Historian’s Corner: First Schoolhouse

by Thomas Gray
Guilford Town Historian

       Looking at the early development of the Hamlet  of Guilford in Smith’s History of Chenango County, we find across the road from the Presbyterian Church the first schoolhouse. The original building built in 1828 was an Academy (select school & public meetings) on the top floor and a common school on the bottom floor.

        The building was 36 by 24 feet with a chimney in the rear. John Latham, Dauphin Murray, Rufus Baldwin John Whiting, Daniel S. Dickinson, Calvin Mills and Phineas Atwater were elected trustees. They contracted Horace Dresser to teach in the common school for one year for $75 and board. In 1844 the Academy was discontinued.  The building was then only used as a district schoolhouse. The building was repaired and as you see in the photo the two story building was now only one story.

      But the memories of the Academy persist. Students desirous of  not just getting out of school but to make themselves helpful and caring in the world and wanting to make themselves great. Daniel Dickinson in the Academy was one of them. He wrote,

      “Let’s make ourselves great again.”

Historian’s Corner: The Angel Inn

by Thomas Gray
Guilford Town Historian

       Today, we look at the old and closed “Angel Inn.” that had an amazing history! It was first called Parson’s Inn, then the Pillars and later the Angel Inn.

        The first settlers in the town began to arrive before the end of the Civil War. Two brothers who were the first settlers of Wilford by the name of Mersereau came in 1879. A new town began to grow as the family started the first Saw Mill. Plus, the early dirt roads enabled travel into the interior. By 1809 a stagecoach stop opened in what we call Guilford Center today. It was called Parson’s Inn from the Parson family who built and then opened it. It was in 18— that the Persides Meteor shower occurred and set fires, some in the woods near the inn. The fear of Doomsday filled our early settlers minds. The owner of the inn had a wooden Archangel Gabriel constructed by an itinerant wood carver who arrived on the stagecoach. The angel was hung on top of the entrance way to attract settlers who arrived on the stagecoach to remove the fear of the Lord.

         Today, the angel is one of the most valuable pieces of American Folk in the US. Woodcarvers in the Guilford Historical Society created the first exact replica of the angel. It is now in a glass case in the Guilford Historical Society. The inn is now closed but the angel replica is now in our home for you to say “Hello”