McKendree College was a
co-educational liberal arts college in Illinois founded by the Methodist
Church. It accepted admission to anyone who was academically eligible
to attend. A student’s race, ethnicity or religion were not determiners
in whether one was admitted or not. It is the oldest college in
Illinois and the 97th oldest in the United states. Also, it
is the oldest college with continuous ties to the United Methodist
Church. It was named for Bishop William McKendree, America’s first
native-born Methodist Bishop. The campus, in Lebanon, Ill., is located
less than 20 miles from St. Louis, Mo. The oldest building on campus is
Old Main with a Georgian style building similar to Pembroke State
University’s “Old Main”.
Lumbee Men are
Prepared for Higher Education
- 1923 A permanent
building was completed that housed classrooms, offices and an
auditorium in Pembroke, North Carolina; in the county of Robeson.
- A.B. Riley was
principal of the Cherokee Indian Normal School as it came to be
known. Today a “Normal School” is called a “Teacher’s College”.
- Seven local
students were being prepared and ready to graduate in 1924.
- During the 1920’s
and 1930’s nine local men attended McKendree College in Illinois.
Lumbee Men who
Attended McKendree College in Lebanon, Illinois
- Earl C. Lowry
and Clifton Oxendine were the first of nine local men to
attend college there.
- Earl C. Lowry
who later became a medical doctor transferred to the University of
Chattanooga, also a Methodist college to enter pre-med. Dr. Lowry,
son of Doctor Fuller Lowry, earned his medical degree and became a
physician to General and later President Dwight D. Eisenhower. Dr.
Lowry retired a Colonel in the Army Medical Corps and moved to Des
- Dr. Clifton
Oxendine remained at McKendree and graduated in 1928 earning a
degree in history and secondary education. He earned a Master of
Art’s degree in history from George Peabody College for Teachers
(Nashville, Tenn.) in 1934. He also studied sociology and economics
at Louisiana State University in 1952. It has been said that Dr.
Oxendine referred to the building on the campus of Pembroke
State University as “Old Main” because it reminded him of the “Old
Main” at McKendree College. Dr. Oxendine served in many ways when
he came home to his people: Principal of Pembroke Graded School
1932; Principal of Prospect High School 1936; Pembroke State College
Dean and History Prof. 1957; Retired as professor emeritus of
history at Pembroke State University in 1970; given honorary
doctorate degree at PSU’S convocation in September 1986. Died 1987
at age 87.
- John Paul
Sampson was born July 20, 1912, one of 15 children of Oscar
R. Sampson and Susie Jane Sampson of Pembroke, North Carolina.
Mr. Sampson was a strong advocate of education as well as a farmer,
preacher, school teacher, and administrator. He served as the
chairman of the Board of Trustees for Pembroke State for 30 years.
Paul Sampson graduated from the Cherokee Indian Normal School of
Robeson County in 1933 and entered McKendree College. He was in
attendance there from 1933-1937 and earned a liberal arts degree.
Mr. Sampson, the former Kathryn Pagel of Effingham, Ill., returned
to Pembroke and taught French during the fall term. He also coached
and when PSU became a four-year school during the 1939-40 academic
year, was Pembroke State’s first athletic director until the early
40’s and then became a principal. During the early part of World
War II, he enrolled in a government safety program at PSU and then
left North Carolina to work in a government ordnance plant in
Decatur, Ill., in the weights and measures office. Following the
war he returned to teaching social studies and coached at Mount Zion
High School for about six year and then went to Taylorville to do
the same. He later became a salesman for Compton’s Picture
Encyclopedia. Later he returned to teaching. He earned a master’s
degree in liberal arts from the University of Illinois in 1941 and
did some post graduate work towards a doctorate. In 1995 he had
three sisters living in Pembroke and a brother in Baltimore. His
nephew, Dr. Gilbert Sampson of Pembroke, is professor and chair of
the math and computer science department of Pembroke State
- Elmer T. Lowry,
Principal at Pembroke High School.
- James Thomas
Sampson, a former PSU coach and a member of the University Hall
- Delton Lowry
who attended McKendree in 1927
- Frank Epps,
a 1931 graduate.
- Carlie Lowry
who graduated in 1936 (The following comes from Mr. Lowry’s obit. :
He was born on April 15, 1910 in Elrod, North Carolina and was one
of fourteen children born to his father’s first and second wives.
He began teaching at age 17. He attended William and Mary College
during the summer months and then went to McKendree Methodist
college Illinois and graduated in 1936. He taught and was a
principal for some 23 years. He earned a Masters degree from
Western Carolina and began his work with the Bureaus of Indian
Affairs in South Dakota as a Boys Advisor. He also served in
Phoenix and Keams Canyon, Arizona and was later transferred to
Albuquerque, New Mexico in 1972. He retired in 1079 but couldn’t
sit still and so continued working several jobs, most recently with
Job Corps. He was a very active family man who emphasized the
importance of church and home. He also became very active in Boy
Scouting and eventually became Scout Commissioner. He passed away
on May 9, 1988 at the age of 78. He is survived by his wife
Dorothy, his four sons and one daughter, and his eight
grandchildren, plus one on the way.