Melville Academy

(1833. Once a private academy, now owned by the Village Improvement Society. Now a local history museum.)

Melville Academy. April 2016.

In 1832 a charter was obtained by Jonas Melville, Daniel Cutter, Luke Howe, and John Fox for a school—as a subsequent prospectus read, "in a quiet village at the base of Monadnock, happily removed from those excitements which are so apt to divert the minds and corrupt the morals of young students." In 1833 the building was erected on land from adjoining lots of Luke Howe, Abel Parker, and Col. Isaac Fox. The school was named after banker Melville in recognition of his generosity.
         The Academy flourished for a while, but after the depression of 1857 it expired for lack of support. In 1863 the Town took possession and transferred old School District No. 7 to it. The Town obtained a lease from the Trustees for the use of the building until 1890. Thereafter the School Board continued to use it without a lease, until the consolidation of schools about the time of WW I.
         When the V.I.S. sought permission to use the building in 1919-20 it was a nice question who exactly owned it. The matter was not decided in a practical way until 1960 when, in the absence of evidence that the School Board possessed any title, the Town gave a quitclaim deed to the V.I.S. The building was at that time repaired and renovated through the generosity of Mrs. Lawrence Wetherell, and the grounds have been kept up by means of a generous gift from Mr. Lawrence Wetherell. The building is now used for the annual meeting of the V.I.S., with Open House on several Saturdays in the summer.
         Source: Jaffrey Center, New Hampshire, Portrait of a Village by Coburn Kidd, 1975.

Numerous photographs and images of the Melville Academy may be found at

A chapter in Marshal the Willing Forces on Melville Academy may be found at marshal.pdf