August 15, 2013

Traces of Laurel: Laurel Seminary, Part 2

LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. — I want to start off this column by congratulating the historical society’s long-time, dedicated worker, Shirley McCowan, on being chosen one of this year’s Laurel County Homecoming honorees.  Shirley is and has been active on a number of fronts around the county for a long time, and nowhere has she given more of herself and her talents than to the Laurel County Historical Society.  Working with her at the society since the 1970s, I have been able to observe her exemplary service first hand.  I am happy to see her honored for it.

 * * *

Laurel Seminary opened its doors in the fall of 1858.  It was soon acclaimed for its high academic standards and for the opportunities for a better education that it offered to the youth of Laurel and surrounding counties.  It seemed set to become the jewel in London’s crown.

Then, in the Fall of 1861, the coming of the Civil War to Laurel County shattered that hope.  C.B. Faris wrote:  “. . .further progress of the school was at an end until peace and quiet should be restored.”  Dr. W.S. Doak, who had been employed to run the school, returned to his practice of medicine; his assistant, J. B. Banton, became a captain in the Federal Army and lost his life at the Battle of Stone River.  His body was brought back to London and buried at the Randall Cemetery.

Faris goes on say: “During the war both armies, the Federal and Confederates, at different times camped upon and occupied the Seminary grounds, and before the trustees were aware of it, broke into and occupied the building as a hospital and commissary.”

The trustees hastily moved what they could find of the school’s library and other valuable equipment to a private house.  Much of what had been purchased for the school’s opening in 1858 was gone without a trace and most of what was left was badly damaged.  The new fencing around the school’s property was burned, seats and desks destroyed, windows broken and the rooms defaced.  Faris calls it “a general wreck.” 

Text Only
AP Video
Captain of Sunken SKorean Ferry Arrested Raw: Fire Destroys 3 N.J. Beachfront Homes Raw: Pope Presides Over Good Friday Mass Raw: Space X Launches to Space Station Superheroes Descend on Capitol Mall Man Charged in Kansas City Highway Shootings Obama Awards Navy Football Trophy Anti-semitic Leaflets Posted in Eastern Ukraine Raw: Magnitude-7.2 Earthquake Shakes Mexico City Ceremony at MIT Remembers One of Boston's Finest Raw: Students Hurt in Colo. School Bus Crash Raw: Church Tries for Record With Chalk Jesus Raw: Faithful Celebrate Good Friday Worldwide Deadly Avalanche Sweeps Slopes of Mount Everest Police Arrest Suspect in Highway Shootings Drought Concerns May Hurt Lake Tourism Vermont Goat Meat Gives Refugees Taste of Home Calif. Investigators Re-construct Fatal Bus Cras Mayor Rob Ford Launches Re-election Campaign Appellate Court Hears Okla. Gay Marriage Case
Hyperlocal Search
Premier Guide
Find a business

Walking Fingers
Maps, Menus, Store hours, Coupons, and more...
Premier Guide

How do you celebrate Easter?

A. Celebrate with the fellowship at church.
B. Have a meal with friends and family.
C. Egg hunts with the kids.
D. All of the above.
     View Results