Wilmington Yearly Meeting in 1909
(Original photograph ~ Harveysburg Historical Society)
On August 11th, 1870, Orthodox Friend’s purchased Franklin College in Wilmington, the county seat of Clinton County, Ohio, which had been established by the Christian Church in 1868. Unable to raise the needed money to continue they had put it up for sale. The name was changed to Wilmington College. Many Friends, both Orthodox and Hicksite, who could afford it, had sent their children to another early Quaker college established by Indiana Yearly Meeting (Orthodox), Earlham College, in Richmond, Indiana, situated along the National Road, which began as a boarding school in 1847. Now there would be two Orthodox Quaker institutions of higher learning in the immediate area.
On August 17, 1870 the Miami-Gazette newspaper of Waynesville, Ohio published the following article:
FRANKLIN COLLEGE PURCHASED BY THE FRIENDS. On Monday afternoon the Franklin college Building and grounds were offered for sale at public auction by the Sheriff of Clinton County at the door of the Court House. General A. W. Doan, on behalf of the Society of Friends, made the only bid that was offered, two thirds of the appraised value, and it was knocked down to him at $11,333.33. Committees representing the quarterlies of Miami, Fairfield and Center were present and witnessed the sale and purchase. The Friends have certainly secured a great bargain in this purchase, as there are fifteen acres of desirable grounds attached, and the building in its present unfinished state could not have cost less than $25,000. The several committees above referred to are to meet here again on the day of the Sabbath School celebration and determine upon an immediate course of procedure, looking to the completion of the edifice and preparing it for the purpose intended by the purchase. The ample grounds are also sufficient for a Yearly Meetinghouse, and this purchase will be the great preliminary move toward securing that desirable branch of the Friends’ Annual Assemblage at Wilmington.
Hicksite Quakers would also establish a college in Springboro, Ohio in January 1871, Miami Valley Institute
, later renamed Miami Valley College
. It, however, would not survive beyond 12 years.
Wilmington College is also the official repository for Ohio Valley Yearly Meeting (FGC) and Wilmington Yearly Meeting (FUM) and all their subordinate meetings. The Quaker Archive at Wilmington is located in Watson Library.
The new Boyd Cultural Center and the Quaker Heritage Center at Wilmington College will open in September.
The Oscar F. Boyd Cultural Arts Center
The Meriam R. Hare Quaker Heritage Center
Friday, September 23, 2005: There will be an Open House for Oscar F. Boyd Cultural Arts Center, including the Meriam Hare Quaker Heritage Center, 8-10 p.m.
Sunday, September 25, 2005: Opening of the Meriam Hare Quaker Heritage Center and dedication of the Meeting House. Dedication, 1:30 p.m., and reception/tour of the Oscar F. Boyd Cultural Arts Center, 3 p.m.