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Worcester,Mass - Places of the Past, Highland Military Academy
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Where Military Road joins Salisbury Street, is the site of the grounds and school of the Highland Military Academy. It was opened in 1856. Here the boys who entered the school received military training. A sunset gun was fired every evening when the flag was hauled down. Willie Grout attended this school and his training served him to good purpose in the Civil War which was to follow. He is the one to whom the "Vacant Chair" is dedicated.
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    1902 Worcester Magazine, page 83 starts article about "Highland Military Academy"

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Pete Taylor - Report this comment
From the 1931 book "Old Landmarks and Historic spots of Worcester Massachusetts" the author writes "Where Military Road joins Salisbury Street, is the site of the grounds and school of the Highland Military Academy. It was opened in 1856. Here the boys who entered the school received military training. A sunset gun was fired every evening when the flag was hauled down. Willie Grout attended this school and his training served him to good purpose in the Civil War which was to follow. He is the one to whom the "Vacant Chair" is dedicated.
Rey Rodriguez - Report this comment
Willie Grout (Lt. John W. Grout), has a Sons of Union Veterans Camp named after him. He is believed to be the first Worcester soldier to be killed in the war (10/21/61). He is buried in Worcester's Rural Cemetery. Rey Rodriguez SUVCW Willie Grout Camp #25
jim sadowski- November 23, 2008 - Report this comment
Highland Military from 1856 to 1912. Was located on property at and near 251 Saliabury St
jim sadowski- January 13, 2009 - Report this comment THE time is rapidly approaching when the Academy may celebrate its semi-centennial, since it was in 1856 that the school was founded by the late Caleb B. Metcalf, who retained his interest in the same as long as he lived. It was on Oct. 5th of that long ago year that Mr. Metcalf added a school to one of Worcester's seven hills. He did not start in a large way, but with the thought of quality rather than quantity. At first the capacity of the institution was sixteen boarders and twenty day pupils. Of course that limit was long since advanced, but having spent a number of years in crowded public schools, it was evidently in the founder's mind to avoid the faults so long deprecated there. A graduate of Yale, class of 1842, thereby a classmate of Hadley, the famous Greek grammar maker; Theodore Runyan, New Jersey's Chancellor; J. H. Trumbull, student of the Indian languages, and Judge John A. Peters of Maine, he early devoted himself to the profession of teaching, and for ten years had been one of the most successful of the grammar-masters in Worcester. He had a right to be a good teacher, for he was descended from Michael Metcalf, the first schoolmaster in the old town of Dedham. Long at the head of the Thomas Street school, he impressed himself on a wide range of youthful humanity, so much so that to this day survivors refer to the times when they were obliged to "behave," and to learn whether they would or not. The city would have gladly retained his services, but he had plans of his own, and, as stated, he proceeded to start a private school, which, without endowment or public aid, is nearing its fiftieth anniversary. While the list of those assisting in the direction of the school is an extended one, a prominent secret of its success is found in the fact that it has had only two principals or superintendents. The location selected by Mr. Metcalf was just a little north of the spot on which stood the birthplace of George Bancroft, the historian, and when the first boys wended their way out into the country, they passed the original house, then standing in all its antiquity, with the solid stone wall in front, a tribute to the hard yet excellent work of the preceding century. Among those earliest lads were some who in the terrible days of the coming war were to put in force some of the attainments here gained. Sheriff Robert H. Chamberlain was in the first class, as were James Green, Esq., and the late Edward P. Goulding. At the beginning, the patronage was drawn more largely from the home city than in later years. It was not till 1858 that military drill was instituted, "to afford amusement, promote health, improve the figure and personal carriage, and make the good citizen.'' All these motives were admirable, but the founder buiklecl much better than he knew, for his improved figures and good citizens, in the din of the coming storm, were to make all