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Full text of "Hiram B. Jones and his school"

F 
129 

0<^(^r QUAKER HILL 

I. (KM. 11I8'1<>KY> 

SERIES 



VILIbiram B.Jones 
anb bis ScbooL 




BY 

REV. EDWARD L. CHICHESTER 




Glass. 
Book 







HIRAM B. JONES, 

SILHOUETTE IN THE POSSESSION OF 
MISS MATTIE WING. 



HIRAM B.JONES 



AND HIS SCHOOL 



BY 



REV. EDWARD L. CHICHESTER 



READ AT THE FOURTH ANNUAL MEETING OF THE 

QUAKER HILL CONFERENCE, SEPTEMBER THE 

SIXTH, NINETEEN HUNDRED AND TWO. 



Published by the Quaker Hill Conference Association 
Quaker Hill, New York 



Publications. 



Of the Quaker Hill Conference Association 



A Critical Study of the Bible, by Rev. 
Newton M. Hall of Springfield, Mass. 

Tiie Relation of tlie Church at Home 
to the Church Abroad, by Rev George 
William Knox, D. D., of New York. 

A Tenable Theory of Biblical In- 
spiration, by Irving Francis Wood of North- 
ampton, Mass 

LOCAL HISTORY SERIES. 

David Irish— A Memoir, by his daughter, 
Mrs. Phoebe T. Wanzer of Quaker Hill, N.Y. 

Quaker HIII in the Eighteenth Cen- 
tury, by Rev. Warren H. Wilson of Brooklyn, 
New York. 

Quaker Hill in the Nineteenth Cen- 
tury, by, Rev. Warren H. Wilson of Brooklyn, 
New York. 

Hiram B. Jones and His School, by 

Rev. Edward L. Chichester of Quaker Hill, N. Y. 

Richard Osborn— A Reminiscence, 

by Margaret B. Monahan of Quaker Hill N. Y. 

Any one of these publications may be had by 
addressing the Secretary, 

Rev. Edward L. Chichester, 

Quaker Hill, N. Y. 

Price 1 O Cents. 1 2 Cents Postpaid. 



Gift 

Publisher 



HIRAM B. JONES AND HIS 
SCHOOL. 



Long before the Public School had found 
itself, and begun to exercise the dominating 
influence it has come to have on the education 
of the youth of America, the Academy, started 
by private enterprise, and reflecting the char- 
acter and disposition of its individual founders, 
occupied a large place in the training of the 
boys and girls of this country. 

These schools were scattered all over the 
land. They were independent one of the 
other. The instructors missed the sugges- 
tion and inspiration that belongs to organi- 
zation, but, on the other hand, they were free 
from outside interference They were permit- 
ted to break and to ride their own hobbies. 

Originahty had full play, and men and wom- 
en of rare gifts and complete devotion to a 
high ideal, impressed themselves and left their 
mark on those who came under their influence, 
to a very great degree. 

Early in the 19th century Quaker Hill was 
the home of such an institution. 

About three miles south of the old meeting 
house, at the crossing known as Wing's Cor- 
ners, the school house stood. 

No vestige of this building remains. 

\Vm. D. Akin's dwelling stands on the cor- 
ner directly east of its site, and a very old 



house, untenanted, stands a few rods to the 
north. From the highway at this point, look- 
ing north, one can still trace the old road, an 
untrodden lane between stone walls. 

It goes over the hill and formerly passed 
the David Irish farm house, and was traversed 
by the Quaker Hill day scholars. 

(This was a bleak enough road in cold 
weather, as a small boy of the period, Mr, VVm. 
Henry Akin, can testify, for he nearly lost his 
life here in the snow drifts of an old fashioned 
winter.) 

Abram Wing, by whose family name the 
Corners are known, occupied the older part of 
what is now the Akin farm house. 

Aunt Ruth Wing, Abram's wife, was a sister 
of David Irish. 

She is still recalled by people on the Hill, as 
she sat on the fronting seats of the old meeting 
house in those early days when the place was 
thronged. Her full motherly face can be 
seen today, among the pictures of these old 
time Friends, in the albums of her descendants. 

Aunt Ruth Wing boarded the scholars of the 
Jones Academy, as the school came to be 
called. 

In time, the Academy was moved from 
Wing's Corners to what is known to the older 
residents of Quaker Hill, as the Robert Osborn 
place, now occupied by James Turner. This 
lies about half a mile east of the Corners and 
6 




IHh SCHOOL HOUSH, 



is reached by following a winding road through 
a thicket of second growth timber. 

