William Arba Ellis.

Norwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) online

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If this bill had passed, and Norwich had lost the recognition of
its Military department by the state, there is no question Init
the U. S. Government would have soon withdrawn the detail

View of "N. U.," from the East

of the army officer, as connnandant and professor of Military
Science and Tactics.

In 1895-96, the necessity for an active president was again
agitated. The Boston Alumni Association took the matter in
hand and appointed a committee, consisting of N. L. Sheldon, '84,
and W. A. Shaw, '88, to raise the money for the salary. Through
the work of these gentlemen, the alumni subscribed one thousand
dollars to be paid annually for three years, to help on the salary. •

The Rev. Allan D. Brown, a graduate of the U. S. Naval
Academy, class of 1860, and a retired commander of the U. S.
Navy, then an Episcopal clergyman in Barre, Vt., was elected



president in the fall of 1896, and, on December 8, was inaugurated
with ai)i)i()])riate exorcises at the Methodist church. A large
numbei' of the alumni and friends of the University were present.
On the rostrum was seated President M. H. Buckham of the
University of \'ermont, and President Ezra Brainerd of Middlebury
College. Prof. C. C. lirill, Dean of the University, gave an
address of welcome to President Brown. Vice-president Charles
Dole also gave an address of welcome and presented the keys
and the charter of the University. Col. H. O. Kent represented
the alumni and delivered an eloquent address of welcome.

i'l-esident Buckham delivered an able address on educa-
tional nuitters in Vermont. He congratulated the University

Gouldsville, looking South.

(m her prosperity and IciuhTcd our new president his good will,
as follows: "I bring to the new Pi-esident of Norwicli University,
and to the administration of which lie is the head, the tender
of hearty good will and good wishes from the University of \'er-
mont and the State Agricultural College."

President Brainerd, in his able address of welcome to Piesident
lirown, said: "I can only resi)ond with a heai'ty "Amen," to all
that' has been said regarding the pleasant relations which I trust
will always exist between Vermont's several colleges. What-
ever may be said in favor of on■^ college in our state in place of the
several todaj', it still i-emains that we must have them as they
now are."



President Brown then delivered his inaugural address.

At 8 o'clock P. M., a reception was given President and Mrs.
Brown at the Armory Hall. The Montpelier Orchestra furnished
music for the occasion. The hall was crowded with town's people,
guests from various sections of tlie state, alumni and cadets, to
welcome the new president. The securing of an active president
was hailed by the alumni and friends of the University as a further
steps toward a prosperous future. President Brown at once began
the duties of his office with vigor.

On October 13, 1897, the old North Barracks was burned in
Norwich, thus removing the last vestige of the Institution in that

Governor Paine Block. Co. F V. N. G., leaving for New York in li

The year, 1898, was one of the most eventful of the history
of the University. On February 15, 1898, the U. S. S. Maine
was blown up in the harbor of Havana; and this event stirred
every Norwich cadet with the desire to avenge the outrage.
On April 22, the next day after the United States had declared
war with Spain, President Brown .addressed a circular letter
to the alumni and past cadets in regard to their service in the
army as officers. Fully eighty percent of the men responded,
offering their services if needed.

On May 1st, Admiral Dewey, a gallant son of "N. U."
defeated the Spanish fleet in the harbor of Manila. This event
was heralded as one of the greatest naval conflicts of the world;


and Norwich University, which for some years had been lost
sight of among the greater institutions of the land, suddenly
came to the front. Glowing tributes were paid our little college
by the press of the country for its work in the Civil and other
wars. Several of the cadets were commissioned in the army
and became distinguished in the w^ar and later in the Philippine
insurrections. Meetings were held all over the country in honor
of this glorious battle and the Avork of the University was highly
complimented. An enthusiastic celebration w^as held in Mont-
pelier. Vt., May 9, 1898, in honor of the " Hero of Manila Bay.' '

The corps of cadets was invited as the guest of the city
of Montpelier and entertained at the Pavilion Hotel. In the
afternoon public exercises were held in the Armory. Speeches
were made by Gen. Stephen Thomas, President Allan D. Brown,
and other prominent citizens of the state. A salute was fired
from Seminary Hill l;)y a squad of cadets. A parade was given
through the \'arious streets of the city. In the procession were
the officers of the cities of Montpelier and Barre, Faculty of
"N. U.," various military and secret organizations, the "N. U."
corps of cadets, and the Montpelier High school cadets. A
special train brought the corps back to Northfield. Fully 10,000
visitors were present.

