New Hope

From a Composition Written in 1891 by Lenora Ryan age 13 (Choctaw Indian) Student in New Hope Seminary Skullyville Indian Territory.

New Hope Seminary is a school for the education of the Choctaw girls, It is situated in the north east corner of the Choctaw Nation about fifteen miles south west of Fort Smith Ark. Between two large rivers the Arkansas on one side and the Poteau on the other. The Seminary is situated on a hill and beautifully surrounded by forest trees and mountains. Down the hill north of the Seminary is a spring, which supplies the institution with water. Near the spring is the washhouse. The ironing is near the school building.

The hospital a little farther away; it was a schoolroom, a hospital for the soldiers and after that a stable and now it is used as a hospital for the sick girls. The dining room and the Supt. Room are near the hospital. New Hope was established in the year 1843, it is now forty-eight years old. The first Supt. After they took girls was Dr. Meaks; New Hope then was a shabby looking old place. There is a room above the hospital which is used as a sewing room. There were fifty-three girls that attended school then till 1883; then a hundred and three girls were admitted.

The present school building was built in the year of 1884. The chapel is a large room in the west part of the building. This is where meetings, Sunday Schools, prayer meetings and litteries are held. The chapel is also used for a schoolroom; besides this there are two other schoolrooms. Rev. W.H. Goode and Rev. H. Benson, two Methodist ministers, were sent to the Territory, from Indiana in the year of 1843, they came fifteen hundred miles by water. They came up the Ark. And landed at Ft. Coffee and old deserted fort. Mr. Benson brought a German family with him. That evening after their landing they had prayer meeting and sang a beautiful hymn. Then slept on the ground.

In the morning they went to the old building, which was almost rotted down. Repairs began, after a few months the ground and old fort were in good order and school was opened. It was called Fort Coffee Academy. Rev. Henry Benson the first teacher. This was a school for boys but went down after the war. While New Hope a seminary for girls has been improving all the time until it is a very good school. I like to go to school at New Hope.

Written by Lenora Ryan
Age 13
Born 1877