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

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mit it as a legacy to nations yet unborn.

5th. Agriculture, Manufactures and Commerce: May our
national government still continue to nurse and foster them
until they shall become superior in wealth, power and fal^ric
to those of an}' other nation on the globe.

6th. The Militia of the United States : Always ready to pro-
tect the rights and liberties of their country.

7th. The Army and Navy of the United States: Their
achievements in the last war (War of 1812) afford the strongest
evidence of their valor and patriotism.

8th. The President of the United States, a soldier, patriot
and statesman: When he retires from the helm of government
may his services and virtues be remembered with gratitude.

9th. The Cong;*ess of the United States: The most intelli-
gent and dignified body of legislators in the world.


10th. The clergy: May their examples and precepts be
in conformity to the holy religion they profess.

11th. The Marquis de Lafayette: May every day he may
be with us be a day of gratitude and joy, and every step
down to his grave be strewn with flowers. When the knell shall
toll for the last departing hero of the Revolution, may it then be
but the morning of the glory of our country.

12th. The Colonization society: May a rivulet become a
river, deep and broad, to float to Africa the blessings and from
us the curse.

13th. The fair of our country: Virtue is their brightest
ornament. They, only, can vanquish the brave.

In 1824, Captain Partridge determined to move the " Academy"
from Norwich. The reasons for making a change of location are
not fully known. The "Academy'' was continually growing
and in every way prosperous. He was desirious of locating on
the seashore. No doubt he felt that a location by the ocean
would bring him many naval officers and students desiring
commissions in the navy. There was at this time no government
school for training officers for the navy. There was an urgent
demand for such a school and possibly Captain Partridge intended
to add a naval department to his Academy. He gave during
1820-24, a very complete course in navigation and seamanship and
several officers had already availed themselves of the instruction
offered at the "Academy." He was progressive and ever on the
alert to give instruction that should be of practical use to the
j^oung men of the country.

In 1824, the Episcopal church founded Washington University,
now Trinity, at Hartford, Conn. There was a great strife between
the cities of New Haven, Hartford and Middletown to secure the
location of the college. On May 6, 1824, the trustees of the college
met in New Haven and voted to locate in Hartford. This action
of the Board was a great disappointment to the citizens of
Middletown as it was felt that the college would be located in that

The following editorial from the American Sentinel of
Middletown, under date of May 12, 1824, well shows the feeling
of the people of that city.

"The decision is not such as was expected — it was fondly
anticipated that it would be located here. It is stated to us as
a fact that the subscriptions of Middletown exceeded those of


Hartford by several thousand dollars. The reason for their
decision in favor of Hartford we do not learn. Instead, how-
ever, of repining, which will avail us nothing, let us cheer up.
It is said that Captain Partridge, Principal of the Military
Academy in Norwich Vt.) is desirous of removing near the
seaboard. Let us then, make him a handsome offer with a
part or the whole of our subscriptions as an inducement for him
to remove his Academy and Cadets (of which it is said he has 140.)
By so doing our labor of obtaining subscriptions would not be
lost, and we should moreover derive an immediate advantage.
We could then more willingly permit our good neighbor of
Hartford to fire their 'big guns ' and burn their tar barrels.' '

Negotiations were soon begun by the citizens of Middletown
with Captain Partridge to locate in that city. It is stated that
largely through the influence of Commodore Macdonough of
Middletown, Captain Partridge was finally induced to locate in
that city. There was much rejoicing in Middletown when it
was finally settled that the "Academy" would be located there.

The following editorial printed in the Sentinel of Middle-
town under date of September 8, 1824, well shows the spirit in
which the "Academy' ' was welcomed to that city:

" We congratulate our fellow citizens and the public in general
on the final determination of Capt. Partridge to transfer his
Military Academy from Norwich (Vt.) to this place, during the
next summer. A gentleman in this city, we are informed, has
already contracted to erect the necessary buildings and have them
in readiness for the reception of the School, by the 4th of July
next. It has our best wishes for its prosperity and we have no
doubt, from the very many advantages which this city combines
over every other place in this State, an Institution of the above
description, under the guidance and superintendence of so able
an instructor as Captain Partridge, cannot fail of success."

