Manlius Pebble Hill School

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Manlius Pebble Hill School
5300 Jamesville Road
DeWitt, NY
United States
Coordinates 43°01′41″N 76°04′11″W / 43.0280°N 76.0698°W / 43.0280; -76.0698Coordinates: 43°01′41″N 76°04′11″W / 43.0280°N 76.0698°W / 43.0280; -76.0698
Type Independent primary & secondary
Motto Manners Makyth Man
Established 1869
Founder Bishop Frederic D. Huntington
Head of School James Dunaway
Faculty 70
Grades Pre-Kindergarten to 12
Enrollment 325[1]
Campus Suburban
Color(s) Red and white          
Nickname Trojans
Accreditation Middle States Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools

The Manlius Pebble Hill School (MPH) is a non-sectarian, coeducational, independent, pre-K through 12 school in DeWitt, New York. The school is a result of a merger in 1970 between The Manlius School (founded 1869) and Pebble Hill School (founded 1926).


The Manlius School[edit]

The Manlius School was founded in 1869 in Manlius, New York as the St. John's Academy as a nonsectarian school by the Episcopal Bishop of New York in the former Manlius Academy (started in 1835) buildings.[2] However, by 1880 attendance had fallen to the point where the school became insolvent.[citation needed] In 1881, the school added some military training, which was added to the program in 1881.[2]

WWI memorial plaque, St. John's Military School, 1922.

By 1887 the reorganized St. John's again found itself with enrollment and financial problems, and the trustees looked for someone who could not only turn the school around, but also assume all financial risks. The school was renamed in 1888 to Manlius School, while the Episcopal Bishop remained as chairman of the board of trustees.[2] This person was Colonel William Verbeck who served as school president until his appointment as New York State Adjutant General on June 1, 1910.[3] Starting with 18 returning students, he raised enrollment to 120 within five years.[citation needed]

Effectively by 1914, the school was split into two internal school units, St. John's, the high school and Verbeck Hall, ages 10 to 14.[2] By the time of Verbeck's death in 1930,[2] The Manlius School had become one of the top military schools in the United States.[according to whom?] His son, Guido Fridolin Verbeck, succeeded him as commandant of the school.[3] By 1969, rumors had indicated that the school was in financial troubles.[2]

Pebble Hill School[edit]

The Pebble Hill School was founded in 1927 as a non-sectarian country day school for boys. A piece of property in the Pebble Hill area of Orville (now part of the Town of DeWitt) was purchased[by whom?], and the school opened on September 20, 1927, with an enrollment of 49 students.

Prior to 1929, all classes at Pebble Hill were held in what still is known as "the Farmhouse." This building is the basis for MPH's logo and now houses the school's administrative offices. Built in 1832, the MPH Farmhouse is one of the oldest buildings in the Town of DeWitt.[citation needed]


"The Barn," MPH's performing arts building; St. John's memorial (foreground).

By the late 1960s, enrollment at military schools was falling off as more and more people became disenchanted with the Vietnam War. The Manlius School did not escape this trend, and once again financial difficulties were on the horizon. At the same time, Pebble Hill was running out of room for the many students who were enrolled there. In 1970 the two schools merged to become Manlius Pebble Hill School.

At first the newly merged school used both campuses, with the DeWitt campus being used for the Lower School and Middle School and the Manlius campus used for the Upper School. However, by 1973 it became impractical to run two campuses. The Manlius campus was shut down beginning with the 1973-74 school year and all classes were moved to the DeWitt campus; the MPH Class of 1974 was the last class whose commencement was in Knox Hall on the Manlius campus. The Manlius campus was sold in 1979 to a private developer.


The Phoenix Student Center

Today Manlius Pebble Hill School has an enrollment of about 325 students[1] and counts among its more than 4,600 alumni members of both predecessor schools as well as those who attended MPH.[citation needed] It is accredited by the Middle States Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools.[4] MPH is affiliated with (and was one of the founding members of) the New York State Association of Independent Schools.

Notable people[edit]

Heads of school[edit]

  • Bishop Frederic D. Huntington, founder and president, St. John's School (1869–1904)
  • William Verbeck, Adjutant General of New York State, head of school, The Manlius School (1877–1930)
  • Maj. Gen. Ray Barker, head of school, The Manlius School (1946–1960)
  • Baxter F. Ball, Jr., head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (1990–2011)
  • D. Scott Wiggins, head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (2012-2015)[5]
  • James Dunaway, head of school, Manlius Pebble Hill School (February 2015 – present)[6][7]


See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b "About", MPH website. Accessed: September 12, 2015.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Rogal, Samuel J. (March 24, 2009). The American Pre-College Military School: A History and Comprehensive Catalog of Institutions. McFarland. p. 178. ISBN 9780786453290. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Hills, Frederick Simon (1910). New York state men : biographic studies and character portraits. Argus Company. p. 110. Retrieved November 18, 2016. 
  4. ^ "School Directory," Middle States Commissions on Elementary and Secondary Schools. Accessed: September 12, 2015.
  5. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, January 9). "Manlius Pebble Hill headmaster resigns amid financial troubles at school," Accessed: February 10, 2015.
  6. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, February 26). "Manlius Pebble Hill appoints new interim leader," Accessed: March 12, 2015.
  7. ^ Doran, Elizabeth. (2015, October 19). "Manlius Pebble Hill appoints its top leader," Accessed: October 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "Hall of Valor", Military Times
  9. ^ "LIEUT. DENNIS, D.S.C., IS KILLED IN ACTION; Marine Corps Officer, Slain at Bouresches, Had Won Honors at Military School. LED PLATOON UNDER FIRE..." The New York Times, July 17, 1918. Accessed: November 10, 2015.
  10. ^ "Vic Hanson". Syracuse University. 2008. Retrieved November 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Distinguished Service Cross recipients", Home of Heroes
  12. ^ "Harris Charles Dashiell", American War Memorials Overseas. Accessed: November 10, 2015.
  13. ^ Case, Dick. (2011, November 8). "Man pens history of Salina's Galeville community along Onondaga Lake," The Post-Standard

External links[edit]