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|18th Century History - Cheshire Academy is Founded|
From 1770 – 1780, the Episcopal religion was floundering in the colonies. Believing that the religion would be better received if there were an American bishop, a delegation sent Samuel Seabury
to England. When he returned as the first Episcopal Bishop of America, one of his first duties was to start a school to educate future clergy. Cheshire was chosen as the site and in 1794 the Episcopal Academy of Connecticut opened its doors.
The first headmaster, Rev. John Bowden
, taught classes in a small building in town until the completion of a new school building. Bowden Hall was erected in 1796 as an “all Cheshire project,” since only one third of the donors belonged to the church. The original charter was quite liberal, providing for the education of both genders and the freedom for students to practice the religion of their family’s choice. In 1836, a new constitution designated the school as exclusively for boys, a system that didn’t change until 1969.
|19th Century History - Cheshire Academy Evolves|
The school taught classical studies and entered a period of stability. An interesting fact is that even though the school was officially The Episcopal Academy, by the early 1800s, parents and boys addressed letters to The Cheshire Academy. This was seen in letters of graduate Samuel Welles to his son Gideon Welles
, letter 2
), who would later become Secretary of the Navy under Lincoln.
The wooden baton
used in all school ceremonial occasions is of tremendous historical significance from the Civil War period. The baton has a slim rounded head into which is set a horseshoe made of armor plate from the confederate vessel Merrimac. The handle is wood from the sloop USS Cumberland, one of the union ships taking part in the historic encounter. In 1917, Mrs. T.W. Darling of Virginia presented the baton to professor Eri Davidson Woodbury
, captain of the first Vermont cavalry.
The mid 1800s produced two famous alumni: future industrialist J. Pierpont Morgan
’51 and General Joseph “Fighting Joe” Wheeler
’51, one of the youngest confederate generals of the Civil War.
Since the 1850’s, Cheshire Academy has become known as an international school. By 1857, over twenty Cuban students had enrolled as word of the Academy traveled by means of the agricultural commercial shipping business between New Haven and Cuba.
Around this time, the school enjoyed the solid leadership of headmaster Rev. Sanford Horton
, who initiated new uniforms and built dormitories. Horton led the school for some thirty years and ushered in an era of quality education.
One of the most well loved teachers of this period was Eri Woodbury
, for whom Woodbury Court and Woodbury Hall are named. He served in the Civil War and was present at the surrender at Appomattox in April 1865. He is buried in St. Peter’s Episcopal cemetery with a plaque commemorating him as a Congressional Medal of Honor recipient.
|20th and 21st Century History - Over 200 Years of Educating|
In the early 1900s, alumnus Joseph Harriman modernized the campus, abolished the military aspect of the school and re-named it The Cheshire School. In 1917, the school was purchased by the Roxbury Training Center for the purpose of preparing students to enter Yale.
Headmaster Arthur Sheriff
, one of the school’s greatest assets, came to The Cheshire School from Yale in 1915. He became dean of students in 1920 and headmaster in 1923, a post he held until 1966. In 1937, Sheriff saw the school become Cheshire Academy, retaining its small, challenging classes and strong teachers.
After World War II, Cheshire Academy became one of the few schools to help returning veterans receive their high school diplomas. The present Horton Hall was donated to the school by the government as housing for these men. Many classes had students from sixteen to twenty-three years old mastering calculus and foreign languages together. Headmaster Arthur Sheriff
retired and was succeeded by Dr. Arthur Griffin, John Vance, James Crosby, Dr. Ernest Beaulac, and John Hyslop.
Cheshire Academy celebrated its bicentennial in 1994 with a large alumni celebration. Roberto C. Goizueta ’49, CEO of Coca Cola was guest speaker.
In 1999, Dr. Gerald Larson was named headmaster. Under his leadership, a new dormitory (Motter Hall) and headmaster’s residence (The O’Connor House) were constructed, the Richmond Health Center was renovated, the John J. White ’38 Science and Technology Center was opened, and a new Library and Humanities Building was completed. In addition, there was a recommitment to the student-centered education which has been the core of a Cheshire Academy education for over two centuries. Ralph D. Van Inwagen headed the school from 2004 to 2007. During that time, a new residential complex (Markin Hall), several new faculty homes, and the Alumni Baseball Field were added to the campus.
|List of Headmasters|
- The Rev. John Bowden - 1796
- The Rev. William Smith - 1802
- The Rev. Tillotson Bronson - 1806
- The Rev. John A. Curtiss - 1826
- The Rev. Henry Mason - 1828
- The Rev. William R. Whittingham - 1828
- The Rev. Christian Frederick Cruse - 1831
- The Rev. Bethel Judd - 1832
- The Rev. Allen Clay Morgan - 1836
- The Rev. Eben Edwards Beardsley - 1838
- The Rev. Seth Birdsley Paddock - 1844
- The Rev. Hilliard Bryant - 1851
- The Rev. Edward Ballard - 1851
- The Rev. John Henry Babcock - 1857
- The Rev. Sanford Jackson Horton -1862
- The Rev. James Stoddard - 1892
- The Rev. Eri Davidson Woodbury - 1896
- Mr. Roland Jessup Mulford - 1903
- The Rev. Eri Davidson Woodbury (second term) - 1907
- The Rev. John Davis Skilton - 1907
- Mr. Albert Curdy becomes headmaster - 1917
- Mr. Arthur N. Sheriff - 1923
- Dr. Arthur M. Griffin - 1966
- Mr. John Vance - 1970
- Mr. James Edgerton Crosby, Jr. - 1972
- Dr. Ernest J. Beaulac, Jr. - 1975
- Mr. John R. Hyslop - 1986
- Dr. Gerald A. Larson - 1999
- Ralph D. Van Inwagen - 2004
- Dr. Sandra Wirth & Mr. Jay Goulart - 2007-2008
- Dr. Sandra Wirth - 2008-2009
- Doug Rogers - 2009-2012
- Dr. Gerald A. Larson - present