the better soldiers for the taste of mimic warfare gained on the parade-ground of his school. Up to and including the year 1864, there were 298 different boys in the Academy, coming largely from Massachusetts, but representing in all nineteen Federal states, including the District of Columbia and the Republic of Mexico. Coming from so many and from such diverse directions, it has been very difficult to secure accurate data as to the war record of all. However, it is certain that fifty of the boys found their way into the army, and many of them now fill honored graves, a part of the nation's sacrifice on the altar of Liberty. Wherever they were, they gave good accounts of themselves. The entire space devoted to this sketch might be used in telling of the deeds of bravery of the men who, as boys, sported where their successors are found today. Both of the Bacons, Will and Frank, went down in the rush of battle: Green, Grout and Hacker, all tasted death amid the clash of arms: Jameson met his fate while obeying his commander's orders in trying to act the spy in Richmond, but rather did he honor the scaffold than the latter disgrace him. Darius Starr and George W. Wellington suffered and died amidst the horrors of Andersonville. Lewis M. Brooks and others perished of disease. It is said that Henry M. Bragg was the soldier to whom was assigned the honor of raising the flag over Sumter in April, 1865. and Worcester people have long been familiar with the names and figures of Sheriff R. H. Chamberlain, Major E. T. Raymond. Capt. Charles H. Pinkham. William H. Hobbs and the late Capt. Levi Lincoln of our own city. No name in Highland Military Academy annals is brighter than that of Lieut. J. W. Grout, 15th Massachusetts Infantry, who fell at Ball's Bluff Oct. 21, 1861, and in whose memory were written the immortal lines of the "Vacant Chair." The highest rank attained, bv any one of the cadets was that of Brevet Brigadier-general, a commission of that grade having been issued to William X. Green, Jr. who lost his life as Lieutenant colonel of the 173d New York Infantry. Capt. George E. Barton of the 57th Massachusetts survived the war a number of years; Henry H. Wilson was a son of the late Vice-president, but of whatever birth or rank, these soldiers were the better for the drill and knowledge secured here. The high-water mark of attendance was reached in the darkest days of the Rebellion, when, in 1863, there were had as pupils eighty seven boys; in 1862 there were fifty, while 1864 sent out sixty-eight cadets. There seemed to be a prevailing thought that if the war were to last and boys must go into it, they had better go as intelligently as possible. A stream cannot rise higher than its source, and the prime source of military instruction at the Academy was the late Col. John M. Goodhue, who by common consent was as fine a drillmaster as ever stood before a squad of men. His record lays hold on the stories of the officers and men who at the onset represented Worcester in the field. He was ever proud of the fact that he first instructed General Devens in the school of the soldier. To him, excellence in drill was the one great thing to be attained, and under him progress could be made if the soldier were disposed. Enlisting early in the war, he became Adjutant of the 1st Battalion, and later a Captain in the 11th Regulars, and as such served through the war and till 1871. His title of Colonel came from militia service before the Rebellion. Among his successors may be found the names of Colonel E. B. Glasgow and Major L. G. White, both noteworthy citizens of Worcester. In the Spanish War, too, the Highland Military Academy boys were in evidence, and one at least met a soldier's fate at San Juan Hill. Mr. Metcalf's ability was apparent in his choice of helpers in the work of instruction. William A. Bushee, who taught Greek, English and ethics, was a Yale man and is now a clergyman, while his father, James Bushee, A.M., came in 1864 and remained till 1876 as teacher of natural science, and few, if any, better have labored in this city. In this connection it is noteworthy that a grandson, F. A. Bushee, Ph.D., is to be an instructor in the new college department Academy of Clark University. Fred W. Tilton, later principal at Andover and in Newport, R. I.. High School, came here directly from his graduation at Harvard; C. T. Haynes, who in this year. 1902, finished his long career as a teacher in the public schools of Worcester, made his advent to this city by way of Academy, as did also the late A. S. Kimball, so long connected with the Polytechnic. However, by far his best find was in the person of Joseph Alden Shaw, who came in 1867, and in time became the second superintendent of the school. The