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History of the Wesleyan academy, in Wilbraham, Mass. 1817-1890 online

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with beasts at Ephesus, was chosen steward. He served
but one year. Both he and his excellent wife were
highly esteemed at the institution; but four salaries
would not have tempted him to go through the labor
and worry again. Of Howe, who followed him, we
have no knowledge.

The academic year was again divided into four,
instead of three terms. The great Advent camp meet-
ing held at Chicopee was attended by many students.
The same autumn, a company walked to Springfield to
hear John Quincy Adams, in Dr. Osgood's church.
Instead of dipping into politics, then very heated, he


Spoke on science, philosophy and religion. The Whig
State Convention drew another crowd to Springfield to
hear Rufus Choate, who took occasion to denounce a
young anti-slavery fanatic of Boston. At the Academy
his name had never been heard before ; it has never
ceased to be heard since. It was Charles Sumner. The
speech of Choate was a tornado of eloquence, with
thunder and lightning, which the boys greatly enjoyed.

In 1843, the teaching corps was reenforced by the
election of Rev. John H. Twombly to the department
of mathematics. He was tall, loosely built and awk-
ward in his movements, but an admirable teacher
enthusiastic, thorough and helpful to the pupil. He
knew, even then, how to deal with the young and was,
during his term, a power for good in the school. At
the close of his work at the Wesleyan Academy, he
entered the pastorate, and has served many of our lead-
ing churches. His suggestions and efforts have been
helpful in organizing the young in the Methodist
Church. In education, he has taken a deep and perma-
nent interest. He was one of the overseers of Harvard,
was President of the State University of Wisconsin, and
a trustee of Boston University for several years.

This year, also, Miss Emeline B. Jenkins, a graduate
of the Academy, and an estimable young lady every
way qualified for the position, was chosen preceptress.
During her two years of service in this place, she
became greatly endeared to both students and citizens.
She was a model woman. Above the medium size,
symmetrical in build, with a fair, open countenance and
large, benevolent eyes. She made a most pleasing im-
pression upon all favored with her acquaintance. At


their annual meeting, the trustees also chose Charles
Adams and Phineas Crandall members of the board.
Phineas Crandall was born in Montville, Ct., Septem-
ber 13, 1793, and died in Moosup, Ct., November 5,
1878. He was a member of the New England Confer-
ence, filling important charges and serving for several
terms in the office of Presiding Elder. He remained a
member of the board until 1868, for most of the time he
was too far from the institution to give much attention
to the details of business. He was retained mostly for
his wisdom in counsel and influence in the Conference.
In 1844, Mr. Adams offered his resignation; but, at
the earnest request of the board, he withdrew. At the
close of the year, he determined to return to the pastor-
ate, and his resignation was final. In accepting it, the
trustees express their regrets at his departure and their
grateful acknowledgments for his 'faithful service in
the school. On retiring from the Academy, he be-
came pastor of Bromfield Street, Boston, and in 1847
he was induced to take the chair of Hebrew and Greek
in the Biblical Institute. Two years later, he returned
to the pastorate, serving at Lowell and Cambridge. In
1853, he was transferred to the Genesee Conference, and
from 1855 to 1858 he was in the Cincinnati Conference.
From 1858 to 1868, he was President of the Illinois
Female College, and thereafter he held a clerkship in
the Dead Letter Office in Washington. He followed
the example of Dr. Emmons in retiring from the pulpit,
" while he had sense enough to do so," observing the
rule better than Emmons himself, who thought he had
sense enough to preach when he had advanced into the
eighties. Adams retired at sixty.


The decline in the number of students at the
Academy continued through the entire term of Mr.
Adams. The period was one of transition ; the condi-
tions under which the institution had been founded
were disappearing ; other conditions, under which it was
to exist in the future, were taking their place. The
decline came, as we have seen, from without rather than
from within. The conditions, rather than the adminis-
tration, were working to the disadvantage of the school.
The most popular principal could not have reversed the
tendency ; time and the coming in of new forces alone
could control it.

In person, Charles Adams was short and thick-set,
with dark eyes, hair and beard, cut short. In later life,
his beard was worn long, giving him a patriarchal
appearance. In manner, he was active and energetic ;
never quite easy and graceful in social intercourse.
The stiffness of youth never became flexible under the
culture of later life. By sheer resolution and persist-
ence, he made the most possible of moderate natural
endowments, enabling a man of second-rate capacities
to do the work of a first-rate man.

