Ohio History Journal

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One hundred and twenty-five years ago, in 1809, the Legis-

lature of the State of Ohio granted the charter which led to the

organization of Miami University at Oxford, Ohio. This institu-

tion was built on lands granted in trust by the Federal Govern-

ment to the State of Ohio for use primarily by the inhabitants

of the John Cleves Symmes' Purchase.

For fifteen years after its founding Miami University re-

mained insignificant, harboring nothing more than a local grammar

school. By 1824, it was decided that the rents from the college

lands had reached an amount sufficient to open the university. A

committee of the Board of Trustees was appointed to seek a

president. It so happened that a number of the members of the

Board and of the committee were Presbyterians and either former

residents of Kentucky or former students at Transylvania Uni-

versity at Lexington. Because of these connections they had be-

come acquainted with a man who had served as acting president

of Transylvania for several years, who had been a professor there

since 1804, and who had been very popular and influential among

the students.

Just at the time Professor Robert Hamilton Bishop was in-

volved in difficulties at Transylvania which were so unsettling as

to force him to welcome an opportunity to leave the institution.

A Unitarian minister from Boston, Horace Holley by name, had

become president of the school in 1818, and since that time Bishop

had been busy fighting what he claimed were the evil influences

of the "Socinians" (Unitarians) and trying to keep Transylvania

1 Volume IV. of the Ohio State Archaeological and Historical Society Collections,

now being written by Mr. James H. Rodabaugh, will present the life of Dr. Robert

Hamilton Bishop in greater detail. All quotations made in the present article are fully

documented in the forthcoming volume.--Editor's note.