North Carolina Education - Caldwell County

Year County Established

County Webpage Herein

County Seat Webpage Herein

1841

Caldwell County

Lenoir

Davenport Women’s College first opened its doors in Lenoir in 1855. That year, Center Camp Meeting had collected $12,000 for its construction. Three thousand dollars ($3,000) of that sum was donated by Colonel William Davenport, whose name the school was given in time. Caldwell County’s William A. Lenoir gave land for the school buildings. In the fall of 1857, the school was placed under the jurisdiction of the South Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. The North Carolina General Assembly chartered the institute on January 21, 1859; at that time, fifty-six (56) women were already enrolled.

Notwithstanding shortages and devastating pillage by troops taking part in Major General George Stoneman’s Raid in 1865, classes at Davenport continued through the war years and beyond. In February of 1877, the college burned. Despite the efforts of the community to extinguish the flames, the building was destroyed. At the time, it was valued at $25,000, but the facilities were not insured. By 1884, the school had been rebuilt and was operating as a private high school. In 1893, control of the college transferred from the South Carolina Conference to the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, South. It was not until the early 1900s that it was again a two-year college and boarding school.

During its years of operation, Davenport College offered social and cultural opportunities to citizens of Caldwell County that otherwise would not have been available. All in the community were welcome to attend lectures and concerts that were brought in by the college. In 1932, the Western North Carolina Conference of the Methodist Church recommended that Davenport College merge with Greensboro College. As preparations were made for the merger, Davenport closed its doors in 1933. The amalgamation was completed in 1938. Greensboro College is now co-educational, and it continues to be affiliated with the United Methodist Church. At the time of Davenport’s closing, two buildings remained. They were used for a time by Caldwell County Schools as a junior high school. Today, the one remaining Davenport College building houses the Caldwell Heritage Museum.

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 21, 1859, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate Davenport Female College in the town of Lenoir in Caldwell County. Thirteen (13) trustees were named in the Act, and the school was authorized up to $400,000 in assets.
On February 20, 1879, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Love and Charity Society of Wilson Creek Academy in Caldwell County. Six (6) trustees were named in the Act.
On February 20, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to incorporate the Globe Academy in Caldwell County. Nine (9) corporators and five (5) temporary trustees were named in the Act. Another Act was passed on February 14, 1891; see below
On March 7, 1883, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to authorize qualified voters in Lenoir Township to decide whether to levy a special tax to fund graded schools in the town of Lenoir in Caldwell County. Seven (7) trustees were named for each of the white school and the colored school.

Pfeiffer University was established in 1885 as Oberlin Home and School at Lick Mountain, near Hudson in southeastern Caldwell County. It was founded by Emily C. Prudden, a Connecticut transplant who spent almost fifty years setting up schools in North Carolina’s western piedmont region and mountains. With each of her schools, Prudden would oversee initial operation and then transfer the school and property to a church mission society. In 1903, Prudden deeded Oberlin to the Women’s Home Missionary Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, which renamed it the Ebenezer Mitchell Home and School. A fire in 1908 led to the temporary relocation to facilities in the town of Lenoir and finally, in 1910, to its present location in Misenhiemer in Stanly County, North Carolina.

A junior college curriculum was added in 1928 and Mitchell Junior College was accredited by the state six years later. Improvements in county schools allowed Mitchell Junior College to strengthen its collegiate-level courses. In 1935, the school was renamed in honor of benefactors Henry and Annie Merner Pfeiffer of New York. The couple donated funds for the construction of four brick buildings and a president’s home. Expanding both physically and academically, Pfeiffer was became a four-year college in 1960. A final change in academic structure garnered the school university status in 1996. Now with satellite campuses in Charlotte and Durham, Pfeiffer University is an apt tribute to Emily C. Prudden’s nineteenth century educational work.

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 the Globe Academy in Caldwell County. Twenty-three (23) trustees were named in the Act, and all property was now tax exempt.
On February 28, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within one (1) mile of Hilbriten Mountain Academy near the town of Lenoir in Caldwell County.
On March 13, 1895, the North Carolina General Assembly passed an Act to prohibit the sale of spirituous liquors within one (1) mile of Bush School House in Caldwell County.
 
 


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