Index

The first school in Dorchester


This school is claimed to be is the oldest public elementary school in North America. The school still exists. It is the Mather Elementary School, Boston. It is named after Richard Mather. Mather was an English-born American Congregational minister who emigrated to Boston and settled in Dorchester in 1635.

Robert Deeble was a signatory (with 70 other people) to a land grant funding the school. See the entry for 7 Feb 1642.

These references are taken from Dorchester Town Records.

The dates given in the records can be confusing. I have given the modern version of the date on the left. Please read the discussion on dates for an explanation. The page numbers below are of the Victorian book, not the original Dorchester Records, nor the scanned version. I have put the entries in their date order, rather than the order of the book.


Here is a version with modern spelling and slightly summarised in places. My comments are in italics. There are links to the full version, below.

20 May 1639
There shall be a rent of 20 yearly imposed upon Tomsons Island towards the maintenance of a school in Dorchester, this rent to be paid to such a schoolmaster to teach English, Latin and other tongues, and also writing. The schoolmaster to be chosen from time to time by the freemen. That is left to the discretion of elders and the 7 men for the time being, whether maids shall be taught with the boys or not.

7 Feb 1642
Upon experience it is found to be a matter of great labour and difficulty to collect the rent from so many persons, being no less in number than 120. The rent of twenty pounds is not sufficient maintenance for a school. All the present inhabitants of Dorchester whose names are subscribed do agree that from henceforth the said Island shall be wholly and for ever bequeathed unto the town of Dorchester for the maintenance of a free school in Dorchester for the instructing and teaching of children and youth in good literature and learning.
This is a summary of this (long) entry. Click here for full entry. There are 71 signatures to this document, some illiterate. These actual signatures are here.

14 Mar 1646

Rules concerning the school of Dorchester are confirmed by the major part of the inhabitants then present.

  1. It is ordered that three men of the Plantation shall be chosen to be wardens or overseers of the school who shall be in charge of the school. They shall continue in their office for term of their lives, unless any of them removing his habitation out of the town, or for any other weighty reason, or death, the inhabitants shall see cause to elect or chose others in their room. Mr. Haward, Deacon Wiswall, Mr. Atherton are elected to be the first wardens or overseers.
  2. The said wardens shall have full power to dispose of the school stock, in land or otherwise, and shall collect the rents from the stock. The rents shall and lay out only for the best advantedge of the school and the furtherance of learning thereby. The wardens shall give a faithful and true account of the disbursements so often as they shall be required by the inhabitants.
  3. The Wardens shall take care that the said school may from time to time be supplied with an able and sufficient schoolmaster who nevertheless is not to be admitted into the place without the general consent of the inhabitants.
  4. The wardens shall pay unto the schoolmaster wages out of the rents of the school stock.
  5. The wardens shall see that the school house be kept in good repair, the charges of which reparation shall be paid out of rents of the school stock, if there be sufficient, or the wardens shall repair to the 7 men of the towne for the time being who shall have power to tax the town with such sums as shall be requisite.
  6. The Wardens shall take care that every year at the end November, there be brought to the school house 12 sufficient cart or wain loads of wood for fuel, for the use of the schoolmaster and the scholars in winter, the cost of which wood to be borne by the scholars for the time being who shall be taxed for the purpose at the discretion of the said wardens.
  7. The Wardens shall take care that the Schoolmaster do faithfully perform his duty, viz.
    1. The Schoolmaster shall diligently attend his school and do his utmost endeavor for benefitting his scholars without unnecessaryly absenting himself to the prejudice of his scholars, and hindering their learning.
    2. From the beginning of March until the end of September, he shall every day begin to teach at 7 of the clock in the morning and dismiss his scholars at 5 in the afternoon. From the beginning of October until the end February, it shall every day begin at 8 of the Clock in the morning and end at 4 in the afternoon.
    3. Every day in the year the usual time of dismissing at noon (lunchtime) shall be at 11 and to begin again at one except that
    4. Every Monday he shall call his scholars together between 12 and one of the clock to examine them what they have learned on the sabbath day preceding. Also he shall take notice of any misdemeanor that any of his scholars shall have committed on the sabbath to the end that at some convenient time due admonition and correction may be administered by him according as the nature of the offence shall require, at which examination any of the elders or other Inhabitants that please may be prsent to behold his religious care, and to give their approbation of the same.
    5. He shall equally and impartially receive, and instruct such as shall be sent to him for that end, whether their parents be poor or rich, not refusing any who have right and interest in the school.
    6. Such as shall be committed to him, he shall diligently instruct as they shall be able to learn, both in humane learning and good literature, and likewise in point of good manners, and dutiful behavior towards all especially their superiors, as they shall have occasion to be in their presence whether by meeting them in the street or otherwise.
    7. Every Saturday at 2 of the Clock in the afternoon, he shall catechise his scholars in the principles of Christian religion, either in some catechism which the wardens shall provide or some other.
    8. And because all man's endeavors without the blessing of God must needs be fruitless and unsuccessful, it is to be a chief part of the schoolmaster's religious care to commend his scholars and his labours among them unto God by prayer, morning and evening, taking care that his scholars do reverently attend during the same.
    9. And because the rod of correction is an ordinance of God necessary sometimes to be dispensed unto children but such as may easily be abused by overmuch severity and rigour on the one hand, or over much indulgence and leniency on the other, the schoolmaster shall have full power to minister correction to any of his scholars without respect of persons according as the nature and qualitie of the offence shall require. All his scholars must be duely subject, and no parent or other of the Inhabitants shall hinder or go about to hinder the master therein. Nevertheless if any parent or others shall think there is just cause of complaint against the master for too much severity, such shall have liberty friendly and lovingly to expostulate with the master about the same. If they shall not attain satisfaction, the matter is then to be referred to the wardens who shall impartially judge betwixt the master and such complainants. And if it shall appear to them that any parent shall make causlesse complaints against the master and persist so doing, in such case the wardens shall have power to discharge the master of the care of the children of such parents. But if the thing complained of be true and that the master has indeed been guilty of ministering excessive correction, and shall appear to them to continue therein, notwithstanding that they have advised him otherwise, also in the case of to much leniency, or any other great neglect of duty, it shall be in the power of the wardens to call the inhabitants together to consider whether it were not meet to discharge the master of his place that so some other more desirable may be provided.

