History of the Brookeville Academy

Written by Anne Marie Lemon

On behalf of the Montgomery County Historical Society, Rockville, Maryland

For the Town of Brookeville, Maryland
December, 1992

In the months just prior to an Act of Incorporation by the Brookeville Schoolhouse, President Madison sought refuge on the night of August 26, 1814 in Brookeville after the Battle of Bladensburg.(4) Thus, Brookeville became known as the nation’s capital for a day. The Trustees of the Brookeville Schoolhouse incorporated the Brookeville Academy on January 2, 1815, and stipulated that any profits or income derived from the school be applied for use and advancement of the Academy and that the Trustees report on the state of the academy to the General Assembly of Maryland.(5) John H. Riggs, Justice of the Peace, certified the first Trustees which included Thomas Davis, John H. Riggs, Caleb Bentley, William H. Dorsey, Ignatius Waters, Thomas Riggs and David Newlin.

Through the 1810s and 1820s, the Trustees attended to the regular business of the Academy-conducting quarterly meetings; reporting annually to the Legislature on the state of the academy; examining the male and female departments of the school; and as in 1828, meeting to discuss “the ruinous state the Academy is in for want of repairs.”( 6) During these years, William H. Dorsey died (1818) and David Newlin (1820), Jesse Wilcoxen (1821), Dr. Henry Howard (1823), and Thomas L. Reese (1823) resigned. Jesse Wilcoxen (1818), Dr. Henry Howard (1821), James Holland (1821), Ephraim Gaither (1823) and Remus Riggs (1823) were elected to fill the vacancies.

Likewise among the teachers there was a large turnover, Robert Stewart resigned in 1817 after eight years of service to the school as tutor; George Marvin resigned (1818); and Reverend T.J. Harrison was employed in 1818 only to resign later in 1819 after the Board expressed regrets that they could not provide him with a house. Donald Fisher commenced teaching in 1819. Miss Heston directed a female department as early as 1820 through 1825. Samuel A. Bumstead commenced teaching in 1821, but resigned at the end of 1822. James Cahill followed as instructor (1823)-then Moses Woodard (1827), Thomas Haggerty (1829) and George T. Bigelow (1829). Even though there was considerable turnover in both Trustees and teachers, the Board of Trustees for the Brookeville Academy managed to make amendments to the Fundamental Rules of the Academy in 1822.

The 1830s

During the 1830s there were three Principals-William Hill, Nathan C. Brooks, and Elisha J. Hall. They were assisted by Elisha J. Hall (1832), George W. Grey (1834), James M. Cushing (1834), Charles Brooks (1834), G. W. Jural (1836), and N. H. Stewart (1838).

William Hill, a graduate of Princeton College, commenced his duties in 1831. During his tenure, there was an amendment of the Fundamental Rules and the first advertisements listing the advantages of the Academy were placed (1831). In 1833, the Maryland State Legislature passed a local liquor law prohibiting the sale of intoxicating liquors within 1 mile of the village.(7)

The Trustees and teachers alike sought to improve the quality of the Academy’s education – either through the controlled guidance of the youths away from vices and evils such as alcohol use, through providing adequate facilities for a learning environment, or through amendments of the rules and regulations. The Minutes consistently recorded quarterly examinations of the pupils by the Trustees. Also during this period, Colonel John H. Riggs resigned as Trustee (1831), James Holland died (1831), and Major Ephraim Gaither resigned (1832). Richard B. Dorsey (1831), Henry Howard (1831), and William B. Magruder (1832) were elected to fill the positions. Upon the death of Thomas Davis, Allen Bowie Davis was chosen as Trustee. William Hill resigned as Principal in 1834 and was followed by Nathan C. Brooks, later head of the Baltimore Female College.

Nathan C. Brooks, as Professor of Ancient Languages and as Principal, saw the addition of the second story to the Academy building take place (1834); the commencement of the annual States donation (1835) and election of States scholars required under the terms of the donation; and the purchase of his house for the purpose of becoming the pupils’ boarding house (1836). The financial worries which plagued the Academy through the early years continued on into the 1830s and were alleviated only slightly in 1834 by the State’s donation. Yet in 1836, Mr. Brooks resigned due to “the income of the Brookeville Academy after paying my assistant has never afforded me a sufficient compensation.”(8) Among the Trustees, Thomas Riggs (1834) resigned as did Richard B. Dorsey (1836). Thomas J. Bowie (1834) and Thomas McCormick (1836) were elected as Trustees.

For the remainder of the 1830s, Elisha J. Hall governed the Academy (1836). Mr. Hall had been associated previously with the Academy as an assistant teacher from 1832 through 1833 and returned to the school in 1836 as Principal. During his tenure Henry Howard resigned as Trustee (1837); Dr. William P. Palmer was elected and held office for a short period (1838); and Richard Holms became a Trustee (1838).

