GenMassachusetts-L ArchivesArchiver > GenMassachusetts > 2006-03 > 1143517577
Subject: History of Harvard, Mass. 1643-1732 by Henry S. Nourse, 1894 p.47 to 49.
Date: Mon, 27 Mar 2006 22:46:17 EST
The History of Harvard, Massachusetts, 1643-1732, by Henry S. Nourse,
Clinton, Mass.1894. - W. J. Coulter, Printer.
Mr. Pierpont of Roxbury - probably Jonathan Pierpont, graduate of Harvard
College, the preceding year - was at that time engaged as a grammar-school
master, although the town
fathers appealed to the court, as follows:
"We would crave leave further to acquaint your Honour that we are Humbly
of the opinion that we are scarcely liable to Presentment for we have
but very lately had ye number of families ye Law requires, and a consid-
erable number of them are either single persons, widows or poor families,
no ways able to contribute to ye charge nor yet subsist without reliefe,
therefore humbly pray that no fine may be imposed upon us, nor be as yet
enjoined to be constantly provided with grammer schoole master, but that
a writing school may answer till our number be increased."
Nothing was said in this appeal about the hazards attending the sending
of children to school, but only a year before a complaint had gone to the
Council that a band of Indians frequented the country about Washacum,
stole corn from their fields, killed their horses in the woods - "being
a terror to ye women and children for fear of some ill design."
How long Mr. Pierpont served as school-master, the absence of town
records for the period prevents us from knowing; but in 1718, Samuel Stow
of Marlborough, a graduate of Harvard College in the class of 1716, was
hired at a salary of £40 a year, just half the annual stipend of the
The records again fail us for a time, but from 1721 to 1726, the master
was Edward Broughton, whose antecedents are not found. The Selectmen in
their report of the management of the town's "prudentials" in the year
1725, noted that they had "Reckoned with Mr. Edward Broughton for his
service for keeping school and find he hath kept school on ye Neck for
150 days; and at Still River 75 days and he hath received of ye Town
Treasurer £28.1s. In their accounts rendered March 1, 1724-5, they
"They have received Lists of ye subscribers to each school, viz:
Of that at Stephen's Hill and that at Bare Hill or Still River, and
do herewith present them to ye Town, and have also computed ye time ye
School Master ought to keep school at Stephen's Hill and it is 104 days
and at Still River and Bare Hill: 82 days and at or on ye Neck: 177 days"
As the Selectmen divided the school money, giving to each of the three
sections of the town a share proportionate
not to the number of children, but to its taxation, these records indi-
cate that about one-fifth of the taxes in Lancaster then came from the
Bare Hill neighborhood. Stephen's Hill was the centre of a larger popu-
lation in what is now Bolton. The regular annual appropriation for
schools at this period was £50. Usually but one grammer school-master
was employed for the year, each section of the town enjoying his teach-
ing in turn as might be determined by the Selectmen.
The use of the word "subscribers" in the report refers to the privilege
given the citizens, of choosing to which section they would belong and
pay their school rate.
In 1726, Ebenezer Flagg of Woburn, Harvard graduate in the class of 1725,
was school-master. During the next three years, Samuel Willard, Thomas
Prentice and Jacob Willard were paid various sums, "for keeping school at
Still River and Bare Hill." The first named. Samuel Willard, was a
of Harvard in 1723, and the father of Joseph Willard, a President of
Prentice was of the class of 1726 and became the minister of Charlestown.
Jabez Fox of Woburn, a graduate in 1727, served the town from 1730 to 1733 and
the school money from 1730 and 1731 was thus divided:
Still River and Bare Hill £10.7s.11d. £11.10s.5d.
Wataquadock £ 9.2s.10d. £10.18s.4d.
The rest of the town £31.19. 0d. £27.02s.5d.
It appears then that the youth of the community around Bare Hill were
instructed for about twelve weeks in each year, by some student, at the
most enthusiastic period of his life, fresh from a collegiate course.
This custom of employing young university graduates as teachers prevailed
throughout Massachusetts towns, and was one potent cause of the super-
iority of her schools and scholarship. No better plan could have been
devised for the discovery and development of the genius or special
talents everywhere awaiting the Ithuriel touch of encouragement and
sympathetic help to awaken their dormant powers of usefulness.
The breaking out of Father Ralle's, or, as it is best known in Massa-
chusetts, Lovewell's War, renewed the terror and distress of earlier
days in all frontier towns. Garrisons were
strengthened and guards set over them; and Lieut. Jabez Fairbank, then
local military commandant, kept companies of scouts scouring the country
around, though always within a day's journey of the town. No large body
of the enemy probably ventured near, but there were signs enough of their
neighborhood to keep the people in constant fear. For instance: early in
August, 1722, several Indians were apprehended by the scouts and
committed to jail in Boston. Proving to be of a western tribe, on a
hunting excursion, they were dismissed by resolve of the General Assembly
and their expenses to the Connecticut River paid; Lieut. Jabez Fairbank
being detailed to conduct them to Westfield.
August 27th, the New England Courant reported that:
"A Woman at Lancaster, as she was at work alone in the field, was taken
by two Indians, one of which could speak English and examined her about
the Indians lately taken and imprisoned at Boston.
After she had informed them that eight of the number were dismissed, they
cut off the hair on one side of her head and ordered her to lay it down
in the place where she had been at work and come to them again. The same
day some people who were searching for the woman, found her hair lying in
the field and concluding she had been carried away by the Indians,
immediately raised some men to go after them, who came so near to them
as to be within their hearing; whereupon the Indians stript the woman
and dismissed her, who when she arrived at the Garrison fainted away with
overmuch joy at her deliverance. The men missed of the Indians by
reason of the thickness of the woods."
The same newspaper, October 7, 1723, gave this item:
On Sunday the 22nd past, a lad of about fifteen years of age, being out
with his gun at Nashaway, discovered an Indian wading over a River and
fired on him. The Indian made his escape but tis since discovered that
he was very much wounded, having been tracked by his blood for a con-
siderable distance from the river."
A bounty of one hundred pounds offered by the colonial government for
each scalp of a male Indian over twelve years of age (women and children
half price) enlisted the services of several partisan leaders like Capt.
John White of Lancaster and Capt. John Lovewell, who with large bands of
rangers followed the trail of the savages to their lurking places on the
shores of the New Hampshire lakes and in the mountain valleys.
To be continued p. 50.
Transcribed by Janice Farnsworth