The Bethel Journals

The Gould Academy Journal 1886 - 2011

Posted: July 15, 2015


Text Box: Frank E Hanscom Text Box: Ordway HallText Box: LibraryText Box: Teacher TrainingText Box: PrincipalsText Box: 1893 Catalog




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For years before and after 1886 Bethel wrestled with the question of high school education for its scholars. Despite Gould’s Academy being a locally owned Bethel institution guided by Bethel citizens, there was public ambivalence as to its role as a town school.


Gould’s Academy had helped many young Bethel residents to better prepare themselves for teaching at the town’s 24 widely scattered district schools. Many young men and women had attended special “Normal School” courses at Gould’s Academy even though they did not graduate from the academy.


However, year after year the town’s voters could not arrive at an agreeable formula for providing free public high school education for their children at either Gould’s Academy or at a separate town high school. Many voters doubted that high school was essential to their children’s Gould Academy (1881) building.jpgeducation.  


To demonstrate the “for and against” numbers involved, look at the special town meeting of March 31st, 1892.  The town voted 147 to 107 to rescind the vote whereby at the annual town meeting $800 was appropriated to pay tuition of town scholars at Gould Academy under public laws of 1889


The photograph (left) was printed in a special addition of the Bethel News in January 1904. Built in 1881 it was constantly modified right up to 1933 when the current Hanscom Hall replaced it as the main academic building. At the end its entrance looked much like Hanscom Hall.






Gould’s Academy


1886 was the 50th anniversary year of the Bethel Academy’s charter.  Upon accepting the terms of Rev Daniel Gould’s bequest in 1843, the academy’s name was changed to Gould’s Academy at Bethel.


Maj. Gideon Hastings, 65, one of Bethel’s most widely experienced and respected citizens was President of the Board of Trustees of Gould’s Academy.


Mr. Goodwin R. Wiley, 40, was Secretary of the Gould’s Academy trustees – skilled druggist and pharmacist – prominent Mason – held the second highest office in the Grand Lodge – noted for his excellent clerical work.


Mr. William E. Skillings, 40, chaired the trustee’s Executive Committee. He was president and principal owner of the Bethel Steam Mill Company.








In 1886, Gould Academy’s school building was five years old, having been built in 1881. The 1881 school building succeeded the orginal Bethel Academy school house built in 1836.




  It was located on Church Street in Bethel approximately where the current Hanscom Hall is in 2007. 


The only public room in this building was the library / reading room.  At least monthly local newspapers ran a sentence or two inviting Bethel people to visit the reading room where daily papers and monthly journals were part of the public’s reading materials.


Gould Academy did not have a public assembly hall in 1886.  Graduating exercises, student performances and oral examinations / declamations were usually held at Ideal Hall. Two other halls available for the academy’s use were Rialto Hall on Main Street and Pattee’s Hall on Spring Street.





Other prominent Bethel men who filled trustee seats in 1886 were:


Ceylon Rowe, 48, Bethel merchant; Samuel B. Twitchell, 57, respected legislator and farmer ;

Gilman P. Bean, 61 long time merchant and storekeeper; Addison E. Herrick, Bethel attorney. , 39; Richard A. Frye, Bethel attorney, 57; John M. Philbrook, 46, successful livestock dealer;

William E. Skillings, 40, President of Bethel Steam Mill Co.;  Alfred W. Valentine, 45, Bethel’s school committee;




The Gould Academy Journal - 1886


January 8, 1886, The Oxford County Advertiser published a Gould’s Academy advertisement with the following information: The spring term of Gould’s Academy will begin Tuesday, March 2, and continue for 13 weeks. “Classical and Academic courses of study are established and advantages are offered to those unable to follow one of the regular courses. Special courses will be formed during the coming term to favor those who have been teaching during the winter. For any other information address the Principal, A.F. Sweetser    Bethel Maine. “



Bethel Annual Town Meeting “Article 17 – to see if the town will vote to raise a sum of $500 in connection with the Academy fund for the support of a high school to be free for all scholars residing in town.”


3-19-1886 . Gould Academy is running full blast with about one hundred scholars, many from distant towns. H.F. West, Esq., of Upton sends two  daughters.


