Fremont County, Iowa

Fremont County History

Tabor College, 1875

From A.T. Andreas' Illustrated Historical Atlas of the State of Iowa, 1875
(transcribed by Pat O'Dell,


Tabor College is situated at the Village of Tabor on the north line of Fremont County. In 1848, some families from Oberlin, Ohio, settled on the Missouri River, about five miles above the present site of Nebraska City, with the purpose of founding a college upon the same principle as the one at Oberlin.

This was at a time when no other college was planned within many hundred miles. The sentiments of the new colony made them an unpopular people. Many of them were natives of New England. They were Congregationalists, and anti-slavery men. Settling near the border of a slave state, intense prejudice arose, which culminated in the burning of their school house.

High water on the Missouri which spread over its bottom lands in the Spring of 1851, led to the selection of the present location on the dividing ridge between the Missouri and Nishnabotany Rivers. It was incorporated, but the Board of Trustees did not deem it wise to open a school until 1857. Since that time about 1,300 students have received instruction, many of whom have gone out as teachers in the common schools of Iowa, Nebraska, Missouri, and Kansas. The institution was placed legally on a college basis July 23, 1866.

For several years the college has numbered in the different departments from 176 to 246 students during the year. The college has three buildings erected at a cost of $24,000; a chapel 66x32 feet; the other 60x40 feet, three stories, and a music hall 20x28 feet, two stories; an endowment of $50,000, and eighty-nine acres of land.

The founder of the Tabor Colony (Rev. John Todd) deeded to the college, lands valued at $3,800, and besides, about $5,000 - being one-half his property. The citizens of Tabor pledged about $31,000 more. At a meeting of the citizens of Tabor, called to consider the question of raising funds for a new buillding, and for endowment, the founder of the Colony said: " I have felt, ever since I came into the West, that I was making property for this one object, to build up an institution where the young people who should be educated, should go out into the world as Christians, and I will now give from my capital all that can be spared from my business, and carry that forward successfully, and I am willing to leave it to others to say how much that shall be. I will devote my income to the college; and, if necessary to its success, I will put in every dollar I have, and begin anew." In all, the people of Tabor and vicinity have given for buildings, endowment, and it cash, over $41,000.

A valuable geological cabinet is connected with the institution. Specimens have been collected for it in New England, and in Ceylon, and India. A good library is also established in the college. The course of study is equal to that of eastern colleges. It is intended to surround this institution with all the appliances of a first-class college.

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