On November 16, 1898, the state still further recognized the
University as a state institution by providing for a Board of
Visitors, whose term of service should begin on the first day of
December, next succeeding their appointment, and continue
until their successors were appointed. Their duties are to visit
the Universit}' at such times as they see fit and audit the expendi-
ture of the money received from the state and make their reports
to the state legislature.

The erection of Dewey Hall was made possible by the
achievement of a son of " N. U.," Commodore George Dewey,
U. S. N., '55, in defeating the Spanish Navy, May 1, 1898, at the
historic battle of Manila Bay. Soon after the battle, various
schemes for erecting suitable memorials to perpetuate the name
of America's great Admiral were ])roposed by the American
people. The idea of a Memorial Hall erected in his honor at
Norwich University, where he first received military training
was suggested, and at once became popular wiih the people
of the state, and throughout the country generally.

In October, 1898, the project took definite shape. Mr.
Williams of Burlington gave $100 to start the subscription paper;


another prominent citizen of the state gave $500. Hon. John L.
Bacon, state treasurer of Vermont, consented to act as custodian
of the fund, and subscriptions were made payable to him. Before
the active work of securing subscriptions was begun, President
Brown cabled Admiral Dewey at Manila in regard to the project,
and in reply received the following letter :

United States Naval Force on Asiatic Station, Flag Ship Olynipia,

Cavite, Philippine Islands, October 3, 1898.
Commander A. D. Brown, IT. S. Naw,

President Norwich University.
My DEAR Sir:

Replying to your letter of August 2, last, I have great pleasure in stating
that in my opinion results have shown the excellent training young men have
received at Norwich University.

That the University is well worthy of the fostering care of the state
goes without saying, and I trust the legislature may see its way clear to vote
some substantial assistance.

Nothing the state could now do for me would give me greater pleasure.

Very truly yours,


Rear Admiral, U. S. Na\y.

Ground was broken for the Hall on May 1, 1899, by Capt.
Charles E. Clarke, U. S. N., a native Vermonter, and a class-
mate of President Brown. A very elaborate celebration was held
at Northfield. Captain Clark and Congressman Haskins, and other
distinguished guests participated in the celebration. A long pro-
cession was formed in Depot Square, consisting of the Foresters,
Veterans of the G. A. R., and military organizations; and headed
by the Northfield Band and the Corps of Cadets, was marched
to the University grounds.

•rt '_^

w S 5:


A large platform was erected just south of Dodge Hall, and
near the spot were Dewey Hall was to be erected. On the plat-
form was seated Captain Clark, President Brown, Congressman
Haskins, many distinguished citizens of \'ermont, trustees and
faculty of " N. U." President Brown gave an eloquent address
of welcome to the distinguished guests and explained the Hall
project. He then called upon Captain Clark, who responded
in an able address, in which he gave a full account of the historic
battle. Congressman Haskins gave an eloquent address on the
achievement of Admiral Dewey. After his address, the ceremony
of turning the first sod, by Captain Clark, took place. A reception
was then given to Captain Clark and the other guests, in Dodge
Hall. Music was furnished by the Northfield Band, and the
'N.U." Glee Club.

In anticipation of the erection of Dewey Hall, the ground
south of the University buildings was graded in July, 1899.
During the process of the work, two granite boulders were found,
about sixteen feet below the surface of the ground, near where
the northwest corner of the building was to stand; one was irregu-
lar in form, and the other^ 2x3x4 feet, was regular in shape, three
of its surfaces being very smooth. These boulders were different
in texture from the granite of this section of the state and were
deposited on the hill in an early geological era. The stone,
regular in shape, was used as the corner stone. j\Ir. Bradford
L. Gilbert, a prominent architect of New York, and a son of
Horatio G. Gilbert, '38, made and donated to the University
plans for an elegant hall.

