PART II, CHAPTER 15.
EDUCATIONAL HISTORY OF BRUNSWICK.
BRUNSWICK, the seat of Maine's oldest and most favored college, has generally shown herself fully mindful of the claims of education. So far, however, as the early introduction of schools is concerned, no especial credit attaches itself to the early settlers, who simply acted in accordance with the laws of the Commonwealth, and had, indeed, before the incorporation of the town, no volition in the matter. In all probability it has been well for the town that the establishment of schools was not left to the discretion of the earlier settlers, for they were, with a few notable exceptions, extremely ignorant as to all knowledge usually acquired from books. As an illustration of the average attain-ments of the time, it is related of Thomas Atkins, one of the earliest settlers in this vicinity, that he had ten daughters, of whom not one could sign her name to a deed.1 Even so late as Judge Minot's time it was considered a rare accomplishment for one to be able to read, and it is given as a tradition among his descendants that on one occasion, when he had received a newspaper at the village, he stopped on his way home and read from it to some workmen on the road, who were greatly astonished that the judge should be able to read. The judge was not, however, the only man hereabouts at that time who could read, for there were then a number of educated people in town, one of whom (Thomas Skolfield) was a graduate of Dublin University.
Ample excuse is to be found for the neglect of the earlier settlers to provide means for education in the fact that they were few in numbers, constantly exposed to the incursions of a savage foe,- and were obliged to till other fields than those of an intellectual kind, -to break up the rough soil of the wilderness, and raise the scanty crops absolutely required for their physical existence. It is simply another example of the fact that, in the order of time, physical must precede mental activity.
The first action looking to the establishment of a school in
1. Reverend Dr. Ballard's Notes.
was in the year 1715, at which time the Pejepscot proprietors voted that the ministerial, minister's, and school lots should be the centre lots of the town.1
In 1717 provision was made by the General Court of Massachusetts for a school-master to reside at Brunswick, and fifty dollars was voted for books and rewards for the young Indians who might become his pulpils.2 This school was a part of the mission to the Indians. Who was sent as teacher has not been ascertained.
At the November session of the Court of General Sessions this year, Benjamin Larrabee, Esquire, appeared in behalf of the town of Brunswick, to answer to the "presentment of the town for not having and maintaining a school-master in said town to teach children and youth to read and write as the law directs and requires." Larrabee's excuse for the delinquency was accepted, but the town was required to pay sixteen shillings, the fees of court.
At a meeting held February 23, 1743, the proprietors voted:-
"That Lott number six on the southeasterly side of the Road adjoyning to the Ministry Lott be and hereby is granted to the Town of Brunswick for a school Lott containing one hundred acres, to be and Continue for said use."3
At a town meeting in 1739, a proposition to employ a school-master was "voted for and past in the negative," but the town afterwards reconsidered its action, and at a meeting in September chose a committee to secure the service of a school-master.
The first school-teacher employed by the town was James McCashlen, who was employed in the year 1740, and was paid £40 4 for his services. In 1741 it appears from a statement in the Pejepscot Papers that Reverend Mr McClanethan taught a school here.
In 1742 a committee was appointed by the town to secure the services of a school-master, and they were authorized "to appoint him the time and places for keeping the Schoole in the Sevarel partes of the Town as they shall Think proper." Samuel Maffitt was selected as a teacher, and received £17 10s. as his pay, but the length of time he taught is not stated.5
About the year 1752, Mr. George Harwood was employed to teach by the year.6 In order to give equal privileges of schooling to all, he
1. Pejepscot Records.
2. Varney, History of Maine, p. 123.
3. Pejepscot Records.
4. Town Records 1, pp. 23, 49, 50, 51.
6. Pejepscot Papers.
taught in three different parts of the town, - at the upper part of New Meadows, at the old west meeting house, and at lower New Meadows.
In 1753 a committee was chosen to secure a school-master at the rate of £220 old tenor. In 1754 another committee was raised for the same purpose, and £13 6s. 8d. voted for the salary. The committee were instructed to station the teacher in the several parts of the town, according to the amount paid by each part.
In 1755 the same amount was paid as salary, with the board additional. This year John Blake was employed as a school-master for six months from November 5. His engagement was probably not renewed, as the town in May, 1756, authorized the selectmen "to provide a school-master when they see the times to be convenient."
In 1759, John Farrin was employed as a teacher, the town paying him at the rate of £26 13s. 4d. per annum. He was re-engaged the next year at the same salary, and continued to teach until October 1, 1761, when his time expired. He is known to have taught again in 1776, because he that year gave the town £15 6s. 8d. of his salary, in consequence of the public distresses and the burdensome taxes. Whether he taught between 1761 and 1776 is not known, but it is to be presumed that he did.
In 1762 the town was virtually divided into two districts, by the employment of separate teachers for the eastern and western parts. Probably Mr. Farrin was one of the teachers employed.
In 1763, George Harwood was chosen as school-master, by vote of the town, "if he accepts of the same." He did accept, for in 1767 he was paid for four years' teaching.
In 1790 the town was, for the first time, legally divided into school districts, a committee being chosen at a regular meeting to divide the town into two districts.
In 1797 a vote was passed by the town, "that the school money be divided in future according to the number of scholars in each class,1 the scholars to be numbered, all between four and twenty-one years of age, but if any others in any class are disposed to go, he or she shall have a right to do so, whether they are over or under the above age."
In 1798 the town voted, for the first time, to choose a school committee, and the selectmen were chosen to act in that capacity. The town also voted that no person should be allowed to teach in any district without the approbation of the committee.
1. Districts were then called classes.
Previously to this time the red school-house at the foot of the mall was built.1 It was afterwards moved to the Cove. Who the other teachers may have been, besides those already named, prior to 1800, is unknown. Mr. Richard Flaherty is mentioned as having taught here some time in the last century, but neither the date of his teaching is known, nor whether his school was a public or private one.
In 1810 the town was divided into nine school districts. About this time Mr. Dorman Perkins taught in the district schools of the town. He kept a school one term in Benjamin Larrabee's house, at New Meadows, near where Mrs. Thomas now lives. He kept school another term in the upper New Meadows district, and another term at Maquoit.
