Today in Milligan History, 5/11

Today in Milligan History

an ongoing project of Phi Alpha Theta History Honor Society

Good day, Milligan!

Proverbs 11:15 – Whoever puts up security for a stranger will surely suffer, but whoever refuses to shake hands in pledge is safe.

This is Monday, May 11, 2015, and on this day in Milligan history . . . 


1863    In ceremonies in Louisville, KY, the Union Army elevated James Ireland R. Boyd to the rank of captain of Company “B,” 4th Tennessee Infantry. Boyd later had to resign his commission because of poor health. He lived his remaining years in Elizabethton, TN, where he practiced some law, and was one of the earliest teachers in the academy established by the Buffalo Creek Church (now Hopwood Memorial Christian Church) in 1851. For a while the academy was known popularly as Boyd’s School, then the Buffalo Male and Female Institute, and finally Milligan College. During 1867 Boyd sojourned in Washington, DC, where he functioned as assistant doorkeeper of the U.S. House of Representatives in 1867. Cynthia Ann Cornwell (1985): Beside the Waters of the Buffalo: A History of Milligan College to 1941. Milligan College History Project: Milligan College, TN, 1989, p. 10

1882    The Atlantic Missionary of June, 1882, reported on the Thursday activities of the week-long “closing exercises of Milligan College – the first in the newly named college’s history.

The first graduates of Milligan College were C. B. Armentrout (1882) who was many years a professor at Washington College, Limestone, TN; George E. Boren (1882) who had a successful law practice in Elizabethton, TN; Charles F. Carson (1882) who became a prosperous farmer in Washington County; Aaron A. Ferguson (1882), a minister and educator, founded Tazwell College and returned to his alma mater as faculty member and trustee; George W. Hardin (1882) became superintendent of the East Tennessee and Western North Carolina Railroad, a trustee and treasurer of the college and one of its staunchest financial supporters; Lula Crockett Hendrix (1882) became a teacher and county supervisor of education; Lucy C. Hardin Matthews (1882) emerged as a powerful influence at First Christian Church in Johnson City; J. H. Rutrough (1882) founded Hylton Academy;  James H. Smith (1882) became a teacher, founder of the Watauga Academy, later named Holly Springs College in Butler, TN;  and James A. Tate (1882) taught at Milligan, established Tate’s Academy in Shelbyville, TN, and became a prominent Prohibition politician in Tennessee. Mildred Kozsuch, Historical Reminiscences of  Carter County, Tennessee (Johnson City, TN:  The Overmountain Press, 1985), p. 61; and Frank Merritt (1947), Later History of Carter County, 1865-1980 (Elizabethton, TN: Carter County Homecoming ’86 Heritage Committee, 1986), pp. 376-377.

1959    The Stampede staff met to elect Ruth Hammack (1960) to edit the paper again for the 1959-1960 school year. Hammack had served as editor-in-chief the past two years, since the February 14, 1958 issue. The Stampede, February 14, 1958 and May 27, 1959

2013    The second of two graduation ceremonies filled The Mary Martin Auditorium of Seeger Chapel.  Alumnus Gary Richardson (1978) was the speaker. The faculty and board of trustees of Milligan College recognized Prof. Richard D. Lura (at Milligan 1971-1985 and since 1988) with its highest accolade, the Fide et Amore. The day marked the first time Prof. Lee Magness’s hymn “Fide et Amore” was sung at a commencement.

Unique among the graduates was Kelly Devault (2013), whose march across the stage to receive her diploma marked the sixth generation of Milligan College involvement in her family. Those who attended Milligan before her included parents, Debbie Taylor (1986) and Tim Devault (1986). Both sets of grandparents are Milligan alums: Lew Taylor, Jr. (attended 1956-1961), Ruthann Currey (1962), Harold Devault (1956) and Elizabeth “Liz”  Dearmond (1956).  Great-grandfather Lew Taylor, Sr. attended Milligan 1929-1932; and great-great-grandfather Frank Taylor graduated in the class of 1904.  Miss Devault’s great-great-great grandfather Caswell Taylor served as the chair of the Milligan College Board of Trustees in 1900. The family’s history with Milligan goes back even further:  Caswell Taylor was the son of Andrew Taylor, who was the uncle of Tennessee Governors Alfred Alexander Taylor and Robert Love Taylor, who were alumni of the old Buffalo Male and Female Institute. Genealogical data gathered from the Johnson City Press, May 12, 2013, p. A1; with valuable input from Melissa Nipper (1996), Theresa Garbe (1991), and Kelly Devault (2013).

Birthdays: In 1888 composer Irving Berlin in Temum, Siberia, Russia . . . In 1891 May Ross McDowell in Buffalo, NY. She was the first woman to serve as mayor of Johnson City. Her grave lies in the historic Oak Hill Cemetery. . . . in 1904 surrealist painter Salvador Dali in Figueras, Spain. . . . in 1990 Milligan College junior Adelaide Elizabeth Lackner . . .  in 1995 sophomore Sarah Elaine Collie . . . and in 1996 freshman Gabriel Kimble Logan in Morganton, NC.


Elsewhere . . .

In 1189 Emperor Friedrich I, “Barbarossa,” departed Regensburg, Germany, for the Holy Land with a reported 100,000 crusaders.

In 1864 CSA General J. E. B. Stuart suffered a mortal wound in the Battle of Yellow Tavern, VA.

In 1924 New Hampshire poet Robert Frost received the first of three Pulitzer Prizes for literature.

In 1949 Israel became the 59th member of the United Nations by a vote of 37 to 12; and Siam officially took the name Thailand.


Do you know something that happened on this day in Milligan history?  Is this the birthday of a Milligan personality?  The anniversary of a Milligan event?  If so, send it to Phi Alpha Theta at