A firm of solicitors of New York were secured to raise funds
for the Hall, but, meeting with very little success, they were
soon relieved. During 1900 several agents were sent out by the
University to procure money. In 1901, it became evident that
the ornate building planned by Mr. Gilbert could not be erected;
and at a meeting of the board of trustees, June 26, 1901, the
Dewey Hall Collection and Investment committee was instructed
to procure and submit plans for the building. In July, 1901,
A. W. Lane & Sons, of Barre, submitted plans, which were accepted,
and the superintendence of the construction of the building was
given to that company. The work on the foundations of the
building was begun in July.

On October 13, 1899, the corner stone was laid with imposing
ceremonies. It was the greatest celebration ever held in North-
field. The business houses and residences were elaborately



decorated. Over Central .Street, near the depot, a large arch
was erected bearing tiie inscription ''Welcome Dewey:' On
the same street near tiie University grounds was another arch.
On the north side was the inscription "Cadet George Dewey,
1854," and on the side facing the University grounds, "Admiral
George Dewey, 1899." Tn addition to these inscriptions were

the names of several
cadets, who had achiev-
ed distinction in the
army and in civil life.
The University build-
ings were tastefully
decorated. On the front
of Jackman Hall; was
a lai'ge portrait of
Admiral Dewey and a
t al:)let bearing the words,
"Alvia Mater Greets her
Illustrious Son."

A lai-ge platform was
built over the excava-
tion for Dewey Hall
and was occupied by
the Admiral and the "
invited guests during
the ceremonies. The
stone itself was sus-
pended over its resting
place by a large tripod
and a chain hoist. A
part of this resting place
was made by a stone
from the old University
building at Norwich.
• On the front face of this
stone were cut the letters, "A. L. S. & M. A." The corner stone
bore the date" 1899."

Admiral Dewey's train arrived at Northfield at about 3 a. m.
bringing the Admiral, his.^ son, Flag-Lieutenant Brumby and
Dr. W. Seward Webl) and family. At about the same time
Senator Depew's train arrived and was sidetracked near that of
Admiral Dewey. At about 8 o'clock callers began to an-ive

Norwich University




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Per order of the Committee.


at the Adniirar.s car. Among the first visitors were his old '' N. U."
associate Col. Heniy 0. Kent, '54, Senator Depew, Rear-Admiral
Belknap and President Brown and aide. At about 9 o'clock a
train arrived bearing Governor Smitli and staff together with
many other notable visitors.

By this time a crowd l)egan to gather around the Admiral's
car and the cadet guard wliich had been posted proved \'ei'y
useful. The next train to arrive bore the 1st Regiment Vermont
National Guard. At a little before 10 o'clock a special train arrived
from the north Ijearing a large number of visitors, wiiile the
regular train from the south was also well loaded.

At 10 o'clock the 1st Regiment Vermont National Guard
and the corps of cadets formed about Depot square, the three
battalions of the regiment occupying the north, east and south
sides, and the cadets the west side. The Admiral and his party
then appeared and took their places in the carriages which were
in readiness for them. The fiist carriage was occupied b;^
Admiral Dewey, Governor Smith, President Brown and Lieu-
tenant Brumby; the next held Senator Depew, Rear-Admii-al
Belknap, Bishop Hall and Senator Proctor, while the third was
occupied by Senator Ross, Ex-Governor Dillingham, and Dr.
W. Seward Webb.

Tlie carriages, escorted l)y the corps of cadets, passed around
the square which was lined with soldiers all at a *' present."
after which they fell in rear. The parade ])assed up Central
Street to the University and halted near the platform over the
site of Dewey Hall. Here the carriages were dismissed and the
cadets were drawn up in line in fi-ont of the stand, Avhile the
1st Regiment formed in line masses in their rear. President
Brown then led Admiral Dewey on to the platform. The Admiral's
face was radiant and his eyes shone with delight. He was followed
by Governor Smith, Bishop Hall of Burlington, Senator Depew
of New York, Rear-Admiral George E. Belknap, Ex-Governor
W. P. Dillingham of Waterbury and Dr. W, Seward Webb. The
party took seats near the front of the stand and within twenty
feet of the corner stone.

