Has forty Scholars, who are instructed in the English Language and Grammar. The Trustees have provided a convenient building, consisting of two rooms on the first, and three on the second floor, but as yet unfinished; and they have contracted with a person to teach the Latin language; and from the increase of Lansingburgh, and the other towns in the vicinity, and the zeal of the Trustees, the committee was induced to pay to them the sum appropriated by the Regents during the last year.
It is only necessary for the Regents to request the attention of the Legislature to the real and personal property vested in the Regents by law, and they respectfully suggest the propriety of enabling the Regents to make such disposition thereof, by sale or otherwise, as that an annual income may result to the University, to be disposed of by the Regents, is their discretion, for promoting literature.
By order of the Regents.
JOHN JAY, Chancellor.
By command of the Chancellor.
DAVID S. JONES, Secretary.
Albany, March 6, 1797.
Albany Chronicle. April 24, 1797: 2.
☞ MR. FURBECK having taken the Tutorship of the Troy High School, his position in our Academy is supplied at present by Mr. Milham, a young man of fair abilities.—In parting with Mr. Furbeck as an instructor, we commend him to the Educational brotherhood—and sisterhood too—of Troy, as a teacher and a gentleman well entitled to their confidence. During his several years’ residence among us as the Principal of our Academy, he has evinced professional qualities of a high order, and well sustained the reputation of an institution over which had presided some of the most accomplished instructors of the State.
Lansingburgh Gazette. March 31, 1864: 2 col 4.
☞ THE ACADEMY.—The old Academy after having ben closed [with regard to school] since the first of July, was reopened yesterday, by Messrs Whipple and Pierce. We understand that it is to be an Academy for boys, and young men prepping for college, whilst no expense will be spare to render the Seminary a first class school. The present arrangements are, we understand, that Prof. Pierce will govern the Academy during the forenoon and Rev. Mr. Whipple during the afternoon. We now expect to see the Academy flourish, for really ’tis difficult to find better teachers.
Lansingburgh Weekly Chronicle January 24, 1865: 3 col 2.
—We are very glad to note that the old academy is to be reopened this fall under the principleship of C. T. A. Smith, A. M., an experienced teacher and college graduate.
“Briefs.” Lansingburgh Gazette. August 10, 1872: 1 col 6.
The Lansingburgh Academy was chartered February 8, 1796. The school building was erected about midway between Hoosick and Lansing streets, west of the alley, and fronting toward the Green. In the year 1804, Rev. Samuel Blatchford, having accepted the pastorate of the United Presbyterian Churches of Lansingburgh and Waterford, was also elected to the position of Principal of the Academy. Under his judicious management, the institution was raised to a high plane of usefulness. The Trustees of the Academy, May 23, 1820, purchased from the Baptist Society, lots 25 and 26, on the north-west corner of John and North streets, where the present commodious school building was erected. The Academy, in its long career of usefulness has been of much local benefit to the place, through the wise management of its different officers. Its present efficient Principal is C. T. R. Smith. Rev. A. M. Beveridge is President, and Horace W. Day, Secretary and Treasurer of the institution.
Weise, A. J. History of Lansingburgh, N. Y. From the Year 1670 to 1877. Troy, NY: William H. Young, 1877. 23.
ON FAIR YOUNG BROWS.
The Centennial Exercises of the Lansingburgh Academy—The Past and the Present.
The graduating exercises of the class of ’96 of the Lansingburgh Academy occurred at Powers opera house last night. The hall was handsomely decorated with flags, festooned on each side of the stage, and large palms. A profusion of potted flowers and plants also beautified the stage, which was like a brilliantly lighted arbor.
On the stage were seated Paul Cook, Alfred W. McMurray, Rev. Charles Townsend, Rev. Dr. C. M. Nickerson, Rev. Charles H. Walker, Samuel N. Ide, James McQuide, Rev. Dr. Samuel McKean, George Colburn and E. K. Betts. The front circle of seats was occupied by the class. Professor C. T. R. Smith and Professor J. R. Craighead [occupied?] chairs at each end of the semi-circle.
The audience, which contained the representative people of the village, was large, and the aisles were filled and overflowing. The light summer costumes of the ladies added materially to the decorations of the hall.
The exercises began promptly and were opened with a prayer by Rev. Dr. McKean.
The first essay, “Nature’s Slighted Beauties,” was the production of Seth W. Smith. He described many scenes, some of which are in the immediate neighborhood, and particularly a sunrise as it may be viewed from Diamond Rock. By an ingenious comparison of local with foreign scenes, the speaker showed that beauty of nature is often slighted when near to the home of the observer.