The 1840s

When Principal Hall resigned in 1840, he was replaced by E. J. Meany of Detroit. Mr. Meany was unable to maintain discipline in the Academy however, and the Board of Trustees requested his resignation (1841). During the interim, Elisha J. Hall stepped in to govern the pupils (1841). In 1847, Principal Hall proposed that Reverend Orlando Hutton serve as a co-principal with him at the Academy. The Trustees approved of this plan. Reverend Hutton later resigned (1848) in order to attend to his duties as pastor of two churches’ St. Bartholomew’s Church and St. John’s Church.

Though the governance of the school remained stable for nine years, the Trustees needed to fill vacancies on the Board. The resignation of Richard Holms (1840), the death of Ignatius Waters a”highly esteemed friend and senior member of the Board,” 9 and the resignation of Thomas McCormick (1846) led to the elections of Basil B. Pleasants (1840), Reverend Orlando Hutton (1844), and William Lingan Gaither (1846).

The 1840s were relatively quiet for the Brookeville Academy, yet the years were continually plagued by the need for money. The Board of Trustees raised rent charges in 1840, and the monies raised were used to assist in repairing the Academy building and the boarding house. Other changes occurred in the latter half of the 1840′s. Quarterly examinations became semiannual examinations (1846); the boarding house was insured (1847) and rented out (1849); and Principal Elisha J. Hall introduced a new agricultural department (1849).

The 1850s

Early in 1850 the school entered into a tumultuous period after Elisha J. Hall resigned. The Board of Trustees offered the position to John C. Williamson, an assistant teacher, and Robert B. Sutton as co-principals. Mr. Sutton declined the position and as the Board felt that Mr. Williamson did not have enough experience to govern the Academy alone, they offered the position to J. J. Sandford. Mr. Williamson then withdrew boarders from the school at which time the Board expressed “strong and decided condemnation of the course pursued by the late assistant teacher.” (10)

In the meantime, Mr. Sandford took so long to take his position in the Academy that it caused the withdrawal of the boarding patronage and the Board requested his resignation. David L. Rouse was chosen as Principal in 1851 on the Board’s condition that Mrs. Catharine Trippe manage the boarding house. Mr. Rouse accepted the position, but remained as Principal for only one year at which time Elisha J. Hall stepped in as Principal pro tem.

In 1850 Basil B. Pleasants resigned, Thomas J. Bowie died, and William Lingan Gaither declined the position of Trustee. Each vacancy was filled and remained so for the rest of the decade. Those elected were Elisha J. Hall, B. Worthington Waters, and Enoch B. Hutton.

E. B. Prettyman was chosen as Principal in 1853 and continued on in the position through the 1850s. In 1857 he wished to resign, but the Board of Trustees refused to accept his resignation. Charles B. Young was an associate principal (1853) and assistant teachers were A. M. Sawyer (1853), William Grady (1853), Dr. C. L. Hogeboom (1856) and J. Alonzo Christman (1858). Mrs. Trippe gave up the management of the boarding house in 1855 at which time the Board thanked her for “the excellent and efficient manner in which the boarding house had been conducted by her.”(11)

The Trustees found renewed support during the late 1850′s. The Mutual Fire Insurance Company appropriated money (1857), the State’s annual donation increased (1358) and a loan was received from Miss Sarah Holland (1858). With the money received from these sources, the Trustees pursued an enlargement of the boarding house and further improvements to the Academy (1858).

The 1860s

Upon the close of the 1850s, the Brookeville Academy entered a period of greater support and stability only to be disrupted once more. This time, however, the disruption was caused by the Civil War. Troops passing through Brookeville in 1862 and 1863 forced a drop in the number of boarding pupils. The Minutes do not adequately reflect the Civil War period since Reverend Orlando Hutton, Secretary of the Board, kept the records and they were never united with the other Minutes.

During the 1860s, several Trustees resigned-Reverend Orlando Hutton (1864), Remus Riggs (1867), and William K. Boyle (1868). Also in 1865, B. Worthington Waters and Enoch B. Hutton died. The vacancies were filled by William K. Boyle (1867), Thomas J. Holland (1865), Dr. James S. Martin (1867), Z. D. Waters (1867), and Thomas D. Riggs (1868).

E. B. Prettyman remained as Principal until 1864. He was followed by R. K. Burns who resigned when the Board felt that for the welfare of the school a change in Principals was in order (1865). The next Principal was Isaac Dunlin Parkinson, a graduate of Jesus College, Cambridge (1865).

Around the middle of the decade, the Board decided that the Academy needed more space. They pursued an option of purchasing a lot next to the boarding house owned by Owen J. Edmonston (1865); however, they chose Mr. Parkinson’s plan in which he proposed the purchase of the Weer farm just outside of Brookeville.

The Board purchased the farm in 1868 for $4,000 with the intention of constructing a new Academy building with separate dormitories for the boarders, a commodious school room and recitation room, a gymnasium, a baseball and croquet ground, a bathing and skating pond, and an English style park. During the construction of the new building, the Academy conducted classes in the boarding house (1866).

