a competent teacher and to provide means for his
support could not have been an easy matter. The
towns of New Hampshire, including Carroll County,
did manage to keep the philosophy of a "free"
school was intended for all the children of, or
belonging to the town. There was to be no
restriction as to age or attainments of the
children, or the social condition of the families to
which they belonged. Girls as well as boys were to
have the benefit of the schools. This proves the
fallacy of the statement, "that for more than one
hundred fifty years, girls were excluded from the
privileges of the schools in New England."
Following are a few of the teachers that devoted
their lives to educating the children of the area.
SETH FLETCHER was hired as a teacher in 1654. (Strafford
Co. at the time) The date of his taking charge
of the school, or the length of time he taught, has
not been ascertained. Indeed, the only evidence of
his having been the teacher is a receipt given by
him, October 19, 1654, to one of the tax-payers, for
his school- rate "for the whole year." Mr. Fletcher
appears to have been a man of some importance. He
was sometimes employed as a surveyor and then
afterward the first minister of Saco, Me.,
being employed in 1666, for one year, and afterwards
from year to year, probably till 1675, when the town
came near being destroyed by the Indians.
1671 we can find JOHN STEPHENS being hired as
a teacher, of whom but very little is known. The
salary paid this teacher is not shown by the
records, but whatever it may have been, it was
according to the vote of the town.
As time went on the teacher's wages could be paid
out of the money raised by taxation, and the rest
was to be assessed on the children attending the
school. Under this arrangement, the school was not
strictly a free school. Not every town did abide by
this following but it did work for some.
Another person employed as a teacher was
CROSBY, probably a son of Dr. Anthony Crosby, of
Rowley, Mass., whose widow, in 1673, married Rev.
Seaborn Cotton, pastor of the church.
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]
does appears that many of these men were
liberally educated. In early times men only
(as far as any records show) were employed as
teachers. It is quite possible, however, that women
sometimes taught the schools supported in addition
to what the law required. Since 1800, women have
been employed more or less, and they have formed a
large percentage of our teachers.