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 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.