The Admiral and party were in turn followed by Ex-Governor
C. S. Page, Col. Frank L. Greene, chief of the governor's staff,
Gen. J. G. McCullough, Gen. W. H. Gilmore, Col. Farrand S.
Stranahan, Senator Jonathan Ross, Col. C. S. Forbes, Represen-
tatives H. H. Powers and ^^'. W. Grout and many otherjprominent



Noticeable on the stand were the many alumni, including
N. L. Sheldon, '84, president of the Norwich Alumni Association
of Boston; Hon. Henry O. Kent, '54, of Lancaster, N. H.;
Col. Charles H. Long, '55, of Claremont, N. H.; and Dr. S. H.
McCollester, '53.

President Brown made the following introductory address :

"Not quite six months ago, we assembled here under tlie lead of that
gallant Vermonter, Captain Charles E. Clark, of the Oregon, and turned the
first sotl for the erection of Dewey Hall; todav we have come, not onlv to


Admiral Dewey Presented to the People.

welcome to his native soil the greatest living Vermonter, the greatest living
American; not only to welcome to the halls of his Alma Mater the old cadet
who comes crowned with years and honors, but to lay the corner stone of a
building which shall bear his name, and shall be an inspiration to generations
of cadets who are yet to come. And inasmuch as it is very meet, right and
our bounden duty that we should at all times and in all places acknowledge
our dependence upon Almighty God, I ask all upon the stand to rise, and this
whole assembly to uncover, while the chaplain of the day, the Right Rev.
Dr. Hall, invokes the Divine blessing upon our undertaking.' '


Bishop Hall then repeated the 127th Psalm and offered
prayer. Colonel Kent was then introduced, and made an eloquent
address, which was as follows:

" It is an honor, greatly esteemed, to sjjeak in this presence for our
venerable University in welcoming her most famous son-he whom the nations
applaud, who has accomplished grand results for the country and won deserved
honor for his native state, his Alma Mater and Cadet George Dewey of the
olden time-Admiral-in-Chief of the navies of the Union.

"Vermont properly enjoys the distinction of liis ilhistrious career,
but it may not be amiss that on this gala day of hers, our president assigns
to a son of New Hamjishire this gracious privilege of extending welcome.
New Hampshire was closely connected with the earlier history of Norwich
University. It was a gallant gentleman of that state, afterwards President
of the United States, and long a potential member of our board of trustees,
who led the brigade of the chivalrous Ransom in Mexico.

"It was Col. James Miller of New Hampshire who, at Chippewa, made
the historic response to the doubting question of the commanding general,
'Colonel Miller, can you take that battery?' 'I'll try,' a promise that was
redeemed in victory and has since been borne upon our escutcheon and seal.
We have passed the daj^ of experiment. We accomplish! Should the doubter
or the skeptic ask 'Do we?' the response is ready: 'Wedo. ' To you, our
guest, the state has associations that for a generation have been a benediction
and to some of us, your friends, a cluster of gracious memories.

"Many years ago we said farewell to the Old South Barracks; we meet
under conditions marvelously changed, and with physical surroundings
no less unwonted to you.

'No more beside the river on beauteous Norwich Plain,

Near sacred dust, 'mid early scenes,
Might she repose again ;

But on the hills of Northfield, robed in imperial green,
Dowered with the love of honored sons.

She sits, our peerless queen.'

■'The hopes of a century approach fruitio'.i and we rejoice in the
of an honored, useful and prosperous future. We welcome you among us.
In the name of two thousantl gallant gentlemen, living and dead: soldiers
and sailors who have followed the flag in honor by land and sea in every war
of the Republic, and who have illustrated in science, in commerce, the pro-
fessions and arts, the wi.sdom of our study and discipline, the chivalric honor
that has ever been to her the breath of life — I welcome you to Alma Mater,
her traditions, her memories, her glories, and the enduring love of her sons.

"It is not alone we, the diminishing guard of the olden time who remain,
not alone the chivalric youth of today who greet you. It is the greeting of
stern Alden Partridge, founder and builder; of the superb Ransom, dead
beneath his country's flag on foreign soil; the welcome of brave men, your
associates and mine, men gone to their reward who join us in their glad
proclaim: 'Well done, good and faithful servant, welcome home.' Shall we
not add a new stanza to the old song?


