Sometime in 1863, Pine Plains officials were informed that the town was to be the recipient of a very unusual and generous bequest. A gentleman farmer from Germantown in Columbia County -- Seymour Smith (1779-1863) -- who had been born in Pine Plains but had not returned to the town of his birth for decades, had left his entire estate of $6,000 to his native town for the establishment of an academy, a school of higher learning.
This news must have been quite a shock to the town fathers, many of whom had probably never heard of Seymour Smith or had forgotten about him in the intervening years. But as we learn about Seymour Smith it becomes very clear that, while Pine Plains may have forgotten him, he never forgot about Pine Plains.
Fast forward to 2012, and a celebration of the 80th anniversary of the Pine Plains Central School building, at the time housing Seymour Smith Elementary School, was being planned. As part of this big event, the principal of the school, Richard Azoff, asked the Little Nine Partners Historical Society if it would like to put together an exhibit on the history of the Pine Plains schools.
The Society chose to write this booklet instead: Seymour Smith and His Legacy
Suggested Further Reading:
Laws of the State of New York (read the NY State act in its entirety)