Gould’s Academy opened Tuesday, the 9th, with one hundred scholars; A.F. Sweetser, Principal and Miss Cobb of Bates College and Miss Susie B. Twitchell Assistants. The Trustees of the Academy Fund decided that they cannot unite with the town in a free high school without forfeiting their fund.


5-14-1886 (Advertiser)  Thirty-four local district teachers met at Gould’s Academy April 24th to be examined by the Superintending School Committee of Bethel. Those receiving the rank of 90 per cent and upwards were ten, viz: C.E. Valentine, Henry Hastings, Edith A. Philbrook, Mary R. Eames, Ida Hazelton, Han B. Jewett, Ella B. Eames, May Harmon, Mary Chapman, Etta Howe.


July 30, 1886 (Advertiser): “Gould’s Academy, Bethel, begins its fall term August 24th under the management of W.R. Howard of Belfast. A graduate of Maine State College, assisted by Susie B. Twitchell, a daughter of S.B. Twitchell of Bethel and H.T. Johnson, a graduate of Princeton College. We esteem this corps of teachers a very strong working power, and the Executive Committee of the Trustees, of whom William E. Skillings, esq., is chairman, is very fortunate in their selection of so efficient a staff of instructors.


Mr Howard is highly recommended as a progressive scholar, especially efficient in mathematics and the sciences.  Miss Twitchell we all know to be an exceptional worthy preceptress of successful experience, and Mr. Johnson has studied two years in a university in Germany and lived two years in France and is well up in the languages. Miss Hall needs no recommendation from us as a teacher of painting and music having spent several winters at the New England Conservatory of Music in Boston and a lady we all know.


10-15-1886:The young ladies at Gould Academy gave a sociable last Friday evening at Rialto Hall, which was a thoroughly enjoyable occasion. Games were played, refreshments served, and when the time for going home came, all voted that the girls knew how to manage an affair of the kind as well if not better than the young gentlemen.


Bethel can boast of one of the best institutions of learning in the State, Gould’s Academy, from which have gone forth into our vast country, men of brains and intelligence and have taken their stand on the very pinnacle of fame and made their mark in the world.


Professor Howard, A.M., and his staff of assistants and teachers, led off by Mr. Johnson, a teacher of languages, a gentlemen who graduated from one of the best institutions of learning in all Germany, and other proficient helpers. The present number of students is 82 and we are expecting a large increase for the winter term.


        An Academy boarding house is being talked up and is very much needed and we hope another year to introduce the students of neighboring towns to a boarding house of minimum prices and good appointments






1-11-1887: The winter term of Gould’s Academy opened (last month) with about 60 pupils in attendance – a larger number than has been registered at the opening of corresponding terms since the new building has been erected (1881).


Spring term will begin Tuesday, February 22, 1887 and will continue 13 weeks under the management of W. R. Howard, B. S. Preceptor and Instructor in Science, Mathematics and Literature. Miss Susie B. Twitchell - Preceptress and Instructor in English Language and History and by H. T. Johnson, A. M. (Heidelberg and Princeton), who will have charge of the Department of Ancient and Modern Languages.


 Tuition: $7.00 English and $6.00 Languages. Good board can be obtained at reasonable rates with private families in the village. For further information inquire of W. R. Howard - Bethel, Me.


5/20/87. Gould’s Academy graduation exercises at Ideal Hall (2005, second floor of the Opera House) Thursday, May 19th. Thirteen in the class: three in Business Course, five in Scientific Course, five in Classical Course.  Students at the graduation spoke on the following topics: Government Control of the R.R. and telegraph, Strikes, Joan of Arc, Prohibition, Illiteracy of the United States, The Crusades, A Plea for the Knights of Labor, What is an Education, Chinese Immigration, Protection, and Free Trade.


9/16/87. Gould’s Academy is prospering with 82 students enrolled and more expected for the new term.


12/2/87.  Gould Academy closed last week, November 23.  Public examination on classes: in Greek, Latin, French, Geometry, Algebra and Elocution.  There was large attendance at an evening exhibition – proceeds will go to purchase new classroom apparatus for the academy.






February 14, Gould Academy closed the winter term on Wednesday.


February 28, Gould Academy’s spring term opens today. Many are expected from out of town. Large attendance anticipated.


March 6, Gould Academy opened its spring session with 75 scholars.