superintendent saw his plant grow from its modest beginning of one house and a barn to the dimensions at present maintained. The last catalogue in which his name appears as an instructor was that for 1868-'69; after that time, till he laid down his duties, he was the manager, giving over the work of teaching to others. He was a strict disciplinarian as well as an excellent instructor. When a gentleman, whom the Worcester of today calls Major, as a boy in the school was asked by his teacher, a lady, if Vermont had any seacoast, "Not much," was the ready answer, its purport depending entirely upon the accent employed. The woman was angry in a moment and sent the lad to the superintendent as being uncivil. "Well," says the veteran, "What is it?" As the boy has described the incident, the face of Mr. M. twitched with something evidently not anger as he heard the recital, and turning away to conceal his expression, he said, "Can't you make some sort of an apology to the teacher, for I don't believe you intended to hurt her feelings?" "But," says the boy, "the State hasn't any seacoast, and I can't make it have any." However, he was persuaded to try to modify the incensed mistress by mild words, and he appeased her feelings by saying that he wished to apologize for his remark, though he still couldn't make out that Vermont had much if any seacoast. On another occasion, Mr. M. was nearly hit by a slate, shied at his head by an irate youngster from the Spindle City, or Lowell. Turning upon the youth the superintendent said, "Do you pick up your books and effects at once, and go home. For such conduct there can be but one of two endings, either the penitentiary or Congress." As the lad in question afterwards graduated from Arnherst, served in Congress, has been Assistant Secretary of the Navy and Governor of Porto Rico, not to mention his candidacy for the Governorship of Massachusetts, it might appear that there was more truth than fiction in the enraged teacher's remark. Mr. Metcalf's direct connection with the school terminated with the school year of 1888, though till his death his name was borne as superintendent emeritus. From the old Academy home he removed to No. 36 Lincoln Street, and there lived till the death of his wife, March 7, 1890. He was married to Miss Roxanna C. Barnes, a sister of the New York publisher, A. S. Barnes, it is said, the day after his graduation, and their married life was one of unusual happiness. No small part of the success of the school was owing to the kindly and motherly care of the superintendent's wife. Subsequent to her death, he was in Worcester but little, and his death finally came July 31. 1891, at the summer home of his daughter, Mrs. McElrath, in Seabright, N. J. His burial from Central Church Aug. 5 was attended by a large number of those who had known and appreciated him during his life among them. A token of the respect in which he was held by his fellow citizens is found in the fact that from 1869 to 1881, both years inclusive, he was a member of the School Committee, for the most of the time assigned to the care of the High School. Joseph Alden Shaw, who succeeded Mr. Metcalf, had been long associated with him. Born in Athol. the son of Linus Hall Shaw, a Unitarian clergyman, he was early sent to Phillips Exeter and thence to Harvard, whence he was graduated in 1858. Among the most noted of his classmates were Dr. George E. Francis and Librarian S. S. Green of Worcester; George A. Wentworth of algebra and geometry fame, and Winslow Warren of anti-imperialistic repute. Superintendent Shaw's middle name proclaims his Mayflower descent, and he is justly pleased at the fact that he is in the eighth generation from him who was enjoined by Priscilla to speak for himself. Some of his earliest teaching was done in New Salem Academy, Franklin County, where he married and whence he came to Worcester, and here he has been all the intervening period, save from 1881 to 1887, one year of which time having been spent in Cincinnati, and the most of the remainder at Tivoli- on-the-Hudson. When the infirmities of age began to tell upon Mr. Metcalf, he turned to the man who had been longest with him, and after the year 1887-'88, he passed the whole equipment over into Mr. Shaw's hands. Nor could he have clone better, since the school has gone on in the interval with no ripple of trouble. As it was begun, so it has continued. The original idea of making an institution where boys might receive more personal attention than from the nature of things they could have in the public schools, has continued, and added thereto is the item of military instruction, discipline and drill. Very likely when our friends of the Universal Peace Society shall have prevailed