In 1820, if not before, the .number of districts must have been increased, as there were this year twenty-three public or district schools.2
In 1820 the school committee were directed to report at the annual town meeting the names of two scholars "from each class, one boy and one girl, that shall have made best improvement and sustained good moral characters."
On November 29, 1824, the greater portion of the "school lot " was sold at auction. This was the origin of the school fund. A. Bourne, the auctioneer, was the chairman of the trustees of the school fund. The remainder of the school lot was sold in 1833.
At a town meeting, held in March, 1826, a petition of Benjamin Peterson and others, "that this town set off the colored people of School District Number 14, into a district by themselves," was referred to the selectmen. This district was at New Meadows, where there were quite a number of negroes, and the white citizens of that district had then the same feeling in regard to commingling with those of a darker race that is even now prevalent in some quarters. At another meeting, held on the eleventh of September following, the town voted that the money for District Number 14 should be divided, the white people to have a school summer and winter, and the colored population to have a school at the other seasons. The division of money was to be made according to the proportion of scholars in the separate schools.
Of the different districts of the town we have succeeded in obtain-ing the records of but two, viz., of District Number 5 (Growstown) and of the Village District.
1. The red school-house on School Street was of a later date.
2. Putnam, "Letters to a Gentleman in South Carolina."
The records of District Number 5 commence February 11, 1817. At this meeting a district school committee were chosen to superintend the school, and it was voted to have the school-mistress "board round."
In 1839 the district committee were instructed to visit the school every four weeks, and were to have three dollars each for their services if they attended to their duty.
On January 29, 1848, the district decided to build a new school-house, to be located "at the corner of the road on land owned by James Otis and occupied by E. T. Parsons, on the north side of the road leading by said Parsons's house; with the understanding that it be given gratis." Stephen Snow, George Woodside, and Harvey S. Otis were chosen a building committee, and at a meeting held the next month, it was voted to give them discretionary power to build a suitable school-house and to dispose of the old one.
On January 25, 1849, a new committee was chosen, and the building of a school-house was set up at auction to the lowest bidder, the old house to be given to the successful bidder, "except the stove and funnel." James Otis agreed to build it for two hundred and fifty dollars, and the district voted to raise two hundred. The school-house was built this year.
On April 11, 1857, the district voted to admit pupils from other districts, at the discretion of the agent, "at twenty-five cents per week and board of teacher a proportionate part of the time." This permission appears not to have worked well, or to have given dissatisfaction, for two years later the district voted not to admit pupils from other districts on any consideration.
The following are the early teachers in this district so far as known : Mary Noyes, Mary Merryman, and James McKeen, in 1814; Priscilla Melcher and John Winslow, in 1815; Margaret Ransom and John Winslow, in 1816; Deborah Small and Benjamin Thompson, in 1817; Mary Snow, in 1818; Mary Stanwood and Benjamin Thompson, in 1819.
THE VILLAGE SCHOOL DISTRICT.1
Brunswick village was formerly divided into three school districts, known as Numbers "1, 2, and 20." In the winter of 1848 several informal meetings of the inhabitants of the village were held, to take into consideration the condition of the village schools.
1. For this account we are largely indebted to MSS. of the late A. C. Robbins, Esquire, from which we have copied freely.
A committee was appointed to collect information upon the subject of schools in other places, and to see what could be done for the improvement of the public schools in the village.
This committee proposed the plan of uniting Districts Numbers 1, 2, and 20 into one district, to be called the Village District, for the purpose of grading and classifying the schools, and of adopting the "high-school system."
On March 24, 1848, Benjamin H. Meder and fifteen others petitioned the selectmen to insert in their next annual warrant for a town meeting an article to so alter the school districts that Districts Numbers 1, 2, and 20 should constitute one district.
About the same time John C. Humphreys and Leonard C. Merrill presented to the selectmen a similar petition, except that it contained in addition the words "provided such shall be the wish of said districts respectively."
In the warrant for the annual town meeting, April 3, 1848, an article was inserted in accordance with the latter petition, and the town at that meeting voted: "That School Districts Numbers 1, 2, and 20 be discontinued and to be constituted one district, to be called the Village District, provided such shall be the wish of the several districts respectively."
At a meeting of the legal voters of District Number 1, on April 24, 1848, a committee of five were chosen to take measures for building a new school-house. This committee were Allen Colby, Ward Coburn, John Rogers, William H. Hall, and Benjamin H. Meder. It was also at this meeting voted: "To join District Number I and District Number 20, to form a High School." The meeting adjourned to May 6, at which time the district proceeded to act on sundry matters as though no vote to join the other district had been passed. The following votes were passed: 1. To accept the report of the committee, which was in favor of building a school-house on Bow Street, to be two stories high. 2. To choose a prudential committee of three. 3. To raise three hundred dollars by tax towards building a school-house. 4. To pay the agent and clerk each five dollars. 5, 6. To compel the children of the district, who were between the ages of four and fourteen years, to go to the summer school, and to forbid those between the ages of four and ten years to attend the winter school. 7. To require pupils between the ages of ten and twenty-one years to go to the school kept by a male teacher. This was the last meeting ever held by District Number 1.
The legal voters of District Number 2 held a meeting at the
red school-house, on School Street, previously referred to, on April 22, 1848. This meeting was adjourned to May 6, at which time a committee, consisting of G. C. Swallow, A. C. Robbins, William Mountford, Thomas Knowlton, and E. S. Parshley, were chosen to obtain information in regard to the high-school system, and to report at a subsequent meeting. The next meeting of this district was held June 24. The committee reported in favor of the adoption of the high-school system, and it was voted "that the district concur with Districts Numbers 1 and 20 in adopting the system and in the formation of a Village District, agreeable to the petition of Benjamin Furbish and others and a vote of the town." G. C. Swallow, George F. Dunning, A. C. Robbins, John F. Titcomb, and John S. Cushing were chosen a committee to confer with Districts Numbers 1 and 20.
At a special meeting of District Number 20, held June 24, 1848, it was voted "to unite with School Districts Numbers 1 and 2 for the formation of the Village District." The district also chose Professor H. H. Boody, Charles J. Noyes, and Robert Melcher a committee to confer with the committees chosen by Districts Numbers 1 and 2, and they were authorized and empowered to adopt such measures as might be necessary on the part of the district, "to bring the object of said preceding vote into full and complete effect."
