Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Some Early Teachers -- Part II

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Some Early Teachers -- Part II

The next teacher to be mentioned is JOHN BARSHAM, a graduate of Harvard College in 1658. He was here as teacher two years or more, beginning sometime in 1660. At a town-meeting held May 16, 1661, a vote was passed, recorded as follows: "Itt is Agreed yt Thomas Marston & William Moulton shall Joyne with John Sanborn to Hire the prsent schoolemaster for another yeere prvyded they shall nott exced the som of twenty-six pound for his yeeres wages nor be more difficult in his pay than the last yeere." This teacher's name is not mentioned in the record, but from another source we learn that Mr. Barsham was here in 1661, and the next year.Evidently, money was hard to raise, for his wages, as well as Legat's, remained partly unpaid for a considerable time; and he brought a suit against William Fifield, in an action of debt for £26 "due by bill in consideration of keeping schoole in Hampton in 61 and 62 & for due damages. The Jury found for the plaintiff £29 damage & costs of court."

November 18, 1670, the town voted "thatt the Schoolemaster Rate for this year shall bee Raised by Estates of the Inhabitants as other Towne Rates are."

In 1671 the school was taught by JOHN STEPHENS, of whom but very little is known. Judging, however, from the correct language, tasteful arrangement and neat penmanship of several specimens of his writing extant, he must have been a man of considerable mental cultivation and refinement. The salary paid this teacher is not shown by the records,s but whatever it may have been, it was according to the vote of the town just mentioned, to be raised "as other town rates are." But February 10, 1673, this regulation was so modified that only £10 of the teacher's wages could be paid out of the money raised by taxation in the usual way, and the rest was to be assessed on the children attending the school. Under this arrangement, the school was not strictly a free school.

The usual way of employing a teacher was for the town to authorize and direct the selectmen, or a special committee chosen for the purpose, to attend to the business, leaving them to act in general, according to their own judgment, but sometimes giving particular instructions. In some cases the town determined by a direct vote whether a particular person should be employed. An instance of this kind occurred, probably, when Mr. Stephens closed the term of his engagement. At a town-meeting 19:9mo (November): 1674, a vote was taken on the question, whether the town would receive a certain man of Andover, as schoolmaster, and it was decided in the negative.

The next person known to have been employed as teacher of the school was THOMAS CROSBY, probably a son of Dr. Anthony Crosby, of Rowley, Mass., whose widow, in 1673, married Rev. Seaborn Cotton, pastor of the church in this town. Her son may have come from Rowley with her and settled here, as in the town records are given, between the years 1687 and 1703, the firths of his children, eight in number. In 1701 the town having laid out a large tract of land, voted that "Thos. Crosby, the present schoolmaster," should have two half shares in this land -- about eighty acres. [p. 156.] How long he was in charge of the school does not appear. If, however, he had been employed only a few months, it is hardly probable that such a grant would have been made to him as a schoolmaster.

After Mr. Crosby left the school, it was probably placed under the care of DANIEL RINDGE, A.M., son of Daniel Rindge, of Ipswich, Mass., a graduate of Harvard College in 1709, who died here, July 3, 1713, in the 22d year of his age. On the 11th of April, 1713, he had been sent for to the council-board, to confer with their governor and council and the minister of the town of Portsmouth about his becoming master of the school in that town, in which Latin as well as English was to be taught; [p.154.] to which situation he was then appointed for the term of four years. [Prov. Pap. II:651] It is believed in Hampton that he was here at that time, engaged in teaching, and before the term of his engagement expired, was stricken down with disease which resulted in his death.

September 28, 1714, the town chose a committee of three to hire a schoolmaster for the whole town. The records do not show who was hired; but during some portion of the next four years, one HUMPHREY SULLIVAN was the teacher. This appears from the record of a vote taken at a meeting of the "old parish," September 17, 1718, warned "to consider about hiring a schoolmaster." At this meeting, "ye late schoolmaster, Humphrey Sullevan was put to vote and not accepted of." We known nothing more of this man.

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