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Vienna Academy

The Vienna Academy was a private school associated with the Vienna Presbyterian Church. Ministers served as the Academy's principals and teachers. At first open to boys and girls but later restricted to boys and designed to prepare its students for college and the professions, the Academy attracted students from Trumbull County and Northeast Ohio. The school was held in private residences and, beginning in 1841, in a building constructed in 1825 to hold religious services and conduct government business. This building was moved from Vienna Township Green at an unknown date and now serves as Vienna Township Hall.

History
According to historian Harriet Taylor Upton, Reverend Nathan B. Derrow proposed what was then called an "English School" at Vienna Center. Reverend Derrow served in the pulpit of Vienna Presbyterian Church from 1810 to 1814 and again from 1816 to 1828, so this proposal, quoted by Upton, likely appeared in The Trump of Fame (the precursor to today's Warren Tribune Chronicle) in the 1820s. The full announcement reads; "The subscriber expects to commence an English School at the center of Vienna on the first Monday of December next, for the instruction of young gentlemen and ladies in arithmetic, English grammar, geography, astronomy, etc. The term will be four months and the price of tuition $3 per term. No scholar will be received for less than half a term--The Sacred Scripture will be
daily read in school and strictest attention paid to the morals and manners, by Nathan B. Darrow."[1]


From the Ohio Observer (Hudson), September 2, 1846.
What private academies offered that common schools did not was instruction in the "higher branches" of learning.

The school was housed in a building located on the Township Green on the west side of the Vienna Presbyterian Church. According to a 1955 history of the Presbyterian Church, the Academy was established in 1841 by Reverend Chester Birge.[2] Yet Warren businessman and historian Whittlesey Adams, in his brief history of the Academy provided to Harriet Taylor Upton, recalled that students were attending the school in the 1830s. He also provided a sense of the boys' experiences at the Academy:

Rev. Chester Birge, pastor of the Presbyterian church in Vienna, was the principal of the Vienna Academy for several years. The academy was quite popular and well patronized during the ‘30s and ‘40s, and boys were sent from Warren to board in his family and attend the school. Among the Warren boys were Leicester and David King, George Adams, George J. Seeley, James VanGorder and Hiram Iddings.

Mr. Birge was a strict disciplinarian and because he made each Sunday last from Saturday evening at sunset until sunrise on Monday morning, the boys would often desire to spend the Sabbath at home, and would often, when the mud was not too deep, walk and run and play on Saturday from Vienna eight miles to Warren, and early Monday morning the boys would trot and trudge back.

 Half way between Vienna and Warren was Howland Corners, where was located on the southeast corner a country tavern, at one time kept by John Collins and afterwards by John Sourers, and here the Birge Academy boys would stop to rest a few minutes and refresh their insides with some ginger cookies and candy and a tin cup of sweet cider.[3]

Other Academy students included businessmen Cyrus B. Snyder [4] (Brookfield), Stephen Doughton [5] (Hubbard), and William Warren Woodruff (Youngstown).[6]

Vienna residents E. J. Giddings,[7] Job J. Holliday,[8] Lorriston G. Merrell,[9] Ada Woodford, S.E. Woodford,[10] and J. R. Chamberlain [11] attended the school.




Public schools and private academies alike invited the public to students' examinations and exhibitions in the nineteenth century.
This advertisement for the Vienna Academy's exercises appeared in the Western Reserve Chronicle on June 27, 1855.



Vienna Academy Building
The building that housed the Vienna Academy was erected in 1825 and was originally used to house religious services and to hold Township meetings. When the Presbyterian Church building was erected in 1837, the building continued to be used for Township business.

When the Vienna Presbyterian Church burned, on January 18, 1853, the Academy building sustained damage.

On April 1, 1861, "one hundred votes were polled for a tax to be levied on the township for purchasing the Academy Building and repairing it for a Town Hall." In 1863, the Vienna Academy stockholders agreed to give possession of the building to Vienna Township. Soon repaired, the building housed Township meetings on the Green until, in the twentieth century, the Vienna Township Trustees removed the building to the property upon which it now [2014] stands, 848 Youngstown-Kingsville Road.


This article is adapted from Vienna, Ohio, "Where We Live and Let Live": Town 4, Range 2 of the Connecticut Western Reserve (Apollo, PA: Closson Press, 1999), pp. 142-143, 161, 163.

[1] Harriet Taylor Upton, A Twentieth-Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago, 1909), Volume 1, p. 597.
[2] History of Vienna Presbyterian Church: A Sequicentennial Issue (1955)
[3] Harriet Taylor Upton, History of the Western Reserve (Chicago and New York: Lewis Publishing Company, 1910), Volume 1, p. 189.
[4] Harriet Taylor Upton, A Twentieth-Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago, 1909), Volume 2, pp. 8-9.
[5] Harriet Taylor Upton, A Twentieth-Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago, 1909), Volume 2, pp. 397-399.
[6] Oberlin Alumni Magazine, October 1912, p. 179.
[7] Frank Hall, History of the State of Colorado ... Volume IV (Chicago: Blakeley Printing Company, 1895), p. 455.
[8] Upton,
A Twentieth-Century History of Trumbull County, Ohio: A Narrative Account of Its Historical Progress, Its People, and Its Principal Interests (Chicago, 1909), Volume 2, pp. 273-274.
[9] History of Crawford County, Pennsylvania : containing a history of the county, its townships, towns, villages, schools, churches, Industries, Etc.; Portraits of Early Settlers and Prominent Men; Biographies; History of Pennsylvania; Statistical and Miscellaneous Matters, Etc., Etc. (Chicago: Warner, Beers & Co., 1885), p. 899.
[10] The History of Washington County, Iowa…. (Des Moines: Union Historical Company, 1880), pp. 622 (Ada Woodford), 632-33 (S.E. Woodford).
[11] History of Trumbull and Mahoning Counties, with Illustrations and Biographical Sketches (Cleveland, Ohio: H. Z. Williams & Bros., 1882), Volume 2, p. 221.