May 5, 1862
Battle of Williamsburg, Virginia
James Blair

The College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia was founded in 1693, by Anglican priest, James Blair (1656 — April 18, 1743; The Christian Origin of William and Mary). Established under a charter granted by King William III and Queen Mary II of England, it is the second oldest institution of higher education in the United States, preceded only by Harvard University. As a school for the training of Anglican clergy, it was supported by the British crown from its establishment until 1776. In 1906, it became state-supported, and in 1918 became coeducational; in 1967, it became a university, although it retained the historic name under which it was founded, College of William and Mary.bell-ringer

Many of America’s early leaders were educated at the College of William and Mary, including United States presidents Thomas Jefferson, James Monroe, John Tyler, and the renowned chief justice John Marshall. George Washington served as college chancellor from 1788 until his death in 1799. The Greek letter society Phi Beta Kappa was founded at the College of William and Mary in 1776, and the college was the first to offer elective courses and to institute the honor-code system of conduct. Among its other accolades is the fact that the first chair of law in the United States was established at the college in 1779.bell-ringer

Benjamin Stoddert Ewell

In 1848, Benjamin Stoddert Ewell (June 10, 1810 — June 20, 1894)—grandson of the first United States Secretary of the Navy, Benjamin Stoddert—was appointed professor of mathematics and acting president of the College of William and Mary. He was later elected permanent president in 1854 and served in that capacity until 1888. President Ewell, a Presbyterian,[1] guided William and Mary through some of the most tumultuous years of its existence.

Throughout its history, William and Mary closed on three separate occasions. It first closed a short time in 1781, during the American Revolution. The second occasion William and Mary closed was from 1861 to 1869, during the American Civil War and its aftermath, when the entire faculty and nearly ninety percent of the student body enlisted in the army of the Confederacy.

The Battle of Williamsburg was waged on May 5, 1862, resulting in 3,800 Confederate and Union casualties. Following this Union victory, Williamsburg and the College of William and Mary were occupied by the Union Army until September 1865. Both the Battle and subsequent occupation left the town and college in tatters.

Following the Civil War, President Ewell was finally able to reopen William and Mary in 1869 with his own personal funds after he mortgaged his family farm which had been purchased nearby in 1858. Tragically, he lost his farm to foreclosure and a subsequent auction sale.

The third occasion William and Mary closed was from 1881 to 1888. During this latter period, the entire South was engaged in rehabilitation of its towns, fields, and homes. During this era, there were not enough students or real interest to keep the college open. To complicate matters further, the college had been left in ruins by battles fought within and around its ancient walls, and the necessary financial resources necessary for reconstruction were nowhere to be found. The historic campus includes the Christopher Wren Building (1695), where classes are still conducted. This and other early college structures have been restored to their original appearance through grants from the American philanthropist John D. Rockefeller, Jr.

However, that historic institution was not left without hope. Every morning President Ewell made his way through the debris to the old tower and rang the college bell, just as if the college was open. Beginning in 1881, he never failed a single morning to ring the bell. There were no students, no faculty members, and the rain trickled through the battered roofs of the college which mocked all hope of the future. The people of Williamsburg, suffering from the horrors of war, said President Ewell was crazy. Despite the opinion of the town’s people, President Ewell tolled the bell every morning. It was a gesture of confidence, an act of faith, and a demonstration of hope for the future every time the bell tolled. He was determined to help keep education and culture alive in the South, and to his credit he was successful. In 1888, the College of William and Mary opened once again, thanks to the hope and tireless efforts of President Ewell.

