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Ryan Bachman Gives Talk at the Cornwall Historical Society

Norfolk resident, and Norfolk Now contributor Ryan Bachman gave a talk at a colloquium sponsored by the Cornwall Historical Society on June 18. The topic of the meeting was the history of the Foreign Mission School, which operated in Cornwall from 1817 to 1826. The school was established to educate “heathen youth,” who were then expected to return as missionaries and teachers to their native land. The approximately 100 young men who attended the school came from Hawaii, scattered Native American tribes and  countries as distant as India and China. Controversy forced the school to shut down in 1826 after two Cherokee students married two young women from Cornwall.

Professors, archaeologists and descendants of some of the students spoke at the colloquium about the legacy of the school, both good and bad. Bachman, a doctoral candidate in history at the University of Delaware, described the school’s practice of holding exhibitions to present the students’ different cultures to the mostly white residents of Cornwall.

Bachman first got involved with the Cornwall Historical Society in 2012, after finishing his undergraduate degree. Wanting to build up his resume before applying to graduate school, he decided to intern at the society. During the summers he has worked on several archaeological and archival projects for the society while attending graduate school.

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