Hampton Academy and its Board of Trustees

Hampton Academy & Winnacunnet High School Alumni Association
65th Anniversary, Historic Souvenir Booklet, 1972

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By Arthur J. Moody, Class of '53


The Endowment Era

By 1916, the Trustees were investigating the possibility of setting up trade or vocational courses at the school. The first thought was of agriculture which would gain financing from the Federal Covernnent. But in December 1913, Georgia (Drake) Carpenter offered to establish an income fund of $5,000, in memory of her mother, Betsey (Seavey) Drake, if a Department of Domestic Science or Household Arts were established for girls at the Academy. The Trustees accepted the conditions and the Betsey Seavey Memorial Fund heralded the beginning of the Domestic Arts Department. The income from the principal -- kept in a Manchester bank -- has to this day benefited high-school and junior-high girls. Mrs. Carpenter later (1949) left the school a $10.000 legacy.

Three years after the Seavey Fund was set up, Charles H. Lane, who attended the Academy the same years (1845-50) as did Joshua A. Lane (one of his older brothers), established a trust fund consisting of utility-company bonds with a face value of $ 10,000. According to Dow's "History." Mr. Lane, as a young man, went to Iowa where he and five others purchased and developed a township which was incorporated as the City of Red Oak. Mr. Lane owned several businesses in the city including a sawmill. In 1916, he was located in Seattle where his interest in timber had taken him and where he would live out his life. Fittingly, the Trustees would set up an Agricultural and Manual Training/Woodworking curriculum with the income accruing from the C.H. Lane gift.

In his letter of transmittal to the Trustees, Mr. Lane wrote: "As these are Easter times, it's a good reminder of our duty to do all we can towards the benefit of mankind and as I have always had a warm heart towards the Old Academy from the little time I attended it previous to my fifteenth year of age in 1850, I now wish to take the liberty and pleasure of placing in your care, if acceptable, bonds of the Middle West Utilities Co., the interest of which I desire to be used annually as you think is best for the benefit of that institution for students of your vicinity.... and so continue for all time.... the money these bonds cost (is) the result of the good advice and training of my dear Mother and Father in my youthful days. I wish that you, as I do,consider it as interest on this investment in teaching me as they thought best in those days 70 years ago. And I hope & trust that their burial lot will be ever kept green in their memory...." When the bonds matured, the proceeds were reinvested in other utilities -- mainly the stocks and bonds of railroads. Unfortunately, some of the railroad investments turned sour and a portion of the principal was lost.The Trustees' portfolio still contained a $1,000 par value bond of the Pennsylvania Rail Road (known as the Penn Central Transportation Co. Since 1968) when bankruptcy was declared by that road in mid-1970.

However, another gift to the Academy was provided in the will of Charles Lane, who died in 1920. The second bequest consisted of 100 shares of American Telephone & Telegraph common stock worth, at the time, about $12,000. Accepted in 1922, this Charles H. Lane Trust Fund -- through stock splits, the exercising of stock options/rights/warrants and via additional purchase -- has now grown to 636 shares with a market value of about $30,000 and constitutes more than a fifth of the total assets of the Board of Trustees Corporation. Another trust fund set up through the estate of Mr. Lane provided practical gifts at Christmas time for Hampton children during many decades.

In 1917, another legacy, of $10,000 cash, accrued to the Academy through the will of John W.F. Hobbs of North Hampton. Apparently, provisions were such that the Academy would receive the bequest if the Town of North Hampton declined to manage the trust fund itself or to use the fund for secondary education of its own. The Academy did receive the money and the Trustees agreed to keep the fund intact, using the income for the general support of the school. In so doing, they also consented to provide the Town of North Hampton with four tuition scholarships for four years; apparently, these scholarships continued for some time as mention was made of them at a Trustees' meeting in 1932. Upon receipt of the $10,000, the Trustees' immediately invested $2,000 of it in 4 ¼ percent Liberty Bonds (World War I then being waged); the remainder was later put into various stocks and bonds.