As spring 2020 merges into summer, Americans face one of the greatest threats to their constitutional heritage. Since the end of the nineteenth century, a sustained attack has been waged against America’s Christian heritage by secular and irreligious forces. Throughout much of the twentieth century, that attack was waged by communist sympathizers. However, socialists and anarchists now assault the citadel of American liberties, taking opportunity to advance their tyrannical agendas. Despite the destruction in and around William and Mary, President Ewell continued to ring the bell of hope. How desperately America and the world needs bell-ringers of biblical hope…

We are a user supported non-profit organization.  Your small gift is tax-deductible and will go a long way to help us meet our operating budget — and it is vital, because
America deserves to know its true heritage.
Please contribute today!
Click to donate

For Further Consideration

Christian Heritage Fellowship, Inc., Christian Quotes from the Founding Fathers. Christian Quotes from the Founding Fathers is a brief summary of some of the most important Founding Fathers concerning their Christian convictions and public life. Businesses, churches, organizations, and individuals may help correct the deception of the Left with primary quotations. Get your brochures today and help share the truth concerning America's Christian heritage. This product is available in bulk pricing for mass distribution.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., America's Founding Fathers and the Bible. Contrary to the contemporary mantra that America was birthed as a secular nation, the historical evidence demonstrates that America was founded by Christians who wished to enjoy the liberty to freely express their Christian faith. Lamentably, Christians have forgotten and neglected the Christian heritage bequeathed to them by America's Founding Fathers and have allowed secularists to disparage and deny what was given to them at such a great price. America's Founding Fathers and the Bible briefly describes a portion of America's Christian heritage, particularly during the rise of nationalism when America was shaping its national government.  Read more...
Stephen A. Flick, Ph.D., When the United States Capitol Was a Church. So deep and strong was the relationship of government to the Christian faith in America that the relationship was recognized in a variety of ways. Few realize that the United States Capitol was used as a church for years before it was used to convene the United States Congress. For nearly three-quarters of a century, the United States Capitol was used for church services. In fact, it became a meeting place for a number of churches in Washington, D. C. While secularists wish to keep this and many other similar historical facts quiet, the sincere Christian will wish to celebrate the spiritual heritage our Founding Fathers have bequeathed to us.  Read more...

Related Articles

Christianity and the First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

Christianity and the First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation

American Christianity | Christian Calendar | Christian History | Christian Living | October Articles

The first presidential thanksgiving proclamation under the United States Constitution was the result of a long list of Christian influences upon the founding of America. Contrary to those who rob America of its true history, Thanksgiving, like the vast majority of American holidays, is the result of many Christian influences. First Presidential Thanksgiving Proclamation In an attempt to diminish and deny Christians their due credit for having Read more...

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

Signers of the Declaration of Independence

American Christianity | Christian History

Signing the Declaration of Independence required remarkable personal courage. The Founding Fathers who signed it understood that King George III and the British Parliament would regard this act as treason. After years of attempted dialog with the King and Parliament, the Signers personally calculated what it might cost them to take the bold step. Following the teaching of the American pulpit, they had come to believe that no law was above God's lRead more...

Thomas Jefferson

Thomas Jefferson

American Christianity | Christian Calendar | Christian History | June Articles

Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American Founding Father, the principal author of the Declaration of Independence (1776) and the third President of the United States (1801–1809). At the beginning of the American Revolution, he served in the Continental Congress, representing Virginia and then served as a wartime Governor of Virginia (1779–1781). Contrary to liberal arguments, Thomas Jefferson was not a secularist. IndiviRead more...

The Christian Setting of the Declaration of Independence

The Christian Setting of the Declaration of Independence

American Christianity | July Articles

For nearly a century, America's Christian origin and the character of her Founding Fathers have been under attack from irreligious and Marxist nemeses. Pointing to half a dozen Founding Fathers (out of nearly 250), America's Marxist and irreligious adversaries allege prominent Founding Fathers sought to establish a purely irreligious or secular state. But in fact, Congress aggressively sought to ban irreligion (Journals of the Continental CongresRead more...

Article Notes and Sources

[1]Anne W. Chapman, “Benjamin Stoddert Ewell: A Biography,” (Williamsburg, VA: College of William & Mary, PhD dissertation, 1984), 61.

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringer

bell-ringerbell-ringerbell-ringerChristian Heritage Fellowship FacebookChristian Heritage Fellowship FacebookChristian Heritage Fellowship FacebookInternalLinkInternalLinkInternalLinkInternalLinkInternalLinkInternalLink