The old house, with its two front doors and 
niany rooms, where the students lodged, still 
stands on its original foundation, but the vest- 
ige of a stone wall, across the road, is all that 
is left to mark the site of the school house. 

This has been taken down, moved, and put 
up again (minus its belfry), as a dwelling, and 
Its weather beaten sides loom against the sky 
a quarter of a mile to the south. 

It is hard to realize that in this sparsely set- 
tled region, a country of rocks and huckleber- 
ries and thickets of small timber, there once 
stood a prominent institution of learning, but 
such is the fact. 

These solitary roads were enlivened with 
groups of young people, and a procession of 
seventy or more might have been seen wend- 
ing its way to a Friend's Quarterly Meeting, at 
the Valley Meeting House. 

A printed card, preserved by Mrs. Jane 
Crane, reads as follows : 

"Boarding School 

BY H. B. JONES, 

In which are taught the rudiments of 
Language, Reading, Writing, Arithme- 
tic, Geography, History, English 
Grammar, Rhetoric, Philosophy, As- 
tronomy, Chemistry, Book-Keeping, 
Surveying, Navigation, Algebra and 
Geometry." 

7 



We learn that later French was introduced, 
taught by a Parisian, one Peter Lux 

Following the list of studies is a statement of 
terms. 

These were $i8 per quarter. This sum 
paid for board, washing, stationery, tuition- 
evening school and evening lights. 

Though anyone taking the last five men- 
tioned studies, book-keeping, surveying, navi- 
gation, algebra and geometry, was charged two 
dollars extra. 

The card is dated Nov. ist, 1834. 

Hiram B. Jones, the founder of this school, 
was of Welsh descent. 

Thomas Jones, his grandfather, came to this 
country from Wales and was a doctor and 
preacher. 

This old Welshman died in the winter time, 
in a house that stood on a rocky ledge over 
near John Worden's, and the neighbors carried 
the body on a hand sled across the intervening 
miles of drifts, to the Quaker Hill burying 
ground, 

Thomas Jones left a son, Benjamin, who 
married Phoebe Burroughs, a member of the 
Society of Friends. 

They had a large family of children, and 
Hiram was their second son. He was an orig- 
inal man, living in a region where advantages 
for schooling were poor, he never-the-less 
Secured an education, that, with the gifts of a 
8 



born teacher, enabled him to do a work whose 
impress is felt in this region, to this day. 

He seems to have been self taught to a great 
degree, though it is said that he attended an 
Academy at Red Hook in this county, and 
there distinguished himself in grammar. One 
who attended his school says that he was a 
very homely man. He is described as having 
sunken cheeks and a broad chin. 

A silhouette of his profile may be seen in a 
collection owned by Miss Mattie Wing, which 
gives us the impression of a man with a sharp, 
inquisitive nose, and a well rounded head. 
We are told that he was tall and ungainly in 
figure, and absent minded and absorbed in 
manner. He was indifferent to money mat- 
ters, and is said to have left the financial inter 
est of the school entirely in the hands of a 
younger brother. Hiram was a good disciplin- 
arian, but not given to caning. The pupils, so 
far as can be ascertained, were given a great 
deal of freedom, allowed at times, when the 
weather permitted, to study under the trees, 
and only judged by the results in the class 
room. 

Here was plainly a case where character, 
and not mere precept governed. His influ- 
ence over his pupils was due to a natural force 
and ability, and something about him that 
made them respect and love him. 

9 



He played ball with the boys, and was a 
gentle chivalrous friend to the girls. 

One day when Charles Wing (one of the 
Wing boys), with an equally mischievous com- 
panion, appeared in the school room with their 
clothes dircy and dripping wet, Hiram asked 
how they happened to be in such a plight, but 
seeing two of the girls blush painfully he 
deferred his enquiries till he had them alone, 
and then learned that Charles and his friend 
had attempted to steal a kiss over the wash 
tubs, while the girls were doing their weekly 
laundry in Aunt Ruth's kitchen, and their 
elders were gone to monthly meeting. Some 
decayed pumpkins and a goodly supply of dirty 
water being handy, the boys were repulsed, but 
what impressed the old lady, who was one of 
the girls and recalled this episode of her school 
life, was the great kindness and tact of the 
teacher in examining them in private and not 
forcing them to tell the story before the school. 