The 1870s

Records of the Academy from 1870 forward are sketchy. In 1870, Mr. Parkinson withdrew as Principal. He was replaced by co-principals R. C. Marshall and S. H. Coleman, a graduate of the University of Virginia. Both Marshall and Coleman resigned a year later to open a school in Talford. M. L. Massey was Principal from 1872 through 1873 and was followed by the return to the Academy of Mr. Coleman, who then remained until 1879. E. M. Magruder of Virginia then became Principal, but he soon resigned. His replacement was W. J. Thomas of Baltimore, a graduate of Johns Hopkins University, who remained one year.

The Trustees in 1870 were Elisha J. Hall, Dr. James S. Martin, Z. D. Waters, Dr. William B. Magruder, Thomas J. Holland, Henry C. Hallowell, and Thomas J. D. Bowie. The Brookeville Academy Catalogue announced that the Academy was a “new and elegant building-just completed and erected through the generous aid of Messrs. Lawrason Riggs and G. R. Gaither, of Baltimore, and Messrs. G. W. Riggs and W. W. Corcoran, of Washington, and some gentlemen of this county.” (12)

The 1880s and Beyond

By 1880 it was noted that there were vacancies among the State’s scholars “even after much advertising throughout the county, showing the beginning of the end of the Academy days… They were just wandering off to the newer public schools.” (13)

In 1880, Reverend C. K. Nelson, of St. John’s College, was elected Principal. His assistants were Robert K. Massie and George F. Nesbitt, Jr. (1886). Reverend Nelson remained until 1888 when he resigned to accept a position at the Rockville Academy. J. D. Warfield then became Principal. Professor Warfield turned his attention to the neglected state of the Academy: a new wire fence, new outbuildings, a newly painted home and new academic desks (1892). In the Academy, he was assisted by William H. Peltz, Miss Elise Hutton and Lawrence I. Smythe. By July 14, 1908, and again on April 20, 1909, the Board of Trustees offered to turn over the building and yearly donation to the Public School Board if they would conduct a graded school. The takeover of the Brookeville Academy was formally adopted on June 2, 1909. (14)

Support of the School

In order to organize, provide for and sustain the Academy, the Trustees solicited aid in the form of loans, State donations, and subscriptions. In 1834 when the Board decided that it was “expedient to enlarge the Academy by the addition of another story,”(15) they secured a $265 loan from Mrs. Rachel Robertson. Likewise when the boarding house needed to be enlarged and a kitchen added due to the increased number of students, they obtained an $800 loan from Miss Sarah Holland (1858).

After incorporating in 1815, the Trustees petitioned the State for donations. These petitions went unheeded until 1834 when the Legislature appropriated $200 annually to the Academy in exchange for the Academy providing gratuitous education to one pupil for every $100 received.(16) The funds were used toward the purchase of a boarding house from Nathan C. Brooks (1836), the maintenance of the Academy, the Principal’s salary (1835), and the purchase of philosophical and chemical apparatus (1850). In 1858, a $400 increase in the State’s donation was secured by Washington Duvall and Nicholas Worthington, Esq., members of the Montgomery County delegation to the Legislature. (17)

The Trustees used the additional aid for improving the Academy building, enlarging the boarding house (1858), liquidating debts (1860) and purchasing insurance on the boarding house (1861). Additionally in 1867, the Trustees petitioned the Legislature for money arising from the State’s sale of Land Scrip. (18) Allen Bowie Davis was authorized to draw on these funds in 1868, but no further records have been found as to when the money was drawn and in what amounts.

After the initial $600 subscription in 1810, the Board of Trustees found it necessary to continue their support of the school. In 1840, the Subscribers held themselves “individually responsible each to the other for an equal portion of a joint note” 19 given by Thomas McCormick to defray expenses of the Academy. A new subscription payable in money, labor or materials was issued for the purpose of purchasing and erecting a new Academy site. 20 Dated July 5, 1867, the subscriptions were secured by a lien on the new buildings, the State’s donation, a 10% tax on every boarder’s annual payment, and the sale or rental of Academy property in Brookeville.

Description of the Educational Institution The Trustees

Five Trustees were elected annually by ballot (1810), but when the Brookeville Academy incorporated in 1815 the number changed to seven Trustees. The Trustees were required to qualify themselves before a magistrate prior to taking the position affirming that they “would truly and faithfully execute and perform the duties of a Trustee of the said Academy without partiality or prejudice according to the best of his skill and judgment.”(21) Trustees were initially required to be stockholders (1832) and could not hold two offices simultaneously (1831), but both of these rules were later suspended.

The duties of the Trustees were many. They were to record the proceedings of every meeting and keep the meetings strictly confidential; meet annually to elect the officers of President, Treasurer and Secretary; make all rules related to governing the Academy and bring any violations of the rules to the attention of the Principal; record subscriptions and any related transfers; meet quarterly to examine the students and vote on the approbation or disapprobation of their performance; have the ultimate decision in teacher/employer or teacher/patron disputes; hire assistants as nominated by the Principal and hire the Principal; and have a Committee of Inspection, also called a Visiting Committee, report upon the state of the school, building and furniture.

