Joseph Dow's History of Hampton: Location of Schools

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Location of Schools

The town school was located in the vicinity of the meeting house, until the spring of 1713, though in some instances it was removed to the Falls side for a few months; for example, in 1673 the school was to be kept in the town nine months, and at the Falls side, three months.

November 17, 1699, it was voted "That if ffalls side, so called, in Hampton, doe provide and pay a schoolmaster for the teaching of their children; They shall be exempted ffrom paying to the schoollmaster at the town side so called." Similar votes were passed at other times.

At a town-meeting, March 11, 1735, it was voted "that the northerly part of the town (now North Hampton) shall have some part of the schooling the ensuing year."

It was voted, March 23, 1756, "That the selectmen shall have the liberty of hireing a common Reading and writing master, and in case a Grammar school is needed, the selectmen shall provide one in the Town, provided that both schools shall cost the Town no more than one constant Grammar school."

March 15, 1757, it was voted "to allow some money to support the schools at Bride hill and Drake side" (the western part of the town).

March 20, 1759, it was voted "to have a school for reading and writing for six months, besides the standing school, to be removed so as shall best accommodate the people."

March 18, 1766, "Voted, that the school shall be removed to such parts of the town as shall be equally beneficial to the whole town -- to be determined by the selectmen."

April 7, 1772, a town-meeting was called by request, "to see if the town would remove the school into four different parts of the town, and allow each part of the town part of the money raised for the school yearly." "It was agreed to." Then follow in the record several votes, defining the extent and limits of each of three of these parts, -- the rest of the town (nearly the same as afterwards districts Nos. 1 and 2, -- about one-half of there town), to constitute the other part. Each of these parts was to have all the school money raised within its own limits by taxation.

The next year it was voted "to remove the Grammar school to Bride-hill -- if the people in that part of the town see good to accept it -- so much of the time as will amount to their proportion of money raised for the school the ensuing year."

At a town-meeting held March 18, 1800, it was voted "to leave it to the discretion of the selectmen to appoint schools as they think best for the general good of the inhabitants of the town the year ensuing."

A full century and a half had now passed away since the opening of the first school in the town; and through all these years, schools had been maintained; but thus far, no person or persons appear to have been appointed to supervise them.

At an adjournment of the first annual meeting in the present century, held March 26, 1801, the town voted "That the Rev. Jesse Appleton, the Rev. William Pidgin, Dr. Ebenezer Lawrence, Dr. Jona. French, Oliver Whipple, Esq., be a committee to examine our schools the year ensuing."

The selectmen were directed to raise what money the law required for the support of schools, and to take advice of the school committee how the money might be laid out to the best advantage.

dIn a few instances during the last ninety years, the town has failed to have a school committee; but generally a committee has been chosen at the annual town-meeting, or appointed by the selectmen, according to law. A few years the committee has consisted of five persons, more frequently of three, and generally, during the last quarter of a century, of only one, till districts were abolished by law of the state, and old time committees were no more.

Fifty years ago the school committee relied more upon certificates of literary attainments and good moral character produced by the applicant, than upon a personal examination, in deciding whether a certificate of approbation should be given. This course was not safe; for sometimes candidates poorly qualified for teaching were more amply furnished with recommendations than others abundantly qualified. Later, the course was different. Candidates, whose qualifications were not well knowns to the committee, were carefully examined, the giving or withholding of certificates depending on the result.

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