Charlotte D. Brust treated “The Art of Forgetting” in a humorous strain. She grouped a number of forgotten discoveries, and compared them with the leading topics of the day, particularly the Roentgen ray, which may some time be placed in the scrap-album of forgetfulness.
“Some Yellow Leaves” represented a diary of a hundred years ago, which Miss Marguerite Anna Morrison opened in a manner highly interesting to all. It was supposed to be a tale of life at the academy in 1796. The trip from Albany by boat and stage, the wardrobe—for the most part two frocks—the studies of that early course; the horror of coeducation and the old and ever-repeated story of the truant escapades proved pleasant subjects, and the speaker’s careful delivery and full tones made a favorable impression.
The great debt of the educational system was explained by Harry A. Seaver in “What We Owe to Comenius.” He reviewed the conditions of education for one hundred years and arranged the improvements in a plain and scholarly manner.
“Ages ago a world was born, and no history points out a man who says I can remember,” were the opening lines of Miss Jennie Susan MacMurray’s essay on “Dawn.” With rare descriptive power Miss MacMurray charmed her hearers with an imaginative story of the creation, and applied the figurative term to practical events in life. Miss MacMurray has a pleasing delivery, and her efforts were warmly greeted.
“Twilight,” discussed by Miss Isabel M. Smith, was the last essay of the evening and was replete with pleasant thoughts and sentiment. The thought of the twilight of the school life, through which the graduates had just come, was present in the minds of the class, and many eyes in the audience were shining through tears.
The “Dance of the Goblins” by Doring’s Orchestra brought everybody back to the noonday of the exercises and Rev. Charles Townsend of Orange, N. J., but formerly pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Lansingburgh, was introduced by Principal Smith as requiring no introduction to a Lansingburgh audience.
Mr. Townsend prefaced his remarks in a humorous way by wishing that he was similar to the double headed colored freak, so that he might face the class as well as the audience. He also felt like the Scotchman who said: “Oh, friends! I feel so inspired to speak if I only had but something to say.” Mr. Townsend said:
I must confess that like the Scotchman I also feel upon me the inspiration to speak. It could not be otherwise, as I occupy once more this familiar platform and engage once again in the June exercises of this venerable academy, of which I was once a trustee, and when I recall the part which the Lansingburgh Academy has played it is indeed a temptation to fall into reminiscence. When I was a boy I was troubled with the word Commencement—how could one commence just as he was getting through? But life is a series of commencements and conclusions and an endless chain of causes. Perhaps you will never use the fact, but you have received certain mental strength when you studied, and that strength life will call upon you to see every day that you live.
I shall take as my text a story: A man purchased a first-class ticket on a coach, paying more than the second-class and still more than the third-class passengers. But all entered the coach together, and it was only when a hill was reached that he discovered what the difference in the tickets was. The driver cried: “First-class passengers, keep their seats, second class walk and third class get out and push.”
Life shows no favoritism. We are all third class; we must get down and push. Push is the indication of life and nature, and all success is the resultant of character, doing just what nature is all the time doing—push. But there is an opportune time to push; it must not be too soon nor too late. We have a splendid country to be voting in; opportunities are abundant, successes are quick and applause is genuine. The elements of the country breed optimism and make us look on the right side while we are pushing.
Napoleon said at Marengo, when told that the battle was lost: “It is but 2 o’clock, we have time to win another victory.” It is always 2 o’clock while life lasts, and there is always time to gain another victory. It is not so much the way the wind blows as how we stand under its blast. The personal responsibility of the man outweighs heredity and conditions. Let the careless man look at the record of the learned blacksmith, Elihu Burrit, who at his anvil mastered eighteen languages and thirty-two dialects, and hang his head in shame. Who can say to-day: “I have no chance?” Horace Greeley, George W. Childs, Thurlow Weed, Daniel Manning and hundreds of great men asked only the chance.
And so, if a man does stamp his own value upon himself, stick to the gold standard (applause) and in character don’t stand any nonsense about a sixteen to one basis being good enough. (Applause.) “Getting” and “being” are similar. “Being” is character and “getting” is the trousseau that character loves most to disport itself in. Choice is generally determined by personal preference. When you push, push for something, have reasons for so doing.
