circa 1840's- 8 pages of hand written story of Hill’s Academy in Essex Connecticut: - Calix Books

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circa 1840's- 8 pages of hand written story of Hill’s Academy in Essex Connecticut:

SKU: biblio166 $175.00
8 pages of hand written story of Hill's Academy in Essex Connecticut: Hand written in period hand but by an unknown hand with notation of a fantastical story of maiden's coming down the lane, Native American hostilities against a local older man. Written circa 1840's. Paper water mark is from paper made in that period with E. M. & Co embossed Hand written story of attending the young people's Hill Academy that was built on a hill. Essex, settled in the early 17th century as the Potapaug parish of Saybrook, had grown and prospered enough by 1830 to incorporate into the Borough of Essex and to require secondary school education for its children. Seventeen prominent citizens of Essex purchased 75 shares of stock at $25 per share, thus raising funds for the establishment of a school. They petitioned the State Legislature for incorporation and were granted a charter by the General Assembly in 1833. With a building site on Prospect Street, carved from the land of John Pratt, whose house still stands around the corner on West Avenue (now the Pratt House Museum, and also owned by the Essex Historical Society), the incorporates were ready to build their academy. A letter in the Society's archives, dated September 24, 1831, from Captain Gideon Parker to his son, who was studying in Mobile, Alabama, comments that "We are about building our academy at Essex on Pound Hill [earlier name for Prospect St.] – expect to have it fit for operation April next, perhaps not so soon but $1200 is subscribed and I have no doubt we shall have one." This enthusiasm for the project led many of the prosperous ship builders and captains, successful merchants, lawyers and public servants to support it in their lifetime but also to leave bequests in their wills to provide funds for its continued operation. Joseph Hill, one of the wealthiest men in the Town, bequeathed one-half the profit from a meadow and from a shad fishery to pay the "bills for schooling children belonging to Pettipaug [Potapaug parish] that are unable to pay" and the remainder to be applied to teacher salaries and for wood or other fuel. From its opening in 1832 until 1848, the school was run by trustees and they kept the fees modest: English,$3.25 per semester; for Chemistry, Philosophy and Astronomy, $3.75; for French, $4.25; for Latin, Greek and higher branches of Mathematics, $4.75. There were additional fees for classes in music, painting, and other foreign languages. By 1848, prices had only risen by 25 cents per course. In that same year, when the trustees decided to lease the school to Lucius Lyon, a condition of the lease was that the rates must remain the same throughout the ten-year lease period. A four-story building was built next door to the Academy, on the site of the present Our Lady of Sorrows Catholic Church, to serve as a seminary for boarding students. The school admitted females and in 1846, before the male boarding students arrived, 34 boys and 47 girls were enrolled. There is no indication of an entrance exam requirement and there does not appear to have been any strong religious affiliation in the founding or operation of the school. Peak years for the school were 1848 to 1874. In the mid 1870's, the seminary was sold and converted to a hotel, known initially as the Pettipaug House. The Academy building was leased to the Town of Essex for additional classroom space when needed. In 1903, the owners gave the building and ¼ acre of land to the Town and it was used intermittently as an elementary school until 1930 when the Town leased the building to The Improved Order of Red Men. It became known as Red Men's Hall during that period until its purchase in 1955 by the Essex Historical Society.