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The Burney Academy
Chickasaw Orphans Home
State Highway 32 EAst of Lebanon, Marshall County, Oklahoma
Contributed by
Vicki Bell-Reynolds
rreynolds@pdq.net

Burney Academy Historical Marker
Burney Institute Site in vicinity south

Established 1854 by Chickasaw Council, Daugherty Colbert, Chief: David Burney, Joel Kemp, George D. James, A.V. Brown, school trustees.

Opened as school for Chickasaw girls 1859, under supervision of Cumberland Presby. Bd., Rev. Robert S. Bell and wife, teachers.

Name changed to Chickasaw Orphan Home and Manual Labor School, 1887

Burney Institute
Lebanon Orphans Home, named for Lebanon, TN, by the Methodist Mission Board.
It was for the care and education of Chickasaw Orphans.

Established in 1854 by Chickasaw Council, Daugherty Colbert, Chief; David Burney, Joel Kemp, George D. James, A.V. Brown, school trustees. Opened as school for Chickasaw girls 1859, under supervision of Cumberland Presby. Bd. Rev. Robert S. Bell and wife, teachers. The home was discontinued during the years of the Civil War and reconstruction, but was re-opened about 1872. Name changed to Chickasaw Orphan and Manual Labor School, 1887. There was a capacity for 60 students. The boys were taught agriculture and horticulture, and the girls were taught housework, cooking, washing, ironing, plain and fancy sewing, quilting and knitting. All the students were given first class instructions in all branches of finished English education


Built around 1880 out of brick now standing in a cow
pasture on private property in Lebanon, Oklahoma.
What used to be a dorm for the Chickasaw Indian,
today is a private resident. At the time it had an up
stairs with 18 rooms and 18 firseplaces. This once
Indian Dorm stands to the left of the Burney Brick
building and the present owners are thinking about tearing down this historic brick building.

The brick school building was erected at the Chickasaw Orphan Home in 1896. The first post office, Burney Academy, was established on July 3, 1860, with Robert S. Bell serving as postmaster and remained open throughout the Civil War.
The earlier structure, a three-story frame building, has been reduced to one floor.

The mission was closed in 1832, but the work of the Cumberland Presbyterian Church was continued later in the Indian Territory in the operation of  Burney Academy, the location of which was about one and half miles east of present Lebanon, in Marshall County, the name of the school being changed several times in the history of the Chickasaws, including the names, Lebanon Institute and Chickasaw Orphan Home. The establishment of a boarding school under the Cumberland Presbyterian Board was provided by a law of the Chickasaw Council in 1854, signed by appropriating $3,000 for the school and the same sum for the school every year thereafter, to be built in Wichita County, Chickasaw district, Choctaw Nation, the region that later became Pickens County, Chickasaw Nation. The building of the school was begun but further appropriation was needed to complete the work, provided in an act of the Chickasaw Legislature in 1857, allowing $5,000 out of the tribal funds and referring to the school as "Burney Institute.
The Reverend F.D. Piner was appointed as the first superintendent but the opening of the school was delayed. In 1859, the Reverend Robert S. Bell and his wife were sent by the Cumberland Board to teach the Chickasaw girls at this new school. Mr. and Mrs. Bell began their work and remained at their post throughout the Civil War though all help from the Board was cut off in the latter years of the War.

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