The Pioneer History of
 Orleans County, NY

Chapter XII
State of Education

Online Edition by Holice & Deb




School Houses -- Description -- Gaines Academy -- Other Academies and Schools.

Settlers on the Holland Purchase reverenced the institution existing in New England, from which the majority of them came, and endeavored to engraft them upon their social organization in their new homes in the woods. They believed the safety and permanence of the free government of their country was found in the intelligence of the people; and among their first labors, after providing shelter and food for their children, was the building of school houses and furnishing instruction there. Before enough families had located in a neighborhood to erect even a log school house and supply it with scholars, it was not uncommon for a school to be opened in some log cabin, where a family resided.--All the children in the neighborhood came in, or were brought upon the backs of their fathers through the pathless forest, when the weather was bad, and attended these schools. School houses were built, and well patronized, before school districts were organized , and parents did the best they could to give their Orleans County was not behind any part of the country in its zeal for schools. The earlier school houses were made of lots, much after the same pattern as the dwelling places of the people, such structures as would not be considered extremely uncomfortable , inconvenient and ill adapted to the purpose for which they were made

They were badly lighted, badly ventilated, small, cold, cheerless and dismal places. Every internal arrangement was uncomfortable compared with school houses now. But nobody complained.

After a few years this state of things improved. As population increased, and wealth began to accumulate, better accommodations were procured.

The people of the town of Gaines, living along their beautiful natural Ridge Road, believed trade and business for the county must center there; and before the county buildings were located at Albion, they began to devise projects for building up a village there, which should insure to them the full benefit of the location. They had several stores, and mechanic shops. They established a printing press, and published the first newspaper in the county, and proposed to found an Academy. The location of the Court House at Albion was to them a sad disappointment, they did not despair, however, but established their Academy, which was incorporated in the year 1827. This was the first incorporated literary institution in Orleans County. A brick building, three stories high, was erected by the joint efforts of the school district, and the friend of the Academy and for some years it was occupied by both schools. The Academy was well patronized, while it was with a rival, but when Academies were erected in other towns in the neighborhood, Gaines Academy began to languish, and finally ceased to exist as a school. The building was fitted up as a dwelling house, and as such still remains. Academies were established at Albion in 1837, at Millville in 1840, at Yates in 1842, at Medina in 1849, at Holley in 1850. The Phipps Union Academy was established at Albion about 1833, and in-corporated by the Regents of the University in 1840. This Seminary is a boarding and day school for the instruction of girls only. Its course of study includes all the solid and ornamental branches of education usually taught in the best schools for females in this country. It is one of the oldest institutions of the kind in this part of the State, and has sustained a high reputation.

The Pioneer History of Orleans County, NY, By Arad Thomas


Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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