Source: Seminary stock book, Box 3 Folder 1 in the Shimer College Collection (RHC 77). Sequence follows the order of pages in the book, which does not correspond to order by date.

Article of AgreementEdit

Article of Agreement

Made between Wm. Spicer of the first part & Misses Wood & Gregory of the second part, all of Mt. Carroll, Carroll Co., Ill. In which the party of first agrees to labor for the party of the second part for the term of months, for & in consideration of which the party of the second part agrees to pay the party of the first part the sum of dollars per month, also give him the privilege of laboring for others by the day (such time being deducted), except when such privilege shall be detrimental to themselves, also to board said party of the first part during the deducted time or any part thereof said party may prefer at one dollar seventy five cents per week. Further-- the parties of the first & second parts mutually agree that the time of said service &c as specified above shall commence on Eighteen hundred & fifty five


Mt. Carroll Sem.
Feb. 27, 1857

We the undersigned do most cheerfully pay the sums set opposite our several names to our beloved Bro. A.S. Estie (of Aurora) as a small token of our appreciation of his faithful & valuable labors in the First Baptist Church of Mt. Carroll, accompanying said token with our earnest prayers for the richest of the blessings of our God whom he has been the honored instrument in teaching us to love & serve.

Wood & Gregory 20.00
F.A. Daily Pd. 5.00
A.C.Craig 5.00
C.E. Shotwell

[others: Gregg, Colehour, Cakins, &c.]



Wood & Gregory have violated the Sem. Charter by having a Sectarian School.

Teachers have not attended properly to their duties.

Classes have been retarded because of pupils being absent.

Have carried this religious matter too far.

Children have not learned any thing of any account this quarter.

Ladies & gentlemen have said if they had known this mode of conducting schools they should not have come to such a place.

Rev. Estie has been allowed to take liberties at the Sem. which wisdom would not dictate—he has been allowed to visit the ladies in their private rooms & has insulted them while there—he is a vile, base character himself (bearing this recommend from abroad) & has the teachers under his perfect control, hence we infer he has made use of his power to commit the basest crimes & insults as he has had opportunity. He has been in the room alone with different ladies at divers times. Miss Wood has been recognised by name as one of the teachers who has been very familiar with him.

A short time since, he was seen to leave the pulpit, go & speak to Miss Wood & then both go out of the house unaccompanied by any one else & remaining ten or fifteen min. then returning through another door which act has been easily interpreted.

One evening while a load of the ladies were returning to the Sem. from the Church, Rev. E. being in company remarked on the way, "I have hold of some sisters hand, I think I shall hang on"—this has been held up to the public to exhibit the dispositions of the man. It is said he has visited the Sem. nearly every day using authority very severe, trying to sear....

[writing trails off]

To Rev. GrayEdit

[ Wood and Gregory to Calvin Gray ]

Rev. C. Gray,

Sir: Please find inclosed Notice the substance of which was made public at the different churches last evening. As you had no service we of course did not send you for that purpose. We call your attention to it now that you may give what publicity to it you can conveniently & more especially that you may invite Mrs. Thompson's attention to it & urge her to respond to the call as one whom the Comm. may regard as being in possession of some testimony against us. We would further urge you to respond to the call, if not as one from whom information may be elicited, at least as one who would know the truth & have clear testimony on which to condemn (if we deserve condemnation) or have prejudice removed, which may have been engendered in your mind by misrepresentations or innuendos.

We regret deeply your finding circumstances such as to make it necessary for you to decline acting on our Examining Comm. May we be permitted to inquire if the circumstances are connected with the School or yourself & c.

Respectfully, W & G


Notice read by request of Mr. Rinewalt in Methodist & Baptist churches on Sunday eve. Apr. 5th 1857 --

The Trustees of the Mt. C. Sem. have in compliance with a call made by Misses W.&G. for an investigation of charges made against them & institution, appointed Mon. 7 o'clock P.M. Apr. 6th 1857 for said investigation. The time being so short in which to circulate notice, they should avail themselves of this method to notify the public & invite all who are acquainted with the charges or knowing to any testimony to appear at the Sem. at that time & meet them face to face before said Com.

Wood & Gregory


[ Reuben Brush to the Board of Trustees ]

Friday noon
Apr. 9 1857

Mr. Wm. Frohock & others

Accept of my thanks for your kindness & liberality in supplying me with tickets. Your politeness is no less appreciated by my declining to accept of this favor tendered. There are reasons to me satisfactory for pursuing this course.



