A. D. (Amos Delos) Gridley.

History of the town of Kirkland, New York (Volume 1) online

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Mrs. Manila H. Gallup.

Since the union of the Grammar School and High
School, in the year 1866, the former has ceased to exist
in name, but it has still a legal existence : its Male
Department being represented by the High School
under Mr. A. P. Kelsey. and the Female Department
by Houghton Seminary under the care of Mr. and Mrs.
J. C. Gallup.


This school, called after the name of its chief In-
structor, Miss Nancy Royce, was established in the year
1814. It was a boarding and day school for young
ladies, and was opened in one of the chambers of Dr.
Seth Hastings* (now Dr. Austin Barrows') house. From
thence it was removed to a building on the northeast
corner of the village Green. It soon became widely
known and popular, drawing scholars from all parts of
this State and from Canada. Two or three Indian girls,
of the Stockbridge tribe, were at one time members of this
school. Outgrowing the capacity of the building it occu-
pied, it was removed to the Royce house (now occupied
by Marshall W. Barker), which was soon enlarged to
double its original dimensions to receive the prosperous
seminary. From the beginning of her career as Precep-
tress, Miss Royce was an invalid, yet by great care in her
daily regimen, and supported by an energy of purpose
almost indomitable, she contrived to carry forward her
school and to build it up into great success. Her health,


however, finally gave way, and after a few years she was
obliged to commit her Seminary to other hands, when it
gradually declined and was wholly relinquished. Miss
Royce died March 29, 1856, aged seventy years.


The ministers and delegates from the several associa-
tions comprising the Universalist Convention of the State
of New York, met at Clinton, May 11, 1831. Among
the acts of that body at this session was the appointment
of a committee of three, namely, Rev. S. R. Smith, D.
Skinner, and A. B. Grosh, " to collect important facts,
and prepare an address to the several associations and to
the Universalist and liberal portion of the community, on
the subject of establishing a literary institution in this
State, not only for the purpose of science and litera-
ture, but with a particular view of furnishing with an ed-
ucation young men designing to study for the ministry of
universal reconciliation."

The election of this committee was the initial step in
preparing the way for the erection of the Clinton Liberal

On June 1st following, the central association met at
Cedarville, Herkimer County, when the same subject was
brought before that body, and resolutions were passed :

1. Approving the recommendation of the State conven-
tion respecting a literary institution.

2. That it be located at Clinton.

3. That a Board of Trust be appointed.

4. Contains the number and names of said Board.

5. That Joseph Stebbins and John TV. Hale, of Clin-
ton, David Pixley, of Manchester^ Timothy Smith, of

1 This paper was prepared by Rev. S. P. Landers.


Augusta, and Ezra S. Barnum, of Utica, constitute an
executive committee with usual powers.

6. That Joseph Stebbins be treasurer.

7. That sister associations be solicited to unite with us
in promoting the objects herein contemplated. Numer-
ous associations throughout the State responded to the
acts of the State Convention, pledging themselves to aid
in every practicable way the project of establishing such
a school at Clinton.

One of the principal causes of this effort to found a
school on liberal principles in theology, was (what seemed
to be) the sectarian character and the proselyting influ-
ences on students, made in the various academies and col-
leges of our country.

The first report of the executive committee, dated
Clinton, August 20, 1831, in explaining to the public the
object of the contemplated seminary, says, among other
things, that " it is not to be sectarian.' 1 '' " On the con-
trary, while it is deemed all important that the young
mind should be strongly impressed with the pure moral-
ity of the gospel, we wish to leave the responsibility of
indoctrination to the natural guardians of youth.

" Pledging ourselves that as we have seen and felt the
evils of sectarian influence in the existing seminaries of
learning, so we will use our constant endeavors to pre-
serve the one now projected, from its contaminations."
This is all that the limited space of this sketch will allow
respecting the formative history of the Institute.

A preliminary school for males was opened November
7, 1831, on College Street, in a building owned by Will-
iam Johnson, nearly opposite Mr. Kelsey's. This school
had four terms a year, and was taught by George R. Per-
kins, now of Utica, who was connected with the Institute
from this tima until the year 1839.