On June 20, 1848, a petition was sent to the legislature, stating that the three above-mentioned districts had united and formed one district, with the consent of the town, and requesting the passage of an Act confirming the action of the town "and giving to said district power to raise annually such sum of money as may be needed for the support of the public schools therein." This petition was signed by Abner B. Thompson and nineteen others in District Number 1, by Robert P. Dunlap and thirty-five others in District Number 2, and by Parker Cleaveland and twenty-three others in District Number 20.
In accordance with this petition the legislature, the same year, passed an Act confirming the vote of the town, and granting to the Village District all the powers and privileges of other districts in the State; authorizing the district to raise such sum of money as might be deemed necessary for support of the public schools within the district, the amount so raised not to exceed "three fifths of the amount apportioned to said district from the school money raised by the town for the same year"; requiring this money to be assessed and collected as other school-district taxes were; and authorizing the district to choose school agents and adopt proper by-laws.
Immediately after the passage of the preceding Act, measures were
taken for the organization of the Village District. A meeting of the inhabitants of the three districts in the village was called by the select-men, to be held on August 18, 1848. At this meeting a committee of seven were appointed to draft a plan of organization. To this committee were added the superintending school committee of the town, making a committee of ten. This committee reported, at a meeting held August 30, as follows: In favor of the annual election of a board of nine agents, three of whom might be from each of the former sections of the district, and this board were also authorized to act as an executive committee, and to prescribe a course of study and determine the text-books to be used; to examine teachers; to visit the schools; to conduct examinations; to promote deserving scholars; to admit pupils from without the district; and to establish by-laws. The committee also recommended that there should be three grades of schools, -primary, grammar, and high; determined which should be taught by male and which by female teachers; fixed the commencement and close of the several terms and vacations; prescribed the classification and course of studies for each school, and the requirements at examinations and for admission to school.
This report was accepted at this meeting and its recommendations approved and authorized to be put into execution, though they were afterwards (April 17 and May 8, 1849) somewhat modified.
The Board of Agents made a report, September 27, 1848, in which they recommended the purchase of a lot on Union Street, between O'Brien and Lincoln Streets, for the erection of a grammar and high school building, the renting and furnishing of rooms for these schools until such a building should be erected, and the enlargement and repair of the primary school-houses.
In their next report, this board state that all the schools had been organized according to the plan agreed upon. During the winter of 1848-9, four primary and two grammar schools had been taught, the average length of each being fifteen weeks. The number of teachers employed was eleven; eight in the primary schools, two in the principal grammar school, and one in the select grammar school. This was five more teachers than had been usually employed in previous years. The number of pupils at this time in the primary schools was four hundred and forty-six; the number in the principal grammar school was one hundred and twenty-five, and in the select grammar school, forty-six. The total number of pupils in the village schools was six hundred and seventeen.
As the number of scholars very much exceeded what had been
anticipated, the committee had been under the necessity of establishing a fourth primary school on Union Street. The select grammar school was a temporary expedient made use of at this time, on account of the number of pupils really fitted to enter a high school being too small to justify the immediate establishment of such a school.
Some fault having been found with the result of the examinations, the board in this report explained their method of conducting them, and defended their action in the matter.
The total receipts for the village schools this year were $1,204.49. Of this sum, $1,137.09 was expended for rent and repair of school-houses, payment of teachers, and incidental expenses, leaving a balance unexpended of sixty-seven dollars and forty cents. If from these expenditures the unusual expense of rent, repairs, etc., be deducted, there remains a sum less by twenty dollars than that expended for the three winter schools of the previous year, which demonstrated the advantage of the system in a financial aspect.
The agents urged strongly the necessity of providing suitable accomodations for the high school and for the principal grammar school. They say, "By next September, at least one hundred and forty scholars will be entitled to a place in the grammar school, ----a number which it is totally impossible to accomodate in any room in the village of which the committee have knowledge."
In concluding this report the board congratulated the district "on the successful introduction of a new and better system of schools."
In their report for the year ending April 2, 1849, the superintending school committee also speak of the very decided improvement in the schools, in consequence of the adoption of the grading system and of a uniformity of school-books.
The Board of Agents, in their report for. the year 1849-50, make the following
In the summer there were two grammar and four primary schools kept; in the fall and winter, two grammar, three primary, and one miscellaneous school. The number of teachers during the year was, in the summer, ten, -one male and nine females. The school year was thirty weeks, divided into three terms of ten weeks each. In the summer term there were five hundred and sixty-seven, and in the fall and winter terms five hundred and seventy-three pupils.
At the beginning of the year there were not enough children sufficiently advanced in their studies to enable the agents to constitute the high school with all its appropriate classes. No high school was established, therefore, but the pupils were taught in the grammar
school. The time had then arrived, however, in their opinion, for establishing the school.
They affirm, "without fear of contradiction, that never has there been in this village schools, public or private, of so high an order as the schools of this district the last year."
The committee also stated that they had contracted with teachers, and conducted the schools on the assumption that the additional tax levied by the district would be paid promptly. A part only of this tax had thus far been collected, and the most of this had been paid to cancel a note of the district, and that in consequence the teachers had not been paid for their last term's service. They stated that most of the citizens had favored, or at least acquiesced in, the change in the school system, but all had not. "On the part of some, there is an avowed hostility to this system, which will not be satisfied with anything short of its entire overthrow."
The committee stated that this hostility was exhibited the previous summer in an effort to procure from the legislature a repeal of the Act of Incorporation of the Village District. Failing in this, they refused to pay the tax levied by the district, on the pretext that the district had not been legally constituted, and that the power granted to it in its Act of Incorporation was in violation of the Constitution. The committee added that this objection came with bad grace from those who signed the petition for incorporation. They considered the matter practically settled by the action of the legislature, but were ready to meet the matter at once before the Supreme Court. In accordance with a vote of the district they had taken legal advice, which was that the collector should be asked to proceed at once in the collection of these taxes and that he should be supported therein by the whole strength of the district.
The petition to the legislature, to which reference was made above, was signed by John Crawford and one hundred and four others, and declared that the plan of uniting the schools into one district had proved a failure, and therefore a repeal of the Act was prayed for. This petition was first referred to the Committee on the Judiciary, and was subsequently laid before the Committee on Education. Seventeen of the signers were petitioners for the Act of Incorporation of the Village District.
