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Benjamin Stoddert Ewell

Ewell, Benjamin Stoddert (yōˈəl) [key], 1810–94, American educator, b. Georgetown, D.C., grad. West Point, 1832; brother of Gen. R. S. Ewell. He taught mathematics at West Point, Hampden-Sidney College, and Washington College (now Washington and Lee Univ.) before being elected (1848) professor of mathematics and acting president of William and Mary. In 1854 he became president. The college was closed during the Civil War, and Ewell, who had at first opposed secession, joined the Confederate army and was chief of staff to Gen. J. E. Johnston through most of the war. After the war he prevailed on Congress to reimburse the college for buildings burned by Union troops and was thus able to reopen William and Mary in 1869, only to be forced to close it again in 1881 because of diminished income. Ewell spent his own money in keeping up the institution, until in 1888 it was reopened with state aid. He then became president emeritus until his death.

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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