Oakwood Friends School

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Oakwood Friends School
Main Building at OFS.jpg
Coordinates41°39′20″N 73°55′37″W / 41.6555°N 73.9269°W / 41.6555; -73.9269Coordinates: 41°39′20″N 73°55′37″W / 41.6555°N 73.9269°W / 41.6555; -73.9269
School typeBoarding and day
DeanSara Sandstrom
PrincipalAnna Bertucci
Head of schoolChad Cianfrani
Average class size15
Student to teacher ratio1:8
School color(s)Orange and green
AccreditationNew York Yearly Meeting
NewspaperOak Leaves
Endowment$3 million

Oakwood Friends School is a college preparatory school located at 22 Spackenkill Road in Poughkeepsie, New York, United States. Founded in 1796, it was the first college preparatory school in the state of New York.[1] It was first located in Millbrook, New York under the name of Nine Partners Boarding School.

Nine Partners School[edit]

In 1794, the New York Yearly Meeting appointed a committee of twenty-five to establish a school; their first meeting was on January 13, 1795. On May 1 of that year the New York Yearly Meeting purchased a house and ten acres from Joseph Mabbet, a Quaker from Connecticut, for 1600 pounds, a down payment of 214 pounds was made from the donors, Tripp Mosher, Isaac Thorn, William Thorn, Joseph Talcott, Shadrach Richetson and Jonathan Deuel. With plans of opening a school for the children of nearby Quaker families, it opened on December 20, 1796, and was given the name Nine Partners School in Mechanic, which is now in South Millbrook, New York.[2] This was the state's first co-educational boarding and day school. The school's first superintendent was R. Tripp Mosher, and its first principal was Jonathan Talcott, a children's book publisher. The school had a total of one hundred students: 70 boys and 30 girls. The children were between the ages of seven and fourteen years old for girls, and up to age fifteen for boys.

A teacher at the school was Jacob Willets,[3][4] one of the first pupils its opening day of the school. He became the head teacher in 1806 and taught until 1828. He was the author of an arithmetic text, a geography text and an atlas, textbooks which were highly recommended and extensively used throughout the academic day. His wife Deborah, also a former pupil, became a teacher of grammar and mathematics. They were head teachers together and contributed to the school's success during its early years.[5]

Another teacher and former pupil was Lucretia Coffin Mott, who entered the school at age thirteen in 1806 and graduated in 1810. While there, she met teacher James Mott, son of one of the founders, whom she married in 1811. Lucretia later led abolition and women's suffrage campaigns as well as working as a teaching assistant.

Around that same era, a notable student of the school was Daniel Anthony,[6] who would one day become the father of Susan B. Anthony, another famed early pioneer of women's suffrage.[7]

Friends Academy and Oakwood Seminary[edit]

In 1853, the school and its land was sold to a private party who kept it until 1863. In 1857 the New York Yearly Meeting was eager to open a boarding school in Union Springs in central New York. On September 1 of that year a property southwest of the town of Auburn was purchased for $9,842. The first day of classes was May 11, 1858, with grades 1-12, with only four boarders and twenty day students. The school changed its name that year to Friends Academy.

On March 23, 1876, the school officially changed its name to Oakwood Seminary; the name was adopted after the large oak grove on the grounds. The school taught regular classes, with extra classes optional for an extra cost, such as commercial, literary and science courses. By 1896 a biblical course was established.

Oakwood Seminary, Union Springs, NY.jpg

In the 1890s, the school dropped the lower grades and only offered grades 8-12 for both boarders and day students. The primary requirement was that all students be over 12 years old.

In 1916, William J. Reagan was appointed principal of the school, which then had sixty-one students.

On January 2, 1917, a fire damaged a small portion of the upper levels of the main building, so much so that the board needed to consider the school's future.

Oakwood School[edit]

In 1918, the board decided that with the fire damage and the declining population of Quakers in the Union Springs area, they would relocate the school. The final graduating class was in 1920, and that September the school moved to the 75-acre Coleman Farm in Poughkeepsie, New York. Its first day of operation was on September 28, 1920, with a total of 112 students in grades 1-12. About 58 were Quaker. Although proper buildings were not ready on its opening day, the school quickly reorganized to comply with the regulations of New York State.[8]

The large racehorse stables were converted into the main building, with the upper floors as the girls' dormitory. The stairs between the floors were yet to be built, with wooden ramps for the first months of school. The doors had no knobs. The Meeting Room, as it is now known, was called the Assembly Room, and was nearly completed in the first year of school in 1920, until it was released that the room violated a building code which caused them to drop the floor several inches, explaining why the windows are up so high. The Assembly Room was redone in 1965, renamed to the Meeting Room, and benches were constructed. It wasn't until 1994 that the Meeting Room was remodeled with carpet and laminate flooring.[9]

