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in after life: neither is it the man or woman who climbs up the ladder of fame or
notoriety that is generally the most useful. * * * i have seen many very brilliant,
precocious boys who excited high hopes for their future, and in their manhood I have
looked for them in vain among the talented and useful classes, and siicceeded at last
in finding them in some obscure and uninfluential positions. My experience and obser-
vation have taught me that the steady, industrious and conscientious boy makes the
practical and useful man of the world. And it is such men that the world most needs.

Mr. Emery was succeeded as principal of the Academy for a short time by a
gentleman named Upson. On January 10, 1831, Henry Barnard, a graduate of Yale
College, took charge at $500 per annum, with the addition of $21 for board per
quarter. ISTo student was permitted to enter the academic department unless able
to read in school books in common use. For those excluded, however, an usher was
provided who occupied one of the lower rooms. Mr. Barnard's engagement was
but for three months, at the end of which time the trustees offered him $150 and all
the avails of tuition for one year. He, however, declined the offer and left. He
was a first-class teacher and very much interested in educational matters, and, later


in life, was for a number of years at the head of the National Bureau of Education
at Washington, D. C.

On April 26, 1831, permission was granted by the board of trustees to a Mr.
Earnam to teach a common school in the two lower rooms of the Academy. On
October 24, of the same year, a contract was made with Almon Owen to take charge
of the Academy at $150 per annum and the avails of the tuition. He began teaching
October 31, 1831, and remained one year.

On October 13, 1832, the trustees authorized Henry N. Moore to occupy one of
the lower rooms of the Academy for a common English school.

About this time a change in the number of trustees and the duration of their
respective terms began to be discussed. The annual change, often of nearly the
whole board, was considered a great evil, as well as the shortness of the term of
service. It was finally decided to ask the legislature to reduce the number and
lengthen the term of service to five years; five trustees to be chosen the first year,
to be classified by lot so that their terms, respectively, should expire in one, two,
three, four and five years, and that thereafter only one trustee should be elected
annually to serve five years. The legislature, March 6, 1833, passed a law to that
effect, and in April Samuel W. Morris, E. G. White, Chauncey Alford, Benjamin B.
Smith and John P. Donaldson were elected. On casting lots Donaldson drew one
year; Smith, two; Alford, three; White, four, and Morris, five. Judge Morris was
chosen president; John P. Donaldson, secretary, and Israel Merrick, Jr., though not
a trustee, was continued as treasurer, having been elected in 1832.

In November, 1833, Alexander Wright was employed to teach for one year at
$150 and the avails of tuition.

From November 4, 1833, to April, 1835, there is no record of what was done,
though three blank pages were left in which to enter the record at "a more con-
venient season." To Mr. Donaldson, who was secretary, that more convenient
season never came. It is inferred, however, from after records that Mr. Wetherbee
was elected in April, 1834, to succeed Mr. Donaldson, who was re-elected in April,
1835, to succeed Mr. Smith.

D. McEwen appears to have been appointed principal of the Academy in the
fall of 1834 and to have taught two years, being released in September, 1836, at his
own request, a resolution of the trustees expressing regret at his departure, and
their approval of the "able manner" in which he "acquitted himself," and of "his
gentlemanly deportment as a citizen amongst us for the last two years." He seems
to have been in every respect a gentleman, an excellent scholar and an able teacher.

In April, 1836, Josiah Emery, the former principal, was elected a trustee to
succeed Mr. Alford. In 1837 James Kimball succeeded' E. G. White, in July of
which year Joshua Sweet was appointed principal, with a salary of $150 and the
avails of tuition, and the school was re-opened August 7, 1837. Mr. Sweet was very
popular, and at the end of his first year was re-employed at a salary of $300 in addi-
tion to the tuition bills. When the number of pupils exceeded forty-nine he was
to employ a competent assistant and receive $100 additional. The quarter was re-
duced to eleven weeks and the tuition to one-half the former rates. Mr. Sweet
afterward became an Episcopal clergyman; was a missionary at Fond du Lac, Wis-
consin, in 1852; Fort Eidgely in 1865, and at Glencoe, Minnesota, in 1869.


