Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy

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Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy was one of the oldest educational institutions of the Methodist Episcopal Church. It was established by Methodist clergy of New England in 1818. Originally located in New Market, New Hampshire, it was intended both for general educational purposes and for young men intending to enter the ordained ministry.[1]

Move to Massachusetts[edit]

In 1824 an act of incorporation was obtained from the legislature of Massachusetts,[2] and the academy was moved to Wilbraham, where it opened in September 1825. Eight students were present on opening day, and thirty-five attended during that first term. Its first principal after it moved to Massachusetts was Dr. Wilbur Fisk, who served until 1831, when he became president of Wesleyan University. The academy later merged with Monson Academy and became Wilbraham & Monson Academy, which continues to occupy the Wilbraham campus.

Other principals[edit]

  • W. McK. Bangs, A.M. (1831–32)
  • John Foster, A.M.(1832–34)
  • David Patton, D.D. (1834–41)
  • Charles Adams, D.D. (1841–45)
  • Robert Allyn, D.D. (1845–48)
  • Minor Raymond, D.D. (1848–64)
  • Edward Cooke, D.D. (1864–74)
  • Nathaniel Fellows, A.M. (1874-?)

Academic facilities[edit]

In the 1870s, Wilbraham Wesleyan Academy was in a "healthful and beautiful" location, with extensive grounds, including farmland of 196 acres (0.79 km2). There were six buildings devoted to academic purposes, the chief of which were "large and most conveniently arranged". Its library at the time contained 5,300 volumes, with "good philosophical, chemical and mathematical apparatus, a cabinet, museum, and apparatus valued at $14,000" (at that time).

Faculty and student body[edit]

The academy employed "a corps of able professors" in the various departments. Its students, which included both young men and young women (indeed, one-third of the total students were women, somewhat unusual at that time), averaged between 200 and 300 per year. Many engaged in teaching and professional studies. Some prepared for college.

Notable alumni[edit]


  1. ^ Massachusetts Board of Education; George A. Walton (1877), "Report on Academies: Wesleyan Academy", Annual Report...1875-76, Boston – via Internet Archive 
  2. ^ George Adams (1853). "Education in Massachusetts: Incorporated Academies". Massachusetts Register. Boston: Printed by Damrell and Moore.