"Despite boasting of an athletic field almost as
expansive as the prairie itself, the wide-open spaces around Floydada
Presbyterian Academy soon swallowed it up.
Conceived in 1909 and opened in the fall of 1911, the college lasted
just 2 1/2 terms before the doors of its fine three-story brick building
slammed shut for the final time.
The idea of establishing an institution of higher learning in Floydada
was born during a boom time of rapid growth for the surrounding area.
According to "Memories," a 1979 book by the
Historical Museum, "No one person seems to be known for having
conceived the idea, but in 1909 a majority of the prominent citizens
were talking it up."
The same year Dr. John H. Wayland donated 40 acres of land and $10,000
to the Baptists to establish a college in Plainview, the Southern
Presbyterian (representing the Presbyterian Church in the U.S.) received
a proposition from Floydada residents to plant a church-affiliated
In response, the denomination sent the president of Austin College,
located in Sherman, to check out both the offer and the community. After
spending several days in Floydada, he recommended that the Presbyterians
accept the proposal.
W.T. "Billie" Montgomery initially offered a tract for the college, but
a defect in the title was discovered and that offer was declined.
Instead, Dr. R.A. Childress and John Farris donated 22 acres for the new
college, and a building committee was organized. Among those on that
committee were E.C. Henry and A.D. White of Floydada and Judge A.L. Love
and H.V. Tull of Plainview.
With a contract price just short of $20,000, work on the new school
began in August 1910 with W.A. Gound in charge of carpentry. It was
completed the following July, in time for classes to begin in September
Serving as superintendent that first year was John C. Schley with Mrs.
Schley and Miss Violet Buchanan joining him as teachers. Trustees were
the Rev. U.N. Ivey, Judge A.L. Love, the Rev. Leonard Gill, A.A. Beedy,
H.G. Tull, Tom Curry and E.C. Henry.
For the school's second term, in 1912-13, Dr. and Mrs. Bailey from South
Carolina came to teach. They were assisted by the Rev. and Mrs. W.H.
Matthews and an unnamed expression (speech) teacher. Also listed on
staff was music teacher Miss Ruby Barrow of Plainview.
For the school's final abbreviated term, in the fall of 1913, "there may
have been changes made in the expression and music teachers, but
otherwise the faculty was the same," according to "Memories."
Historian Ferenc Morton Szasz, in his book, "The Protestant Clergy in
the Great Plains and Mountain West, 1865-1915," noted that the Floydada
school in 1913 boasted, "We have almost the entire prairie for an
athletic field." In fact, according to "Memories," the school fielded
formidable football and basketball squads which "were dreaded by the
high school teams against which they played."
The school's first commencement was held in May 1912. Twenty-eight years
later, in 1940, W.A. Gound recalled that Lee Rushing delivered a
masterpiece of oration on the occasion, according to the 75th
anniversary edition of the Floyd County Hesperian in 1965.
But just as quickly as the institution blossomed it began to fade, and
by the end of 1913 it had closed after graduating just two classes.
Among others identified as being associated with Floydada Presbyterian
Academy during its brief history were W.M. Massie, W.M. Colville, W.T.
Montgomery, E.C. Henry, A.D. White and Floydada's Methodist minister,
the Rev. J.E. Stephens."
(Contact Doug McDonough at email@example.com for more information)
K Cummings Pipes