In 1838 Benjamin B. Smith was elected a trustee to succeed Judge Morris, then
serving in Congress. At a meeting of the trustees August 7, 1839, Messrs. Smith
and Kimball were authorized to employ some person or persons to repair the
Academy; to repaint the outside, and also to purchase a new bell. Mr. Pinkham
was employed as principal. He taught one year.

In 1840 Josiah Emery was elected president; Mr. Donaldson a trustee and
secretary, and Mr. Kimball treasurer.

There is a break in the record from July, 1840, to April 5, 1841, but it appears
that Henry Booth, a graduate of Yale College, succeeded Mr. Pinldiam as president.
The value of his services is attested by the following resolution, adopted by the
trustees April 5, 1841:

Eesolved, That the trustees of the Wellsboro Academy regret that the ill health of
Mr. Henry Booth compels him to leave the institution; that during the time he has been
with us he has by his gentlemanly deportment and ability as a teacher, deservedly se-
cured the esteem of all with whom he has associated.

This resolution was not simply an unmeaning compliment. Mr. Booth was
a man of very superior mind. He afterwards studied law; entered into practice
in Towanda; removed thence to Chicago; served as a circuit judge, and was for
many years dean of the faculty of the Union College of Law, of that city. He
married Ellen Morris, a daughter of Samuel W. Morris, making the third principal
of the Academy to find a wife in Wellsboro, James Lowrey having married another
daughter of Judge Morris and Josiah Emery a daughter of John Beecher.

July 13, 1841, Charles Miner was imanimously elected principal of the Academy
to succeed Mr. Booth, at a salary of $500, and continued principal either fifteen or
eighteen months. It was in the fall or winter of his second year that the Academy
took fire, and had it not been for the most strenuous efforts and plenty of snow, it
would have been entirely consumed. The damages were settled at $175, and paid
by the Tioga County Mutual Insurance Company.

May 4, 1842, the trustees authorized the employment of an assistant teacher
"for the present term," the salary to be $25. During the spring and summer of 1843
the Academy was undergoing repairs and was not occupied. In the fall of that year
Henry B. Eockwell was employed to teach six months at a salary of $350. His term,
which began October 33, was afterward extended to one year.

January 39, 1844, Stephen P. "Wilson was employed as an assistant in the
Academy for one term, "at the price and sum of $53, if employed the whole time;
but if not employed but one half of the time, then the price to be $10 per month."

At a trustees' meeting. May 17, 1844, on motion of Judge Morris, the president
was authorized to employ Miss Margaret Dennis as principal of the female depart-
ment, at $3.50 a week. Mr. Nash, then stationed at Towanda, was invited to take
charge of the Academy at the close of Mr. Sockwell's term, but declined. August
14, 1844, George E. Barker was employed as an assistant to Mr. Eockwell, at $17 per
month. At the close of Mr. Eockwell's year, the trustees adopted the following:

Eesolved, unanimously, Tliat the trustees of the Wellsboro Academy in parting with
Henry B. Rockwell, the principal of the institution for the past year, cannot do it without
tendering to him the expression of their kindest feelings for the singular ability with
which he has managed the school, for the high reputation it has obtained through his
instrumentality, and the universal satisfaction be has given to all with whom he has


been connected. In whatever walks of life lie may hereafter be found, they most cheer-
fully wish him success, and commend him to the confidence of all with whom he may be

Resolved, That the above be entered on the records of the institution, and a copy
duly certified be handed to Mr. Kockwell.

Mr. Eockwell was an excellent teacher and a strict diseiplinaxian. He never
spoiled a child by sparing the rod.

At the election of trustees April 7, 1845, James P. Magill, editor of the Eagle,
and John C. Knox, afterward associate justice of the Supreme Court, and attorney
general of the State were candidates. There were forty-nine votes; but on counting
out the votes they found fifty-one — ^twenty-six for Magill and twenty-five for Knox,
and not knowing any other way of getting out of the difficulty the election board
returned Mr. Magill as elected. The following is taken from the minutes:

May 5, 1845, trustees met; present Morris, Kimball, Emery and Nichols. John C.
Knox and James P. Magill each appeared and presented their claims as trustees of the
Wellsboro Academy.