Early in 1824, Mr. Nehemiah Hubbard deeded to John
Hinsdale, Elijah Hubbard, John Alsop, trustees of the ''Academy"
thirteen acres of land situated as follows: Bounded easterly
on High Street, southerly on lands of Hinsdale, late owned by
Ebenezer Tracy, Israel Bailey, Benjamin Brown, Mary Corby,
Sarah Arnold, and the heirs of Robert Rand; westerly on land
of the heirs of said Robert Rand and on highway, and northerly
on land of Simeon North, being the same land which was con-
veyed in trust by the said and others to the said Hinsdale,

Hubbard and Alsop.


In September, 1824, the construction of the main building
was begun under the superintendence of James L. Lewis of Middle-
town. The corner stone of the main building was laid with
Masonic and Military honors, Wednesday, Oct. 27, 1824. A
long procession was formed in Main Street, consisting of Captain
Oilman's Company of Light Artillery of Middletown and Captain
Clark's Company of Light Artillery of Haddam; a number of
citizens, the members of St. John's Lodge, No. 2, and the Brethren
of neighboring lodges under the direction of Capt. J. Bound,
chief marshal. The procession proceeded up Washington Street,
thence onto High Street as far as the lot at the head of Parsonage
Street, where the " Academy " was to be erected. The Masonic cere-
monies of laying the stone were performed by J. Lawrence Lewis,

The Hon. S. W. Dana delivered an eloquent address well suited
to the occasion, in which he pointed out the great advantages
of Captain Partridge's method of education. The introductory
prayer was made by the Rev. Mr. Crane, and the concluding one
by the Rev. Mr. Noble. At the conclusion the artillery companies
fired a salute on the spot where the buildings were being erected.
The display was imposing and a large concourse of people were

In May, 1825, the ''Academy" was incorporated by the State
of Connecticut as the American Literary, Scientific and Military
Academy with John Hinsdale, Elijah Hubbard and John Alsop as
trustees. The money for the erection of the buildings was raised
by issuing shares of stock valued at $30 each. In August the
buildings were completed. These buildings were constructed of
brown sandstone from the quarries in Portland. The " Barracks' '
was four stories high, 150 feet long and 52 feet wide, with a large
attic and basement. Halls extended the full length of the
building. The "Lyceum" was located 20 feet south of the Bar-
racks, was three stories high, with a basement partly above
the ground. At the front of the building was a tower 14x16 feet
and 73 feet high.

The basement floor was used for an arsenal and laboratory
and the first and second floors for class rooms; the third floor called
the "Hall of the Lyceum" was used as a chapel, drill room,
and for public services. A boarding hall, built in 1825, as
a private enterprise, was located nearly in line with William
Street and some distance back of High Street, facing the
north. It was a brick building, 150 feet long, 50 feet wide,


two stories high with basement. The basement was used as a
kitchen, the first story as a dining hall and the second story
for the officers' quarters. Two guard houses, built of brown
stone, each ten by twelve feet, were located on either side of the
High Street entrance leading to the Barracks. In 1826, Cap-
tain Partridge built with his own funds a gun house about seventy-
five feet west of the Barracks. The building was constructed
of brick, was 55 feet long, 30 feet wide and two stories
high, and faced toward the east. The cannon, four six-pounders,
two twelve-pounders and one eighteen-pounder, were sto ed
here. The original plan of the buildings called for another
building the size of the Barracks to be located south of the
Lyceum making a group of three buildings. This building was
not erected owing to the removal from Middletown.

There seems to be some doubt as to the date the " Academy' '
was closed in Norwich, Vermont. The catalogue of 1827 gives
the date as April 1, 1825, and the Prospectus of 1828 as August,
1825. The later date is, no doubt, the correct one, as we know
the " Academy' ' was opened for the reception of students in
Middletown, Aug-ust 22, 1825. In May, 1826, Captain Partridge
petitioned the Legislature of Connecticut "for the power to
confer degrees, award diplomas, and raise by lottery $40,000
for chemical, astronomical and philosophical apparatus, and
for a library and buildings." The chartering of the "Acad-
emy' ' was opposed by the leading educational institutions of the
state. The colleges were jealous of the growing popularity of
the "Academy." The clergy opposed the charter, as Captain
Partridge gave military training, but the real opposition from
them was due to the lottery question involved. The Middletown
papers of the time stated certain churches tried to have lottery
schemes chartered by the Legislature, which were not allowed,
hence the opposition to Captain Partridge.

