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Charlestown schools after 1825.

By Frank Mortimer Hawes


The affairs of wards 3 and 6 were assigned to Robert G. Tenney, land of wards 4 and 5 to Luke Wyman. Miss Whittemore was appointed to school No. 4, Miss Stearns to No. 5, Miss Ward to No. 3, land Miss Gerrish to No. 6, tall for the summer term. For the winter term, Philemon R. Russell, Jr., was engaged to teach in ward 4, Samuel Pitts in ward 5, Joseph W. Jenks in ward 3, and Francis S. Eastman in ward 6. As the last named did not accept, C. C. King was secured in his place. The report for the year says there were about 200 scholars outside the Neck, that schools No. 3 and 6 had ten and one-half months of school, the other two schools nine months.

Of bills approved, Lemuel Gulliver received $125; Eliza D. Ward, $88; Miss Gerrish, $88; Miss M. Whittemore, $71.50; Miss Maria H. Stearns, $6.5; Philemon R. Russell, Jr., $120; Mr. Pitts, $98; and C. C. King, $160.

Within the Neck, at the examinations, 1,035 were present out of an enrollment of 11,235. Two additional primary schools have been started, making ten in all. Another may be needed in the near future. ‘The trustees how have two primary schoolhouses on the training field lot, all on the town's land, and connected with the larger school establishment.’ We may infer that the other eight primary schools were held in rooms leased for the purpose, except, perhaps, the one at the Neck, which was probably in the (brick) schoolhouse there.

The trustees recommend that children remain in school till fifteen years of age rather than fourteen, as heretofore. The report, which is signed by Chester Adams, secretary, in closing says: ‘The children never appeared to the trustees so deserving of commendation as at the present time.’


From the report of Rev. Henry Jackson, secretary of the Board of Trustees for this year, we learn the following facts (concerning Charlestown school affairs):—

The schools without the peninsula were taught from nine to [47] eleven months each. At the examination of the primary schools (within the peninsula) 486 children were present out of a total of 580. The first two classes of the grammar schools were publicly examined in the Town Hall, by a special vote of the trustees. ‘It is believed that an annual examination of this character would be exceedingly beneficial and would excite in no small degree a deeper interest in the public schools.’ Four hundred and eighty-seven pupils were present, although the rolls exhibit 641 names. There are now ten primary and five grammar and writing schools within the Neck, and four common schools beyond the peninsula, making nineteen :schools supported at the public expense, and comprising 1,432 children. All the schools show a fearful list of absences; thus nearly one-fourth of the good effect ‘is suffered to pass away.’

Seven thousand dollars is asked for next year, and as ‘the brick school at (the Neck is suffering for want of immediate repairs, an additional appropriation of $400’ is asked for that purpose.

‘Several citizens in the village beyond the canal bridge make a request that the school boundaries in that part of the town be so altered as to admit their children to attend the school at the Neck. It will be recollected that the present boundaries were established several years since, at the time when the Winter Hill schoolhouse was built in consequence of their special application.’

It is voted to retain the children in school until the age of fifteen.

The trustees' records give as additional information for this year the fact that the school districts were re-numbered, that at Winter Hill being known henceforth as No. 4, that at Milk Row as No. 5, the one in the Alewife Brook neighborhood as No. 6, and the one at the extremity of the town as No. 7. Mr. Tenney had the care of No. 4 and No. 5 Mr. Wyman of No. 6 and No. 7.

The summer schools were examined Wednesday, October 14, and the teachers, according to this numbering, were Miss Mary Dodge, Miss Catherine Blanchard, Miss M. Whittemore, and Miss Maria A. Stearns. The two former received $112, the two latter $78. [48]

The male teachers for the winter schools in these four districts were: Joseph S. Hastings, of Shrewsbury, for the Woburn Road school; P. R. Russell, Jr., for the West Cambridge Road school; William Sawyer, Jr., for Winter Hill; and Henry C. Allen, of Bridgewater, for Milk Row. All Were to begin the first Monday in December. Lewis Colby, ‘of Cambridge College,’ seems to have taken Mr. Hastings' place for a few weeks. January 18, 1830, ‘Mr. Allen requested to be relieved from further services on account of some unpleasant circumstances having occurred from want of suitable discipline in his school.’ His resignation was accepted, and Lewis Colby, ‘a member of the Cambridge school,’ was put in charge.

From bills approved we learn that Mr. Allen received $51.68; Mr. Hastings, $98; Mr. Russell, $120; Mr. Colby, $76.40; and Mr. Sawyer, $124. At the examination of No. 7, Messrs. Wyman and Jackson reported that Mr. Hastings had taught the school with much ability, and they were highly gratified. No. 6 was also commended by the examiners, Messrs. Wyman and Walker. Mr. Colby's school was examined by Chester Adams. Forty-eight were present out of a total of seventy-four. ‘This school has given the trustees much anxiety, but since it was under the present management it has improved, and appeared well at the examination.’ Captain Tenney examined No. 4 (Winter Hill). Thirty-five were present out of the fifty-two enrolled. ‘The captain did not commend the teacher or the school.’