On motion, the returns of the election of trustees were read, by which it ap-
peared that J. P. Magill had twenty-six votes and John C. Knox twenty-five votes.
Mr. Knox presented a certificate from the judges, dated April 21, 1845, stating
as follows:

We, the under.?iifned, judges and clerk, certify that an election held at the house
of B. S. Sayre, in Wellsboro, Monday, the 7th of April, A. D. 1845, for a trustee of Wells-
boro AcadcTny, there were forty-nine legal votes given; that on counting the ballots it
appeared that James P. Magill had twenty-six and John C. Knox twenty-fivei — in all
fifty-one; and John C. Knox having produced to us satisfactory evidence that a majority
of the whole number of legal votes given were cast for him, as appears by the certificate
hereunto annexed, we therefore certify accordingly.

A. P. Cone, L. Cleaveland,

Clerk. Abel Steait,


Then follows a certificate signed by twenty-five persons, certifying that they
voted for John C. Knox. The report then continues:

On motion. Resolved, That Samuel W. Morris and Josiah Emery be a committee to
investigate and report on the late Academy election.

The meeting adjourned to five o'clock p. m., when the following report waa
received from the committeee, Messrs. Morris and Emery:

The committee to whom was referred the late election of trustee report that they
have investigated the same as fully as the time allowed would permit, and find that the
said election was conducted without any regard to the requirements of the by-laws, and
is therefore void and of no efEect. They, therefore, recommend the adoption of the fol-
lowing resolution:

Resolved, That an election be held at the house of B. S. Sayre, in Wellsboro, on.
Saturday, the 17th instant, between the hours of 1 and 6 p. m., of which the secretary
is required to give general notice.

The election was held at the appointed time. Both the old candidates were
dropped and Joseph "W. Guernsey was elected, receiving all but one vote.

Emerson J. Hamilton succeeded Mr. Eockwell in the fall of 1844, and taught


till the spring of 18-19, nearly five years. Mr. Hamilton and his wife were decidedly
among the most successful teachers the Wellsboro Academy ever had. The school
under their principalship was more popular and flourishing than under any other
teachers. It is true they began under very favorable circumstances. Mr. Eockwell
had brought the school under very rigid discipline by his physical mode of govern-
ment, and had beaten into the pupils a sense of the beauty of good behavior, the
necessity of hard study, and a realization of the value of good recitations as a protec-
tion against the hard knocks of school life. And the pupils were thus eminently
prepared for an entirely new mode of governing a set of boys and girls at school.
It did not take them long to understand the practical difference between physical
government and moral government; to know the difference between fear and
enforced respect, and love with involuntary respect.

Mr. Hamilton's school became at once very popular. The principal and his
wife, who was at the head of the female department, inspired at once respect, confi-
dence and affection, and all over the country are now men and women who look back
to the time they were students under the Hamiltons as among the happiest years
of their lives. Some of the results of Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton's teaching may be
thus referred to as a part of the history of the old Academy.

At a meeting of the trustees, July 31, 1845, an appropriation of $100 was made
for the purchase of philosophical apparatus. Further appropriations were made,
as the final cost of the apparatus was nearly $300, so willing were the trustees to
encourage not only the teachers but the pupils.

On November 18, 1845, the board adopted a resolution that a catalogue of the
students of the Academy for the last year should be published. This was the first
catalogue authorized' since the foundation of the school, and there are men to-day
who would pay three times a reasonable price for a copy, as a souvenir of the pleasant
days spent within the walls of the institution. On the same day a resolution was
adopted requesting the treasurer to prepare and present to the next meeting "a full
and complete statement of all bonds and mortgages in his hands, with the amount
due thereon," also to procure a book "in which individual debtor's accounts and all
further payments" should be kept. This resolution revealed the fact that no finan-
cial account prior to 1840 could be found. The date of the beginning of the
treasurer's term was changed to the beginning of the year, and Benjamin B. Smith
chosen for the ensuing year. The president — Judge Morris — ^was requested to invite
Eev. Mr. Breek, Eev. Mr. Calkins, Eev. Mr. Cochran, William Garretson, Dr. Say-
nisch and Dr. Parkhurst to visit the Academy at the closing exercises of the quarter
and by their presence encourage the pupils.

