Saturday, January 14, 2012

Linfield College is named for George Fisher Linfield

For whom is Linfield College named?

The Rev.
George Fisher Linfield, a Baptist pastor, born in 1846 and died in 1890.

The Rev. and Mrs. Linfield are pictured with this story.

It was McMinnville College until 1922 when Rev. Linfield's widow,
Frances Eleanor Ross Linfield, donated property (valued at $250,000) in Spokane to the college on condition that the name be changed as a memorial to her husband.

Announcement of the gift of property and the college's name change was by President Leonard Riley. He told the college's students, faculty and staff during a special afternoon chapel on Jan. 10, 1922. During the same chapel, Riley announced the college's 16 year ban on football was over. The sport resumed with the 1922 season.

In 1873, Frances E. Ross graduated from Elmira College in New York. She became a teacher, including at the Englewood, Ill., high school and at Pennsylvania State Normal School at Mansfield. She also taught at the Delaware Literary Institute in New York and Wayland Academy in Wisconsin.

She came to Spokane in 1895 due to the illness of her parents, who were living there. While devoting much of her time to their care, she taught at Spokane's Lewis & Clark High School for 17 years (1895-1912) and was head of the schools' modern languages department.

On Sept. 4, 1878, she married the Rev. Linfield. His background included serving as principal of Wayland Academy. He died April 30, 1890. Where he died depends on the source you believe. The choices are Beaver Dam, Wisc., and Muscatine, Iowa.

While the Rev. and Mrs. Linfield worked together as instructors at Wayland, they formulated a plan for a future contribution toward Christian education. In 1922 the plan reach its fruition in the gift from Mrs. Linfield to the college. See footnote.

The Rev. and and Mrs. Linfield's plan was that, if the Lord prospered them, they would some day make a generous contribution toward Christian education, further agreeing that in one year Rev. Linfield should pay all expenses and her salary should go toward making an investment, while the succeeding year the plan should be reversed.

Under this plan the Rev. Linfield invested $2,300 in a lot in Spokane which later sold for $100,000. Mrs. Linfield made other investments which constantly grew in value.

One of the reasons she chose the college as recipient of her gift was because of the determination of its officers and trustees to maintain it as a distinctly Christian institution.

Mrs. Linfield died at age 88 in Portland on March 26, 1940.

Footnote: When Mrs. Linfield gave the gift, she was the college's dean of women. From 1921-1928, she served in that role. She also served on the college's board of trustees.

See source of this story here.