Founded in 1865, Ottawa University is a four-year co-educational, liberal arts college affiliated with the American Baptist Churches, U.S.A. The American Baptist Churches and the Ottawa Indians joined forces to create a university in 1864. The Indians gave 20,000 acres to the project. Ottawa University recieved its charter April 21, 1865. In 1869, the first permanent building was erected on campus. Since 1923 is has been called Tauy Jones Hall.
Founding of Ottawa University
In June 1860, the Baptists of Kansas held their first State Convention in Atchison. Among other business, the location of denominational school was considered. The previous February a charger had been secured for the Roger Williams university.
Where should it be located? At the dinner table of the Rev. Mr. Adlerson, the Baptist pastor, this question was discussed. Mr. Jones, a delegate from the Ottawa Indian Baptist church suggested that the Indian and the white Baptists should unite in locating the proposed institution. The Indians had lands, the whites could furnish the teachers. The Indians earnestly desired their children should be educated and trained as were the children of the whites. He was confident that the Ottawas would assist in establishing and endowing a school which would admit their children. IN the afternoon session this proposition was favorably received. A committee of three from the trustees of Roger Williams University was appointed to confer with the Ottawas. Mr. Jones presented the matter to his people. A meeting was called and the following paper was drafted and adopted.
The Ottawa tribe of Indians in council assembled at the school house of the nation on Wednesday, the fifth day of December, 1860, make the following statements and agreements. They are very desirous for the education of their children. It is their unanimous and earnest wish that when they grow up they shall assume the habits and customs and be able to discharge the duties of American citizens. They therefore, believing that this good object can be best accomplished through the aid of the Roger Williams University, do agree to give to that University 20,000 acres of their land of average quality with a fair proportion of timber and water privileges. Provided that in two (2) years from the ratification of the treaty, the said trustees shall have expended $10,00 in building and otherwise towards this enterprise, and also from and after that time, they shall board, clothe and educate a number not exceeding fifty of the Ottawa children every year for thirty (30) years. The age of said children to be between four (4) and fourteen (14) years, and also that after the expiration of thirty (30) years, the Ottawas shall be entitled to ten (10) scholarships in the said university forever. The trustees through their committee hereby agree to fulfill the above conditions, and also in every way possible to assist the Ottawas in the improvement of their condition and the education of their people. To this agreement all the councilmen of the nation six (6) in number signed their names, also the committee of Roger Williams University, being, I.S. Kallock, R. C. Brant, Benjamin Luce, in the presence of J. S. Emory, as witness.
In the treaty which was secured in 1862, these conditions were modified somewhat, especially in the name, which was changed to Ottawa University. It also provided that at the end of five (5) years the tribal relations to the government should cease and that each man, woman and child of the tribe, could hold a specified number of acres in fee simple.
The location of the school was established and a Board of Trustees named and provision made to start the school.
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