The Female Department was commenced November 21,
1831, in a house on the east side of the Green, now owned
and occupied by A. W. Mills ; and it was taught by
Miss Burr. In May of the following year, it was for-
mally opened in the new building erected for that pur-
pose on Utica Street, by Miss Philena Dean, now the
widow of the late Professor Marcus Catlin. The present
site for the male department was purchased of John
Sweeting, and the substantial stone edifice, ninety- six by
fifty-two feet, and four stories high above the basement,
was built in 1832, by contract, for $^300.

As Harvard College was nourished and strengthened
in its infancy by the labors and sacrifices of benevolent
men, so the history of Clinton Liberal Institute, like that
of many other literary institutions whose beginnings were
small and when money was scarce, is the history of a
struggle. It is well understood and acknowledged that
Rev. Stephen R. Smith, for many years a resident and
preacher in Clinton, was the founder of the Institute.
Associated with him was Mr. Joseph Stebbins, whose
first subscription was larger than any other person's, and
who advanced from his own purse as funds were needed
to complete the buildings, more than $5000. " To
these two men," says Dr. Sawyer, in his memoir of Mr.
Smith, " the denomination owes a debt of gratitude which
few at this day can fully appreciate. Others, it is true,
labored with them, but they stand preeminent."

The library of the Institute was commenced by Mr.
Smith taking a basket on his arm and soliciting books
from his friends in this vicinity, and by obtaining dona-
tions in books from publishers in Boston and New York.

This school, thus founded, was commenced in the stone
building, December 10, 1832. The Faculty consisted of


Rev. C. B. Thummel, Principal, and Professor of Lan-
guages, George R. Perkins, Professor of Mathematics,
and E. W. Manley, Assistant. During the first year
there were in attendance one hundred and eight pupils,
most of whom studied the higher branches.

In the Female Department, after brief terms of princi-
palship by Misses Burr, Dean, and Fosdick, the services
of Miss Almira Meech were secured as preceptress. The
institution was chartered by the State in 1834, and in
1836 it was put under the visitation of the Regents, re-
ceiving its share of the public money. In 1836 a lot of
six and a half acres of land called " The Knob," bought
of William T. Richmond, was presented to the Institute,
together with valuable apparatus, estimated at about
$800, by Mr. R. W. Haskins, of Buffalo. It was de-
signed by the donor to build an observatory on the top ;
but, owing to various hindrances, this generous project
was never carried out.

Early in the_ year 1838, Mr. Thummel was succeeded
by Rev. Timothy Clowes, LL. D., and Miss Meech by
Miss L. M. Barker. It is due to Miss Barker to state
that this was the beginning of a career as instructor in
Clinton, which lasted thirty years, excepting, however,
a short period spent in New York, and at Whittemore
Hall, Massachusetts. She was successful as a teacher
and an exemplar to young ladies ; and her pupils in large
numbers are now exerting a happy influence in society as
the result of her excellent instructions. Clinton fails to
appreciate fully its indebtedness to her efforts in building
up and beautifying the place. She collected about
$ 2000 of the fund for erecting the present Ladies' In-
stitute. She built the house now occupied by Mr. Peter
Fake. After years of experience she felt that she could


not realize fully her idea of a true school while it was un-
der the control of a board of trustees ; and so she planned
and built the " Home Cottage " for a new seminary, it
being the school property now owned by Dr. J. C. Gal-
lup. This enterprise, however, proved too large for her
means and her failing energies, and she sold the building
to its present proprietor. After this she built a smaller
school-house, calling it " Cottage Seminary " (which is
now owned by Miss Anna Chipman), and where, sur-
rounded by friendly hearts, she at length passed away.
Her grateful pupils have recently erected a beautiful
monument to her memory in the Clinton Cemetery.

Rev. T. J. Sawyer, D. D., became Principal of the
Male Department in 1845, and held the position some
twelve or fifteen years. During this period, and largely
by his efforts, the present building of the Female De-
partment was erected, in the year 1851. It is of a sub-
stantial character, one hundred and thirty-six feet by
forty-six, is two stories high above the basement, and
contains all the necessary rooms and fixtures to make it
a pleasant home and school for young ladies. It stands
on a slight eminence in the southern part of the village,
commanding a view of the village and the valley of the
Oriskany, and of the college hillside dotted here and
there with residences, and with the institution crowning
its summit.