The month of June is a great incubator of graduates, but the busy world is not forming itself into ranks to give them a royal reception. The best it will do is to give reception. The best it will do is to give grudgingly. Jacob saw angels going up and down the heavenly ladder, but there was no elevator to help them. It was always so. Where others have succeeded you can succeed. Do one thing at a time, and by one thing a life totality of grandeur may be achieved.
Character is strength running through the right channels. Strength is all the virtues that have to do with the physical, mental and moral. But the survivor of strength is Will, or the Determination of a man’s motive. Will power has daily demands made upon it, but it remains for the man to say whether the demand shall exceed the supply. Will power kept Rufus Choats alive. Darwin pushed by will for forty years. The unwritten motto “Every man for himself” is true. Each man has his own shoving and pushing to do. To care for others is the best way to care for one’s self; there is a reciprocity in it that acts upon one like a tonic. It is one of those graces of life which life values so much that it has turned it from a [?] into a law; and that man does the best work who realizes that law and with joy bends himself to it.
Opportunity comes quickly. Push quickly. Opportunity does not circle like a hawk, but like an arrow shoots straight by. Mount it, not too quickly nor too late, but, if seized at the right time, it will bring us victory.
Success is a goodly thing, but life has its high, higher, highest degrees to confer. And we see life stretching out before each of you; rich in the possibilities of good choices. We give you the high incentives of telling you of the blessedness that grows out of, and is linked with, such choices, rather than unfold before you a list of penalties connected with a multitude of “thou shalt nots.”
The first failure of a young man is said to be the index of his life and the measure of his success power. The glory of the oyster is not in its being beyond attack, but in the fact that it transforms the irritant into a pearl.
Perhaps thirty or forty years from now, when you are set in your ways and touchy whether people think you are over fifty or under that age, you may discover an old scrap book or a faded yellow program of to-night’s exercises. With joy you will call your wife or husband and scan the old program. Professor Smith, Dr. Nickerson, I’m glad we won’t be here then. We will be the half remembered objects then; but they will discover that they graduated in the old historical concert hall. When that time comes, remember that I say to-night ‘you stand this hour on a level with those who will finally succeed.’ You will find millionaires, strong merchants, the mightiest in the church and at the bar, who thirty years ago were at your level.
As it was the smooth sand beach of Lake Erie that first saw the essential principles of Spencerian penmanship, because a poor, barefooted boy, named P. R. Spencer, could at that time afford no better thing to write upon, so to the determined will all things be turned into material for success, providing the soul is burning hot with the determination.
The best thing that you or I can give to life is our life, and as you step out to-morrow to begin the yielding of that great gift remember to make it a gift worthy and acceptable, an honest gift, a pure gift. Intellect is important, but a man wins out on character. May life be worthy of you and you of it.
After the applause which greeted Mr. Townsend’s address had subsided Professor C. T. R. Smith conferred upon the proud graduates, sixteen in number, their coveted diplomas. The orchestra played “The Wizard of the Nile” waltz. After an invitation to those present to attend the centenary address this afternoon at the First Presbyterian church Rev. Charles H. Walker pronounced the benediction, and the hundredth year’s graduating exercises were at an end.
James H. Weaver of Lansingburgh graduated from the Lansingburgh Academy just a half-century ago, and he was present at the exercises last night, being the oldest graduate present.
The members of the graduating class were: Charlotte Derrick Brust, Jennie Mae Cooper, George Walter Cornell, Florence Alida Eddy, Ethna M. Hayner, Frank Arthur Hermans, Ella May Hull, Marlon Margaret James, Jennie Susan MacMurray, Marguerite Anna Morrison, Elizabeth Claire O’Donnell, Ella Amsdell Pickering, Harry Albert Seaver, Charlotte Hortense Smith, Isabel Mae Smith and Seth William Smith.
Rev. William Reed, D. D., of Troy delivered in the chapel of the first Presbyterian church, Lansingburgh, this afternoon the historical address, of which the following is an abstract:
It is not difficult to make history. It is almost impossible to write accurate history in the lack of adequate data. The records of the earlier years of Lansingburgh Academy are very few and meagre, often undated and unsigned. The good people of those days seem not to have realized that they were making history, being mostly engaged in making money, and so they were careless of the records. There was no vision of the Lansingburgh of 100 years of progress, with its vast population filling Zascancalick and Passquassick and reaching well up into Paensicks of the Indians; its clean asphalt avenues and brick paved streets, lined with fine residences; its elegant villas on the hillside, and its beautiful boulevard “around the town” and down the “Oil Mill hill;” its electric lights and electric cars, and above all its people famed for culture, piety and patriotism. The dear old Dutch fathers who always stopped work at 4 o’clock in the afternoon, or earlier, and then retired to the river bank to smoke and meditate, saw none of these days, and so, of course, did not prepare for them. You will pardon me, therefore, if I fill some of the historic blanks after the manner of Herodotus and Mark Twain and other masters of literature.
