Augusta School History

The ardent desires of the Methodist Episcopal Church to sponsor an educational institution the location of Augusta, and the support of the Trustees of Bracken Academy were each responsible for the beginning of Augusta College.  The history of the church as taken from the annual Conference proceedings from 1822-1844 portrayed a great interest in the school at Augusta.  John P. Finley was the first president of the college.  Many of the teachers an graduates of Augusta were instrumental in the success of other institutions of higher learning throughout the country.  The ability to adequately finance the school became a burden to the church, and this, coupled with the slavery question that tended to divide the Ohio from the Kentucky Conference, led to the closing of the college in 1844.  To augment the limited finances, the school published several newspapers, and at one time operated the ferry across the Ohio River.  With the withdrawal of Ohio support from Augusta, the Methodists of that state turned their attentions to the newly organized Ohio Wesleyan University at Delaware, Ohio.

For about forty years after the close of Augusta College as a strict Methodist institution the school property was rented to a number of different men for the operation of a school.  Often these men were Methodist preachers.  Although non-sectarian, these schools brought to bear a strong religious influence upon the students.  Because of the financial interest the Bracken Academy influence dominated the policies of these several schools.

The rapidly growing sentiment in America favoring public schools was soon to be felt in Augusta.  The newly organized Augusta Graded School, termed the "free school," was opened in the fall of 1889 with a principal and five teachers.  Several legal litigations between the original Bracken Academy group and the public school adherents existed for several years.  The organization and the administration of the present public school has been in keeping with the Kentucky Department of Education.  As an Independent District, the school now has an enrollment of 325 pupils.


The above consists of the chapter summaries from masters degree thesis from University of Cincinnati in 1952 by W. H. Hanson, titled The History of Educational Institutions in Augusta, Kentucky.