Jonathan Fairbanks and Clyde Edwin Tuck

Past and Present of Greene County, Missouri

Early and Recent History and Genealogical Records
of Many of the Representative Citizens

Chapter 12
History of Public Education in Springfield
by Wm. Rullkoetter, Ph.D., Historian of Drury

Part 2
Colleges and the Public Library


It would be interesting to know in whose mind first originated the idea of planting a Congregational college in southwestern Missouri. This will probably never be definitely known, for causes are buried in the past history of the race. However, when Massachusetts adopted, in 1780, the first state constitution under our Federal government, and therein provided for the intellectual and moral development of American citizenship, we have the first large expression of an impulse that had been gathering through preceding centuries and which led gradually to the planting of institutions of higher learning in the new world.

The establishment of Drury College in 1873 would not have been possible except for this earlier aspiration which had been a moulding force in our national life, and which has made the desire for education one of the national ideas of America. This aspiration has been thwarted by the stern necessity of conquering the physical resources of a mighty continent, with the result that our civilization has become largely materialistic; and, further, that those who devoted themselves unreservedly to high intellectual and moral pursuits, became few in number—an explanation why the desire for schools was so general and the material support so inadequate, and this must constantly be borne in mind where the history of Drury College is in question.

That Drury College was organized on the 26th day of March, 1873, incorporated as Springfield College, August 5th and as Drury College, December 29, 1873, is a so often stated fact as to scarce need to be repeated here. It is recorded that the names of those directly responsible for the undertaking, and in whose minds was focused the purpose of the age, were first of all that of Rev. H. B. Fry, of Carthage; Rev. H. D. Lowing, of Neosho; the Harwood Brothers, of Springfield, and peculiarly decisive was that of Mrs. L. L. Allen, of Pierce City, who refused to vote with her colleague, Mr. E. Skews in favor of Neosho. The reasons for this decision have not come down to us. It may have been rnere woman's intuition, or a clear vision of the future, or solely the promptings of a Christian motive. Other communities of southwest Missouri, as Lebanon, Carthage, Neosho, Pierce City and Marshfield, had desires and aspirations for the educational institution that was to be founded by the Springfield Association of Congregational churches and the advantages of Springfield were not then so apparent as in this later day, for the development has been by leaps and bounds from an insignificant town of seven thousand to hold the place of fourth city of the the state and to be unsurpassed by any city in the state for its educational advantages. [417]




Nor should the services of Martin J. Hubble be forgotten; for it is recorded that when financial misunderstanding threatened the educational enterprise in Springfield, it was due to his genial persuasiveness that Rev. Nathan J. Morrison and Mr. Samuel Fletcher Drury of Michigan were assured that Springfield would be as good as her promises. The story of his ride across the brush covered tract between old and new town to the Ozark House is no idle story, but a glimpse into the authentic happenings of those days.

Although not the initiator of the undertaking it is self evident that without Mr. Drury there would be no Drury College today. His reasons for becoming interested in the educational project of Springfield are not so generally known, In 1863, his only son Albert Fletcher died and Mr. Drury decided to devote his wealth to aid the development of higher Christian education and to give to other young people the opportunity of which his son was deprived by death. He had interested himself in Olivet College and become a strong supporter of that institution and a friend of its president, Doctor Morrison. When the latter, therefore, became interested in founding a college in the Southwest, he solicited the aid of Mr. Drury. Consequently Mr. and Mrs. Drury visited Springfield late in March of I873 and considered the project favorably. Doctor Morrison, anxious to attach local loyalty, had the school incorporated as Springfield College but Mr. Drury conditioning his gift upon being permitted to name the institution, it as re-incorporated on December 29, 1873, as Drury College. Thus the school that was built

"High up on the crest of the Ozarks
Away from the land and the sea"

stands as a monument to Albert Fletcher Drury.

