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History of Tioga County, Pennsylvania online

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Delmar, $500 in Deerfield and Elkland and $1,000 in old Tioga township.

3. That those persons to whom the money shall be loaned subscribe two per cent,
annually on the sum loaned, and that they pay all expenses attending the security,
recording the mortgage, etc.

3. That the sum of $500 each be loaned to John Eyon, Jr., John Gray, James Ford
and Samuel W. Morris upon the conditions before named, and that the treasurer be
directed to pay over said money when obtained, and that he require good freehold
security to at least double the sum loaned.

A special meeting was held January 19 and 30, 1818, at which it was resolved
"that if James Gray, Sr., gives a mortgage on a certain piece of land, now held by
John Gray, the said John first conveying his right to said James, and a judgment
bond, it shall be sufficient security for $500 loaned to him by the trustees of the
Wellsboro Academy."

James Ford having declined the loan allotted of $500 to him, Uriah Spencer


applied for it, ofEering as security the Joseph Martin warrant. This was declined by
a vote of the board, when, in addition, he offered the John Barron, Jr., warrant, for
which he had a tax title, and it was "Eesolved, That the tracts be accepted as sufficient
security from Uriah Spencer, provided, also, that James Eord becomes bound with
Mr. Spencer in a judgment bond for $500, to be loaned to said Spencer," Mr. Ford,
however, declined to sign the bond.

At the meeting held February 17, 1818, Mr. Spencer again applied to the trustees
for the loan of $500 on the security of the two warrants mentioned above; but Judge
Morris, the president, notified the board that he would not give an order on the
treasurer for the money, as he believed the security offered to be worthless, and the
matter was dropped.

At the election held April 16, 1818, the following members of the old board
were re-elected: Justus Dartt, Nathan Niles, Jr., John Korris, Samuel W. Morris
and Eobert Tubbs. The new trustees were Eoswell Bailey, Daniel Kelsey, Jeremiah
Brown, Caleb Austin, Oliver Willard, David Henry, "William Patton, Bbenezer Jack-
son, Ira Kilburn, Ebenezer Seelye, Arnold Hunter, Allen Butler and Eichard Ellis.
Uriah Spencer was among those not re-elected. The result was considered a vindica-
tion of Judge Morris for the firm stand he took against loaning the money on the
doubtful security; though it would seem that other considerations might have
effected the result, as at the meeting of the new board. May 4, 1818, Daniel Kelsey
was elected president; John Norris, vice-president; Dr. Jeremiah Brown, secretary,
and Nathan Mies, Jr., treasurer.

It may be mentioned as a historical fact that ever after the failure of Mr.
Spencer to secure the loan, he was an implacable and bitter foe of Wellsboro, and more
especially of Judge Morris, and his hatred of the town only terminated with his death.

At the meeting of May 4, 1818, the following preamble and resolutions were

Whereas, James Ford aad Uriah Spencer have failed in giving- requisite security for
the loan of $500, therefore

Eesolved, That the said money is novy open to applicants from the north part of old
Tioga tovynship.

Eesolved, That the sum of $500 be loaned to Ira Kilburn upon his giving unexcep-
tionable landed security to the satisfaction of the president and secretary.

A new building committee, consisting of David Henry, Dr. Jeremiah Brown
and Justus Dartt, was appointed and instructed to report at the next meeting a plan
and estimate of the cost of a suitable Academy building. At the meeing of May 19,
1818, this committee reported as follows:

Your committee, etc., have deliberately taken into consideration the subject referred
to them, and beg leave to report that it is our opinion, provided we erect the building
of wood, forty-eight by twenty-two, making two large rooms below and a hall eignx
feet wide, one large room above and two small ones, all the necessary material and the
work laid out for building the Academy would amount to $1,500.

The report was approved. The idea of erecting a brick building was abandoned,
and the Academy was constructed in accordance with the plan recommended. At a
meeting held June 15, the following resolution was adopted:

That Samuel W. Morris, Justus Dartt and David Henry be appointed a committee
with full power and authority to erect a building agreeably to a plan approved by the


board; that they or a majority of them be authorized to contract for materials for the
Academy, engage workmen to do all necessary work, clear off the lot proposed for the
site, and that they glye certificates or orders on the treasurer in favor of those they may
contract with, which orders, when countersigned by the president and secretary, shall
be paid by the treasurer.