The Trustees (continued from Volume IV., page 90).

1830, Rev. James Walker, Rev. Linus S. Everett, Chester Adams (president), Paul Willard, Esq. (treasurer), Benjamin Thompson, Guy C. Hawkins, John Runey.

1831, the same, except that Mr. Walker was succeeded by James K. Frothingham.

1832, Paul Willard, Esq., Benjamin Thompson (secretary), Guy C. Hawkins, John Runey, James K. Frothingham (president), Henry Jaques, Joseph F. Tufts.

1833, James K. Frothingham (president), Benjamin Thompson (secretary), Paul Willard, Esq. (treasurer), Guy C. Hawkins, Joseph F. Tufts, Charles Thompson, Chester Adams. [49]

1834, the same.

1835, Charles Thompson (treasurer), Paul Willard (secretary), Amos Hazeltine, Joseph F. Tufts, Captain Larkin Turner (president), John Stevens, Alfred Allen.

1836, Charles Thompson (president), J. W. Valentine, M. D., George W. Warren (treasurer), Alfred Allen, James Underwood, Charles Forster, Thomas Browne, Jr. (secretary).

1837, the same.

1838, Richard Frothingham, Jr., Charles Forster, Alfred Allen, Thomas Browne, Jr., George W. Warren, James Underwood, Eliah P. Mackintire.

1839, the same, except that John Sanborn succeeds Mr. Mackintire.

1840, Richard Frothingham, Jr. (president), George W. Warren, Charles Forster, John Sanborn, Eliah P. Mackintire (treasurer), Frederick Robinson (secretary), Francis Bowman.

1841, John C. Magoun, M. F. Haley, Philander Ames, Alfred Allen, Frederick Robinson, Richard Frothingham, Jr., E. P. Mackintire, Charles Forster, John Sanborn, Francis Bowman, George W. Tyler (?).


The (summer) schools beyond the Neck were kept six months, beginning with the third Monday in April. Miss Abigail Bradley (No. 4)and Miss Sarah A. Mead (No. 5) received $16 per month, and Miss Miranda Whittemore (No. 6) and Miss Phebe W. Wiley (No. 7) received $13 per month. Before the end of the term Miss Wiley was succeeded by Miss Mary Dodge.

John Runey and Guy C. Hawkins had charge of the outside schools, and were empowered to take a school census in wards 4 and 5. Later they report seventy-six scholars in the former and 109 in the latter, between the ages of four and fifteen. ‘The committee appointed to consider the subject of holidays allowed the schools report that, in their opinion, the weekly occurrence of the same is injurious to the order and progress of the schools, tending to dissipate the minds of the scholars and unfit them for much effort immediately after. This evil is considered as particularly attending the Wednesday holiday, the influence of the [50] Sabbath having a tendency to counteract the effects of the recess on Saturday. The committee would therefore recommend that the afternoon of Wednesday be no longer allowed as a holiday.’

Holidays: Every Saturday afternoon, election week, Commencement week, the week including Thanksgiving, the week including the annual meeting of the American Institute of Instruction, Christmas Day, Fast Day, the first Monday of June, the Seventeenth of June, the Fourth of July, and the day next after the semi-annual visitations.

‘The committee are aware that considerable abridgment is made of the time heretofore granted to the teachers, but when they consider that but six hours service is required of them daily in School, and that by this arrangement they would still have more than nine weeks annually which might be devoted to relaxation and exercise, they cannot believe that the health of teachers or scholars would be hazarded by too close an application to their duties.’

The winter terms for the schools beyond the Neck began the second Monday in November. The following were the teachers appointed: James Swan, for the Russell district; Jeremiah Sanborn, for Milk Row; Ebenezer Smith, Jr., for tile Gardner district; and Moses W. Walker, Winter Hill. Before the end of the term, Mr. Smith had been succeeded by L. W. Stanton, and George W. Brown had charge for two months at Winter Hill. The schools at No. 4 and No. 5 are now allowed to be kept through the entire year. Messrs. Runey and Hawkins are empowered to make such arrangements as may be thought best in regard to the stove and chimney in the Winter Hill schoolhouse. They are also appointed to supply the outlying schools with wood.

A committee appointed to examine the schoolhouse in Milk Row reported that repairs were necessary. It was left to Messrs. Hawkins and Thompson to make the same. April 25, 1831, John Sweetser was paid $64.62 for these repairs.

The subject of permitting the children immediately beyond the Canal bridge to attend the school at the Neck having been submitted to the trustees, they have to report nothing yet done about it. It is believed that about sixty children would be better [51] accommodated if allowed to attend that school, agreeable to the wishes of their parents. If so, an additional teacher there would be required, and it would necessitate the removal of the Winter Hill schoolhouse to “a different location.” The matter was left on the table.

