Samuel Sterling Sherman was born on November 24, 1815 and grew up on his family's farm in Bennington Co. VT. He attended Middlebury College where he studied Latin, Greek, Philosophy, and Mathematics. By teaching in a district school he was able to earn money to help pay for the majority of his education. In 1838, at the invitation of Dr. Basil Manly, a prominent Baptist minister and President at the University of Alabama, Sherman accepted an appointment as a tutor at the University of Alabama. In November of 1841, the Baptist State Convention met in Talladega. James H. DeVotie offered the convention the use of a building in Marion for the establishment of a male college. At the suggestion of Milo P. Jewett, Sherman was asked to take charge of the school. Howard opened its doors on January 3, 1842 with nine students listed in the first week's matriculation records. By the end of the first session in June 1842, thirty-one students had attended classes at Howard.
In the following letter, Sherman accepts the presidency of Howard College.
University of Ala. Dec 5th, 1841.
Rev. J. H. DeVotie,
I received on the 4th inst., a letter from Mr. Jewett, stating that he had been requested by you, as Chairman on the Com. of the Board of Trustees, to offer me jointly with Mr. E. W. Sherman the gratuitous use of a building for the purpose of offering an English and Classical School, Prepatory to the College contemplated at Marion. He also adds that, an immediate decision is necessary.
It would have been agreeable for me to have had a longer time for reflection, inquiry, and especially to have communicated more particularly with my friend. Mr. S. But as I understand that he is willing to engage in the undurtaking with me, I very cheerfully accept the offer of your Board.
Should Mr. S. not find it convenient to join me at the beginning of the year. I am willing to command and to continue alone, until he can join me, or other arrangements be made.
I shall be ready to command the school on the first Monday of January, or at any other time the Board may direct.
Please inform me when it will be necessary for me to be in M. And whatever else you may deam it proper for me to know before leaving Tuskaloosa.
Your obt. Servant.
S. S. Sherman
Sherman resigned his post in June of 1852 and moved to LaGrange, GA. stating that “an increasing family had higher claims on me.” Samuel Sterling Sherman died in Chicago in November of 1914.
- Special Collection, Samford University Library