I am indebted to Charles M. Jenkins of Albany and Hon. Thomas G. Alvord of Syracuse, who, so far as I have discovered, are the oldest living graduates (both born in 1810, academy class of 1824), the Rev. Dr. Villeroy D. Reed of Philadelphia and Mrs. Julia Fillmore of the class of 1830; to Rev. Dr. Samuel R. House of Waterford and Mrs. Joseph Fox of the class of 1833; to A. A. Peebles, Rev. Dr. Alexander Dickson and Mr. Brain Walsh of the class of 1839 for valuable notes and reminiscences.
Sylvester’s History of Rensselaer County states that on December 24, 1796, a petition was presented to the Regents of the University of New York, “signed by Benjamin Tibbits, William Bell and twenty-five others,” stating that they had at great expense and trouble erected a spacious house in Lansingburgh for the express purpose of a seminary of learning and that two lots of land had been granted for the same. (In the minutes of the state regents Wednesday, March 9, 1796, is found
a record of the granting of the application for the incorporation of the academy.)
Of the thirteen academies instituted in this state prior to 1800 only two, Lansingburgh and Canandaigua, remain as academies, the others being extinct or merged in the public or free school system. Canandaigua is soon to be so merged, leaving Lansingburgh the sole surviving academy of the last century. The charter conferred by the Regents in accordance with the foregoing bears date of February 8, 1796, and is signed by John Jay, chancellor, and DeWitt Clinton, secretary. It is a venerable document, written in full on parchment, with a heavy waxen seal attached.
The first trustees named in the charter were Jonas Coe, John D. Dickinson, John Loveil, William Bradley, Nicholas Schuyler, Michael Henry, George Tibbits, Christopher Hutton, Ananias Platt, Elijah Janes, Cornelius Lansing, Charles Selden, Hemlock Woodruff, Jonathan Brown, Philip Smith, Josiah Masten of Schaghticoke and John Thompson of Stillwater.
The original academy building stood on the “village green,” occupied also by the First Presbyterian church of that day.
The first forty years or more of the academy are almost entirely enveloped in impenetrable mist, relieved only by the grand form of Dr. Blatchford, looking up in the twilight of his memorial, and a few brief notes, reminiscences and gleanings gathered from the old surviving students and the files of the old Lansingburgh papers.
The first principal was Chauncey Lee, who began his reign in the autumn of 1797. The next principal who appears on the records was Thomas A. Thompson in 1803.
Rev. Samuel Blatchford, D. D., principal from 1804 to 1807, was by far the ablest and most distinguished principal of the academy. He was born at Plymouth Rock, England, in 1767, came to Bedford, Westchester county, N. Y., in 1795, moved to Greenfield, Conn., in 1796, and declined a call to New Haven in 1797. In january, 1804, he was called to take charge of the Presbyterian churches of Lansingburgh and Waterford, and also to become principal of the Lansingbugh Academy, the salary for all being $1,750. Dr. Blatchford was moderator of the General Assembly in 1823 and received the degree of D. D. from Williams College in 1808. He was a trustee of Union College and very active in the organization of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and was appointed by Stephen Van Rensselaer to open and take charge of the institute as president.
There is an absolute blank from 1808 to 1811.
Neither do we know anything of the next principal, Horace Galpin, 1811. We are just as much in the dark concerning John Bush, 1812-1813, the next principal. Norris Bull reigned from 1814 to 1815. He became a Presbyterian minister, living in the northern part of this state.
The next principal was George A. Simmons, 1816 to 1818, a very able man. Of Hope G. Dana, 1819, we have no record. Rev. Horace Galpin, 1925, appears next. We presume that he is the Horace Galpin of 1811, but it is not known.
Alexander McCall, A. B., was principal from 1825 to 1833. William Hadley and E. B. James were principals in 1834 and 1835, and Erastus Rowley in 1836-7. Rev. Ebenezer Davenport Mather was principal from 1838 to 1846. Clark S. Pease was principal from 1846 to 1848, and Rev. Cyrus Bolster from 1848 to 1851. The salary was $500. J. Hooker Magoffin, A. M., ruled from 1851 to 1854, and was succeeded by Rev. John Smith, who served from 1854 to 1857. The next principal was David G. Mason, from 1857 to 1859, and he was succeeded by Peter R. Furbeck, A. M., who ruled from 1860 to 1864.