At the same meeting John JSTorris, Samuel W. Morris and Dr. Jeremiah Brown
were appointed a committee "to draft a set of by-laws for the government of the
institution." At an adjourned meeting held September 38, a resolution was adopted,
"that the Academy be erected this (1818) faU."

At the next regular meeting, held December 19, the following resolution was

That the treasurer be authorized to receive from the subscribers to the Academy
three-fourths in county orders and one-fourth in money, provided the same be paid
before the next (February) court.

County orders were then the principal circulation of the county, and were at a
heavy discount, being taken, however, at par for taxes and debts due the county, and
sometimes for commodities, their price being marked up to meet the exigency.

The next annual election was held April 5, 1319, when the following eighteen
trustees were elected: Eddy Howland, Ebenezer Seelye and John Knox, of the
Cowanesque; Justus Dartt, Eoswell Bailey, Oliver "Willard, Nathan Mies, Jr., and
David Henry, of Charleston; Daniel Kelsey, Samuel W. Morris, John ISTorris, William
Patton, David Lindsey, William Bache, Ebenezer Jackson and Dr. Jeremiah Brown,
of Wellsboro; Ira Kilbum, of Lawrenceville, and Eiehard Ellis, of Pine Creek.

Experience had shown that a board of eighteen trustees was altogether too
cumbersome and inconvenient, and the legislature was asked to reduce the number
to nine, which was done by act of March 27, 1819, to take effect after that year's

At a meeting of the board held May 3, 1819, Justus Dartt was elected president;
John Norris, vice-president; Nathan Niles, Jr., treasurer, and David Lindsey, secre-
tary. At an adjourned meeting held on the 15th of the same month the following
was adopted:

Eesolved, That the treasurer be directed to call on the subscribers for their respec-
tive subscriptions, and that suits be commenced against all who shall not have paid on
or before the first day of July next; that the treasurer be instructed to pay over all
money that is in his hands, that has been collected from the subscribers of the Wellsboro
Academy, to Samuel W. Morris, Esq., for the purpose of purchasing nails for said

The cost of nails was then twenty-five cents per pound in Wellsboro, as shown
by bills found among the accounts of the oldAcademy. When subscriptions began
for the $1,000 necessary to be subscribed before the $2,000 could be paid over by the
State, many men became responsible for sums they were hardly able to pay, and many
suits were brought and judgments obtained, which, under the then existing law,
must be paid or the defendant imprisoned, or a resort be had to the insolvent court.

Under the law reducing the number of trustees to nine, at the election held
April 3, 1820, John Norris, William Bache, David Lindsey, Dr. Jeremiah Brown,
William Patton, Nathan Niles, Jr., Oliver Willard, Israel Greenleaf and Samuel W.
Morris were elected trustees; and at the meeting May 1, following, William Bache


was elected president; William Patton, vice-president; Samuel W. Morris, treasurer,
and John Norris, secretary. At this meeting a third committee was appointed to fix
Tip the by-laws; the treasurer was urged to collect forthwith, taking county orders
at par, and the building committee instructed to complete the Academy as soon as
possible, having due regard to the state of the funds.

At a meeting held December 1, 1820, John Norris, William Bache and David
Lindsey were appointed a committee "to engage a suitable person as teacher for one
quarter; to make such a contract as they may deem conducive to the interest of the
institution, and that they have a general superintendence over the conduct of the
teacher and scholars, and axe particularly desired to visit the school at least once in
two weeks."

At this meeting also the stated meetings were reduced to annual meetings to be
held the first Monday in May of each year. The bail of the treasurer was fixed at
$5,000, and it was provided that no person should be entitled to vote at an election
for trustees, unless he had paid the sum of $5 in aid of the funds of the institution.

The first person employed to teach in the Academy was Benjamin B. Smith, who
came into Wellsboro about 1819. At this time only one room in the Academy had
been completed so that it could be used. In some reminiscences of the first teacher,
which have been preserved, it is related that he used to tell many anecdotes about his
teaching in the Academy, for he seemed never to have been engaged in any kind of
business without finding a vast amount of fun in it.

