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REV. EDWARD L. CHICHESTER
HIRAM B. JONES,
SILHOUETTE IN THE POSSESSION OF
MISS MATTIE WING.
AND HIS SCHOOL
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
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-
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,
Quaker Hill in the Nineteenth Cen-
tury, by, Rev. Warren H. Wilson of Brooklyn,
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.
HIRAM B. JONES AND HIS
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
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
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
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 :
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
We learn that later French was introduced,
taught by a Parisian, one Peter Lux
Following the list of studies is a statement of
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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.
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
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
Which Mary to Anna convey'd;
The plentiful moisture encumber'd the flower,
And weighed down its beautiful head.
The cup was all hU'ci, and the leaves were all
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-
There are two acrostics on the name of
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
"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
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-
town Social Institute, at Katontown, New
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
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
was the head of the N. Ludington Lumber
Jackson W. Bowdish, another student, was
for many years cashier of the National Bank
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
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,
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.
LIBRARY OF CONGRESS
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