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                    Early Teachers

I would like to thank everyone that has sent me material about schools, teachers etc. from New Hampshire. Unfortunately I was not always able to use your data as it did not pertain to Carroll County.

The following information does reference several teachers that were from Carroll County at one time. A great deal of the information used  was gleaned from a compilation of all the letters I have received, along with the sources that I have used.

To find 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.

The 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.

In 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 THOMAS 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]

It 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.






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