Rev. A. B. Whipple and Henry A. Pierce were principals from 1865 to 1867, and Mr. Whipple served along from 1867 to 1869. From 1869 to 1872 the principal was Mrs. Emma Hertzog O’Donnell.
The present principal, Charles T. R. Smith, A. M., who assumed charge in 1872, has been principal by far the longest term, his reign covering almost one-fourth of the century.
In his last annual report to the Legislature Secretary Dewey in mentioning the schools not supported that stand highest as to the number of Regents’ credentials obtained during 1895, gives the Lansingburgh Academy as the second in the state. It is also given as next to the highest in the state as to the number of academic honor certificates won in 1895.
Instead of rivalry and strife between the academy and the public school system, as in most other towns where the two have co-existed, in Lansingburgh there has been for many years the most perfect harmony. The academy, though under a separate board of trustees, is in fact the village High School, maintained with an outlay of nearly $4,000 a year, without expense to the taxpayers, and yet so managed that no boy or girl who has completed the public school course and can afford the time to go on with study shall be deprived of the opportunity for want of means.
I regret that, in the lack of data, I can mention only a few of those who have been successful in life, who were students in the Lansingburgh Academy, some of whom have attained eminence and honorable distinction.
Of ministers of the gospel we have Revs. John and Henry Blatchford, Dirck C. Lansing, who founded Auburn Thoelogical Seminary; George Darling, Dr. Samuel R. House of Waterford, for thirty years missionary to Siam; Dr. Villeroy D. Reed of Philadelphia, Edward D. Allen of the Fourth Presbyterian Church, Albany; Bishop Scarborough of New Jersey, Dr. Hugh S. Dickson of Utica and Dr. Alexander Dickson of Lansingburgh, Dr. Edward Seeley of Schenectady, Dr. Cornelius L. Twing, rector of Calvary Church, Brooklyn, and grand prelate of the Masonic orders of the United States; Dr. E. A. Reed of Holyoke, Mass.; Rev. D. A. Reed, president of the School for Christian Workers, Springfield, Mass.; Rev. Orville Reed, tutor in Robert College, Constantinople, and pastor of Trinity Presbyterian Church, Montclair, N. J.; Dr. William Reed of Troy, N. Y., and Rev. Josiah Still of Masonville, N. Y.
Of physicians: Dr. T. W. Blatchford of Troy, Dr. F. B. Leonard, Dr. Taylor, Dr. Burton and Dr. Bucklin of Lansingburgh, and others whom I do not know.
Of lawyers, legislators and politicians: Charles M. Jenkins of Albany, Hon. Thomas G. Alvord of Syracuse, Judge John K. Porter, famous in the Beecher case and the Guiteau case; Hon. William E. Cramer of Milwaukee, Egbert Eldridge of Poughkeepsie, Lansing Tracey and John T. Lamport, of Troy; William Parmelee, mayor of Albany; Hon. Chauncey L. Filley of St. Louis, Judge Cornelius L. Allen of Salem, Judge Charles C. Parmelee of Lansingburgh, Horatio Gates Spafford of Chicago, Hon. A. C. Comstock and John M. Chambers, of Lansingburgh, and many others. It is said that President Arthur attended school here, but of that I am not sure.
Of authors and editors we have: Herman Melville, author of “Typee,” “Mobie Ditch,” [sic] etc.; Charles Carrter, one of the editors of Appleton’s Cyclopedia; William E. Cramer, one of the most distinguished journalists of the West; Lynde Palmer, whose books are in all well equipped Sunday School libraries; Alexander Dickson, author of “All About Jesus” and “Beauty For Ashes.”
Of teachers we have: Professor William Mead of Wesleyan University, Professor Henry P. Judson, now dean of Chicago University; Miss Ann Chipman of Cottage Seminary, Clinton, N. Y.; Miss M. E. Slater, Miss Sarah Parmelee, Miss Sarah Tracy, Mrs. C. T. R. Smith. James C. Comstock, who did so much for education in Lansingburgh and was for so many years principal of the Market Street, now Comstock, School, and a host of others, whom unfortunately I have not the honor to know.
