The boys in this picture were students at Norristown’s Treemount Seminary, founded in 1844 by Rev. Samuel Aaron, a Baptist minister. The school was a boarding and day school for boys age 12 to 18. In 1857, creditors took control of the property (at present day Tremount Avenue and Sandy Street) due to the unpaid debts of the Reverend. In 1861, John W. Lock leased the property and restarted the school. This photograph is from that period, perhaps around 1883. Lock, too, had financial problems and the school closed in 1887. The school educated about 5000 students in its forty-three year history, including Joseph Fornance II, a US Congressman. The Treemount Seminary Association was founded by alumni in 1913, and held annual reunions into the 1940’s.
The 1849 curriculum at the school consisted of “Spelling, Reading, Writing, Phonography, English Composition, English Grammar, Elocution, Rhetoric and Logic – in the Latin, Greek, French and German Languages – in Geography, the use of Globes and the rudiments of Drawing – in Arithmetic, Book Keeping and Practical Accountantship – in Algebra and the higher Analysis, and their various applications – in Geometry, Plane, Solid and Analytical and its application to Surveying, Mensuration, Navigation, Engineering and Astronomy – in Natural Philosophy and Chemistry with the aid of good apparatus.”
Tuition was $3.00 per month for day students, and $17.00 per month for boys who boarded at the school. The school charged an additional $1.50 for each foreign language studied. Violin and drawing lessons could also be had for an extra fee.
The Historical Society has a collection of the catalogs and circulars from the school, as well as many records of the Treemount Seminary Association including lists of the members and photographs.