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half the undergraduates were members of this society, and the other half of the “United Fraternity." The presidency of one of these societies was esteemed the highest honor which the students were able to confer upon any of their number.
The winters of his college course were spent by Mr. Hovey in Massachusetts. His first school was in the town of Boxford, where he began at length to appreciate the teacher's work and to feel his own deficiencies. “He was faithful, efficient, exemplary, energetic, and talented,” says a resident of the place, “loved by bis pupils, by their parents, and by those who became acquainted with him." The next three winters were passed in the town of Newton, and the following letter from Dr. Henry Bigelow, chairman of the school committee, will sufficiently characterize his labors.
NEWTON, Mass., Nov. 16, 1858. Dear Sir:-I have received your note of inquiry, and shall take pleasure in answering it to the best of my ability, as I have very pleasant and vivid recollections of Mr. Hovey's service with us. And this, not on account of any very prominent success he had as a teacher, for his field of operations while in our town was very limited, and by no means of good soil or previous good culture. I remember him as a man of energy, ambition, and natural and acquired babits of mind which would have insured him larger results had he enjoyed a better opportunity for their display. He taught one of our district schools for three consecutive winters. It was esteemed the most backward of all our schools, partly perhaps from locality, partly perhaps from other causes whose mention would not be pertinent to the present object. Into this school our friend speedily introduced a new era-one of life, order, and earnest work. Into this community he infused a new interest in behalf of the education of their children. He was also able to awaken in the people themselves not a little zeal for self.improvement by methods easily adopted during the long evenings of winter. It was astonishing how thoroughly he had the people under his control ; his activity and devotion having first won their confidence. He put his hands unforbidden into their pockets, and•supplied his school-room with the best outline maps, a clock, thermometer, etc.; he magnetized them with his educational ardor, and drew them unresistingly to the evening assemblies at his school-room, where he at once organized an association for discussion or other profitable engagements; and he divided them into small committees, who should in turn visit and observe his daily work among their children. All this, you will see, made a deep, an abiding, a salutary impression. And, when you consider that this was not done in a community possessed of much cultivation, or which had awakened to a sense of the value of an education, or of the necessity of much effort on its own part to insure the success of its school system, but rather the reverse, and that the actor came a stranger and merely as a temporary visitor, you will grant that he deserves credit for much natural energy as well as for a spirit of disinterested self-sacrifice. Thus people showed their respect for him, not only by doing his bidding, but repeatedly by more specific evidences of a gratifying nature.
I ought to allude here to the active interest which Mr. Hovey always took in the “ Teachers' Association " of this town. He was prompt at all meetings and foremost in devising methods to secure an interest among others, and always ready to bear his part in all the active duties of the organization. In fact, some charged him with being too forward—an accusation very commonly thrown, from those too diffident or too incompetent, at those who, perhaps from conscious power, take the prominent places and hold them. More delicacy of character at that time might have drawn to him more friends among his fellow-teachers, but that was doubtless to appear, when the ardor of youth and the zeal of first begivnings should become tempered with the experiences of manhood and a larger jostling with the world. Excuse me for not being more explicit and more at lengih. Yours, very respectfully,
Soon after leaving college, Mr. Hovey took charge of the high school in Framingham, Mass. This school had been in operation but one year, having taken the place of the Framingham Academy. Its first principal, an excellent teacher, did not remain with the school long enough to fix its character. The labors of Mr. Hovey in this place fully justified the confidence reposed in his ability and fidelity. Says the Rev. Mr. Northrup, at that time chairman of the school committee of Framingham and now agent of the Massachusetts Board of Education :-"Mr. Hovey, when in Framingham, evinced great tact and untiring energy. He had the happy faculty of inspiring his pupils with his own enthusiasm, which was always fresh and unfailing. He seemed to impart his own spirit to them, and, by a sort of spiritual magnetism, win and attract them to himself. He had unbounded influence over his pupils, having won their affections and gained their confidence. Hence his government was both firm and kind. His authority was absolute, yet cordially accepted and freely and cheerfully assented to. The perfect order of the school, the prompt and cheerful obedience, the entire absence of all communications, all evince the accomplished disciplinarian. He had remarkable power to rouse the indolent, encourage the desponding, and stimulate his pupils to activity and exertion. His versatility of mind and ample resources enabled him always to interest liis pupils. They still remember him with great interest and affection. One of thein said to me, a short time since, “Mr. Hovey was by far the best teacher I ever had.'” It may be well to add the testimony of a fellow-teacher :- -“ He was an enthusiastic teacher, generally much beloved by his pupils. I always liked him as a brother teach
He was ready and willing to give assistance whenever called upon. I can remember instances when he rendered me great service, in so delicate a manner that no one else would have suspected his intentions. He organized a teachers' meeting this winter, also a literary society and debating club, which was popular and profitable. His purse was open to the wants of the schoolroom."