A debt of some magnitude having been incurred in
erecting this building and in other ways, Rev. D. Skin-
ner, of Utica, volunteered to. raise funds sufficient to
discharge it. He did even more than this ; for he not
only enabled the trustees to pay the debt of -$12,000,
but obtained money enough to repair the buildings, and
to replenish the library and the stock of apparatus. He


performed this labor without compensation, and in his
will left $1000 to the institution.

The school still continues to nourish. Mr. F. L.
Backus is now (1873) the Principal of the Male De-
partment, and Miss Mary S. Bacon is Principal of the
Female Department. The last Annual Report of the
treasurer, Mr. Edwin J. Stebbins, states that the receipts
from the school for the past year, were $18,678.52, and
the disbursements, $19,322.42. During the past year,
the Institute has received a donation of $25,000 from
John Craig, of Rochester, N. Y.


In the year 1832, Rev. Hiram H. Kellogg commenced
in Clinton the establishment of a seminary for young
ladies which, while furnishing facilities for a thorough,
christian education, should be conducted on such a
method as to enable persons of limited means to enjoy
its advantages. The rates of tuition were placed at the
lowest sum by which such an institution could be sus-
tained, and besides this, compensating employment was
furnished in domestic and other avocations, adapted to
the age and condition of each pupil, by which the scholars
might reduce the cost of their board and tuition to a
considerable amount.

Having erected and furnished his building, Mr.
Kellogg opened his school in the spring of the year 1833,
under the name of The Young Ladies' Domestic Semi-
nary. The school was full at the beginning ; and such
was the pressure of applicants beyond its capacity, that
the building was materially enlarged during the first

« Prepared by Eev. H. II. Kellogg, the first Principal.


During the first eight years of its history, its rooms
were uniformly filled, the usual attendants numbering
from seventy to eighty. The whole number educated
here during those years, was upwards of five hundred.
Notwithstanding its peculiar features which commended
it especially to the poor, it was liberally patronized by
the wealthy families of central New York, and was as
universally popular as any similar institution in this part
of the State. The full amount charged for board and
tuition never exceeded 8120 per year. The amounts
deducted from this in compensation for work performed,
usually ranged from ten to fifty per cent of the face of
the regular bills. And so it came to pass that a large
number of christian ladies were here educated at an
expense of only from fifty to sixty dollars a year, who
afterwards became eminently useful in missionary work
at home and abroad.

But the amount of good accomplished by this seminary
was not limited to the education and usefulness of its
pupils. It is due to the truth of history to record that
this school was visited by those who were maturing
plans for the establishment of other institutions in
Illinois, Ohio, and New England ; and that its peculiar
features were, to some extent, adopted by them. One
of these instances may here be recorded : In the summer
of 1884, Mr. Kellogg visited the Female Seminary at
Ipswich, Massachusetts, then conducted by the Misses
Grant and Lyon. At the request of the teachers, he
addressed the collected school, and sketched the outline
of his plan and its results. Miss Lyon was so deeply
interested in the project that she resolved to visit Mr.
Kellogg's Seminary at an early opportunity. During
her next vacation, she came to Clinton, and after a full


examination of the practical workings of this institution,
went home resolved to establish a new seminary in which
the leading features of this school should have a promi-
nent place. Hence arose the Mount Holyoke Seminary,
at South Hadley, Massachusetts, whose fame is in all
the land. If the facts were fully known, it would
appear, also, that the Seminary at Monticello, Illinois,
and the Female Department of Knox College, and of
Oberlin College, and the Elmira Female College, N. Y.,
and other similar institutions have been moulded and
encouraged by the seminary which for eight years was
so successfully conducted among us.

In 1841, Mr. Kellogg having been elected to the
presidency of Knox College, sold his Seminary property
to an association of Free-Will Baptists, and removed
with his family to Galesburgh, Illinois. The Baptists,
after conducting the school for three years on a different
plan, relinquished it ; when it was reopened by Mr.
Pelatiah Rawson as a private school. The failure of Mr.
Rawson's health caused the school to be closed.