The namesake of Mr. Hobbs, John Wm. French Hobbs (II), was graduated from the Academy in 1904. Upon the death of Trustee Joseph O. Hobbs of North Hampton, who had been the executor of the estate of J.W.F. Hobbs (I), John W.F. Hobbs '04 was elected to fill the vacancy. He served from 1927 to 1935. Major Hobbs died in uniform during World War II. "The John W.F. Hobbs Memorial Bridge" in North Hampton permits Post Road (N.H. Rte. 151) to pass over Interstate-95. In 1935, upon his resignation from the board, Paul W. Hobbs '25 (whose father was "Trustee Joseph 0. Hobbs) was chosen to fill the "North Hampton seat" (or, perhaps, better: the "Hobbs seat"). Paul Hobbs is now serving his 36th year on the Board of Trustees, whose membership now consists mainly of interested Alumni.

In the 10 years ending with 1922, the Academy's endowment had jumped from $8,000 to $45,000.

Changes in the Trustees' Bylaws

Because of the increase in the funds to be managed and the steadily increasing receipts resulting from a larger enrollment, the Trustees created the position of Financial Secretary in 1915 after the death of long-time Treasurer C. G. Toppan. Both that position and Treasurer continued to be filled until about 1940 when the new building operated by the School Board was opened. Albert K. Church was the first to serve as Financial Secretary. A few years later, in 1918, when he resigned the position, he and his wife donated a piece of land adjacent to the school lot. The Trustees thanked the Churches "for their splendid gift" and agreed to place markers and a fence along the new boundary. Forty years after that gift, the Trustees purchased, for a small sum, a piece of back-lot land from Albert K. Church's daughter, Beatrice Church Mason, and presented it to the School Board for expansion of the Academy Junior High's playing fields.

A major revision of the Trustees' Bylaws look place in 1916. The new set of articles made provision for the Financial Secretary, reduced the Board membership to 10 (later,9), and detailed the method of control for the endowment funds. Title of all property belonging to the Academy was still vested in the Board (as originally so vested in 1821 and: "Final authority in all matters relating to the affairs of Hampton Academy shall rest with said Board." Historically. no officers had received any compensation for their services and this was written into the revised Bylaws. The Executive Committee consisting of six Trustees was later reduced in size to four (after the Financial Secretary's position was dropped): the three officers (President, Secretary and Treasurer), and a member at large. In the 1940s, a Finance Committee (added via an amendment to the Bylaws in 1926) of three, gradually replaced the Executive Committee. At the present time. the Finance Committee (which includes at least one officer -- usually the President) manages the Board's affairs between annual meetings. A revision of the Bylaws was completed in 1947.

In the spring of 1916, the Trustees asked the Superintendent of Schools, Albert T. Lane, to "assume supervision of the Academy." Thus, the school took another step toward becoming fully public in nature. The small committees of Trustees which had supervised the day-to-day operations gave way to the Superintendent, who had steadily increased his presence in Academy affairs since the turn of the century. The Superintendent thereafter recruited teachers and supervised the finances and operations. After 1940, of course, he and the School Board had complete control of the new school. No Superintendent became an Academy Trustee but Charles N. Perkins, Superintendent from 1925 to 1930, was elected Auditor of the Corporation in 1926, 1927, 1928 and 1929. The Superintendent usually attended Trustee meetings.

Running water was finally supplied to the Academy building in 1914. After years of studying the matter, it was thought that "further imposition on neighbors was undesirable" and a water pipe was put across private land (with permission). That same year, tuition was increased from $24 to $30 per year. In the fiscal year ending June 30, 1914, North Hampton paid $300 and Hampton Falls $80 for the tuition of their pupils. Tuition received during the accouting period from Hampton was $200 which made up but a small part of the year's $1,400 total income. School expenses increased and the Academy continued to have difficult years financially. On more than one occasion, borrowing was authorized. In 1914, for instance, Board President Lane loaned $325 to help offset a year-end deficit of $552.