At the election held April 2, 1831, Oliver Wilson, Eoswell Bailey, John Beecher,
William Patton, William Bache, Sr., Samuel W. Morris, John Knox, B. B. Smith
and David Henxy were elected trustees; and at the organization of the board in May,
Mr. Bache was chosen president; Mr. Patton, vice-president; Mr. Morris, treasurer;
Mr. Smith, secretary, and Messrs. Willard, Henry and Beecher, building committee.

The building progressed slowly owing to the difficulty of raising money, and the
trustees had to resort to various expedients to pay for labor and material. On Sep-
tember 3, 1831, the following were adopted:

1. Eesolved, unanimoiisly, That the building' committee be directed to proceed as
expeditiously as possible in completing the Aeadem.y, and that the sum of $300 be placed
at their disposal.

3. That the treasurer be instructed to proceed immediately against all delinquent
subscribers in the collection of all arrearages of subscriptions that, in his discretion,
together with the advice of the president and secretary, shall be collectable.

3. That the president and secretary be authorized and instructed to obtain by loan,
at six per cent, interest, such sum or sums, in treasury orders, as shall be necessary
to make up the residue of the $300 mentioned in the first resolution, after what may
be collected by the treasurer from subscriptions.

In the fall of 1821 a strong effort was made to induce the trustees to start a
common winter school in the finished room of the Academy, but without success. At
a meeting held October 26, called mainly to consider that question, the following was

Resolved, That in the opinion of this board it is not expedient to occupy the room
in the Academy this winter, and therefore the board refuse their assent to the same.

Mr. Patton then offered the following resolution:


Resolved, That the trustees pay a salary to teach English, writing and arithmetic
in the Wellsboro Academy during the term of six months, and that the trustees apply
the money arising from scholars to the fund granted by the legislature.

This resolution was defeated, only three voting in its favor. There was at the
time a very strong feeling against employing any teacher except a college graduate.
It is inferred that the three trustees in favor of the resolution were Messrs. Patton,
Bailey and Henry, none of whom were re-elected the following year, the new mem-
bers for that year being William "Willard, Nathan Niles, Jr., Justus Dartt, Chauncey
Alford and John Noms. Norris was elected president; Mies, vice-president; Wil-
liam Bache, St., treasurer; Benjamin B. Smith, secretary, and ISTorris, Beecher and
Dartt, building committee.

The new board re-adopted the resolution concerning collections and a loan, and
appropriated $300 for use by the building committee.

In 1823 Samuel W. Morris was chosen president; John Beecher, vice president;
Cooley Ifewcomb, secretary; Benjamin B. Smith, treasurer, and Nathan Mies, Jr.,
Amos Coolidge and Benjamin B. Smith, building committee. Ten per cent, of the
premiums on loans was appropriated toward the payment of the debts incurred in
building. The trustees again declined to permit the room in the Academy to be used
for "a common English school."

In 1824 Morris and Smith were re-elected president and treasurer and Elijah
Stiles secretary. On May 23 of that year the following was adopted:

Resolved, That it is the opinion of this board that a school ought to be kept in the
Academy the ensuing season, and that a teacher competent to teach the Latin and
Greek tongues, and otherwise well qualified to teach in the Academy, be employed to
commence the ensuing fall; and that in pursuance thereof the president be authorized
and requested to issue proposals to that effect, and when received to lay them before
the board of trustees.

At the meeting held October 14, 1824, the president presented a letter from
Jeremiah Day, president of Yale College, recommending James Lowrey, a graduate
of said college, as a person qualified for teaching the various branches of academic
education. The following was then adopted:

Resolved, That Samuel W. Morris, Elijah Stiles and Chauncey Alford be a committee
to engage Mr. Lowrey to teach a school in the Academy for the terra of six months,
commencing the first day of November, with instructions to pay a sum that shall not
exceed $225 for said term, exclusive of board, washing, etc., and that if the trustees
are not satisfied with him as instructor, they shall have the right to dismiss him by
giving six weeks' notice; and if he at any time shall be desirous of leaving the school,
he shall be under similar obligations to give the trustees six weeks' notice of his inten-

At a meeting of the trustees, held October 19, the committee reported that they
had engaged Mr. Lowrey in conformity with the instructions. A committee was
appointed to put the Academy in order for the reception of pupils, to furnish fuel and
also procure board and washing for the instructor. The price of tuition per quarter
was also fixed; Greek and Latin, $4.00; English grammar and the higher branches
of mathematics, $3.00, and reading, writing and arithmetic, $2.00.

