The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962 Page: 466
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466 Southwestern Historical Quarterly
Soule was really the third institution of higher education to
come under the purview of the Texas Conference. Rutersville
College in 1840, and Chappell Hill Male and Female Institute
in 1854, were Soule's predecessors.3 With Soule, however, Texas
Methodism set forth on its first university venture.
A casual glance at the region in 1962 would find a source of
optimism for the establishment of a university unrevealed. In
the 1850's, however, persons were flowing into the area, changing
the prairie to plantation, and bringing slaves to work the land.
Trails blazed by the earlier itinerant preachers then connected
communities served by local pastors. Cotton and sugar provided
an economic base from which there was derived enough surplus
money, not only to support the missions of the church, but also
to support more schools.
For a year the medical project lay dormant. Then, on Decem-
ber 7, 1858, Dr. G. W. Neely addressed the board concerning the
matter. As a result, a committee consisting of Dr. Ashbel Smith
of Houston, Dr. William R. Smith and Dr. L. [T.?] J. Heard of
Galveston, Professor Stone and Dr. McFarland of New Orleans,
Dr. G. W. Neely, and Dr. W. H. Gant [Gantt?] was appointed
to investigate the possibility of establishing the medical depart-
ment in either Galveston or Houston upon a "self-sustaining
Two months later, on February 18, 1859, the board convened,
the faculty also being present (the only record of such an occur-
3The governing board of Rutersville College and the members of the Texas
Conference, all Methodist preachers at that time, became disenamored with their
relationship early in the 185o's. As a result, the Texas Conference withdrew its
support of the Fayette County school and shifted its interest to the newly chartered
Soule University. Within six months after the chartering event, Rutersville College
petitioned the legislature for a new charter, thereby severing the tender legal cord
that bound the two together. See Jones, A History of Southwestern University,
1873-1949, pp. 58-65-
Chappell Hill Male and Female Institute was originally chartered as a non-
denominational institution but this feature was altered by an amendment to that
charter. See Gammel, The Laws of Texas, 1822-1897, III, 1128-1129; IV, 134. There
was an interesting personal relationship between Rutersville College and Chappell
Hill Male and Female Institute. Three of Martin Ruter's children, Philander S.,
Charlotta, and Augustus, followed their father to Texas and were associated with
Chappell Hill Institute. The brothers both served as its president. Later, Augustus
taught chemistry at the Galveston Medical College. See Jones, A History of South-
western University, 1873-1949, pp. 121-122, 153.
4Soule Board Minutes, December 7, 1858, p. 38.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 65, July 1961 - April, 1962, periodical, 1962; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101195/m1/524/: accessed April 29, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.