ISAAC N. PECK - FIRST PRINCIPAL, 1837-1839
Isaac N. Peck was Marshall Academy’s first Principal. Between 1836-1837 he taught a subscription school in Mount Hebron Church, a simple log building, on a knoll called Maple Grove, where Old Main at Marshall University now stands. He had a solid reputation as an “efficient teacher,” who was also described as a “more than ordinary scholar.” With the efforts and support of local residents the Virginia Assembly established a new school, called Marshall Academy, on March 13, 1838. Local residents constructed a fine two-story brick building on land acquired from John Laidley for $40, the current site of Old Main. The deed called for the property to be “used for the express purpose of an Academy and no other use.” The new academy proved to be so popular, with more than 100 students enrolled, that Peck hired a Mr. Shepherd as an assistant. Peck was described in these words:
Mr. Peck was not the typical ‘old time’ school master. In the management of the school he did not rely chiefly on sternest of countenance, sharpness of speech and strength of arm, but rather by his pupils, he bound them to him by the silken ties of reverence, respect and affection. It was fortunate for the school that its beginnings were in the hands of such an eminent teacher.Peck left in September1839, after teaching the school for three years. Unfortunately, no further information on Peck can be located, either before or after he left Marshall Academy.
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