In 1844 William James Bingham
moved to the Oaks
section of Orange County, southwest of Hillsborough, to establish what he called a select classical and mathematical school. In 1855, the school closed due to Bingham's declining health. In 1857, Bingham's sons William, Jr. and Robert
joined him in partnership, and the school reopened, with double the previous enrollment, as W. J. Bingham and Sons
. In 1863 the elder Bingham's illness and Robert Bingham's absence in the army obliged William, Jr. to take over operations .
The school was chartered (incorporated) by an act of the North Carolina Legislature of 1864-65, with William Bingham, William B. Lynch, and Stuart White being the incorporating members . In January 1865 most of the Bingham family moved from Oaks to a new location closer to the North Carolina Railroad east of the town of Mebane
(first called Mebane's Station, then Mebanesville, until 1883), to start the new Bingham School, with classes beginning in February 1865 . The school initially rented or utilized a property of William B. Lynch on a temporary basis until a "better" site could be found (something that did not occur, by the way, until 1891) .
The military training aspect of the school, which began at the beginning of the Civil War
in early 1861, was formally integrated into and made the focus of the new school's curriculum. The school's officers were commissioned by the State, and its pupils were exempted from military service (i.e. being conscripted during the war) until they were 18 years old . The war ended locally in April 1865, which brought Robert Bingham back to North Carolina and ended conscription and mandatory military service for the students.
In late 1865, William J. Bingham bought out Lynch and Smith's shares in the corporation. In 1866 William died, and his sons William, Jr. and Robert took over the school. In January 1867, William, Jr. purchased property from William B. Lynch, and in August 1867, he purchased property from Thomas B. Thompson, which would have formed the main school property . From 1865 to 1873, no new building construction occurred . Applications to the school dwindled, mainly due to the impermanent aspect of the school's campus and there being better, more modern schools elsewhere. In 1873, William, Jr. died of malaria while on a trip to Gainesville, Florida, and Robert took over as superintendent.
Robert immediately spent $7,500 on the school, to include a new academic building; with expanded attendance it was soon outgrown and an additional $1,500 was spent to enlarge the building . The log buildings that were previously used as dorms (and four as classrooms) were torn down circa 1876 .The new academic building burned in early 1882, so Robert immediately spent $11,000 on new school buildings . The new buildings consisted of a two-story academy building, dormitories, gymnasium and society rooms, and a new house for Robert; they were mostly built in mid-1882, with T. C. Oakley of Durham
as the main contractor .
In 1884, another fire occured on the campus, destroying a "messing club" operated by Mary White
In December 1890, the school's academic buildings again burned down; soon afterwards part of the dorms also burned down . In 1891, not desiring to rebuild at the same location, and due to arguments with family members over the administration of the school, Robert moved to Asheville and established a new Bingham School there.
After the school moved to Asheville in 1891, William Bingham’s widow, Owen W. Bingham, operated an academy at the Mebane school site that she named The William Bingham School.
The principals of the school while at this location were William Bingham, Jr., 1864-1873; Robert Bingham and Owen Bingham, 1873-1891; Herbert Bingham circa 1892-1896; Mary Stuart, 1896-189?; Preston L. Gray, 189?-190?.
From the January 30, 1865 Daily Confederate newspaper (Raleigh)
The buildings and grounds of Bingham School at Mebane as depicted in an engraving on the school's letterhead, 1885. (From the North Carolina Collection, University of North Carolina)
Campus diagram, circa 1893 (via Phil Mace)
Excerpt from the August 23, 1884 Orange County Observer
Bingham School's postmasters, 1882 to 1891 (via the North Carolina Postal History Society)
Advertisement for "Bingham Camp," circa 1905
The only feature that remains from the school at its original site is the brick gateway that students would walk through upon boarding or disembarking from the train (HWY 70 was not constructed until the 1920s).
The structures that were once on campus are/were the:
Bath house and water works
Gymnasium and society hall
 William S. Powell (ed.). The Encyclopedia of North Carolina.
 Journal of the Senate of the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina at its Session of 1864-'65. Raleigh: Wm. E. Pell, 1866; Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction, 1898. 150. Supreme Court of North Carolina. Bingham School vs. P. L. Gray et al. February term, 1898; Robert I. Curtis, The Bingham School and Classical Education in North Carolina, 1793-1873, North Carolina Historical Review (July 1996): 352. Bingham, Lynch, and White received a charter for 30 years, which took effect March 1, 1865.
 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction, 1898. 151; The Daily Confederate, January 30, 1865. (Raleigh, NC)
 Ibid, 157; Supreme Court of North Carolina. Bingham School vs. P. L. Gray et al. February term, 1898. Pp93-94; Phil Mace, personal communication. William and Robert Bingham attempted to purchase the former Hillsborough Military Academy campus from Charles Tew's widow, but she was unwilling to sell the property.
 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction, 1898. 151; Charles Lee Smith. The History of Education in North Carolina, Contributions to American Educational History No. 3, 1888, No. 2
 Orange County deed book 39, page 166; book 39, page 170; Phil Mace, personal communication
 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction, 1898. 157
 Ibid, 158
 Ibid, 157, 158
 Ibid, 158
 The Alamance Gleaner, June 22, 1882 (via Phil Mace)
 The Orange County Observer, August 23, 1884
 Report of the Superintendent of Public Instruction, North Carolina. Department of Public Instruction, 1898. 159.