Of business men we have: Gilbert Taylor of Troy Polytechnic, who built the first bridge over the Mississippi; Charles H. Fisher of Troy Polytechnic, for many years chief engineer of the New York Central and Hudson River Railroad; Captain J. J. Hagen, secretary and treasurer of the Troy City Railroad; Joseph S. Lane, purchasing agent of the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad; Joseph Fox, A. W. McMurray, William Topping of New York, James P. Wallace, one of the originators of the New York Produce Exchange and one of the founders of the New York Life Insurance Company; Thomas Ball of Best & Co., New York; A. E. and Nathaniel B. Powers, David Judson, David A. Judson, James J. Child, of Lansingburgh, and Charles Brennan of Scranton, Penn., coat merchants; William P. Kellogg and Frederick Nichols, of Troy; William T. Seymour of Cohoes, Edward A. Groesbeck of Albany, Alexander Walsh, Edward Leonard, Charles Lansing, Edward Van Schoonhoven, of Lansingburgh, and Leonard H. Groesbeck of Syracuse, bankers; Edward Tracy (the wealthiest man in Rensselaer county), Samuel Bolton and a host of others.
These all laid the foundations of their achievements under the elms in the old Lansingburgh Academy.
Troy Daily Times. June 24, 1896: 3 cols 1-3.
The Lansingburgh academy is an old institution. The petition for its incorporation was signed December 24, 1795, by Benjamin Tibbits, William Bell and twenty-five others, and the charter was granted by the Regents February 20, 1796. The first trustees of the academy were Rev. Jonas Coe, John D. Dickinson, John Lovell, William Bradley, Nicholas Schuyler, Michael Henry, George Tibbits, Christopher Hutton, Annanias Platt, Elijah Janes, Cornelius Lansing, Charles Selden, Henlock Woodruff, Jonathan Brown, Philip Smith, Josiah Masters and John Thompson. The first building was erected on the site fronting the old “green,” which is now the village park. It was of wood, and in it the school was maintained for twenty-five years. A new building was erected in 1820 on the north side of Fourteenth street near Fourth avenue. In that building the school has since been maintained, and under the charter of 1796. The first principal of the academy was Chauncey Lee. After him came Rev. Dr. Samuel Blatchford, Norris Bull, George A. Simmons, afterwards member of congress; Alexander McCall, E. B. Jones, 1835 to 1838; E. B. Foote, 1840; H. White, 1841 to 1842; Ebenezer D. Maltbie, 1842 to 1847; C. G. Pease, 1847 to 1849; Rev. Cyrus Bolster, 1849 to 1851; J. Hooker Magoffin, 1851 to 1854; Rev. John Smith, 1854 to 1856; Daniel J. Mann, 1859 to 1860; Peter R. Furbeck, 1860 to 1865; Rev. A. B. Whipple and Henry A. Pierce, 1870 to 1873; C. T. R. Smith, 1873 to — . Among those who received their early education at this time-honored institution were Chester A. Arthur, afterwards president of the United States; Judge John K. Porter, Thomas G. Alvord, and many others.
Anderson, George B. Landmarks of Rensselaer County, New York. Syracuse, NY: D. Mason & Co, 1897. 392. [It seems doubtful whether Chester A. Arthur studied there; it is possible he taught law there for a short time.]
The last Commencement under the auspices of the Lansingburgh Academy took place last evening in the First Presbyterian Church, the exercises being attended by a large number of citizens and friends of the institution. The one hundred and fifth year of the academy was also brought to a close, and many present last evening who had been identified with the progress and success of the academy witnessed the passing of this old institution of education with pride, mingled with regret.
The hands of the pupils had been busy for several days arranging the decorations, and the interior of the edifice presented an attractive appearance. Ropes of evergreen extended from the four corners of the room to the chandelier in the centre, and palms, flowers and plants adorned the front of the platform, on which were seated the Trustees, Prof. James R. Craighead and the class of graduates. Large flags were artistically displayed.
An overture by the orchestra under the direction of Clarence Phillip opened the exercises, and was followed by prayer, offered by Rev. Charles H. Walker. After another selection by the orchestra Miss Julia Taggart Whittaker read an essay on “Early Days in the Academy.” She treated of the early history of the academy and features of school life within its walls. Clarence Bennett Stewart read an essay in which the life and work of Principal C. T. R. Smith, who died a year ago, were considered. Mr. Stewart referred to Mr. Smith’s ability as a teacher and as a scholar and his efforts, to which the success of the academy was largely due. After another selection by the orchestra Miss Kathryn Hill read an essay on “The Academic Literary Association,” and Charles Avery Eddy considered “Prominent Graduates.” Miss Pearle Gretta Shaubhuth’s essay was on “School Life in the Academy.”
