As many of you know, Alexander Twilight left Brownington in 1847 following a disagreement with the board of trustees of the Grammar School. After a few terms without the beloved school master it became apparent to the trustees that if the school were to be able to continue it would need the leadership of Mr. Twilight, and he was asked to return. At a reception in his honor given in the Stone House, Mr. Twilight was able to forget past disagreements and stated, “This is the home of my choice and here with the blessing of God I will devote myself to the interests of education.”
It has been an honor for our staff to work on updating the Vermont Historic Site Marker here at the Old Stone House Museum. That program was begun by the Vermont Legislature back in 1947 and the marker here, commemorating the Old Stone House, was erected in 1948. The new text installed this past Sunday, September 20, 2020 was limited to 765 characters, and we used every single one of them! Here is the text:
A Vermonter by birth, Alexander Twilight attended Middlebury College, graduating in 1823 He was the first African American to earn a degree from a U.S. college or university. Twilight arrived in Brownington in 1829 to head the Orleans County Grammar School and the Congregational Church. Elected as a Representative for the town in 1836, he became the first African American to serve in any state legislature.
Twilight began construction of a four-story granite dormitory in 1834. For years afterward, Athenian Hall housed young men and women attending the school. Area residents referred to it as the Stone Boarding House. Purchased by the Orleans County Historical Society in 1917, it was opened as the Old Stone House Museum in 1925.