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Intellectual and Cultural Influence

As the most impressive educational institution of the Natchez region, Jefferson College quickly became a center of the intellectual community. William Dunbar, the territory's most active man of science, was a member of the first board; later board members included Benjamin Wailes and John Wesley Monette. Several associations dedicated to learning met in the college rooms; around 1837, the Jefferson College and Washington Lyceum was formed, the first such group allied with Jefferson College. Standing committees were organized on belles-lettres and mental science, moral philosophy and theology, constitutional law and political economy, natural history, mathematics and physical science, antiquities and history, and anatomy and physiology. The Lyceum published an important literary journal and also undertook investigations of local Indian mounds.

 

The Civil War

The outbreak of the Civil War forced the closing of Jefferson College in 1863. It reopened in 1866, again as a preparatory school. From that time until 1964, when its doors closed forever, Jefferson College remained a preparatory school. By the beginning of the twentieth century, the school had become known as Jefferson Military College.


Mississippi Department of Archives and History.