It is evident, from these and similar testimonies, that Mr. Hovey possessed the rarest qualification of a teacher—the power of drawing out the pupil, of provoking investigation, of educating the mind, in the primitive sense of that term.
At the close of this second year, Mr. Hovey left Framingham for Peoria, Illinois. Prior to 1850, this city had not been distinguished for school privileges. But during that year an association was formed by some of the citizens, to provide for the education of their daughters. A house was built, designed to accommodate fifty-six pupils,
and was so enlarged the next year as to receive twenty-five more. Fixed salaries were paid to the teachers, and an officer was elected by the stockholders to look after the general interests of the school and to act as treasurer. This school was quite successful; but the first building was destroyed by fire in 1854, and a new one erected large enough for one hundred and sixty pupils. The same year an association was organized for the purpose of founding a boys' school. Hon. Onslow Peters, whose name is held in grateful remembrance by all friends of education in Peoria, was president of this organization. A. P. Bartlett, Esq., now president of the City School Board, and J. W. Hansel, also a member of the present board, sought for a teacher, and, in the course of a visit to the East, engaged Mr. Hovey as principal of the new school. He did not, however, remove to the West until another step of great importance had been taken. Although his devotion to the work of teaching had been uncommonly earnest, he had, it seems, found time for other duties, and he was married, accordingly, October 9, 1854, to Miss Harriette F. Spofford, of North Andover, Mass., who was to be associated with him in the school at Peoria. The two schools now entered upon a prosperous career.
The people showed themselves ready to sustain every judicious measure with the requisite funds and with their moral support. Yet, wbile every thing was done on a liberal scale, no money was wasted, and no debts were incurred to embarrass the schools. The directors did not bend their rules to meet the wishes of truant boys and fault-finding parents, but undertook to encourage the faithful rather than indulge the delinquent. It was their aim to secure a thorough education to the pupils, and no murmurs at their wholesome regulations caused them to swerve from this aim. The wishes and efforts of Mr. Hovey were ably supported by them, and the success of his school was insured by their cordial support. Among those who contributed inost to this result may be mentioned the names of Judge Peters and Mr. A. P. Bartlett.
Mr. Hovey had not been long in Peoria before he thought there: was hope for the public schools. At his suggestion, an act was procured, in the winter of 1854–5, putting the schools under the control of the city. This act separated school interests from politics by providing for the election of a board by the people, which board had no connection with the city council. By an amendment, provision was made that one-third of the board shall be elected annually, thus keeping in office a majority of those who were familiar with the duties and previous action of the body. And it deserves to be noted that. the very men who had taken the deepest interest in the stock schools sustained vigorously this movement for the public schools, Indeed,
No. 20.-(Vol. VIII., Vo. 1.)—7.
the stock schools were soon merged in the public school system. The buildings occupied by them were purchased by the city, and a public high school was established, of which Mr. Hovey was the first principal. He was also superintendent of the city schools during a part of the first year of the new organization. At the close of this year he resigned the former office and gave himself to the labors of superintendency until the summer of 1857.
While in the stock school, Mr. Hovey organized an association of the Peoria teachers, by means of which new methods of teaching and management began to obtain in the schools. During his superintendency, they looked upon him as one "whose very presence cheered teacher and pupil; who knew just what teachers could do, and could appreciate their efforts where they were trying to do something."
The change thus effected in the school system and privileges of Peoria--a rapid and most gratifying change-was due, in a great measure, to the suggestions and efforts of Mr. Hovey. Said a prominent supporter of the stock schools as well as of the new system :“We hired Mr. Hovey to take the boys' stock school, and, if he had taken no steps to bring about a change, he might have staid there till to-day.” Yet the writer would by no means trace the establishment of graded schools in Peoria to the influence of one man. and beneficent result was 'secured by co-operation and public spirit on the part of the citizens generally, and by the energy and wisdom of a noble few who led off in the movement. While they suggested, others executed, and the work was done.
But Mr. Hovey was not allowed to confine his labors to a single school, city, or association. He had acquired a state reputation, and the outside drafts upon his time and thoughts were neither few nor unhonored. He engaged actively in all the great state educational movements then in progress, or about to be started; frequently traveling from fifteen to fifty miles after school to lecture, and returning in time for the morrow's duties.
As a speaker, he "talks right on," omitting all ornament, intent only on carrying his point. He often tells his audiences that he can not afford to waste his time and theirs in reading figures of rhetoric.”
The first regular meeting of the Illinois State Teachers' Association was held in Peoria, during Christmas week of 1854, and of course but a short time after his arrival in the place. “ The Illinois Teacher" was started at this meeting, to further the educational interests of the state. It was published the first year at Bloomington, with a local and twelve monthly editors; but its list of subscribers was less than three hundred in all, and, at the meeting in Springfield, the next year,