "Rosewood" estate, --- next east of wooden farm
home bought by Senator Solon BORLAND in1853 before going to Nicaragua as
United States Minister. Solon moved family here from Hot Springs in
1854, then in 1858 to Princeton, Dallas county (county most likely
created under his directions 1 January 1845, following 1844 election of
Dallas as vice-president), selling property to Dr Weldon Edwards WRIGHT
(1819VA-1883/4AR). WRIGHT moved wife and daughter (Gazette, December 8,
1940) from Dallas county then he platted it "Wright's Addition" in 1870.
WRIGHT family lived there more than fifty years and when Colonel O C
GRAY became superintendent May 1895, dying there December1905. Blind
School was moved ca 1938 to west Markham street location, buidings
removed 1948 with 300,000 old bricks re-used in 1949 for then new
Arkansas Governors Mansion which replaced the Blind School's beautiful
<>(search, GRAY)

   Colonel Oliver Crosby GRAY, wrote a letter August 24th 1869, to
his brother-in-law Ray, wife's younger brother who with older brother
sailed around the world in 1849/51, brief lay-over in San Francisco
during "Gold Rush Days", with their father, and 1872/3 spent winter in
GRAY's home:

"I am spending my vacation preparing the Foreign Correspondence of the
Grand Lodge of Ark. and it will pretty nearly consume the whole time."

(Source, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan, Raymond C
DAVIS papers)

   Virginia GRAY, wife of O C GRAY, in her letter of December 1870
when visiting in Princeton, (buried her father Christmas Day, whom she
too had sailed across the ocean with) writes of herself as chief
committee women to get up money for a college library etc. which may (?)
have preceeded Robert Ward JOHNSON's donation of his library to the
school. Aaron PIERCE wrote the state also donated a library(?).

   June 23, 1871 school closed with a big party that night.

   The GRAY family built (her September 27, 1871 letter) a home
between the school and Arsenal in 1871, with view of school shown on AHC
image #1667, also seen on 'birds eye view' of Little Rock. Their old
home was taken over in November by Judge Freeman Walker COMPTON, moving
his family from Princeton. His wife died that December.

   The students (cadets) went downtown
and marched November 8, 1871 escorting the Masons concluding with a
speech by Colonel GRAY.

   Financial contributions were less during the reconstruction
years, falling heavily upon shoulders of Colonel O C GRAY as president
(1871-1874). Dallas T HERNDON and others, wrote St Johns' College was
coeducational in some departments for awhile, possibly Virginia was
teaching drawing and painting to both sexs(?) as mentioned in one
letter, otherwise. not so mentioned in family's forty letters, thirteen
written from Little Rock nor in wife's, "Jennie", 242 page diary
(1867-1872) of son Carl Raymond
<>, but
more likely (?) in her penned 845 fragile pages, bound in three volumes
of 1872-1874 diary not yet transcribed at Arkansas History Commission
since ca1964 from Farrar Clinton NEWBERRY, Senior, (1887AR-1968AR) a
prolific writer, served as president of The Woodmen of the World
organization for a number of years. No doubt material from Virginia
GRAY's son Carl, more likely, grandson Russell Davis (1899KS-1975NJ)
(father of Eleanor Gray KNUTSON, (1923ME-1994MN) who provide her
1863-1865 diary for publication) while living in Omaha, Nebraska.

   As afore stated, "Masonic Addition" was platted 1869 within the
City of Little Rock with many grandeur homes built. It was estimated to
render them about $100,000 to help finance their school. 1893 map shows
street car line to area, with being south across 9th street from
"Woodruff's Addition", west of "Hanger Addition". See "HOW WE LIVED:
Little...." page 138, the Reichardt house.

   In 1872 it became necessary for St Johns' to construct a frame
building at a cost of about $10,000 for housing eighty more students.
Funds reportedly came from sale of some lots in their subdivison. (The
GRAY's had, for four years till 1873, boarded one student who graduated,
Virginia said NO MORE.)

