Project Overview

This project uses social network analysis along with traditional historical methods to study the men associated with the founding of Davidson College, as identified by the Concord Presbytery’s meeting minutes from 1835-1838.


Following the closing of Liberty Hall Academy (now Washington and Lee University) due to a massive fire, wealthy parents in Mecklenburg and surrounding counties needed a new place close to home to send their young men to school. Presbyterians from North and South Carolina gathered in Lincolnton in 1820 to formalize conversation about founding a new college[1]. The group appointed a board of trustees and obtained a charter for “Western College.” Following dissent from the University of North Carolina and internal disagreement about the new college’s location, the new college never emerged. In 1835, the Concord Presbytery took up the cause. Their efforts culminated in Davidson College.

Please see the “Primary Source Analysis” page for a more detailed explanation of the Presbytery’s vision for Davidson.

[1] Tompkins, D.A. 1903. History of Mecklenburg County and the City of Charlotte from 1740-1903. Vol. 1. Charlotte: Observer Printing House, 115.


About the Author

Avery Haller is a senior Anthropology Major at Davidson College. She created this project as part of Dr. Anelise Shrout’s “Digital History of American Knowledge” class (Spring 2015).


Questions? Email me at avhaller15[at]alumni.davidson.edu