The secret history of Oxford's Few Memorial

By Kevin Quarmby | Emory Magazine | Feb. 18, 2015

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Kevin Quarmby by the Few Memorial on the Oxford College campus.

Originally founded in 1834 as a manual labor school to the north of Covington, with young men expected to fulfill their farming duties in the fields as well as study in the classroom, the first Methodist educational project at Oxford soon fell into financial difficulties. Nonetheless, a successful petition of the Georgia legislature in 1836 secured a charter for the school's transition to a "sub-freshmen" liberal arts college, and Emory College, as it was originally called, was born. One name associated with both educational establishments was Emory College's first president, Ignatius Alphonso Few. Hailed as a founding light in the Emory firmament, Few and his short-lived tenure—ill health forced his retirement within a year of the college's opening—are commemorated in a tangible way on the Oxford College Quadrangle. In its center proudly stands the Few Memorial, a pillar-like structure that records the college president's many achievements: his call to the Methodist ministry, his military service, and his devotion to education. Most prominent, however, is the reference to Few's Masonic association. Few and his Masonic "band of brothers" influenced Southern education throughout the Georgia region and beyond.

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