upon mankind to cease from war, when humanity becomes willing to refer all its disputes to the jaw-bones of lawyers, then, and not till then, will martial trappings cease to be attractive to the youthful mind. We of this city have grown used to the handsome, gray, close-fitting uniforms of the cadets, and should count it a great loss were anything to take them from us. They have been worn by a long line of illustrious predecessors, and in the future we hope to see an unending line continued by boys yet unborn. There is just enough of history in the surroundings of the school to give it a pleasing gloss to him of curious bent, and the outlook is delightful to the lad who is given rather to the pleasures of sight. To the eastward he may see the sun rise over Green Hill, and in the intervening valley behold a scene of industry such as few other places in the world can offer, for in that hollow are located the north works of the American Steel & Wire Company, not only the first, but one of the most important of the billion-dollar plant. Grouped around them are kindred industries whose development and progress keep employed thousands of skilled workmen in this the busiest city in New England. Hard by Salisbury's Pond, which he almost daily passes, is the Institute Park, containing its reproduction of the Northmen's tower of Newport, and laid out in a manner to capture the eye of every beholder. Here is the Boulevard, the widest and finest thoroughfare in or about the city, and near at hand are some of the most elegant of the stately mansions in which the city abounds. A granite block with bronze tablet tells the story of the birth of George Bancroft, and on yonder hill, up which a winding road climbs by gradual ascent, is the old feudal tower with its gateway, the most sightly object as the city is approached from the northward. This hill bears the name of Bancroft, and if the Academy boy does not get the name and story of the historian completely by heart, it will not be the fault of his school. The grounds of the Academy are capacious and ample. Mr. Metcalf at first was almost alone. The Bancroft house was the nearest neighbor to the southward, and towards the north there was little till he came to the old cow tavern, long the residence of the late Mr. F. P. Stowell. but the march of population has been in his direction, and stone walls and cow-pastures have given way to stone curbing and lawns, till the man who was a boy in the fifties and sixties would be far from recognizing his former playgrounds should he return to find them. Still, the grounds themselves remain much as they were. The facings and marchings are had just as they were more than "twenty years ago." The lads who respond to the bugle-call in this beginning of the twentieth century may not catch the martial strain as did their predecessors in the early sixties, but they are getting ready for just as useful and vigorous citizenship. While the lads are subjected to the most approved form of military discipline, they are not necessarily prepared for the life of a soldier only, since they may here prepare for college or for business. Each year the Academy sends its complement of boys to the best of New England and other colleges, and also sends out a large number prepared to enter at once upon the battle of life, all the stronger for the rigid routine to which they have been subjected. Their quarters in the buildings are ample for boyish needs, and their table-fare is calculated to maintain the best degree of physical strength. The teaching force is up to the highest standard constantly, and, best of all, the pupil is under the constant care of competent men. From the start the Academy has had the encouragement of some of the very best people in the Commonwealth and country, and to-day among those referred to are the Bishop of the Diocese of Western Massachusetts, clergymen, lawyers and physicians of Worcester, with teachers and business men. The military references are equally valuable, including as they do some of the most prominent names of veterans and active militiamen in Massachusetts. In the past, Anson Burlingame sent here his son, as did the Hon. A. H. Bullock, Hon. Charles B. Pratt, and many others. When the rallying-time comes in 1906, it will be a merry crowd, which includes such local notables as Major E. T. Raymond, Frank A. Leland, Col. A. George Bullock, Charles T. Pratt, Capt. Charles H. Pinkham, William H. Bliss, Wm. H. Workman, Ben T. Hammond, Alfred Dwight Foster, and others, not to mention the hundreds of later years. Were all those eligible to really come, we should see Chester S. Lord, for many years business manager of the New York Sun; Commander Joseph Giles Eaton, who once directed the Massachusetts