The location of the college and the size of the campus was due to the building in 1870 of the Atlantic and Pacific railroad, one and three-fourths miles north of the public square and consequently leading to the establishment of North Springfield which carried on a separate administration until 1888. Because the projectors of the college movement desired the co-operation of both towns, North Springfield stipulated that it should not be located beyond a certain line south and Springfield that it should not be placed beyond a certain line north. The college thus became a common center for both towns and it may be said to have been the first large interest to bring them together. [419]




Contrary to general belief the campus of nearly forty acres was not acquired at one time, but in twenty-five parcels. The first was purchased on September 22,1873, and the last on June 12, 1889. On September 25, 1873, when the doors opened to the thirty-nine students Springfield College as it was then called, actually owned only four lots, or less than one and one-half acres on Benton avenue, which had been conveyed by Dr. E. J. Robberson for one thousand six hundred and fifty dollars ($1,650). Some twenty acres were pledged by the Ozark Land Company, but the transaction depended upon the outcome of the college project—an example of the doubt and misunderstanding under which the leaders struggled during the dark days that followed the financial panic of 1873.

Space does not permit the recounting of the difficulties experienced in the acquisition of Drury campus, but it must be acknowledged that it was fortunate for the future of the college that the first president early saw the strategic importance of securing the entire tract from Calhoun street on the north to Center on the south; and it should not be forgotten that fully one-third of the debt of those early years was for the purchasing of the different lots from the interested real estate dealer and the reluctant colored man. Greatest of all obstacles was the unwillingness of the public school board to remove the colored school from the old brick building on Washington avenue.

Territorially, Drury College commands about two hundred square miles. It would be difficult to find a college in the United States that dominates as extensive a territory with an ever increasing population. To serve this has been the privilege of Drury in the past and it will be the compelling duty of the future.

The leaders of the enterprise being churchmen, it was natural that religious education should be made prominent. Drury, however, has been dominated as much by intellectual antidemocratic as by the Christian ideal and while the emphasis may have been shifted somewhat from the Christian ideal of the early period to the intellectual and democratic, these three have been the most precious possessions of Drury. [421]

The Christian ideal has found expression in the work and sacrifice of the early professors who filled the pulpits of struggling churches in adjacent territory; in the strong Christian organizations of the young men and young women, established in 1886; in the Saturday night prayer service that was usually led by one of the professors and where student and faculty spent an hour together in devotion to the highest ideal of humanity. The Sunday vesper service is now an expression of the same spirit inviting the community to share in this worship. Through all records there is evidence of conformity to the Christian ideal whether in the preliminary gatherings for organization, the formal statements contained in the charter, or in the of recounted incident of the prayer service that was led by Deacon Drury before Dr. T. W. Flanner, a lifelong friend of the institution, lifted the spadeful of earth in formal preparation for the first building, that was to be afterward known as the Old Academy building.

From the first, Drury College has maintained a high standard of intellectual efficiency. Her students are placed on an equal with those of the best educational institutions of our land and a student trained at Drury has not only the best training that Missouri affords, but not infrequently he is an honor student in the institutions of highest culture. In the intellectual development, the literary societies have been dominant forces, with the result that debates have been won and oratorical honors received.

The scholarships offered to the best pupils in the secondary schools, bring to the college some of the brightest minds in these schools. The scholarships given are embraced under the general headings of high school and academy service and beneficiary and endowed aid. The names of the noble-minded, kind-hearted men and women who have endowed the twenty-four scholarships by means of gifts amounting to over thirty-six thousand dollars are suggestive of the wide interest through many years in the lives of the young people who come to Drury. The prizes offered are designed to stimulate the student along the special line of work he is pursuing and to add to the intellectual rivalry within the class room.

The courses of study are many and while not all elective are sufficiently flexible to give especial opportunity to the student to develop his line of enthusiasm and to prepare himself in his chosen field.

From time to time there have been attempts to provide teachers for this territory and with this in mind summer sessions were held in 1900 and 1901 under the direction of Prof. F. A. Hall; and in 1903, 1904 and 1905 with Prof. William Rullkoetter in charge. The attendance was increased from fifty-eight, in the first session to one hundred and twelve in the last. Teachers were prepared for more effective service throughout Southwest Missouri and an ever widening interest in the institution was created. With the establishment of the state normal school No. 4 at Springfield and a change of administration at Drury, the summer school was abandoned.

