Lost History: Franklin Female College (1849)

The Franklin Female College was founded in 1849 as an independent girls school, though the school was always informally associated with the Methodist Church.  The school was founded by Methodist Minister Reverend Stephen G. Starks (1816-1859), who became the first President.  Other members of the original faculty were Reverend Guilford Jones, Mr. J. Trotreau, Mrs. M. A. Holiday, Miss M. G. Goode, and Mrs. E. R. Moore.  The tuition at Franklin Female College was $122.50 ($3,590 in 2017 dollars), which included 21 weeks of study, room and board, washing, lights and fuel.  For all of its history, the Franklin Female College was located in an imposing two-story Greek Revival structure, located at the northwest corner of Randolph Street and College Avenue.  This building had a large pedimented portico supported by square Tuscan columns and a prominent cupola.

Franklin Female College was a rival school to the Holly Springs Female Institute, which would later become the first Holly Springs Public School.  During the 1850s, the faculty of Franklin Female College published a paper called The Collegiate Mirror.  At least two academic student groups were formed, called The Euphradean Society and the Philomathean Society.

During the Civil War, when classes were canceled, the Franklin Female College was used both as the County Courthouse and as a hospital for the sick and wounded.  Captain William Clark, along with Reverend H. H. Paine, revived the school in 1869, and was the President of the College until his death in 1878.  In 1891, the Methodist Church formally purchased the Franklin Female College and renamed it Malone College, after Dr. Thomas J. Malone (1806-1893). Reverend J. W. Honnoll (1836-1912) was the President during this time.  Malone College closed in 1898, after having educated several generations of local women.  In 1904, the great two-story Greek Revival building was destroyed in a fire.

After the destruction of the Franklin Female College, a large two-story Victorian frame house was constructed on the same lot by Benjamin L. Howard (1851-1916) and his wife Lilly F. Howard (1862-1923).  The Howard’s lived here until 1919 until 1930, when the house was purchased by Hyman Myers, a Jewish merchant who owned a dry goods store on the south side of the Square.  The Myers House was a typical late Victorian house, with multiple gables and a large porch.  One interesting architectural element of the house was its jerkin head hip-roof.  In 1929, the last remaining natural gas lamp post in Holly Springs was located outside the Myers House, but was removed to make room for the newly-concreted College Avenue.  After 1930, the Myers House was turned into apartments.  In 1966, the house was bought by the Baptist Church, who used the house as classrooms for several years before the home was razed in the 1970s to make room for the current Baptist Church Activity Center.

The historical pictures are from the Lem Johnson and Chesley Smith collections.

One thought on “Lost History: Franklin Female College (1849)

  1. Pingback: Holly Springs: Colonsay Cottage (1840) – Hill Country History

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