There is no doubt that the boys and girls 
of this day were much like other youngsters, 
though some of the older people recall their 
escapades with a deprecatory air, as if they were 
a little ashamed that such things should have 
stuck in their memories, also a little fearful of 
the influence their confessions might have on 
the rising generation. 

It is said that there were mischievous boys 
at Jones' Academy seventy years ago, who 

10 



parodied familiar songs and made the woods 
ring as they took their solemn first day march 
to meeting, and the story is told of certain 
youngsters who covered an immense pipe hole 
in the floor with a bit of carpet and entrapped 
the unwary feet of an unpopular young woman, 
who took care of the rooms. 

In these early days of hand labur and home 
production, the pupils were shod by a traveling 
shoemaker who occupied a room at the school. 
One night this man's bedstead was jerked from 
under him and hauled through the window, a 
horse having been hitched to it from the out- 
side. On another occasion a wagon loaded 
in the evening for a journey to Poughkeepsie, 
by Benjamin Jones, Hiram's youngest brother, 
was found in the morning on the ridge pole of 
the barn. it had been taken apart, put to- 
gether, and reloaded by a committee of stu- 
dents, at this dizzy elevation. 

Such doings give one some idea of the energy 
and resourcefulness of the young men of the 
time — qualities that would shine at Yale or at 
Harvard today. 

Hiram Jones had some broader associations, 
for his name occurs in the records of the 
Free Masons' Lodge at Durham, New York, 
in which he held a high position, and his regalia 
is still in the possession of one of his family, 
nor was he alone on Quaker Hill in his intel- 
lectual tastes and attainments. 
11 



He was one of the prominent members of a 
debating club (christened Phi Beta Kappa by 
Albro Akin), and was associated with Daniel 
D. Akin, Elihu Wing, Jonathan Akin and 
Isaac Merritt. In Daniel Akin he had a most 
congenial friend. It is told of these two 
that meeting one evening on the road near 
where Akin Hall now stands, they got into 
conversation and talked until the sun rose the 
next morning. 

This incident falls in with another. Hiram 
was to be examined in some study and took 
his examination walking and talking out of 
doors, with his examiner, like the true peda- 
gogue that he was. 

As might be supposed, the classes in gram- 
mar were a feature of the school. 

The old English Reader, "designed," as its 
title page says, " to assist the young persons to 
read with propriety and effect, to improve their 
language and sentiments ; and to inculcate 
some of the most important principles of piety 
and virtue," was used in the school as a text 
book. Prose in front, and poetry in the back, 
it furnished fruitful selections for parsing, and 
one can picture a group of anxious pupils 
dissecting such a quaint bit of English as this . 
"The rose had been wash'd, just wash'd in a 
shower. 

Which Mary to Anna convey'd; 
The plentiful moisture encumber'd the flower, 

And weighed down its beautiful head. 
12 



The cup was all hU'ci, and the leaves were all 
wet, 

And it seem'd to a fanciful view, 
To weep for the buds it had left with regret, 

On the flourishing bush where it grew." 

As each word was named and classified in 
set terms with verifying rule, cited and recited, 
the teacher on his chair in the corner would 
nod, not in approval, but in slumber, and 
appear oblivious to everything, but let the 
slightest mistake be made, and he would spring 
up with a shout 

However familiar the teacher might be out 
of doors, he could be terrifying enough to a 
careless pupil in the school room. 

In an old book, with yellow pages and brown 
ink, are a number of acrostics, epitaphs and 
sentiments for albums, in Hiram's hand writing. 

The initials of the first lines of one spell the 
name of Louise Amanda Holmes, another of 
Mary Ann Merritt, another of Samuel Cham- 
berlain Peak. 

There are two acrostics on the name of 
James Flagler. 

These verses, copied into an album of 
Margaret Toffey, about the time that she 
became Mrs. James Craft, are entitled " Hap- 
piness" and give an idea of Hiram's poetic 
gift and the glimpse of a gentle humor. 

" To smooth the rugged path of life. 
All grasp at earthly joys, 



And each to shun its toil and strife 
Some subterfuge employs. 

Some plough the briny deep forlorn 

On fortune's fickle raft. 
Some breathe the sweets of balmy morn, 

And some resort to Craft'' 

Hiram never married. This man seems old 
because his work was done before most of us 
were born, but in the little wind swept burying 
ground that crowns this Hill there is an odd 
squared stone of white marble with this inscrip- 
tion, almost obliterated now, for the letters 
were chiseled on the side that faces the east 
storms : 

"In memory of Hiram B.Jones, who de- 
parted this life October 29, 1834, aged t^Z 
years." * * • * 

Then follow these words : " Fraternal affec- 
tion reared this stone to indicate the spot 
where the dust of a brother reposes. 

