The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948

Waco llHiversity
J. D. BRAGG
HE Trinity River Baptist Association, organized in 1848,
extended from Leon County westward to Coryell and
from Johnson County southward to Milam County.' In
1855, the association voted to establish two schools, one for boys
and one for girls, and the next year it chose the town of Waco as
the location for the boys' school and proceeded to elect a board
of trustees. This Trinity River Male High School began classes
in 1857 in the building of the Waco Baptist Church. In 186o,
the institution changed its name to Waco Classical School, and
the Waco Association, organized in that year, assumed direction
over it.2 The year 1861 brought even more startling changes.
When John C. West tendered his resignation as principal of the
school in January, the trustees communicated with Dr. Rufus
C. Burleson, president of Baylor University at Independence,
with the result that Dr. Burleson accepted the presidency of the
Waco school and brought with him that summer the entire
faculty of four teachers and the senior class of seven of the male
department of Baylor. The school was reorganized and named
Waco University.8
Because of the Civil War the times were anything but pro-
pitious for the beginning of a university devoted exclusively to
male education. Consequently, the years 1862-1865 found the
institution largely confined to the status of a primary and pre-
paratory school. Attendance was good, however, and during the
session of 1863-1864 the registration reached a total of 192 stu-
dents.' In recognition of the times the trustees approved a course
in military instruction, saying, however, that it was to be "rec-
reative in its nature," and stipulating that it was "not to inter-
fere with the regular course of study.""
1J. M. Carroll, A History of Texas Baptists (Dallas, 1923), 222.
2lbid., 222-223, 405.
aMinutes of the Board of Trustees of Waco University and Classical School,
January 21, 1861, Texas Collection, Baylor University; Frederick Eby, The Develop-
ment of Education in Texas (New York, 1925), 136.
4Carroll, History of Texas Baptists, 136.
5Minutes of the Board of Trustees of Waco University, March 21, 1863.

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 51, July 1947 - April, 1948. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101119/. Accessed August 30, 2014.