The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950 Page: 387
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Austin College in Huntsville
organized and through the enterprise of J. C. Smith, Henderson
Yoakum, and Robert Smither, subscriptions were raised for the
erection of a public building in the center of the square thereby
assuring to Huntsville the choice as county seat. The following
year was no less significant in that it witnessed the location of
the newly created penitentiary which was then deemed a very
worthwhile acquisition. The first Sunday School (Union) had
its beginning the same year.2
A more ambitious and far-reaching move was sought when
local leaders asked the electorate of Texas to name Huntsville as
the state's capital. The Constitution of 1845, provided that the
capital should remain in Austin for five years after which time
an election should be held to determine its location for the
ensuing twenty years. Huntsville lost to Austin as did Tehuacana
Hills which place, two decades later, became the seat of the Cum-
berland Presbyterian school, Trinity University.
Recovering quickly from the temporary disappointment occa-
sioned by the failure to get the capitol, Huntsville's leaders joined
by the college trustees sought to enhance the prestige of the infant
school-then but little more than a year old-when in January,
1851, the trustees authorized the president to apply to the legis-
lature for a change of name from Austin College to "The Texas
University" should he think the interests of the school could be
furthered thereby.3 Widely discussed at this time was a proposal
to divide equally the fifty leagues of public lands set aside by the
state for a university of the first class and from same create two
universities: one for West Texas and one for East Texas. Imme-
diately sensing the possibilities of the situation and recognizing
the potential benefits that might accrue to a school already in
existence the board sought thus to prepare for any opportunity.
But President Samuel McKinney, being a practical and expe-
rienced school man and a thoroughgoing realist, suffered no
illusions of grandeur concerning either himself or the new school.
He was quite content with the name suggested by Daniel Baker,
who had prevailed against the resolution of August 2o, 1849,
2Harry F. Estill, "The Old Town of Huntsville," Southwestern Historical Quar-
terly, III (April, 190oo), 265-278.
Minutes of Trustees of Austin College, I, 16.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 53, July 1949 - April, 1950, periodical, 1950; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101126/m1/493/: accessed November 21, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.