Thursday, March 20, 2008

Cleaveland's Centennial Discourse

To celebrate the much anticipated 100th Anniversary of Dummer Academy, former Headmaster Nehemiah Cleaveland gave an historical discourse on August 12, 1863 on the grounds of the historic school . The following day the Newburyport newspaper reported that: "The Dummer Centennial passed off yesterday under the most favorable auspices. The day was delightful, as fine as any, we will venture to say, that has shone on the school for the century that has elapsed since its foundation. At an early hour the roads leding from the various railroad stations-Neburypot, Byfield, and Rowley, were thronged with carriages and foot passengers, hastening to participate in the festivities of the day. According to Cleaveland, "The immense tent of the Essex Agricultural Society kindly loaned for the occassion covered a large part of the open space in front of the Mansion House grounds. Above and around it waved flags and streamers. Within, every arrangement that judgement and taste could devise, had been made both for convenience and effect. A broad and elevated platform occupied the eastern end. The large space in front was filled with comfortable settees. Conspicuous at the western end was the portrait of Governor Dummer."

It was estimated that 1000 people were in attendance, the oldest being Jonathan Perley of Salem, a student under Master Moody. The program began with a procession of Trustees, Alumnie and invited quest accompanied by the Rowley band playing music written especially for the occasion. After dinner, served by a Boston caterer, guests listened while Nehemiah Cleaveland spoke for two hours delivering his address. Below are the first fifteen pages of Cleaveland's Historical Discourse published in 1865. (Click on images to enlarge)