In connection with the intellectual life at Drury, the publications play no insignificant part. A college bulletin is published quarterly by the faculty; The American Mathematical Monthly, under the efficient management of Prof. B. F. Finkel, its founder, has attained international reputation; a semi-monthly publication, "The Drury Mirror," 'has been issued by the students since 1886 and the Sou'wester, first published in 1903, is edited each year by the junior class. [422]

The well equipped library of over thirty thousand bound volumes and many pamphlets, provides a good foundation for all branches of learning. The Edward M. Shepard Museum of Natural History is an inexhaustible source of information to the scientific student, and is considered one of the finest museums west of the Mississippi river. The museum is supplemented by the work that is done at the Bradley field station at Graydon Springs. Music has been brought to its highest under the able management of W. A. Chalfant (now resigned 1914). Due to his untiring effort and that of his esteemed wife, Mrs. Hattie Leach Chalfant, the seven thousand dollar organ has adorned Stone chapel since 1906.

Dr. Morrison not merely gave to the college the Christian "Christo et Humanitate," but also insisted on high intellectual standards. The intellectual superiority of Druty was further upheld in the earlier years by Professors F. A. Hall, now acting dean of Washington University, and G. B. Adams, Department of History at Yale University. Throughout the years, those who have directed the educational policy of Drury have been in the main, strong men and women who have insisted on thorough work and thus given to the institution a high standing in the state. For sound educational principles, Profs. A. P. Hall and B. F. Finkel merit to be remembered. Chemistry, under the skillful management of Prof. Harrison Hale, has advanced and biology has been urged upward by the inventive ability of Prof. Charles Spurgeon.

The democratic ideal is conditioned by the Christian and by the intellectual ideal. The Christian is inclusive, the pagan exclusive. The intellectual is democratic and depends on the masses for its power. Drury has been democratic from the beginning. Not only have the students had the advantage of mature instructors, they have been permitted to come into personal intercourse with the faculty from president down. Ofttimes the best student has been the poorest in material possessions. Many of those who have benefited society most have worked their way through college. Former students and graduates express high appreciation of the democratic ideals that have dominated Drury's life. The two hundred and thirty-eight men and two hundred and twenty-four women who have been graduated have not merely enriched their own lives but that of the community of which they have been a part, and the influence of C. P. Howland and Caroline Daniels in giving to students a proper view of life will not soon be forgotten. [423]

The board of trustees as first organized was composed of twelve members, several of whom were to be Congregationalists; and this proportion was. maintained when in the year 1884 the number was changed to twenty. In 1908 denominational connection was dispensed with and Drury is now in name what she has been in fact unsectarian. Considering that the number of men and women graduated have been so nearly equal, has not the time arrived when women should be elected on the board of trustees? All graduates who have expressed themselves in response to a questionaire on this point, were unanimous in favor of such a measure. In view of woman's progress and prominence in all lines of life's work there seems to be no good reason why women should not serve upon this board.

Among those trustees who by their generous service and sacrifice have made possible the growth of Drury College these should not be forgotten: Judge Charles Harwood, 1873-1915, Upland, California; Samuel Drury, 1873-1882, Olivet, Michigan; C. L. Goodell, D. D., 1873-1885, St. Louis, Missouri; M. L. Gray, 1888-1905, St. Louis, Missouri; Dr. E. T. Robberson, 1873-1894, Springfield, Missouri; Henry Hopkins, 1882-1902,Kansas City, Missouri; Rev. W. H. Wilcox, 1878-1886, Malden, Massachusetts. Not only these, but the long line of men who have given faithful service should be held in grateful remembrance by every loyal friend of Drury.

