lie lectio of fefersao Davis to the
Presidency of the Agricultural and
Alechanical College of reras
CHARLES F. ARROWOOD
M OST PERSONS who are at all familiar with the history of
the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas know
that Jefferson Davis, former President of the Confederacy, was
offered the presidency of the college at its founding. There
are, however, many friends of the institution who have never
seen either the little pamphlet entitled Laws Relating to the
Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas, and Proceedings
of the Board of Directors of Said College, from June 1, 1875,
to January 23, 1878, arranged, and published at Austin, Texas,
1878, or the letters in which the offer of the presidency was
made and declined.
In the early years of the A. and M. College, the Governor
of Texas was, ex officio, President of its Board of Directors.
Since the organization of the college was not effected until after
the Democratic victory which swept Richard Coke into office,
the honor of first convening the board fell to him. The direc-
tors held their first meeting on June 1, 1875, at Bryan, and
authorized Governor Coke to offer the presidency of the college
to Jefferson Davis. The note in Peeler's pamphlet which records
the action is as follows: "The Board at this meeting further
authorized the President to correspond with Ex-President Jef-
ferson Davis and to tender to him the presidency of the Col-
The effort to bring Davis to this state seems to have had
considerable popular backing, for, about this time, a movement
was launched in Dallas to raise a fund to purchase a home-
stead for him, and to invite him to make his home here. The
Dallas Daily Herald reports these efforts, but it is not clear
how far the movement went.
Coke pursued the call, as authorized by the board, only to
have it declined. The Dallas Daily Herald of Wednesday, July
21, 1875, carries the correspondence.
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 49, July 1945 - April, 1946. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth146056/. Accessed July 11, 2014.