Whitworth legacy to be explored at Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society lecture

Published 9:28 am Tuesday, January 24, 2017

The Lincoln County Historical and Genealogical Society is encouraging those with mementos from Whitworth College to bring them for show and tell to its first program of the year in its new location.

“The History of Whitworth College” will be the topic for the meeting, which will be held Thursday at 6:30 p.m. at Hurst Review Services, 127 S. Railroad Ave.

This will be the first meeting in the new digs, having moved from its longtime home at the Jimmy Furlow Retirement Center to have more space.

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Brianna Moore-Christa, a self-described Whitworth historian who is currently writing a book on the history of the 158-year-old institution, will give the presentation.

Moore-Christa is a 2005 inaugural graduate of the Mississippi School of the Arts, and now serves as the school’s recruiter.

The lecture will focus on Milton Whitworth’s relationship with Samuel Jayne, the founder of Brookhaven; Brookhaven and Whitworth’s role in the Civil War; Whitworth’s legacy after the war; and college president Dr. Harvey Johnson’s subsequent legacy.

These events span roughly from the 1830s into the 1890s.

According to the museum’s website, when Elizabeth Female Academy, the state’s first college for women, burned in the town of Washington in 1857, the 39-year-old school was relocated to land owned by Rev. Milton J. Whitworth in Brookhaven. The school was renamed in 1959 to Whitworth College for Young Ladies.

Portions of campus at times served as a Civil War hospital, a junior college connected to Millsaps College, the first Methodist church in Brookhaven and the city’s first Masonic lodge.

The campus was abandoned in the late 1980s and the City of Brookhaven, then owner of the campus, donated it to the state.

In April 1999, the Mississippi Legislature passed a law establishing a state school for the arts to be created on the Whitworth site, and just over four years later, the Mississippi School of the Arts opened in August 2003.

The event is free and open to the public. For more information, call Tammie Brewer at 601-850-1733.