‘The repairs at the Neck schoolhouse went beyond the appropriation, $150. As is often the case in repairing old buildings, many things were necessary to be done that could not be discovered earlier in the work.’

Within the Neck there are ten primary schools, with the scholars ranging from four to eight years of age, and averaging sixty-three in each school.

Early in the spring of 1831 L. Gulliver resigned as writing teacher at the Town Hill school, and Reuben Swan succeeded him. About the same time Mr. Conant, at the Training Field school, was followed by Amos Barker. The other male teachers on the peninsula at this time were Messrs. Fairbanks, Peirce, and Samuel Bigelow, the latter being the master at the Neck school. March 28, ‘Voted to expel John H——d from Mr. Bigelow's school for bad conduct.’ The same day a report relative to the establishment of a high school was read by Chester Adams, Esq., and after amendment was adopted.


The teachers for the summer term without the Neck, to begin April 1, 1831, were: Miss Catherine Blanchard, at Milk Row, who was to receive $16 per month; Miss Abby Mead, of Woburn, at Winter Hill; Miss Whittemore, for the Russell district; and Miss Mary W. Jeffurds, for the Gardner district. The teachers for the winter term, with $32 a month at No. 4 land No. 5, $30 at No. 6, and $28 at No. 7, were Moses W. Walker, John N. Sherman, S. N. Cooke, and E. W. Sanborn, respectively.

The trustees vote to hold their meetings ‘the last Monday evening of each month, as usual.’

Mr. Frothingham is authorized, July 25, to commence prosecution against boys for engaging in breaking the glass in the Neck schoolhouse. [52]

October 4 it is recorded that smallpox has appeared in town and threatens to spread in some of the primary departments. Consequently it is voted that no scholar be allowed to attend any of the public schools after to-morrow who has not been vaccinated. This order was rescinded December 26.

Voted that Election vacation stand as formerly, viz., the last week in May and the first Monday in June. Miss Gates and Miss Jaquith, of the primary teachers, resigned this year. February 2, 1832, the resignation of Samuel Bigelow, of the Neck school, Was accepted, also that of Reuben Swan, of the Female Writing school, both having entered other occupations. The salary of the former was $600, of the latter $500. Moses W. Walker, of the Winter Hill school, was elected to the Neck school, and Thomas Stephenson to succeed Mr. Swan. As Mr. Stephenson's health was delicate, after two months he was succeeded by James Swan at the same salary, $500.

At the close of the season, on the recommendation of Mr. Hawkins, the services of John N. Sherman were retained at Milk Row at $360 per year. This is the first instance of a teacher on Somerville soil being hired by the year. ‘The trustees by this action incur the additional expense of $72 for meeting the wishes of the people at Milk Row.’ It was voted at that time, April 9, 1832, that a uniform system of writing be introduced into all the schools as soon as possible, and that the secretary supply the schools with a sufficient number of Boston Slips for this purpose. At the end of the year the Board extended thanks to Chester Adams, Esq., who resigns his office, commendatory of his long term of service. It was also voted that boys beyond Canal bridge within the Winter Hill district from ten to fifteen be allowed to attend Mr. Walker's school at the Neck until the trustees otherwise order. All such boys must call on Mr. Runey and get a permit from him. The schools now number 1,450 pupils, and the annual cost of educating them is about $5 per pupil. The school for boys is under Messrs. Peirce and Baker; that of the girls under Messrs. Fairbanks and James Swan.

(To be continued.)

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Charles Thompson (4)
Eliah P. Mackintire (4)
Joseph S. Hastings (4)
Richard Frothingham (4)
Charles Forster (4)
Lewis Colby (4)
Alfred Allen (4)
George W. Warren (3)
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Joseph F. Tufts (3)
Benjamin Thompson (3)
Robert G. Tenney (3)
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Philemon R. Russell (3)
James K. Frothingham (3)
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Eliza D. Ward (2)
James Underwood (2)
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Maria H. Stearns (2)
Ebenezer Smith (2)
John N. Sherman (2)
William Sawyer (2)
Frederick Robinson (2)
Samuel Pitts (2)
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C. C. King (2)
Henry Jackson (2)
Lemuel Gulliver (2)
Elizabeth Gerrish (2)
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Mary Dodge (2)
Thomas Browne (2)
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Catherine Blanchard (2)
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M. Whittemore (1)
J. W. Valentine (1)
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Larkin Turner (1)
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E. W. Sanborn (1)
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John C. Magoun (1)
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Henry Jaques (1)
Amos Hazeltine (1)
Frank Mortimer Hawes (1)
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Francis S. Eastman (1)
S. N. Cooke (1)
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George W. Brown (1)
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