Monroe Collegiate Institute


Town of Elbridge

Submitted by Kathy Crowell

The following appears in Onondaga's Centennial by Dwight H. Bruce.  Boston Publishing Co., 1896, pp. 700-701:

"In 1835 Nathan Munro founded what was then called the Munro Academy, the first term of which was held in the ball room of Ezekiel Gardner's tavern in the village of Elbridge, during the winter of 1835-36.  In 1836 a frame building was erected, and on April 23, 1839, the institution was incorporated.  On July 5 of that year Mr. Munro died, aged nearly forty-nine, leaving, besides the site, building, library and apparatus, an endowment of $20,000 as a perpetual fund for the maintenance of the school.  The first officers of the Board of Trustees, elected July 13, were :  John Munro, president; James Munro, secretary, and Hiram F. Mather, treasurer.  From the income of this fund and from the sale of the old academy property the trustees in 1854 erected the present Munro Collegiate Institute, and in 1859 added a chapel.  It is of brick with stone trimmings, and is one of the most substantial buildings in the town.  From its halls a large number of students have gone forth, well equipped in the English and classical courses of study which it affords, and ever since its inception it has held a leading place among similar institutions of Central New York.  Its graduates have generally attained distinction and prominence, while its teachers have been imbued with high ideals.  During one period its catalogue of students numbered 600.  It has a library of about 1,000 volumes, an excellent laboratory and a valuable cabinet of minerals.  Among its former societies may be noticed the Ladies' Literary Society and the Gentlemen's M.I.C. Club (succeeded in 1873 by the Lyceum).  John Munro, brother of Nathan, was president of the Board of Trustees until his death, March 13, 1860, aged eighty, when he was succeeded by John Rice, who came to this town in 1820, and died June 20, 1875, aged seventy-six.  Hon. Luke Ranney has held the office since October 5, 1875.  James Munro was secretary until October, 1869, when he was followed by  Hon. Luke Ranney, who was succeeded in 1875 by Charles G. McGowan.  Among the treasurers have been Squire M. Brown, 1842-49; W. C. Van Vechten, 1849-53; Elijah D. Williams, 1853-69; L. B. Bennett, 1869-71, and John Munro several years.  The charter trustees were:  Nathan Munro, Rev. Washington Thatcher, C. J. Merriman, Hiram F. Mather, J. B. Evarts, Rev. Medad Pomeroy, William Ranney, John Rice, John and James Munro, Squire M. Brown, William C. Van Vechten, Reuben Farnham, Abram Hall, Elijah D. Williams and Charles Lombard.  Among other members of the board have been:  Jared Wheeler, Allen Munro, Daniel C. Munro, Stephen W. and Z. S. Clark, John Burnett, Levi Clark, David A. Munro, John Munro, jr., Thomas W. Hill, James M. Munro, Allen Munro, Hervey Wilbur and J. R. Townsend.  The present trustees are:  Hon. Luke Ranney, president; Prof. Truman K. Wright, secretary; Hon. Theodore Pomeroy, and Hon. Charles W. Dwight of Auburn, David A. Munro of Camillus, John Munro, Martin W. Lyon, Squire M. B. Rhoades, A. Blaine Frazee and D. Munro Hill of Elbridge, and two vacancies.  The principals have been as follows:  Lemuel S. Pomeroy, 1839; Stephen W. Clark, 1840-45; J. W. Wolcott, 1846-47; John H. Wilson, 1848-50; John H. Kellem, 1851-52; David Burbank, 1853-57; Herman Sanford, 1857; Truman K. Wright*, 1858-92; C. S. Palmer, 1892-94; Noah Leonard, incumbent.

*Truman King Wright and twin brother, Norman, sons of Preserved and Jemima (King) Wright, and grandson of Solomon Wright, were born in Rupert, Vt., March 27, 1815, the youngest of twelve children.  Truman K. was educated at the Royalton (Vt.) Academy and Burr Seminary at Manchester, Vt., and was graduated from Middlebury College in 1839.  He was principal of the New London (N.H.) Academy four years, of the Durham (N. H.) Academy three years, of Pompey Academy in Onondaga county six years and of Jordan Academy five years.  On April 1, 1858, he took charge of the Munro Collegiate Institute at Elbridge, and continued in that position till 1892, when he resigned.  He has since lived in retirement.  His life work as an educator has been eminently successful."

Submitted 1 July 1998