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Linn County Iowa

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Western College - Western, Iowa


1875 Iowa Atlas, page 343

The following is a description of the beginning of Western College in Cedar Rapids as recorded in the book: History of Linn County Iowa: From Its Earliest Settlement to the Present Time, Vol. I. By Luther A. Brewer & Barthinius L. Wick. Chicago, The Pioneer Publishing Co., 1911.

"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 college:

William Paimetter, age 32, Male, Prof. Mathematics, b. N.Y.

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 College.

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. Penn.

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.


Bio of Capt. Shuey


Rev. Solomon Weaver
Virtual Founder of Western College and First President

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 College. 

Honorary Degrees Bestowed

Liberal Arts Degrees Earned (1864-1910)

Coe College Page

Source: Western-Leander-Clark College, 1856-1911, by Henry W. Ward; Otterbein press, Dayton, Ohio, 1911.
Transcribed by: Sharyl Ferrall for Linn Co. IAGenWeb, October 2009



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