May 5, Gould Academy closed a successful session with exhibitions. There was a prize debate on the topic of organized labor and strikes. A prize of $10 was put up by A. E. Herrick, Esq. A Mr. Elliott of Rumford won the prize. An enjoyable reunion was held at Rialto Hall.


August 28,  the fall term of Gould Academy commences Sept. 4th, Tuesday, in charge of A. C. Dresser, A.B., principal, with an able corps of assistants ( Prof. Linscott and Miss Wingate).  Mrs. Abiel Chandler opens her house to school boards at $2.50 a week.


December 4, the fall term of Gould Academy closed with an exhibition at Ideal Hall.







2/26/1889:  Gould Academy closed the winter term with examinations on Wednesday and Thursday and a reunion at Ideal Hall on Friday.


3/12/1889:  Gould Academy opened its spring term Tuesday with 100 scholars – in charge of Professors Dresser (principal) and Linscott and Miss Wingate.


5/28/1889: Gould Academy closing exercises will occur May 29th. Proceeds from the entertainment after the exercises will be devoted to the (Gould) library.


6/4/1889: Gould Academy: The Democrat’s correspondent notes that Professors Dresser and Linscott as well as Miss Wingate close their year with Gould and it is much to be regretted that they sever their connection with the school.


8/20/1889: Mr. A.D. Hall formerly of Beverly, Mass. high school has been appointed principal of Gould Academy. He is a classical scholar graduate of a leading Pennsylvania college. He will have two assistants. Fall term opens September 3rd. 9/10/1889: Gould Academy opened Tuesday with 60 scholars under the charge of Prof. Hall and two lady assistants.


11/26/1889: Bethel: Gould Academy closed a most successful season Friday with a public examination in the forenoon and an exhibition in the afternoon at Ideal Hall. The examination was highly creditable to the scholars and shows Prof. Hall, the principal, to be a thorough teacher, methodical in all his arrangements and decided in his discipline. He incurred some displeasure from some of the scholars and parents due to his opposition to whist parties and dances for the scholars during the term of school but he has the support and approbation of friends of education and good order in his efforts to make discipline.


  12/17/1889: : Several students from West Bethel are going to Gould Academy this winter – more intend to enroll in the spring and have made boarding arrangements. Pref. Hall is fast gaining an excellent reputation as an impartial worker in his calling. 12/24/1889:  Gould Academy students celebrated the 82nd birthday of the poet John Greenleaf Whittier this week.







An above average amount of news about Gould Academy circulated in 1890; much of it seems tied to the energies, outreach and widened scope of interest of the new academy principal, Arthur D. Hall who had been hired in August, 1889. On the other hand, the Town of Bethel focused new interest on academy – by expressing a “buy the academy and convert it to a public high school” proposal.


The hand of Professor Hall’s influence could be seen in four academy activities: (1) expansion of the school’s library to include promoting its availability to the townspeople; (2) the organization of a Gould Academy Athletic Association, (3) encouragement of local teachers to apply for Normal Courses to help improve the quality of education for local public school teachers; and (4) personally traveling outside of Bethel Hill village to visit students and their families.


In January, Gould gave public notice of its recently expanded library, also open to visitors, that included two daily Boston newspapers, two county newspapers, Harper’s Weekly as well as educational, scientific and literary journals. These publications would be available in the newly arranged reading room.


March news invited teachers to normal lectures at the Academy with lecture subjects being Aids and Methods in Teaching, History, Reading, Arithmetic, Geography and Grammar. An outline of psychology and its applications to teaching would also be given.


In what seemed like a proposal to assume the academy into the town school system, the 1890 annual town meeting warrant included this article for voter consideration:


Art 26th. To see if the town will vote to accept the building and other property now in the hands of the Trustees of Gould Academy, if said Trustees shall vote to surrender the said property to the town; and to establish and maintain said Academy as a free high school under the provisions of sections 30, 37, 38, and 39 of the Schools Laws of Maine, and to appropriate such sum of money as may be necessary to support and maintain said Academy as a free high school.


This article failed to pass.  Moreover, the Trustees were concerned that money received from the state would be forfeited if the academy in effect became a public high school.


In April 1890, the academy announced formation of the Gould Academy Athletic Association.


