Ms. Susan Jenkins, who researched the Weaver family history, provided us with a rare segment of local history, a Weaversville Academy circular and catalog from 1858. The public school system we have today dates back to 1834 when the state of Pennsylvania created the common school system.
The law was a major accomplishment of Gov. George Wolf. Wolf, of German lineage, was born in what is now East Allen Township. The restored Wolf Academy in the township preserves the Wolf legacy.
The Weaversville Academy, constructed in 1856, provided a high school classic education for parents who wanted their children to have a comprehensive curriculum. In 1856, there were no local high schools. The academy was really one of our first high schools!
Today, if you travel south on Weaversville Road, the brick three-story building is a short distance from Walnut Street.
The catalog belonged to Amanda Weaver Martinis, daughter of Samuel Weaver. It’s a real treasure of history.
The 1858 catalog states: “This institution is in the quiet village of Weaversville, Northampton County, Pennsylvania, in the midst of fine healthy agricultural country. It is 14 miles from Easton and 3 from Catasauqua, on the Lehigh Valley Railroad. For healthfulness, beauty of scenery and freedom from temptations to vice and idleness, the location is considered a very desirable one for a literary institution.”
Could we still use this description today?
Passengers from New York via Central Railroad of New Jersey and Lehigh Valley Railroad can reach Catasauqua in five hours. Direct daily communication with Philadelphia is secured by the opening of the North Pennsylvania Railroad to Bethlehem on the Lehigh River. Stage daily from Catasauqua to Weaversville on the arrival of the trains from New York and Philadelphia.
The buildings are new and substantially built of brick, three stories high with modern improvements for warming and ventilating.
The school rooms are furnished with Boston school furniture and supplied with every convenience for imparting instruction. The lodging rooms are large and airy and furnished in a neat and comfortable style.
Students are not required to furnish any article of furniture, but they will be responsible for any damage to that belonging to the institution.
The offices and teachers had very impressive credentials. Hiram Savage, the principal, was a teacher of Greek, Latin, French and mathematics.
Thomas Barr was a teacher of mensuration. This writer had to research the word. I could not find the word in my 1956 dictionary! Mensuration is the art of measuring a branch of applied geometry, finding volume, lengths, lines and angles.
Miss Elizabeth H. Bainbridge was a preceptress. Do you ever see this word? It means a female teacher or instructor. Mrs. S. Savage was a teacher of pianoforte and embroidery.
The board of trustees included George Hower, president; E.F. Martin, M.D.; Jacob Fatzinger; Daniel Biery; Jonas Lichtenwalner; David Weaver; and Samuel Weaver, secretary.
Michael and Samuel Weaver were principals in the creation of the academy.
Join us in two weeks for more on the Academy.