As a manager of schools, he gave himself thoroughly
and earnestly to the work. Besides the care of the
institution, he gave large attention to the details of
teaching, not only in the departments of mental and
moral science, which were usually attached to the chair
of the principal, but also in those of the ancient lan-
guages, literature and rhetoric. In all these lines, he
was a great drill master, bringing to his work energy,
intensity, enthusiasm, instructing with the eye, the
voice, the attitude and movement of the body. Even


now, after the lapse of forty years, we can hear his clear
and resonant voice ringing out in the Greek class as he
takes them through the declensions and conjugations
without once tripping even in the minutest details.
No one who had the good fortune to be in his classes
can ever forget how he rushed upon his work, awaken-
ing attention and rousing to action every mind in the
class. Loomis claimed that he once picked him up on a
Greek perfect: it is the only instance we ever heard of.
He was not a man to be picked up : he used to pick
others up. The thoroughness in his classes usually
gave those entering college a place in the front rank.
Perhaps no principal of the Academy ever did so much
and so good teaching as Charles Adams. He was
unwearied in his exertions and interest, not only in
communicating the quota of knowledge, but in awaken-
ing an interest in the pupil and in stimulating the
mental and moral faculties, and leading the student in
those courses best adapted to make of him a scholar and
a citizen. To this end, also, he read many lectures to
the students on a great variety of subjects, adapted to
stimulate the mind and guide the life.

Dr. Adams revived the old theological class organized
by Dr. Fisk. Among those in the class to whom he
delivered lectures were: Carlos Banning, L. B. Clark,
Silas Piper, W. F. Loomis, H. M. Nichols, D. H. Sher-
man, James M. Wooster, and John F. Sheffield. In
addition to the intellectual training, they engaged in
practical religious work. On each Saturday they met
with Freeman Nutting, the pastor of the village church
to arrange a plan of service for the week. Besides the
instructions of the principal, the class was addressed


from time to time by ministers from abroad, including
Dr. Dempster, who afterwards founded the Biblical
Institute at Concord.

As a preacher, Dr. Adams held a high rank in his
Conference. On great occasions, when he put forth his
strength, he was able to make a strong impression ; but
his sermons were not uniform. In the course of a pas-
torate, he preached some exhibiting great ability, some
also which were quite ordinary. Many of his sermons
at Wilbraham were adapted to the condition and needs
of students. Dr. Adams, who took a prominent part in
the anti-slavery debate of the time, was honored with a
seat in the General Conferences of 1844 and 1848. He
was also known as an author. "The Women of the
Bible," " Evangelism," and " Words which Shook the
World," were the titles of his leading books.

Conspicuous students under Charles Adams were
Henry Baylies, who became preacher and lawyer;
Valorus Taft, a leading politician in Massachusetts for
many years; Oliver Marcy; John W. H., Hannah
W. and Elizabeth D. Hawkins, the children of John
Hawkins, the distinguished temperance reformer,
Reuben H. Loomis, and Mathew Willard.


perfofc 1T1K

6. STlje &bminislrati0tt of ttye fteo. Robert
21. iH., at tl)e tDeslegan





ON the resignation of Charles Adams, Miner Ray.
mond was unanimously elected principal of the
Wesleyan Academy. But, as he preferred to remain
in the pastorate, for which he possessed eminent gifts
and qualifications, the honor was declined. To fill the
position, the Board selected three individuals, all emi-
nent teachers and former students of the Academy,
from whom the committee on teachers was authorized
to secure a principal. The three were Osmon C.
Baker, Edward Otheman and Robert Allyn. The
first two declined the honor, leaving only the last on
the list, who happily accepted the position and became
the sixth principal of the Wesleyan Academy at

Robert Allyn, a fine scholar, an enthusiastic teacher,
and an earnest worker in the general field of education,
was born in Ledyard, Ct., January 25, 1817. He pre-
pared for college at the Wesleyan Academy, boarding
for a part of the time with Calvin Brewer, who was
decidedly interested in the young student. There he


made many pleasant acquaintances, among them Joseph,
Emeline and Ellen Dennison, Isaac T. Goodnow, Isaac
Jennison, Jr., who became his room-mate at college,
David P. Robinson, Clark Coolidge, William A. Bra-
man, Richard S. Rust, William C. Pierce, Bradford K.
Pierce, John Holt, Lucy Upham, William Bardwell
and Jane Taylor.

