The year was 1893 and the Disciples of Christ Church established the Patroon College on a hill overlooking the then-thriving village of Patroon, Texas in Shelby County. The college had one of the shortest academic careers in Texas, but it left an impression on the hundreds of East Texans who attended classes there.
Four years later in 1897, it was gone---victim of denomination friction and an abrupt decrease in funds after the death of a heavy contributor. A college booklet for the year 1894 term listed the school's enrollment at 169, 91 boys and 78 girls.
Students came from all points of East Texas, Burke, Milam, East Hamilton, Patroon, Brookeland, Paige, Lufkin, Short, San Augustine, Shelbyville, Cedar Bayou, Huffman, Martinsville, Hemphill, Flatonia. And a few students came from neighboring Louisiana.
The college set down a rigorous set of rules---and expected its pupils to obey them.
An example, on college holidays: "We promise none of the following: Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Years, Arbor Day, San Jacinto Day. We shall continue our regular school week during Christmas Week and trust our patrons will not sent for their children to go home during this time. A few days out of school, and especially during Christmas holidays, will have a tendency to demoralize students and make them lose an interest in their studies.
But there was a consolation: Prices were cheap. Students attended the college department for $4 a month and received room and board for $8. The author of the 1894 brochure unknowingly offered a bit of prophecy in his writings: " Another year has taken its flight into the past... and its deed will become matters of record."
From the Houston Chronicle, date unknown