[ Calvin Gray to Wood and Gregory ]

Mt. Carroll Apr. 29, 1857

Misses Wood & Gregory,

Will you permit me to call your attention to the Report of the Examining Committee of the Mt. Carroll Sem.

In it they say "Some pains have been taken to spread broad, east through the country among parents & friends, the impression that the School had become Sectarian."

It has been my opinion (& I have frequently expressed it) that the Sem. had become practically a Baptist Institution, & in this sense Sectarian. If I understand it, this opinion, expressed by myself & others, is the real point-focus around which sweeps all the whirling eddies of the excitement relative to the Sem.

A superficial observer might suppose the different eddies are individualities—but no, they all have their paternity in the single question of Sectarianism. There is reason why it is so. If the Sectarianism is a verity there has been a change—a lapsus, if not an apostasy, from the foundation as laid under the corporation for that was clearly unsectarian. I suppose there may be an honest difference of opinion & that perhaps a satisfactory arrangement might be effected.

You are probably aware that I invited (by a verbal message) your opinion in relation to two propositions—in this I was sincerely seeking a peaceful arrangement. May I without impertinence, be permitted once more to repeat the propositions. There || may have been a mistake in the verbal message, or you may not have appreciated my earnest desire to have the matter pacified. It seems to me that it can be accomplished more easily now than after further developments. I sincerely beg, a just & honorable compromise & therefore do respectfully send these propositions, requesting an answer at your earliest convenience.

1st. Is it your intention to conduct the Sem on neutral ground as to different Christian Churches.

2d. Do you believe that the Methodist & Presbyterian Churches are regular evangelical Christian Churches.

May I not hope for a definite answer to these questions.

Yours with respect, C. Gray.
(A.M. Gray amanuensis)

1857-02-27 RinewaltEdit

[ John Rinewalt to J.V. Allison ]

Phila., Feb 27th[??] 1857

John Rinewalt to Rev. Allison

I learn from my Dear Wife in a letter of same date as yours that the Devil is unchained in Mt. C., that his Lordship's fury is mainly against our dear & worthy Sisters Misses Wood & Gregory.

Call personally on these dear & beloved sisters & say to them to stand steadfast against all the fury of Messers Beaty[?], Devil & Co. Daylight is just dawning behind this cloud of malice. Say to them to pursue the course they have & pay no attention to the works of darkness. I will make up any loss they sustain from this Hellish fury & more if needed. They may rely on me for $500.00 & more if necessary. Mr. Halderman, unless he is a traitor, is their firm friend. I have always found him true. If necessary, by appealing to our Brethren here I can raise any loss they may sustain. I am their friend & will die in the cause of Justice. Say to them not to yield an inch of ground. They shall be sustained. The last dollar I have on earth is at their Command. Do tell them not to yield an iota. God will ever provide means to protect his faithful followers.

I wrote to our Dear Sisters lately once or twice, encouraging them to go on. I trust in God they will take courage & do so. Not one hair of their head will be injured, no matter how dark things may appear presently. Prospectively there is a || smiling face of him who controls all things & can make the wrath of man praise him. Do encourage these dear friends never to "give up the Ship." They are in the right channel & will arrive at the right Port.

I will do all I can to encourage the establishment of a great & faithful Press in Mt. C. I shall see tomorrow some of my friends on this subject. We must & will have an Independent press—Have it we will. I have long since had not confidence in Wheeler, as my wife will bear testimony, down with such fellows. A press we must have that will do justice to truth & righteousness. Quietly look out for a suitable place. It will be a Democratic Paper. I have lost all confidence in this "Republican Hobby riding to death" party. Henceforward I am a Democrat of the Simon-pure school. I just say what I mean.

It is bed time. I must close—I will write soon again. Stand by the Seminary, Let the venom of Hell boil up. Stand by our Dear Sisters & not a hair of their devoted heads shall be hurt. I wish I were at home & yet I am glad I am not. I think God is moving in this matter. If I were there I would strike just as sure as I live, whether heads or ears flew off or not. Stand by our dear sisters. If needs be & we are forced into it we can make a Baptist Institution of it & honorably support it. Let there be no flinching.

I am confident I could raise a sum sufficient here to support the school, tho not a dollar was recvd. there. I know I could if facts were laid before our people.

I write in great haste. In a day or two I will write & take more time. I am glad to hear my family & all of you are well.

