TOM WILSON: Knox College: John or Henry?

From the Register-Mail:

Tracking History —

Knox Manual Labor College was founded in 1837 by George Washington Gale in conjunction with the founding of the city of Galesburg. One of the most noted institutions of higher education in the United States has been known as Knox College since 1857. The reason for choosing of the current college name has become a very curious story to say the least.

To date, there remains a question whether the college was named in honor of General Henry Knox, John Knox or possibly neither. General Henry Knox was a war hero and became the first U.S. Secretary of War in the George Washington administration. John Knox was noted to be one of the founders of the Presbyterian religious movement.

Dr. James McConaughy, president of Knox College from 1918 to 1925, made a serious study on the issue and concluded that the college was named after John Knox. In 1927 college professor Alfred Newcombe, well known at the time for his ability as a historical investigator, examined all available records on the subject.