And because it is difficult if not impossible to give particular rules that shall reach all cases which may fall out, therefore where particular rules are wanting, it shall be a part of the duty of the wardens to order of all things that concern the school, in such sort as in their wisdom and discretion they shall judge most conducive for the glory of God, and the training up of the children of the town in religion, learning and civility.
And these orders to be continued till the major part of the town shall see cause to alter any part thereof.

19 May 1651
At a town meeting it was noted whether there should be a school in Dorchester. The major part present then did note that they would have a school and a schoolmaster forthwith provided.
The 4th of June 1651 It was noted at a town meeting that the select men together with Mr Jones and Deacon Wiswall should forthwith treat and agree with Mr. Henry Butler to teach school in Dorchester which was accordingly agreed on.

25 Dec 1652
It is agreed by Select of the town of Dorchester and Mr. Henry Butler that Henrey Butler shall keep school in the town of Dorchester from next Monday, 28 of December, until the First of May and for this he is to have 10. [This is not a full year's salary.]

8 Feb 1656

Whereas the General Court out of Religious Care of the Education of the youth of this Comonwealth in the prnciples of Christian Religion hath enjoined the select men of every town to have a vigilent eye to see that men's children and such as are within their charge be catechised in some orthodox catechism in families : so as they may be ready to answer the select men as they see time convenient to examine them. We the select men of this towne of dorchester for the time being in our obedience to authority and in pursuit of so useful a worke do hereby require all parents, masters and any that have the charge and oversight of any youth within this plantation that they be diligent to observe this injuntion to catechise theire children, servants and others within their charge in some sound and orthodox catechism that they may be able to render account heareof when they shall be hereunto required either in the church or privitly: as upon advice shall be judged most conducing to the general good of all men. And fail not herein upon such penalty as the court shall see reason to inflict upon information given against such as shall be found diliquent herein.
It is agreed by the select of Dorchester in the behalf of the town, and Thomas wiswall and his son Icabod Wiswall as follows:
Icabod with the consent of his father shall, from 7 of March unto the end of three full years, instruct and teach in a free school in Dorchester all such children as by the inhabitants shall be committed unto his care in English, Latin and Greek, as from time to time the children shall be capable, and also instruct them in writing as he shall be able. It is to be understood such children who are entered already knowe thier letters and to spell somewhat. Also provided the school house be kept in good order, and comfortable for a man to abide in both in summer and winter by providing fire so that it may neither be prejudicial to master nor scholar. In case of palpable neglect and matter of complaint and not reformed, it shall not bind the master to endanger his health. The Selectmen of Dorchester shall every year pay unto Icabod or his Father by his Assignment the full sum of twenty five pounds, two thirds in wheat, peas or barley merchantable, and one third in Indian [corn], at or before the First of March during the three years.
14 Jan 1661
At the meeting of the select men, Thomas Wisall had a bill given him to receive of the Constable eighteen shillings and six pence in satisfaction for loss he sustained by reason the price of Indian corn which he received for that which was due to the schoolmaster.

3 Dec 1660
At the general town meeting, it was voted that Mr Pole is to keep the school until his year be ended which will be about the 20 April 1661. Also it was voted that the select men are to labour to provide a schoolmaster by that time that Mr. Pole's year be ended.
[Mr Pole continues to be appointed each year.]
12 Dec 1666
Paid to Mr. Pole for keeping. schoole and recording 26.
4 Dec 1666
At a town meeting after some agitation about a schoolmaster, it was put to the Vote whether there should be a schoolmaster enquired after to teach school in this town. It was voted in the affirmative. By a second vote, it was agreed unto that Master Mather and Lt Hopestill Foster and John Minot should be empowered to endeavor to procure a Schoolmaster.
The same day it was voted that Mr Pole should be spoken unto to go on keeping school until another Master be procured, at the same rate as formerly, and William Sumner is appointed to speak to Mr Pole about it if he will accept.
[Despite the 'agitations' they continue every year to ask Mr Pole to carry on.]
2 Dec 1667
At a general town, it was put to the vote viz: whereas the last year the town did make choice of Mr Richard Mather, Captin Foster and John Minot to look for a schoolmaster to teach school in this town, and that being not yet attained (although it have been endeavored after) the town do again renew their request to those men, to look out after another master; and further they do give them full power to agree with such a man as they shall judge meet not exceeding forty pound a year. The vote was in the affirmative. The same day it was agreed that Mr Pole should be spoken to (by William Sumner) and desired that he would continue teaching of school as formerly for the year ensueing or until another be obtained.
4 Dec 1668
Paid to Mr Pole as Schoolmaster 25; to John Minot (expenses about the schoolhouse) 1/7; to Samuel Robinson (for windows and shuts for the schoolhouse) 16/2; boards for the schoolhouse 15s; and for nails 6d.
[I do wonder if Mr Pole was aware that they were looking for a new teacher at a salary possibly as high as 40? And why don't they like Mr Pole? Was he not able to teach 'Latin and Greek' as required? Or perhaps he wanted to go.]

1 Feb 1668
At a general town meeting ... The same day it was put to the vote that the thousand acres formerly given to the use of the school should never be sold to any other use but to be reserved for the maintenance of a free school in Dorchester for ever.
[I wonder why it was necessary to bring this up. Perhaps someone had suggested putting the land to other uses? If so, it seems that the inhabitants of the town were firm about squashing this idea. They seem proud of their school.]