Yours truly, John Rinewalt


Mt. C. Feb 5th / .57

Miss Underwood

You will I hope excuse me for assuming so much liberty as to drop a few lines to you, but from a sense of duty I find that I am obliged to do so. From recent reports I learn that you are not privileged to do as you desire. Now if any thing in this be true, please let me know by immediate reply or call on me at Chapman & Irvine Store this evening or at my house adjoining Mr. Irvine's residence, when I hope to learn the full particulars of the treatment you have lately recvd. I shall use my exertion to have things adjusted properly. Fear not daughter but remember you shall find a friend.

Excuse haste & imperfections.

I am Y.t. R M. J.H. Bohn


[ James Fargusson to Wood and Gregory ]

Mt. Carroll, Feb. 3d., 1857

Misses Wood & Gregory


Mount Seminary

Amid the present religious & mental excitement that prevails in our village, a few philosophical questions naturally suggest themselves to the minds of the more thinking portions of our community questions that pertain not only to the excited present but to the fast & the future of our village, community & institutions. Among these questions are the following. What has become of that boasted Liberal institution of Learning around which the whole community rallied but a few months ago as tho it was the "palladium of their salvation that institution which was incorporated by special legislative enactment as a liberal institution, as the people's instrument & forever guarantied free from all Sectarian or religious influence or controll"?? Has it degenerated into a mere Baptist institution & is it governed by a Spirit of fanaticism, instead of philosophy? Has that order, energy & efficiency which at first rendered it so popular given way to a spirit of cant & fanaticism? Has the personal attention & experience of its principals been exchanged for the services of young & inexperienced Schollars as assistants through motives of economy? Are the Schollars that are sent there for strictly scientific or educational purposes (mainly because it was a liberal institution) to have their minds so wrought upon by persuasion, precept & example as to convert them into premature bigots or enthusiast, instead of practical Schollars?

Or are they to be detained in waiting the motion of their deluded enthusiastic classmates & thus lose both their time & tuition fees? In Short is the Mt. Carroll Seminary as at present tempered || & conducted, that liberal, practical, efficient institution that community had hoped & had reason to believe it would be? Is it such an institution of learning as is at present demanded in this place? Or had we as a community better let it Drop in Despair & unite our efforts in favor of a Grand Union School where all the advantages of a high school may be had together with the benefits of the public monies without the taint of Religious Sectarianism? These & kindred questions are daily being asked by one Citizen of another & freely discussed & not as Cassius spoke treason to Brutus in a hushed breath & in a by place, but openly & in public places. And as for myself, you know my motto "free off hand your story tell" & I am decidedly of the opinion that no person can serve two masters at the same time, they cannot serve God & Mammon at the same time, nor can they do two things contrary in their natures at the same time & do them both well "ie" they cannot serve the Church (the most exacting of all masters) & at the same time serve the patrons of the Seminary & do justice to both.. & it is further my opinion that if you succeed (which it seems at present you will do) in arousing the jealousies, resentment & opposition of the liberal portion of this community, backed by the growing jealousies of other religious denominations, you will then have created a power that you cannot controll, & if this power thus created manifests itself in a "Grand People's Union School" in this place, where they can all meet on the same common platform, the result will be that just in proportion to the life & progress & prosperity of such an institution will be the decline, downfall & death of the Seminary, for all know that this community cannot || sustain two such institutions & you are well aware of the strong inclinations of all communities to avail themselves of the public monies for school purposes and especially where it is accompanied by first class school privileges.

Now in saying this I do not speak the sentiments of myself alone, but of a very large class of community & of those who have stood by the Seminary with their patronage & support through every vicissitude but who now that they regard it as at present but little better than a hot-bed of religious fanaticism feel a strong inclination to turn their attention elsewhere for those benefits that they had hoped to receive there & whilst I share in the foregoing sentiments I would not be understood as in any wise censuring or calling to account any person on account of their region, for it should be between them & their God. But I do most strongly condemn its introduction into a School, & especially so where it can work such mischief as I belief it has in the Seminary. And without a radical change from the present aspect of things, it needs no prophetic eye to see in the halls of the Seminary to professor's chair stand unnoticed fast falling to decay, the student's seats tenantless & institution itself numbered among the things that were. Now if this frank expression of my opinion on a subject in which I have a deep interest should give offence I am prepared to settle my school bill at any time.

