CARSON LONG INSTITUTE,
FORMERLY NEW BLOOMFIELD ACADEMY
The following information was extracted from
the book, History of Perry County Pennsylvania; H. H. Hain; Hain-Moore Co.;
Harrisburg, Pa.; 1922. Chapter XVIII.
"Almost from its beginning as a town and the location of the
county seat New Bloomfield became greatly interested in education. Much of
the credit for this interest was then due to the families of men like George
Barnett and Alexander Magee. There is hardly a state in the Union to-day
in which there are no former attendants of New Bloomfield Academy and Carson
Long Institute, many of whom have risen to positions of prominence and
trust. To name over a list of these students is like calling a roll
honor. The writer's knowledge goes back only to the proprietorship of
William Grier, but there was already at that time something about the
institution which impressed him with its importance as a substantial educational
"In March, 1830, there was a call in the Perry Forester for a meeting to consider
the advisability of establishing an academy, but for some reason which has not
come down to the present generation, the meeting was called off. In 1837 Robert
Finley, of Connecticut, opened a latin school in the corner second-story room of
the former Mansion House, now a dormitory of Carson Long Institute. The
pupils were Charles J. T. McIntire, John A. Magee, John Creigh, Charles A.
Barnett, George Harding, and William A. Sponsler. In the fall of 1837 Mr.
Finley decided to open a seminary in a building known as "the
barracks," later owned by W. A. Sponsler, the attorney.
"The advertisement of December 14, 1837, names it the Bloomfield Seminary, and
speaks of the "first term." The directors, according to the
advertisement, were: John Dickey, B. McIntire, David Lupfer, Wm. M.
McClure, J. R. McClintock, John Dunbar, John Boden, A. C. Harding, Robert Kelly,
George Barnett, J. Madden, James Moreland, Jonas Ickes, George Stroop.
"During the winter of 1837-38 a petition was sent to the Pennsylvania
Legislature, requesting a charter for a school to be known as the New Bloomfield
Academy, which was accordingly chartered by an act dated April 13, 1838.
The trustees mentioned in the act were: Benjamin McIntire, George Stroop,
John McKeehan, John D. Creigh, John Boden, Jeremiah Madden, John R. McClintock,
and Robert Elliott. At a subsequent meeting of citizens in the courthouse
the act was read and approved, thus getting the endorsement of the entire
community. The trustees elected Robert Elliott, president; John D. Creigh,
secretary, and Robert Kelly, treasurer.
"A provision of the act was that the state treasurer was to pay to the treasurer
of the academy two thousand dollars, to be used toward the erection of suitable
buildings, and the purchasing of a necessary library, mathematical, geographical
and philosophical apparatus for the use of the academy, on condition that one
thousand dollars be contributed by those interested. Robert Finley was
employed as principal in May, at four hundred dollars per annum. "The
barracks" then became the temporary home of the academy, the trustees
agreeing to rent from John Smith, the owner, one-half of the building, for which
they were to pay him $ 21.29 and taxes for the year, for the use of the same
from May 21 until April 1 of the next year. Arrangements were at once made
for desks, benches and chairs, and on May 21 the term began. The
school-room was the one in which Mr. Finley had started the seminary and was in
use until 1840, when the brick academy building was completed. The hours
were fixed at from 8 to 12 a.m., and from 2 to 5 p.m. Instruction was to
be given in the following branches:
"First class--Geography, English grammar, bookkeeping, arithmetic,
and modern history, at three dollars a quarter.
Second class--Natural history, natural philosophy, ancient history and algebra
to quadrated equasions, at four dollars a quarter.
Third class--The Greek and Latin languages, chemistry, astronomy, rhetoric,
logic, the higher branches of mathematics, mental and moral philosophy, and
evidences of Christianity, at five dollars a quarter.
"On August 3 the first quarter ended, twenty pupils having been in
attendance. An examination was held that day, also an election of trustees
at which the following where chosen: Robert Elliot, John D. Creigh, Thomas
Patterson, John Gotwalt, J. R. McClintock, and B. McIntire.
"On August 18, 1838, at a meeting of the trustees the following resolution was
"Resolved, that the trustees will receive proposals from persons
who have sites to locate the building for the academy, and request them to state
particularly the location, boundary, quantity and terms upon which it can be
had; that the proposals be handed to the trustees on or before ten o'clock a.m.
of the first of September next. John D. Creigh, Secretary.
"In answer to the resolution propositions were received from George
Barnett (two), John D. Creigh, William Power, and Jeremiah Madden.
