North Carolina Education - Alamance County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1849

Alamance County

Graham

The Reverend William Bingham (1754-1826), a native of Ireland who was educated in Scotland, became principal of the Hillsborough Academy in 1813, but departed by 1815 in order to establish his own school. Bingham wished to raise his children in the country. Known as Mount Repose, Bingham’s school was about ten miles northwest of Hillsborough in Orange County at the time, and in what is now Alamance Coounty. At Mount Repose, the thirty-five to forty male pupils lived and studied in log cabins. The school’s classic curriculum and reputation for academic excellence drew students from as far away as Louisiana.

When Reverend Bingham died in 1826, his son, William James Bingham (1802-1866), finished out the year as principal at Mount Repose and then closed the school in order to take the helm of the Hillsborough Academy. He remained there until 1844 when, like his father before, he left to open a school at Oaks, west of Chapel Hill.

The Bingham family, including Reverend William Bingham, William James Bingham, and his sons William and Robert Bingham, was an important force in education in North Carolina for over one hundred years. The various schools with which the Binghams were associated were often called Bingham School, making it appear that one campus was moved from place to place over the years.

In chronological order, the schools were: 1) Hillsborough Academy, located in Hillsborough, served by the Reverend William Bingham, 1813 to about 1815; 2) Mount Repose, operated by Reverend William Bingham, ca. 1815 to 1827 (his son William James Bingham served a partial final year); 3) Hillsborough Academy, served by William James Bingham, 1827-1844; 4) Mount Repose, located in Alamance County, served by the Reverend William Bingham, 1815-1826, and by William James Bingham to close out 1826 school year; and 5) W. J. Bingham’s Select School or Oaks (later Bingham School), initially opened at Oaks, in western Orange County.

The latter operated at Oaks until William Bingham (1835-1873), William James Bingham’s son, took over as principal, incorporated it as Bingham School, and moved the campus to Mebaneville (present-day Mebane) in 1864. When his brother William died in 1873, Robert Bingham became principal of the Bingham School. He moved the campus to Asheville, in Buncombe County, in 1891, where it remained, closing the year after Robert’s death in 1927.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click here to read and to view their sources.

On January 27, 1851, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to include Alamance County in the distribution of the overall School Fund.
Also on January 27, 1851, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to Incorporate the Trustees of the Graham Institute, in the town of Graham.

Graham College had its beginnings in 1851 when John R. Holt incorporated the Graham Institute as a school for male students. The school opened its doors the following year under the direction of Holt and was opened to female students as well. Due to prior mismanagement and financial troubles plus the start of the American Civil War, the school was forced to close in 1863.

In 1871, Dr. William S. Long, long an advocate for education of both boys and girls, purchased the old college property and, the following year, opened Graham High School, teaching at the school along with his brother, Reverend Daniel Long. In 1881, the school’s charter was changed to call it Graham Normal College in order to prepare students for teaching careers in addition to standard studies. In 1883, Daniel Long left the school to become president of Antioch College in Ohio and the school was operated solely by William Long. While the Christian Church had been instrumental in building the school, it took no formal role in management until 1886 when the school was formally leased to the Church and plans were developed to create a more permanent location and name for the school. The town of Graham was chosen to be the educational center in North Carolina for the Christian Church partly because of its central location in the state and easy access to transportation via the North Carolina Railroad.

In 1889, Elon College (now University) was founded near Burlington by the Christian Church, with William Long as its first president (see below). Long is credited as the lead visionary in the creation of the new college, choosing the name “Elon” for the area, the Hebrew word for “oaks.” Long and the Church planned to make the original Graham College institution a preparatory school. However, in 1892, the Graham College building was destroyed by fire and the Church discontinued plans for its use as a school and sold the property.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On January 28, 1851, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize Alamance County to appoint a Superintendent of Common Schools and to establish school districts with school committeemen.
On January 21, 1859, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to amend the Charter of Graham Institute, to rename it to Graham College, and to authorize assets up to $200,000. Land up to 100 acres will be tax exempt.
On December 9, 1864, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Bingham School, a military institute, in the town of Mebane in Alamance County. This is the second school to be named the Bingham School, and it was ultimately moved to Asheville in 1891.

By 1751, thirty Quaker families from Pennsylvania had settled near Cane Creek in present-day Alamance County. In 1866, the meeting, with the assistance of the Baltimore Association, built a school. Known as Sylvan Academy, it operated under the Cane Creek Meeting until 1903. Sylvan Elementary School, the public school that stands today in Snow Camp, takes its name from its Quaker predecessor.

The above write-up (edited) was extracted from the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On January 9, 1872, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within two (2) miles of Sylvan Academy and Cane Creek Church, both just south of the small town of Snow Camp in Alamance County near the Chatham County line.
On March 3, 1875, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Graham High School in the town of Graham in Alamance County.
On March 9, 1889, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate a new Graham School in the town of Graham in Alamance County, and named six (6) corporators for this private academy.
Also on March 9, 1889, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Yadkin Academy, an existing colored academy one mile west of the town of Mebane. Twelve (12) corporators were named in the Act.
On March 11, 1889, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Elon College, an existing college at Mill Point in Alamance County. Fifteen (15) trustees were named in the Act. Property up to $500,000 is to be tax exempt.

In 1872, the Southern Christian Conference (of the Christian Church, later United Church of Christ) decided to open a college. The institution tentatively was known as “Graham College,” as there had long been such an institution in Graham (the county seat of Alamance County), already associated with the church. However, when the trustees were unable to acquire land in Graham, in 1888, a different location for the campus was selected. It was to be near a railroad stop in Alamance County known as Mill Point, about five miles west of Burlington, which had just been named the year before (it had been known as Company Shops since 1858).

The trustees purchased forty-eight (48) acres of land from W. H. and E. A. Trollinger as well as several adjoining plots from other interested parties—a total of 86.81 acres for bargain prices. When the land, filled with old oak trees, was being cleared in 1889, the name Elon was selected. Elon is the Hebrew word for oak. Elon College opened on September 2, 1890, as a four-year liberal arts college.

A town plat was created and lots were sold to help raise money for the college. The community grew quickly and was incorporated in 1893 as Elon College. The town’s streets were given names commemorating important figures in the development of the Christian Church and of the college. In January of 1923, the main campus building was destroyed by fire. During the reconstruction, which took about three years, the campus was expanded with five new buildings to accommodate the growing college.

Elon College added graduate degree programs in the 1980s. Those have continued to grow, with law added in 2006. To better reflect the school’s diverse programs and growing student body, the college changed its name to Elon University in 2000. With that change, the name of the town was changed from Elon College to Elon.

The above write-up (with edits) was provided by the North Carolina Highway Marker program. Click Here to read and to view their sources.

On February 14, 1891, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Mebane Academy in the town of Mebane, Alamance County. Five (5) trustees were named in the Act.
On March 9, 1897, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to place the part of Alamance County that lies within the town limits of Gibsonville (on the line between Alamance and Guilford counties) into the Gibsonville School District and managed by Guilford County schools.
 
 
 
 
 
 


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