As soon as it was known that the above petition was in circulation, a remonstrance against a repeal was at once started. It was signed by Robert P. Dunlap, Adam Lemont, and two hundred and twenty-one others.
One of the positions taken by the opponents to the Village District was that District Number 1 never intended to unite and form with Districts Number 2 and 20 a Village District, and that they did not acquiesce in the matter. In refutation of this argument, Messrs. Isaac Lincoln, William H. Hall, and Alfred J. Stone deposed, June 8, 1850, "that since the organization of the Village District in Brunswick, in the summer of 1848, District Number 1 has claimed to have no legal existence, nor has the said District Number 1, since that time, performed any acts as a district, but has united with Districts Numbers 2 and 20 in the formation of the Village District.
"No public schools have been taught in what was District Number 1 since the summer of 1848 up to this date, excepting the schools which were under the control and supervision of the agents of the Village District, to which schools the people in the part of the Village District which was formerly District Number 1 have cheerfully sent their children for instruction,. and have received their full share of benefit therefrom."
The truth in regard to the feeling in this district is shown by the following facts, which were certified to by John F. Hall, the last clerk of the district: Of the voters in District Number 1, twenty petitioned for the Act of Incorporation of the Village District, thirty-five petitioned for the repeal of the Act, and sixty-seven remonstrated against a repeal.
To show that the selectmen recognized the Village District as having an existence in November, 1848, the following certificate was written:-
"SELECTMEN'S OFFICE, Brunswick, June 7, 1850.
"On the seventeenth of November, 1848, I was called upon by A. C. Robbins, one of the Board of Agents for the Village District, for that year. At his request I balanced the accounts with School Districts Numbers 1, 2, and 20, and carried the balances forward to the credit of the Village District. At that time there was due to District Number 1, $381.03; to District Number 2, $319.08 ; to District Number 20, $179.40. All which balances were credited to the Village District in Brunswick, since which time we have had no accounts with Districts Numbers 1, 2. and 20 : the money formerly due to them being credited to the Village District in Brunswick.
"(Signed) "RICHARD GREENLEAF,
In July, 1849, the president and directors of the Warumbo Manufacturing Company petitioned the legislature "that the said company may be exempted from the payment of the taxes by special legislation
Chairman of Selectmen."
imposed upon them, or that if they must be specially taxed for such objects beyond the general provisions of law, that the avails may go to the benefit of the whole town in which their property is situated."
Among the reasons given for asking for this exemption was that, in the passage of the Act, the corporation had no agency nor notice. It was true that they had no notice, as a corporation, but the company were represented in the petition for incorporation by their treasurer and one of their directors.
The petition for the repeal of the Act of Incorporation, the petition of the Warumbo Manufacturing Company, and the remonstrance, were all laid before the Committee on Education. On an appointed day the petitioners appeared, and were heard by their counsel, General A. B. Thompson and Honorable James W. Bradbury. The remonstrants were heard by their representatives, Professor William Smyth and Phineas Barnes, Esquire, of Portland. Richard Greenleaf, Esquire, appeared as a witness for the petitioners.
After the somewhat protracted hearing, the committee of nine, all of whom were present, voted eight to one to give the petitioners leave to withdraw. On July 20, 1849, this report of the committee passed both houses of the legislature without a dissenting vote.
At the annual town meetings in 1848, 1849, and 1850, it was voted "That the several school districts be authorized to choose their several school agents."
The foregoing account relates to the organization of the Village District. What follows will relate to the doings of this district.
At a meeting of the Village District, held on the twenty-seventh of September, 1848, the Board of Agents were authorized to borrow such sums of money as might be needed from time to time for the expenditures already authorized, not to exceed $5,000. At the annual meeting of the district in 1849, it was voted "to raise three fifths of the amount of money raised by the town, apportioned to this district by a tax on the same." This vote was passed under the law of August 3, 1848.
Under the first vote, and by the authority therein given, the Board of Agents hired the sum of three hundred and twenty-five dollars for the purpose of altering and repairing the primary school-houses, and gave their note for the district.
This loan of three hundred and twenty-five dollars, together with the amount raised by vote of the district, April 17, 1849, was certified to the selectmen and assessors, and at the annual assessment in 1849 the assessors made one tax for both items.
The Board of Agents for the year 1849 were William Smyth, John C. Humphreys, Allen Colby, Benjamin Furbish, and Richard Green-leaf. They put the schools in operation, basing their expenditures and calculations upon the supposition that the extra tax of three fifths, voted in April, 1849, would be paid.
Early in the spring of 1850 it was ascertained that very many of the large tax-payers had declined and absolutely refused to pay the extra school-tax. The consequence was that the district was largely indebted to school-teachers, and had no means of paying their claims so long as the extra tax was withheld. A meeting of the district was held March 7, 1850, at which the following resolution was passed:-
"Whereas certain individuals in the district have declined the pay-ment of their taxes upon the ground that the law under which the tax is levied is unconstitutional. Therefore, Resolved that the Board of Agents be instructed by this meeting to procure such legal advice as they may deem expedient and take such measures as may in the speediest manner test the constitutionality of said law and secure the collection of the taxes."
At the annual meeting in April, 1850, the following vote was passed:-
"Voted, that the town collector be requested at once to collect the taxes remaining unpaid, by distraint or otherwise, and that the dis-trict will indemnify him in the same."
This vote of the district was formally certified to the collector, yet he declined doing anything towards the collection of the extra tax.
The Board of Agents for the year 1850 found themselves very unpleasantly situated. The district was largely indebted to teachers. The larger part of the extra tax was uncollected, and the collector refused to perform his duty. At a meeting of the board, May 7, 1850, the following vote was passed, all being present:-
"Whereas Stephen Snow, the collector of the town of Brunswick to whom was committed a certain tax, assessed upon the inhabitants of the Village District in said town, by the proper authorities of said town, raising money for the support of schools in said Village District, has collected and paid over a part of said tax and neglects and refuses to collect and pay over the balance of said tax, the time mentioned in his warrant of commitment having expired some time ago, therefore: Voted, that John C. Humphreys be a committee to call upon the treasurer of the town of Brunswick and inform him of the neglect and refusal of Stephen Snow, the collector, to proceed in the collection of the taxes, and request the treasurer to issue his
warrant against the said Stephen Snow, collector, agreeably to the provisions of the Revised Statutes, Chapter 14, Section 111, as the contingency has occurred which makes it the duty of the treasurer to issue his warrant against the collector for neglect of duty."