In the summer of 1920 a two-story structure began to be built, but the school did not have the funds to complete it, so they used two army barracks from the first World War and attached them to both sides of the preexisting building. This was described in a 1921 article in the Oakwood Bulletin: "As temporary quarters for boys, two army barracks have been secured and are to be joined to a permanent, bell-built center. This will contain boys' dormitories, apartments for teachers, and a large reading room for the boys, in addition to toilets, showers and lavatories." The two army barracks were transported to the campus by train from Massachusetts, the school having purchased them directly from the US Government.[10]

The first building built during the school's operation was Lane Auditorium, begun in March 1923. It was announced that the building would be named for Aaron H. Lane, the president of the board of managers. The building was completed in the autumn of 1924 but the school could not afford both plumbing and electricity in the building at that time. The building last served as a gym in 1959 when it was converted into what was called the Fine Arts and Student Recreation Center. The name quickly changed back to the Aaron H. Lane Auditorium and was used only as a theater thereafter.[10]

The campus began to grow in the coming years. In 1927 a faculty cottage was built on the north side of the dining hall, and it also served as the infirmary. In 1928 the Gulley House was purchased and renamed Henderson Cottage, which housed students. That same year the cottage later known as Craig Cottage was given to the school. In 1929 the boys' dormitory called "The Boys Barracks" was renovated and two wings replaced the old army barracks. The building could house 64 boys and all single male teachers. Also that year, the Wallace Dempster Williams Library was established, and opened in early 1930 in the Main Building. That year, cement pathways were constructed, and the school discontinued the front hay field to construct athletic fields.

Despite the school having purchased their campus from a former farm, they still maintained the property as such. In 1931, the school had "six cows producing 75 qts milk per day, ten pigs, sixteen head of sheep and twelve lambs." The pigs and lambs were cared for by students and sold at the end of each year.

In 1934, Oakwood made great strides to accept the school's first African American student. Enrolled as an eighth grader, he went on to graduate in 1938.

Twenty years after the move to Poughkeepsie, the school underwent a major renovation that significantly changed the exterior of the main building.[10]


Sport Level of play Season Gender
Soccer V, JV, MS Fall Boys, girls
Volleyball V, JV Fall Girls
Outdoor activities Fall Co-ed
Cross-country V Fall Co-ed
Basketball V, JV, MS Winter Boys, girls
Fitness program Winter Co-ed
Martial arts Winter Co-ed
Softball V Spring Girls
Ultimate frisbee V, JV Spring Co-ed
Tennis V Spring Boys, girls

Notable alumni[edit]

Notable faculty members[edit]

List of headmasters[edit]

  • Joseph Talcott, 1796-1801
  • Alexander and Phebe Brown, 1801-1802
  • Isaac and Ruth Hallock, 1802-1803
  • Jacob and Deborah Willets, 1806-1828
  • Benjamin and Mary Griffin, 1828-1844
  • Jarvis and Lydia Congdon, 1844-1858
  • Ezra and Jane Willets, 1858-1860
  • William J. Beal, 1860-1862
  • Egbert and Martha Carey, 1862-1863
  • Thomas and Mary Burgess, 1863-1864
  • Frank S. Hall, 1864-1866
  • Henry K. Pinkham, 1866-1867
  • George Sisson, 1867-1868
  • Jacob and Lucy Vining, 1868-1869
  • Elijah Cook, 1869-1889
  • Charles H. Jones, 1889-1894
  • Isaac Sutton, 1894-1895
  • Elijah Cook, 1895-1897
  • H. A. White, 1898-1899
  • Jonathan Dickinson, 1899-1900
  • Thomas H. Chase, 1900-1901
  • Francis N. Maxfield, 1901-1903
  • Samuel H. Hodgin, 1903-1905
  • Walter Hallock Wood, 1905-1915
  • Eliezer Partington, 1915-1916
  • William J. Reagan, 1916-1948
  • Joseph B. Shane, 1948-1950
  • William W. Clark, 1950-1956
  • Charles W. Hutton, 1956-1962
  • Thomas Purdy, 1962-1968
  • John J. Jennings, 1968-1973
  • David L. Bourns, 1973-1979
  • Theodore Lehmann, 1979-1980
  • Clark McK. Simms, 1980-1988
  • Robert R. Coombs, 1988-1991
  • Stephen Waters, 1991-1992
  • Lila A. Gordon, 1992-2000
  • Peter F. Bailey, 2000-2015
  • Chad Cianfrani, 2015-[42]


