Monday, May 23, 2011

The Pink Lady of Shelton College

In  September of 1871, the Guyandotte Baptist Association began plans  for establishing a school of higher learning.   The association decided that the best place to put the school would be along the Kanawha River in the town of Coalsmouth, now St. Albans.  While funding was being secured for a site and construction , the school opened inside the Town Hall Building as the Baptist Coalsmouth High School.  Classes began October 1, 1872 and led by Prof. H.W. Hovey, assistant teacher, and Rev. P.B. Reynolds, principal.

 In 1873, the foundation was laid, but money issues caused a halt in construction.  Mr. T.M. Shelton gave a loan of several thousand dollars, allowing construction to be completed by 1875.  Over the following years, the school still struggled financially.  In 1878, the name of the school was changed to Shelton College, in honor of T.M. Shelton, who continued to offer financial assistance.

By 1883, the school was still struggling financially and had a low enrollment, despite the efforts of staff and the Baptist Association to turn the academy into a respectable college.  That year, a joint stock company was organized to purchase the school and pay off the debt.  Under private control, Rev. Baylus Cade, followed by W.G. Miller, acted as principal.  By 1887, there were 52 students taking regular English and classical courses, plus music and "special normal courses." The following year boasted an enrollment of 70 students, both male and female, and by 1889, the school was debt free.

However,  low enrollment coupled with financial stress led to the closing of the school in the early 1900s, and by 1911, it was  converted into a private residence.  Over the years, many families living in the  house have encountered the "pink lady."  The pink lady is seen in a flowing gown, long hair, and enshrouded in a  glowing pink light.  It is rumored that this lady is the first mistress of the home.  She is also seen in a local cemetery where her baby is allegedly buried.


  1. The correct name for St. Albans at that time, is Colesmouth. Not Coalsmouth.

    1. If you look into the literature of the time period, its actually spelled several different ways. Both are used, as are several other variations. Thank you for your comment! This particular entry is do for a major re-haul after I found several books offering some more info!


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