Early History of Brownington Academy

Construction

James Seavey, Sam’l Smith, Jr., Sam’l Ward were appointed a committee to procure the stone to underpin the academy, and the posts and boards to make the necessary fence. This business, however, and the leveling of the ground cost the town a deal of trouble. Several meetings were held before it was adjusted. Finally at a meeting held Aug. 19, 1822, it was voted to raise 3 cents on the dollar to defray such expense, one third payable in money and two-thirds in grain.

In 1824 it was voted to erect a woodhouse and two “necessaries” for the academy, the building of which was set up at vendue (sic) and bid off by Jere Huntoon for $60. In 1825 it was voted among other things to “set up a good horse-block and seed down the common by putting on four quarts of herdsgrass seed and four pounds clover.” The “common” at that time was in a very rough state. It was only after many days hard work, plowing, scraping, digging stone, and leveling, that it became what so many hundreds, yea, thousands afterwards knew it to be, an extended and beautiful lawn. In my simplicity I used to regard it as the most symmetrical and elegant playground ever devised by man.

The term “Grammar School” which was used in the act establishing this institution was probably adopted so that it could avail itself of the rents of lands set apart for that purpose. In the grants of land by the government of Vermont for educational purposed the term “Grammar School” is used, and to save any question as to whether an incorporated academy, so called, could draw upon these funds, that term was retained, though the idea did not take a very strong hold of the legislature, for the very act incorporating this institution employs the term “academy” as synonymous with “grammar school.”

The academy building which was commenced in 1822, was so far completed in 1823 that the first term of school was taught in the fall of that year. An accident occurred during the erection that came near proving fatal. Dennis Sabin, one of the workmen, fell from the second story of the frame to the cellar and was taken up for dead. He recovered however, and lived for over fifty years afterwards. He was always referred to as the first man who “went through” the institution.

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