Eaton College for Women, 1853 – ?

The “Eaton College” was built in 1853 on East Bell Street by the board of trustees of the old Union University, and named for Dr. J.H. Eaton, president of Union. They purchased two acres from Dr. James Maney and built a building measuring 50 feet across and 80 feet deep. It was later known as the “Eclectic Normal School” and as the “Scobey School”. Dr. E.C. Tolbert’s former office stands on this site today At 421 East Bell Street, Murfreesboro.

EATON COLLEGE FOR WOMEN 1853- or TENNESSEE BAPTIST FEMALE INSTITUTE 1854-Civil War was in Murfreesboro on two acres of land bought from Dr. James Maney on September 13, 1869, by Trustees James M. Haynes, John W. Hall, and M. Ransom. The school was between High and Maney Avenues and bordered on Burton Street. The current location of the building would be 421 East Bell Street.

Baptists and Trustees of UNION UNIVERSITY purchased the land and managed the school. It was first named in honor of the Rev. J. H. Eaton, the president of UNION, who died in 1853. The L-shaped building was a 50 x 80 foot brick, two-story structure with rooms 20 x 20 feet. There were 83 students in 1854. The school could accommodate 100.

The school was closed during the war and was used as a military hospital for both Union and Confederate soldiers.

After the war it was reopened in 1865 by Cumberland Presbyterians but was taken over soon afterwards by the Christian Church. During the post-war period it became the home of the ECLECTIC NORMAL NORMAL SCHOOL with Dr. James Waters as president.

In 1878, according to the Beers Map, James E. Scobey was using the building as president of MURFREESBORO FEMALE INSTITUTE, which was often called the SCOBEY SCHOOL.

SOURCES: Deed Book 16, p. 487. *Homer Pittard, “Famous Institutions Once Taught Students 100 Years Ago,” The Daily News Journal, Nov. 13, 1963, p. 12. *Gene Sloan, “Ransom School Boasts Distinguished Alumni,” The Daily News Journal Accent, Feb. 19, 1978, p. 12. Mary B. Hughes, Hearthstones Murfreesboro: Mid-South Publishing Co.,, 1942, pp. 34, 51.

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