'To the Navy and the Union; to its chicfst, best hero,

Who went out from among us and fought his country's foe.

He has won a crown of laurels; he has felt fame's breezes blow,

And has stood amid the battle's blast, for the Old South Barracks, O!'

"There is no chance. Was it not the discipline of Norwich University,
the Christian devotion of President Edward Bourns, the iron will of Professor
Alonzo Jackman, your instructors, as exemplified in tlieir teaching, that bore
ripe fruitage in the grand design evolved at Hong Kong and executed at
Manila? Verily, he who returneth today beareth his sheaves with him.
Surely, in this presence we may indulge the fond belief that these faithful
mentors, with others of the century who have joined the great majority,
unite with those who remain in the resounding acclaim of rejoicing antl proper
pride that ascends from ocean to ocean.

" While we may not call the roll of all our heroes, we may properly remem-
ber, in this connection, the services of Rear- Admiral Boggs; of Paulding and
Carpenter, cactets of the University, in Mediterranean and Asiatic waters, and
the historic deed of gallant Cai)tain Tatnall, once a cailet of the University,
and later Commodore in the Confederate States Navy, who, when he came
to the rescue of British seamen from the murderous fire of the Chinese Forts
on the Pei-ho river, with the memorable words, 'Blood is thicker than water,'
gave utterance to a sentiment that perhaps prompted, many years later,
responsive British sympathy for American seamen in Manila Bay.

"Time jjasses and the crowding thoughts and emotions of the hour,
struggling for utterance must give place. We here lay deep foundations
of a stately structure that shall endure to testify for i)atriotism and sound
education to recvuTing generations. We bestow your name ujjon it and
enrich it with the luster of your achievements.

" When we who are here shall have accomplished the work given us to do,
and when, in aftertime, the story of Manila shall be sung, a glorious epic,
throughout a hapjiy and contented Christian land, Dewey Hall shall stand
testifying to the continued usefulness of our beloved Alma Mater and the
fraternal loyalty of her children. It shall endure, a witness to her love for
the illustrious son who, on the day of trial, remembered the legentl of her
])roud escutcheon and trying, did service to his country, winning fame for her
and for himself. May all good things encompass and go with you; the love
of the sons of Norwich University goes out to meet and accompany you;
and under all are the Everlasting Arms.' '

President Brown then introduced the Hon. Chauncey M.
Depew, U. S. Senator from New York, the orator of the day.
His address in part was as fellows :

"The greetings and applause which accompanied Atlmiral Dewey around
the w'orld, the welcome triumphal processions of his grateful countrymen,
the imposing ceremonies at the National Capital and the Capital of his native
state, have their fitting close at the University where the foundations of his
fame were laid.

"He returns from his victories to his Alma Mater and lays his laurels
upon her shrine. Here precept and example, teaching and tradition, made the
man. The home coming of the alumiuis during commencement days, to the


University, is always an interesting incitlent in his life, but when he comes back
crowned with glory and honor to acknowledge his debt, the old college has
fresh inspiration for her sons.

"Forty-five years ago a young man graduated from here and entered
the Naval Academy at Annapolis. At this institution he had found the
bent of his mind and decided upon his career. The allurements of commerce
and fortune did not tempt him. The pathways of the professions and in-
dustrial preferment which attracted most of the youths of America had no
charms for young Dewey. To win his way in the service of his country
was his ambition. The period of his active life is the most wonderful half
century in the history of the world. It is the era of invention, of discovery,
of the utilization of the forces of nature to the service of mankind. The rapid
evolution and development of the arts and industries have piled up gigantic
fortunes for the able, far sighted and adventurous. The contention and com-
petition for great wealth have absorbed the best talent and the vital energies
of the people. The hot race for money has drawn the strongest from every
walk in life. To get rich has seemed to foreign and domestic observers the
sole teachings of our schools, and its rewards of luxury and power the most
satisfactory attainments.

"After nearly fifty years, George Dewey is again upon the old campus
and treading these venerable halls, possessed of little more of accumulated
wealth than when he left. His gift to his college far surjjasses the value of

Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 21 of 61)