The history of Austin College may be viewed as a 150 year-old success story. It may also be viewed as a history of crises. The coming of Austin College to Sherman, Texas, in 1876, was born of a series of such crises. At a crucial time in his campaign for the College, Daniel Baker died suddenly in Austin in 1857. Four years later Civil War preoccupied the state as well as the nation. Free schools siphoned off prospective students during Reconstruction. A national economic depression in 1873 further discouraged private school enterprise. Right from the start, the venture in Sherman ran into difficulty. The move intended to relieve one crisis created others. The problems of Texas, the South, and the nation could not be overcome by a geographic cure. That Austin College survived the move to Sherman, indeed, that it survived at all, was more than a testament to Presbyterian pride and tenacity; one might say it was nothing less than a miracle of Divine Providence. Minutes of the trustees’ meetings tell the story.
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