Entering the Wesleyan University in 1837, he grad-
uated in 1841 with such men as George Landon, Isaac
A. Savage, L. R. Thayer, D. P. Robinson and B. K.
Pierce. It is much to say that he stood high in such a
class. Though easy to learn, he was, through his entire
course, a diligent and earnest student. Besides the
class studies, he gave much attention, while in college,
to English literature. On leaving college he returned
to Wilbraham as a teacher of the ancient languages and
mathematics. In his Virgil class were Gilbert Haven,
Henry Baylies, R. H. Loomis, Smith Tuttle, Oliver
Marcy, Samuel F. Beach, Caleb P. Wickersham and
others. Haven was the rapid reader, who hardly
needed to open a book to learn what was inside. If he
had neglected the lesson, he could usually pick up
enough of the story, as the recitation proceeded, to pass

Mr. Allyn was an admirable teacher, familiar with
the details of the text-books and the best methods of
instruction : he knew very well how to start the young
mind in its investigations as well as to awaken and
maintain enthusiasm in his classes. He held sway
less by authority than by love. The thirst for knowl-
edge led the student to accompany the teacher in the
path opening so delightfully before him. Those who


had the pleasure of sitting in his classes will never for-
get his genial temper or his helpful words. He was sol-
icitous to so train his pupils as to make the most of them.

In personal appearance Mr. Allyn was tall, loosely
put together, a trifle awkward in movement, with light
complexion and slight touches of beard, hardly suffi-
cient to allow side whiskers. In conversation, though
without the utmost ease, he was ready and intelligent,
opening up fresh lines in an interesting way, and keep-
ing in constant touch with the other party. He knew
how to hear as well as to speak.

After a couple of years at Wilbraham, he entered the
pastorate in the Providence Conference, only to be called
back, as we have seen, at the end of the two years.
The term at the Academy opened very pleasantly and
hopefully. The address of Mr. Allyn was brief and
pertinent, referring to the past history of the school,
and to the work opening before them for the current
year. The school was buoyant in temper, and animated
with courage and hope in undertaking the tasks before
it. The board of instruction, under the principal, re-
mained unchanged.

At the annual meeting of the board, Hon. Abel Bliss,
one of the founders and an original trustee, resigned, to
the regret of all his associates. The case of John W.
Hardy, so often the occasion of disturbance in the
affairs of the institution, was referred to a committee
which reported : " That J. W. Hardy is, in the judg-
ment of the trustees of the Wesleyan Academy, an
improper person to be a trustee, and therefore his con-
nection with this board of trustees is hereby dissolved."
Thus ends a painful record in the board of trustees.


He was a curious specimen of humanity a man of
severe temper, exceptionable methods, a Christian Ish-
maelite, with his hand against every man and every
man's hand against him. In so hard a man, few could
see any good. And yet, those near him, found better
qualities to commend. " Both he and his wife," writes
Robert Allyn, " were really kind. How kindly he
remembered even the wayward whom he had often
severely reproved, I never knew till years after, when,
broken in health, deprived of property and bereft of
wife and children, he spent a month at my house, and
lived over, in word, his history from Vermont to
Wilbraham, and down into the vale of poverty and
despondency. He was no friend of mirth or jollity,
however well intended, and he was incapable of appre-
ciating a joke. To mischief of any kind, even though
entirely harmless, he was an enemy. I smile, even now,
as I recall an occasion when he asked me to witness a
reproof of a thoughtless, mirth-loving lad, now a grave
judge in a great State. After setting before the boy
the gravity of his offense, and hinting at an expulsion
or whipping, the lad, with upturned eyes and piteous
tone, pathetically asked : ' Were you never a boy,
Father Hardy ? ' ' Yes,' said he, quick as thought,
'and have repented it in dust and ashes ever since.'
It was the pride of the old man to make money for the
school ; and just how he was able to do it, with board
and room at one dollar and a quarter per week, one
could never guess until he tried the hardtack, leathery
steak, thin soup and archaic butter on his table. One
trial was enough to solve the problem." *

Letter to the author.