The Principal and Teachers

The Board of Trustees in hiring teachers for the Brookeville Academy felt that “the teacher must carry in his own person that dignity which will command respect and at all times place before the student an example of high-toned conscientious gentleman such as all parents wish their children to become.”(22)

The Principal was generally hired for an entire scholastic year (1873) and was to employ an assistant when more than 30 pupils were in attendance or when required by the Board, subject to Board approval (1831). The Principal was usually the professor of ancient languages and in charge of the regulation of the different departments (1834); had the power of making rules and regulations as long as they were consistent with the Fundamental Rules of the Academy (1811); was in charge of the Academy, buildings, grounds and furniture (1831); had control over students in school and over boarders under his care (1873); and was allowed to permit religious meetings in the Academy (1832). Additionally the Principal was “to class the students numerically, call up the classes at quarterly meetings, inform the Trustees of class advancements, and examine the classes where directed by the Trustees.”(23) By 1831, he was also to record the price of tuition of each pupil, the number and names of those chargeable with rent and those who had paid.

The Students

Students were expected to behave with proper decorum at all times. They were to avoid loud, boisterous behavior; conduct themselves to and from school as directly and quietly as possible; and attend school punctually and regularly immediately seating themselves and remaining quiet without laughing, talking, or other indecent behavior. (24) The Board further restricted the activities of the students by prohibiting gambling and all card playing; by prohibiting firearms, fireworks or gunpowder; and by requiring that the pupils obtain the permission of the Principal before joining or attending any convivial club (1873). Pupils initially were admitted at any age (1834), but later no one over 14 years of age was admitted without “satisfactory testimonials of his morals” (25) being given to the Principal.

The Female Department

As early as 1819, the Minutes mention that female students were in attendance at the Brookeville Academy. The girls were examined as a separate department by the Board of Trustees in 1819, 1820, 1822, and 1825. No other information about the female pupils was recorded other than that Mary Ann Mccauley was expelled for misconduct (1819). In 1832 an advertisement reported that arrangements were being made for the opening of a female seminary. (26)

The Discipline of the Pupils

Trustees of the Brookeville Academy dealt with the discipline of the pupils in response to defacing school property, insubordination during school, or breaches of conduct outside of school. Any school property defaced or destroyed was to be paid for immediately by the pupil committing the act or by all of the pupils if no one pupil could be identified as the culprit unless it was determined that someone not associated with the Academy had produced the damages (1811).

In regard to a student’s insubordination, the Principal was given the power to suspend the student and then the Board of Trustees would review the matter to decide if the student should be expelled (1811). The Trustees believed that the minds of children could be injuriously affected by being frequent spectators to acts of corporal punishment… and that it ought to be resorted to in school with great caution and only used in cases of obstinacy or where other means fail to have the desired effect.(27)

In one case, the Board supported the action of the Principal to suspend the pupil (1860), but in another, the Board came to the conclusion that the Principal was unable to enforce the necessary discipline in the Academy and they requested his resignation (1841).

Likewise, any severe breaches of conduct which took place outside of school would be considered at an emergency meeting of the Board (1831). The Board was forced to deal with a blatant breach of conduct in the attack of Lemuel Hollands, a black man, by several pupils. The Board concluded that “although the conduct of the negro was improper, the boys acted very wrong in attempting to take the law into their own hands… that they were wrong in so far forgetting that their own self respect as to enter into personal combat with a colored man, and more particularly so as it was on the Sabbath and at the hour for religious worship, thereby interrupting the meeting and disturbing the public peace.”(28)

School Terms

Pupils attended the Brookeville Academy seven hours daily during the period of March 20th through September 20th and six hours daily from September 20th through March 20th allowing for the decrease in daylight hours (1811). By 1834 students attended school eight hours daily from March through September and six and one half hours daily from September through March. Pupils were taught five and one half days each week (1822) and received two short morning and afternoon recesses varying from a minimum of five minutes to a maximum of fifteen minutes (1831). It was not until 1831 that every alternate Saturday was given to boarders to visit parents and teachers to transact business not related to school “with every alternate Friday afternoon preceding Saturday recess given as reward to those pupils who merit it in the opinion of the Principal.”(29)

Over the years the length of the sessions shortened-48 weeks (1834), 44 weeks (1854), 42 weeks (1859), and 40 weeks (1870). Students were required to enroll for at least one quarter. The earliest record of vacations was in 1819 when vacation was ordered during the month of August due to excessive heat (1819). Later, vacations commenced in August for two weeks (1825); at the end of April and the end of October for two weeks each (1834); and during August for two weeks and after Christmas for one week (1846). No other references were made to vacations in the Minutes.

