indicate its elementary nature and to differentiate it from a grammar school as understood in those days.
When this first step had been taken and the school launched, the people began to agitate the school-house question.
in his ‘History of Medford
’ says: ‘Heretofore schools had been kept in private houses, but Feb. 22, 1720, it was voted to build a school house,’ and also ‘where the first school-house stood is not known, but it was probably near the meeting-house at the West End
Both of these statements need only a cursory glance to show their incorrectness.
The first school, in the house of Thomas Willis, Jr.
, was not opened till after Dec. 11, 1719, and at the townmeet-ing Feb. 22, 1720, had kept only about one-half of its first term, but the inhabitants were sufficiently impressed with its importance to call a town meeting for Feb. 22, 1720, ‘to know ye minde of ye Town whether ye will state a place for a school house and also to know whether the Town
will build a new scholl house.’
‘Att said meeting put to vote whether ye Town will choose a committee of five men to consider of a convenient place for setting of a schoolhouse in said town which may best acomodate ye whole Towne
and to make report of ye Doings herein att our generall March meeting next ensuing for ye Towns concurrence,’ and it was thus ordered, the committee being Capt. Peter Tufts
, Deacon John Whitmore
, Capt. Ebenezer Brooks
, Mr. John Willis
, Mr. John Richardson
At this time the old meeting-house was outgrown, and needed repairs as well as enlargement.
So again the school-house question was buried under this more weighty one of a meeting-house, and no report of this committee was ever made so far as recorded evidence directly shows.
But all the indirect evidence at our command points decidedly to the fact that the town did not possess a school-building of its own till the expiration of thirteen years from the establishment of its first school.
On Aug. 17, 1722, it was voted to have a ‘Scool keept,’ and Thomas Tufts, Esq.