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March 7, 1807: Voted to enlarge the schoolhouse, and dig a well. After this was done, the girls and boys were taught in separate rooms. Until this time there had been but one public free school in the town; and this was all that was then deemed necessary. It was taught by an accomplished master through the year. After this time, two schools were not too many, and the town cheerfully sustained them. No provision had been made for what are now called “primary schools;” and therefore every parent was obliged to pay for the schooling of his children until they had reached the age of seven, when they could lawfully enter the grammar school. So late as 1813, children under seven years of age were, by vote, prohibited from entering the grammar schools.

The “dame schools,” or, as they were often called, the “marm schools,” were numerous. Some vestal dames, whom it would not be profanation to call “sacred,” and who never seemed young to their pupils, continued, through many years, to teach the young their first steps on the high and perilous ladder of learning. With what fidelity they administered the accustomed kisses, alphabet, and birch, some of us can never forget. Twelve cents per week, paid on each Monday morning, secured to each pupil an abundance of motherly care, useful knowledge, and salutary discipline. Our town rejoiced in a “Marm Betty.” After all, these schools were more important to society than the march of armies or the sailing of fleets; for they laid well the first foundation-stones of that immortal edifice,--human character.

Since 1799, a law had existed in the town, pledging it to pay for the instruction of poor children at the dame schools.

Whittling seems native to New England boys. March 7, 1808, the town voted to repair the seats and benches in the schoolhouse.

In 1817, female teachers for the female department were preferred. They taught through six months only. In 1818, when Medford had two hundred and two families, the expenses of the schools were as follows :--

Master for one year, at $20 per month$240
Board for the same, at $3 per week156
Master four months, at $20 per month80
Board for the same, at $3 per week52
Three female teachers twenty-five weeks each, at $4300
Rent for schoolhouses for female schools45

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