Calhoun College

Kingston, Texas

1887 - 1893

Calhoun College was a private, nondenominational, coeducational college. It began in what had been Kingston High School, a two-story wooden building owned and operated by J. L. Clemmons and J. C. Todd. In 1885 apparently began offering college-level instruction in addition to primary and secondary courses; two years later the school was renamed and chartered as Calhoun College; first president, T. S. Sligh, was succeeded in 1889 by T. S. Wallis until the school closed; no entrance requirements, offered work leading to the bachelor of arts degree with courses in six departments: primary, preparatory, teachers', music, elocution, and scientific; though the building could accommodate up to 400 students, the enrollment never seems to have reached that level; tuition ranged from one dollar to four dollars a month, depending on the level of instruction; changed ownership a number of times during its one time a Professor Booth, who "loved whiskey and drugs," operated Calhoun College and severely lowered its reputation; discontinued college-level instruction after 1893 and continued as a private primary and secondary school until sometime around 1900.

{County Coordinator’s Note: The following excerpt on Calhoun College was taken from the masters thesis of Ethel Cassels, dated 1935, from the University of Texas at Austin, entitled “A History Of Hunt County.” For more information on this thesis, please see the bibliography section of this website.

Calhoun College was founded at Kingston, twelve miles north of Greenville, as Kingston High School. It was owned and taught by J.C. Clemmons and J.C. Todd, and was partly a state public school. It did the same work as the high schools of the early eighties, and the boys and girls of the community were the students. The trustees in 1885 were T.J. Foster, S.T. Culver, and T. A. Roach. The teachers were T.S. Sligh, Mrs. T. S. Sligh, T.E. Wallace, and Miss Lizzie Calhoun. In 1885 Kingston High School became a chartered college and the trustees named i Calhoun College. It assumed to give work leading to the Bachelor of Arts Degree. IN 1885 the building was enlarged to accommodate between 300 and 400 students. There was great school activity in the county between 1881 and 1895, and Calhoun College was attended not only by students from the county but from many communities in the state. The following advertisment in The Greenville Herald of October, 1886, gives some idea of the school:

Calhoun College
Kingston, Texas

A full faculty of able and experienced Instructors, comfortable buildings, sufficient apparatus, healthy location, good board at from $10 to $12 per month. Thorough Normal, Business, Classical, Scientific and Musical Departments, good society, churches, and Sunday Schools. For Further particulars apply to

T.S. Sligh, A.M. President
Kingston, Texas

An editorial from the same newspaper revealed how the neighboring towns looked upon the school as an asset.

“Kingston is ahead of its neighbors in two noteworthy regards, viz: It has the largest, most modern, and attractive college building, and the only chartered institution in the county."

In 1886, Professor Sligh bought the school from Professors Todd and Clemmons, and about 1890 Professor Wallace bought it from Professor Sligh. Professor Sligh was a fine organizer and good teacher, but a por business manager. Professor Wallace sold the school to a Professor Booth, and went to Celeste to organize Elmwood Institute. Booth loves whisky and drugs. Soon the school began to lose its hold, and the citizen [sic] of Kingston sent to Celeste for Professor Wallace who returned and again took charge of the institution. IN 1893 Professor Wallace died. After his death the school dropped back to a regular high school and made no more pretentions to college work.

Back to Schools
Back to Hunt County