In place of these the board elected Robert R. Wright
and Amos Binney, the former an honored citizen and
business man at Wilbraham, was born at the South Par-
ish (now Hampden) January 21, 1811, and still lives.
He was present at the dedication of the old Academy, and
stood near Dr. Fisk when he delivered his opening
address. In 1835, Mr. Wright engaged in mercantile
business in his native village, and removed to the North
Parish in 1839, where he remained in trade until 1873.
Mr. Wright has been a leading man in the town, and in
the Methodist Church, of which he has long been a mem-
ber and office-bearer. As a local member of the board
of trustees, he has been able to give much attention to
the affairs of the Academy. As a man of sound judg-
ment, broad views and much business experience, his
plans and counsels have proved valuable to the institu-
tion. He married, August 16, 1838, Miss Louisa W.
Carpenter. He married second, August 16, 1852, Eliza
S., daughter of Dr. Jesse W. Rice. Of the first were
two sons and two daughters.

The Rev. Amos Binney was born in Hull, Mass.,
October 30, 1802, and died in great peace in New Haven,
Ct., March 29, 1878. Converted at sixteen under
Father Taylor, he joined the New England Conference
in 1826, in which he occupied many pastoral charges.
From 1848 to 1850 he was presiding elder of Spring-
field District ; and in the latter year he was transferred
to Lynn District where he remained four years. As a
preacher, he was plain, simple and evangelical, aiming
rather to do good than to be a great preacher ; and as a
pastor he was diligent and earnest. In the use of
money, he was careful and judicious. Though not a


theologian in a large sense, he wrote a theological com-
pend which continues to be studied with profit in many
lands. As a trustee, he was for several years quite
serviceable to the Academy. He married Caroline
Wilder, of Hingham, in 1824, whose daughter became
the wife of Dr. Daniel Steele. His second wife was Miss
Isabella Hill, preceptress of the Academy thi's year.

During Mr. Allyn's first year there were in attend-
ance three hundred and eighty-three students as against
three hundred and forty-two of the year before. The
work of the year was faithfully done. Besides the
routine work, the principal found time to give many
addresses, on special subjects, to the students. The ex-
aminations at the close were highly creditable to teach-
ers and pupils. At the annual exhibition the speaking
was good, and the valedictory was assigned to Nathaniel
J. Burton, who did himself and the occasion ample
justice, in an oration marked by justness of thought and
beauty of style, and delivered with an easy and charm-
ing eloquence. William S. Studley was equally happy
in giving the poem of the occasion. These kindred spirits
entered the Wesleyan University together, and, in later
years, fully met expectations raised at the Academy,
the one as the successor of Dr. Bushnell, and the other
as an orator who has filled the most conspicuous pulpits
in the Methodist Church.

In 1846, Oliver Marcy and Samuel F. Beach were
added to the teaching corps. The latter prepared for
college at Wilbraham, and took the valedictory at Wes-
leyan in a large and able class. He taught in Alex-
andria, Va., later studied law, and was for many years
president of the First National Bank there.



Oliver Marcy was born in Leyden, Mass., in 1820,
and made his first essays at learning in the public school.
In 1841 he went to Wilbraham to prepare for college,
and in 1846 graduated at Wesleyan University. In
college he stood high, and graduated with honor in the
class with Gilbert Haven. At Wilbraham he long re-
mained as a faithful and beloved teacher. In personal
appearance Mr. Marcy was prepossessing. Of medium
size, full habit, with light complexion and hair and
an eye beaming with intelligence and moral pur-
pose, he exhibited a benign temper, an intelligence and
a simplicity of manner pleasing to every one who knew
him. The law of kindness was stamped upon his coun-
tenance, and his gentle words were the fitting vehicles
of his pure and noble thoughts. In him were combined
the temper of the child and the intellectual grasp of the
philosopher. On leaving Wilbraham, in 1852, he be-
came professor of natural science in the Northwestern
University, where he has made a name for himself in
the world of science.

In 1847, James Luke, of East Cambridge, was elected
trustee, in place of Bartholomew Otheman, resigned.
Mr. Luke soon removed to Wilbraham, and built an
elegant house, later owned by S. J. Goodenough. He
was a man of sound judgment, pacific tastes and reli-
gious convictions, earnestly desirous to contribute some-
thing to the cause of pure religion and sound learning.
In the board of trustees he performed much detail

At the same time Orange Judd took the place of
Isaac T. Goodnow, in the department of natural
science. He was born in Niagara County, N.Y., July


26, 1822, and graduated at Wesleyan in 1847, with
such men as E. G. Andrews, Alexander Winchell and
others. As salary, he received four hundred dollars,
and the proceeds from courses of lectures he delivered
each term. On leaving the Academy he went to Mid-
dletown, where he immortalized himself by the erection
of Judd Hall, which he gave to the university. He
was an able and inspiring teacher.