In addition to the water, the Board, during this period, spent $125 to make, erect and paint a flagpole in the Academy yard. Trustee Warren M. Batchelder had donated a pine tree for the purpose. Also in 1919, on advice of Arthur Brown of Hampton Falls, the old heating plant was replaced. Money was borrowed to cover that and the cost of shingling the south side of the roof (three years later, the north side was shingled).

There's another interesting entry in the Trustees' record book for the annual meeting on June 13, 1918: "Moved and Voted that a vote of thanks be given Stillman Hobbs for his efficient work in the care of Hampton Academy Buildings as janitor." Stillman Moulton Hobbs of Hampton was then a student at the Academy. He was graduated with the Class of 1920, studying thereafter at Phillips Andover Academy, Bates College and the University of Rochester (N.Y.). The following was written by Harold L. Pierson (D.M.D.) in his weekly "Thoughts.... along the seacoast" column in THE MERCHANT'S REVIEW (Hampton) of June 8, 1969:

"In discussing the 1919 school budget with Stillman M. Hobbs, who upon graduation from Hampton Academy went into the field of education and made an outstanding name for himself in the area of social studies, an interesting bit of 'information' came to light. Stillman Hobbs distinguished himself in New York State -- authored several books on social studies -- came back to Hampton as a Master teacher and head of the social studies department at Winnacunnet High School -- formally retired from the staff last year -- and now teaches a course in the humanities at the High School for advanced credit at the college level. While reading over the list of expenses in the 1918 school budget there appeared an item, 'Stillman W. Hobbs, janitor ... $68.85.' On talking with this Master teacher, I learned that he, himself, was the janitor at the Hampton Academy while a student and the late Chris Toppan, who was then treasurer of the school funds, would hand the pay envelope to Stillman Hobbs each week containing a couple of dollars of hard earned cash at the business end of a broom and mop. When the money changed hands, it was a weekly custom for Chris Toppan to say to the young Stillman Hobbs, 'Mighty easy money there, boy!'"

Upon his partial retirement from teaching at W.H.S., the Class of 1968 dedicated the yearbook, "SACHEM," to Mr. Hobbs with the following words: "We the Class of 1968, proudly dedicate this "SACHEM" to Mr. Stillman Hobbs. His devotion to the ideals of education has won respect from his colleagues and students. A gentleman was once defined as one who never willfully inflicts pain. Stillman Hobbs is a true gentleman and one who will be greatly missed in the field of education."

Another person familiar to the Academy is also mentioned in the Trustees' records for this period. "Miss H.M. Kimball" was reelected as a teacher for the 1919-1920 school year. Miss Helen Kimball, the young teacher of English and French, married Robert O. Brown '17 late in 1921, and returned to the Academy in 1931 to teach until retirement in 1956. Mr. and Mrs. Brown's daughter. Betty J., graduated from the school in 1942, married classmate Earl H. Blatchford and returned to H.A. & H.S. to teach girls' physical education and coach for a number of years. She currently performs those duties at W.H.S. - trying, perhaps, to surpass her mother's 27 years of teaching at the high school in Hampton.

Still another entry in the Trustees' minutes for June 13, 1919, catches one's eye: "Moved and Voted that Mr. Fogg be granted the privilege of pitching his tent in the Academy school yard for the purpose of preaching the Gospel. He wanted the yard for two weeks." The Exeter NEWS-LETTER reported on June 24, 1919, that old-fashioned revival meetings were then in progress in the big tent on the Academy grounds." Rev. L.N. Fogg, the evangelist in charge, is assisted by the following efficient corps of workers and musicians of the New England Conservatory of Music: Russell V. DeLong, violinist, student of Boston University, and Frederick L. Bennett, cornetist. Lynn, Mass."

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