Drury College has been fortunate in its presidents. Dr. Nathan J. Morrison, the promoter and first president, brought with him not only the Christian spirit of Oberlin, but also the culture of the east, and for fifteen years from September, 1873, to January, 1888, he guided the struggling school through hardships and doubts that at times threatened its very existence. During these years six new buildings were erected and two purchased. In order of erection they were the $7,000 Academy building which was torn down in 1908 to make room for Bunaham Hall; the Model school building, costing $1,000, that burned in 1882; Fairbanks Hall, which was begun in 1874 and completed in 1876 at a cost of $30,000, was largely the gift of Mr. Charles Fairbanks, of London, as a memorial to his son, Walter. At present it is fittingly used as the Boys' Home of Drury campus. With elaborate ceremonies on November 16, 1880, the cornerstone of the college chapel was laid. Unfortunately the unfinished structure was burned in 1882 and not completed during the administration of the first president. In conception and final execution, however, Stone chapel as it stands today may be said to represent the aspirations of Doctor Morrison. This beautiful structure was made possible by the gift of Mrs. Valeria Stone, of Malden, Massachusetts. The wooden structure on Center street was placed on the campus in 1882 at a cost of $2,500; and Spencer cottage in 1885 for $1,200. The old Museum building and the Putnam House, better known as the Old President's house, were purchased respectively in 1884 and 1888. [424]

Doctor Morrison was followed by Francis T. Ingalls whose winning personality harmonized all interests and won everywhere for the college new friends and possibilities. Within his four years of service from 1888-1892, the crushing debt of $45,000 was provided for and Stone chapel completed at an approximate cost of $45,000. His untimely death was regretted far and wide. It was not thought that his place could be filled, but as acting president the work was effectively carried on by C. D. Adams from 1892-93; and from 1893-94 under the able management of Dr. E. M. Shepard. During this interim the endowment was materially increased and early in 1894, McCullagh cottage made a handsome addition to the buildings of the campus.

In the fall of 1894, Dr. Home T. Fuller took the presidency and gave to Drury eleven years of unselfish, service. In this time the school showed marked improvement in all lines. Among the buildings came the commodious president's house and in 1901 Pierson's Hall. This home of the science department will ever be a monument to Doctor Fuller. Not only did he give to education but to the interests of the community.

Dr. E. M. Kirbye held the presidency for two years and in 1907, Dr. H. George assumed that responsible position. While Doctor George was administering the affairs of the college, a number of buildings made their advent upon the campus. The most important of which were the gymnasium and Burnham Hall, built in 1909 and costing $25,000 and $41,000, respectively. The college was also provided with a central heating and lighting plant and in 1911 the Commons, a spacious dining hall, was built.

When Doctor George resigned because of ill health, he was followed by Dr. James McMurtry as acting president in 1914, as president in 1915. Dr. McMurtry has an intelligent understanding of the needs of this section as well as of the developing power of the voting people. The revolving years will bring many unforseen opportunities as well as many unsuspected problems, to help solve the latter and to take advantage of the former constitutes the task of Drury. The material means to accomplish this is a campus and buildings and a productive endowment approximating in value $950,000.

The story of Drury has been one of light and shadow and sometimes the shadow has been very dark, but in the words of her early historian, Prof. Paul Roulet, "the story of Drury College like that of all human undertakings and achievements has also its mistakes to record and differences, among those in charge of the work, which often stood greatly in the way of its progress and at times almost threatened its life."

And yet from first to last, the story is one of great faith and great sacrifices, of struggles with poverty and debt, followed by rejoicings and deliverances. [425]

It is a story which tallies year by year, substantial growth progress, and which demonstrates that the time and means and the toil and the lives that have been gladly woven into this great effort will yet in God's providence be amply rewarded.


Springfield has been, called "the Athens of the Southwest" owing to her numerous and splendid educational institutions, especially since the State Normal School of District No. 4, was located here. The institution was established by an act of the forty-third General Assembly, approved March I7, 1905. The district is composed of twenty-two counties in southwestern Missouri. Although Aurora and many other towns offered great inducements for the school, the commission appointed to locate it selected Springfield as the site. The bonus given by the citizens of Springfield consisted of forty-acres of land inside the city limits, valued at forty thousand dollars, and twenty-five thousand dollars in cash. The campus which is in the southern part of the city is a beautiful one and most desirable for the purpose. It is a level, grassy, wooded section of an old farm, near Phelps Grove, one of the city's fine parks, and the campus is covered with large maple, catalpa, ash and other trees.

The school began its work in leased buildings, June 11, 1906, and enrolled 543 students in its first term. The total enrollment for the year of forty-eight-weeks, beginning in September, 1906, was 934; for the next year, 1087; for the third year, 1,237; for the fourth year, 1,388; for the fifth year, 1408; for the sixth year, 1,724; for the seventh year, 2,018.