On May 22nd at Ideal Hall the Gould Academy graduation and exhibition took place. Graduating class: Cora Walton Hastings, Maude Everett Kimball and Bert Lewis Bryant, all were in the classical course.


West Bethel’s correspondent reported that some scholars from their village attended Gould Academy; taking advantage of the Grand Trunk Railroad’s reduced rates for scholars this group was at home nights.


In June, the trustees announced that they had engaged Prof. Hall for another year.


The academy advertised its fall term for 1890 as follows: Autumn Term Commences, September 2, 1890, Location is in the beautiful section of the Androscoggin valley. Courses of study include Classical, Scientific, Literary, Practical Business, Normal Courses and Music and Art., Prof. Arthur Hall, Principal


In September, Gould Academy opened with about 50 scholars under the supervision of Prof. Hall. Miss Johnson who assisted him last year was obliged to give up the school on account of her health. His sister and another competent teacher assisted him.


     The newly formed athletic association provided these two news items:


The Gould Academy Athletic Association has just received $18 worth of tennis good from Boston. The club court is marked out and ready for use.  The Athletic Exhibition Friday evening is for the benefit of the Academy library. The dumb bell drills by 24 girls and boys in costume is a pretty sight. Dancing will follow the exhibition.


   Gould Academy Athletic Association gave an exhibition at Ideal Hall on November 14th. The program consisted of a variety of gymnastic events including the parallel bars and the high kick. The high kick was won by Archie Grover with a kick that reached 7 feet and 10 inches. Young ladies presented a dumb bell drill - all of this from the careful coaching of Prof Hall.







January 20: The village schools have closed and due to the shortness of the winter term a private school has opened for those who wish to attend at the academy and taught by Miss Inez Stewart.  January 27:  The second of the series of lectures being given at Gould Academy occurred January 19th. The subject was “Combustion” which was scientifically illustrated


March 3:  The winter term of Gould Academy opened last Tuesday. March 17: West Bethel: Only about half of our Gould Academy students could attend school this week due to prevalent coughs and bad colds


April 24: A business college course of exercises is introduced into Gould Academy by Mr. (Prof.) Hall. Ceylon Rowe has given ten dollars towards a replenishment of books in Gould Academy Library. Funds are being raised for that purpose. Students of Gould Academy had a surprise sugar party and sociable Thursday. First event of the evening surprised the principal. Misses Farwell, Pride and Grover had taken a paper through the village and raised over $50 for the (Academy’s) library. The reading room “promised well last year” reaching above expectations. All the magazines and papers promised for this year have been received except the “Atlantic” and Youth’s Companion. “For these and this last token of good will we are indebted to the kindly interest of Bethel people and their generosity.


May 15: Bethel: Mrs. Jacob Horton of Bethel who is about to leave for California has made a valuable contribution to the zoological collection at Gould Academy. It is a collection of over 750 different kinds of eggs including those of turtles, snakes and even a humming bird’s egg. Her fine collection of specimens is now in the cabinet and opens for viewing.


The Gould Academy Athletic Association has just finished grading and fixing a nice lawn for croquet. The popular Newport game will be a favorite with the ladies. The association’s new flying rings have been in use this week; good hard muscle is expected as a result of their use. Rev. Mr. Barton preaches the baccalaureate sermon to the graduating class next Sunday. May 29: Gould Academy: A successful term closed Thursday with an examination in the morning and graduation exercises in the evening.


The Bethel Water Company has voted to give water to the two public schools in town and to Gould Academy.


[Special to the Oxford County Advertiser.]


Gould Academy Alumni Association. For some time it has been thought by the students of Gould Academy, that it would be an excellent plan to form an alumni association, in order that at least once a year, a reunion might be held of those scholars and classmates, who have gone out from the Academy from year to year.


But heretofore, no steps have been taken to carry out this plan, until at the close of  the last term, when through the efforts of Prof. Hall, the two classes of ‘90 and ‘91 met at the Elms House and formed such an association , electing the following officers: President, B.L. Bryant; vice President, Maude Kimball; secretary, Alice Pride; treasurer, Arthur Wiley. But we find that no accurate account has been kept for the last twenty years, of the various classes. Partly because of the frequent changes of teachers, and partly because there has been no organization upon whom this duty would fall.   


