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structure was greatly changed and enlarged in 1882 into the building as it now stands.
The students who entered at that first session, in June, 1853, were principally children from the pioneer homes near at hand. The list of those first students has been preserved, as follows: Jane A. Bowen, Sarah E. Brown, Katie Clinton, Margaret Harris, Maria Harroun, Elida Huntington, Charlotte M. Mapes, Charlotte Masten, Mary J. Pedrick, Josephine E. Russell, Imogene Shepard, Augusta R. Scott, Jane H. Scott, Janette Taylor, Augusta Wentworth, and Mary M. West. The first teacher was Martha J. Adams. The male department was opened September 1 of the same year, with M. W. Martin as teacher, and the following young men in attendance: A. A. Atwell, E. D. Babbitt, Henry L. Barnes, T. W. Caster, John S. Bowen, E. K. Brown, G. D. Hance, A. W. Horner, J. M. Judd, F. Masten, Z. A. Pedrick, L. Strong, L. S. Shepard, Luther Spalding, Moses Swift, R. A. Rew, Cyrus Wakefield, A. C. Wedge, A. G. Wedge, and D. J. Wedge.
Mr. Walcott arrived in October, and from that time until 1855 was in exclusive control. Dr. Merrell tells us that "young men and women were instructed in the same classes, and the studies were those ordinarily accepted in fitting for the colleges of that day, and the English branches intended to furnish a practical education. No college classes were formed, and no college work was attempted." Indeed, no college work was instituted until 1863.
In the fall of 1854 Mr. Walcott made a definite proposition to the Winnebago Convention to take the school off his hands. Negotiations were entered into for the purpose, and a committee of the convention, fearing that the old charter was void-presumably for lack of use for two yearsapplied to the legislature for a new charter, which was granted, and became effective as Chapter 40 of the Private and Local Laws of 1855, approved February 9, 1855. The
convention voted to make the purchase, and to raise $10,000 for a dormitory. The first trustees under this second charter were Ezra L. Northrup, Jehdeiah Bowen, Jeremiah W. Walcott, Silas Hawley, Dana Lamb, Bertine Pinkney, Charles H. Camp, Harvey Grant, Sherlock Bristol, A. M. Skeels, Jeremiah Porter, Joseph Jackson, A. B. Preston, and Richard Catlin. The convention, in adopting the plan of taking over the college, did so with the understanding that the vacancies occurring on the board should be filled by "such persons as the Convention shall nominate, or approve," from time to time.1
Having outlined this plan, notwithstanding the fact that the property was still that of Mr. Walcott, and that funds had not been raised for the proposed dormitory, steps were taken in April, 1855, by the new board to erect a "dormitory building, three stories in height, and not to exceed one hundred and ten feet in length by forty-four in width, and that such building be of stone." This building, which was not fully completed until 1863, owing to lack of funds, bore the name of Middle College for many years. In 1903 it was remodeled and rechristened as Elisha D. Smith Hall, which name it now bears, in honor of the late Elisha D. Smith of Menasha, for many years one of the warm friends and supporters of the college. The delay in the work on this building caused much feeling locally. Some of the largest subscriptions, in the form of notes, were never paid, the notes disappearing from the resources of the college under circumstances that roused the hostility of a large faction in the community against the parties implicated. Public meetings of protest and condemnation were held, and misunderstandings between these subscribers and Mr. Walcott proved most harmful to the growth of the college.
1 This denominational control was released by the convention in 1868 by formal resolution. Since that time the board of trustees has been self-perpetuating, without control as to its membership or policies by any organization or individuals whatsoever.
February 21, 1857, the property was deeded to the official board of trustees, who gave to Mr. Walcott a mortgage for $6,977 on the entire realty.
In July, 1856, an educational convention was held in Ripon to determine the attitude of the churches toward this college. President Chapin of Beloit College, which was then a college for men, gave an address on the subject of female education, at the conclusion of which "he expressed himself very mildly against co-education in higher colleges," according to the Reverend Edward Brown, who was a member of the convention. The resolutions of that body recommended:
1. That the establishment of a college for males be left in its present situation until such time as God in His providence shall indicate the necessity.
2. That the preparatory department both for males and females be continued, and that there be a faithful execution of every trust. 3. That the main object be a female seminary.
4. That the five ecclesiastical bodies come in as equal sharers in the trusteeship, expenses and responsibilities of the institution.
The trustees at their next meeting, also in July, 1856, with these recommendations before them, voted unanimously not to make them the basis of its future plans. Thus, while the plan as to what the college was to be was not fully worked out, the underlying thought in the minds of the board at this date was that the institution should be one for both men and women; and in all subsequent developments that was never changed.
Again quoting from Dr. Merrell: "The local estrangements referred to above and the divided counsels had a depressing influence in those years. Finally the financial crisis of 1857 came upon the country with a crash, which with the other difficulties shook the faith of many. Nevertheless, though embarrassed, the cause was not deserted. The school was maintained, and efforts still continued to [be made to] weather the storm. Among those who rendered