Mr. Lowrey entered upon the duties of his preceptorship Monday, November 1,
1824, a period of more than seven years having elapsed from the time the institution
was chartered until it was formally opened as a classical academy by a graduate of


Yale. All through these years the trustees had been beset by difficulties and discour-
agements. The people were poor and it was hard for them to meet their obligations.
Tact and patience were necessary, and as a consequence the work progressed slowly.
When Mr. Lowrey took charge only the lower rooms of the building were finished,
so difficult was it to procure money to hire labor and pay for material.

To the honor of the men serving on the several boards of trustees, be it said,
they held the interests of the institution sacred, and jealously guarded the funds
entrusted to them. This is shown by their refusal, December 37, 1834, to exonerate
Mr. Beecher, bail of Cooley Newcomb, constable of Delmar, from his liability for
the amount of several executions in favor of the Academy, put into his hands and
collected, the money arising from which he had neglected to pay over before taldng
his departure from the county.

At the end of the six months which Mr. Lowrey had contracted to teach, he
retired from the Academy and commenced the study of law under Ellis Lewis. He
was an excellent teacher, popular with his pupils, and the patrons of the school
were loath to see him retire.

The successors of Mr. Lowrey as teachers were Eev. Benjamin Shipman and
Charles Fash. They commenced in May, 1835, were paid $300, for a year, out of
the funds and were allowed all the proceeds of tuition.

At a meeting of the trustees held March 4, 1836, Messrs. Shipman and Nash sub-
mitted the following proposals to teach the second year:

That the building be put in proper order for the accommodation of an extensive
school by the first day of June next; the term of a school quarter to consist of eleven
weeks; the sum of $200 to be secured .to them from the funds, to be paid in equal half-
yearly payments; children in the vicinity be requested to attend the Academy at the
expense of the county; all the contingent expenses of said school to be borne by its
proprietors; Mr. Nash to remain in the school for the first half of the year, at the end
of which the other will return if necessary or furnish other suitable assistant; to receive
two scholars whose tuition shall be free, provided their bills do not amount in the
aggregate to more than $400 per quarter.

To the above the following notice was appended:

If the above does not meet with your views, you are hereby notified that we shall
leave you at the close of the present year.

This proposition was rejected, though some thought that it would be better
for the school to accept it. It was impracticable so far as the tuition of pupils in
the vicinity was to be paid by the county. It was objectionable as taking the control
of the school out of the hands of the trustees, and the note appended was out of
taste, as seeming to contain a threat.

At a meeting, however, March 30, the president was authorized to employ Mr.
Nash on nearly the same terms as the last year, Mr. Nash to employ an assistant
if necessary, and the requisitions of the act of incorporation in regard to indigent
pupils to be complied with without further compensation; and in the event that Mr.
Nash would not accept the proposition, the president was directed to advertise in
the Pioneer for a teacher. The proposition, however, was accepted, and the con-
tract was made with Nash and Shipman jointly. A similar contract was made with
Mr. Nash, as principal, in March, 1837, it being stipulated, however, that "if he


wished to leave at the end of the year he should give three months' notice, or be
imder obligations to continue another term."

On March 20, 1828, Mr. Nash and Mr. Shipman having given notice of their
intention to leave the institution at the end of the school year, the trustees adopted
the following:

Eesolved, That the Eev. Benjamin Shipman and Charles Nash have by their talents
and industry rendered our Academy respectable and flourishing; and that the president
be instructed to wait upon the gentlemen aforesaid with a copy of our resolution and
a tender of our thanks.

At the same meeting the president was directed to write to Yale, Union and
Dickinson Colleges in order to procure a teacher.

