Late in 1751 this little community suffered from a visitation more terrible than that which came upon Master Sweetser's boys,—the smallpox broke out, though not for the first time.
A petition read at town meeting the following May shows that the people of the outlying districts tried to keep the disease from spreading among them.
‘Forty inhabitants (without the Neck) prayed that the meeting may be adjourned without the Neck by reason of the smallpox being in town.
Voted that this meeting do not adjourn without the Neck.’
Later on, however, the point seems to have been carried, for June 9 ‘it was voted to adjourn the town meeting to the Common by reason of the Infection.’
In 1764 there was another smallpox ‘scare,’ and April 4, in reply to the question ‘whether the town will give the inhabitants leave to go into innoculation for themselves & families at all,’ it was voted in the affirmative.
March 4, 1754.
It was voted that the old town house be improved for a spinning (girls') school.
The next May Mr. Daniel Russell
was made chairman of a committee of three for this school, and £ 64 was appropriated for repairs.
One hundred and fifty pounds was also voted for renovating the meeting house, schoolhouse, and other public property.
This is the first evidence, so far as I find, that the daughters of the town were getting any direct benefit from the taxes that were paid by their fathers.
It was an experiment that probably did not last long.
The amount of £ 500, or its equivalent, £ 66 13s. 4d., lawful money, was voted annually for the grammar master until 1764. July 2 of that year, ‘it was voted that, instead of an addition being made to the present school, the committee make such repairs as are of necessity & likewise repair the Old Town House
suitable for another master whose business shall be to instruct in writing & cyphering, & that the sum of £ 50, 1.
m., be raised to procure one.’
This sum was afterwards increased to £ 55, and in January the bill for repairs on the schoolhouse amounted to £ 14 11s. May 12, 1766, upon petition of William Harris
, writing teacher, desiring an addition to his salary, the town agreed to give him the same as the grammar master received.