Lincoln Memorial University (LMU) grew out of love and respect for Abraham Lincoln and today honors his name, values, and spirit. As the legend goes, in 1863 Lincoln suggested to General O. O. Howard, a Union Army officer, that the people of the Cumberland Gap region were loyal and he hoped that when the war was done, their loyalty would be rewarded. Reverend A. A. Myers, a Congregationalist minister, came to the Cumberland Gap in 1888. He succeeded in opening the Harrow School, established for the purpose of providing elementary education to mountain youngsters. On a visit to the area to give a series of lectures at the Harrow School, General O. O. Howard remembered his commitment to fulfill Lincoln's request and he joined Reverend Myers, M. F. Overton, C. F. Eager, A. B. Kesterson, and M. Arthur in establishing Lincoln Memorial University. That group, along with Robert F. Patterson, a Confederate veteran, became a board of directors and purchased The Four Seasons property. In commemoration of Lincoln's birthday, the institution was chartered by the State of Tennessee on February 12, 1897, as Lincoln Memorial University. Since its founding, LMU has had a missional focus on serving the underserved populations of the Appalachian region.
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