"Mather Academy was founded in 1887 by the New
England Southern Conference of the Women's Home
Missionary Society of the Methodist Church. It succeeded
a freedmen's school opened during Reconstruction by Sarah
Babcock, who returned to Massachusetts, married Rev.
James Mather, and became the corresponding secretary of
the Southern Conference when it was organized in 1883. The Methodists opened a 'Model Home and Industrial School' on
this site in 1887."
"Mather Academy educated girls, and later boys, in grades 1-11 until grade 12 was added in 1928. The Southern Assn. of Secondary Schools and Colleges gave it an "A" rating in 1937. A new main building, library, chapel, dormitories and gym were all built between 1900 and 1964. In 1959 Mather merged with the Boylan-Haven School of Jacksonville, Fla., to become Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy. It closed here in 1983; the last building was demolished in 1995."
This official state historical marker in Camden summarizes Mather's story for all passersby. Dedicated in April 2000 (top right photo) by a group of alumni, the marker is on the shoulder of DeKalb Street in front of the drug store that has been built on the former Mather property.
The site is listed in the State Historical Office's publication, African American Historic Places in South Carolina.
Click the photo above to view the listing. Then go to page 55 under Kershaw County.
On the sign, the words flow from one side to another, as follows:
Boylan-Haven-Mather Academy NATIONAL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION