<< Back 1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10
the meantime the trustees had decided, with the concurrence of the
Indiana Conference of the Methodist Church, to establish a medical
department in Indianapolis and appointed eight persons to its faculty
in 1848. All were physicians except Charles G. Downey, who was transferred
from the professorship of natural science in Greencastle. Known
as the Indiana Central Medical College, the school opened in December
1849 but closed after only three years, having graduated 40 of the
more than 100 students who attended its classes, including Joshua
T. Belles, the grandfather of British Prime Minister Harold MacMillan.
Reasons for its demise are hazy, but probably most important was
a feeling that the university was overextending itself in view of
its modest financial resources.
More enduring was the law school program which operated in Greencastle
from 1853 to 1863. Its faculty consisted of a single professor of
law who lectured for a few weeks each term to a handful of would-be
lawyers. John A. Matson, Judge A.C. Downey, and John Cowgill each
served as law professor at one time or another. The university awarded
54 degrees of bachelor of laws during the decade.
The diary of E.E. Edwards, who enrolled in the preparatory department
of Indiana Asbury in 1846 as a boy of 15, presents a vivid picture
of student life. He first lived in a rented room in the home of
judge John Cowgill-a member of the board of trustees-located on
the northwest corner of the town square and called "Tumbledown."
Here were housed four boys on the ground floor and six on the second.
All out-of-county students, many in their early teens, had to find
both room and board from local landlords, the university providing
no dormitory accommodations until 1885. The college bell rang at
4:00 a.m., but Edwards did not rise until about six. At eight he
joined with the rest of the student body in a brief religious service
in the college chapel, where scripture selections were read, prayers
offered, and announcements made; sometimes the choir sang under
the direction of Professor Tingley.
The rest of the morning was spent in class recitations. Edwards
and his fellow students were supposed to study in their rooms after
the noon meal until four or five o'clock, when they were free for
recreation. After supper they returned to their rooms to study until
the college bell rang at 9 p.m., signaling lights out. On Sunday
morning students were required to attend one of the Greencastle
churches and in the afternoon a lecture at the college by the president
or one of the professors.
rather Spartan routine was occasionally broken by pranks and parties,
though students in general came under much more rigorous faculty
supervision than imaginable today. Parents were encouraged even
to entrust students' spending money with a member of faculty. The
young men managed to find time for occasional oyster suppers with
ginger beer, but dating local girls was closely monitored. As for
pranks, Edwards reports how he and others distributed the university
woodpile around town to such effect that classes had to be dismissed
the next day because there was no firewood for the classroom stoves.
Asbury student reads in a tree, from a
sketch by E. E. Edwards in his 1847 diary.
idea of college costs may be obtained from a letter written by student
Aden G. Cavins in 1847 to his father:
At present I enjoy remarkable good health, and can cheerfully
say that I have so far spent my time since I left old Green County in a flow of high spirits. Sickness prevailed here more during the
fall than it has for a number of years, the cause of which, I believe,
number of students in attendance during this term is about 175 which
exceeds that of any previous term, and of course renders the lower
departments of study too much crowded for convenience, or thorough
drilling, or rapid improvement. There is some probability that this
will be remedied by the creation of another teacher....
I am boarding at Mr. Dicks at 1.75 a week. I commenced boarding
at Mr. Talbotts (at 1.50 per week) a very large boarding house which
accomodates about 22 students but the noise, confusion, and disturbance,
was so intense and continuous that it required more concentration
of mind than I could command to learn anything save that which if
learned ought to be unlearned....I think it will take about $20
or $21 more to pay my expenses for this term since my books cost
Above, a drawing of the Greencastle home of trustee Rees Hardesty,
first treasurer and later president of the board. In this
house, Professor Larrabee performed the wedding of Hardesty's
daughter in 1850 to recent Asbury graduate and later Indiana
congressman and senator Daniel W. Voorhess.
Pages: << Back 1
2 3 4
5 6 7
8 9 10