School Tuition

The Board of Trustees offered different branches of education to the pupils and for each branch they also charged a different rate of tuition. Tuition ranged from $12 per annum for the basic education consisting of spelling, reading, writing, and arithmetic to the high of $40 for all courses of study available, including language courses (1811). These charges were independent of house rent and firewood charges for each scholar which were 75 cents per annum in 1811 and which were formally abolished in 1857. Parents or guardians were expected to pay for the number of pupils entered-or a proportional rate if the student began attending the Academy after the session had already commenced. Exceptions to the charges for tuition, house rent, and fuel were those “children of parents unable to pay due to their circumstances”(30); children of stockholders-one pupil per quarter free of charge for every share of stock held in the Academy (1811); “young men who were preparing for Divinity” (31); and students selected to receive gratuitous educations in order to fulfill the requirement of the States donation to the Academy (1834).

School Boarding

During the early years pupils were boarded in teachers’ homes or in other local residences. The Minutes do not clearly specify what pupils were charged for boarding at that time. In 1836, Nathan C. Brooks’ house was purchased for $2,000 and used as a boarding house. Charges for boarding, washing, mending and fuel started at around $90 per annum (1834) and rose to $190 per annum (1886). Students were required to pay additional boarding charges if they remained in the boarding house during vacations (1834); students were banned from the kitchen or dining room except during meals or by special permission of the Principal (1873); and they were subject to room inspections at all times (1873). A boarder was expected “to bring with him at least two blankets, one comforter or quilt, two pairs of sheets, towels, napkins and ring, pillow and pillow cases, slippers, blacking brushes and blacking, and one linen bag for soiled clothing.” (32)

The Principal managed the boarding house and the boarders residing there. In an 1834 school catalogue there were 41 boarding students listed, but in 1851 J. J. Sandford took so long to assume the position of Principal that the boarding house patronage was withdrawn. In response, the Board of Trustees placed Mrs. Catharine D. Trippe in charge of the boarding house (1851). Also, during the Civil War the number of boarders dropped and by 1866 there were only 20 boarders.


Pupils were examined quarterly by the Board of Trustees from 1810 until 1846 when examinations became semiannual. The exams took place on the last Friday preceding the end of the term (1836) or on the day preceding the semiannual vacations (1846). The Minutes consistently stated that the students “acquitted themselves to the entire satisfaction of all present.”(33)

As with the examinations, exhibitions were a means to judge the progress and advancement of each pupil. A provision for semiannual exhibitions was made as early as 1831. The Minutes state that an exhibition was held in 1856. E. Guy Jewell reports that “as evidence of what the pupils learned, the program of the forty-third annual exhibition listed nine memorized addresses by students, one tableau, three dramatic skits, nine interludes of music by Webber’s Band of Washington, seven original addresses by students, and one report by the Board of Trustees.”(34)

Students were given premiums as a reward for good examinations. The premiums were paid for from fines arising when Trustees were late to meetings (1822) and from rent money received in excess of Academy expenses (1831). Edward Stabler was authorized by the Board to engrave a die for the purpose of stamping premiums (1833).

In 1833, William D. Porter was acknowledged by the Trustees as “having passed through the ordeal without having committed a single error in any one of his various exercises.” (35) The Board believed “that awarding a single premium was sometimes perplexing, and that it served to engender envious and other unkind feelings amongst the members of the class.”(36) Therefore the awards were given in three levels: 1st was the premium of excellence given to those who made no errors upon examination; 2nd was given to those who made only one error; and 3rd was given to those pupils who made no more than two errors.

Class Sizes

Though few records remain which actually list the pupils in attendance at the Brookeville Academy, reports to the Maryland Legislature and various catalogues give an indication of the fluctuation in enrollment. The average number of students was 40 from the 1810s through the 1830s, rising to highs in the 60s during the prosperous 1850s. Attendance fell during the Civil War, but numbers rose again to above 40 by the 1870s and went as high as 60 to 70 students in the 1880s and 1890s.

In response to various numbers of pupils, the Trustees started out by requiring that classes be limited to 40 students as long as there was only one teacher (1811). Later the class size required for one teacher had fallen to 30 pupils, except by special permission of the Board of Trustees (1820) and in 1873 the class sizes were to remain at 30 pupils unless an assistant teacher was employed.

Courses of Study

The Brookeville Academy teachers employed the system of teaching by which the young mind [was] inductively and intellectually led from elementary principles to a comprehension of combinations. Great care [was] taken to avoid anything like rote, also to adapt the studies to the capacities and destination of the pupil. Each recitation [was] attended with analysis and demonstration; and no pupil [was] permitted to leave a text before evincing a thorough knowledge of the subject.(37)

In general the Brookeville Academy started offering basic courses of study which included reading, writing, arithmetic, bookkeeping, surveying, geography, navigation, English grammar and mathematics (1816). Gradually new courses were added such as Latin and Greek (1817); spelling and geography with the use of maps (1818); French and geography with the use of globes (1820); orthography, elocution, instruction in drawing maps, rhetoric, composition, logic, astronomy, natural and moral philosophy, metaphysics and Hebrew (1831); mineralogy, chemistry, botany, Spanish, leveling, gauging, civil engineering, algebra, and conic sections (1834); theoretical and practical agriculture (1849); German, physiology, and geology (1854); practical agricultural chemistry experiments (1856); anatomy (1857); zoology and natural theology (1858)7 and analytical geometry, calculus, and English studied historically (1886).

