Wiley College

Photo of building

Thirkield Hall at Wiley College in Marshall, Texas

Photo by Wiley College, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
Product photo
Promotion: Nearby Map of Harrison County

Wiley College, established in 1873 in Marshall, Texas, by the Freedmen’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, is the oldest African-American institute of higher education west of the Mississippi River. The college was originally located south of Marshall where the Wiley College Cemetery remains, but moved to a seventy-acre plot in downtown Marshall in 1880. It was chartered in 1882 and at the time served as a high school as well as a college. In 1888 Henry B. Pemberton was awarded a B.A. degree as the first college graduate. The first president was F.C. Moore, and for the institution’s first twenty years the president and all the faculty and staff, who were considered missionaries, were White. The all-White policy changed in 1893 when Isaiah B. Scott was named the institution’s first African-American president. In 1896 he became editor of the Southwest Christian Advocate, and Matthew Dogan took his place. He served forty-six years and finally retired in 1942.

A fire in 1906 destroyed five of the eleven buildings on campus, but they were rebuilt and the president’s home was constructed by 1907 when Dogan managed to secure funds from the Carnegie Foundation with no matching grant as was normally required for a library. It and the president’s home were built by students. Always open to the entire community, the Carnegie was the only public library in Marshall until 1974.

Continue Reading

Gail K. Beil | © TSHA

Handbook of Texas Logo

Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Wiley College is part of or belongs to the following places:

Date of Founding Notes

Classes first held in 1873

Private Sectarian Ownership Notes

United Methodist


  • President, Dr. Herman J. Felton Jr. 2018–Present

Currently Exists


Place type

Wiley College is classified as a College or University

External Websites

Fall Enrollment Count, 2022 View more »