Jacksonville College

Moved by the need for a college in East Texas, a group of earnest Baptists met in Palestine, Texas, March, 1899. They formed a permanent organization known as, "The East Texas Educational Society." The following officers were elected: A. W. Ewing, president; D. L. Scarborough and R. B. Longmire, vice-presidents; C. A. Lawler, secretary; and W. J. Foscue, treasurer. They realized East Texas must educate its youth if it rose to the heights of its possibilities. With this in mind, they proceeded in their plans to establish an institution which would provide academic and cultural training under religious influence. Jacksonville was their choice for the location.

The East Texas Educational Society applied for a charter for Jacksonville College on June 10, 1899. The procedure was executed by A. P. Schofield, W. J. Foscue, R. B. Longmire and J. M. Newburn, then acting in the capacity of a corporation. The charter was approved and signed by the Secretary of State of Texas, July 26, 1899, and was renewed in 1957.

On July 20, 1899, a building site, consisting of 18 acres was bought for Jacksonville College. The trustees gave a contract for a three-story brick building in May, 1899. This building was not complete for the opening session of 1899-1900. The upper story of the Templeton building on South Bolton Street was rented and school opened in September with an enrollment of 34 students, and before the end of the opening session the enrollment increased to 85 students. Before the Christmas holidays the three-story brick building was completed and classes were moved to that location. Since that date all activities of the college have been at the present site.

In the original organization the institution was on the senior college level, awarding the Bachelor of Arts Degree to its graduates. It functioned as a senior college until 1918, when it was reorganized on the junior college level and has functioned as a junior college since that time, awarding its graduates the Associate of Arts degree.

The Jacksonville College Academy was organized in 1918-1919. Its purpose was to offer a four-year course measuring up to the standards of high school work. The academy became affiliated with the State Department of Education in 1919, and maintained affiliation until discontinued in 1958.

The junior college course of study was organized in 1918-1919. It conformed to that offered by standard colleges and universities in their first and second year requirements. In 1923, affiliation was established with the State Department of Education.

In 1923, the original charter was amended to provide that Articles 7, 8 and 9, be changed to allow the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas to become the owner of Jacksonville College. Since that date the Baptist Missionary Association of Texas has owned and operated the college.

The first president, J. W. Vermillion (1899-1903) served later terms in this capacity (1908-10, 1914-18). B. J. Albritton was president at three different times (1903-05, 1906-08, 1918-37). Others included Rev. J. M. Newburn (1905-06), F. D. Graves (1910-11), H. R. Chapman (1911-12), J. W. Hoppe (1912-13), D. C. Dove (1913-14), J. W. Overall (1937-41), Reverend C. R. Meadows (1941-44), Dr. Gerald Kellar (1944-56) and Douglas Laird (1956-61). Rev. Curtis Carroll has been president of Jacksonville College since 1961.

This three-story main building, known as "Old Main," was completed and occupied by Jacksonville College in December, 1899.

The Weatherby building at J.B.C. houses the library. It was a gift of the late W. J. Weatherby and Mrs. Weatherby.