The introduction of a department of theoretical and practical agriculture by Principal Elisha J. Hall in 1849 was one of the more important additions to the courses of study. “The early depletion of the soils of Montgomery County and the first use of chemical fertilizer” (38) introduced into the community were probable causes for such an action. Later in 1872, “a plan to begin military training in the Academy”(39) was proposed to the Legislature, however no action was taken by the State and the Academy did not pursue the proposal further.

Construction of the Academy Building The Original Building 

The Academy building was constructed in 1810 with preference given to Stockholders for contracts of labor or materials, provided that they were furnished at fair prices (1810). The Trustees constructed a “stone house with one room finished sufficient for sixty pupils.” 40 According to Treasurer’s accounts, Jesse Phinton and William Thornton were the carpenters who built the Academy and James Dwyer did the masonry work and plastering. The carpentry bill totaled $147.13, plastering came to $32.62 and the masonry was $267.67. Several of the Stockholders provided materials for the erection of the Academy building. David Newlin provided plank and sawing, Samuel Leeke provide 2,700 shingles, Caleb Bentley provided pine plank obtained in Baltimore, John H. Riggs provided planks, and Whitson Canby provided timber. Stockholders also provided labor in addition to the materials when needed. Thomas Moore hauled 157 perches of stone, Joshua Cochran hauled lime, and Thomas Davis hauled the shingles that came from Samuel Leeke. The value of the plank, shingles and timber used in the Academy totaled approximately $141.50.

Other items used in the construction of the original Academy building were flooring brads, nails, screws, hinges, glass, glue, six bushels of hair purchased from William Woodward, 144 feet of inch plank, two locks and a bolt, 16 pairs of window hinges, 56 window lights, lime from Nathan Haines, white lead, whiting, one stove pipe, and a scutcheon.

From 1812 onward the Treasurer’s records become very sketchy. Supplies that were purchased for the Academy included window glass and whiting (1821 and 1822). In 1828, the Minutes recorded that a carpenter was employed to “have the South side of the rough of the Academy newly covered.”(41) The Board paid William Brown one dollar for one day of labor for the job, Ignatius Waters $18 for 1800 shingles used, Thomas Bond 92 cents for 9 lbs. of nails, and 45 cents for window glass and whiting. The Treasurer, Ignatius Waters, also recorded the purchase of a stove in 1830 from Samuel Brooke. In 1833 the Principal was authorized to purchase a small table for the use of the globes and a lock for the door.

The Second Story Addition

Early in 1834 a carpenter was employed to cover the Northeast side of the Academy, the trees were trimmed on the Northeast side to prevent injuring the roof, the inside of the house and roof were whitewashed, and locust trees were planted (1834). William B. Magruder, the Treasurer, recorded that Daniel Budd was paid 75 cents for planting locust trees and Achilles Simpson was paid $1.25 for whitewash brushes.

Later in the same year, the Board decided that the Academy needed to be expanded (1834). Contract rates for the construction were not to exceed “$2.00 per perch for masonry, 20 cents per square yard for plastering, $3.00 per window for the same size and quality as those on the lower floor, and $8.00 for all joists needed (1834).(42) The Building Committee was authorized to have a door m.ade in the South end and have a window placed where the back door now is; have the outside of the lower story finished in the same manner as the upper story; furnish the upper story with desks and benches; repair the lower story as needed; construct a belfry; have a staircase made from the second floor to the garret similar that [one] from the first to the second floor; and have pegs fastened in the wall in the upper room to hang hats on similar to those in the lower story.(43)

Additionally, the Treasurer recorded that a bell was purchased from Edward Stabler for $6.00, wire for the bell was purchased for 36 cents, William Hill provided Academy with furniture at a cost of $2.06, and Mrs. Hill was paid for curtains. Further information was not recorded in the account books.

A door was placed at the head of the stairs in 1837 according to the Minutes. Elisha J. Hall, Principal, was permitted to make a partition across the lower room of the Academy for a laboratory (1837) and a proposal for a pump was put on hold due to the low state of funds in the Academy (1838). General repair work occurred for the remainder of the 1840s. James Dwyer was paid $4.00 for plastering and whitewashing the Academy (1840), Daniel Budd was paid for 2 days labor at the same time, John McCauley was paid for repairing the stove (1841), and a blackboard was put in the Academy (1840). In 1848 the Treasurer, Remus Riggs, recorded that blinds were purchased. The Library Committee was given the “privilege of using a portion of the upper room required for keeping books, said Committee to put up a door and steps in the rear at their own expense.”(44) Elisha J. Hall and Mr. Prettyman were directed to procure twelve double seats and desks while Enoch B. Hutton was to dispose of the old ones (1853). Likewise the Principal was authorized to purchase coal stoves and to dispose of the old stoves (1853).

The Completion of the Second Story as a Meeting Hall

After a Committee was formed to consider any school repairs, it was decided that a new roof would be put on the Academy and that the upper room would be altered for use as a hail and lecture room (1855). A plaque on the Academy building states that the Mutual Fire Insurance Company completed the second story of the building in 1848, however, the Minutes of the Brookeville Academy clearly mention that the appropriation was received in 1857 and that the alterations to the Academy were conducted in 1858.

