Historic Jefferson College was incorporated on May 13, 1802, by
an act of the first General Assembly of the Mississippi Territory. The
school was named in honor of Thomas Jefferson, and was the first educational
institution in the Territory. The first buildings were erected on a portion
of 45 acres donated by John and James FOSTER, and Randal GIBSON, and the
first classes were held on January 7, 1811.
In 1830, the college purchased the Methodist Church building which
had housed the 1817 Mississippi statehood convention.
The college was closed in 1863, due to the Civil War. Doors were
not reopened until 1866. Around the turn of the century, the school was
known as Jefferson Military College. That name was retained until its final
closing in 1964.
Today Historic Jefferson College is an official state historic site
and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Restoration
has been accomplished by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History,
and has been aided by The Friends of Jefferson College, Inc., a non-profit
Visitors may tour several buildings, one of which includes a visitor
reception area, staff offices, and a small display of photographs, history,
and artifacts. A nature trail winds though the woods, and passes Ellicott
Springs, the place of encampment of Andrew Ellicott who, in 1797, surveyed
the 31st parallel to determine the dividing line between the territories
of the United States and Spain.