   Its highly likely the orignal work for Arkansas History
Commission's images #5097.16, ca 1868 and #1667, ca 1873 (#1667, a view
from GRAYs property) was product of Virginia GRAY's (Mrs V L GRAY)
artistic endeavers, she the wife of Colonel GRAY, St Johns' College
president (1871-1874) and she the "first chair" of "Drawing and
Painting" (Art Department), 1874-1881, at Arkansas Industrial
University. She's documented in diary of sketching the Dallas County
Court House July 17th 1864 (same date President DAVIS ordered General
JOHNSTON replaced by General HOOD and of husband's letter from Sandtown,
Georgia to resign his commission and Army to join Navy,--- granted a
month later), sent (now missing) to Richmond, Virginia by Doctor DYE, to
show one of Princeton's structures used as hospital (possibly AHC #3249
from party in Tennessee, (?) ca 1864), and in 1877 her painting in
Fayetteville, Washington county, Arkansas, of Arkansas Industrial
University's new University Hall and grounds ("Old Main") to Board of
Trustees, to hang in governors office, is also missing.

   School graduated three, including one boarding with the GRAYs
four years, June 1873 and seven in 1874. The staff for 1873/74 consisted

"President GRAY, Professor of Pure and Mixed Mathematics: Colonel Luke E
BARBER, LLD, Professor, Belles Letters; Colonel William Cuningham
PARHAM, 1850 graduate of The College of William & Mary with his A M,
Professor of Greek and Latin Languages: and since 1869, Major Richard H
PARHAM, Professor of Physical Science and Applied Mathematics", his
life's actively was a tireless involvement with state laws for better
education. He & wife Ora were adored by GRAY's young son Carl (became
vice-chairman of Union Pacific Railroad Systems, third son Doctor Howard
Kramer (1901MO-1955MN) of Mayo Clinic operated on Jimmie ROOSEVELT, s/o
FDR, in 1938, and first son General Carl, Jr (1887KS-1955MN) was Harry
TRUMAN's Administrator of Veterans Affairs).

   Here's a bit passed, ca 1985, to Clora PARHAM by her daughter
concerning Professor W C PARHAM (found listed next to (General) Robert
Crittendon NEWTON on couple of census):

"He received an AM degree from Wm & Mary, taught mostly ancient
languages, in private schools in VA [Virginia] and MS [Mississippi] from
1857-1860. Vice principal at academy at Princeton 1861-64. ? (can't make
that out [maybe Little Rock (?)) Masonic Institute 1868-69: Prof. of
Latin and Greek at McKenzie College, TX, 1864-65; St. John's College, LR
[Little Rock], 1869-75; AR Female College, LR, 1875-1877; Central
Collegate Institute, Altus, AR; 1884-1885; Millersburg Female College,
KY, 1887-91; Galloway Female College, Searcy, AR, 1891-93; president of
Masonic Female College , Marshall, TX, 1899-1909."

"Prof. Parham was 2nd at St. John's
College when Brooke-Baxter [war] affair occurred. Now conducting a
private training school at Benton(1906) and hopes to retire with 60
years of pro. work. Now entering 52 years as teacher--done about 40
years in AR--probably the senior teacher in the state." [GRAY served
Arkansas forty-five years, Minnesota four and Mississippi one year]

   A Law School was begun in1873 having
former United States Senator (1853-1861) Robert Ward JOHNSON's
(1814KY-1879AR) donated personal library with faculty consisting of:
yankee, Henry Clay CALDWELL (1835VA-1915CA), Elbert Hartwell ENGLISH,
Augustus Hill GARLAND (1832TN-1899DC) & Uriah Milton ROSE
(1834KY-1913AR). U M Rose's sons, John Milton and George Burton ROSE,
were students and most likely his other sons. There are those who
believe this to be origin of University of Arkansas Little Rock's, Law
School which is highly possible but we found no such documentation.