Mr. Humphreys reported that he called upon the treasurer May 11, 1850, and handed him a copy of the vote, after reading which he returned an answer that he would see the collector the first of the week and see what could be done about it.
At a meeting of the Board of Agents, May 7, 1850, the following vote was passed:-
"Voted, that A. C. Robbins be a committee to obtain legal advice as to certain points affecting the welfare of this district, and which are now in dispute between the friends and opposers of the schools."
Under this vote Mr. Robbins made a statement of all the facts in the case and laid it before Phineas Barnes, Esquire, and Honorable William Pitt Fessenden, of Portland, and received a written opinion from them in reply. Amongst other things they say, "No particular form of assent is specified in the vote, and the law regards substance rather than form. . . . If therefore the several proceedings in voting, certifying, and assessing the taxes, and their commitment to the collector, were correct and legal (all which we have taken for granted), we have no doubt that it is the collector's duty, and still remaining so, to collect these taxes, according to his warrant. The warrant constitutes both his authority and his protection." If he neglects, they say the treasurer should be requested to issue his warrant against him; and if the treasurer neglects or refuses to do so, the proper remedy is to apply to the Supreme Judicial Court for a writ of mandamus.
May 23, 1850, the treasurer of the town gave to the Board of Agents a written refusal to issue his warrant against the collector, as requested by them.
On the same date, the Board of Agents gave an order to Augustus I. Owen, one of the teachers, upon the treasurer of Brunswick.
The latter indorsed upon this order the following:-
"The subscriber declines paying the within, there being no funds in his hands subject to the order of the treasurer of the Village District."
On account of this action of the treasurer, the Board of Agents gave Mr. Owen an order on the selectmen, on which the latter indorsed the following:-
"The selectmen of Brunswick decline paying or accepting the above order for the reason that the district has already received its full
proportion of school money raised by the town, and that the amount raised by extra taxation in the district has not been collected and is not therefore subject to their order."
May 25, 1850, William Smyth, Robert P. Dunlap, John C. Humphreys, Augustus C. Robbins, and Leonard Townsend, the Board of Agents, petitioned the Supreme Court at the session to be held at Paris, Maine, on the last Tuesday of the month, for a writ of mandamus against the treasurer. They showed in their petition all the facts given in the preceding pages.
Upon the foregoing petition, the affidavits in support thereof, by the petitioners, having been heard and considered by the court, it was, on the May term, 1850,
"Ordered, That a rule be issued to the said John F. Titcomb, treasurer of the town of Brunswick, requiring him to show cause, if any he have, why he has neglected and refused to issue his warrant of distress against the said Stephen Snow, named in said petition, and why a writ of mandamus should not be granted by the court, commanding him to issue such warrant of distress according to law; at the term of this court to be holden at Norridgewock, within and for our county of Somerset, on the second Tuesday of June, 1850, on the third day of the term, and that the petitioners give notice thereof to the said John F. Titcomb by causing an attested copy of this petition and of this order thereon, to be served upon him fourteen days at least before the said third day of the term of the court to be holden at Norridgewock aforesaid."
At the court held in Norridgewock, the petitioners appeared by their counsel, Phineas Barnes, Esquire, and the respondents appeared by John S. Abbot, Esquire. The respondents asked for a continuance, which was opposed by the petitioners. It was finally agreed between the parties that the case should be continued to the term of the court to be held at Belfast on the fourth Tuesday of July, 1850. It was also agreed that a hearing then and there should be had, and that the respondent should furnish the petitioners with an attested copy of his answer, fourteen days before the sitting of said court.
At the court held in Belfast no witnesses were introduced by either party. The petitioners put into the case the documents already mentioned. General Samuel Fessenden, of Portland, appeared for the respondents, and Phineas Barnes, Esquire, for the petitioners.
In his answer to the petition of the Board of Agents for a writ of mandamus, the treasurer gave the .following reasons for refusing to issue his warrant of distress against the collector:-
1. That the Act of Incorporation of the Village District was unconstitutional, on account of its allowing them to raise money additional to that raised by the town.
2. That the district was not legally constituted: (a) because the several districts had not voted to form a Village District, but only to unite for a "high-school system"; (b) because the old districts had never been discontinued; (c) because the meetings had not been legal; (d) because the vote of the town was illegal; (e) because the Act of legislature was subsequent to the action of the town, which was itself conditional on an act of the district which it had no right to delegate to them the power to do; (f) because the legislature has no right to create a school district by direct legislation.
3. That the assessment of the tax by the district was illegal: (a) because there is no constitutional authority for the legislature to create a corporation of any kind, compelling individuals to become members thereof, and subject to taxation against their will, except in the case of the formation of a town; (b) because the assessors had never had any official notice that the conditions of the town had been complied with, and the district legally formed; (c) because the money assessed by the assessors was never raised by a legal vote of the district; the vote not only authorized the purchase of land and the erecting of a school-house (which would be legal), but also authorized the enlargement and repair of the old school-houses, and the renting and furnishing of rooms for the use of schools, and the whole was embraced in one vote, contrary to the law providing the way in which "incidental expenses" should be paid; that the money was neither borrowed nor expended for purposes for which a school district is authorized by law to borrow money; (d) because the several certificates and copies provided by law, to be given by the officers of the school district to the assessors, treasurer, and clerk, of the town, were not duly certified, filed, and recorded, as required by law; that no certificate of the vote of the district, authorizing the borrowing of money, was ever certified by the clerk thereof to the above officers; (e) that if the legislature has power to authorize school districts to raise money, such power cannot be given to a single district, but should be granted by a general law operating throughout the State; (f) that a school district is not such an organized body, nor has such interest as to enforce the collection, by a town collector, of a tax by mandamus, -the treasurer being the officer of the town and not of any school district.
Allen Colby, William H. Hall, and Benjamin H. Meder, in behalf
of the petitioners, made depositions, July 18, 1850, to the following effect:-
1. That they resided in the district.
2. That they had never known any persons claiming a separate organization as District Number 1 subsequent to the formation of the Village District.