9 Nov 1668
It is ordered in respect of the school that those, that send their children to school in the winter time, bring for each child a load of wood or half a cord of wood. Those that bring it in log-wood are to cut it after it come to the school house. For those boys that go but a part of the winter, we leave it to the master's discretion to appoint the proportion for such.
[The initial idea of the school suggested that there was a possibility of 'maids' being taught with the boys. Unfortunately, this entry suggests that it is only boys in the school.]

7 Dec 1668
At a general town meeting ... it was voted that the select men should agree with the schoolmaster for the teaching of the youth, for so long time as they shall judge meet.
[I'm not sure what this means. Is it just the perpetual attempt to find a new teacher? The next entry suggests otherwise.]

8 Jun 1669
At a meeting of the town being orderly called together. A motion being made by our brothers and friends living at or near to the town, to dismiss Mr Atherton from his engagement to the school in Dorchester. It is therfore put to the vote whether the town will be willing to dismiss Mr Atherton from his engagement by the 29 September next or sooner if the committee can provide a supply for the school. The vote is in the affirmative.
The same day, there was chosen a committee to look out and agree with a schoolmaster to teach school in Dorchester. Their names are Mr William Stouhton, Lt. John Capen and John Minot.
[I wonder what Mr Atherton had done? However, it seems as if the town had to put up with this teacher was a full year, because his payment is 25.]
8 Nov 1669
Rate (which pays for the school) 54/15/2
Paid to schoolmaster Sir Atherton 25;
There are other payments for school maintance, including carrying of boards from Boston and a lock for the schoolhouse.

10 Jan 1670
The constable was ordered to pay out of the towne rate as follows: Mr John Foster as schoolmaster 25.
[John Foster seems to continue for several years, again yearly requests for a new school teacher to be found, the last one in 23 Dec 1672.]

10 Mar 1674
At a meeting of the freeman, it was proposed whether there should be a schoolmaster procured as formerly to teach both English and Latin and to write at the schoolhouse and that the select men do take care therein. The vote was in the affirmative.
[It's not clear whether this means that there is no teacher by this time. Later on the same year, there is some maintenance done to the school.]

20 Dec 1675
At a meeting of the select men, it was agreed with Mr James Minot junior to keep the School and to teach such as shall come. The same day, the select men appointed Richard Withington and Daniell Preston to see that the schoolhouse be fitted up with seats and a lock and key for the door.
[James Minton was reappointed in 9 Dec 1678. His payment was 20, so either the salary had been reduced, or it was for only part of a year.]

13 Jun 1681
At a meeting of the select men they appointed William Sumner and Deacon Blake to enquier after a schoolmaster.
[This search for a new teacher went on 19 Sep 1681, 5 Dec 1681 (where some say there may be one at Bridgwater) and 4 Dec 1682]

3 Dec 1683
At a general town meeting, it was passed by a vote that the select men shall have full power to hire a schoolmaster for the yeare ensuing. The same day it was passed by a vote with reference to the school land which is granted by the general court in lieu of Thomsons Island that the worshipful Mr. Stoughton, Enoch Wiswell and John Brecke would look after and take care for the laying of it out.

1684
Paid to Mr John Williams schoolmaster 16-00-00
[At last! But the salary seems to have gone down.]


I am assuming that the wardens are the people who are made responsible for finding a new teacher (which happens frequently!)

WardensDate starting
Mr. HawardDeacon WiswallMr. Atherton14 Mar 1646
Mr JonesDeacon Wiswall4th of June 1651
Master MatherLt. Hopestill FosterJohn Minot4 Dec 1666
Mr William StouhtonLt. John CapenJohn Minot8 Jun 1669
William SumnerDeacon Blake13 Jun 1681
Ensign Hale19 Sep 1681
Mr. StoughtonEnoch WiswellJohn Brecke3 Dec 1683

TeachersFirst mentioned
Henry Butler4th of June 1651
Icabod Wiswall8 Feb 1656
Mr William Pole3 Dec 1660
Mr Atherton8 Jun 1669
Mr John Foster8 Jun 1669
Mr James Minot junior20 Dec 1675
Mr John Williams1684

There seems to be some correlation between wardens (or people charged to find a new school teacher) and the acual teachers. Icabod Wiswall is the son of Deacon Wiswall (the the payment gets paid to the Deacon). Mr James Minot, the teacher, is described as Junior. And there is a Mr. Atherton as the first warden, and a Mr. Atherton (a lot later) as a teacher. This is not necessarily nepotism. It sounds as if they had great problems getting people to do this job, so perhaps they persuaded (or ordered) their sons!


Full entries about the school from the Dorchester Record, with original spelling:

Page 39

20 May 1639

It is ordered that the 20th of May 1639, that there shalbe a rent of 20ls yeerely foreur imposed vpon Tomsons Iland to bee payd p euy p'son that hath p'prtie in the said Iland according to the p'portion that any such p'son shall fro tyme to tyme inioy and posesse there, and this towards the mayntenance of a schoole in Dorchestr this rent of 20ls yeerly to bee payd to such a schoolemaster as shall undertake to teach english latin and other tongues, and also writing the sayd schoolmaste to bee chosen fro tyme to tyme p the freemen and that is left to the discretion of elders and the 7 men for the tyme beeing whether maydes shalbe taught with the boyes or not. For the levying this 20ls yeerely fro the p'ticuler p'sons that ought to pay that according to this order. It is farther ordered that somme man shalbe apoynted p the 7 men for the tyme beeing to Receiue that and refusall to levye that p distresse, and not fvnding distresse such p'son as so refuseth payment shall forfeit the land he hath in p'prietie in the sayd Island.

Page 44

1 Feb 1642
The 1st of February 1641 The Elders Mr Stoughton and Mr Glouer are intrusted p the towne to sett Tomsons Iland att a Rent for the best Benetitt of the schoole.