He rejoiced in the redeeming influence of 
education and fell under its arduous duties. 
His last words to his pupils — Live to do good. 
— Desired no monument but their affections." 

The Jones Academy was carried on after 
Hiram died by his brother, Cyrenus, and flour- 
ished until the spring of 1842, when it was 
finally closed. 

Later, we find Cyrenus teaching for a couple 
of years at Binghamton, New York, and in 
T844 serving as the first principal of the Eaton- 
14 



town Social Institute, at Katontown, New 
Jersey. 

Many of tiie pupils of Jones' Academy came 
from a distance. Students from New York 
and Albany prized the advantages that the 
school offered. The names make a long list, 
among them is that of George T. Pierce, who 
graduated here, went to Yale College, and 
afterward saw long service in the State Legis- 
lature ; Peter Borland of Poughkeepsie, for 
fourteen years surrogate of Dutchess County ; 
Richard M. Hunt, the architect ; Jessie Peck, 
a teacher (he built an academy at New Fair- 
held); Justus Leesey, became a physician, and 
Burroughs Fanton, whose mother, Nancy Jones, 
was a sister of Hiram, was a preacher. George 
Wilson, another student, was internal revenue 
collector in Bridgeport, Connecticut. 

Among many who became prominent in 
business enterprises were Archibald Dunlop of 
Troy, New York, and George Riggs, connected 
with Hudson River steam navigation. 

Benjamin Jones (Hiram's youngest brother) 
was a member of the New York Produce 
Exchange. 

Nelson Ludington, one of Chicago's early, 
successful, and most conservative business men, 
studied here. He was a director of the Fifth 
National Bank of Chicago, and for nine years 
its president, and afterwards a director of the 
National Bank of America. He founded, and 
15 



was the head of the N. Ludington Lumber 
Company, 

Jackson W. Bowdish, another student, was 
for many years cashier of the National Bank 
of PawHng. 

The local names of this region are well repre- 
sented in the school register. Akin, Toffey, 
Hoag, Merritt, Irish, Wing, Haviland, Adams, 
Steadwell, Briggs, Ludington, Butcher, Field, 
Wakeman and Holmes — with Gerow, Peck, 
Leesey and Hopkins, from over New Fairfield 
way. 

The names of the alumni of Jones Academy, 
now living, so far as they could be obtained, 
are : George W. Adams of Ball's Pond; William 
Henry Akin and his sister, Mary J. Akin, who 
spend their summers on Quaker Hill ; Mrs. L. 
A. Barlow of Sherman, Connecticut ; Mrs. 
Samuel Barnum of Danbury ; Charles Burdick 
of Brookfield, Connecticut. 

Mrs. Jane Crane of this region (formerly 
Jane Pepper), Harvey P. Farrington of New 
York, a trustee and director in several promi- 
nent financial institutions in the city ; Cyrus 
Frost of Croton-on-the-Hudson ; Mrs. Frances 
A.Gould, a daughter of Daniel D. Akin ; James 
C. Haight of Patterson, New York ; Mrs. John 
Hoyt of Ball's Pond (formerly Louisa Amanda 
Holmes); Philip Hoag of South Dover ; Abram 
Wing Irish of Poughkeepsie, for many years in 
the surrogate's office ; Henry Peat of Danbury, 
16 



Connecticut; Richard H. 1. Townsend of 
New York city, for many years in business 
there ; Henry Penny, Milan Steadwell, Mrs. 
George K. Taber (formerly Charlotte Field) 
and Mrs. J. I. Wanzer (formerly Phoebe T. 
Irish), all of Pawling, New York. 

In addition to these alumni are Hiram B. 
Jones, a son of Benjamin Jones, Hiram's 
youngest brother, of New York city, and Hiram 
T. Jones of Elizabeth, New Jersey, the grand- 
son of Thomas Jones, his elder brother, who, 
with their wives, have been invited to the exer- 
cises and collation of Quaker Hill Day, and 
are with us now. 

One has said that "an institution is the 
lengthened shadow of one man," and that "all 
history resolves itself verv easily into the biog- 
raphy of a few stout and earnest persons." 

The spirit and character of this region can 
be understood, only as we go back to the 
founders and study those who lived their lives 
and did their work here in the early days. 
Occupying an honored place among these, is 
Hiram B. Jones. 



17 



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