3. That they had never known of any public school kept in District Number 1, except what was under the authority of the Board of Agents of the Village District.
4. That the vote passed at the annual meeting of District Number 1, April 24, 1848, did contemplate the throwing up of the old organization and the formation of a new district.
6. That they never heard the plan of a high school spoken of at that or any other meeting of the district, except in connection with the formation of a Village District.
8. That they would have known if there had been any schools kept out of the public funds in that territory, other than those kept under the authority of the agents of the Villaqe District.
9. That after the organization of the Village District, the people in what was formerly District Number 1 sent their children to the schools of the Village District.
The committee on accounts, in their report for 1850, under the "Treasurer's Account," give the amount received from the agents of the Village District, thus recognizing its existence.
The school committee, in 1850, recognized the district in their report and spoke of the manifest improvement of the schools therein.
Judge Howard, in ordering the issue of a writ of mandamus, made an exhaustive review of all the questions raised upon either side and fully sustained the Board of Agents in every material point, though he pointed out some errors made by them. Thus ended one of the most important lawsuits to which the village of Brunswick has ever been a party, and both sides in the suit deserve credit for persisting in bringing to a legal settlement questions of such momentous importance to the welfare of the town and to the interest of education in general.1
This opinion was delivered by the judge, March 1, 1851, and was received in Brunswick the same day. A meeting of the Village District was called on the nineteenth of the month. At this meeting Professor William Smyth made a report in behalf of the Building Committee. In this report a recapitulation was given of the needs of
1. For the full account of this trial, see Smith v. Titcomb, 31 Me. 272.
the district in regard to school-houses, and of the votes. He reported that the Building Committee and Board of Agents had selected the lot of Miss Narcissa Stone, on the corner of Federal and Green Streets, and that he had been empowered by a vote of each committee separately to purchase the lot. This he had done at a price of $1,000, payment to be made in five equal annual instalments, with interest at six per cent. Possession was obtained June 1. 1851.
The committee had then turned their attention to the erection of a building upon this lot, but in the mean time it had been found that a portion of the tax-payers had positively refused to pay the taxes still due from them. The Building Committee had no alternative but to stay proceedings, and await the decision of the Supreme Court. After that decision had been given they at once resumed their labors and contracted at once for the brick and stone necessary for the erection of the building, and they were being at that time deposited upon the lot.
The report stated that the Board of Agents had been very much embarrassed by the want of suitable accommodations for the schools. They had been obliged to break up classes, separate the boys from the girls, and virtually to return to the confusion and inefficiency of the old system.
On April 19, 1851, William Smyth, chairman of the Board of Agents, made a report of which the following is a synopsis:-
He stated that the committee had been greatly embarrassed by want of accommodations and by the lawsuit. He remarked, those opposed "regarded themselves as maintaining an important constitutional principle and their own just rights." But the question had now been settled, and all acquiesced in it. The committee recommended that the thanks of the district should be given to their counsel, Phineas Barnes, Esquire, and especially to their colleague, A. C. Robbins, Esquire, "for the untiring effort and distinguished ability with which their case was prepared by him for argument, -services gratuitously rendered indeed, but upon which the success of the district in the late suit, so far, at least, as its legal existence is concerned, is mainly to be attributed." The report goes on to state that after the termination of the suit, the town collector had collected enough to pay off all the debts of the district, except the fees of the counsel and the expenses connected with the suit.
The report spoke favorably of the schools as a whole, but considered the primary schools as of the chief importance. It recommended the permanent establishment of an apprentices' school, and stated that the material did not at that time exist for the perfect organization of the
High School. Several suggestions were also made as to the best mode of raising the necessary money for school purposes.
The superintending school committee, in their report for April, 1851, say, "as their deliberate judgment, that at no period has there been so much to commend in the management and success of the village schools or so little to censure.
"In the general interests of education in the village, they think that a manifest advance has been made during the year." They were also of the opinion that the condition of the schools throughout the town would bear a favorable comparison with that of any former year.
The new brick school-house erected for the use of the schools of the Village District was dedicated on Tuesday, December 9, 1851. The services were opened by some remarks from Professor William Smyth. Then followed a somewhat detailed account of the schools for several years previously, by Professor D. R. Goodwin, which was followed by remarks by John S. C. Abbot. After a prayer by Reverend Doctor Adams, remarks were made by Messrs. Adams, Boody, and Smyth, a hymn was sung, and the benediction pronounced by Father Stetson. There was quite an audience present, and the occasion passed off very pleasantly.
In April, 1852, the superintending school committee reported that there were nine hundred school children in the village. They said that "the Village District has been greatly indebted to Mr. E. G. Parshley, who taught a separate school of older pupils of the primary schools, and who were not entitled to enter the grammar schools. About eighty attended this school, who were well taught and kept in admirable discipline. The only compensation Mr. Parshley had for this service was the thanks of the community."
Speaking of these village schools, Mr. John M. Adams, school com-missioner for Cumberland County, in his report, published in the spring of 1853, says:-
"This system of graded schools comes as near perfection as any I have ever seen, not excepting even that of Portland, which under the fostering care of a few efficient and devoted friends, chief amongst whom stands Mr. Barnes, has acquired a high and well-merited reputation."
The cost of the brick school-house, as given in the financial report of the Board of Agents in 1853, was $5,885.44. The cost of the lot, which was $1,000, is not included. A portion ($5,000) of this amount was raised by loan, the balance by a direct tax.
In 1852 there were, including the Village District, twenty-six school
districts in town. The whole amount received from all sources for the schools this year was $3,329.04.
On November 12, 1857, the High School pupils commenced a series of tableaux at their school-room, for tbe purpose of procuring funds for the purchase of apparatus. They met with good success.
In 1862 the apprentice school, which had been in operation in the winter season since 1851, was kept in the engine-hall on Pleasant Street.
In 1867 the brick school-house on Bath Street was built. The amount of money for schools received from all sources was $6,782.27.
In September, 1872, the school-house on the corner of Federal and Centre Streets was completed. It contains four rooms, with large halls in both stories.
The condition of the schools in 1876 was as follows: the whole number of schools in town was twenty-three; the number of teachers employed was thirty-one; the total amount of school money received from all sources was $10,403.08.
