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This article is from the Encyclopedia of North Carolina edited by William S. Powell. Copyright © 2006 by the University of North Carolina Press. Used by permission of the publisher. For personal use and not for further distribution. Please submit permission requests for other use directly to the publisher.

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Martin Academy

by Nathaniel C. Hughes Jr., 2006

On 9 May 1783 the North Carolina General Assembly granted a charter authorizing John Causon, Hezekiah Balch, Samuel Doak, and others to organize Martin Academy in Washington County (now in Tennessee) in honor of Governor Alexander Martin. The legislators made quite clear, however, that the state would not support the school in any way. The bill enabled the small school-previously founded in Salem in 1780 by Doak, a Princeton graduate and Presbyterian minister-to become North Carolina's "first organized school west of the mountains." Two years later the State of Franklin also granted a charter to Martin Academy, and in 1795 the academy attained college status. At this time the institution's name was changed to Washington College to honor the nation's first president.

With the exception of the Civil War years, Washington College Academy has been in continuous operation since its founding by Doak, evolving from a modest academy to a college to a privately owned secondary school. It is located near Jonesborough, Tenn.

Additional Resources:

An Act for the Establishment of Washington College:

Washington College Academy: