McDonough College, Macomb, Illinois (part 1, 1836 – 1842)

1836 – 12 Jan – Incorporation of McDonough College (9th General Assembly, Laws of State of Illinois, p. 164 S-1904). Trustees:

  1. William W. Bailey (elder)
  2. Charles Hayes (elder)
  3. Moses Henton
  4. William Proctor
  5. James McCrosky
  6. Joseph G. Walker
  7. George Miller
  8. John M. Walker
  9. Saunders W. Campbell (elder)
  10. Alexander Campbell (elder)

1836 – Jan 20 – First meeting held at home of Rev. William J. Fraser; Fraser elected President, Theophilus Dickey Secretary and William W. Bailey, Treasurer.

1836 – Nov – Trustees authorized borrowing of up to $1,000 for paying for the building.

1837 – Feb 11 – deed to college site of 4 acres north of East Calhoun and east of College Street and known as College Hill (bout 7 blocks east and 2 blocks north of the courthouse). Fraser, as “agent to the East” collected $455 in cash, pledges of $1,528, books valued at $34, and two lots in Madison, Wisconsin; he allotted $300 for his services. (Bergen, J. V.)

1837 – Trustees authorized Rev. William K. Stewart as agent of the college to collect funds.

1837 – Survives the financial Panic of 1837.

1837, June 3 — “McDonough College.  The Trustees have the pleasure of announcing to the public that McDonough College is now open for the reception of students.  The first session commenced on the 15th of April last and will close the 15th of September next.–The institution is, at present, under the care of the Rev. James M. Chase, a gentleman of celebrity as a teacher in Kentucky.  So soon as the patronage of the public will justify the organization of a faculty, a President and the necessary professors will be selected. Parents who have regard as well to the moral as to the literary education of their sons may rest assured that every attention will be given by those connected with the institution in the morals of the students.  the more effectually to secure the good moral character of the students, parents are required to deliver the spending money of their sons into the hands of the teacher or other persons in whom they may have confidence, that it may be disbursed according to the actual wants of the student.  The course of studies will be the same for the present as that pursued in Hanover College, Ia. Price of tuition, $10.00 per session of five months. Boarding in private families can be procured on reasonable terms.  The college is situated on a beautiful eminence in the east addition to the town of Macomb, a village proverbial for the beauty and healthfulness of its location.  By order of the Board. Cyrus Walker, President. James W. Allen, Secretary. Macomb , May 27, 1837.” — Sangamo Journal, Springfield, Illinois, February 3, 1837, p. 2 col. 7.

1838 – Jan – Rev. James M. Chase to be paid to teach.

1838 — “McDonough College, at Macomb, has just commenced operations. It is identified with the interests of the ‘old school’ Presbyterians, as the Illinois college at Jacksonville is with the ‘new school’ Presbyterians.” — Jones, A.D. (1838) Illinois and the West. Boston: Weeks, Jordan and Co. p. 120.

May 1838, Oct 1838, May 1839, Oct 1839, & May 1840 — Lawsuits to recover debts are filed against the Trustees of McDonough College  for Wayne A. Strode & J. P. Updegraff, and for John Banks & Jesse McGinnis. Trustees were:

  • James M. Chase
  • Cyrus Walker
  • William W. Bailey
  • Moses Henton
  • Lawson H. Robinson
  • Nelson Montgomery
  • George Miller
  • Alexander Campbell
  • Samuel Wilson
  • William Proctor
  • Charles Hays
  • John M. Walker

1839 – May – the Trustees filed lawsuit against William J. Fraser for debts.

1839 – McDonough College, 65 H-3233 (12th GA); general change in laws also applies to McDonough College;

1846 –  at a Sheriff’s Sale, John Banks purchased the college, and soon sold it to the Masonic Lodge of Macomb who soon offered it back to Schuyler Presbytery.

Go to McDonough College, version 2


Bishop, Rev. William, D. D. – The United States Biographical Dictionary and Portrait Gallery of Eminent and Self-Made Men. Chicago and Kansas City, USA: S. Lewis, 1879.


Bergen, John V. (). “College Towns and Campus Sites in Western Illinois”, p. 46 (in Western Illinois Regional Studies?)

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