New Hampton History: Founder’s Day, September 17

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Please enjoy the following article presented by Librarian and School Archivist Jerrica Blackey P’19. In recognition of our upcoming Bicentennial, this article in her history series discusses the opening days of the school and Founder’s Day.

Earliest Photo of New Hampton’s Campus, 1853.

Our School’s Establishment

The modesty of the school cannot be overstated. It began with a two-story, twenty-four by thirty-two-foot building in the town center with a few pine chairs to sit on. There were no blackboards or other apparatuses. Only the teacher and his experience. However, the willpower and strength from the townspeople to insist on a school in New Hampton was palpable. With the backing of the corporators and a recent Dartmouth graduate as the instructor, around eighty students gathered on September 17 in 1821 for six hours of learning from Preceptor Richardson.

Opening the doors

In the weeks before its opening, the New Hampshire Patriot & State Gazette made this statement:


The public are informed that the first term in this Seminary for the instruction of young Gentlemen and Ladies, will commence on Monday the 17th day of September next, at the new and elegant Building on the town Common, within six rods [rod=16.5 feet] of the meeting-house.

Mr. George Richardson, who graduated at Dartmouth College at the last commencement, and is now Preceptor of Moore’s School at Hanover, is engaged as Preceptor. Said Richardson, is highly recommended by Professor Adams of Dartmouth College, as a man of good moral character and respectable literary acquirements, and has given general satisfaction as a public teacher.

Tuition­–$3.00 per quarter.
Board from $1.00 to $1.33 per week.
WILLIAM B. KELLEY,                                Trustees of
NATHANIEL NORRIS,                               said Academy.
Newhampton, July 19, 1821.

Preceptor Richardson taught from 1821-1825, and in this short time, he was beloved by his students. His pupils presented him a letter upon his departure in May 1825. They wrote of their devotion, “We have with unspeakable pleasure, witnessed the display of your talents and abilities since we have been under your instruction. You have long been the person of our choice, as an instructor.”

Honoring Founder’s Day

In celebration of Founder’s Day at New Hampton School, this week our students and faculty gathered at school meeting to talk about our school’s history and enjoyed cake in honor of this momentous occasion. Founder’s Day will continue to be a celebration honored by the school in the years to come, including a special celebration for our Bicentennial anniversary in 2021.

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