Tuesday, May 11, 2021


An Oversimplification

The July 30 article “What’s in a Name?” says that Charles “Morgan purchased the land on Main Street upon which the original Morgan School would be built.” Though technically correct, it is an oversimplification, for in 1869, Morgan donated $110,000 to pay for land and construction of The Morgan School (to provide the young people of Clinton with every possible educational advantage) and to purchase the cottage next door as a principal’s residence. Morgan then established an endowment fund of $50,000, which increased over time and by 1879 was valued at $200,000.

The endowment paid for the school’s maintenance, teacher salaries and all other expenses, except textbooks, pens, pencils, and paper. Morgan proclaimed that the building would be solely for the use and benefit of the town and be free of any political, partisan, or sectarian purpose.

The Morgan School opened for classes in April 1872 with 205 students, a principal, five teachers, a janitor, and a budget of $6,500. The school provided a tax-free education for all of Clinton’s children until 1933. By then, the student population had grown to such an extent that the Clinton Grammar School was built next door, where the Morgan principal’s home had once stood. And for the first time, the townspeople had to pay taxes for the education of their children.

Peggy Adler