arose April 15th, 1874, --- with Judge S W WILLIAMS suggesting Governor
Elisha BAXTER (1827NC-1899AR) (served thirty days, ca. November 1861,
under Colonel Solon BORLAND, M D), --- go to St Johns' College where
Colonel William Cuningham PARHAM greeted them and Colonel Oliver Crosby
GRAY called his 150 students out and asked for volunteers to guard the
governor with all 150 volunteering. GRAY selected forty, armed them and
they did guard duty with loaded guns stopping all but those with special
permission to enter while Governor BAXTER conferred that night with
Judges Henry Clay CALDWELL (the Yankee), Uriah Milton ROSE (statute
stands in the Nation's Capitol, Statutory Hall, Washington, D C), Elbert
Hartwell ENGLISH, Freeman Walker COMPTON (1824NC-1891AR) and Augustus
Hill GARLAND (governor following BAXTER, later United States Senator
then United States Attorney General, and one of three signing Solon
BORLAND's probated will). College again closing her door to education
and Dr Weldon E WRIGHT reportedly donating $30,000 to battle BROOKS).

   Colonel Oliver C GRAY and Judge Sam W WILLIAMS after
consultation, hastily drafted a proclamation declaring martial law which
was published next day when BAXTER was moved to the Anthony House for
his headquarters. President Ulysses S GRANT (1822OH-1885NY), (visited
Little Rock six years later, April 15, 1880, three months following
birth of General MacARTHUR, GRANT as a lieutenant, fought along side
Major BORLAND in final battles of Mexican war), --- sided with Governor
Baxter! This ended the month long bloody crisis May 15th, reportedly as
many as two-hundred died state-wide, with General James F FAGAN leader
of BROOK's forces in Little Rock. Major-General Robert C NEWTON
<> in charge of
BAXTER's military forces.

   Her door remained closed for
awhile after the main building burnt sometime following April 15th 1874,
pictured with caption "Old St. John's College, destroyed by fire in
1874" on page 66 in "100 years, 1819-1919 : supplement commemorating the
founding of Arkansas' first newspaper". The center section photograph
is same as:
Be this result (?) of The BROOKS-BAXTER War or not is questionable,
however my review of the month long battle did NOT reveal such an

   Margaret Smith ROSS' 19 November
1950 article in Arkansas Democrat, page 12, says:

"...building burned to the ground.",

giving range of dates between which shehad seen mentioned, post 1874,

"January 17, 1879 to January 17,1890".

I had also seen 1890 date elsewhere. It would appear a number of
devastating fires may (?) have happened at St Johns', maybe not as bad
as occurred at the Deaf school September 30, 1899 and other structures
in Little Rock, therefore additional research is required to unscramble
the history of fires at St Johns' College of Arkansas. Review of
Arkansas Gazette articles may reveal when, why and results of these
disasters, and if buildings were repaired or what? Also a review of
Virginia L GRAY's non-transcribed 1872-1874 (listed as letters) diary
pages for that time period, filed at Arkansas History Commission may
well reveal the first-hand, inside story, of what really occurred, both
at The BROOKS-BAXTER War as well as the1874 fire in that time frame. (If
only I could be in Little Rock)

   School's demise is said to have accelerated during political
unrest of The BROOKS-BAXTER War, which may (?) include its fire damage
with more unrest after July 8, 1874, when Colonel GRAY was retained at
newly created Arkansas Industrial University --- (who in 1906 built and
dedicated "GRAY HALL" to honor Colonel GRAY for his achievments) ----,
as her 'first chair' of Civil Engineering till 1879, heading R O T C,
'existing chair' of Mathematics (1888, chairman) till 1895 with many
other duties, as well as serving: as Elder of his church, on school
board and 1-1/2 years as Mayor (1886-1888) of Fayetteville, all in
addition to his Masonic duties, --- his wife, "Vergie" to Fayetteville
friends, "Jennie" to family, Virginia LaFayette (Davis) GRAY
(1834ME-1886AR), aka at school as Mrs V L GRAY (UA's MC 1618), who saw
Alexander II, the 1855-1881 Emperor of Russia while visiting Hamburg,
Germany (her June 28th 1857 letter) and whose 1863-1865 diary was
published in 1983, spring and summer, issues of Arkansas Historical
Quarterly, then 18th June 1877, her painting of AIU's new University
building ("Old Main") and its surrounding grounds, accepted by Board of
Trustees, to hang in first Arkansas born governor, William Reed MILLER's
(1823AR-1887AR), Executive Office --- now missing. (served April 1861 as
a private under Colonel Solon BORLAND, M D) --- she, the 'first chair'
till 1881 of Drawing and Painting (now Art Department), and first
assigned to Clock Tower's second floor of "Old Main" (her October 1875
letter) upon its September 1875 opening. Out of respect of "Vergie", all
business houses closed their doors for her August 17th 1886 funeral.
Colonel GRAY's second wife (June 1889) Mary Melbourne (Borland) BEATTIE
(1850AR-1938MO) was youngest daughter of United States Senator Solon
BORLAND, Esquire, who with her two daughters were dedicated and beholden
to schools for the deaf --- she nearly 10-years in Arkansas, daughters:
Grace Melbourne BEATTIE (1873TN-1954MS) till 1948, Arkansas, Michigan &
Colorado with Mary Borland (Beattie) Clarke-BELL (1875TN-1962MS),
Arkansas, Michigan and Washington.

