Academy Origins

Early History of Brownington Academy


Samuel Williams, one of the earliest historians of Vermont, comparing the attainments of the New England colonies with those of the old countries, says: “In one article however the New England colonies exceeded the customs and attainments of Europe; in every considerable town they had a grammar school and all the children were taught to read, write and go through the common rules of arithmetic; and nothing was more uncommon or disreputable than to be unacquainted with these arts.” While this may not be an exact expression of the condition of affairs, the general idea of the prevalence of the educational spirit we know to be true.

The idea of establishing a grammar school in this county had been discussed by the more prominent men of the county for several years prior to 1820, and in that year it culminated in the introduction of a bill in the legislature by Mr. Wm. Baxter of this town to establish such a school here. This was referred to the members from this county, among whom were Wm. Rowell of Albany, Ellis Cobb of Barton, Benj. Hinman of Derby, Charles Hardy of Glover, Joshua Sawyer of Hyde Park, Ira H. Allen of Irasburgh, John Harding of Kellyvale, now Lowell, and Peleg Redfield of Coventry.

They reported a new bill which was passed on the 15th day of November, “establishing a new grammar school in the county of Orleans and appointing a committee to designate the place where the same shall be located.” That committee consisted of James Whitelaw of Ryegate, Wm. A Palmer of Danville and Stephen Pitkin of Marshfield. Two of this committee only, came on to the ground and located the school, but their doings were made legal by a supplemental act of the legislature passed in 1821.

Next: Location of the school