training-ship Enterprise, now in command of the Oregon; E. W. Roberts, M. C. for the 7th Massachusetts District, and possibly from California might come U. S. Marshal Nagle, who in 1889 so valiantly defended the life of Justice Stephen J. Field of the U. S. Supreme Court. In the earlier davs it was the custom to take the cadets annually upon an excursion more or less prolonged, and by exhibition drills give the Academy an excellent advertisement. In this way the boys have drawn praises from the papers of Boston : Newport, R. I.; Providence ; Gloucester: Brooklyn, N. Y.; Keene, N. H.; Hartford, Conn.; Springfield ; Portland, Me.; Bangor, and Concord, N. H. Perhaps the crowning glory in these expeditions was the encomium bestowed by the Army and Navy Journal of July 15, 1867, from which we read : The Highland Cadets, who visited the cities of New York and Brooklyn last week, are the pupils of the Highland Military Academy of Worcester, Mass., of which C. B. Metcalf is superintendent. On last Thursday afternoon the cadets were reviewed by the acting Mayor at the City Hall, New York, and they gave an exhibition drill on the evening of the same day at the State Arsenal, Thirty fifth Street. On Friday they were reviewed by Mayor Booth of Brooklyn. They had a good day's work of it on Thursday, for they marched from the Providence boat to the Armory of the 23d Regiment, and thence in the afternoon to the City Hall, New York, where they were reviewed and exercised in company movements. In point of endurance the cadets are equal to most comuanies of men. It was very evident from the manner in which the cadets drilled that they had been well and carefully instructed. Some of the fancy movements in the manual were very finely executed. The loadings and firings they also did so remarkably well that we wished the second company of the 7th Regiment had been present also, in order that we might have been able to form a judgment as to which company could do the best. We think the decision would have been a hard one to arrive at. In company movements the cadets did as well as in the manual. On Friday afternoon the cadets returned to Worcester, having very favorably impressed those who witnessed their movements by the manner in which they conducted themselves both in and out of the ranks.To military readers such praise as the foregoing could hardly be higher. Coming from the organ of the united services, with its comparisons with the famous 7th Regiment, what more could be asked ? Today the Academy is able and ready to do as good work as in the past. The superintendent is admirably assisted by an efficient staff. Treasurer and Business Manager George L. Clark has been in the school continuously since 1867, except a few years when he served as steward at the Insane Hospital, and much of the financial success of the school must be ascribed to him. Selwyn B. Clark since 1880 has been Commandant and Drillmaster, and the other departments are in equally efficient hands. That the same men have so long retained their respective positions argues strongly for their usefulness. The Highland Military Academy is one of the most valuable of the many educational institutions of the city of Worcester.
Donald High- May 26, 2012 - Report this comment
My great great grandfather was a student at Highland Military Academy during 1874-1875. So I'm interested in finding his student records. Do you have any idea where they might be archived after the school was shut down for good?
Brian Arnold- February 02, 2014 - Report this comment
Hi Donald and others looking for old student records - they are housed at the Worcester Historical Museum's archive.
Donald High- May 17, 2014 - Report this comment
Hi Brian - thank you a bunch! Will check it out.
Karen Laughon- February 10, 2015 - Report this comment
My grandfather and his 3 brothers went to Highland, I am looking for any info that might be available. Their names are William H., Harry C.,Charles E., Edward H. Arnold They would have attended from 1895-2920 approximately.
Markus Mueller- January 29, 2016 - Report this comment
a Caleb B Metcalf of Worcester, was also a founding member of the US Brown Swiss Cattle Breeders association. I have a feeling it could be the same person as in this sketch. He was the publisher of the first Herd Book called "the Swiss record" in 1881. I was wondering if anyone could confirm that this is the same Caleb B Metcalf as in this article. Thank you.
Wayne Ostlie- January 03, 2017 - Report this comment
I have a CDV photo of a young Cadet E.W. Jameson dated 1864 attributed to Highlands in Worcester. Is this the same Jameson noted in Sadowski's google books account of being hung for spying in Richmond?

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