A look into Wingate's history reveals that the earliest settlers in town, which at the time was called Ames Turnout, came to the area in the mid-1800s to build a Baptist church. Once the church - named Meadow Branch - was established, church leaders vowed to build a school to provide local youth with a Christian education. The school, named for Washington Manley Wingate, a prominent Baptist minister and educator at Wake Forest College in Wake Forest, N.C., soon became the center of town life, so much that the town soon adopted Wingate's name. In 1896, The Wingate School became Wingate College, a name it carried for almost a century before becoming Wingate University. The town of Wingate was formally chartered in 1901.