For this reason we would ask, that all those who can give us information regard to any of the se classes, of who they were composed, and as far as possible their business and address at the present time, not only would confer a great favor upon the present officers, but would help to carry out a work, which we hope will be of some use to the institution., and productive of many pleasant gatherings in the future.      


Let each one, for the moment, lay aside their many busy cares, and , in your thoughts wander back to the many pleasant and profitable hours spend at the Old Academy, and consider , whether or not, it would be pleasant to meet again, the same boys and the same girls, only of “older growth,” with whom you enjoyed so many happy days.     This is what we are striving to do, and we trust that we shall not be disappointed, but shall receive the cordial aid of all the former students. Kindly address all communications to the president at Bethel.


September 8: West Bethel: Several scholars attending Gould Academy from West Bethel are boarding at home. September 11:  Bethel: Gould Academy has opened with every indication of a prosperous term. The Senior Class has showed great energy and tact in the management of the school ride and picnic Monday. The outing’s description covers its trip to “Peake’s Hill” at sundown, a corn roast and marvelous views of the river valley and mountains.


October 13: The second annual field day of the Interscholastic Athletic League was held at the (Oxford) county fair grounds Saturday afternoon. The schools represented in the league are Bridgton Academy, Gould Academy, Hebron Academy and Norway High School. The program consisted of track and field events.


November 27: Gould Academy students entertained the village people in A.S. Bean’s Hall (in West Bethel) with a mock trial and other presentations.


December 4:  North Newry: Genie Littlehale is to return with Maenette to Bethel to attend Gould’s Academy.






January 12, 1892: Mr. Charles N. Thomas of Boston will give his very interesting and instructive lecture on “Heroes and Battlefields of the Civil War" at Gould Academy. The academy has a flourishing lyceum, which has joined the Lyceum League of America. The lyceum will hold a public meeting on Jan. 20th and all are invited to come and hear the exercises and debate.


February 21, 1892: The Lincoln Club of Gould Academy has joined the Lyceum League of America. Their first debate was on “Protection vs. Tariff for Revenue”.


 Arrangements have been made with the Weather Bureau so that the academy receives the daily weather report and chart and is to have the telegraphic reports and display weather signals as soon a the new flagstaff is erected.


March 1, 1892: The spring term at Gould Academy opened Tuesday with good attendance. Professor Hall is the principal.


Bethel:  At the town meeting the usual officers were elected and the appropriations seem to be about $2,000 less than last year. Everything passed off quietly until the article for appropriating money for the academy was called. Then there was considerable wrangling, some speechmaking, etc., but after two or three votes it was voted by a small majority “that the town authorize and instruct its supervisor to contract with and pay the trustees of Gould Academy for tuition of its scholars in accordance with chapter 167, Public Laws of 1889.” $800 was appropriated for this purpose. (That amount would pay tuition for about 38 students.)


March 31, 1892:  Bethel:  Special town meeting on this date. Warrant: 1. To choose a moderator; 2. to see if the town will vote to rescind a vote made at the annual meeting to raise and appropriate $800 to be expended in a contract with Gould’s Academy trustees for the tuition of scholars in the town of Bethel.


At the special town meeting last Thursday the town voted 147 to 107 to rescind the vote whereby at the annual meeting $800 was appropriated to pay tuition of town scholars at Gould Academy.


April 19, 1892. A public examination of (public school) teachers is announced for April 23 at Gould Academy.


July 5, 1892: Mr. (James D.) Merriman, the new principal of Gould Academy, was here preparing for the new term.  Gould Academy’s fall term will open on August 30th.


Columbus Day Celebration in Bethel:  Forenoon exercises at Gould Academy began the observance. At 1:00 PM a procession was formed in front of the GAR Hall consisting of different school and societies of the place. The march continued through the principal streets to the academy grounds.  The president’s proclamation was read. Then the flag was unfurled with three good cheers – followed by singing America and saluting the flag.  The march continued to Odeon Hall where there was appropriate singing and remarks by Prof. Merriman and prayer by Rev. Fickett. Addresses adapted to the occasion were given by Rev Fickett of the Methodist church, Rev. Beem of the Universalist Church, and Judge Woodbury.  Besides those in the hall many gathered outside. The procession marched to martial music and many school children were present. (President Benjamin Harrison had issued a proclamation for the special observance of the 400th anniversary of Columbus’ discovery.)


