One of the oldest and most beautiful houses in Gonzales was originally built as the Gonzales College. In 1851 stones for the structure were hauled to the building site by ox carts from Peach Creek. The two-story structure was built by builder John Mooney and cost $7,250. The first classes began in 1853 with 50 students. The first president was John Freeman Hillyer and the President of the Board of Trustees was Thomas J. Pilgrim, a distinguished educational leader. Pilgrim organized the first Sunday School in Texas in 1829. The original structure was designated as the Female College. In 1855 a second building was constructed, known as the Male College. As early as 1857, bachelor of arts degrees were conferred upon female students, making this one of the earlier colleges in Texas to take this major step prior to the War Between The States.