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The class of 1812-13, as appears by the records, consisted of eighteen medical students. During the session of 181314, it numbered twenty-four.
At a meeting of the board, March 23, 1815, T. Romeyn Beck was recommended to the honorable regents to fill the office of professor of the institutes of medicine.
Jan. 30, 1816, the degree of doctor of medicine was conferred on two individuals, viz.: Horatio Orvis and Sylvester Miller. Dr. Beck gave his first course on medical jurisprudence. Number of students, 28; 4 graduates.
At a meeting of the board, May 20, 1817, Doct. Joseph White, of Cherry Valley, was appointed president and professor of anatomy and surgery in the college, in place of Dr. Spalding; at the same meeting, it was resolved, that President White have leave to substitute his son, Delos White, M. D., to deliver lectures on anatomy in his stead.
Jan. 20, 1818, the class consisted of 41 students, of whom 7 were considered worthy of the degree of doctor of medicine.
Jan. 19, 1819, a resolution was passed by the board of trustees, dismissing any student who should be concerned directly or indirectly in digging up any dead human body, for the purpose of dissection in the college.
Jan. 20, 1820, the legislature were petitioned for a law for giving the dead bodies of unclaimed convicts of the state prison, at Auburn, to the college, for the purposes of dissection.
Jan. 23, 1821, Dr. Delos White resigned his professorship of anatomy, in consequence of the difficulty of procuring subjects for dissection. The same year, it was resolved to extend the course of lectures from twelve to sixteen weeks.
Jan. 22, 1822, James McNaughton, M. D., made professor of anatomy and physiology. 62 students; 14 graduates.
For several years subsequent to this period, the affairs of the college continued to prosper, and the number of students to increase. At the close of the session ending in January, 1827, Joseph White, M. D., in consequence of age and infirmities, resigned his professorship, and was succeeded in the chair of surgery by John Delamater, M. D. Number of students in attendance this session, 144; graduates, 25. In consequence of the increase of students, an additional college edifice was erected, containing thirty-two lodging rooms, and the lecture rooms of the old college edifice were enlarged and rendered more commodious.
1828, number of students, 171; graduates, 33.
1832. This year the number of students had increased to 205; graduates, 39.
1834. The largest class ever assembled at the college was during the session ending in January, 1834, when the number reached 217, of whom 55 received the degree of doctor of medicine. The following year the number was 198.
The organization of the medical department of Geneva college, and subsequently, the incorporation of a medical college in the city of Albany, together with other causes, had the effect to diminish the number of students in attendance at the Fairfield college from the year 1834, until the final suspension of lectures in the latter institution, by the faculty; yet the numbers continued to be respectable, and probably would have been until the present time, had the proper efforts been continued to sustain it. During the year 1836, the regents confirmed the following alterations, by which the professorships stood as follows:
Westel Willoughby, M. D., emeritus professor of midwifery.
James Hadley, M. D., professor of chemistry and pharmacy.
T. Romeyn Beck, M. D., professor of materia medica and medical jurisprudence.
James McNaughton, M. D., professor of anatomy and physiology.
John Delamater, M. D., professor of practice of physic, and diseases of women and children.
Reuben D. Mussey, M. D., professor of surgery and midwifery.
Subsequently, Frank H. Hamilton, M. D., succeeded Prof. Mussey in the chair of surgery, and with this exception, the faculty remained as above during the operation of the institution. The last course of lectures was given during the winter of 1839-40. The number of students in attendance was 105, of whom 26 received the degree of doctor of medicine. Since the cessation of medical lectures, the college buildings have undergone material modifications, and have been thoroughly repaired, for enlarging the accommodations of Fairfield academy, for which purpose they are at present appropriated. Lyman SpauMing, M. D., was the first president of the college, and was succeeded in office by Joseph White, M. D., in 1817, who resigned in 1827. The venerable Prof. Willoughby succeeded Dr. White, and held the office until his decease.
This institution was incorporated March 13th, 1803, by the regents of the university of this state, and has been in successful operation ever since. The first board of trustees consisted of Moses Mather, Thomas Manley, Nathan Smith, Samuel Giles, Westel Willoughby Jr., William Griswold, Alvah Southworth, Cyrus M. Johnson, John Meyer, Jonathan Hallet, Abijah Mann, Mathias B. Tallmadge, Samuel Wright, William Smith, Benjamin Bowen, Charles Ward, Clark Smith, Thomas Bennett, Moses Wheeler, Francis A. Bloodgood, Aaron Hackley, John Snell, John Herkimer and Henry Coffin, and the school was opened under the supervision of the Rev. Caleb Alexander, as the principal, and under his care and management of about ten years, the institution became extremely popular, and was esteemed the best academic school in the country. It enjoyed a wide field of patronage and usefulness, the first twelve or fifteen years of its existence, it being the only school of the kind in central or western New York in which thorough academic instruction could be obtained.
Even at this late day it is not an infrequent occurrence to hear the members of the legal profession, advanced in years and living in the central, western and northern parts of the state, speak of their having been educated at Fairfield. The same remarks may no doubt be made with truth by many engaged in other pursuits, or have devoted themselves to medicine or divinity. Fairfield Academy has sent out many worthy and excellent men, and some who have distinguished themselves in public life and in the learned professions, and it may well have done this. She had the young and aspiring talent of the country flocking to her halls, and she maintained sound, thorough and enlightened instructors. The trustees and patrons of this institution have just grounds to felicitate themselves on the past success of the school.
At former periods the aid of the state has been bestowed, with sparing munificence, and it may be with as much liberality as justice to other institutions and the ability of the state would allow. It is however gratifying to know that this institution, the oldest in the county, and the first established in a now wide-spread, populous and wealthy region of country, enjoys a permanent endowment which places the successful progress of the school beyond a contingency.
No people ever committed a graver mistake than those who make up their minds that almost any body or thing will do for a school teacher. Those who look for cheap instructors, without inquiry as to qualifications, err exceedingly. The youthful mind is quite as capable of erroneous as rightful impressions when engaged in learning, and all experience teaches us how difficult it is to eradicate error and impress truth in its place in the mind of the pupil; hence the importance of placing in our schools teachers capable, accomplished and experienced. "Set the blind to lead the blind," and what will be the end? The reader will, I hope, bear with me a moment longer. It has seemed to