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  2. ^ "Dutchess County Historical and Genealogical Record Chapter 1". genealogytrails.com.
  3. ^ "Key to Willetts' Mental and Practical Arithmetic: Solely Designed for the Use of Teachers". Internet Archive.
  4. ^ "Home of Jacob and Deborah Willetts". New York Historic.
  5. ^ "History of Washington, NY". rays-place.com.
  6. ^ "The Underground Railroad in the New York Hudson Valley « Fergus Bordewich: The Imperfect Union". fergusbordewich.com.
  7. ^ "Lucretia Mott's Heresy - Carol Faulkner". upenn.edu.
  8. ^ Frost, J. William (1996). "Reviewed work: Quaker Crosscurrents: Three Hundred Years of Friends in the New York Yearly Meetings, Hugh Barbour, Christopher Densmore, Elizabeth H. Moger, Nancy C. Sorel, Alson D. Van Wagner, Arthur J. Worrall". Quaker History. 85 (2): 60–62. doi:10.1353/qkh.1996.0016. JSTOR 41947332.
  9. ^ "Home". Oakwoodfriends.org. 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  10. ^ a b c "Home". Oakwoodfriends.org. 2015-12-22. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  11. ^ "Lucretia Mott's Heresy | Carol Faulkner". Upenn.edu. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  12. ^ http://web.co.wayne.ny.us/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/Descriptions_Part4.pdf
  13. ^ "emosher - Staff Memoir Project". umich.edu.
  14. ^ [1][dead link]
  15. ^ Leonard, John William; Mohr, William Frederick; Holmes, Frank R.; Knox, Herman Warren; Downs, 0Infield Scott (1905). "Who's who in New York City and State". Books.google.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  16. ^ "Wanda Campbell - Hidden Rooms - Confederation Poets - Canadian Poetry". canadianpoetry.ca. Archived from the original on 2017-12-23. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
  17. ^ "Guide, George Aaron Barton Papers (UPT 50 B293), University Archives, University of Pennsylvania". upenn.edu.
  18. ^ "JUSTICE F.L. YOUNG DIES AT AGE OF 69 - Member of Supreme Court Succumbs in Ossining toAcute Indigestion.ON BENCH FOR 14 YEARS Was Republican Leader in the Assembly When Former Governor Smith Was Speaker". The New York Times. 1930-05-22. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  19. ^ Oakwood Seminary Alumni Files, 1925
  20. ^ http://www.hvmag.com/Hudson-Valley-Magazine/December-2013/Q-A-with-Author-Becky-E-Conekin-on-Book-Lee-Miller-A-Life-in-Fashion/
  21. ^ "Clark V. Poling". Four Chaplains Memorial Foundation.
  22. ^ https://specialcollections.vassar.edu/collections/archives/findingaids/president/maccracken_henry_noble.html
  23. ^ Poughkeepsie Sunday New Yorker , July 26, 1959 - Newspaper Article
  24. ^ http://www.motiongenesis.com/MGWebSite/MGConsultants/MGConsultantKane.html
  25. ^ "Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Mark Strand dies at 80". The Poughkeepsie Journal. Associated Press. 30 November 2014.
  26. ^ "Lily Patricia Walker Shaw (1939 - 1985) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  27. ^ a b "JONATHAN TALBOT - REFERENCE POINTS - Oakwood Friends School". Talbot1.com. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  28. ^ "Steven Vogel, Class of 1957 - Oakwood Friends School". Classmates.com. 2000-10-08. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  29. ^ http://www.legacy.com/obituaries/nytimes/obituary.aspx?n=patsy-norvell&pid=167854260
  30. ^ "Americana Awards: Levon Helm celebrated; Bonnie Raitt honored for lifetime achievement", Poughkeepsie Journal, September 13, 2012.
  31. ^ https://web.archive.org/web/20140202231225/http://www.oakwoodfriends.org/eventarchive/october_2009.cfm. Archived from the original on February 2, 2014. Retrieved January 22, 2014. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  32. ^ "Annie Finch – Poet. Writer. Performer". Anniefinch.com. 2014-06-20. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  33. ^ https://www.billymanas.com/?p=3
  34. ^ Keith Bunin, "From the Writers’ Picket Lines: ‘I Hate That I’m on Strike", Beliefnet, November 15, 2007.
  35. ^ Records at Oakwood Friends School
  36. ^ "University Archives :: Hargrett Library :: University of Georgia Libraries". uga.edu. Retrieved 13 October 2015.
  37. ^ "Holdings: Biographical dictionary of American educators /". yorku.ca.
  38. ^ "Lindley M. Moore House, Rochester New York". Historic Structures.
  39. ^ "ACCCC: Bio > Jones, Rufus Matthew". yale.edu.
  40. ^ "Abstract". agronomy.org.
  41. ^ "Adam and Anne Mott: their ancestors and their descendants : Cornell, Thomas Clapp, 1819-1894 : Free Download & Streaming : Internet Archive". Archive.org. Retrieved 2016-02-05.
  42. ^ "Head of School Announced". Oakwood Friends School. October 25, 2015. Archived from the original on December 8, 2015. Retrieved December 8, 2015.

External links[edit]