Henry Colby letters  1869-1870
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In April 1792, the Philadelphia Yearly Meeting of the Society of Friends began to deliberate on the question of establishing a boarding school for Quaker children, soon followed by fundraising and construction efforts. The Westtown Boarding School accepted its first 40 students, both boys and girls, on May 6, 1799, and additional students were admitted gradually throughout the remainder of the year. By the end of 1799, the school had expanded to house 7 teachers and over 200 pupils. Most of the early students ranged in age from around 10 to 20 years old, the majority between 10 and 17. The school is still in operation today.

Henry Dickinson of Sadsbury, Pennsylvania, entered the school as a 19-year-old student in April 1805. His parents were Joseph and Elizabeth Dickinson.