Village of Ilion

Herkimer County, NY

The following is taken from "Alumni IHS." The description on a cover page reads,"This Alumni Book is published by the Senior Class of the Ilion High School, with the endorsement of the Alumni Asociation, and under the direction of the Superintendent of Schools. Ilion, N. Y., June 1, 1904"


On June 20, 1882, a meeting of the graduates of the academic department of the Ilion schools was called by Professor A. B. Poland for the purpose of organizing an alumni association. Up to this time there were sixty-six graduates, and over forty responded to the call. After some discussion it was decided to form such an association, and Mr. Herbert B. Johnson, class of '78, was chosen as the first president. From each class was elected a member to act as a vice-president. Mr. I. Clark Seamans was made secretary.

At this first meeting a committee was appointed to draft a constitution, the preamble of which reads as follows:

"As it is advisable to strengthen and perpetuate the ties that bind us to our alma mater and to each other, and as this is best accomplished by organized effort, we adopt this constitution for the Alumni Association of the Ilion Academy."

The constitution was adopted at a special meeting held December 28, 1882, and, with slight amendments made in 1890, is in use at the present time.

The first regular meeting was held on June 29, 1883. A literary and musical program was given, after which a banquet was enjoyed in the A. O. U. W. hall. The room was decorated with the alumni colors, old gold and cardinal. The school motto, Onward and Upward, was worked in butter cups and red geraniums. Mr. Seward Hakes was toast master. The meeting was much enjoyed, and was the fore-runner of many others, each equally successful as the first. All the annual meetings were held in June until 1901, when a motion was carried to meet in December instead. This plan not proving as satisfactory as expected, a special meeting, held in December, 1903, voted to return to the original time. A winter reception was held, however, soon after this, and proved a very enjoyable affair.

At the annual meeting held in 1891 the first steps were taken toward the establishment of a public library. The need of such an institution was set forth in a paper read by Miss Harriett Russell. The initial steps for a library for public use had already been taken in 1884, when the school library was opened to the public. At this time Miss Fannie Avery, who has so long been an efficient teacher in the school, acted as librarian. About four thousand books were placed in the library at this time and many more later. The library occupied rented rooms in the Grimes & Pelton block. Soon after the alumni meeting above referred to was held, the building containing this school library was burned, and nearly all the books lost. The necessity of a public library and a separate building was now more fully appreciated than ever before. The library committee, consisting of Miss Carrie Richardson, Miss Harriett Russell, Mrs. S. G. Heacock, Mrs. E. G. Kern, Miss Cornelia Seamans and Messrs. A. D. Richardson, Gilbert Pelton, J. H. Rudd, Seward Hakes and Harry G. Folts, which was appointed in 1891, worked faithfully for a year, and was then reappointed to go on with the undertaking. The project seemed a very great one for so small an association, but the people of the community responded freely, and at an opportune time bounteous support came from an unexpected source.

The association has a committee on school visitation, and also one on the public library. The question of incorporation has been considered, but tthe necessary legal steps have never been taken. In 1901 Mr. E. A. Powers, who has been in charge of the school buildings almost from the time the first class graduated, was made an honorary member of the association. The organization may fairly be said to have accomplished even more than its founders hoped. It has bound the graduates to each other and to the school, and has made the body an effective educational force in the community.

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Created 4/28/01
Copyright © 2001 Paul McLaughlin
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