November 15, 1892 news: Gould Academy will close its fall term next week. The school was never in a more flourishing condition. Prof. Merriman is much praised. Gould Academy closed the 12 week fall term on Friday.  Mr. Merriman, the principal, is generally thought to have been highly successful for his first term here.


November 29, 1892: Lectures by Prof. H.L. Chapman of Bowdoin, at the Opera House was announced to benefit Gould Academy during the coming season.






This catalog is the property of the Bethel Historical Society.  It was printed by the Lewiston Journal Printers




The 1892-1893 Gould Academy Catalog contains a wealth of information about the academy of these years. It showed that the school’s organization was divided into academics and administration. The trustees were actively involved in the academy’s administration not just an advisory board.


The Board of Trustees was composed of 13 members.  The board was organized into a panel of officers, an executive committee, examining committee and a superintendent of academy and grounds.


Officers were Gideon A. Hastings, President

Gilman P. Bean, Vice President

Goodwin R. Wiley, Secretary

Samuel B. Twitchell, Treasurer


The Executive Committee was chaired by Addison E. Herrick, an attorney with four other trustees as members: R.A. Frye, Enoch Foster, J.U. Purington and Charles Mason.


The Examining Committee consisted of Enoch Foster, Addison Herrick and R.A. Frye.


Goodwin Wiley, the Secretary of the Board was also Superintend of the Academy and Grounds. Correspondence from academy applicants came to Mr. Wiley, although as a practical matter Wiley and the principal worked closely on the enrollment process and in assistance with student boarding.


Other members of the Board of Trustees: A.L. Burbank, Ceylon Rowe, John M. Philbrook and Albert W. Grover.


Corps of Instructors


James D. Merriman, A.B., Principal, Ancient Languages, Science, Book-Keeping

Lydia R. Smith, A.B., French, History, Literature

Clara D. Merriman, Mathematics, German

Mary Chapman, English

Prof. W.S. Wight, Vocal Music

W.S. Chandler, Assistant in Laboratory

Miss M. C. Chapman, Librarian


Courses of Study


Literary and scientific, commercial and classical courses made up the academy’s program of study.


English compositions and declamations were required of students in all departments. The academy had a complete business college outfit comprising merchandise cards, currency and office equipment for wholesale, commission and freight offices, post office, bank and commercial exchange.


Click here for read further in the courses of study section.




In the 1893 catalog, a total of 103 students were named as enrolled for the three terms which made up the school year; the senior level listed six students.  Not all 103 students attended all three terms however.


The catalog’s description of the school building called it new and commodious. It was situated on the Grand Trunk rail line and pure water was supplied by the Bethel Water Company.


Click here to read further in the students section.


Page 8 of the 1893 catalog covered the Library and Reading Room. The Gould library was frequently publicized in the county newspapers as being open to the public. Other paragraphs covered boarding, expenses and general regulations.


Athletics were not covered in this catalog.









Principals  1886 – 1893

As evident from the list below, principals changed often at Gould during this eight year period. Mr. A.D. Hall achieved the longest tenure of all principals during this period. One can speculate that he might have remained longer had the town not voted down an article to pay Gould tuition for Bethel students.


A.F. Sweetser – winter, spring terms 1886.


W.R. Howard – Fall and winter, 1886; spring, fall and winter 1887; spring 1888.


A.C. Dresser – Fall, 1888; spring, 1889.


A.D. Hall – Fall and winter, 1889; spring, fall and winter, 1890; spring, fall and winter, 1891; spring of 1892.


James D. Merriman – Fall and winter, 1892; spring, 1893.






First edition of The Academy Herald was prepared to cover the 1896 -1897 winter term.

(It seems apparent that the academy administration was unaware of any previous such publication.)


Herald 96001.jpg



This first Herald contained 14 printed pages plus front and back and inside covers. It carried 23 advertisements of Bethel businesses. News Publishing Company, Bethel, Maine, printed the first Herald. The Academy Herald was published by the students of Gould’s Academy and published once a term. Price: 5 cents a copy.



Managing Editor

Cora H. Farwell

Assistant Editors:

(All Bethel students)

Winnifred Hall

Ethel M Richardson

Alice C Perkins

Ethel Eames

George H. French

Business Managers

Florence Carter, Bethel

Beatrice Kelliher, Bethel



Fred W Flood, A.B.


