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Charlestown schools after 1793

By Frank Mortimer Hawes

Since our reference to Samuel Holbrook, schoolmaster of Charlestown (Vol. III., p. 68) an interesting article has appeared in the New England Genealogical Register, Vol. 58, p. 308, which informs us that he was born in Boston, 1729, the son of Abiah and Mary (Needham) Holbrook. His eldest brother, Abiah, Jr., was a distinguished schoolmaster of Boston, from 1741 to his death in 1768 or 1769. Samuel began to teach in 1745 as his brother's assistant, and in 1750 was receiving a salary of £ 50 as usher of the South Writing School. In 1769 he succeeded his brother as master of this school, at a salary of £ 100. In 1770 one Thomas Parker complained that Master Holbbrook had given his son an unreasonable correction, but apparently no action was taken. In 1776 Mr. Holbrook received an extra £ 80 on account of the high cost of living, and in 1777 he was allowed £ 100 for the same reason. He seems to have continued his work in Boston until 1782.

The Memorial History of Boston says: ‘Samuel Holbrook, the schoolmaster, was Town Clerk of Charlestown, 1783.’ There must be some mistake in the date of his death, July 24, 1784, as the Charlestown records speak of him as late as March 5, 1787, when he was still living. His successor, Samuel Payson, was at the head of the town school in 1788. June 1 and November 12 of that year he received his quarter's salary, in the last instance £ 27 15s Od. December 7, 1792, ‘The committee appointed upon memorial of Mr. Payson, the schoolmaster, have attended and find Mr. Payson has lost £ 50 in consequence of being obliged to sell his warrants for less than their nominal value in order to subsist himself and family. They report it is just and proper that the town make good the deficiency.’ Mr. Payson probably continued to serve as town clerk until his resignation from the school, some time in 1800. Samuel Payson, perhaps a graduate of Harvard College, class of 1782, according to Wyman, was in the census of 1789, and came from Chelsea in 1787. He married Grace Webb in 1790, and together they reared a

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