College closure

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"In 1881 the College was forced to close for lack of funds. The College bell continued to be rung by President Benjamin S. Ewell at the opening of each academic year, reminding Williamsburg that the ancient College still lived. On March 5, 1888, the General Assembly of Virginia approved an annual appropriation of $10,000 to the College for training male public school teachers. It also enlarged the Board of Visitors by mandating that "ten additional and associate visitors" be appointed by the governor; the superintendent of public instruction would serve as an ex officio member. On August 23, 1888, the College was revived under President Lyon G. Tyler, son of President of the United States John Tyler. Until transferred to the Commonwealth of Virginia in 1906, the College was limited by available finances to a small but able teaching staff, which, by 1891, included professors Lyman B. Wharton, Thomas J. Stubbs, J. Lesslie Hall, Van F. Garrett, Charles E. Bishop, Hugh S. Bird and President Tyler-"The Seven Wise Men" as they were affectionately called by the students."[1]

In the bulletin publication Catalogue of the Alumni and Alumnae for the Years 1866-1932 (1932), the following note is listed where classes for the years 1882-1888 would have been listed:

"During the six sessions between June, 1881, and September, 1888, the fortunes of the College were very low. In those years, President Ewell, sometimes with assistants and sometimes as the sole teacher, kept the College in partial operation. The only students were young men of Williamsburg and vicinity. NO catalogues were published and if any records were kept, they have since disappeared. While the names of some students of this period could be published, it is no considered advisable to do so until more authentic information can be had."