Very respectfully,

James Fargusson


[ Patrick Gregg to Wood & Gregory, in re Mary Gregg ]

Rock Island

Feb 14th / .57

Misses Wood & Gregory,

To say that I deeply regret & deplore the course which my daughter has been permitted or solicited to pursue at your Institution would be but a very feeble expression of my feelings on the subject. To say, that I disapprove of it, gives a very inadequate idea of that disapproval. I trust that the opportunity afforded to my children (& with my full & cordial approbation) at home by attendance on Sabbath School, for religious instruction, will exculpate me from the charge of hostility to religion or its institutions, & I believe, a reference to my letters to the Ladies Principals of the Mt. C. Institute would not detract from my claims as an advocate of religious instruction, calm, deliberate, instruction, but not such as is attempted to be conveyed during the frenzied excitement of what is called a religious revival. In it I have no abiding faith, & while willing to accord to others honesty of purpose, in entertaining different views, I must be permitted as a Parent having the deepest interest in my children's welfare to protest against their participation in it & also against their taking upon themselves, at so tender an age, the Monitorship of their Parents.

Again I cannot subscribe to the utility or the policy of "getting up" these excitements during school term. To this you may reply, "That I should not have sent my daughter to your Institution." And most certainly I should not had I anticipated what has taken place. ||

Will you permit me to ask if I have not a right to expect to be consulted in this matter? What was the urgency here? What hurry for the sacrifice?

With what implicit confidence I placed the girl in your charge & how miserably disappointed I am on receiving from her a letter in almost incoherent language informing me that I don't know exactly what. I have no been an indifferent looker on in this world & have not failed to observe that on the occasion of religious revivals, the Devil is as busy as the Saints, & his agents have as pure a garb, apparently, & louder professions.

May I request then, that Mary is not permitted to associate indiscriminately with all whose only recommendation is those assumed qualifications. If in what I have written there is any thing deemed offensive I must disavow any intention of that kind. I shall take the earliest opportunity offered by the weather & roads either to visit Mt. Carroll in person or have Mrs. G. go there & then take such steps as may seem best to use for the girl's future. In the mean time I entreat your kindly care for her.

Your respectfully,

P. Gregg.


[ Wood & Gregory to Patrick Gregg, in re Mary Gregg ]

Mt. C. Seminary
Feb 25th 1857

Dr. Gregg,

Dear Sir;

To say that we were greatly surprised & pained on the perusal of your of 14th inst., would be a very feeble expression of our feelings on the subject. Surprised, from the fact that we had inferred from your letters & other facts which you alluded to, that you were indeed "an advocate of religious instruction, calm, deliberated instruction" as no other has been resorted to—we condemning all others as much as you possibly can. We were pained to know that we had so unwittingly forfeited that confidence we esteem so highly.

Yet we most cheerfully "exculpate you from the charge of hostility to religion or its institutions," believing you thought & wrote under false impressions regarding the influence brought to bear upon your daughter & the result of those influences. It is this belief that prompts us to address you thus uninvited.

It is true there is and has been for several weeks a deep religious interest among the Students in our Institution. We gave them the privilege of attended evening service (always accompanying them ourselves) where they had the opportunity of hearing the subject of religion calmly & unimpassionedly canvassed. Mary, like all others of our number who have professed piety, has been an unexcited listener—an unimpassioned actor—ever step taken has been done cooly, calmly & without "solicitation" from any one.

As regards your being consulted in the matter, we were not aware but you were, indeed we did not deem it necessary to inquire, as we had confidence in Mary's maturity of mind & acquaintance with her father's views, that she would act judiciously. Had we seen her acting under the influence of "excitement" we should have done differently. We were grateful for that implicit || confidence with which you placed your daughter in our charge, and would sooner sacrifice life than betray, knowingly, such confidence. Then judge of our feelings on reading what follows your expression of that confidence &c. "And how miserably disappointed I am in receiving from her a letter in almost incoherent language informing that I don't know exactly what." Here is an intimation that you have reasons for feeling that confidence misplaced, without giving any clue to what these reasons are.

Your remark that "on the occasion of religious revivals the Devil is as busy as the Saints" we well know to be true. The faithful labors of that worthy's emissaries together with jealousies of other parties or denominations have raised a "hue & cry" against us which has been taken advantage of by some Union School agitators—all combined has seemed determined to ruin our prospects.

We fear exaggerated reports may have reached your vicinity & prejudiced your mind against us.

With regard to Mary's associates we would say they have not been, and are not now & will not be in any way changed from what they were on entering school.

We will be most happy to see yourself or Mrs. G. at our place, though it may be to take from us one we have learned to love dearly. We can rejoice to deliver her in every way as worthy your confidence & love as when you parted with her & our prayer for her will be that she may continue as we believe her to be now a faithful consistent Christian.

As regards Mary's studies, we would say she is making excellent progress, especially in her Music. Rest assured your closing request is heeded & your beloved daughter will be not only "kindly" but affectionately & we trust faithfully "cared for" till you come.