Page 104

7 Feb 1642

Wheras the Inhabitants of Dorchester haue formerly ordered Consented and agreed that a Rate of Twentie pound p ann shall issue and be payd by the sayd Inhabitants and there heires from and out of a Certaine porcon of land in Dorchester Called Tomsons Hand for and towards the maintenance of a schoole in Dorchester aforsayd. And that vppon experience it is found to be a matter of great labour and difficultie to collect the sayd rent from soe many severall p'sones as ought to paye the same accordinge there seuerall p'portions the p'sones that haue title to land in the sayd Iland and who therfore ought to pay the sayd rent, beinge noe lesse in number than six score or theraboute, And inasmuch as the sayd rent of Twentie pound when it is duly collected and payd is not of it selfe suffitient maintenance, for a schoole without some addicon thervnto for the augmentinge therfor of the sayd rent and to the intent that the same may heneforth be more readily collected and payd It is heerby ordered and all the prsent Inhabitants of dorchester aforsayd Whose names are heervnto subscribed doe for themselues and there heires heerby Covenant consent and agree that from henceforth the said Iland and all the benefitt and prfitts therof and all there right and Intrest in the same shallbe wholy and for euer bequeathed and given away from themselues and their heires vnto the Town of Dorchester aforesayd for and Towards the maintenance of a free schoole in Dorchester aforesayd for the instructinge and Techinge of Children and youth in good literature and Learninge. And to the intent that the better maintenance for a free schoole as is heerby intended may arise from and out of the sayd Iland It is therefore the mynd of the prseut donoures that the sayd Iland shall from tyme to tyme be lett, assigned and set ouer by the Inhabitants of Dorchester for the time beinge or theire agents for such yearlie rent or rents as shall in Comon Estimation amount to the full value of the sayd Iland.

And to the intent that the godly intentions of the prsent donoures may not be frustrated or disapoynted nor the free schoole heerby intended suffer any pruidice or damage by insuffitient tenante or Tenants to the sayd Iland, or through none payment of the rent that ought to be payd for the same It is heerby ordered and the prseut donoures doe hearby declare that it is there mynd that the sayd Iland shalbe lett assigned and sett Ouer only to such Tenant or Tenants as shall by land or otherwise suffitiently secure the payment of the rent therof for the vse and behoofe of the schoole as aforsayd in such manner and forme and at such time and tymes of payment as shalbe agreed vpon by and betweene the inhabitants of Dorchester or there agents, one the one prtie and the sayd Tenant or Tenannts one the other prtye.

and for avoydinge the Trouble that myght arise in collectinge and gatheringe the same Rent by to great a Multitude of Tenants that ought to pay the same, and to the intent that the rents which shalbecome due for the sayde Iland may be the better and the more redylie collected and payd, it is heerby ordered and declared that the sayd Iland shall neuer be lett out to soe many tenannts as shalbe aboue tenn in number at once.

In witness wherof the prsent Inhabitants have heervnto subscribed ther names the Seaventh day of the Twelfth moneth in the yeare 1641.

Memorand. that before the subscribinge of these prsents the donoures aforsayd did further agree and declare that it was and is there mynd and true intencons that if at any tyme ther shall happen and fall out a vacancie and want of a schoolmaster by meanes of death or otherwise, yet the rents and prfitts ishuinge and arisinge of the sayd Iland shalbe converted and applied only to and for the maintenance and vse of the schoole either by augmentinge the stipend for a schoolemaster or otherwise but not for any other vse.

Israel Stoughton
Richard Mather
George Minott
Henry Withington
John Glouer
Natha : Dnncan
Thomas Hawkins
Tho: Clarke
John Holman
Nathaniell Patten
Humfrey Atherton
Thomas Makepeace
Henry Wright
Christopher Gibson
John Phillips
John Wiswall
John Capen
Joane Capen Weddow
William Blake
Nico : Butler
Nicholas Upsall
Thomas Swift
Thomas Wiswall
Thomas Dickerman
Roger Clap
Joseph Farnworth
Hopestill Foster
William Clarke
Michael Wiles
John Pears
Nicholas Clapp
John [mark] Pope
John Farnham
Baranbas Fawer
Thomas [mark] Andrews
Richard Baker
John Mandesley
George Proctor
Richard Hawes
Augustene Clement
Henrie Waye
John Smith
David Selleck
Bray Wilkins
Geo. Weekes
Jeffrey Turner
John Pearce
Mr Warham
Andrew Pitcher
William [mark] Lane
Thomas Jones
Jonas Humffrey
Edmunde [mark] Munings
James Bate
George Dyer
Robt Howard
John Grenaway
Edward Breeke
Richard Collacott
Jeremy Howchin
Thomas Tilstone
John Holland
Thomas Millit
Alice the wife of Richard Jones
Nathanael Wales
John Rigbye
Robert Deeble
Edward Clap
Willi Sumner
John [mark] Hill
Clement Toplif

[When I have written -mark-, in the original there is a letter in the middle of a name, sometimes with 'his mark' or 'the sign of' written by it. These are the signatures of illiterate people.]

Page 54

14 Mar 1646

Upon a generall and lawfull warning of all the inhabitants the 14th of the 1st moneth 1645 these rules and orders prsented to to the Towne concerning the Schoole of Dorchester are Confirmed by the maior p'te of the Inhabitants then prsent.

First It is ordered that three able, and sufficient men of the Plantation shalbe Chosen to bee wardens or ouseers of the Schoole aboue mentioned who shall haue the charge ovsight and ordering thereof and of all things concerneing the same in such manner as is hereafter expressed and shall Continue in their office and place for terme of their liues respectiuely, vnlesse by reason of any of them Remouing his habitation out of the Towne, or for any other weightie reason the Inhabitants shall see cause to Elect or Chuse others in their roome in which cases and vpon the death of any of the sayd wardens the Inhalntants shall make a new Election and choice of others.

