Tuesday, November 04, 2014

Caswell Academy

Caswell Academy (Yanceyville, North Carolina): Early Years

Source: Coon, Charles Lea, Editor. North Carolina Schools and Academies, 1790-1840: A Documentary History. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company (1915).

During this period [1790-1840] Caswell County usually had a good classical school within its borders. The first one mentioned in these documents is the Caswell Academy of 1803. Rev. Hugh Shaw, a Presbyterian minister, was its principal and Bartlett Yancey, a young Chapel Hill graduate, was the assistant. Yancey soon quit teaching and entered upon the practice of law, much after the fashion still followed by many who use teaching as a stepping stone to some other profession. It has so often been asserted by North Carolina writers that Yancey was the author of the Literary Fund Law of 1825, that I hesitate to utter a dissenting opinion. But the credit for the authorship of that law belongs to Charles A. Hill of Franklin, as I have said above.

After two years Mr. Shaw left the Caswell Academy and went to teach in the Hyco Academy, another Caswell County school. From 1805 to 1807, Sanders Donoho and James Bowles conducted the Caswell Academy with indifferent success. In 1807, John W. Caldwell, a son of the Guilford David Caldwell, took charge. He was advertised as "a profound linguist and a good teacher." James Kerr was his assistant in 1810.

Legislation. An Act to establish an Academy at the Courthouse in Caswell County:

Whereas, a number of the citizens of said county, are desirous of establishing an Academy for the promotion of learning, at the courthouse aforesaid, having by subscription, erected a convenient building on a lot appropriated to that purpose, and Trustees being already appointed by the Subscribers to carry the same into effect, and it is proper that they should be incorporated, therefore;

Be it enacted by the General Assembly of the State of North Carolina and it is hereby enacted by the authority of the same, That Thomas Donoho, Solomon Graves, Jesse Carter, Alexander Murphey, David Mitchell, Richard Simpson, Marmaduke Williams, Michael Montgomery, John M'Aden, James Yancey and Henry Atkinson, Esquires shall be, and they are hereby declared to be a body politic and corporate, to be known and distinguished by the name of "The Trustees of the Caswell Academy" and by that name shall have perpetual succession and that they the Trustees, and their successors by the name aforesaid, or a majority of them, shall be able and capable in law, to take, demand, receive and possess all monies, goods and chattels that shall be given for the use of the said Academy, and the same apply according to the will of the donors and by gift, purchase or devise, to take, have, receive, possess and enjoy and retain to them and their successors forever, any lands, rents, tenements, and hereditaments of what kind or nature soever, in special trust and confidence, that the same or the profits thereof, be applied to and for the use and purpose of establishing and endowing said academy.

Chapter XXXVII, North Carolina Laws 1802.


There will be opened in the County of Caswell, near the Courthouse, on the first day of January next, an Academy, known by the Name of the Caswell Academy, for the Reception of Students, to be taught the different Branches of Literature; to wit, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, the Latin and Greek Languages, Geography, Natural and Moral Philosophy, Astronomy, etc., etc., under the direction of the Rev. Hugh Shaw. The Terms for teaching the Latin and Greek Languages, together with the Sciences, will be 14 Dollars per Annum; Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic, 7 Dollars per Annum. Boarding may be procured convenient to the said Academy in good Houses, at the low Price of 33% Dollars, and from that to 40 dollars per annum.
November 22, 1802.

Raleigh Register, November 22, 1802


On the 4th ult. the Public Speaking, etc., commenced at the Caswell Academy, which was performed with approbation and applause; and on the 5th, the Examination began on those parts of the Studies in which the Students had been engaged the previous half year; and it is with pleasure the Trustees announce to the public, that the progress they have made, and the accuracy with which they passed their several examinations, much exceeded their expectations, and was honorable to themselves, and to their Preceptors.
By Order of the Board,
Henry Atkinson, Clk.

Raleigh Register, August 1, 1803


This Seminary, established on the pure patriotic Disposition of its Friends to cultivate Science and Literature, has increased in Number beyond the Expectation of its most sanguine Patronage. There are, at present, upwards of fifty Students who evince the strongest Proofs of expanding Genius, and discover the Advantage of an early Education. * * * The Trustees, at their last Meeting, have again contracted with the Rev. Hugh Shaw, as Principal Teacher, for the ensuing Year, whose Capability and moral Character has been highly approved. The School will also be furnished with an Assistant Teacher in the Languages. They have also employed Mr. Bartlett Yancey, a young Gentleman of approved Talents, to teach the English Language Grammatically, under the Direction of the Principal Teacher.   *   *   *
The Trustees.
December 8, 1803.

