The Waynesville Academy
The Waynesville Academy was incorporated in 1844 by Friend Dr. Sylvanus Fisher and the stockholders of the Waynesville Academy Company. The land was owned by Friend David Evans (The Evans Family of Waynesville).
Sylvanus Fisher was born in Lynchburg, Virginia in 1797 but moved with his parents and siblings to Columbiana County, Ohio in 1807. He attended medical school in Lexington, Kentucky and began his practice in 1828. He was also a noted teacher in Columbiana County. In 1843 his first wife, Ann Wallahan, died. Dr. Sylvanus Fisher and many of his siblings moved to southwest Ohio two of whom also practiced for a while in Waynesville and Lebanon. Sylvanus had married again to Mary E. Hartman on October 24th, 1844 in Columbiana County. The 1850 Census of Waynesville in Warren County (Microfilm roll 266, page 346) mentions Sylvanus and Mary living in Waynesville, most likely in The Waynesville Academy building itself. Dr. Fisher was the designer, builder and principle stockholder of The Waynesville Academy. Eventually the Sylvanus Fisher family moved to Lebanon, Ohio in 1850. They would later move to Center Township, Rock County, Wisconsin where it is know that he was practicing in 1856. Sylvanus Fisher died in Wisconsin on April 2nd, 1860.
Even though distance divided the family, Sylvanus still had a connection to Waynesville through his brothers, Drs. Isaac and Elias Fisher. Sylvanus’ sister Ruth Fisher was married to Eli Harvey and lived in Clinton Co., Ohio (See,The Eli Harvey Homestead, article by Christine Hadley Snyder). His sister Sina Fisher married John Stichel of Clark County, Ohio.
And Waynesville, according to its means, its facilities and the state of pedagogy at that time, had good schools. There was the Academy, presided over at the earlier part of these recollections by David S. Burson, which so many of the “big boys,” Joe and Charlie Chapman, Mart Holland, Jason Evans and many others attended. The common Schools or Public Schools, on the closing of the Academy, came to be about all we had, unless we may except Miss Sarah Taylor’s School for young ladies, and some private schools at different times for younger children. The teachers remembered are Thomas Collett, Jason S. Evans, Joseph R. White, Samuel Scott, Jesse T. Butterworth, George P. Brown and Dr. William Meigs. It is far away from the little houses on the hills, where Thomas Collett and Jesse T. Butterworth taught the “young idea how to shoot,” to the present fine structure (He is referring to the new 1891 Union School.). It is far away from the school, which taught, or assumes to teach, all grades, to the present division into years and grades, but if experience is any guide, those who learn now, would have learned then, and those who will not learn now, would have failed then (Souvenir and Homecoming Edition of The Miami Gazette [Waynesville, Ohio: Miami Gazette, October 1906], p. 32).
The appearance of the old Academy was changed in 1867. According to the Miami-Gazette (April 17th, 1867): Among the improvements at present going on in town, we notice as one of the most prominent those in operation on the Academy building by its present owner, Mr. Fetters. This gentleman has entirely changed the appearance of the building and by neat fencing, ornamental trees, etc., will in time have one of the nicest residences on the street.
For more detailed information about the Waynesville Academy see: Quaker Education and Miami Valley Institute: A Hicksite Quaker College by Karen S. Campbell (Published by Author, 2004).