The alterations and improvements made to the upper room were a new floor, windows and frames renewed or repaired, ceiling raised and arches, a new outside entry to the upper room with a communication to the entrance from the back door of the Academy, removal of the upper and lower inside stairway, and suitable furniture and


allowed to use the building without the Trustees’ permission (1810). However, as early as 1822, religious meetings were permitted by the Principal subject to a majority of Trustee disapproval. Religious meetings approved by the principal were required to pay 25 cents monthly for the use of the building (1831). In 1853 the upper Academy room was used by Reverend Hutton for holding divine services.

Educationally, an 1831 advertisement stated that there “was a well selected library of 500 to 600 volumes on science, history, biography, voyages, travels and belle-lettres” (46) in the Academy. Students were taxed one dollar to use the library of 600 volumes (1854) and by 1858 the library had grown to 800 to 900 volumes (1858). A Library Committee was given the privilege of using a portion of the upper room required for keeping books in 1853.

With the renovation of the second story into a meeting hail, the Trustees mandated that “all applications for the use of the Academy Hall for any purpose of lectures or public meetings be made to the President of the Board and the Principal of the Academy-who, upon being satisfied of the propriety of the purposes for which the Hall is wanted, shall in their discretion, allow it to be so used.”(47) The only recorded time that the Trustees turned down a proposal to use the Hall was in 1852 when they rejected a request for a dancing school (1852).

The Mutual Fire Insurance Company of Montgomery County used the Academy Hall for their annual stockholders meetings and alternate meetings of the Board of Directors (1857). The Academy Hall was also used as a meeting site by the Brookeville Lodge No. 50 of the Independent Order of Odd Fellows (I.O.O.F., also called Odd Fellows’ Lodge). They rented the Academy Hall for the purpose of holding their meetings at $3 per month per year, subject to consent from the Mutual Fire Insurance Company (1859). The Lodge continued to rent the Hall until its lease was terminated and the Academy building sold to them by the Brookeville Academy Trustees in 1867 for $1,200.

Brookeville Lodge No. 50 I.O.O.F.

The new owner of the Academy building, the Brookeville Lodge No. 50 I.O.O.F., recorded a deed on January 11, 1870 in Liber E.B.P. 7, folio 86. The lot adjacent to the Academy was sold to the Lodge at the same time for $100 by Elisha J. Hall and Mary B. Hall, his wife. The Brookeville Lodge No. 50 I.O.O.F. continued to use the Academy building, then known as the Brookeville Memorial Hall, for its meetings until 1900.

Thomas J. Holland and John W. Whiteside

In 1900 the ownership of the Academy building and adjacent lot (Lots No. 55 and 56) changed hands. Since by 1900 the Brookeville Lodge No. 50 I.O.O.F. had resigned its charter, a deed (recorded March 19th, 1901 in Liber T.D. 16, folio 459 et. seq.) legally passed title from the Brookeville Lodge to the Grand Lodge of Maryland I.O.O.F.

The Grand Lodge then simultaneously sold the Lots No. 55 and 56 to Thomas J. Holland and John W. Whiteside for $600. The purpose for which Mr. Holland and Mr. Whiteside intended to use the building and property remain unclear.

Vestry of St. John’s Church

In 1906, Thomas J. Holland, Charlotte H. Holland, his wife, and John W. Whiteside sold the Academy building and property (Lots No. 55 and 56) to the Vestry of St. John’s Church in St. Bartholomew’s Parish. The old Academy building, known as the Brookeville Memorial Hall, was used for religious purposes once again. The deed recorded on April 3, 1907 in Liber 192, folio 427 specified that the old Academy building be used as a Memorial Chapel and Hall and any other purposes which were deemed proper.

One of the uses that St. John’s Church thought proper to have in the building was the holding of American Legion meetings. A lease was made on January 1st, 1951, between the Mite Society and Vestry of St. John’s Church and the Norman Price Post #68, American Legion for this purpose. The American Legion Post leased Lots No. 55 and 56 for 25 years at $1 per year with the privilege of renewal. During this time, the interior of the building was restored and a brick walkway added to the rear of the building for handicap access. (48)

The Town of Brookeville

A sales agreement was reached in 1988 between the owners of the Academy building, St. John’s Episcopal Church, and the town of Brookeville. A deed recorded June 23, 1989 in Liber 8877, folio 753 documented that the Lots No. 55 and 56 were sold for the sum of $76,590. The town of Brookeville had received money for the purchase from three main sources – $57,000 as a Community Block Grant from the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development to be used toward the purchase of the 2-story Brookeville Academy on High Street, $20,000 as a gift from an anonymous donor, and the remainder in town funds. The purchase of the Academy building by the town of Brookeville was negotiated by Town Commission President Richard Allan with the intention of restoring the Brookeville Academy as an historic site. (49)


The Brookeville Academy Trustees throughout the history of the school attempted to direct their students along a moral and educational path. Despite financial constraints, teacher and Trustee turnover, outside influences such as the Civil War, and the rise in the popularity of public schools, the Brookeville Academy survived for roughly one hundred years. The Trustees the Brookeville Academy truly “endeavored to promote morality knowledge, the surest supports of liberty.” (50)


4 “The Town of Brookeville” Montgomery County Story, Vol. XI, No. 4, August 1968, p. 1.

