History


  "For anything worth having one must pay the price; and the price is always work, patience, love, self-sacrifice - no paper currency, no promises to pay, but the gold of real service."
                                                                         John Burroughs 


John Burroughs was born on April 3, 1837 on his family's farm in Roxbury. He spent his youth working on the farm and exploring Old Clump Mountain. His favorite place he called Boyhood Rock, where he would sit and study the ways of Nature around him.

He was a teacher, a journalist, a treasury clerk in Washington, DC (where he met and befriended Walt Whitman), and a bank examiner before returning to his beloved Catskills. In 1871, his first book Wake Robin was published. In 1874 he bought a small farm in Espous, and devoted himself completely to his writing. Later, he would divide his time between "Slabsides", his summer retreat at West Park, near Esopus, and "Woodchuck Lodge" in Roxbury.

His essays ranged from studies of birds and nature to religion and literature. Burroughs was a staunch defender of Whitman and Thoreau, then unpopular because of their perceived literary excesses. But the writing he is best known for are his gentle observations of nature. Alf Evers in The Catskill: From Wilderness to Woodstock noted that the first verse of the poem Waitingexpresses this "serene acceptance of life" by Burroughs:

Serene I fold my hands and wait
Nor care for wind, nor tide, nor sea;
I rave no more "gainst time or fate,
For lo! my own shall come to me.


John Burroughs Middle School first opened its doors in 1924 with 400 students and 23 teachers. Today, there are over 2,000 students enrolled in grades six, seven and eight. The school has consistently maintained a prestigious reputation for academic excellence and the cultural diversity found here provides a rich educational environment for its students.