Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Some Early Teachers -- Page III

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Some Early Teachers -- Part III

In the spring of 1718 Hampton Falls was made a parish -- virtually a town. Any statements about our schools of a later date relate only to the "town side," or the territory north of Taylor's river.

SOLOMON PAGE, a native of Hampton, was graduated at Harvard College in 1729, and afterward engaged in teaching and in preaching. He was a resident here for several years after his graduation, was the schoolmaster, and was employed for some months to preach during the illness of the pastor, Rev. Mr. Gookin. [p. 384]

Another teacher was THOMAS BARNARD, a graduate of Harvard in 1732. In October, 1735, he was admitted to the church, being then the "schoolmaster of the town," as the record shows. He retained his church membership till January 21, 1739, when he was dismissed to one of the churches in Newbury, Mass., of which he was soon after ordained pastor. Mr. Barnard was a man of considerable ability and of good repute, as a minister. How he ranked as a teacher is not now known.

JACOB BAILEY, a graduate of Harvard in 1755, came to Hampton soon afterward as a teacher. He united with the church in March, 1758, being then "schoolmaster of the town." He remained here for a considerable time, and married Sally, daughter of Dr. John Weeks. He became afterwards an Episcopal clergyman and labored several years as a frontier missionary in Pownalborough, now Dresden, Maine. In the stormy period of the American Revolution he was a loyalist, and in 1779 became a refugee.

"In the summer of 1779 he went to Halifax, N.S. I give an account of his appearance when he landed in that city, in nearly his own words. His feet were adorned with shoes which sustained the marks of rebellion and independence. His legs were covered with a thick pair of blue woollen stockings, which had been so often mended and darned by the fingers of frugality, that scarce an atom of the original remained. His breeches had been formerly black, but the color being worn out by age, nothing remained but a rusty gray, bespattered with lint and bedaubed with pitch. Over a corse tow and linen shirt, manufactured in the looms of sedition, he wore a coat and waistcoat of the same dandy gray russet; and, to secrete from public inspection the innumerable rents, holes and deformities, which time and misfortunes had wrought in these ragged and weather-beaten garments, he was furnished with a blue surtout, fritted at the elbows, worn at the button-holes, and stained with a variety of tints. To complete the whole, a jaundice colored wig, devoid of curls, was shaded with the remnants of a rusty beaver; its monstrous brim, replete with notches and furrows and grown limpsy by the alternate inflictions of storm and sunshine, lopped over his shoulders, and obscured a face meagre with famine and wrinkled with solicitude. His wife's dress was no better. She was arrayed in a ragged baize night-gown, tied around the middle with a woollen string; her petticoats were jagged at the bottom, were ragged above, and drabbled in mud. He became Rector of St. Luke's church, Annapolis, Nova Scotia, and died in that relation in 1808, at the age of sixty-seven. . . . . Mrs.s Bailey died at Annapolis in 1818, at the age of seventy." [Sabine's Loyalists of the Am. Revo. I: 201.]

Next in order as schoolmaster, was SAMUEL COTTON, A.B., who was graduated at Harvard College in 1759. He was received to the Hampton church in March, 1761 -- "The schoolmaster," according to the record -- and retained his connection till December, 1764, when he was dismissed to the church in Litchfield, of which he had been chosen pastor, where he was soon after ordained.

But one more schoolmaster of "ye olden time" need be mentioned. This was OLIVER WELLINGTON LANE, a graduate of Harvard College in 1772. He came to Hampton soon after his graduation, and was teacher during a part or the whole of the war of the Revolution. He was successful in his calling. His pupils were very strongly attached to him. Some of them, late in life, used to speak of him with a great deal of interest.

It has sometimes been stated that all the teachers of the town school in Hampton, previous to the Revolution, were college graduates. While this statement is not wholly correct, it appears from instances here cited, that large part of them were liberally educated. In a petition to the governor and council in July, 1714, it is represented that the selectmen had hired a schoolmaster for the town, to teach both Latin and English. Who this teacher was is unknown, but from the date it is evident that it could not have been any of those her enumerated.

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