Rutersville College

and The Texas Monument and Military Institute

Rutersville College stood on a site that is one mile east of Rutersville on Old College Road. All that remains at the site is the cemetery.

Historical Markers

1841 Annual Catalogue

Historical Markers

The text of the gray granite centennial marker across the road from the cemetery:

RUTERSVILLE COLLEGE
First institution of higher education in Texas recommended in 1837 by Martin Ruter, D.D. Chartered as a Methodist school in 1840. Granted four leagues of land by the Republic of Texas. After educating more than 800 students it merged in 1856 into the Texas Monument and Military Institute.

From the historical marker across the road from the cemetery:

SITE OF FIRST METHODIST ANNUAL CONFERENCE IN TEXAS
The Rev. Martin Ruter (1785-1838) came to Texas as a missionary for the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1837. A town called Rutersville and Rutersville College, both located here, were named in his honor. Bishop Beverly Waugh arrived in Galveston in early December 1840. His mission was to visit Texas Methodists and to assemble and organize the first annual conference. Accompanied by Thomas O. Summers, Waugh traveled to Austin, where on December 20 he preached in the Capitol. Bishop Waugh arrived in Rutersville on Christmas Eve, and on Christmas Day he called the conference into session at Rutersville College. During the four day meeting the delegates elected Thomas O. Summers secretary of the conference, heard reports of the nine preachers present, admitted four new preachers, and ordained two deacons. The Texas Missionary Society also met, and plans were made for the second annual conference to be held in San Augustine in 1841. Following its humble beginnings here in 1840, the Texas conference of the Methodist Church grew steadily, eventually to include additional annual conferences within the state.

The pictured marker at the cemetery reads

RUTERSVILLE COLLEGE, the First Methodist and Protestant College in Texas founded 1840. On this site Rutersville College was founded. Its first President was Reverend Chauncy Richardson whose body lies buried near here. Born in Vermont 1802. Died in Fort Bend County, Texas April 11, 1852. The marker and cemetery inclosure [sic.] erected by the Southwest Conference of the Methodist Church in 1949.
Rutersville College marker photos
by John Reed
Grave marker photos for Rev. Chauncy Richardson by John Reed

Rutersville College 1841 Annual Catalogue

Rutersville, Fayette County, Texas

TRUSTEES OF THE COLLEGE

Rev. Chauncey Richardson, A.M., Pres't of Board

Hon. Andrew Rabb

Rev Dr. Wm. P. Smith

Rev. A. P. Manley, M.D.

Mr. Jonas Randall

Mr. John A. King

Mr. Franklin Lewis

Mr. Wager S. Smith

Mr. Horatio Chrisman

Mr. John Rabb, Treasurer of the Board

Mr. Thos. D. Fisher, Sec'y of the Board

HONORARY TRUSTEES

Hon. James Webb

Hon. G. W. Barnett

Hon. Francis Moore

Rev. R. Alexander

Hon. Wm. Menefee

Col. R. B. Jarman

FACULTY

Rev. C. Richardson, A.M., President, and acting Professor of Moral Science and Belle Letters

Rev. C. W. Thomas, A.B., Professor of Ancient Languages and Mathematics

_____________,Natural Sciences

_____________,Modern Languages

Mr. Thomas Bell, Tutor

Mrs. Martha G. Richardson, Preceptress.

_____________, Music

MALE STUDENTS

Names, Residence

Alfred Alway, Rutersville

Frederic Alway, Rutersville

Frances H. Ayers, Centre Hill

David T. Ayers, Centre Hill

George Barrier, Rutersville

Lionel Browne, Washington Co.

John H. Browne, Washington Co.

Rector H. Chrisman, Washington Co.

Eliphalet W. Crawford, Rutersville

John B. Crawford, Washington Co.

Charles L Cleveland, Brazoria

James B. Cox, Rutersville

James H. Dennis, Washington Co.

Richard Davis, Fayette Co.

Gallant W. Davis, Fayette Co.

Robert M. Eastland, La Grange

Rufus L. Fisher, Rutersville

Thomas B. Fisher, Rutersville

Nathaniel M. Gilliland, Travis Co.