And Mr. Haward, Deacon Wiswall, Mr. Atherton are elected to bee the first wardens or ouseers.

Secondly, the said Wardens shall haue full power to dispose of the Schoole stock whither the same bee in land or otherwyse, both such as is already in beeing and such as may by any good meanes heereafter be added : and shall Collect and receiue the Rents, Issues and prfitts arising and growing of and from the sayd stock, And the sayd rents Issues and b'fits shall imploy and lay out only for the best behoof, and advantadge of the sayd Schoole; and the furtherance of learning thereby, and shall giue a faythfull and true accoumpt of there receipts and disbursements so often as they shalbee thervnto required by the Inhabitants or the maior p'te of them.

Thirdly the said Wardens shall take care, and doe there vtmost and best endeavor that the sayd Schoole may fro tyme to tyme bee supplied with an able and sufficient Schoolemaster who neuthelesse is not to be admitted into the place of Schoolemaster without the Generall cosent of the Inhabitants or the maior p'te of them.

Fowerthly so often as the sayd Schoole shalbee supplied with a Schoolemr. so p'vided and and admitted, as aforesayd the wardens shall fro tyme to tyme pay or cause to be payd vnto the sayd Schoolemr such wages out of the Rents, Issues and p'fitts of the Schoole stocke as shall of right come due to be payd.

Fiuethly the sayd wardens shall from tyme to tyme see that the Schoole howse bee kept in good, and sufficient repayre, the chargs of which reparacion shalbe defrayed and payd out of such Rents, Issues and p'fitts of the Schoole stock, if there be sufficient, or else of such rents as shall arise and grow in the time of the vacancy of the schoolemr if ther bee any such and in defect of such vacancy the wardens shall repayre to the 7 men of the Towne for the tyme beeing who shall haue power to taxe the Towne with such some, or sommes as shalbe requisite for the repayring of tlie Schoole howse as aforesayd.

Sixthly the sayd Wardens shall take Care that euy yeere at or before the end of the 9th moneth [November - see date discussion] their bee brought to the Schoolhowse 12 sufficient Cart, or wayne loads of wood for fewell, to be for the vse of the Schoole master and the Schollers in winter the Cost and Chargs of which sayd wood to be borne by the Schollers for the tyme beeing who shalbe taxed for the purpose at the discretion of the sayd Wardens.

Lastly the sayd Wardens shall take care that the Schoolemr for the tyme beeing doe faythfully p'forme his dutye in his place, as schoolemr ought to doe as well as in other things as in these which are hereafter expressed, viz.

First that the Schoolemr shall diligently attend his Schoole and doe his vtmost indeavor for Benefitting his Schollers according to his best discretion without vnnecessaryly absenting himself to the peiudice of his schollers, and hindering there learning.

2ly that from the begining of the first moneth [March] vntill the end of the 7th [September] he shall euy day begin to teach at seaven of the Clock in the morning and dismisse his schollers at fyue in the afternoone. And for the other fyue moneths that is from the beginning of the 8th moneth [October] vntill the end of the 12th moth [February] it shall euy day beginn at 8th of the Clock in the morning and [end] at 4 in the afternoon.

3ly euy day in the yeere the vsuall tyme of dismissing at noone shalbe at 11 and to beginn agayne at one except that

4ly euery second day in the weeke [Monday] he shall call his schollers togeither betweene 12 and one of the Clock to examin them what they haue learned on the saboath day prceding at which tyme also he shall take notice of any misdemeanor or disorder that any of his skollers shall haue Committed on the saboath to the end that at somme convenient tyme due Admonition, and Correction may bee admistred by him according as the nature, and qualitie of the offence shall require at which sayd examination any of the elders or other Inhabitants that please may bee prsent to behold his religious care herein and to giue there Countenance, and ap'pbation of the same.

5ly hee shall equally and impartially receiue, and instruct such as shalbe sent and Comitted to him for that end whither their parents bee poore or rich not refusing any who haue Right and Interest in the Schoole,

6ly such as shalbe Committed to him he shall diligently instruct as they shalbe able to learne both in humane learning, and good litterature, and likewyse in poynt of good manners, and dutifull behavior towards all speciully their sup'iors as they shall haue ocasion to bee in their pesence whither by meeting them in the streete or otherwyse.

7ly euy 6 day of the weeke [Saturday] at 2 of the Clock in the afternoone hee shall chatechise his schollers in the principles of Christian religion, either in some Chatechism which the Wardens shall p'vide, and pesent or in defect thereof in some other.

8ly And because all mans indeavors without the blessing of God must needs bee fruitlesse and vnsuccessful theirfore It is to be a cheif p'te of the schoolemrs religious care to Comend his schollers and his labours amongst them vnto God by prayer, morning and euening, taking Care that his schollers doe reuendly attend during the same.

9ly And because the Rodd of Correction is an ordinance of God necessary sometymes to bee dispensed vnto children but such as may easily be abused by oumich seuitie and rigour on the one hand, or ou much indulgence and lenitye on the other. It is therefore ordered and agreed that the schoolemaster for the tyme beeing shall haue full power to minister Correction to all or any of his schollers without respect of p'sons according as the nature and qualitie of the ofience shall require whereto, all his schollers must bee duely subiect and no parent or other of the Inhabitants shall hinder or goe about to hinder the master therein. Neuthelesse if any parent or others shall think their is iust cause of Complaint agaynst the master for to much seuitye, such shall haue liberty freindly and louingly to expostulate with the master about the same, and if they shall not attayne to satisfaction the matter is then to bee referred to the wardens who shall imp'tially Judge betwixt the master and such Complaynants. And if it shall appeare to them that any parent shall make causlesse Complaynts agaynst the mrr in this behalf and shall p'sist and Continue so doeing in such case the Wardens shall haue power to discharge the mr. of the care, and charge of the children of such paients. But if the thing Complayned of bee true and that the mr. haue indeed bene guiltie of ministring excessiue Correction, and shall appere to them to Continue therein, notwithstanding that they haue advised him otherwise, in such case as also in the case of to much lenitye; or any other great neglect of dutye in his place, p'sisted in It shalbe in the power of the Wardens to call the Inhabitants together to Consider whither it were not meet to discharge the mr. of his place that so somme other more desirable may be p'vided

