More about the Reverend Samuel Witherspoon Doak
The Reverend Samuel Witherspoon Doak was born March 24, 1785. His
father, Reverend Samuel Doak, was the first Presbyterian minister to settle in
the frontier region that would later be known as Tennessee, arriving around
Rev. Doak also founded the Salem Presbyterian Church in 1780 and, by
1783, he received a charter for the first school in Tennessee, Martin Academy,
later known as Washington College. Rev. Samuel W. Doak graduated from his
father's college in 1806 and was licensed to preach by Abingdon Presbytery in
In 1808, he married Sarah Houston McEwen and they became the
parents of 13 children between the years of 1809 and 1838. By 1830, the Doak
family moved to the museum's current location at Frank Creek, where the Rev.
Samuel W. Doak built his impressive brick home, erected a log structure for
Tusculum Academy, and served as preacher to Mount Bethel and Providence
When he started Tusculum Academy, Rev. Samuel W.
Doak had only four students, but as local population increased, his enrollment
soon grew to thirty-five.
So, in 1841, he began soliciting funds for a new, larger
school building. During this time, he received a $20 donation from Andrew
Johnson for the project.
In 1844, Tusculum Academy became Tusculum
College. Rev. S. W. Doak's new building, now called "Old College", currently
houses the Pres. Andrew Johnson Museum and Library. Besides teaching and
preaching, Samuel W. Doak also served as President of Washington College
from 1838-1840 and President of Tusculum College from 1842 until his death