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Irrhe following story of Olverliffs pas! was nnilen by .Mrs llffury Slrirrllrjf, a grazlualc
cf tie College in '68, aml lvirlona of Cericral C. VV. Sfiiinlvff. who cnrnzmunleil a regiment in Ilie
Civil WCIV. ll pre:u1iis Ilrc Iemlifrg feels of Olwmirrs fournling untl rlevtlopzmzrif iwry informally
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EV. JOHN SHIPHERD, while pastor of the Presbyterian church in Elyria, be-
came impressed with the great need of gospel preachers and teachers in "il he Valley
ofthe Mississippi." He resigned his pastorate that he might give his whole time to the plan of
founding a college and community for the purpose of training such laborers. Philo P.
Stewart, who had been a friend and claifrate at Pawlet, Vt,i returning from missionary work
among the Choctaw Indians, joined him at lnilyrizv, and they worked out the plan together.
Two sites, one in Elyria and one in Brownhelm, were offered for the enterprise, but
neither afforded sufficient room to carry out their ideas. So Mr. Shipherd started off, on
horseback, to New l-laven, Conn., a two week's journey, to propose his scheme to Messrs.
Hughs and Treat, owners of a large tract of unbroken forest in the southern part of
Lorain county. He asked for a gift of five hundred acres for a Manual Labor School,
and that nine square miles adjacent to the school grounds might be sold to the colonists
for farms at Sl.5O an acre. This, he assured the owners of the property, would bring
their land into market. Day after day he called upon these men, experienced in the
handling of real estate, without receiving a word of encouragement. But at last, con-
vinced that so earnest a man would succeed, they accepted his proposition.
Mr. Shipherd then undertook the task of raising funds and securing suitable persons
to carry out his great enterprise. Those expecting to become colonists were asked to sign the
Oberlin Covenant, consisting o' twelxe articles, pledging themselves to such lives of industry,
self-denial, and benevolence as 'conformed to Mr. Shipherdis standard of Christian
character. An idea of the whole covenant may be gained from the third and sixth articles:
An idea of the whole covenant may be grained from the third and sixth articles:
"THIRD: We will hold in possession no more property than we believe we can
profitably manage for God as His faithful stewards.
"SIXTH: That we may add to our time and health, monev for the service of' the
Lord, we will renounce all the world's expensive and unwholesome fashions of dress, partic-
ularly tight dressing and ornamental attire."
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Page 14 text:
A log cabin, built by Peter Pindar Pease from Brownhelm, in the spring of IS33,
and located near the historic Elm, was the first edifice erected upon the tract allotted to
the Oberlin colonists. l-le started a saw and grist mill, welcomed the settlers when they
arrived, and pressed forward the work upon the first school building, which received the
name, Oberlin l-lall. It was a frame building of two stories and an attic. For a year it
was the center of the whole enterprise, the home of students,
is LB? teachers, and founders. One large room on the first floor
A . V served for school, chapel, and church.
f. ' is 'L' I e The second building was a boarding hall, headquarters
:FRI Q of the Women's Department, and called Ladies' l-lall. It stood
A Y on the northeast corner of the lot on which the second church
now stands, and had accommodations for the Stewart family,
- K V I sixty young ladies, and sittings inithe dining room for two
First Ladies' Hall , ,
hundred. Ar lirst it was put in charge of Mr. and Mrs.
Stewart. They had very strict ideas upon the subject of diet, and banished tea and
coffee from the tables. Graham bread with gravy was a principal article of food. Meat
was served, but the Stewarts approved a purely vegetable diet. It is related that Mr.
Stewart once proposed the substitution of parched corn for the graham bread, in order
to Hsave something." But the students did not favor the change, and not long after, Mr.
and Mrs. Stewart left the boarding hall, deeply grieved that the youth of that generation
were so devoted to the "flesh pots of Egypt." They went to Troy, N. Y., where after
years of poverty and struggle, Mr. Stewart succeeded in giving to the world a cook stove
of his own invention, which brought him a moderate fortune and no small renown. He
rejoiced in the fact that this stove was most economical in its consumption of fuel. As
long as wood was the fuel used, it had no competitor in this part of the country.
As yet the College had no president and the church no pastor. Bearing upon his
heart these needs of the colony, Mr. Shipherd found his way to Cincinnati and into the
home of Rev. Asa Mahan, a brother clergyman, pastor of a Presbyterian church in the
city. It was just after the great body of Lake Seminary students had withdrawn from that
institution because forbidden to discuss the subject of slavery. The two men conceived
the idea of inviting these studentsiuroyal good fellows," as Dr. Beecher had called
them-to Oberlin, adding a theological school to the infant college and providing suitable
instructors. Mr. Shipherd found in Mr. Mahan the man he had been seeking for the
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