Alice E. Purington

Henry L. Small


The first edition of the Herald contained these articles: Editorial, “Old Gould’s” (recollections), An Open Letter from F.O. Small, previous principal, “My Favorite Poet – Sir Walter Scott”, “Quotations Applied”, “The Home of the Sibyl”, Dryden’s Virgil, “Wanted” Someone to pronounce Latin for Latin beginners, … continued, “Personals:” “In Memoriam”, “A Pleasant Occasion” , “The Philomel Society”, “The Prize Examination”, “Sea Breezes” by Cornelia B. French. (Cornelia French was the recent graduate remembered In Memoriam; she died shortly after graduation.)  Printed below is the Personals column:


Norman Gehring is in Bowdoin College.

Alice Chamberlin is attending school in Portland.

Albert C. Eames, G. A. '94, is now in Bowdoin College.

Fred Merrill, G. A. '96, is attend­ing Bowdoin College.

George Merrow, '96, is teaching school at Bryants Pond.

Archer Grover is attending the Maine State College at Orono.

Miss Cora Walton Hastings is employed in the Chicago University.

Miss Jennie M. Wood is principal of the Grammar school in Pittsfield, N. H.

Favorite saying of the girls: — "Miss Purington, please play us a waltz."

Miss Joan Stearns, '96, lately of Shaw's Business College, is now em­ployed in Herrick & Park's law office.

F. O. Small, a former popular teacher of Gould's Academy, is now Principal of Washington Academy, East Machias.

Miss Clyde Bartlett one of G. A's former students, is teaching in Han­over and has every prospect of mak­ing a fine teacher.

Since the laughing girl, Lizzie Moulton, graduated in '95, she has been teaching, but is now at the home of her parents in West Newfield.


A Bethel Chair Company advertisement in the Business Directory of the first Herald:-



1895 - 1896

Catalogue of the Officers and Students


Gould’s Academy

Bethel, Maine

1895 – 1896

Printed at the News Office, Bethel, Maine 1895




Board of Trustees

G. A. HASTINGS,            G. E. WILEY,

R. A. FRYE,                    CEYLON ROWE,



A. L. BURBANK,              J. U. PURINGTON,

A. E. HERRICK                   ALBERT W. GROVER,

Officers for 1895 - 1896

G. A. HASTINGS,   President.

CHARLES MASON,    Vice-President.

G. R. WILEY, Secretary.

S. B. TWITCHELL,   Treasurer.

Executive Committee

A. E. HERRICK, Chairman

R. A. FRYE,                        ENOCH FOSTER,


Examining Committee.


G. R. WILEY. Superintendent of Academy and Grounds.




Fred Ossian Small, A.B., Principal

Ancient Languages, Chemistry, Commercial Department


Cora Walton Hastings, A.B.

French, German, Mathematics, Physics

Alice Emma Purington

English, Literature, History, Astronomy

Winifred Hall, Librarian

Barton A Smith, Janitor


Each catalogue included a brief history of the academy. Authors of these brief histories were not usually identified; however, each account seemed to cover a financial or academic aspect of the academy’s background that was sometimes not found in larger histories.


Historical Sketch

The people of Bethel have always shown an active interest in education.

No town in the state can boast of having a larger percentage of college graduates among its residents or of having sent proportionately so large a number of young men and women to the colleges and seminaries of New England.

The first settlers brought with them the habits of their Puritan ancestors, and early took measures to have their children enjoy the advantages of education. A school was established as early as 1788 and a school-house was soon built.

In 1835 the citizens formed an organization as trustees of the Bethel High School, a hall was fitted up for a school-room and N. T, True was employed as principal. Encouraged by their success, the trustees reorganized and obtained a charter for an Academy, which by act of the Legislature, January 27, 1836, was incorporated as Bethel Academy. A building was erected and Isaac Randall was the first instructor and opened the first term of school on the second Wednesday of September, 1836.

The institution was without funds and depended upon public patronage for support. But in 1842, Rev. Daniel Gould of Rumford, made a bequest, since known as the "Gould Fund," on con­dition that the name be changed to "Gould's Academy in Bethel," which was done. A grant/ of a half-township of land was made in 1850; this was sold and the proceeds were termed the ''State Fund." In 1855, Dr. John Grover made a donation, the interest of which was to be expended only for chemical and physical appara­tus.

