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A beautiful city in eastern Alabama


History of Auburn

The first house was built by Judge John H. Harper, a double log house connected by a wide hall with shed rooms in the rear and a half story above which made a comfortable house and was afterwards used as a boarding house.

Judge Harper who was ever regarded as the pioneer and founder of Auburn was a man of sterling worth, full of active industry and enterprise. He procured a charter to lay out the town in which it was stipulated that ardent spirits were strictly forbidden.

He was an eminently pious man as was most of his family. He donated to the town the lot on which the Methodist church now stands, the corner lot opposite for a school building and a lot for the grave yard. J.H. Harper built many houses in and around the town and was preparing to emigrate to Texas when he died in 1847 and sleeps beside his family in Pine Hill Cemetery.

This little colony, with few exceptions, were Methodist people. They soon built a log church which served the double purpose of church and school. The first preacher was Rev. Morgan Terrenine and the first teacher was Mr. Simeon Yancey.

In a few years a number of Baptist families moved in and the two denominations united and built a school house in 1838. This was a school for boys and girls; there were many boarding pupils in adjoining counties.

At the time, they decided not to give this little village a name. the Harper brothers, Thomas and John, were the first merchants of the town. Mr. Thomas Harper, returning to his old home in Harris County, Georgia, to look after some business, decided to continue his journey into Jones County and spent the night with Mr. Swepson Taylor, a wealthy planter.

There he met Mr. Taylor's young daughter, Lizzie. Mr. Harper was at once captivated by her beauty and charming manners. She was at the age when girls love to read poetry, and had just finished reading Goldsmith's "Deserted Village." Mr. Harper told her his father had just settled a town in Alabama but could not agree on a name, and asked her to name it. She at once replied with a great deal of enthusiasm, "Oh, Mr. Harper! Do call it Auburn."

The name quite pleased Mr. Harper and, on arriving at home, he told his father of the episode, and that he had found, not only a beautiful classical name for their new home, but had wooed and won the heart and hand of Lizzie Taylor. The Judge was quite amused and pleased at his son's good fortune, and the name of "Auburn" was at once bestowed upon the place.

Mr. Harper induced a young man, Mr. C.C. Flanagan, to come and build a Male Academy. On his arrival was met and entertained by Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Harper. When he entered the dining room and was presented to Mrs. Harper, he little dreamed that one day she would become his wife.

Judge Flanagan, as he was called, built a fine academy for young men and boys and taught for over twenty years. After the death of Mr. Thomas Harper in 1843, he married Mrs. Lizzie Taylor Harper.

In 1892, the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Alabama (the academy) became the first co-educational college in the south. The name was changed to Alabama Polytechnic Institute in 1899 and then to present-day Auburn University in 1960.

Today, Auburn continues to be the educational center for eastern Alabama.