Vernon has a long history of excellence in education. From the early pioneers and one room schoolhouses, to some of the most highly regarded private schools of the late 1800s. Many of Vernon’s young men went on to Hamilton College in the 1800s, and other prominent schools like Union College.
This is a list of many of the schools of Vernon, though we still need to add the William A. Wettel Elementary School, the VVS High School, and various old District schoolhouses.
in 1875, the various Vernon Village district schools (5,7,10) and the Vernon Academy joined into one public school system. It took over the stone Vernon Academy building. An annex was added in 1898, a wood framed portion was added in 1912. It became a high school in 1901. The building was replaced between 1914-1916, with the frame portion moved up the street to become a two family house.
The Vernon Female Seminary offered a refined education for young women. The school had the same trustees as the Vernon Academy for Young Men, and became part of it when the Academy incorporated in 1838. It may have begun in 1832
A premier regional school for boys, founded in 1833. It was incorporated by the NYS Legislature in 1838. The school was built of heavy stones where the Mt. Vernon Apartments are as of 2020, on the corner of School and Seneca streets. It was a private school. Students came from all over to attend the school, and were boarded in nearby homes.
S. B. Norton obtained the old Van Eps homestead, which as of 2021 is the American Legion, and turned it into this school. According to Pioneers of Vernon, "Boarding pupils were limited to fifteen, and fifteen day students could, also, be instructed. Daily exercises in the fresh air were required. Sweets and pastries were frowned upon. The girls were carefully taught and strictly supervised in manners and morals. The cost was $200 per year, music and painting being extras."
This boarding school was located at what used to be 225 West Seneca St. According to Pioneers of Vernon, "S. Sheldon Norton served as principal and administrator...in the 1850s.... BOys came from not only Vernon and vicinity but, also, from Utica, Syracuse, ROchester and Buffalo in New York State, as well as from Louisiana and Texas. The boys, who wore uniforms, were subject to strict discipline. Testimonials to this school's excellent education were given by Horace Greeley, Henry Ward Beecher, the. presidents of Hamilton and Union Colleges and many others.
The first frame school in Vernon was constructed around 1798, facing east, on a "Gospel Lot" on Seneca St east of the present fire house. It was replaced in 1817 by a red brick building, which was shared with the Masonic Lodge and later also the Odd Fellows. It was located where the present Baptist Church services wing is as of 2020. The records for it began in 1813. In 1875, it became part of the Vernon Union Free School district.
The first school classes in the Town of Vernon were held by teacher Mr. Sessions in Vernon Center in the late 1790s. They met locally in a log cabin, until the meeting house in the Green was built. A one room schoolhouse was later built next to the Green, at the site of the present day (2020) Vernon Center Post Office. The building became a 2-room schoolhouse in 1896, as several Vernon Center schoolhouses were united. Students attended there through 1960.
William and Ruth Root deeded land to the trustees of District No. 1 for a school. It was likely near Heinigs corners (Peterboro and Youngs) where the Roots and Sherman's lived, and which then had more houses and a factory. (Per Kitson's Pioneers of Vernon)