Many of the transcriptions found here are now in published form. They have been published by the Orange County Genealogical Society (in Goshen, New York). Volume 3 includes my Volume 3 and Volume 5. Volume 4 includes my four parts of New Milford history. There is a planned Volume 5, which will include my Volumes 6, 7, and 8, Part 1, which is about 250 transcriptions. They can be purchase through the Genealogical Society. Just Google them and print out the order form. Or they can be purchased from the Warwick Historical Society. They are also on sale at the gift shop at Baird's Tavern. I would like to thank the Genealogical Society and Dan Burrows for their efforts. Started a new blog for images of Warwick. Go to:

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Warwick Institute

This is a transcription of an article from the Warwick Valley Dispatch, dated January 3, 1940. Used with permission.

The Old Warwick Institute
by Hylah Hasbrouck

Mrs. Frank Holbert has given to the High Street school a photograph of the origanal Warwick Institute built in 1852 and replaced in 1894. A few years ago a High School senior in writing the history of the Warwick school included a picture of the apartment house on Wawayanda Alley as the original institute preceding the one now standing on High Street. Mrs. Holbert thought it a shame that young people should grow up not knowing how the firtst building looked and where it stood. It was built to be a private day school for boys on land belonging to the Old School Baptist Church. The Church people still maintain their right to go across the eastern side of the grounds for their baptismal ceremony in the creek. When the present building was constructed, work was begun back of the old one. At first, part of the old was moved to its present site, in the alley and after the school year was completed the front part was moved making the second "tenement house" as it was then called. The school year of 1892 - 93 must have been a hard one on teachers and pupils with windows covered by scaffolding and workmen pounding and sawing. Mrs. Holbert has a photograph of the old building which Mr. Williams copied, slightly enlarged. This she put in an old-fashioned black walnut frame and asked that it be put in the High Street school so that children can see it and be told what building it is. It is now hanging in the lower hall opposite the front door.

This clear and splendid photograph stirs memories in the minds of those attending school in the old building. The following may be a starter for reminiscences to be followed by others so that personal contacts with the old building may be saved.

The front entrance had two doors leading into a vestibule. The faculty used the one on the right, the boys the left one. The girls always used the door at the side toward the rear. The primary grades used this side door or went up and down an outside stairway that was in the back as most of the primary classes were in the back upstairs rooms. A first grade class was in the basement in the back. This room was not like a cellar room but even with the ground with windows on two sides. Here Mrs. John J. Vander Voort began her teaching career and established that reputation as a first grade teacher known throughout the community. During her later years of teaching, she was a successful principal in a large grade school of (?)ohoes teaching the seventh grade as well but it is a beloved first grade teacher that the folks of Warwick remember her. Over the vestibule, was a room used for Miss Hannah Craig for her music classes. The front room at the right upstairs, was Miss Julia Reed's. Miss Reed was the teacher who could knock education into the heads of her scholars if anyone could. It is recalled that Blanche Muth Bingham said to her, "I never could learn." Miss Reed, as quick as a flash, replied, "You could but you wouldn't."

Mr. Alexander G. McAllister was a bachelor princical. Two of the teachers were madly in love witih him and children giggled and twittered when these lovesick marms taught with heads turned to catch a glimpse of their hero. If a child told one of them something of his whereabouts. that child was the teacher's pet for the day and received special attention. Mr. McAllister turned another way, however, and married Miss Anne Holly. He was an outstanding principal and his scholars remember him with respect and affection. One day he punished a boy severely, the father thought unjustly. At noon, the father came with a horsewhip held behind his back and asked to see Mr. McAllister. He stood outside the door and as Mr. McAllister appeared gave him a lash with the whip. A hand-to-hand struggle followed which the children watched as it was before school time. They stood speechless, scared-to-death. Fearing their teacher was getting the worst of it, Burt Martin stepped forward asking if he could help but Mr. McAllister said no he could manage. Later in the afernoon, Mr. McAllister went to every room and apologized that such an unhappy incident had happened and asked the children not to talk about it.

A later principal was William D. Smith who was followed by Louis W. Hoffman, the last principal in the old building. Miss Lansing had the sixth grade grade in the front room at the left. She became Mrs. Hoffman. A Miss Terwilliger had a third or fourth grade in the back corner and Miss Amelia Nichols a second grade above her.

Miss Kate J. Beebe was the fifth grade teacher in the back left hand corner room. A fire started in the cellar one afternoon. Since the old frame building was a perfect fire trap, the whole town rushed to High Street in great excitement. The children were marched out with no fuss and no panic. The fire was more smoke than blaze and was soon over. But on little after getting out went back in to gather up her belongings. She remembered seeing Miss Beebe standing in front of her cupboard lifting books from the shelves so that they could be saved. She told the little girl to go out and stay out. The mother of that wondered why her youngster should be the last one to walk out of the building and that mother was told she had been out but went back. When Miss Beebe retired and her desk and cupboards were cleared, papers were found belonging to her former pupils who were then married folks with children of their own. Miss Beebe had such a love for children she could not bear to destroy their work. Mr. Mayham said he never saw Miss Beebe teach her whole class at once. She was always helping a small group. Since this is the modern and newest way of teaching, she was years ahead of her time. Other teachers in the building were Rowena Herrick (Mrs. Ferdinand V. Sanford) and Miss Carrie Wisner.

Near the Institute was a private school kept by Mrs. Hornby and her sisters the Misses Benedict. This was quite a popular boarding school for girls, students coming from other places. One, Lillie Beebe of Middletown, is remembered as being a beautiful young woman, vivacious and attractive. Many years later, she married Charles G. Pierson.

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