South Kentucky College

The accompanying sketch of South Kentucky College is compiled from its catalogue of 1882-83, which contains the history of the college from its organization up to that time. In February, 1849, the General Assembly of Kentucky passed an act authorizing John M. Barnes, Henry J. Stites, Benjamin S. Campbell, John B. Knight, W. F. Bernard, Robert L. Waddill, Jacob Torian, Isaac H. Caldwell and W. A. Edmonds to establish in Hopkinsville, Ky., an institution for the higher education of women, and to ” make all such laws, rules and ordinances necessary for the government of said institution as shall not be repugnant to the Constitution and laws of the United States and of this State.” In accordance with the provisions of this act, South Kentucky College was opened for the reception of pupils in the autumn of the same year, its first President being John M. Barnes. President Barnes filled the position until his death in 1850, and was succeeded by Enos Campbell, under whose administration the institution grew to such proportions that it became necessary to erect new buildings for the accommodation of pupils. Agents were employed by the Board of Trustees to solicit donations for this purpose. Their appeals met with a liberal response from the friends of the college; the necessary money was soon obtained, and the buildings were erected in 1858, at a total cost-of grounds and buildings-of about $30,000.

The institution continued in successful operation until the spring of 1862, when it was suspended for a time on account of the occupation of Hopkinsville by the military. It was re-opened in the following September, and, since the war, under the successful administrations of Presidents J. W. Goss, T. A. Crenshaw and R. C. Cave, it has been steadily regaining its former prosperity. During the last six years nine States of the Union and Mexico have been represented among its matriculates. Its managers can point with pride and pleasure to the many young ladies who have been educated within its halls, and are now adorning society and filling honorable stations in life. But the Board of Trustees, satisfied that the institution while conducted on the plan originally adopted, could not meet the wants of the Christian Brotherhood in south Kentucky, and recognizing the demand for an institution of higher grade, in which parents may educate their sons as well as their daughters, decided, in a meeting held. November 24, 1879, to make a change. They determined to enlarge the faculty, extend the course of study, raise the standard of scholarship, place the institution on a level with the best colleges for young men, and offer its educational advantages to both sexes. In order to effect this change it was necessary to secure an amendment to the char-ter, which was accordingly done.

Subsequent to the amendment of the charter, at a meeting held on the 7th of February, 1881, it was determined to add to the regular college course of study several departments designed to prepare students for special vocations. In accordance with this determination, the normal and the commercial courses were arranged, and efficient instructors se-cured for them. On the first Monday in September, 1881, the institution was opened under the amended charter, and extended its educational privileges to both sexes. The opening exceeded in point of numbers the expectations of many friends of the institution. The faculty under this arrangement were: R. C. Cave, President, and Professor of English Literature, Philosophy and Logic; S. R. Crumbaugh, Professor of Mathematics, Mechanics and Astronomy; M. L. Lipscomb, Professor of Natural Science; B. C. Deweese, Professor of Ancient Languages; Addis Albro, Professor of Normal and Commercial Departments; James A. Young, M. D., Professor of Anatomy and Physiology; Hon. John W. McPherson, Professor of International, Constitutional and Commercial Law; Miss C. V. Samuel, Professor of Music; R. G. Rossington, Professor of Music; Miss Susie Edmonds, Principal Preparatory Department, Drawing and Painting; and Miss Lizzie Gish, Instructor in Preparatory Department.

On the 24th of February, 1884, the college buildings were burned, with a loss of about $13,000, upon which was $9,000 insurance. The destruction of the college was considered a public calamity, but the energy of its managers and friends was evinced in the determination to at once rebuild the institution, and at the present writing (April, 1884) the work is being rapidly pushed forward under its efficient President, Maj. S. R. Crumbaugh, and it is designed to have it ready for the opening of the fall term. It had been leased at the beginning of this year by Maj. Crumbaugh, who had been chosen President of the faculty, and a number of needed improvements made by him, when its destruction by fire put an end for a time to its usefulness.

Samuel R. Crumbaugh

The present President of the South Kentucky College, Maj. Samuel R. Crumbaugh, was born in Logan County, Ky., May 1, 1845, and is a son of John B. and Nancy (Bailey) Crumbaugh, the former of German descent, and the latter descended from English and Irish ancestry; they were for many years honored citizens of Logan County, but are now deceased. Maj. Crumbaugh .was brought up on his father’s farm until seventeen. In 1864 he entered the United States Naval Academy, from which he graduated in 1868, receiving the degree conferred by that institution. He stood among the first of his graduating class, consisting of ninety-five members, and was especially noted for his standing in mathematics, mechanics, astronomy and engineering. In the list of his classmates appear the names of Lieut. Charles W. Chipp of New York, Alfred Toree, John G. Talbott, Hugh H. Mc-Gee and others whose names have become famous. From the time of his graduation, in 1868, until January, 1870, Maj. Crumbaugh held the commission of Adjutant in the Second Regiment in the Regular army, but resigned the position, and entered the Law Department of the Kentucky University, at Lexington, graduating from that institution with the highest honors. In the following year he accepted the position in Warren College as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy, where he remained three years. Severing his connection with the college, he went to Lon-don, England, where he spent two years attending scientific lectures in the Royal Institution, the Royal School of Mines, and the Institution of Engineering, and while there received several post-graduate degrees. Upon his return from Europe he accepted the Professorship of Physics and Astronomy in the University of the South, at Senawee, Tenn., and later, that of Civil and Mechanical Engineering in the Lehigh University.

Maj. Crumbaugh came to Hopkinsville in 1880, as Professor of Mathematics and Astronomy in South Kentucky College, and in June, 1882, received the appointment of Collector of Internal Revenue for the Second District of Kentucky, serving until January 1, 1884. His efficient services as an educator while first connected with South Kentucky College were duly acknowledged by his election, on the 1st of January, 1884, to the responsible position of President of that institution for a term of ten years.

Maj. Crumbaugh was married at Elkton, Todd County, in 1876, to Miss Ida, daughter of Dixon Black, Esq. They have three children: Pauline, Germania and Arthur Crumbaugh.


Perrin, William Henry, ed., Counties of Christian and Trigg, Kentucky, Historical and Biographical, Chicago : F. A. Battey Publishing Co., 1884.

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