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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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Rutherford College

by Grady L. E. Carroll Sr., 2006

Robert Laban Abernethy. Image courtesy of NC Office of Archives & History. Rutherford College, a forerunner of Brevard College, was established in 1853 by the Reverend Robert Laban Abernethy as a private school known as Owl Hollow Schoolhouse in Burke County. It was built on 600 acres of forestland given by John Rutherford. In 1858 the school was chartered as Rutherford Seminary; Brantley York served as a professor on its faculty in later years. In 1900 the school came under control of the Methodist Church. It was a coeducational institution, and one-fourth of the students were admitted tuition-free. Reportedly, more than 4,000 students matriculated at Rutherford College throughout its existence. In the early 1930s, Rutherford College and Weaver College merged with Brevard Institute at Brevard to become Brevard College.





George W. Bumgarner and James Elwood Carroll, The Flowering of Methodism in Western North Carolina (1984).

Elmer T. Clark, Methodism in Western North Carolina (1966).

Additional Resources:

Rutherford College, NC Highway Historical Marker N-29:

Act to prevent sale of alochol near Rutherford Seminary:,172984

Weaver College, NC Highway Historical Marker P-74:

Laws and resolutions of the State of North Carolina, passed by the General Assembly at its session [1881]:,197851

Image Credit:

Robert Laban Abernethy. Image courtesy of NC Office of Archives & History. Available from (accessed November 11, 2012).

Origin - location: 

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