"Western was laid out in March,
1856, under the auspices of the United Brethren church, with the
design of forming proper surroundings for the college. Ground
was first broken in June of that year. By August, 1857, there
were forty-three dwelling houses and three hundred inhabitants.
One college building had been completed. This was of brick,
three stories in height, 36 by 62 feet. This was placed upon a
campus of seventeen acres. Rev. S. Weaver was first president of
this institution. The plan was to operate a large farm in
connection with the college, that students might earn their way.
In this new town there were already two stores, one hotel built
and one building, a blacksmith shop, two physicians, and
fourteen busy carpenters. Land in the vicinity was worth from
$10 to $20 per acre. Its quality was proven when the college
president, on his own farm, raised 1,800 bushels of wheat. There
was a railroad coming there, of course, as there was on
prospected to nearly every cross-roads in the state. This
particular line was the Iowa Union, to run from Cedar Rapids to
Iowa City." (History 1911, p. 479)
The 1860 Linn County Census for
College Twp., displays an entry on line 33 of p. 49:
Solomon Weaver, age 45,
Male, Supt. Western College, b. Penn.
On page 50 of the same township
census, there is an entry that is likely connected to the
William Paimetter, age 32, Male, Prof. Mathematics, b.
Also in the same census &
township, page 55, lines 3-10 are the following listings
identified as "Western College Students"
M. Shellabarger, age 19, b. Ohio
William McAlpin, age 22, b. Indiana
C. E. Richardson, age 21, b. Mich.
A. M. Baker, age 24, b. Ohio
Riley Draper, age 22, b. Indiana
J. H. Hannah, age 21, b. Ohio
A. L. McPherson, age 21, b. Ohio
M. P. Mosky, age 21, b. Indiana
There are many others who are
listed in the College township 1860 census as "Teachers" or
"Students" who are not identified specifically with Western
When Western College closed is
unclear, but it appears to have been operating at the time of
the 1870 census as seen in the following entries on page 10 of
the College Township section:
Hower R. Raye, age 27, "Prof. in College", b. N.Y.
Ezekiel Kephart, age 35, "Presdt, Western College", b.
Western College also shows up
on the College township map in the 1875 Iowa State Atlas
(See map), but there appears no evidence in the
census records for 1880 that the college was still in operation
in Linn county.
Western College was Relocated to Tama County, Iowa
Then eventually Merged with Coe College in Linn county
Western College, founded by
the United Brethern in Christ in 1857, was originally
located a mile north of Shueyville, in Section 34, Putnam
twp., Linn county. In 1881, due to financial problems, the
college moved to Toledo, Tama co., were the residents
pledged $20,000 in support. In 1906 the college was renamed
after a local benefactor, Leander Clark. Despite this the
financial burden became too much and the college went
bankrupt. In 1919 Western, Leander Clark merged with Coe
Liberal Arts Degrees
Coe College Page
Western-Leander-Clark College, 1856-1911, by Henry W. Ward;
Otterbein press, Dayton, Ohio, 1911.
Transcribed by: Sharyl Ferrall for Linn Co. IAGenWeb,