   Other factors are claimed contributing to demise of St Johns'

1)- Professor Michael B DOUGAN's, Arkansas Odyssey. Rose Publishing Com.
Little Rock, 1994,684pp.

"Its failure to thrive was caused in part by state sectionalism: Helena
Masons refused to contribute because they felt Little Rock favored
Memphis over Helena as the terminus for the railroad." and

2)- the State of Arkansas' assuming its
educational obligations in 1871 with successful creation of Arkansas
Industrial University in Fayetteville, Washington county. This under the
1862 Morrill Act, signed by President Abraham LINCOLN, shepherded by
former commander of Union's 4th Arkansas Cavalry, the 1868-1874 Supreme
Court Justice LaFayette GREGG (1825AL-1891AR)
later, member AIU's Board of Trustees, whose historic home
<>, is west, across Gregg Avenue
from GRAY's. AIU's classes began January 22, 1872 in former landowner,
Mr William McILORY's (1812NC-1886AR) house. (buried next to GRAY's plot
in Old Masonic cemetery, now Historic Evergreen cemetery, Fayetteville).
Student body had eight, seven male and Anna PUTMAN. AIU renamed
University of Arkansas in 1899.

Another historical educational FIRST: Anna PUTMAN, Ella CARNALL (Class
of1877) and others, were teachers in 1885 at Fayetteville's first public
school building, Washington
<> with Colonel Oliver
Crosby GRAY superintendent. Oliver, while on school board with friend
and neighbor LaFayette GREGG, both working hard towards its

   Utter confusion sets in as to her
presidency (?) following 1874, with BROOKS-BAXTER War, devastating fire
and Colonel GRAY moving on to the new university at Fayetteville. This
being one reason we contacted The Grand Lodge of Arkansas.

   a)- Librarian for Grand Lodge of Arkansas was not familiar with
the presidential sequence but noted on May 14, 2007:

"The last year students studied at St. Johns' was 1879."

   b)- Dallas T HERNDON's 1922 book states Rev A R WINFIELD
followed GRAY but,

   c)- Lucy Marion REAVES' 30 September 1934 newspaper article
cites, following GRAY was Richard H PARHAM, then W J ALEXANDER however,

   d)- Margaret Smith ROSS' 1950 Centennial article of 19 November
1950 states Reverend A R WINFIELD opened after the political debacle

   e)- I recall reading elsewhere that Major Richard H PARHAM was
president in school's final years.

   Colonel William C PARHAM (left in 1875 for The Arkansas Female
College, Little Rock, 1875-1877) is reportedly in charge at St Johns'
while Colonel Gray was away, then it appears (?) Methodist Reverend
Augustus Roberts WINFIELD (1822VA-1887AR), Camden, Ouachita county for
1870 census and Hot Springs, Garland county in 1880, may have become
president of St Johns' College following GRAY, with ----

   Major Richard H PARHAM (ca1834VA-1924AR), St Johns' College
professor since October 1869, becoming her last president. He also
served the public as an elected state Democrat legislator, who wrote a
school law for the legislature in 1874, providing for unpaid local
school boards elected by the people, county examiners appointed by the
county judge, and a state superintendent of education, to be elected;
public education thus became a component of the new state constitution
after delay from U S Senator Solon BORLAND's December 31, 1849 afore
noted bill in Washington city before Arkansas first opened public
schools in1868.