The present academy building was built in 1881, is well lighted, pleasant, and fully adapted to the purpose for which it was erect­ed.

Among other gifts to the Academy should be mentioned those of the citizens of Bethel, who, at different times during the early days, subscribed such sums as they could for the needs of the in­stitution; and especially in 1882, when $1,123.00 was raised in this way for the purpose of furnishing the new building. Through the kindness of the Bethel Water Company, the building is sup­plied with pure water.

In 1891, by a resolve of the Legislature, the Academy realized several thousand dollars.

Under the direction of Goodwin R. Wiley, Samuel B. Twitchell and John M. Philbrook, Committee on Repairs, the Academy has been thoroughly repaired and renovated during the past year. Steel ceilings are now used throughout the building; slate blackboards have  been placed in all the recitation rooms; a new floor has been laid in the gymnasium and the walls sheathed with hard pine; the boys’ coat-room and the small recitation room have been enlarged; the furniture has been re-finished; and with a bright new coat of paint inside and out, the Academy has, in all respects the appearance of a new building.





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The 1897 Academy is the first appearance of Principal Frank E. Hanscom



            December 1913:  Carroll E. Valentine, a recent Gould Academy graduate and grandson of Alfred W. Valentine, wrote a letter to Gould Academy Principal, Prof. Frank E. Hanscom describing is impressions of college life at Dartmouth College.  Mr. Valentine ended his letter with a statement of confidence that his college future would be secure due to the educational foundation given him at Gould.

“College work is no trifling matter and one needs to know in advance what real study means and to have sufficient stability of character to stick to it. I believe, from experience, that Gould’s Academy will give him this knowledge and training, amid the best surroundings and under the best possible influence.”



July 1920 Teacher Training Course at Gould’s Academy


Gould’s Academy made the following announcement which was printed in the Oxford County Citizen, July 1, 1920. The article explained the academy’s choice of Miss Carrie Wight to head their teacher training course


 For nearly ten years this course has played an important part in supplying trained teachers for the ungraded schools of Bethel and surrounding towns.  The great shortage of teachers makes this course of more importance than ever before, and it is the purpose of the school and the desire of the State school officials to make this course second to none if its kind. To that end no pains have been spared to secure the best instruction available.


The election of Miss Carrie M. Wight to take charge of this department should mark a new era in the history of the course. Miss Wight was graduated from Gould’s Academy in 1902 as valedictorian of her class.  She then taught for five or six years in ungraded and grammar schools, thus laying the best possible foundation for a Normal course.  Entering Gorham Normal School she was graduated with high honors in the class of 1911, and was immediately elected Critic Teacher of the 5th and 6th grades in the training department of the Machias State Normal School.  After filling this position for two years she was made Supt. of the Training School, a position she has continued to hold until she resigned to accept the position at Gould’s.


Miss Wight has taken summer courses at Hyannis Normal School and Harvard College, and has done extensive observation work in some of the best schools of the country, such as the Horace Mann School, New York, and the grade school in Brookline and Newton, Mass. Few, if any, teachers in the State are better qualified to direct a Teacher Training course than Miss Wight, and pupils taking this course may be assured of receiving, with the limits of the course, as good instruction as can be secured in any of our State Normal Schools.


Pupils, who have completed two years in a standard high school or academy, can complete the Normal course in two years. Graduates of such schools by close application, may complete the strictly (unreadable word) work in one year. A catalogue of the school will be sent on application to the Principal.



Click here to go to the 1921 announcement about the William Bingham Gym.



The Admissions office building in 2011.


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In 1948 the building was faculty housing for the Andersons (Coach Anderson) and the Bowhays (George Bowhay).



The Alumni Office

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In earlier times (1940’s and 1950’s) this was the home of Ellery Park and his daughter Muriel Park Mason and her husband Harry Mason.


Ordway Hall – 1998


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This building holds the main dining hall and kitchen for students; the second floor has a conference room and meeting room for trustees; it was dedicated in 1998 and named for Alan Ordway of Bridgton who was Chairman of the Trustees for many years.




The Bethel Journals

Donald G. Bennett

PO Box 763

Bethel, Maine 04217