And because it is difficult if not impossible to giue p'ticular rules that shall reach all cases which may fall out, therefore for a Conclusion It is ordered, and agreed, in Generall, that where p'ticular rules are wanting there It shalbe a p'te of the office and dutye of the Wardens to order and dispose of all things that Concerne the schoole, in such sort as in their wisedom and discretion they shall Judge most Conducible for the glory of God, and the trayning vp of the Children of the Towne in religion, learning and Civilitie.

And these orders to be Continued till the maior p'te of the Towne shall see cause to alter any p'te thereof.

Upon a generall and lawfull warning of all the inhabitants the 14th of the first mo 1645 the rules and orders aboue written pesented to the Towne Concerning the schoole of Dorchester are confirmed p the maior p'te of the Inhabitants.

Deacon Wiswol
Humphrey Atherton
Mr. Haward
chosen wardens schoole.
Page 304

19 May 1651

At a towne meeting the 19: 3: 1651 It was noted whether there should be a scoole In dorchester the major part present then did note that they would haue a scoole and a scoolemaster forthwith prouided.

The 4th of June 1651 It was noted at a towne meeting that the select men together with Mr Jones and Deacon wiswall should forthwith treate and agree with Mr. henery Butler for to teach scoole in dorchester which was acordingly agreed on as it is at the end of the booke showed the agreemt:

Page 313

25 Dec 1652

25 of the tenth month 52. It is agreed by and between the Select of the towne of Dorchester for the tyme beinge and Mr. Henrey Butler that the said Henrey Butler shall keepe scoole in the towne of Dorchester from the next second day being the 28 of this instant month vntill the first of may following and for the said tyme of Scooleing he is to haue tenn poundes.

Page 73

8 Feb 1656

Whenras the Generall Court out of Religious Care of the Education of the youth of this Comonwealth in the prenciples of Christian Religion hath enioyned the Select men of every Towne within there severall Lymetts to haue a vigilent eie to see that mens children and such as are within there charge be Catechized in som Orthodox Catechisme in familes : so as they may be redie to answer the Selectmen as they see time Convenient to examine them. Wee the Selectmen of this Towne of Dorchester for the tyme being in our obedience to Authoritie and in pursute of so vsefull and p'titable a worke Do hereby will and require all parents masters and any that haue the charge and oversight of any youth with in this Plantation that they be diligent to obserue this Iniuntion to Catechize there cheldren servants and others with in there severall charge in some sound and Orthodox Catechisme that they may be able to render account heareof when they shall be herevnto required either in the Church or privatly : as vppon advice shall be Judged most conduceing to the generall good of all men. And faile not herein vppon such penaltie as the Court shalf see reson to inflict vppon Information giuen against such as shalbe found Diliquent herein :. this 11 of the 12 : mo 1655.

8-12 m. 55. It is agreed by and betwene the Selectmen of Dorchester for the tyme being one the one part in the behalfe of the Towne and Thomas wiswall and his sonne Icabod Wiswall as follows :

First that Icabod with the consent of his Father shall from the : 7 : of March next ensuinge vnto the end of three full years from thence to be compleate and ended Instruct and teach in a free schoole in Dorchester all such cheldren as by the inhabitants shall be Comitted vnto his Care in Ennglish Latine and Greeke as from time to time the Cheldren shall be Capable and allso in struct them in Writinge as hee shall be able : which is to be vnderstood such Cheldren who are so fare entred all redie to knowe there Leters and to spell some what: and also prouided the Schoole howse from time to time be kept in good order and comfortable for a man to abide in both in somer and in Winter by prouiding ffire reasonably so that it may neather be preiudicall to master nor scholer and in cause of palpable neglect and matter of complaint and not reformed it shall not binde the mr. to endanger his health.

Secondly that the Selectmen of Dorchester shall from yeare to yeare every yeare paye or cause to be paid vnto Icabod or his Father by his Assignment the full somme of Twentie Five pounds two thirdes in wheate pease or barley marchantable and one thirde in Indian att or before the first of march dueringe the three yeares yearly att price Currant which is to be vnderstood the price which the generall Court shall from time to time appoint.

Edward Brecke in the name of the rest.
Ichabod Wiswall
Page 101

12 Nov 1660

At the meeting of the select men the 12 (9) 1660
To determine about Mr. Pole at the generall towne meetinge.

Page 102

3 Dec 1660

At the generall towne meeting the 3 (10) 1660 ...
The same day it was voted that Mr Pole is to keepe the scoole vntill his yeare be ended which will be about the 20 (4) 166i Alsoe it was voted the same Day that the select [men] are to labour to p'vide a scoolmaister by that time that Mr. Poles yeare be ended :

Page 102

14 Jan 1661

At the meeting of the select men the 14: (11) 1660 Thomas Wisall had a bill giuen him to receive of the Constable eighteene shillings and six pence in satisfaction for lost he sustained by reason of the lost of the prise of Indean corne which he receiued for that which was due to the scoolmaister :

Page 121

1 Apr 1664

Dorchester. At a Towne meeting the 1 of April, 1664...
The same day it was put to vote, whether Mr. William Pole should continue teaching of Schoole, for future, as formerly, vntill this year shall be expired, which will be the first 2nd day [Monday] of December next, and then the Towne to consider, whether he shall continue teaching any longer, yea or no.
It was voted in the affirmatiue.