We give the editorial printed in The Sentinel of Middle-
town, June 7, 1826 :

" It is to be regretted that the members of the House were so
indifferent to the reputation of the State, so unwilling to add to
the means of education, and so loath to aid an Institution so
valuable and so important as that of Captain Partridge's, as to
refuse to grant the petition for a lottery to raise funds for the
A. L. S. & M. Academy, located in this city — an Institution which
not only bids fair to add, but has already added no Utile to the
reputation of our State, distinguished as she is for her literary


and scientific Institutions. Although justice has been thus
denied to an Institution every way deserving and entitled to it,
yet we cannot but hope, that the time will come, when the House
of Representatives of this State will extend a liberal hand to this
Institution." The Senate granted the lottery without an opposing

In May, 1827, Captain Partridge again petitioned the state
for a charter without the lottery scheme, but was unsuccessful.
Captain Partridge on his removal to Connecticut encountered
great opposition from educational institutions in that state,
and the clergy.

In May, 1828, he withdrew his petition from the legislature
in disgust. We quote from the Memoir of Edwin F. Johnson:

"It is difRcult at this day to imagine such ilhberality. The very records
provoke laughter mingled with regret, when we read the flights of rhetoric
delivered before that august body (the Legislature) and learn that men of
sound sense were actually swayed by them."

Edwin F. Johnson writes:

"The growing popularity of the system pursued by Captain Partridge
aroused their fears and produced a determination, apparently, to bring the
institution at Middletown, and the system itself, to disrepute. Their efforts
had for some time been manifest, and to accomplish the object it had been
called an 'Infidel Institution,' and much was said of the mischief and danger
to the country of cultivating a military spirit, etc. The institution being v
private one, managed and controlled entirely by Captain Partridge, it was
desirable to put it on a more permanent footing. To this end application
was made to the Legislature of Connecticut to give it a corporate character,
with a board of trustees and collegiate powers. Two successive attempts
to obtain those privileges, fully justified by the number of young men and the
course and character of the instructions, failed. The young men of the insti-
tution were styled Janizaries in the halls of Legislature, and could not have
been worse spoken of if they had attempted by fraud or violence to plunder
the treasury of the State. All that could be obtained from the State for the
benefit of the Institution at Middletown was merely a few muskets for the use
of the cadets, which were to be returned when called for, and bonds given

"Under these circumstances, and urged by the inducements held out in
other places. Captain Partridge determined to desist from any further effort
on his part to continue the Institution at this place, and in consequence a
new arrangement was made."

In 1828 a reorganization of the " Academy" was made. Captain
Partridge retired from the active management, but was continued
as the president; Valentine B. Horton, '25, and Edwin F. Johnson,
'25, took the active management; Mr. Horton served as superin-



lendent. A board of trustees consisting of George W. Stanley,
John Alsop, Elijah Hubbard, Nathan Starr, William L. Storrs
and S. D. Hubbard, was appointed by the corporation of the
"Academy" to assist in the management. During 1828-29 the
same difficulties and same narrow-minded opposition was en-
countered and I'rofessors Horton and Johnson retired from
the " Academy' ' and the buildings reverted to the corj)oration.
At this time the Methodist Church was considering the
founding of a college. The Rev. Laban Clark, D. D., a prominent
Methodist clergyman, learning that the " Academy' ' buildings
were vacant, suggested to the New York and New England con-
ferences that the property be secured. At a meeting of the
trustees of the "Academy" held in Middletown, Conn., July 14,


* I i t i . I » ,i » 7 J f » 1 1

The Academy in Middle i.;..;

1829, it was voted to confer with a committee of the Methodist
Church of America for the sale of the buildings for the purpose
of founding a college to be known as the Wesleyan University.
After some negotiations the property was bought by the church
for $5,000 and the old " Academy" buildings became the property
of Wesleyan University. The property was deeded to the trustees
of Wesleyan University December 20, 1833. The Methodist
Church of New England owes much to Captain Partridge, as in all
probability, the Methodist College would not have been located
in New England, except for the remarkably low price of the
buildings of Middletown.

