Scarritt College

Scarritt College

Scarritt College (1878-1907), Neosho, Missouri, began as Neosho Male and Female Seminary with D. M. Conway serving as its first president. Opening its doors on September 2, 1878, the school's first home was inside the Methodist Episcopal Church, South, in Neosho.

Outgrowing the church, in October, 1878 the school purchased a local home to move into. In 1880, under the leadership of G. H. Williamson, the seminary incorporated, taking the name Neosho Collegiate Institute. Led by W. C. Montgomery, and having again outgrown their new home, the school built a new facility at the same location.

In the spring of 1887, after several years of financial difficulties, the Neosho Collegiate Institute was forced to close. After a donation by Dr. Nathan Scarritt of Kansas City, the school reopened the following spring under the name Scarritt Collegiate Institute, in honor of its benefactor.

After several years of success and growth, starting in 1900 several setbacks led to a steady decline in enrollment. In 1902, John Brown took the helm, becoming the youngest college president in the nation. He would go on to found Southwestern Collegiate Institute, later John Brown College in Siloam Springs, Arkansas. Again in 1903, due to mounting debt, Scarritt closed its doors.

The school operated as Scarritt College, a business school, for a short time before the doors in Neosho were closed permanently in 1907. In 1908 it merged with another college and moved to Morrisville, Missouri to become Morrisville-Scarritt College which again merged with Central College to become known as Central Methodist College, Fayette, Missouri.

Notes of interest

The Neosho School District purchased the property, and in 1916 the empty buildings were razed to make way for a new public high school for the city of Neosho.

Scarritt Collegiate Institute was attended by cowboy philosopher and humorist Will Rogers for a single semester in late 1890s before his transfer to Kemper Military School in Boonville, Missouri.

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