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Danville Academy

In 1817 the Kentucky General Assembly passed an act allowing the Trustees of the Town of Danville to sell half of the Public Square (Constitution Square), the "money to be paid to Joshua Barbee, Jeremiah Fisher, George Blast, Richard Davenport, Ephraim McDowell, David Bell, and Michael Hope", who were constituted the trustees of the Danville Academy. The act further stipulates that the money was to be used "to buy a lot of ground not less than one acre, nor more remote from the Public Square than one-half mile, for the use of the Danville Academy", the remainder of the funds "to build and complete on said lot so purchased, such stone or brick house as the balance of the money remaining in their hands will justify them in erecting." A second enabling act, passed February 3, 1818, permitted the town to sell the remainder of the Public Square, one-half of the proceeds to go to the Trustees of the Danville Academy. In addition to funds received from the sale of the Public Square lots, the trustees of the academy were also able to raise over $10,000 in subscriptions. However, there is no record of any purchase of land by the academy trustees, nor any record that the academy was ever actually established. It seems that the movement to establish the academy soon merged with that to found Centre College. The monies raised for the academy were assigned to the newly named trustees of Centre College, and four of the Danville Academy trustees, James G. Birney, Ephraim McDowell, Joshua Barbee, and Jeremiah Fisher, served on the first Board of Trustees of Centre College. The assigning of the Danville Academy subscriptions to Centre College was not without protest. John Rochester, who had subscribed $500, contested his payment. The case went to court, and in 1824 the Mercer County Circuit Court (Danville was then part of Mercer County) found that Rochester was liable for payment.