'The forty-fourth General Assembly appropriated $225,000 for buildings. Academic Hall, or the main building, was erected at a cost of approximately $225,000. The cornerstone was laid August 10, 1907. It was first occupied by the school January 4, 1909. The forty-sixth General Assembly appropriated $65,000 for auditorium and gymnasium. These structures are the only fireproof school buildings owned by the state. They are constructed of Missouri marble, finished in hard wood and handsome architecture, and is complete in heating, ventilation and light as modern science can provide.

The school has had seven commencements, in August of each year, from 1907 to 1913. In that time it has graduated four hundred eleven from its diploma course and has had two to take the bachelor's degree. It has graduated seven hundred ninety-eight from the secondary school course. Academically, the secondary school course is equal to that of a first-class high school, and the full course is equal to that of a junior college. Pedigogically, the secondary course equips one for the successful management of graded and rural schools, and the full course gives complete equipment for supervision and teaching any grade of public school. [426]




Following are the board or regents: J. J. Schneider, Springfield, term expires in 1919; W. S. Chandler, Mountain Grove, term expires in 1919; C. A. Lockwood, Lamar, term expires in 1917; W. Y. Foster, Nevada, term expires in 1917; H. B. McDaniel, Springfield, appointed in 1915; state superintendent William P. Evans, ex-officio member. Officers: Schneider, president; W. Y. Foster, vice-president; Frank C. Mann, secretary; John M. Young, treasurer. Executive committee. J. J. Schneider, W. S. Chandler, C. A. Lockwood. Organization committee: J. J. Schneider, W. Y. Foster, W. P. Evans. There are thirty-seven in the facility and other positions about the school.


One of the important and popular educational institutions of Greene county in the past was the Springfield Normal School, which was located in the southeastern part of the city, a few blocks east of the present State Normal School. It was built in 1893, however had been incorporated prior to that date. The main building was, an attractive brick, well suited to the purposes for which it was intended, and the surrounding campus was extensive and attractive. Its first board of directors were F. P. Mayhugh, C. D. Mayhugh and J. A. Taylor. The school opened with an enrollment of over three hundred. The corporation failed in the fall of 1905. Several changes took place. It was in charge of Allen Moore for some time. In 1899 Prof. J. A. Taylor took charge of the school, who continued to operate it successfully until the State Normal was established. The enrollment during the last year was little over eight hundred. These students were principally from other counties, comprising southern and southwestern Missouri, who were preparing themselves for teachers. The summer sessions were especially well attended by teachers, who took advantage of the opportunity to obtain special training during the vacation periods. The school did not finally close its doors until the fall of 1907, at which time it was taken over by the State Normal and removed to the new building, the old building having since been abandoned. The normal students proper went to the new normal and the students in the business department went to the Springfield Business College. Six of the old normal faculty were retained as instructors in the new State Normal. [428]


Springfield has one of the most attractive public library buildings of any city its size in the West. It is located on a high and commanding lot at the northwest corner of Jefferson and Center streets, west of the Springfield high school. It is a very substantial stone structure, combining every modern detail of convenience and attractiveness. The corner-stone was laid in 1903 and the building was opened to the public in 1905. This magnificent structure was made possible through the magnanimity of Andrew Carnegie, who donated the sum of fifty thousand dollars for this purpose. The city of Springfield was supposed to appropriate the sum of five thousand dollars a year for the maintenance of the library, but so far three thousand dollars is all that has been received from this source by the library board.




There are now over six thousand well selected volumes, covering a wide range of subjects. The best standard periodicals are also to be found on the tables in the reading room.

Following are the names of the present library board: George Pepperdine, president; Mrs. Edward M. Shepard, vice-president, Mrs. Victor O. Coltrane, secretary and treasurer; R. G. Porter, O. E. Gorman, Mrs. Samuel Rogers, Rev. J. T. Bacon, Louis reps and William Ullman.

There are committees on finance, books, house and grounds.

The first librarian was Dora A. Wilson, who was succeeded by Florence Wilson. The present librarian is Harriet M. Horine, who has two assistants, Susie C. Fellows and Lillian Sargent. [429]

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