There appears to have been an organized opposition to Messrs. Nash and Ship-
man, and to Mr. Nash in particular, by some of the young men in Wellsboro and some
of the "Charleston friends," on account of an alleged interference with certain amuse-
ments of the young, but not at all connected with the Academy, for as teachers and
managers of the school no one found fault with them. It was in consequence of this
opposition that they determined to leave, and the foregoing resolution was deemed
but fair to them, as expressing the sentiments of the trustees and patrons of the

In accordance with a resolution of the board of trustees adopted March 30,
1838, Judge Morris wrote to Dr. Nott, president of Union College, Schenectady,
New York, to send them a teacher. Dr. Nott selected Josiah Emery, a graduate of
Union College, who had previously passed through Dartmouth College, New Hamp-
shire, and proposed to him the propriety of accepting the offer. Judge Morris'
letter stated the average number of pupils during the past two years, the prices
of tuition for the different grades, and the amount, $300, out of the permanent
fund in addition to the full avails of tuition, which they were willing to pay. Dr.
Nott and Mr. Emery made a calculation of the probable amount a teacher would
realize, and they figured it out at from $1,800 to $1,500 a year ! They, however,
made their calculation on the basis of New York and New England academies, and
very much overestimated the proportion paying the higher rates of tuition, as subse-
quent experience proved.

Mr. Emery* accepted the situation and started for Pennsylvania as soon as he
could complete his arrangements. He arrived in Wellsboro on Wednesday evening,
April 33, 1838. The next morning he presented a letter from Dr. Nott to Judge
Morris recommending him as a competent and experienced teacher, and the Judge
at once called a meeting of the old and new boards. The following entry is found
among the records of the Academy:

At a meeting of the trustees at the house of James Kimball on Thursday evening,
April 24, called on account of the application of Mr. J. Emery as a teacher, the following
members present of the former and present boards: Samuel W. Morris, John Norris,
Daniel Kelsey, William Bache, Chauncey Alford and B. B. Smith, of the old board, and
of the new board, to wit: those elected on the 7th of April instant, were present, Daniel
Kelsey, C. Alford, Amos Coolidge, B. Gitchell and Francis Wetherbee. The question
arising which of the two boards was the legal one and ought to act in the application

• Mr. Emery, who was a very methodical man, wrote out a minute history of the Academy, and published it
in the Agitator many years ago, from which this sketch has been condensed.


aforesaid, on motion, the following resolution was unanimously adopted by the vote of
all the members present of both boards:

Kesolved, That Daniel Kelsey, Chauncey Alford and Amos Coolidge be authorized
to contract with Josiah Emery to take charge of the Academy for the term of one year
from the first Monday in May next, on the following terms, viz: to pay him $200 in
semi-annual payments out of the Academy fund in addition to the tuition bills; the
quarter to consist of twelve weeks, and in other particulars to be governed by the late
contract with Messrs. Shipman and Nash.

The contract was executed, and on Monday, May 5, the school was opened.
Prom the very commencement of his connection with the Academy Mr. Emery in-
eisted that the upper part of the building should be finished, and some time in June,
at his request, a meeting was called at which all the resident trustees were present;
a committee was appointed to raise funds for that purpose, and the membership to
entitle a person to vote for trustees was reduced from $5.00 to $3.50. The necessary
funds were raised, and the upper rooms were finished; thus, at the end of eleven
years, completing the Academy.

On February 12, 1830, Mr. Emery resigned, having in the meantime married
and entered his name as a law student in the office of James Lowrey.

Mr. Emery ever dwelt with pleasure upon his early days in the old Acadeniy,
and it was his delight to recall the names of his pupils and their success in life. In
his reminiscences of the Academy he thus refers to some of them:

I would like very much to give the names of all my pupils, or at least of those who
■occupied prominent and influential positions afterward; but I find that my memory
is at fault, and I can recall only a very few names. All the older members of Judge
Morris' family, of Mr. Bache's, Mr. Beecher's, Mr. Jackson's, and, indeed, of all the
iamilies living in Wellsboro and vicinity, were members of the school, as well as pupils
Irom all parts of the county. William E. Morris became a practical and able engineer;
Benjamin W. Morris, who, I used to think, was not inclined to study, but who could
write a good composition, is now Episcopal bishop of Oregon and Washington; and a
sister of his wife, who, so far as talent was concerned, was at the head of the family,
used occasionally to deal in light literature and poetry, and is now one of the most
practical women of the country, but might have occupied an important niche in the
literary temple had she devoted her whole life and soul to literary pursuits.

But it is not always the most brilliant student in youth that becomes most useful

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 36 of 163)