On Monday, June 4, 1827, Captain Partridge opened a pre-
paratory school in Norwich in the "Academy" building. Mr. J.


McKay, a graduate of the class of 1825 and instructor of Mathe-
matics 1825-26, was appointed principal.

We quote from the Prospectus :

"The particular object in view will be to make it a primaiy school where
youths can be admitted at an early age and be correctly and thoroughly
instructed in the elementary branches of learning, and carried forward in
them so far as their ages and other circumstances will permit. The following
branches of study and instruction will be included in the course of education
at this institution, viz: The reading, writing and spelling of the English
language, English Grammar and Composition, the Latin, Greek, French
and Spanish languages. Arithmetic and the higher branches of Mathematics
so far as the ages of the pupils will permit. Elocution, Geography, History,
Bookkeeping, the Elements of Natural Philosophy, including Astronomy,
to be taught by familiar cxplanatorj'- lectures; a complete course of Military
Exercise and practical Military Duty, including the elementary branches of
Military Science, taught also by lectures; the Sword Exercise, Music and
Dancing. The parents and guardians will be allowed to select the branches
to which their sons or wards are to attend. The organization of the Seminary
will be strictly military, and the cadets will be required to go through a regu-
lar course of practical military duty and instruction. The military duties
and exercises will be attended at such times as would otherwise be spent
either in idleness or devoted to frivolous and useless amusements; they will
not encroach in the least on the regular studies, but on the contrary, by filling
up the vacant hours with a regular, manly and healthful exercise, both the
body and mind will be in a state of constant improvement. The strictest
attention Avill be given to the health, manners, morals and personal deport-
ment of the cadets; they will constantly be luider the personal inspection
of the Superintendent and officers of the institution; will in no case be per-
mitted to associate with low and vulgar company, nor to leave the Academic
enclosure without special permission, unless on duty or to go to their meals.
"The cadets will be -required to wear a uniform dress, which will be the
same as that worn by the cadets at the Seminary at Middletown. The cloth-
ing can all be furnished at the institution at established and very reasonable
prices, or the cloth and other materials can be furnished by the parents or
guardian and the work done at the institution where excellent workmen will
be provided and the work executed on moderate terms. The books, station-
ery, bedding and all the necessary articles will be furnished at the institution
on very reasonable terms. It will, however, be optional with those who place
students at the Seminary, to furnish themselves with any, or all the necessary
articles or to have them furnished as above stated. Youths will be received
at as early an age as eight years, and none will be admitted who are more
than fourteen, unless it should be a limited number of young gentlemen
whose manners and moral deportment should be so correct and unexceptionable
as to render (hem fit models for the younger pupils to copy. A few such would
be considered an advantage to the junior classes and to the institution. It
will readily be perceived that this seminary is intended to be one in which
youths may be placed at a very early period of life, before their habits are
formed, where, while their physical powers are fully developed, and consti-
tutions confirmed by a regular and systematic course of manly and useful


exercise, the morals will also be guarded by every possible means, and this,
at an expense not greater (probably less), than is incurred at most of the re-
spectable academies in the country.

"This seminary is designed more particularly for preparing youths for
admission into the institution at Middletown, and it would be highly advan-
tageous for every youth within the prescribed age, who is destined to enter
that institution, to spend one or more years at this. Youths can also be well
prepared for admission into the Military Academy at West Point, and also
for admission as freshmen into any of our colleges or universities.