In April, 1846, William Baehe, Jr., was elected a trustee, his father, who had
served for many years on the board, having died in 1844. In this year an addition
was built to the back of the Academy, the contract being taken by Messrs. Sturroek
& Culver for $380. Under date of August 2, 1847, the record contains the following:

Trustees met; present Bache, Donaldson and Nichols. James Lowrey was ap-
pointed trustee to fill the place of S. W. Morris, deceased. James Lowrey elected presi-
dent, L. I. Nichols secretary, and B. B. Smith treasurer.

Mr. and Mrs. Hamilton appear to have terminated their connection with the
Academy in March, 1849. Their influence on society in Wellsboro and on the


students under their charge, was all-po-werful and far-reaching, and although nearly
half a century has passed since their departure from the school, their names are still
held in grateful remembrance.

H. "VV. Thorp, the next principal, remained but a short time, and was succeeded
in 1850 by Andrew Upson, who taught about a year and a half, his successor being
Samuel C. Hosford, who remained two years. Then followed Mr. Eeynolds, John
B. Cassoday, who taught a few weeks, and John A. Broadhead, whose stay was also

The minute book of the trustees shows the following entry under date of Decem-
ber 13, 1857:

Mr. S. B. Elliott presented a plan for the proposed new Academy, which, the Board
accepted, and on motion of E. G. White, Mr. Elliott was employed to prepare building
plans and specifications for the proposed new Academy at the price of $50 for the whole.

During the years 1857-58 a strong desire was manifested to build a new and a
better Academy building on a new and a better site, and the employment of Mr.
Elliott to prepare plans and specifications had that end in view. The movement,
however, met with strong opposition on the part of a number of citizens. The plans
and specifications were made out and the matter agitated until 1859, when it was
dropped, Mr. Elliott in the meantime having been paid the $50 promised him.

The following appears in the minute book of the trustees under date of January
18, 1859:

At a meeting of the trustees of the Wellsboro Academy at the store of C. & J. L.
Eobinson, it was resolved that the paper marked A, purporting: to be the assignment of
the interest that the respective members of the order of the Sons of Temperance had
in the funds of said society to the trustees of the Wellsboro Academy, be placed on file
as part of the proceedings and action of said board.

On motion, it was further resolved that the vouchei's in the hands of J. E. Donaldson,
assigned by said paper marked A, be placed in the hands of the treasurer of the said
Academy, and that a statement of the names of the persons against whom the claims
are, the amount, etc., be also placed on file.

At a meeting held March 30, 1859, the treasurer, Benjamin B. Smith, was
instructed "to collect the balance of interest now due on bonds and judgments in
favor of the Academy;" also "the balance due on subscriptions for repairing the
Academy." At this meeting, also, Mr. Donaldson handed over the vouchers for the
claims assigned by the Sons of Temperance, and a full statement of the same was
entered on the record. The principal amounted to $513.49. On this various pay-
ments had been made, but not enough to cover the interest. At the time of the
assignment the fund assigned could not have been less than $575; but whatever
the amount was it went finally into the Wellsboro common school fund.

Mr. Broadhead's successor as principal was L. E. Burlingame, who took charge
in the winter or spring of 1858 and remained until the fall of 1859. He was a good
teacher, but, like some of his predecessors, was a strong believer in the use of the

On January 31, 1860, the number of school terms was changed to three of
fourteen weeks each, and M. N". Allen was employed as teacher and continued till
September, 1863, when he resigned.


WELLSBOEO (oontintjed) . 289

In February, 1861, John N. Bache was elected treasurer in place of Mr. Smith,
who had served continuously since January, 1846.

Judson Allen, a brother of M. N. Allen, finished the term, in which his brother
had taught two weeks, September 23, 1863. The nest teacher waa Benjamin Eglin,
a graduate of Yale College, and highly recommended by Mr. Coboum, the state
school superintendent. He commenced November 30, 1863, and taught two terms,
receiving $40 per term and the avails of tuition. He was succeeded by John B.
Grier, A. B., of Danville, who was elected president in 1864. Mr. Grier taught two
terms of fourteen weeksveach, and three weeks on a third term, and resigned May
25, 1865. The secretary was at once authorized to employ a new principal and to
put the Academy in full repair, which was done. The fall term opened September
7, with the following faculty: Eev. D. D. Van Allen, A. B., principal; Miss S. A.
Van Allen, preceptress; Miss Fannie J. Holland, vice-preceptress; Mrs. Mary
Bryden, teacher of drawing and painting; Mrs. Juliet Sherwood and Miss H. W.
Todd, teachers of vocal and instrumental music. Although their names appear on
the catalogue, it is due to Mrs. Bryden, Mrs. Sherwood and Miss Todd to say that
they were only nominally connected with the Academy, permitting their names to be
used as a matter of courtesy, but teaching at their own homes, independent of Mr.
Van Allen.

