Oklahoma State Baptist College
Blackwell, Oklahoma Territory
Tulsa Daily World carried advertisements and some news items. Photo-Gravures City of Blackwell Oklahoma has a photo and some stats. Chronicles of Oklahoma has a brief history of the school written by Fred Watts, as does J.M. Gaskin’s Baptist Milestones in Oklahoma. The historical marker is from Waymarking.
Oklahoma State Baptist College was founded in 1899 by the Oklahoma Baptist Convention. It was awarded to Blackwell, a city of 4,500 “progressive citizens,” who put up twenty acres of land and $15,000 in funds to attract the school.
The American Baptist Yearbook for 1912-14 gives an enrollment of 112—70 males and 42 females. Photo-Gravures lists 214 students. According to the Handbook of the Young Women’s Christian Association, OSBC had 62 female students. Patterson’s Directory of American Colleges shows a prep department, whose students may be included in some lists.
In 1901 The Wichita Daily Eagle lists faculty members, including the president and heads of the theology, scientific, normal, music, and elocution/oratory departments. The American Baptist Yearbook shows 14 faculty members.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the first commencement in 1902 had 5 graduates—all in music. A year later there were seven. As usual with commencements at the time, these featured prizes given for contests in music, debate, and oration.
OSBC was strong in debate. Intercollegiate Debate shows yearly contests with Southwestern College and Oklahoma Methodist College. The Daily Oklahoman shows a triangular meet with those schools. Tulsa Daily World lists OSBC among the six schools participating in a state meet in 1913, sponsored by the state Prohibition Association.
As early as 1905 the Blackwell Commercial Club stepped in to pay off the indebtedness of the school. The Baptist convention raised a subscription of $1,400 and pledged to raise $10,000 to operate the school. But the financial woes continued. In 1911 with the emergence of Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee, OSBC was relegated to second rank in Oklahoma. And by 1913 the financial status had reached the point that the buildings were sold at a sheriff’s sale to recover an $18,000 note. The Southern Baptist Convention expressed sympathy and wished the school well
Bricks and Mortar
On April 23, 1900 the bid for the new building was let for $23,375. It was to be of “Moorish” design with a capacity of 300 students. The first floor had chemistry labs, the second flood had 8 large classrooms; the third had four large classrooms and the chapel.
This building was sold in August 1913 to the Missouri State Life Insurance Company. The Daily Ardmoreite reported that the Masons wanted to buy it to convert it to a home for aged members. The Liberal Democrat reported that the girls’ dormitory, sold separately, was to be converted to a “modern hospital”
College Football Data Warehouse shows games from 1910. Common opponents included Oklahoma Methodist University at nearby Guthrie and Oklahoma Baptist University at Shawnee. The Kansas City Star reported that Gwinn Henry was coach of OSBC teams in 1911 and 1912, and that his 1911 team “won the state college championship in Oklahoma” His teams won every game played in Oklahoma in 1912 except those against the University of Oklahoma and Oklahoma A&M.
Basketball was apparently the best sport at OSBC. Henry’s teams again “won the state championship.” OSBC defeating the University of Oklahoma four straight times and also claimed a win over Oklahoma A&M. Teams also played Friends, Southwestern, and neighboring Tonkawa Prep. In 1912 OBC also fielded a girls’ team.
In 1913, the last year of existence, OSBC finished third in the Oklahoma State track meet.
The Oklahoma Baptist College building. Image from Photo-gravures Blackwell Oklahoma <babel.hathitrust.org/cgi/pt?id=loc.ark:/13960/t3qv3vw1c;view=1up;seq=9> accessed 2-19-2017
Gwinn Henry qualified as a sprinter for the 1912 Olympic Games. He coached at Oklahoma Baptist College in 1911-12. After compiling a 37-3 record at College of Emporia, he led the University of Missouri to three Missouri Valley Conference football championships. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwinn_Henry#/media/File:Gwinn_Henry.jpg >