Yours respectfully,

Wood & Gregory


[ John Rinewalt to J.V. Allison ]

Extract from a letter of J. Rinewalt Esq. to Rev. J.V. Allison dated Philadelphia, Feb. 16th, 1857.

"I wrote very hastily this morning to Sisters Wood & Gregory. I entreated them not to yield an inch, but go forward in the discharge of their duties, fearing nothing & caring less of what the Devil may say & do—to give themselves no thought, not a moment, about the "Union School." Let them try it & in less than three months they will be like the "Kilkenny Cats," devour themselves. You know something about the public spirit & Benevolent hearts of the opposition. We had a fair exemplification of it in the building of the present Seminary. If sisters Wood & Gregory had not taken it, it would now be a Stench in the nostrils in any decent Community. They are entitled to all the credit of that splendid institution & so help me God they shall not be trodden on if my feeble efforts can do any thing to avert it. How contemptibly mean, for a few would be leaders & moulders of society, to try to injure a few Ladies who came there in a new country & made sacrifices & labored under great inconveniences to build up our community—to turn on them & try to put them down. Language is too weak to describe such persons, & if God in his Great mercy will not have mercy on them they are Gone cases.

See the teachers & encourage them to pay no attention to any thing said or done, but to go on in the discharge of their duty, both as to God & their School, & my life for it, after this foul vapor has passed away, which will soon be the case, they will be more highly appreciated than ever. Gold after passing through the fire, I am told, looks brighter than ever. Just so it will be with these teachers."



[ Wood and Gregory to John Wilson ]

Questions proposed by W.&G. to J. Wilson (Pres. of Board at the time of transfer) & answers given.

Mt. C. May 14th 1857

[col 1]

Question 1st, by W. & G. What in your view was the true prime cause of this embarrassment?

[col 2] Ans. 1st by John Wilson, given in writing.

Your 1st? is answered by saying "debt." The Trustees commenced a work to cost $5000 with a stock subscription of about $2000 intending to increase stock subscription as work progressed, but when the contract was let they relaxed their efforts, every one feeling that he had business enough of his own to attend to. The 1st payment was made by myself & refunded afterwards by collections upon stock subscriptions. $2000 was borrowed of Jackson Deaver, the Sem. property pledged in security, interest 10 per ct. per annum payable semiannually upon this dept. Upwards of one thousand dollars borrowed of Richard Bollinger to meet one payment & about $600 borrowed of Galena Bank made up the sum to complete the building. About $2000 was then paid for furniture & figures. About $1000 of this paid by yourselves & say $1000 by Trustees as individuals, make up the embarrassment in part that existed at the time the|| transfer of Sem. was made to you. Only about $1000 has ever been paid on subscriptions & less than $200 by persons outside the board of Trustees.

[col 1]

2nd. Question. Why did the stockholders fail to pay installments?

[col 2]

Ans. 2nd. "No money" was the general answer & no efficient steps taken to collect.

[col 1] 3d. Why did the board accept the proposition to take the concern off their hands so readily?

4th. Why did they feel it a relief to have it taken from their shoulders?

5th. What may be understood in the expression, "what with the accumulated debts by now felt to be a heavy burden"?

6th. Was there any other idea before the mind of the writer (of Report of Ex. Com.) than the debt as a burden?

[col 2]

Answers 3d. 4th 5th & 6th. The Board had the fullest confidence in the ability of present Principals to manage successfully the enterprise which the board could not do in its present embarrassed state, being so heavily involved in debt—debt was the "heavy burden" no other idea involved.

(carried over)

[col 1] 7th Question. Did the Board at this time feel that we as Principals were in any way the cause of the embarrassment, if so in what particular & further if so, what prevented their informing us of the fact & securing other persons in our place?

Ans. 7th. The Board never regarded the present Principals to be in the least the cause of the embarrassment alluded to. In fact without the aid of the present Principals, the enterprise would have been an entire failure as the writer believes.

8th Question. Was the subject of religious sectarianism or any of the kindred terms made use of, brought before the mind of the Board as an influence in the embarrassment or transfer.

In conclusion we said—You no doubt understand what has prompted or suggested these inquiries & we appeal to you as one in whom we would still feel confidence as having the interest of this institution at heart to rely to us frankly & plainly, let it cut where it may; if on us the blow falls, let it come. All we ask is truth & candor in the mater.

Ans. 8th. In making the transfer to present Principals, religious Sectarianism never was thought of by the Board, neither had it any thing to do with the embarrassments above named.


John Wilson

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