A pair of Globes and a complete Set of Maps have just come to Hand.

Raleigh Register, December 9, 1803


The Exercises of Caswell Academy will commence with the beginning of the next year, under the direction of Mr. Sanders Donoho. Terms of Tuition will be Fourteen Dollars for the Latin and Greek Languages, the same for Geography, with the use of the Maps and Globes; and seven dollars for the English Language.
Henry Atkinson,Treasurer.
December 20, 1804.

Raleigh Register, January 28, 1805


The Exercises of the Caswell Academy will commence as usual, on the first of January next under the direction of Mr. James Bowles, who will teach the different branches of Literature, to wit: Reading, Writing, English Grammar, the Latin and Greek Languages, Arithmetic, Geography, Geometry, Trigonometry, Natural and Moral Philosophy, with Astronomy, etc.

The Trustees flatter themselves, that being provided with an excellent pair of Globes, a set of fine Maps, and some geometrical apparatus, with the healthy situation of the Academy, the cheapness of board, and the qualifications of their Teacher, Parents and Guardians will find it to their interest to send their children to this institution.

The Trustees vouch themselves that due attention shall be paid to the tuition and morals of the Students.

Boarding may be had in convenient and respectable families for forty and forty-five dollars per year.
By order,
A. Murphey.
December 23, 1805.

Raleigh Register, January 18, 1806


The Trustees of Caswell Academy inform the Public, that they have employed Mr. John W. Caldwell, of Guilford county, to take charge of that Seminary, at the commencement of the ensuing year.
The Trustees.
November 17, 1807.

Raleigh Register, December 24, 1807


The Trustees of the Caswell Academy inform the Public, that they have employed Mr. John W. Caldwell, of Guilford County, to take charge of that Seminary, at the commencement of the ensuing year. Boarding can be had for fifty Students, within one mile and a half of the Academy, in genteel and respectable families, at forty-five and fifty dollars. It is presumed the situation and healthiness of the place, and the character and abilities of the teacher, will induce parents and others to send their children to this place.
The Trustees
November 17, 1807.

Raleigh Register, November 19, 1807


The Trustees of this Institution have the pleasure of announcing to the Public that they still retain in their employment for the next year Mr. John W. Caldwell, a gentleman of distinguished talents and learning as a Preceptor; and under whom has been the direction of the Academy for several years.   *   *   *
B. Yancy, Sec'y.
Caswell, December 30, 1809.

Raleigh Star, January 18, 1810


The Trustees of this seminary have the pleasure of informing the public that they have again employed Mr. John W. Caldwell, formerly of Guilford as Principal Teacher in the Academy. The character of this gentleman as a profound linguist and a good teacher is well known. * * * The exercises of the Academy will go into operation on the 1st of January. The superior advantage which this institution has over country seminaries of the kind, in having an elegant and complete set of Globes and Maps, and being situated in a healthy part of the country, where morality and religion are celebrated and respected, the Trustees offer as an inducement to parents and guardians to send their children and wards to this place. There is little or no inducement for young men to become dissipated, and every species of vice and irregularity is checked in its infancy. The laws of the institution and plan of education are modeled after those of the University, in order that boys who lay the rudiments of their education here may complete it at that place.
B. Yancy, Sec'y.

Raleigh Register, December 22, 1808


Of this Seminary Mr. John W. Caldwell is Principal. The School is said to be a good one. Board in the vicinity is remarkably low.

Raleigh Star, March 15, 1810



The Trustees of the Caswell Academy have the pleasure of informing the Public, that they have again employed Mr. John W. Caldwell as their Principal Teacher, for the ensuing year. * * * as also Mr. James Kerr, a young man of the strictest sobriety and temperance as an Assistant.
S. Graves, Sec'y
December 15..

Raleigh Register, December 27, 1810


The Trustees of Caswell Academy   *    *    *   have again employed Mr. John W. Caldwell, as Principal of the Academy.
Caswell County, December 27, 1811.

Raleigh Register, January 8, 1812

Source: Coon, Charles Lea, Editor. North Carolina Schools and Academies, 1790-1840: A Documentary History. Raleigh: Edwards & Broughton Printing Company (1915).

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