Stephen S. Grey, Rutersville

Patrict Grey, Rutersville

S. B. Hendricks, Mount Vernon

Gerard Heyden, Rutersville

Asa C. Hill, Rutersville

John C. Hill, Rutersville

Dennis Hurley, Rutersville

Constantine Killough, Rutersville

Wm. B. Lockhart, Gonzales

George Lawrence, Groce's Retreat

Wm. B. Munson, Brazoria

S. Mordella Munson, Brazoria

Gerard B. Munson, Brazoria

Alexander W. Morrow, Rutersville

James L. Morrow, Rutersville

Alfred Moore, Rutersville

John C. C. Moore, Rutersville

Lumberd Mims, Brazoria

James J. Norton, Rutersville

Thomas K. Nelson, Rutersville

Lewis M. Nail, Rutersville

Quincy S. Nail, Rutersville

Clark B. Nail, Rutersville

Pleasant M. Nail, Rutersville

Charles Randall, Rutersville

Oliver P. Randall, Rutersville

Nathaniel Rudder, Brazoria

Calvin R. Rankin, Fayette Co.

B. M. P. Rabb, Rutersville

G. W. Rabb, Rutersville

John W. Rabb, Rutersville

James A. J. Smith, Pleasant Grove

Robert H. M. C. Smith, Pleasant Grove

Jordon W. Sweeny, Brazoria

David K Sutherland, Ward Co.

Thomas Sutherland, Ward Co.

John Shearne, Houston

George C. Tennille, Rutersville

Edward Toney, Rutersville

J. N. McD. Thomson, Milam Co.

FEMALE STUDENTS

Martha Ann Alway, Rutersville

Celia Alway, Rutersville

Caroline M. K. D. Ayers, Centre Hill

Emily A. Cox, Rutersville

Julia A. A. Cox, Rutersville

Melissa Crownover, Fayette Co.

Martha Davis, Fayette Co.

O. A. M. Edwards, Rutersville

Isabella H. Fisher , Rutersville

Rebecca Gilliland, Travis Co.

Martha Hodge, Fayette co.

Elizabeth E. A. Hunt, Bastrop Co.

Sarah A. A. Hill, Bastrop Co.

Elizabeth L. Hill, Rutersville

Sarah Ann Hill, Rutersville

M. A. R. Hill, Rutersville

Martha Ann Hill, Rutersville

Amanda C. Jarman, Fayette Co.

Jane H. Kerr, Washington Co.

Elizabeth A Killough, Rutersville

Penesy Jane Killough, Rutersville

N. Caroline T. King, Rutersville

Nancy W. Kirk, Fort Bend Co.

Harriet C. Kirk, Fort Bend Co.

Margaret J. Lockhart, Gonzales

Mary Lawrence, Groce's Retreat

Emeline Lawrence, Groce's Retreat

Amanda M. F. Moore, Rutersville

Caroline E. Manley, Rutersville

Elvira Nail, Rutersville

Melissa C. Rabb, Rutersville

Martha C. Rich, Rutersville

Ann Sophia Richardson, Rutersville

R. Frances Smith, Austin

Elizabeth M. Sutherland, Jackson Co.

George Ann Sutherland, Jackson Co.

Maria C. Tennille, Rutersville

Sarah Ann Tennille, Rutersville

Susannah C. Thomson, Milam Co.

Mary Jane Williams, Rutersville

Catalogue information provided by Robert Sage

A Footprints of Fayette article by Gary McKee:

Military Life in Rutersville 

The Texas Monument and Military Institute opened in Rutersville in 1856. Under their guidelines, a college year was forty weeks, divided into two sessions. Vacation was from July 1st to August 31st and a holiday of one week or ten days at Christmas. An overview of the school follows:

Discipline: military; the drill of company and battalion, and guard-duty, taught practically.

Class Work: French was substituted for Greek as a foreign language and a strong emphasis on the sciences, including engineering and astronomy.

Dress: uniform, summer: linen jackets and pants. Winter: gray cloth jackets and pants.

Punishment: demerit-marks, confinement to limits, to quarters, to guardroom, arrest, demission, expulsion.

Cadetship: attained by parents or guardians signing with applicant’s pledge of obedience to laws. The applicant must pass examinations in reading, writing and arithmetic, using tables and simple rules. Applicants must be twelve years old and fifty-two inches in height, and must have been honorably discharged from their former schools.

Charges: Tuition in the Academic Department: $30 per sessions; College Department: $50 per session; Board, washing, lighting, and fuel: $12 per month; Library Fund: $5 per year. Tuition will be refunded only in cases of protracted illness or death. All payable fees are payable one session in advance. No cadet will be allowed to owe the Institute. Spending money will be furnished by the Superintendant. Cadets will pay for all their own furniture, make their own beds, and attend some church on Sunday. They are not permitted to keep horses or arms.

