Page images
PDF
EPUB

on a preceding page of this report. There is no satisfactory evidence that there was any other school at the time first mentioned in the town; and, moreover, it is certainly known that the Boston boys of early days were prepared for the neighboring college at Cambridge without sending them out of town for the purpose of fitting. In the old county records there are numerous instances where mention is made of bequests to the town for the free school; and there can be no doubt that these were intended for this school, and that the object of its establishment was not confined to common school purposes only. In the year 1682, however, the necessity being imperative, two new schools were established, ranking as Grammar Schools only, but in which writing and arithmetic were especially taught; after which time the liberal donations of the publicspirited inhabitants for the free schools were proportionally divided among the existing schools for their general support and maintenance.

It was not until the year 1709, that the increase of pupils desirous of being made acquainted with the classical studies required an additional instructor; and consequently in that year the first appointment of an assistant, or usher, was made. It may be interesting to know, that in the same year formal steps were first taken for the establishment of a school committee, under the title of Inspectors of the Schools, although it appears that from time to time, as occasion demanded, special committees had been previously appointed for school purposes.

A regular Board of School Committee, however, does not then appear to have been instituted; but matters continued substantially as they

were until October, 1789, when the whole school system of the town seems to have been thoroughly revised.

In March, 1711, measures were taken for the establishment of an additional school of a high grade. This, which lasted nearly eighty years, being abolished in the year 1790, was known as the North Latin School, to distinguish it from the more ancient institution generally called, during the existence of the two, the South Latin School. The North Latin School is chiefly noted as having furnished to the South Latin School one of its most noted preceptors, Master Hunt.

The exact position of the first school-house is not known; but it is a matter of record that, just ten years after the first employment of Mr. Pormort, the town purchased of Mr. Thomas Scottow his dwelling-house and yard, which at that time (the thirty-first of March, A.D. 1645,) was situated on the very lot, upon a part of which the City Hall now stands, and that in the October following the constables of the town were ordered to set off six shillings of the rate of Mr. Henry Messenger, the northerly abuttor, “for mending the schoolm' his pt of the partition fence betweene their gardens.” On this spot stood the first school-house in Boston of which we have any positive knowledge, edging westerly upon the burial-ground, and fronting southerly upon the street which obtained its designation, School lane, from this fact. As time wore on, the old school-house, which had served not only as a place for nurturing the youth of the town, but also for the indwelling of the master and his family, fell into decay; and, in order to make more room for an en

In course

largement of the neighboring chapel, it was taken down in the year 1748, and another building was erected on the opposite side of the street. of time, also, this building yielded to the effects of age and inadequacy, and was renewed about the year

1812; when our provident fathers of the town erected a more substantial building of brick, with granite front, upon the same site, reserving only a part of the westerly wall of the old building. This edifice had three stories of rooms, the upper of which only was used for the Latin School until the year 1816, when it became necessary to take the middle story for the school, at which time an additional usher was appointed. Not long after this time, the number of pupils having increased so largely under the popular management of Mr. Gould, the grammar school which had occupied the larger portion of the building, was driven from the lower story, and the Latin School left in full possession of the premises. Up to this time the building was desiguated as the Centre School House; after which time it was properly called the Latin School House. Here many of our older citizens were educated, for it continued to be used for the Latin School until the

year 1844, when it became too scanty in its accommodations, the number of pupils of the school having largely increased under its able management. The accompanying engraving gives a faithful representation of this memorable building. It is copied from a daguerreotype taken just before the final demolition of the structure for the purpose of erecting Horticultural Hall, which in its turn has yielded to modern enterprize and the spirit of improvement. The building

[graphic][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][subsumed][ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« PreviousContinue »