“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

Cleveland in Bradley County, Tennessee — The American South (East South Central)

Masonic Female Institute

"Sadly abused"

Masonic Female Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 26, 2020
1. Masonic Female Institute Marker
Masonic Lodge No. 134 and the town of Cleveland established the Masonic Female Institute in 1848 and opened the school in 1856. At the beginning of the war, student and diarist Myra Inman wrote of a disruption in the school's leadership: "Mr. Blunt [the school's principal] was not coming back." Principal Ainsworth E. Blunt fled the county with other young men in fear of being forced into Confederate service.

The school operated until the fall of 1863 when the Union army arrived. During the Battle of Missionary Ridge on November 27, Ohio cavalrymen raided the rear of Confederate Gen. Braxton Bragg's army, destroying 12 miles of railroad and burning the copper-rolling mill in Cleveland. In anticipation of a counterattack the troopers camped in and around Cleveland. The 1st Ohio Cavalry guarded the north end of town at the schoolyard. The next morning, the Confederates attacked from nearby Charleston and forced the Federals' retreat to Chattanooga. The Confederate defeat at Missionary Ridge enabled the Union army to take possession of Cleveland, where it used the school building during 1864.

The school reopened in the fall
Masonic Female Institute Marker image. Click for full size.
By Duane and Tracy Marsteller, July 26, 2020
2. Masonic Female Institute Marker
of 1864 with the return of the school's former principal, then Capt. Blunt, after his service in the Union 1st East Tennessee Cavalry. He found that the army's occupation had reduced the building to a "sadly abused condition.” The school operated until the 1890s when the building was donated to St. Luke's Episcopal Church. The church later sold it, and the building was converted to apartments in 1915.
Erected by Tennessee Civil War Trails.
Topics and series. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: EducationWar, US CivilWomen. In addition, it is included in the Tennessee Civil War Trails series list.
Location. 35° 9.804′ N, 84° 52.397′ W. Marker is in Cleveland, Tennessee, in Bradley County. Marker is on North Ocoee Street (State Highway 74) just north of 6th Street Northeast, on the left when traveling north. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 781 North Ocoee Street, Cleveland TN 37311, United States of America. Touch for directions.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Confederate Memorial (about 300 feet away, measured in a direct line); Lee College (approx. ¼ mile away); Oak Grove Male Academy (approx. 0.3 miles away); Col. Benjamin Cleveland (approx. 0.3 miles away); Cleveland During the Civil War
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(approx. 0.4 miles away); Allen Grammar School (approx. 0.6 miles away); College Hill School (approx. 0.6 miles away); Union Monument (approx. 0.6 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Cleveland.
Regarding Masonic Female Institute.
Bottom, left: Myra Inman — Courtesy Southeast Tennessee Digital Archive, Cleveland State Community College
Bottom, right: Ainsworth Blunt, Jr. — Courtesy Cleveland Public Library
Top, right: Cleveland Masonic Female Institute, ca. 1867 Courtesy Cleveland Public Library
Credits. This page was last revised on July 28, 2020. It was originally submitted on July 27, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. This page has been viewed 58 times since then and 11 times this year. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on July 27, 2020, by Duane Marsteller of Murfreesboro, Tennessee. • Devry Becker Jones was the editor who published this page.
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Mar. 8, 2021