New Hampton History: Could it be Our First Bequest?

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Two receipts from 1831 were uncovered in the archives. One for $5 from Mrs. Mary Bryant of Bow, NH and one for $10 from her husband, Deacon Walter Bryant. These two gifts were for a “Subscription, towards the erection of the Brick Edifice for the use of the students at the Academical and Theological Institution at New Hampton” signed by Treasurer William Gault.

The “Brick Edifice” was known only as The Brick but after it moved to campus in 1853 it was renamed Randall Hall after the Free Will Baptists founder Benjamin Randall.

From an article in The Granite Monthly, I learned that the Bryants were giving money to institutions and churches that promoted Baptists in New Hampshire. With the school’s recent change to the New Hampton Academical and Theological Institution a mutual benefit was derived. The church gained a seminary for the training of its ministers and the school received a higher enrollment of over 300 students.

Through Ancestry, I came upon the Bryant’s will. Reading its beautifully hand-scripted details I learned of what I believe is the School’s first bequest stating,

“I do also give and bequeath the remainder of my property to the Calvinist Baptist and Theological Institution now in New Hampton in county of Belknap State of New Hampshire the interest of the same to be expended annually for the support of the theological persons in said institution.”

Jerrica Blackey
Library Director
February 13, 2023

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