The Growth of Dorchester Academy 1874 – 1930s

In 1872, African Americans from Liberty County began another letter writing campaign; this time for a teacher to replace Eliza Ann Ward. They requested that their next teacher be both a teacher and a minister. In the spring of 1874, the community finally received news that the American Missionary Association (AMA) had hired Floyd Snelson as their new teacher and minister for the Midway Congregational Church. By the end of the 1874 school term, two hundred and seventy pupils had attended. The school had grown to be so large that nearly sixty students were instructed outside the classroom. In September of 1877, Snelson was sent to Africa as a missionary by the AMA. When he returned, he resumed his position as minister but not as principal because the AMA had decided that the job now required a full-time employee.

In 1878, the old one-room schoolhouse was rebuilt as a two-room school. It opened as Dorchester Academy in 1879. Expansion rapidly continued and by 1896, the thirty-acre campus included the school building, teacher’s home, girls’ and boys’ dormitories, dining hall, kitchen, laundry and industrial buildings. In 1896, Sarah Morrison and Frank C. Daniels were the first graduates of Dorchester Academy. They were also the first high school graduates in all of Liberty County.

Dorchester Academy Marker (#3); Erected 2004 by City of Flemington.