Brantley York (1805-1891) was a Methodist minister and educator best known for founding and serving as president of the institution that would become Duke University, Union Institute Academy in Randolph County, North Carolina. Overall, York founded six schools. A largely selftaught educator, Methodist minister, and author of a series of English grammars, Brantley York was asked by Methodist and Quaker farmers in rural Randolph County to help provide education for their sons and daughters. He organized Union Institute Academy in 1838 and met with instant success, having to build two new buildings within a year-and-a-half. Though gratified at his accomplishment, he worked extremely hard raising money, and he began to go blind working late at night preparing recitations in subjects he had not adequately studied. In fact, he recorded in his diary a statement saying he considered his years at Union Institute to be "truly onerous". York, however, had found his life's work at Union Institute and though completely blind by age forty-eight, he lived to be eighty-six and founded half-a-dozen schools, lectured over 8,000 times, and taught more than 15,000 pupils.