Roane County Schools Index

RITTENHOUSE ACADEMY
by Henry CRUMBLISS.


 The men and women who attended Rittenhouse Academy and are scattered over the face of the earth are legion, and to them this little story of the founding of that school will be of deep interest.

As we grow older the days of our care-free childhood grow dearer, and looking back upon it after the long and many years in which we all have faced care and sorrow, loneliness and tears, that little boy or girl who trudged along to school, a red apple in his pocket and sun bonnet carried by the strings, they and those days line enshrined in our heart of hearts. To these are addressed Major CRUMBLISS' remarks in this most interesting article:

History of Rittenhouse Academy

Rittenhouse Academy was established by an act of the Legislature in 1806 and was endowed by the State with a liberal endowment, which was paid annually up till the Civil War. At the close of the war its endowment fund was absorbed in some way; if any one knows, he knows more than the writer. Although this academy was established as early as 1806, there is no evidence to show that a school was put into operation until 1822, when Rev. William EAGLETON was installed as principal. His successors up to 1828 were A.G. GALLAHER, John A. HOOPS, Jacob K. SPOONER and John G. LACKINS.

The Institution soon gained a wide reputation and the attendance was large. The first building was a log structure standing on Cemetery Hill where the Presbyterian used to stand. In 1832 the main part of the present building was completed, and in 1853 the wing was added, and few years ago another addition was built.

Among the subsequent principals prior to the war were Geo. S. RICH, B.F. SMITH, John WYATT, Benjamin V. IRVIN, H.W. VON ADLEHOFF and William G. LLOYD. All these principals were highly educated and distinguished educators. W.G. LLOYD was an Englishman of a high order of talen and a splendid educator. He was the father of Mrs. Charles RUOFF, late of Harriman, and Mrs. Henry LIGGETT, late of Kingston, and the grandfather of William and Herbert LIGGETT of Kingston and Mrs. Burt WADKINS of Harriman. Among all of these distinguished principals of Rittenhouse Academy, however, the most distinguished among them was Prof. H.W. VON ALDEHOFF. Prof. ALDEHOFF was a Prussian and probably the best educated man and the best educator that ever taught school in Tennessee. If a boy or girl went to school to him twenty years, he or she was required to recite a lesson in the dictionary every day. It is said that Prof. ALDEHOFF had absolute command of nine different foreign languages, could spell define and give the derivation of every word in the dictionary. There are a few men and women still living who had the pleasure of attending school under Prof. ALDEHOFF and can testify to his ability. Among them are Mrs. Capt. DIETZ, Mr. Sam and Miss Dove SEVIER of Kingston; C.B. SEVIER and Dr. R.M. KIMBROUGH of Harriman; Mrs. Jane MARTIN of Dallas, Texas, and Judge Lewis SHEPPARD of Chattanooga.

Prof. ALDEHOFF'S second wife was Miss Rowena SEVIER, sister of Judge SEVIER, late of Kingston and C.B. SEVIER of Harriman, who are the grandchildren of John SEVIER, first governor of Tennessee. During Prof. ALDEHOFF'S administration many young men from Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi finished up their education under him at Rittenhouse Academy.

At the close of the war this academy was very much dilapidated and the county court declined to keep it in repair, so the writer procured an act of the legislature to have the same sold. At the same time he organized a syndicate to buy it, composted of Hugh MARTIN, G.A. GUENTHER, John T. McEWEN and Constantine BRAUSE and himself. This syndicate bought the property, turned it over to the trustees or board of aid of the Presbyterian church for a public school building. The trustees of the church turned it over to the county and the public high school is now being taught in it, under the supervision of Prof. Charles MASON. This is a brief, but correct history of Rittenhouse Academy.

From: The Harriman Record, Friday, 18 Sep 1914, Vol. XLIX, No. 11.