Page 123

14 Nov 1664]

At a Meeting of the Select men, the 14th of the (9 mo:) 1664. ... Item to Mr Pole for the schoole rate 25-0-0

Page 123

5 Dec 1664

At a generall Towne Meeting the 5th of the (10 mo :) 1664.
It was put to vote whether Mr. Pole should continue teaching of schoole, in Dorchester, for the yeare insuing as he hath formerly.
Voted in the Affirmatiue.

Page 123

5 Dec 1664

At a generall Towne Meeting the 5th of the (10 mo :) 1664. ...
It was put to vote whether Mr. Pole should continue teaching of schoole, in Dorchester, for the yeare insuing as he hath formerly.
Voted in the Affirmatiue.

Page 128

4 Dec 1665

At a generall Towne Meeting in Dorchester the 4th 10 (mo :) 1665 ...
At the same Meeting it was put to vote whether Mr. Pole should keep on schoole teaching for the yeare ensuing : The vote was Affirmatiue.

Page 135

12 Dec 1666

At a Meeting of the Select men the 12. of the (9 Mo :) 1666. ...
Payd to Mr. Pole for keeping. schoole and recording 26 - 00 - 00

Page 140

4 Dec 1666
The 4th of the (10th) 66. At a towne meeting after some agetations about a Scholmaster It was put to the Vote whether ther should be a Schole Master enquiered after, and p'curered for to teach Schole in this towne. It was voted in the Afermatiue, and by a second vote it was agreed vnto that Master Mather and Liftnt Hopestill Foster and John Minot should be desier and empowered to endeauor to p'cuer a Schol-Master.

The same day it was voted and granted that Mr Pole should be spoken vnto to goe on in keepeing schole vntill another Master be p'cuered, at the same rate as formerly, p'portionablely according to the time he shall soe doe, and William Sumner is appointed to speake to Mr pole about it if he will accept of it soe to doe.

Page 274

11 Mar 1667

The 11th of the (1) 1666/7.
At a meeting of the Select men...
The same day John Minot was desiered and empowered for to git the schoolhous repaiered.

Page 143

5 Jul 1667

The 5 of the (5) 1667.
At a meeting of the Select men...
The same day it was agreed vnto that (whereas the way ouer Naponsit leading to Sea-cunk is remoued from the place that it did formerly ly, by the Tennants of the Schole land, and that this new way doe need some mending) therfore If John Farrington shall mend or cause to be mended what is needfull in that regard, that hee shall be alowed for it in his Rates that he is to pay till he be satisfied p'uided that the Charges be Considered by vewing it by the feffees of the Schol land or their Compounding afore the work be done or to their Satisfaction.

Page 145

2 Dec 1667

At a generall Towne meeting the 2 10th 1667 ...
The same day It was put to the vote as followeth viz : wheras the last yeere the towne did make choice of Mr Richard Mather, Captin Foster and John Minot for to looke out for a Schole Master to teach Schole in this towne, and that being not yet attained (although it haue been endeauored after) the towne doe againe renew ther request to those men fore mentioned, to looke out after another Master ; and further they doe giue them full power to agree with such a man as they shall Judge meete not exceeding forty pound a yeere.
The Vote was in the Afermatiue.
The same day it was agreed vnto and Voted that Mr Pole should be spoke vnto (by William Sumner) and desiered that he would continue teaching of Schole as formerly for the yeer ensueing or vntill another be obtained.

Page 146

1 Feb 1668

At a generall Towne meting the 1 (11) 67 ...
The same day it was put to the vote that the thousand acrs formerly giuen to the vse of the Schole it should neuer be alienated or sold to any other vse or any pt of it but to be reserued for the maintenance of a free Schole in Dorchester for euer.

Page 151

9 Nov 1668

At a meeting of the Select men the 9th of the (9) 68.
It is ordered in respect of the Schole that those that send ther children to Schole shall the winter time bring for each Child a load of wood or halfe a cord of Cord wood; and thos that bring it in log-wood are to cut it after it come to the Scholhous; and for thos boys that goe but a pt of the winter; we leaue it to the Masters descretion to appoint the p'portion for such.

Page 152

4 Dec 1668

The 4th (10) 1668 at a meeting of the Select men for that end Samuell Robinson as Constable appeared and made vp his account of the Towne Rate for the yeer 67 the Sume of the Rate together with the gats was 49ls - 6s - 6d of which he haue paid by order as follow'th ...

Imp. to Mr Pole as Schol Master25-0-0
...
It. Jno Minot as pt of what is due to him for expences laid out a bout the schol-house0-1-7
It. To Samuell Robinson himself for windows and Shuts for the Schol-hous0-16-2
...
It. To Mr Glouer for pt of his bonds for the Schole house which should haue been pd to Mr Poole, but the Constable Engageth to make it vp to Mr Poole0-17-6
...
Me. of this 14s 9d ther is pd by Samuell Robinson 3s for work done about the gate in the yeer 73 viz : the gate by Timothy Fosters, the Constable Samuell Robinson is discharged of the account excepting the 14s 9d left in his hands and ther is due to him from the Towne 3s 10d as a remainder of what is due to him for his worke about the Schole Windows.
...
It. laid out for boards for the Scholhouse0-15-0
and for nayls0-0-6
Page 155

7 Dec 1668

At a generall Towne meeting the 7th of the 10th mo. 1668. ...
The same day it was Voted that the Select men for the time being should agree with the Schol Master for the teaching of the youth; for soe long time as they shall Judg meet.

