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Carleton College

Farmington, Missouri



Farmington is another Missouri town I have missed, it lying in the Iron Country south of St. Louis.  Once again I am grateful to the Western Historical Manuscript collection at Rolla, for allowing me to view and copy from their Carleton College materials.  The materials are on microfilm, so their help in capturing the school seal was invaluable.  Marcus Kirkland's 1965 Early History of Farmington, Southeast Missouri State University's Almost Yesterday, and all have sections on the college.


Carleton College was the creation of Virginia-born educator Eliza Carleton.  After receiving a Master’s degree from Arcadia College, she opened her own college in a log cabin in St. Francois County, MO in 1854.  Because of the strength of the Carleton curriculum, the Missouri Legislature granted the school “university privileges” in 1859.    After 24 years in the log cabin location, Carleton moved her school to a sixteen-acre campus in Farmington in 1878.  Soon the campus was supplied with brick classroom buildings, dormitories, and a college farm that supplied food for students and faculty.


Carleton College offered three program levels.  First it offered a three-year preparatory course with Junior, Middle and Senior classes.  Second, it provided a three-year normal course.  Above all, it was a liberal arts college with classical, philosophical, scientific, and literary programs of study.  In addition, it provided courses and training in music.


Carleton College was associated with the Methodist church.  In announcing a set of new faculty in 1913, the Farmington Times notes, “These teachers are all active Christians, though not all Methodists.”


Almost Yesterday notes, "With 250 students, low tuition, and a rigorous curriculum, Carleton College was highly successful, serving Farmington and the region for 62 years. Unfortunately, the college was so closely connected to Ms. Carleton that no one could sustain her enthusiasm or dedication. She served as president, professor, pastor, matron, director of the college farm, and manager of the football team."


In 1885, Ms. Carleton donated the college to the St. Louis Methodist Episcopal Church. But when she died in 1915 at the age of 89, the college soon closed.  In 1922 Carleton College records were transferred to Ozark Wesleyan College in Carthage.

Bricks and Mortar

Campus photos show two main buildings—an administration building and a science building. says that in 1898 Eliza Carleton “built the stately three story brick building with tree-lined walks that became a Farmington landmark.”  The Henry Annex was added to provide more space for a chapel, library, laboratory, and museum. 


In 1965, Marcus Kirkland notes, “The bricks from the old building are now used in the houses at the old City Disposal Plant.  The second building is now the Catholic School.”







       School Colors: Blue and Gold

       Team name: The sign in the 1901 team                               photo appears to be "Tigers"


The Southeast Missouri State University net cast “Almost Yesterday” says that Carleton College was one of the first schools to play football and that Miss Carleton helped manage the team.  However the relatively isolated location limited the opportunities for opponents.  The College Football Data Warehouse shows only Missouri School of Mines, St. Louis University and Jackson Military Academy as opponents.  However, the Farmington Times shows that Carleton College played Marvin College, the Farmington and Fredericktown high school teams and some club sides such as Bonne Terre Athletic Association and the Farmington Boy Scouts.


The 1916 team split games with Marvin College, defeated Fredericktown High School, and lost to the Poplar Bluff Y.M.C.A. and Farmington High School. 


Administration Building.  This image was taken from Bettye Warner's Farmington Scrapbook: A Glimpse of the Past)

The 1901 Carleton College football team (Photo from Farmington, Missouri: the first 200 years, 1798-1998

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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