Excerpt from The Andover Magazine, 1896
New England, rich in relics of old colonial times, has known few houses about which has clustered such a wealth of history and tradition as Andover's old Mansion House. Built when the history of our country was in its childhood, under circumstances of peculiar interest, it became the heritage of the present with the accumulated associations of more than a hundred years. To-day, standing on its desolate site, it is easy to shut our eyes to the beauty of the surroundings and look backward through the haze of the past.
We have the same broad outlook across the beautiful country. We see the same horizon outlined by lofty mountains. We look upon het same glorious sunsets. But where now are homes of culture and refine ment, attractive lawns, stately trees, massive buildings of brick and stone every evidence of enlightened prosperity, the past presents avery different scene. It shows great stretches of rocky pasture dotted with clumps of birches, alders, scrub-oaks and berry bushes, here and there a farm house or a tilled field, against a background of dark forest. On the corner where Professor Churchill's house now stands is the Phillips school-house, a small wooden building (a reconstructed carpenter's shop) capable of accommodating some thirty or forty students. Here was the beginning of the institutions of fair Andover Hill, that have become such a mighty power in educating and christianizing the world.
In this backward look, a strong light is thrown on the character of the hero, who, serving his country in high places during the Revolution, at the same time carried on his educational schemes with untiring vigor, and prepared for his family on this peaceful spot a home, in the holiest sense of the blessed word. We will not say He builded better than he knew. He knew that the success of the new nation depended on the right education of its youth. The grand results were the natural outcome of his noble life, and his never ceasing energy to breathe into his life-work the Christian vitality that inspired his own soul. The Memoir of Judge Phillips by Professor John L. Taylor, is a precious legacy to Andover, and to all who are interested in her institutions. Read in the public schools, it would show the youth of Andover what sort of men were raised up to guard and direct the beginnings of things and perhaps serve as an incentive to them to emulate the public spirit of these generous pioneers.
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