In May, 1866, the trustees adopted resolutions complimenting Professor Van
Allen and his assistants on their success in conducting the school and expressing
an earnest desire that they remain another year.

In October, 1867, F. D. Hodgson took charge as principal, remaining one year,
when he was succeeded by William A. Stone, now a member of Congress from Alle-
gheny county. He taught two terms. In September, 1869, a contract was made
with Mr. Hunt to teach during the ensuing year. He remained two terms and then
engaged in preaching. This closed the Academy. For forty-five years, with the
exception of a few brief interruptions, it had been maintained as a classical school,
numbering among its principals many men afterwards notable as educators, lawyers,
ministers and pubUc officials. Its influence, always for good, still endures. It did
much, not only for the intellectual life of Wellsboro, but for its moral betterment.
It passed away only when the spirit in favor of a higher education, which it had
fostered and strengthened, took a new direction and devoted itself to the better
upbuilding of the common schools of the borough, which, as at present conducted,
fill the place it occupied for nearly half a century.

On Fovember 21, 1871, Josiah Emery resigned as president of the board of
trustees and John E. Bowen was elected to fill the vacancy.

In his reminiscences of the Academy Mr. Emery informs us that after the adop-
tion of the common school system it soon became apparent that it would be a difficult
matter to sustain an Academy in such a village as Wellsboro without a very large fund
on the interest of which to draw, and a high standard of instruction, especially when
the common schools are so well managed as they are in Wellsboro. Long previous to
1870 the subject of uniting with the common school system and establishing a first-
class High School, under the joint direction of the directors and trustees, had been
suggested; but this project was deemed injudicious as well as impracticable, and it
was finally decided by the trustees that the best thing that could be done was to



transfer, under certain conditions, the whole Academy fund, together with the
Academy building and land, to the Wellsboro school district, to be made the founda-
tion of a High School wholly under the control of the directors. A bill was accord-
ingly drawn and presented to the legislature at the session of 1870, and it passed
finally April 6 of that year.

It authorized the transfer, by assignment or delivery, of "all articles of personal
property, including moneys, bills, notes, mortgages. Judgments, or other evidences
of debt due and belonging to said Wellsboro Academy, to the school district of said
borough of Wellsboro, and to transfer by deed of quit claim or other sufficient
conveyance all real estate belonging to said Wellsboro Academy to the said school
district." It also provided that all the property, money, bonds, etc., should be used
"to defray current expenses of the schools in said district," and that the "real estate
shall not be disposed of, or principal reduced, except for the erection of new or the
enlargement of the present graded or union school buildings."

It was furthermore provided that upon the conveyance of the property it "shall
be the duty of the school directors to provide one or more additional departments
in the school in which the higher English branches, mathematics and the lan-
guages may be taught, and provide a competent teacher therefor." The directors
were also authorized, "at their option," to admit into the school pupils who may
reside outside the limits of the district and charge therefor such rates of tuition as
they may adopt.

The last meeting of the board of trustees was held in the First Ifational Bank,
of Wellsboro, October 23, 1877. There were present J. E. Bowen, president; Wil-
liam Bache, treasurer; H. W. Williams, secretary, and J. L. Robinson. At this
meeting the following preamble and resolution were adopted unanimously:

Whereas, The school district of Wellsboro has complied with the provisions of the
Act of Assembly relating to the organization of a graded school in said borough, by the
erection of a suitable building and the employment of a sufficient number of competent
teachers for the instruction of the pupils, so as to be entitled to a conveyance of the real
estate held and owned by the said Wellsboro Academy, therefore,

Kesolved, That the president and secretary be directed to execute and deliver to the
school district of Wellsboro a deed by which the title of the said Wellsboro Academy to

Online LibraryEmanuel SwedenborgHistory of Tioga County, Pennsylvania → online text (page 37 of 163)