Before founding Groton in 1884, at age twenty-seven, Mr. Peabody's life had taken many turns. Educated in England at Cheltenham and Cambridge, he pursued a banking career but abruptly turned away from finance and toward the Episcopal Church. Only months after the famed gunfight at the OK Corral, Mr. Peabody arrived in Tombstone, Arizona. In “the town too tough to die,” the Anglophilic Yankee won over the miners, cowboys, and townspeople and built the first Episcopal church in the state.
But Mr. Peabody did not feel drawn to pastoral work and headed back East to complete his seminary studies. A brief stint as a schoolteacher provided his calling. He would start a school that explicitly sought to instill high-minded principles in the offspring of the most successful American entrepreneurs of the Gilded Age. The campus would sit on rich farmland along the Nashua River, with vistas of the distant mountains of Wachusett and Monadnock.
In the beginning, twenty-four students, the Reverend Peabody, and two colleagues, the Reverends Sherrard Billings and William Amory Gardner, formed the school family. As Mr. Billings wrote years later, in 1930, the men shared “the conviction … that there could be a school where boys and men could live together, work together, and play together in friendly fashion with friction rare.”
As Groton has changed with the times, both its core and its outward appearance have remained constant. A deliberately small school, Groton today rests upon the foundation set forth long ago by the Reverend Endicott Peabody: the belief that a school embodying the best characteristics of a family will create the optimal environment in which students can learn and grow. Today’s headmaster, Temba Maqubela, continues the ideals of Mr. Peabody—to lead a school that offers the highest quality academic education, instills strong character, builds leaders, and inspires lives.