Alexander P. Lane, a man of great energy, self-
reliance and large, possibly venturesome, plans, was
chosen steward in place of James Howe. He remained
four years, with "the confidence and respect of the
trustees and faculty."

The $5,000 debt incurred in building the ladies'
boarding house had grown to $8,000, and the trustees
concluded to appeal for aid to the Legislature, which,
in aiding nearly all the other literary institutions of the
State, had forgotten Wilbraham, which had educated
more of the children of the people than any other one.
Joseph A. Merrill, Amos B. Merrill, Amos Binney and
Phineas Crandall were chosen a committee to apply to
the Legislature for funds, and an enlargement of the
charter. The committee brought the matter before the
Legislature, asking for $25,000. This was at first
utterly refused; but, on second thought, they granted
the Academy a half township of the State's Maine
lands. The charter was enlarged so as to allow thirty

The year was one of increasing prosperity and en-
couragement. The total attendance was two hundred
and fifty-two. From the graduating class Wilbur F.
Loomis, John H. Gaylord, Andrew McKeown, Lorenzo


Rev. N. J. BURTON, D.D.


White, L. S. Slade, E. T. Ailing, Albert H. Brown,
W. F. Humphrey, Charles T. W. Kellogg and Oliver
R. Steele entered the Wesleyan University.

During his last year, Mr. Allyn introduced the ladies'
graduating course, which soon became very popular.
The course covers four years, and includes the leading
branches in science, languages and literature. The
members of the first class, graduating in 1848, were,
Jenette Brewer, Laura L. Button, of West Springfield,
Cordelia M. E. Newhall, of Lynn.

Under the amended charter, five additional trustees
were elected in 1848. They were, Samuel Warner, Lee
Rice, Edward Othemau, Horatio N. Hovey and Syl-
vanus W. Robinson. Lee Rice was born in Wilbra-
ham, October 22, 1802, and died there March 16, 1857.
The trustees make honorable mention of him, as also of
J. L. Lyman, who died the same year. As a resident
member, he was able usually to be present at meetings
of the board, and to give attention to details of busi-
ness. The name of Sylvanus W. Robinson was re-
placed by that of Nath. R. Parkhurst, which appears in
the catalogue, but he declined to serve. Mr. Hovey of
East Cambridge was useful in caring for the Binney
property in that place. At the close of the year the
literary societies came out in brilliant form. An ora-
tion was delivered by N. J. Burton, and a humorous
poem was given by W. S. Studley. The memory of
both was still fresh in the Academy. From the class
of this year William R. Clark, James E. Mclntyre,
George W. Rogers and Francis A. Loomis entered the
Wesleyan University.

The crowning feature in the anniversary of 1848


was the first alumni gathering. The alumni came from
all quarters, and as no building would accommodate
them, the gathering for dinner and speaking was in the
grove north of the Academy. The procession, in the
order of years, from the Academy grounds, started at
ten o'clock. The meeting was called to order by Hon.
Amos B. Merrill, the president of the day, and letters
of congratulation were read by the principal. At the
close of the reading, Annis Merrill, Esq., of San Fran-
cisco, was introduced as the orator of the day. The
address was historic, giving a continuous outline of the
progress of the Academy from the founding. He told
briefly of the planting at Newmarket ; the struggles
and failure in the old seat ; the removal to Wilbraham ;
the growth and prosperity of the new institution ; and
the noble men and women who had been connected
with it. The oration was followed by a humorous poem
by W. S. Studley, which put the congregation in good
humor for dinner. After dinner brief addresses were
made by several individuals who had been connected
with the Academy. "It was a season of thrilling in-
terest, and all seemed to catch the spirit of the occasion,
and wish the sun for that day to delay his going down."
Before closing, they resolved to hold a similar gather-

Online LibraryDavid ShermanHistory of the Wesleyan academy, in Wilbraham, Mass. 1817-1890 → online text (page 17 of 31)