5 “An Act for Incorporating the Brookeville Academy in Montgomery County, Maryland,” Maryland General Assembly, 1815, Chapter 12.

6 “Board Meeting dated November 29, 1828,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS. 149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

7 “An Act to Restrain the Sale of Ardent Spirits within the Village of Brookeville in Montgomery County,” Maryland General Assembly, 1833, Chapter 142.

8 “Board Meeting dated May 1836,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822Ð1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

9 “Board Meeting dated August 10, 1842,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society

10 “Board Meeting dated July 28, 1851,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822Ð1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

11 “Board Meeting dated March 1855,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

12 Catalogue and Circular of Brookeville Academy, Montgomery County, Maryland, 1870-1871, (New York: George F. Nesbitt & Co., 1871.)

13 E. Guy Jewell, A History of the Brookeville Academy, (Rockville, Maryland: unpublished manuscript), p. 33.

14 E. Guy Jewell, “Brookeville Public Schools,” Montgomery County Public Schools–Schools That Were, (Rockville, Maryland: 1973)

15 “Board Meeting dated September 9, 1834,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.” “Resolut

16 Resolution in Favor of Brookeville Academy,” Maryland General Assembly, 1834, Resolution No. 84.

17 “An Act to Grant a Donation to Brookeville Academy in Montgomery County,” Maryland General Assembly, 1858, Chapter 310.

18 “An Act to Authorize the Comptroller to Invest the Balance of the unappropriated Fund, Arising from the Sale of Land Scrip, Donated to the State, by the United States, for the Benefit of Agricultural and Mechanical Arts,” Maryland General Assembly, 1868, Chapter 223.

19 “Board Meeting dated October 12, 1840,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1964, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

20 “Subscription Paper,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

21 “An Act for Incorporating the Brookeville Academy in Montgomery County, Maryland,” Maryland General Assembly, 1815, Chapter 12.

22 “Amendment to Fundamental Rules, 1873,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

23 “Amendment to Fundamental Rules, 1822,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

24 “Amendment to Fundamental Rules, 1831,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

25 “Board Meeting dated March 19, 1835,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

26 “Advertisement for a Female Seminary,” Maryland Journal, 28 August 1832.

27 “Fundamental Rules of Brookeville School, 1811,” Brookeville Academy Minute Book, Vol. 1, 1810-1831, Montgomery County Historical Society Library.

28 “Board Meeting dated June 6, 1838,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

29 “Board Meeting dated July 8, 1833 “Brookeville Academy Minute Books

30 “Articles of Association,” Brookeville Academy Minute Book, Vol. 1, 1810-1831, Montgomery County Historical Society Library.

31 Brookeville Academy Catalogue, 1834, see E. Guy Jewell, A History of the Brookeville Academy, (Rockville, Maryland: unpublished manuscript).

32 Catalogue and Circular of Brookeville Academy, Montgomery County, Maryland, 1870-1871, (New York: George F. Nesbitt & Co., 1871.)

33 Brookeville Academy Minute Book, Vol. 1, 1810-1831, Montgomery County Historical Society Library.

34 E. Guy Jewell, A History of the Brookeville Academy, (Rockville, Maryland: unpublished manuscript), p. 28.

35 “Board Meeting dated September 2, 1833,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

36 “Board Meeting dated May 10, 1834,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

37 “Course of Study,” Maryland Journal, 15 May 1831.

38 E. Guy Jewell , A History of the Brookeville Academy, (Rockville, Maryland: unpublished manuscript), p. 32.

39 Ibid.

40 “Report to the Legislature of the State of Academy, 1816,” Brookeville Academy Minute Book, Vol. 1, 1810-1831, Montgomery County Historical Society Library.

41 “Board Meeting dated November 29, 1828,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

42 “Board Meeting dated September 9, 1834,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

43 “Board Meeting dated October 4, 1834,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

44 “Board Meeting dated February 17, 1853,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

46 “Advertisement for the Brookeville Academy,” Maryland Journal, 19 October 1831.

47 “Board Meeting dated March 18, 1858,” Brookeville Academy Minute Books, 2 Vols., 1822-1934, MS.149, Manuscripts Division, Maryland Historical Society Library.

48 “Brookeville About to Gain Title to Famed Academy Building,” The Preservationist, Montgomery County Historic Preservation Commission, November-December 1988, Vol. 4, No. 2.

49 Ibid.

50 Carl N. Everstine, The General Assembly of Maryland 1776-1850, (Charlottesville, Virginia: The Michie Company, Law Publishers, 1982), p. 244.