Barre Academy, Barre Vermont

By Chas. A. Smith, Of the Board of Trustees

Barre Academy was chartered by the Legislature in 1849. Of the first board of trustees, chosen by the corporators, Hon. Newell Kinsman was president, and Hon. Leonard Keith, secretary. In 1853, the board was increased to 25 members, who have full oversight and administration of the affairs of the school. The present officers of the board are: President, Hon. Hiram Carleton, of Montpelier; Secretary, Chas. A. Smith; Barre Prudential Committee, E.W. Bisbee, Esq., H. O. Worthen, M. D., Hon. R. E. Patterson.

The academy building was erected in 1852. The school opened in that autumn, with J. S. Spaulding, A. M., principal, who came from Bakersfield, Vermont, where, as Prof. Benedict, of Burlington, wrote for the "Free Press" at that time, he had "acquired a high reputation by his superior management of Bakersfield Academy." Mr. Spaulding continued at the head of Barre Academy until his death, which occurred suddenly of heart disease, April 29, 1880, and during all this time he maintained his reputation as one of the ablest and most successful teachers of the State, and by his persistent and self-denying labors made the Academy one which, for excellent discipline and thorough practical training, was unsurpassed by any school in the country. Mr. Spaulding's influence was also felt among all the teachers of the State. He was one of the founders, and for many years the president, of the Vermont State Teachers' Association. He was keenly alive to all the material interests of the community in which he resided, by his instruction of the young men, by his conversations with the fathers, and by the enthusiastic labors and the practical experiments by which he converted the little farm on which he lived and died from a barren hillside pasture to a fertile field, and pleasant grounds, with quiet walks and cooling shades; he did much to awaken among the farmers of town a higher idea of their calling, and to stimulate a taste for scientific farming in its truest sense. He was chosen a delegate to the constitutional convention in 1870; in 1876, elected a representative to the legislature. The degree of L.L. D. was conferred upon him by Middlebury College in 1868. Dr. Spaulding was born in Tewksbury, Massachusetts, and while a child, removed with his parents to Temple, New Hampshire, where he lived until he entered Dartmouth College in 1837, graduating in 1841. He was soon after married to Miss Mary W. Taylor, who in his labors was a most interested and efficient co-worker, and who now survives him. They had no children.

The school has since the death of Dr. Spaulding been under the charge of A. N. Wheelock, A. M., a graduate of the institution, class '73 and of the U. V. M., class '78, and under his able management, promises to maintain its high reputation among the educational institutions of the State. There have been connected with the school as assistant principals since its establishment 24 gentlemen: Rev. Simeon Gilbert, editor of the Advance, Chicago, Illinois; Rev. A. W. Hazen, of Middletown, Connecticut; I. W. Camp, A. M., Chicago, Illinois; Hon. John M. Thatcher, ex-Com missioner of Patents, Chicago, Illinois; Hon. Senaca Hasleton, Judge of Municipal Court, Burlington, Vermont, and others; and about 30 ladies, some of whom have been well known teachers in other schools of the land, have been employed as assistants.

The number of scholars of both sexes who have completed the courses of studies prescribed has been nearly 300, and the honorable record made by some of these, and of the thousands more who have been for a longer or a shorter period connected with the school, afford the surest testimony of the faithful work done by its teachers in the past. Names of a few old students who have become prominent in the localities in which they have settled, and in the calling they have chosen.

Walworth Z. Mitchell, Esq., Superintendent of Schools, Memphis, Tennessee
Hon. John I. Gilbert, Malone, New York
Hon. John M. Thatcher, Chicago, Illinois
Percis A. Thompson, teacher, Goddard Seminary, Barre, Vermont
Rev. Geo. P. Beard, Principal S. N. School, Shippenburgh, Pennsylvania
Miss Emily Cook, teacher, Chicago, Illinois
Hon. Geo. L. Godfrey, Des Moines, Iowa
Hon. Albert Clark, St. Albans, Vermont
Rev. J. J. Lewis, So. Boston, Massachusetts
Hon. M. B. Carpenter, Denver, Colorado
Hon. Senaca Hasleton, Burlington, Vermont.

The Academy has always been under the control of those who are Congregationalists; still there has never been any discrimination with respect to the advantages of the school, and there is nothing in the rules or the discipline of the school which distinguishes between scholars of this and any other religious belief. The curriculum of studies covers a course of 4 years, and is admirably adapted to fit students for any New England college, or for the active pursuit of a business or professional life. The attendance for the school year, ending June 16, 1881, aggregated 175. The graduating class numbered 9-5 gentlemen and 4 ladies.

Barre Vermont | Vermont ~ AHGP

Source: The History of Washington County, Vermont Historical Gazetteer, Collated and published by, Abby Maria Hemenway, Montpelier, Vermont, 1882.


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