In 1817, in consequence of his infirm health, and his
property here falling back into his hands, Mr. Kellogg
returned to Clinton and attempted to resuscitate the
seminary, and to make it a school for both sexes. It
was not so easy to revive a decaying school as to create
a new one ; yet some considerable success attended the
effort. In 1850, Mr. Kellogg deemed it best, for reasons
which need not here be stated, to close the institution.


This institution was established by Miss Louisa M.
Barker, in the year 1854. The building is situated on a
picturesque hill south of Clinton, overlooking the Oris-


kany Valley, and commanding a fine view of the surround-
ing country. It is one hundred and fifty feet in length
and fifty-four in width ; is two stories high above an
elevated basement, and has two towers three stories

Miss Barker had been for some years Principal of the
Female Department of the Liberal Institute ; and now,
in the maturity of her powers, sought in this institution
to carry out more fully her ideas of education. Her great
strength as a teacher lay in her power to rouse the mind
of her pupils to a just appreciation of the various branches
of literature. Having herself an extensive acquaintance
with English classical writers, she imbued all who came
within the sphere of her influence with a love of the best
books in our language, and will be remembered by many
as having awakened in them new powers to perceive
what was quite hidden from them before.

Here, associated with competent assistants, she re-
mained until the year 1861, when she sold the seminary
to Dr. J. C. Gallup. Since it passed into his hands, it
has been known as Houghton Seminary. After retiring
from the above institution, Miss Barker established a
family school for the accommodation of fourteen boarders.
Its capacities have since been somewhat enlarged. It is
situated on College Street, and bears the name of the
Cottage School. Since the decease of Miss Barker, it has
passed into the hands of Miss Anna Chipman, who was
for many years an associate Principal with Miss Barker,
and who has since maintained the school with a very
high degree of efficiency and success.

As it has been stated in the preceding chapter, Dr.


John C. Gallup took possession of the property heretofore
known as the Home Cottage Seminary, in August, 1861.
Since that time, it has been styled Houghton Seminary,
in honor of his -wife, Mrs. Marilla Houghton Gallup,
the associate principal. The grounds, consisting origi-
nally of eight acres, have been enlarged to twenty acres.
Much has been done also of late to augment the value
of the buildings, and the beauty of the lawns, the garden,
and the entire premises.

The institution is now under the care of the Regents
of the University of the State of New York ; has a large
and valuable library ; has an efficient Faculty of seven
instructors ; and its collegiate course requires four years
of study in the classical and higher English branches.
During the past ten years of its history the average num-
ber of pupils has been ninety, of whom sixty-three have
been graduated and received the diploma of the institu-
tion. This seminary is in all respects highly prosperous.

IX. dwight's rural high school. 1

This school was opened in May, 1858, by Rev. Benja-
min W. D wight, its principal and proprietor, with Rev.
David A. Holbrook, and Henry P. Bristol, as associates.
It occupied the ground — eighteen acres and more — on
the corner of Elm Street and Factory Street, and faced
with two imposing fronts these two avenues. It stood
one hundred and fifty feet back from the former, and two
hundred and twenty-five feet from the latter, on a pleas-
ing, artificial slope. The grounds were laid out in ample
style, with walks and carriage-drives, and were planted
with ornamental trees. A large gymnasium, seventy

1 This paper was prepared by Eev. B. W. Dwight, LL. D.


feet by thirty-two, stood at the southeast, at a distance of
some three hundred and fifty feet.

The building was erected in the years 1857-58. Dr.
.Dwight, who had been for several years conducting a
large and nourishing high school in Brooklyn, came to
Clinton for the purpose of combining the influence of fine
rural surroundings with educational labor. He believed
that he could achieve much higher physical, intellectual,
and moral results in such a school than in any other.

The school opened with nine boarders and eighteen
day scholars, and rose, when at its greatest height, to
over eighty pupils, some fifty-three of them being board-
ers. The school was a place of abounding physical
healthfulness, of earnest intellectual work, and of warm
religious life. Students came from far and near, all over
the land, and went from the school to a dozen different
colleges. Beside giving earnest attention to classical and
mathematical drill, full courses of daily study were ap-
pointed in history, physiology, and the modern languages.
During the last three years of the school a number of
young ladies were admitted to it, and with good effect in
every way.

