Almont’s First Academy

In February of 2022, Dean Hough donated four school books from several of his family members who were teachers. One of these was particularly interesting – in part because of its age and in part because of the book’s subject matter.  As I opened one of the books, I checked its publication date, which was 1838.  That date makes it one of the oldest objects in the museum – even older than the museum building, which is one of the oldest buildings in town.  The book’s subject matter was quite unusual.  The book was a grammar book – for Hebrew.  Mr. Hough had left the museum before I reviewed the books, so couldn’t understand how a Hebrew grammar book would have any use in a wilderness area such as Almont.

Dean was back at the museum in March and he explained the situation.

One of Dean’s ancestors, Walter King Hough (one of Almont’s earliest settlers) had settled in

Almont with his wife and children in 1834 along Hough Road.  His wife, Nancy Backus Hough died in Almont on March 15, 1848 and was buried in the family burial plot, which became Hough Cemetery.  Walter King married in Macomb County for a second time on January 17, 1849.  He married Elizabeth Dolly Parker.  Elizabeth was the sister and housekeeper of Eliphelet Parker, who had been the minister of the First Congregational Church from 1842 to 1844 and was operating one of the first educational academies in Almont (probably located in the Fox House on the south side of East St. Clair Street), just slightly east of the present location of the church.

Rev. Parker graduated from Yale Seminary.  The ministers graduating from Yale were taught to go out and establish churches and to establish an academy to teach the locals in the faith.  Part of that teaching obligation was to educate future ministers to continue to expand the faith.  As part of the teaching at Yale the students had to read the Bible in its original languages – Greek and Hebrew – thus the need for the Hebrew grammar book.  It was #41 in Rev. Parker’s library and appears to have had very little usage.

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