This Page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb site.

Friendship Academy

Friendship Academy

Friendship academy opened about 1848 with Jeremiah Hatch as principal, and W. D. Renwick assistant, followed by Prof. Miller  The work done by this academy was of a high order and contributed much to the growth of the town.  A union school conducted by Prof. T. H. Armstrong, principal, with 8 assistants supplies its place, and it is second to none in the county for efficient work.  [Source: John S. Minard, Allegany County and its People. A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, W. A. Fergusson & Co, Alfred, N.Y., 1896, p. 169

This once noted institution was brought into existence through the public spiritedness of a number of the leading citizens of the village and its vicinity, Roswell Spear, the fame of whose axes and other edged tools extended over a wide area, donating the site it is said.  The organization took definite form in February, 1848, and in December following the academy was opened for pupils.  The first score of years of its operation witnessed a fair measure of success, but later on, by reason of dissensions in the board of management and among the stockholders, there came a decline in profit and interest with ultimate dissolution and abandonment. Other causes than those mentioned contributed to the perhaps untimely end of the academy enterprise, among which may be mentioned the growing standard of the free school system and the increased number of tuition academic schools in the state.  At the organization meeting Feb. 5, 1848, [elected]

At the next meeting


The building was erected during the summer and fall of 1848, and on December 1st was opened for its intended use.  It was located on the south side of Main street, about midway between the old and new villages. 


Richard Lee Thacher was the last of the principals under the old regime.  In fact he conducted the school independent of the trustees, and in the relation of proprietor.  Prof. Miller was compelled to resort to law to enforce his claims against the owners, and the result was he became possessed of the property.  For a time the building was leased to the trustees of the free school district, and in the fall of 1893 was destroyed by fire.  Prof. Jeremiah Hatch, whose name is doubly identified with Friendship as an able principal of the academy and as the gallant soldier whose name is borne by the local Grand Army Post.

The Friendship Academy and Union School

The Friendship Academy and Union School was in a measure the outgrowth or continuation of the old academy enterprise, though on a materially different basis.  The old district school had ever been maintained in the village, but the enlargement of local interest demanded an advance in the character of the system of instruction. The dissolution of the academy corporation offered an opportunity, therefore trustees A. B. Bradley, W. A. Hosley and F. P. Merriman called a meeting of the qualified voters of district No. 1, on July 27, 1887, to determine upon the propriety of a Union Free School.  The vote showed 172 for, and 51 against the proposition. 

The first board of education comprised

Officers of the Board:

September 27, 1889, the board purchased the Smith Church property on Main street, west, whereon was erected in 1890 the splendid academy building, which now graces its site, one of the most complete structures of its kind in the county; and in 1895 an annex was built and equipped in the most modern style, with every desirable feature of the model preparatory school.  The original building cost about $18,000, and the addition about $10,000.  Indeed, the state regency has raised this institution by the dignity and standing of the High School, by which name it is hereafter to be known.

Principals of the Union School:

Sept. 5, 1893 Board of Education

Source: John S. Minard, Allegany County and its People. A Centennial Memorial History of Allegany County, New York, W. A. Fergusson & Co., Alfred, N.Y., 1896, pp. 714-715

Class of 1880

No Steps Backward

Academy Hall has seldom enclosed a larger or more discriminating audience than that which assembled within its wall on Thursday evening last on the occasion of the commencement exercises of the class of 1880.  The stage and walls of the hall were tastefully ornamented with festoons, harps and other devices of evergreens and flowers.  To the right of the stage was a shield bearing the motto in Latin "Nulla Vestigia retrorsum," while on the left was a shield with the same legend in German.

The exercises were far above the average, the recitations being delivered with force, grace, emphasis and precision betokening careful study, end the essays one and all bore evidence of deep thought and ample care.  Where so much excellence was displayed it would be invidious to particularize.  The following was the programme.

Salutatory:“Welcome”Lillian Hosley
Oration:“Aim in Life”A. Miner Wellman
Essay:“The Drama”Olive Wescott
Poem:“And Now, the Light”Ralph G. Utter
Oration“The Future”Edward Rutherford
Essay:“Mountains”Evalyn B. Spear
Oration:“Achievements of the Human Mind”Eugene B. Burdick
Oration:“Life's Discipline”Irving E. Worden
Essay:“The Starry Heavens”Hattie M. Howard
Essay:“Master-Workmen”Edith Rutherford
Oration:“Our Benefactors”Chas. F. Johns
Valedictory:“Goodness Imperishable”Otis F. Alvord

Professor Miller conferred the usual diplomas in a few well chosen words, expressing the hope that not only would the class of 1880 hold to their chosen motto “No steps backward” but would not remain in statu quo, but press onward in the march of life.

The floral contributions were unusually liberal and choice.

[Source: Friendship Chronicle, June 23, 1880]

Friendship, New York

Allegany County GenWeb Page

Last updated on July 15, 2006
©1999 Vivian Karen Bush
This page is part of the Allegany County, New York GenWeb Site and is not affiliated with any other society or organization.