It has been found impossible to obtain a list of the number of pupils in Brunswick for each decade since the organization of the first town school, but the number at the different dates mentioned below will give some idea of the rate of increase.
In 1804 the number of pupils was 845; in 1805 it was 875; in 1806 it was 885; in 1825 it was 1,533; in 1826 it was 1,598; in 1829 it was 1,603 ; and in 1876 it was 1,782. The actual attendance this last year was, however, only 864.
An account of Bowdoin College and the Medical Scbool of Maine might with propriety be given in this connection, but on account of the length of the sketch, as well as for the reason that they are State and not town institutions, a separate chapter will be devoted to them.
The first academical institution which should be mentioned here was the BRUNSWICK ACADEMY.
This was a Gothic structure, which stood on Maine Street directly opposite the southwest corner of the college grounds. It was built by President Allen for a classical school. Mr. William Smyth (after-wards professor) taught it the first quarter, which ended on the eleventh of December, 1824. The second quarter began a week later, and was taught by William Hatch. The building was only used a few terms for a school and was then occupied by college students. Afterwards it was used as a dwelling by Mr. Charles J. Noyes, and
still later it was torn down and rebuilt, and it is now occupied as a dwelling.
THE BRUNSWICK ACADEMY.
PLEASANT STREET SEMINARY.-- This seminary building was erected in the fall of 1842 or winter of 1843, on the south side of Pleasant Street, a few rods from Maine Street. It was dedicated on the twenty--seventh of March, 1843. An address was delivered by Professor A. S. Packard, and there was singing by a choir under the direction of Mr. Charles J. Noyes. The building was two stories, the upper story being leased for a club-room. The lower floor was the school-room. The first term began on the twentieth of March, 1843, under the instruction of M. B. Bartlett (Bowdoin, class of 1812). Mr. Bartlett is said to have been an excellent teacher, and the school was a good one. Mr. Bartlett conducted the school for about three years, and was succeeded by Mr. Alfred W. Pike, a graduate of Dartmouth College, who was already an experienced teacher. This building was afterwards, in 1843, used by the Episcopalian society as a chapel. It was subsequently removed to Maine Street, and is now occupied as a store by Mr. J. P. Weeman, a few doors north of the post-office.
THE BRUNSWICK SEMINARY was incorporated in 1845, with the design "of establishing an institution, in which the youth of both sexes might receive a thorough and practical knowledge of those branches of education which pertain especially to the every-day business of life; and, also, all those higher branches of a finished
education, which are taught in boarding-schools and the higher seminaries."
In accordance with this design, a commodious building1 was obtained, with apartments so arranged that the ladies and gentlemen, while they occupied different rooms, had all the advantages of being classed together, of meeting at recitations, lectures, and other general exercises of the school.
The trustees of the school were Honorable Robert P. Dunlap, president; John S. Cushing, Esquire, secretary; Parker Cleaveland, LL. D., treasurer; Leonard Woods, Jr., D. D., General Abner B. Thompson, Reverend George E. Adams, General John C. Humphreys.
The instructors in 1845-6 were G. Clinton Swallow, M. A., principal; Miss Tryphena B. Hinkley, preceptress; Miss Frances E. Stowe, teacher of music on the piano, etc.; Miss Olivia J. Record, teacher of drawing and painting; Albion K. Knight, M.A., teacher of vocal music; Miss Evelina Owen, assistant; Miss Mary B. Hill, Miss Ellen S. Shaw, Mr. John W. Watson, Mr. John S. Fuller, monitors.
During the first year there were one hundred and sixty-nine students, of whom eighty-one were young gentlemen and eighty-eight young ladies.
OTHER PRIVATE SCHOOLS.
In addition to the seminaries already mentioned there have been many other schools taught in town by private persons, some of which might, perhaps, from their size and the successful manner in which they have been conducted, be justly placed in the foregoing class. They have not been, for the reason that they did not assume any higher name than that simply of a private school.
All of these schools, concerning which we have been able to gain any exact information, will be mentioned under the name of their respective teachers.
Miss EUNICE BUSS came to Brunswick in 1802 as the friend and companion of Miss Lucy Abbott, daughter of Honorable Jacob Abbott. After Miss Abbott's marriage in 1805, Miss Buss taught a small school for young children. After Mr. Abbott's death in 1820, the family prepared a small house for her in a corner of the garden-lot, about where
1. This building was on the corner of Maine and School Streets, and is now the residence of Capt. Isaac L. Skolfield.
Captain John Bishop's house now stands. Here she taught school for a number of years. She afterwards maintained herself as a seamstress. She was highly esteemed, and was the presiding officer in many of the charitable associations of the ladies. In 1835 her health became impaired, and she returned to her former home in Wilton, New Hampshire.
MRS. CAROLINE P. PUTNAM, wife of Henry Putnam, Esquire, and mother of George P. Putnam, the New York publisher (recently deceased), taught school in Brunswick for about eighteen years. From 18071 until about 1818 or 1819, she taught in what was then known as the old Dunlap house, now the residence of the family of the late Doctor John D. Lincoln. Miss Narcissa Stone was her assistant during a portion of that time.
MRS. PUTNAM next taught for a year or two in the Forsaith house, next south of Dr. Lincoln's,2 occupying the southeast room for her school-room, and from there she moved into the old Stone Mansion, which was situated near the northerly corner of Maine and Mill Streets, but which stood a little back from both streets. She occupied one half of this house and Dean Swift the other half. In this house she taught until 1825, when it was destroyed by fire. Mrs. Putnam then moved to New York, where she ever after resided. She is spoken of by those who knew her as an excellent woman and a good teacher.
JOHN M. O'BRIEN, a member of the first class of Bowdoin College, kept a private school for two or three years. The exact date is not known with certainty, but the school was probably kept between the years 1806 and 1810.
MISS ELISA CHAPMAN, a Boston lady, sister to Mrs. Governor Dunlap, kept a private school for young ladies from 1823 until 1829, in the conference room on Centre Street. She was a lady of fine edu-cation and was a very successful teacher.
Mr. SMITH taught a private school in Hodgkins Hall, on the corner of Maine and Pleasant Streets, in 1824. This teacher is said to have been Mr. William Smyth, afterwards a professor in Bowdoin College.
ABRAHAM PREBLE kept a private school under Masonic Hall, in the winter of 1825, and announced another term to be kept in another place which would better accommodate his patrons. He kept school for several terms, but exactly how long is not known.