Discipline: The utmost precisions in discharging the duties prescribed; unremitting devotion to study and absolute obedience to those in authority will be exacted from every Cadet.

Order of the Day: Reveille at daylight, at which the cadets parade, and answer to their names at roll-call; they then retire to their rooms and put them in proper police for inspection, in fifteen minutes after breaking ranks. Study hours till breakfast. Recreation to 8 ½ A.M. (Roll Call). Study and recreation till half past 12. Recreation (including dinner) to 2 P.M. Study and recitation till 4 P.M. (Roll Call). Drill till 5 P.M. Evening parade at 5 P.M. Recreation (including supper and prayers) till 7 ½ P.M. (Roll Call). Study hours till tattoo (Roll Call). Tattoo at 9 P.M. (Roll Call) [tattoo is the drum call to return to barracks]. Taps at 9 P.M., when lights must be extinguished and cadets all in bed. Inspection by officers immediately after taps and during nights. Summer hours are pushed back one hour.

The Institute closed its doors with the outbreak of the Civil War and the young men marched off to practice what they had learned. But no school could prepare the students for the horrors of the upcoming conflict.

Weimar Mercury, 27 Jan 1961

Texas's Oldest University Traveled a Rocky Road

by Mary Elizabeth Fox

Southwestern University at Georgetown will observe the 121st birthday Feb. 5.

Special events marking the anniversary of Texas' oldest university will be the morning church service at First Methodist church at 10:50 and a "birthday party" at 4:00 o'clock in the afternoon in the Bishop's Memorial Union building on the campus.

Attending the one-day celebration will be alumni and friends of the university.

From about 50 students and an endowment of $25,000 in 1840, Southwestern university has grown to more than 650 students and an endowment of almost $5,500,000.

Stunned, Not Killed

During its early days, the university met almost every conceivable obstacle . . . . war, pestilence, rivalry, failure, success, all became a part of the history of the school. War, yellow fever, indebtedness, etc., did not kill the university; only stunned it at times.

Today the grounds of the university comprise altogether more than 500 acres within and adjoining the corporate limits of Georgetown.

All Went to War

Approximately 3300 students from Texas, Louisiana, Arkansas, Indian Territory, and Missouri attended the college from 1841-1869. The Civil War dealt a blow to the college. There was a time when the president, Dr. G. W. Carter, and all of the students went off to war and classes were suspended for the duration of the war.

It was in 1836, when the cause of Texas freedom hung in the balance and when reports from Texas told of a dire need for religion and education, that Martin Ruter, then 52 and president of Allegheny college in Meadville, Pennsylvania, asked to be sent to Texas. He traveled by water from Pennsylvania to Texas and oftern remarked, "The way to Heaven is a short from Texas as from any other spot!"

Called Rutersville College

In seven short months this one man laid the foundation for higher education in Texas, for it was through his efforts that Rutersville College, which eventually became Southwestern University, was established. At ther end of his first 60 days in Texas, he had traveled by horseback 1200 miles. He made one trip to Bastrop with an armed escort of three men to protect him from marauding Indians.

When a group of laymen pledged themselves to establish a university despite the difficulties which loomed ahead, it was decided that the university should be placed in a town away from the temptations of drinking and gambling. There the men met a setback, for, in their estimation, no Texas town could qualify from a moral standpoint. Undaunted they decided to form a corporation, purchase a league of land and develop a new townsite. They named the town Rutersville, which was also the name of the college.

Rutersville was granted a charter by the Fourth Congress of the Republic of Texas, Feb. 5, 1840. The charter was dated 1840, but the school was in operation in 1839.

Fled Yellow Fever

The alumni of Rutersville College, Wesleyan College (established at San Augustine in 1844), McKenzie College (established in Clarksville in 1848), and Soule University (established at Chappel Hill in 1856) are alumni of Southwestern University located in Georgetown in 1870 in answer to the search of a place free from yellow fever.

By action of the firve Texas conferences of the Methodist Church, a central university was planned with the location in Georgetown. This institution opened its first session on Oct. 6, 1873, under the name of Texas University. In 1875 the name was changed to its present form, Southwestern University, when the desire for a state university was manifested. . . .

Related Links

Rutersville College
Article by Julia Lee Sinks in the Quarterly of the Texas State Historical Association, published in October 1898.
Online at the Texas State Historical Association website

Rutersville

Caleb Forshey
Footprints of Fayette article