The class was presented by Professor Craighead. He said that each member was entitled to an academic diploma, and Miss Whittaker was entitled to the advanced academic diploma.
Alfred W. McMurray, President of the Board of Trustees, delivered the address to the graduates. He said it was the one hundred and sixth year in the history of the institution. The school has been in existence longer than any academy in northern New York. He spoke of the lease of the building for high school purposes, and said it would probably be known as Lansingburgh Academy High School. It will be under the care and management of School District 1.
Mr. McMurray added that the academy will continue its organization and carry on a course in primary instruction and select school work in a building located on [One Hundred] Thirteenth Street. The Lansingburgh Academy was chartered by the Regents in February, 1796, in response to a petition of Levinus Lansing and others. The charter, written upon parchment and authenticated by a heavy waxen seal dangling from one corner, is signed by John Jay as Chancellor of the University and Dewitt Clinton as Secretary. The first Visiting Committee of the Regents included Lieutenant Governor Stephen Van Rensselaer and Philip Schuyler. Mr. McMurray continued:
At the time when the Lansingburgh Academy was incorporated there were in existence only thirteen academies in the state, the nearest of which was the Washington at Salem, in Washington County, and the Kingston Academy. Of these thirteen academies all have become extinct, or have been merged into the public school system, except Erasmus Hall, at Flatbush, and the Canandaigua Academy, so that the Lansingburgh Academy is now one of the three oldest in the state.
According to the report of Secretary Dewey in 1898 it stood third at that time among the academies not tax supported as to the number of Regents’ credentials gained during the preceding year. In the same year it stood thirty-third among all the Regents’ schools in the state in that respect. Thus it may fairly be said to have held a very high position, with its meagre endowment valued at $20,000, including the lots, the building and all the property, for over a century. We think this an instance of the “survival of the fittest.” Whether we approve of the law or not, it is true that the fittest do survive and that the unfit and misfits do not. The things we regard as the best and highest are eternal, and in this their value consists.
The list of principals is as follows: […]
The original building, erected in 1796, stood on the west side of “The Green,” now the village park, about midway between [One Hundred] Twelfth and Thirteenth Streets. It was of wood, a two-story structure; also 28×42 feet, furnished with a belfry and a bell.
The present building, at Fourth Avenue and [One Hundred] Fourteenth Street, was erected in 1820, a very fine building for its day. It is very convenient and well adapted to its present uses, having been repaired and improved from time to time, and is in excellent condition.
Rev. Dr. Charles M. Nickerson delivered the farewell address, after the orchestra had pleased the audience with another selection. He said the academy had performed its duty faithfully and well. A selection by the orchestra closed the exercises.
“Upper Troy; Last Commencement of the Lansingburgh Academy.” Troy Daily Times. June 26, 1901: 4 cols 3-4.
A Public Meeting—Proposition to Lease the Lansingburgh Academy For Ten Years Adopted […]
The voters of Union Free School District 1 held a special meeting at the office of the Board of Education last evening to vote on a proposition relative to the leasing of the Lansingburgh Academy. Clerk of the Board Shelliday called the meeting to order, and Assemblyman John M. Chambers was chosen Chairman. Eighteen votes were cast, all of which were in favor of the proposition, which provides that after the Trustees of the Lansingburgh Academy refit and add an annex to the building, the Board of Education be empowered to lease it for a term of ten years at a rental of $1,000 payable annually, the building to be used for the academic department of the district.
A special meeting of the Board of Education followed, at which president Betts and Messrs. Lea, Scott, Parks, Holmes, Waterman and Dauchy were present. it was decided to lease the Lansingburgh Academy building, in accordance with the proposition adopted by the voters. Bills amounting to $106 were audited, and the contact for coal for the schools was awarded to James H. Spotten at $5.60 a ton. Milton F. Bolton was appointed to take the annual census in June. The schools will close Friday, June 27, for the summer vacation, and Thursday, June 26, closing exercises will be held by the ninth grades of the Whipple, Powers and Haskell Schools. A meeting of the Building Committee of the Lansingburgh Academy Trustees will be held this evening to open bids for improvements to be made to the building.
Troy Daily Times. May 20, 1902: 4 col 2.
