ALFRED E. THOM - THIRD PRINCIPAL, 1840-1843
Following Principal Patton's tenure, Presbyterian minister Rev. Alfred E. Thom, a recent graduate of the Presbyterian Theological School and Seminary, was hired in November 1840 as the Academy's third Principal. In 1841 he was also hired as the pastor of the Western Church in Guyandotte, which had been founded on July 27, 1838, in the half-finished Marshall Academy building. Apparently, he supplemented his pastoral salary of $500 a year, supplied by The Western Church, as well as a church in Burlington, Ohio, by teaching at the Academy, where he had been an instructor since the school's founding in 1838. In 1840 he accepted a full-time position. The Virginia House of Delegates highly recommended him for the position, based on "their knowledge of [his] qualifications," and because of that they "recommended [the Academy] as an Institution worthy of patronage." He maintained his residence on the Virginia side of the Ohio River while the pastor of the Burlington Church, because he owned a slave girl, named Susie, and "slavery was prohibited in the Northwest Territory of which Ohio was a part." Rev. Thom continued to head the Academy until September 1843, when he resigned to accept a more lucrative pastorate in Paris, Kentucky.
Little is known about his life after he left Marshall Academy. He married Mary Reaves. While the pastor of The Western Church he baptized two of his infant children, as well as his Suzie. He subsequently joined the faculty at Austin College, Huntsville, Texas, as Professor of Mathematics and Natural Science. He also served as the seventh pastor of the Huntsville First Presbyterian Church. He was Austin College's acting president from 1857-1858, until the inauguration of Rev. Rufus W. Bailey in February 1859.
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