William James Bingham (1802-1866) was born in Chapel Hill, NC, where his father William Bingham (1754-1826) was professor of ancient languages. The younger Bingham graduated from the University with first honors in 1825 and at his father's death in the following year took over his classical preparatory school, moving it from Mount Repose to Hillsborough, NC. In 1845 Bingham moved the school to the Oaks community, twelve miles southwest of Hillsborough, in order to raise his children in the country. He married Eliza Alves Norwood in 1827. The couple had seven children, including William (1835-1873), who succeeded his father in running the school, and Robert (1838-1927), who succeeded his brother as headmaster (Dictionary of North Carolina Biography 1:161).