It is understood that as an inducement to the taxpayers of the Union Free School District 1 of Lansingburgh to construct a new high school building the Trustees of the Lansingburgh Academy will deed to the district the school property and building. The Trustees have on hand about $7,000, which, it is said, may also be turned over to the district. The district has leased the academy property for eight years past as a high school at an annual rental of $1,000. The academy has been used as an institution of learning since 1826 [sic].
“Lansingburgh.” Troy Times. March 1, 1910: 6 col 2.
Since 1939, off and on, the Troy Public Library Lansingburgh Branch has been located in the former Academy building.
By HERBERT A. CALKINS.
“O say can’t you see the old bell is still there?”
The carpenter who was hammering away at the belfry on the roof of the old Lansingburgh High School didn’t say it in just those words, but he assured a representative of The Record Newspapers yesterday afternoon, that although he was boarding up the belfry, the bell really was inside. And there, it was afterwards ascertained, it will remain until the Lansingburgh Board of Education eventually finds a suitable place for it.
When the building at the northeast corner of 114th Street and Third Avenue was erected, many years before the Civil War, it was the Lansingburgh Academy and the bell was installed in the belfry at that time [sic]. For years it summoned students of the academy to their classes and then after the discontinuance of the academy and when the structure became the high school, it clanged out similar calls to pupils of that institution.
The belfry was enclosed by wooden slats. A few days ago when two workmen began removing these slats and completely enclosed the belfry with solid boards, the report got around that “they’ve taken the old school bell and sold it for junk.”
Another old time sentimental fellow, who as a boy had attended the school, reported that while the bel hadn’t been taken away yet, it was the intention to remove it from the belfry and sell it.
Somebody else, recalling how he memorized “Old Ironsides,” got ready to compose a paraphrase of Oliver Wendell Holmes’ famous poem written when there was danger of selling the historic U. S. frigate Constitution for junk.
In view of all these reports and accompanied by the sound of carpenters’ hammers on the belfry, a representative of The Record Newspapers climbed through a scuttle hole on the roof of the old schoolhouse yesterday and made inquiries.
Yes, the bell really was inside the boarded-up enclosure, one of the workmen said. His assurance could not visually be verified unless one side of the cupola was torn off. But there was an easier way—so the reporter took it.
He communicated with Raymond B. Sherman, president of the Lansingburgh Board of Education.
When Sherman was asked if the Board of Education intended to sell the old bell, he looked a bit shocked. He looked as if somebody had suggested that Uncle Sam’s body be removed from Oakwood Cemetery to some other county.
“I should say not,” the board president emphatically stated. “When I was a boy I attended the old Lansingburgh High School. I, and many others, have a sentimental interest in that old bell. There never has been the slightest intention of getting rid of it.”
Sherman said that deterioration of portions of the belfry made repairs and a closing-in of its sides necessary.
He said that eventually the board of education would remove the bell to a more suitable location adding that the eventual new location would probably be a school building in Lansingburgh.
“Don’t let anybody tell you or anybody else,” he said, “that we intend to sell the bell for junk. We intend to always keep it as a relic of the old Lansingburgh Academy and of the high school for which institutions so many local residents have most pleasant recollections.”
Times Record. August 21, 1953: 14 cols 7-8.
Sanzone, Danielle. “Historic school bell rededicated in ‘Burgh.” Troy Record. October 21, 2008. http://www.troyrecord.com/article/TR/20081021/NEWS/310219971
A Jones school bell, cast in Troy, was installed in the Lansingburgh Academy in 1865. Renowned bell factories operated at various times by the Hanks, Meneely, and Jones families in both Troy and West Troy (Watervliet.) In 1852 Eber Jones and James Hitchcock established the Troy Bell Foundry in a brick building which still stands in South Troy. In 1857 the business became known as Jones and Company until it closed in 1887. The bell on display here was called a “Factory, Academy, & Depot Bell,” in the next class smaller than the better known church bells. The bell is 22 inches in diameter and weighs 200 pounds; the factory charged $15 to hang a bell of this size in place. It was cast of a bronze alloy consisting of 78% copper and 22% tin in a pair of perforated metal molds which had been developed by the Meneely Company of Troy. “Hildreth’s Patented Rotary Yoke,” used to hold Jones bells, allowed the bell to be struck in multiple places, reducing the risk of breakage. Once in place in the Academy’s cupola it was run from below by means of a rope attached to the wheel.
[Broderick, Warren.] Lansingburgh Academy Interpretive Sign.