"Norwich is one of the most beautiful and pleasant villages in New Eng-
land. It is located about half a mile west of the banks of the Connecticut,
and at an elevation of about 170 feet above its surface. It is one mile from
Dartmouth College, eighteen miles above Windsor, and one hundred and
eighteen from Boston. The approach is easy and pleasant by means of ex-
cellent stages, which run three times a week in various directions. It is reached
from Middletown, Boston and Albany in two days, and from New York in three
days. For health, it is second to no village in New England. The assertion
is believed to be fully substantiated by the fact that during the whole time
(four and a half years) that the American Literary, Scientific and Military
Academy was located there, sickness was scarcely known among the mem-
bers. The society is moral and refined.

"Captain Partridge is fully convinced that the seminary will be particu-
larly well adapted to the education of the youth of our large cities and also
those of the southern states, where they can, with perfect safety and without
requiring any particular care or attention from their parents, pass their
earlier years, and be well prepared for the active duties of life, or for admis-
sion into any higher seminary.

"Captain Partridge is particularly desirous that all those youths, within
the prescribed ages, who are destined to become members of the institution
at Middletown, should previously be entered at this seminary, where they
should pass one or more years, after which they would be transferred for the
completion of their education.

"The quarters are brick, spacious, airy and handsomely finished. The
parade ground is a beautiful plat, surrounded by an elegant enclosure, eight
feet high, which separates it entirely from any communications with the village.
" Gentlemen desirous of placing their sons or wards at this institution
are requested to apply to Captain Partridge, by letter, at Middletown, Con-
necticut, where the names of the applicants will be registered. The number
that can be received will necessarily be limited by the accommodations.

"Captain Partridge begs leave to assure the American Public that no
exertions will be wanting to render this seminary in every respect worthy
of their patronage."

The expenses were: tuition in all the regular branches ex-
cepting the French and Span sh languages, Music, Fencing and
Dancing, $20 per j'ear; tuition in the French and Spanish
languages, Music, Fencing and Dancing, $5 per quarter: room
rent, including use of arms, and accoutrements, $8 per j^ear
board, including washing and mending, $1 . 75 per week, or


for a year of 48 weeks. The whole annual expense of a cadet
including tuition, board, room rent, books, clothing, heat and
incidental expenses (not including the charge for the extra studies)
averaged S230 per year.

The cadets were governed by the same rules and regulations
as the cadets in Middletown. This preparatory school was con-
tinued in Norwich until 1829 when the "Academy" was again
opened in Norwich. In 1831 the North Building or commons
was erected. Very little data has been preserved concerning the
"Academy" from 1829-34.

From a report of an educational meeting held in Norwich in
1831, we learn that Truman B. Ransom was professor of Mathe-

We give the full account of the educational meeting held in
Norwich, Vermont, September, 1831 :

Norwich, Vt., September 15, 1831.

Agreeable to the authority vested in us by the Association for the Pro-
motion of Useful Education, you are hereby notified that you are duly elected
a member of the same, the origin and Constitution of which is hereunto

Should you assent to subscribe to this Constitution, you will please
address T. B. Ransom, Norwich, Vermont.

A. PARTRIDGE, President.

T. B. RANSOM, Secretary. "

At a meeting of several gentlemen of literature and science,
immediately after the public exercises on the eleventh anniversary
of the American Literary, Scientific, and Military Academy,
to take into consideration the propriety of executing some meas-
ures for the promotion of useful education, Captain Partridge was
chosen chairman, and E. B. V^^illiston secretary. After addresses
from Captain Partridge and several other gentlemen present, on
motion of Mr. Ransom, it was " Resolved: That a committee of five
be appointed to examine into the propriety of forming an asso-
ciation for the promotion of the object in view, and report the
same to the meeting as soon as practicable: " and Messrs. Williston,
Ransom, Morris, Phelps and Seymour were appointed.

After an adjournment for a few hours, the meeting was again
opened, and the committee made the following report:


" 1st. Resolved: That the object of education is to prepare youth to
discharge, in the best possible manner, the various duties likely to devolve
upon them in after life.

2d. Resolved: That to perpetuate the existing order of things under

Online LibraryWilliam Arba EllisNorwich University, 1819-1911; her history, her graduates, her roll of honor (Volume 1) → online text (page 8 of 61)