Major PARHAM afterwards taught in Little Rock's school system, becoming
a principal of schools, Ft Steele, Peabody, Scott Street & Kramer, and
the county examiner of public schools. He and wife Ora are listed living
with son-in-law Powell CLAYTON in 1900, he, less wife, in 1910 census.
PARHAM served Little Rock's public schools till about World War One.
Little Rock honored him by naming Parham school, built 1909 closed 1979,
100 years following last classes at St Johns' College, when I-630
highway construction did away with it. Memories are retained in a school
museum. <>.

   Concluding this compilation of
information assembled from many sources, shows us that Masonic, St
Johns' College of Arkansas and those involved, served pioneering
Arkansan's well during its short life, actual schooling only sixteen or
less years. Her known presidents were each notable, dedicated men of
worthy distinction. Her property was reportedly sold ca 1882 with funds
used to build their Masonic temple at Fifth and Main streets Little Rock
which likewise was destroyed by fire during early twentieth century
along with many records! Fires took a heavy toll in Little Rock.


     Credits and additional information:

ALEXANDRIA Boarding School (1824-xxxx):





ARKANSAS' Civil War Board and more;

      a)- 1st Regt Ark Inf:

      b)- 2nd Batt Ark Inf:

      c)- Capital Guards, 6th Ark Inf:

      d)- 3rd Ark Cav:

1950, page 12, Margaret Smith Ross

ARKANSAS GAZETTE: "100 years, 1819-1919 : supplement commemorating the
founding of Arkansas' first newspaper", page 66; 30 September 1934, Pt
II, Page 3, Col 1, Lucy Marion Reaves and State Centennial Edition, June

ATKINSON, James H: The Brooks-Baxter
Contest, Arkansas Historical Quarterly, Vol IV, No 2, 1945, pages 126 &

BOGGESS, William S: The Story of Two
ARKANSAS Pioneer School Teachers,

ENCYCLOPEDIA of Arkansas History and Culture:

GRAY, Oliver Crosby & Virginia LaFayette (Davis), family letters (most
held by Davis descendants, some Bentley Historical Library of University
of Michigan) and her MC 1618 material at Special Collections, University
of Arkansas.

HALE, Harrison; University of Arkansas,

HERNDON, Dallas T; Centennial
History of Arkansas (pages 570 & 571), 1922

JOHNSON, Reverend John Lipscomb (1835-1915): The University Memorial:
Biographical Sketches of Alumni of the
University of Virginia who fell in ConfederateWar;1871.

      a)- (THOMPSON: pages 98 to 108,

      b)- BRONAUGH: pages 158 to 163),

MASONARY IN ARKANSAS: by M. Shelby Kennard, 1860 (Courtesy: Special
Collections, University of Arkansas)

MONEYHON, Carl H: The Impact of the Civil War and Reconstruction on
Arkansas, 1994 (pages247 & 260).

PARHAM, Richard H, Major: Thirty-Three Years of Educational Work in

PIERCE, Aaron B: St John's College,
Pulaski County Historical Review, Vol 36, No 2, 1988

David Yancey: History of the University of Arkansas, 1910

ROY, Frederick Hampton, Sr &
WITSELL,Charles, Jr: HOW WE LIVED: Little Rock An American City, 1984,
pages 82, 83, 84, 85, 97, 125,151, 158, 161,170, 173 & 177.

SHINN, Josiah H; Pioneer and Makers of
Arkansas: 1908, 423 pages: (search: "Major Gray"
and/or other names, WATKINS)


      a)- 1834-1858: Cane Hill College
<> (accessed March
15, 2007)

      b)- 1858-1891: Cane Hill College
<> (accessed
March 15, 2007)


--- THE GRAYS, Washington County (AR) Historical Society's 'FLASHBACK',
May 1958