The school biiilding, which was expensive for those
days, having cost nearly $20,000, was large and showy.
Four distinct buildings were in fact harmonized in it into
one. The combined structure was on every side of it
picturesque in appearance, and imposing in all its propor-
tions, and pronounced by all who saw it one of the largest
and finest buildings in the county. Its entire front was
fifty-six feet, and its greatest length one hundred and six

I n the year 1864, Mr. Henry P. Bristol died, after a
short illness. He was a man of thorough principle and


of exact scholarship, and was always respected and es-
teemed by the pupils whom he sought to improve and
bless. Dr. D wight, in the hope of benefiting the declin-
ing health of his wife, went to New York in the spring of
1863, and opened there a school at No. 1144 Broadway,
leaving the school here in the hands of Rev. Mr. Hol-
brook, who, after two years, resigned the charge into the
hands of Mr. Ambrose P. Kelsey. In April, 1865, after
having been only a few months under the care of the lat-
ter, the building caught fire in the roof near one of the
chimneys, and burned slowly down, in the absence of an
efficient fire-engine in the place, before the eyes of a great
crowd of spectators.


A select school was opened by Mrs. Elizabeth D. Marr,
in May, 1861. It was commenced in the building for-
merly occupied by Rev. Mr. Kellogg's seminary, and was
transferred the following year to rooms in the Clinton
Grammar School. A building was then erected for its
permanent occupancy on Meadow Street, to which it was
soon after removed, and where it has since remained.

At this school, instruction is given in all the English
branches, and in the Latin, French, and German lan-
guages, and in drawing and painting.

Mrs. Marr is assisted by two or three associate teachers.
The present number of pupils is twenty-six.


At the time when most of the school districts of this
town were organized, Kirkland was included in the town

1 This paper was prepared by Mr. Gaius Butler.


of Paris. But as the settlement began at Clinton, so let
these brief sketches commence here.

The first building erected in Kirkland for the purposes
of a common school, stood on the east side of the Village
Green, upon the spot now occupied for a similar purpose.
It was a frame building one story and a half high. This
was afterwards removed, and now stands on the north
side of Kellogg Street, and is occupied by Mr. James
Hughes. This original school-house was succeeded by a
brick building. The bricks used in this structure were
made on the farm of Gideon Cole, now owned by James
Elphick and Dr. G. I. Bronson. In the spring of 1840,
this house having become somewhat dilapidated, was sold
at public auction for some' $300, and soon afterward the
present frame building was erected on or near the same
spot. It is worthy of note that' a Mr. Fillmore, brother
of President Fillmore, was one of the early teachers in
this school-house.

It was originally a very general practice to measure
the lot by the size of the school-house, as if a sufficient
margin for a play-ground was land thrown away.
The school-house on Utica Street was built on a steep
bluff, at an angle on two sides of some forty-five degrees,
with not one spare foot of ground. A school was sus-
tained on this spot for many years, but a bright light
one evening many years ago, showed that the old build-
ing was being reduced to ashes.

The first school -house in the eastern part of Kirkland,
near Mr. Pickett's, was built by a Mr. Willard, at the
contract price of $150. Low price and poor work. It
was attempted to warm the building in winter by a Rus-
sian stove, of which Dr. Backus said, " One might about
as well warm his feet by a tombstone." Another and


better building was afterwards put up on the same site,
but ere long it went by fire, and the district itself was dis-

The school in Chuckery district appears to have been
for many years in a prosperous condition.

The Franklin district is a large and populous one.
The first school-house was destroyed under circumstances
bordering on the ludicrous. It may suffice here to state
that for a certain cutaneous disease sulphur was regarded
as the best remedy ; and that, in order to its being well
rubbed in, a large fire was considered necessary. Well,

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Online LibraryA. D. (Amos Delos) GridleyHistory of the town of Kirkland, New York (Volume 1) → online text (page 11 of 17)