Page 159

8 Jun 1669

at a meeting of the Towne being orderly called together on the 8 (4th) 69.
A motion being made by or Breatheren and freinds liueing at or neer to hadly vnto the Towne for to dismiss Mr Atherton from his engagement to the Schole in Dorchester vnto the publique worke of the minestry with them their.
It is therfore put to the vote whether the Towne will be willing to dismiss Mr Atherton from his Engagement by the 29 Septem. next or sooner if the towne by ther Comittee can p'uid a supply for ther Schole.
The "Vote is in the Affermatiue.
Ther Same Day ther was Chosen a Comittee to looke out and agree with a Schole Master for to teach Schole in Dorchester ther names are Mr William Stouhton Liftnt Jno Capen and Jno Minot.

Page 160

8 Nov 1669

At a meeting of the Select men the 8th (9) 69.
The day a boue said the Constable Jacob Hewens appeared and gaue in an account of the Towne Rate Comitted to him to gather

for the yeare 1668 the sume of the Rate being54-15-2
Imp. to the Schol Master Sir Atherton25-0-0
It. to Jno Homes for worke done at the Schole house1-15-9
It. to Robt, wils for work at the Schole house1-5-0
...
It. To Timothy Foster for work at Schole hous02-09-00
...
It. To Jno Minot besids what he haue already for charges about the Schole house01-05-11
It. To Samuell Robbinson for worke about Schole-windows00-03-10
and for Carrying of bords from Boston for the Schole hous00-05-00
It To Mr Glouer for pt of what was due to him for bords,
the other being pd the yeer before ther being yet due from Mr Glouer 1s 7d
00-14-01
It. to Jno Blake for a locke for the Schole hous00-12-11
Page 172

10 Jan 1670

The same day 10th (11) 70 the Constable was ordered to pay out of the Towne Rate as followeth
Imp to Mr Jno Foster as Schole Master . . 25-00-00

Page 171

16 Dec 1670

At a publique Towne meeting one the same day 16, 10 70 being legally called together by warning from hous to hous it was put to the Vote whether the Select men should agree with a Schol Master for to teach children and youth for the yeer Ensewing.
tee Vote was in the afermatiue.

Page 182

12 Feb 1672

At a meeting of the Select men the 12 12 1671
It was agreed by the Select men that the Scholmaster should be agreed with for to teach such as shalbe sent vnto him, and Liftn Capen, Ensigne Hale and William Sumner are appointed to speake with Mr Jno Foster Concerning that matter.

The same day it was ordered that ther should be a towne meeting called on the 23 of this Instant Feb : to p'mote subscriptions for the Collidg and to conferr about the meeting hous and Stanton about a dry herd.

Page 188

23 Dec 1672

At a meeting of the Select men at Captin Fosters house the 23 10th 72 the Select men made an agreement with Mr John Foster to be a Schole master as apears in the new book p. 98.

Page 198

10 Mar 1674

At a Meeting of the freeman the 10th (1) 7 ...
The same day it was p'posed and put to the vote whether ther should be a Schoole Master p'cuered as formerly to teach both English and Lattin and to wright at the Schole-house and that the Select men doe take care therein.
The vote was in the Affermatiue.

Page 200

14 Sep 1674
At a meeting of the Select men the 14 (7) 74 ...
The same day Ensigne Richard Hale was desiered and empowered to see that the Scholehous be repaieied either by clabording or shingleing the Roofe and to take an acct what is done and to be paid out of the towne rate. ...
It. by 600 of Clobord for the Scholhous which Ensign Hale sold to Jno Bird for money to buy nails for the Scholehous . . . . . . 1 - 10 - 0

Page 210

20 Dec 1675

At a meeting of the Selectmen the 20 10 1675 ...
It was agreed with Mr James minot Junr to keepe the Schole and to teach such as shall come as in his agreement may appeare.
The same day the Select men appointed Richard Withington and daniell preston to see that the Schole-hous be fitted vp with seats and a lock and key for the doare.

Page 228

9 Dec 1678
At a meeting of the Select men the 9 10 78 ...
The same day ther was an agreement with Mr James Minot to be a Scholmaster as in the booke will appeare.
Page 226

17 Feb 1679
The 17 and 18 days of February 1678 the Selectmen meet at the hous of Lift. John Capen to make vp accys of the Rats Comitted to them to Colect viz., the Second Six Rates : the 3 single rats the Towne rate and the first meeting hous rate all for the yeer 77 namy [sic] James Bird and Tho. Tolman, but their accunt weer not ready at the time soe left to an other time.
...
It. to Daniell Preston for Bords for Scholhous0-56
It. to the Scholmaster Mr James Minot20-00
Page 256

13 Jun 1681

At a meeting of the Select men the 13 (4) 81 The same day the Select men appointed William Sumner and Deacon Blake to enquier after a Schole Mr

Page 257

19 Sep 1681

At a meeting of the Select men the 19 7 81
The same time Ensigne Hale was desiered and appointed to enquier after a Schole Master, which some say ther may be one at bridgwater.

Page 257

5 Dec 1681

At a generall Towne meeting the 5 of December 1681 after the directory was read.
The same day it was Voted that the Select men are empowered to looke out and to agree with a Scholmaster at the best termes that they can p'cuer one.

Page 266

4 Dec 1682

At a generall towne meeting the 4th day of December 1682: after the directory was read ; it was put to the vote whether there should be a schoole master hired for an other yeare ; the vote was in the affirmatiue.

Page 268

3 Dec 1683

At a generall towne meeting December the 3d : 1683 : ...
The same day it was passed by a vote that the select men shall haue full power to hire a school master for the yeare ensueng : ...
The same day it was passed by a vote with reference to the schoole land which is granted by the generall Court in leiw of Thomsons island that the worshipfull Mr. stoughton Enoch wiswell and John Brecke would looke after and take Care for the layeng of it out :

Page 274

1684

An account of the Rates that were Comitted to the Constables to Colect in the yeare : 1684 : Ebenezar Williames and Bernard Capen :...
payed to Mr John Williames schoole master . . 16-00-00