Later others were received from Mrs. Miller and Messrs. Mehaffy, Ickes,
Klinepeter, and Clark. At the meeting of the board on September 21 one of
those proffered by George Barnett, was selected.; The site then selected
was on a knoll east of the Barnett homestead. Evidently with the history
of the selection of the county seat and its petitions still fresh in their minds
a petition was gotten out requesting that the site be changed to one at the west
end of the borough, in consideration of which a further contribution of $241 was
pledged. The request was not granted, but the supporters of the end plan
continued the agitation with the result that, at a meeting of the trustees on
March 1, 1839, the following action was taken:
"WHEREAS, the sum of one thousand dollars has been
subscribed by individuals to aid the funds of the academy, a part of which is
subscribed on condition that the site of the academy be removed to the north end
of Carlisle Street; therefore,
"Resolved, That the present location of the site for the academy be
and the same is hereby changed to the north end of Carlisle Street, and a
committee be appointed to enter into a contract with Mr. George Barnett for four
acres of land at said place, on such terms as they may agree upon.
"Resolved, That public notice be given by advertisements, that the
trustees will receive proposals on the 14th of March for building a house of
brick or stone, to be thirty feet by sixty feet from out to out and twenty three
feet high from top of foundation, to have a cupola and also a portico or
vestibule in front of steps.
"The contract having been let to Dr. Jonas Ickes he immediately began
work, and it was completed and occupied in 1840. By private subscription a
bell was purchased in Philadelphia, at a cost of $ 65.60.
"In 1842, owing to a demand, a steward was appointed and it was opened as
a boarding school for both teachers and pupils. In September, 1850, the
trustees appointed two of their number to confer with the Presbytery of the
Presbyterian Church in reference to selling the property and academy to that
denomination. The movement was unsuccessful. In 1852 the trustees
decided to apply to the legislature for the enactment of a law enabling them to
transfer the real estate and property to the commissioners of the county and
that it be a county institution, the county to assume the indebtedness. On
petition to the legislature such an act was passed and signed by Governor
William Bigler, a Perry County native, April 1, 1852, providing that the
commissioners with others appointed by the court act as trustees. On
December 4, 1852, by resolution of the trustees the president of the board was
authorized to transfer by deed all the real estate belonging to the academy,
which was done January 3, 1853. Under the county's management the school
took on new life, and in January, 1854, the county grand jury recommended that
an additional building be erected for the better accommodation of the pupils.
"Finlaw McCown, former trustee and a former county commissioner, had
in the meantime bequeathed to the trustees of the academy the sum of four
hundred dollars for the purpose of helping to erect an additional
building. Upon the commissioners being notified of the bequest and of the
action of the grand jury they absolutely refused to grant any assistance towards
the erection of an additional building and even withheld the right of any
company or association of so doing. Upon such refusal the trustees
appointed a committee to secure grounds situated in proximity to the academy for
the purpose of erecting such building as their needs demanded. An
association was organized and a small tract of adjoining land was purchased of
William McKee, eight hundred and twenty five dollars being subscribed by the
public towards it. The deed was presented to the trustees, who advertised
for proposals to build a frame building, thirty-two by fifty feet, two stories
high, to be ready for occupancy by May, 1854, at which time it was completed and
"Financial troubles continued to embarrass the academy, and during the
winter of 1854-55 a petition was presented to the legislature requesting
permission to sell the property, which was granted in an act passed and signed
April 13, 1855. On April 10, 1856, Rev. John B. Straw and R. G. Stephens
purchased the property, with the condition that it should always be used as a
school of advanced education. Prof. James A. Stephens was placed in charge
and later became owner. He sold it to George S. Rea, who continued in
charge for some time, when he conveyed it back to Stephens, who in turn sold it
to William Grier on September 25, 1868.
"With Mr. Grier's administration the academy became an institution of a
marked and cultured character and had an attendance of students, many of whom
had already crossed the threshold of young manhood and womanhood, and equal to
that of any institution in the State of Pennsylvania. During Mr. Grier's
proprietorship he had as principals such men as Edgar, Flickinger, Schuyler,
Arnold, and others. He sold the academy to William Harper, June 8, 1898,
and he, in turn, sold it to George B. Roddy in June, 1905. After Mr.
Roddy's death Theodore K. Long purchased it from his executor in February, 1914.
"Mr. Long changed the name from New Bloomfield Academy to Carson Long
Institute as a fitting memorial to the many excellent qualities of his only son,
William Carson Long, who lost his life on March 5, 1912, on the Northern Pacific
Railroad, at the city of North Yakima, Washington, under circumstances keenly
distressing to this parents and friends. .....
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