Remembering: A review of the 1858 Weaversville Academy catalog
Today, we continue our visit to the Weaversville Academy on Weaversville Road in East Allen Township.
Our guide is an 1858 catalog from Amanda Weaver. Michael and Samuel Weaver, Amanda’s grandfather and father, respectively, were two of the founders of Weaversville and Weaversville Academy.
Ms. Susan Jenkins Weaver, family historian, has graciously shared this research for our readers.
A library has been commenced, and a society for the improvement of the young gentlemen in discussion and general literature has been organized. The school student body was composed of both gentlemen and ladies.
Examinations: A public examination will be held at the close of the fall term and also at the close of the spring term. These examinations are not gotten up for the purpose of making a display and advertising the school but for the real benefit of the pupils.
Normal class: Young men wishing to qualify themselves for teaching are informed that a teacher’s class will be formed at the commencement of the fall term. The members of this class will receive extra instruction in all branches required to be taught in the common schools. They will also be taught by lectures the elements of correct school discipline and the best modes teaching the various branches required.
When this writer started teaching a long time ago, some teachers had a normal school degree and did an excellent job as they had years of classroom experience.
Sabbath: A strict observance of the Sabbath will be required of all. There are two churches in the immediate vicinity, a Presbyterian church and St. John’s, a Lutheran and Reformed church. Students can attend at which ever their parents or guardians may direct. Each student will be furnished with a Bible. Punctual attendance on the daily devotional exercises of the academy is required.
General exercises: The gentlemen declaim and read compositions, each once in two weeks. The ladies composed and read once a week.
The discipline of the school is moral and parental, aiming to secure happiness and prosperity of the student while with us as to prepare him to discharge properly the duties and responsibilities of social life.
The student enrollment was very surprising — gentlemen: 100, ladies: 45. Twenty-eight students were from Weaversville. Three members of the well-known Fuller family in Catasauqua were educated at the academy.
Most students lived rather close to the school. Some came from Siegfried’s Bridge, as Northampton Borough was not incorporated until 1908.
We find students from Northumberland County; Tamaqua; French Town, N.J.; Mauch Chunk; Orwigsburg; and Fordham, N.Y. Five members of the Weaver family were enrolled in 1858. This material was from Amanda Weaver’s catalog.
In March of 1862, the school held the third annual exhibition of the students at the Presbyterian church. The program included music and student declamations.
The academy closed for lack of students in 1902. A new system of railroads gave students the opportunity to leave home and attend a school of their choice.
When I drive past the old academy, the teachers and students are gone, but the school had a lasting impact on Weaversville and the students. The school’s strong academic program prepared men and women for life’s challenges.
We will continue our visit to Weaversville in two weeks.