LOT JONES opened a school over the bank in September, 1828, where he taught the various branches usually taught in academies, and
1. Reminiscences of Mrs. Lamb.
2. Reminiscences of Dean Swift.
prepared students for college. He taught here for about one year and was a very successful teacher. He afterwards became an Episcopalian clergyman.
ASA DODGE, of the class of 1827, Bowdoin College, and afterwards a missionary physician in Syria, taught a school for young gentlemen and ladies, in 1829, and for two or three years after, in the conference room on Centre Street. His school was one of the best that was ever kept in Brunswick. He was a fine scholar and instructor, and is highly spoken of as a man by those who knew him. He died in Beirout, Syria.
DARIUS ADAMS taught a school in Washington Hall about the year 1830. He was succeeded by
SAMUEL ADAMS, who taught in the same place for a few terms.
HARRIET LEE kept a private school for misses in 1830, in the Rodney Forsaith house, on Maine Street.
The MISSES R. and S. OWEN kept a female boarding and day school in 1830, and for two or three years after, in the Owen house, which was situated on the corner of Maine and O'Brien Streets, on the lot now occupied by the residence of Mr. Benjamin Greene.
RICHARD WOODHULL, of the class of 1827, of Bowdoin College, taught a school for one or two terms about 1830, in the conference room on Centre Street. He succeeded Mr. Asa Dodge.
MR. THOMAS BAKER (Bowdoin, class of 1831) taught a school for young gentlemen in Washington Hall, from 1833 until 1838 or 1839. From there he went to Cape Ann and thence to Boston as a head master. He became quite celebrated as a teacher.
MISSES DEBORAH FOLSOM and MARY DUNNING kept a family school for girls for about three years, on Union Street, nearly opposite O'Brien Street. This was about the years 1836 to 1838 inclusive. They were both successful teachers.
MISS TRYPHENA B. HINKLEY came to Topsham in 1842 as an assistant in Mrs. Field's school. Two years later Mrs. Field resigned the school, and Miss Hinkley conducted it on her own account for about a year, when, at the solicitation of friends in Brunswick, she united her school with that of Professor Swallow, under the name of the Brunswick Seminary. At the end of about a year Miss Hinkley withdrew from this school and taught a day-school in the Pleasant Street Seminary. Here she taught for about a year. She then leased the house on the corner of Pleasant and Union Streets, recently owned and occupied by Mr. Samuel R. Jackson. She taught in this building for about five years, keeping a boarding-school for young ladies.
From here she moved into the O'Brien house, which stood on Union Street, nearly opposite O'Brien Street. In this house she taught for about seven years. Here her school was large and prosperous. From the O'Brien house she moved into her present residence opposite the colleges, which she purchased of John S. C. Abbott, and to which she made additions and improvements.
In all of her schools Miss Hinkley has been assisted by her sister, Miss JOSEPHINE HINKLEY, whose special department has been that of drawing. Among the other lady assistants she has had, at different times, Miss Fannie White, a teacher of music; Madam Zimmerman, a German lady and a fine music teacher; Miss Frances Adams (now Mrs. General Chamberlain), Miss Lizzie McKeen, Miss Fannie Stowe, Miss Sarah Newman, Miss Emily Poole, and Miss Sophia W. Wheeler.
For gentleman assistants Miss Hinkley has depended largely upon the college. Among those who have assisted her at different times have been C. C. Everett, William Packard, Egbert C. Smyth, William S. Tucker, Joshua Leighton, Henry Farrar, her brother Eugene B. Hinkley, and Professors Brackett, Russell, Taverner, and Briggs. The average number of boarding scholars has been about fifteen, the largest number about twenty-seven.
ALFRED W. PIKE advertised the eighth term of the "Brunswick High School" to begin April 10, 1843. It was kept in Washington Hail. In 1845 he advertised the "Brunswick High School and Teacher's Seminary." Vocal music to be taught by Jotham Sewall; mathematics and French, by Samuel J. Pike; drawing and painting, by Miss Frances Adams. In 1846, and for about three years after, he kept a school in the Pleasant Street Seminary, then in a building which stood on the spot cut through for the railroad on the east side of Maine Street, and lastly, in his own house, which was then a cottage on Potter Street, but which was afterwards removed to Maine Street, enlarged and improved, and is now the residence of General Chamberlain.
D. KENDRICK, JUNIOR, taught a private school for ladies in 1845, and for about a year, in Dunlap Block.
In addition to the foregoing private schools for general instruction, there have been from time to time others taught for instruction in special branches.
The schools of this character will be given under the head of the branches taught in them.
DANCING ACADEMY. -In January, 1821, L. Champrosay began a school at Stoddard's Hall. The terms were six dollars for twelve les-sons. He also advertised to give private lessons in French.
SCHOOL for EMBROIDERY. - In 1823 a school was established by a
lady from Scotland, for working in embroidery.1
SCHOOL FOR INSTRUCTION IN FRENCH. - In 1836, J. G. Mivelle Dechene taught French at Mrs. Pollard's house.
SCHOOL FOR MUSICAL INSTRUCTION. - INSTRUMENTAL. - In 1826
a Miss Brown of Boston, gave instruction on the piano and harp.
SCHOOL FOR INSTRUCTION IN NAVIGATION. -In 1825 a school for
instruction in the art of navigation was kept by B. F. Neally, and another one in 1843 by John F. Hall.
SCHOOL FOR INSTRUCTION IN FANCY PAINTING. -In 1827, A. B. Engstrom taught the art of fancy painting on paper, satin, or wood.
SINGING-SCHOOLS. -In 1825, Luke Hastings taught a school for instruction in vocal music. In 1836, Charles J. Noyes kept a similar school; and so did also L. W. Additon, in 1843. Since then schools of this character have been too numerous for specific mention to be made of them.
WRITING-SCHOOLS. -In 1824, I. Morgridge kept a school for instruction in penmanship, in Stone's Hall. He was succeeded the next winter by William Sawyer. In 1836 a Mr. Butler kept a school of this kind; in 1843, Mr. I. 0. Richardson; and in 1845 a Mr. Fisk kept one in Dunlap Block. Further mention of such schools is unnecessary.
The above by no means completes the list of miscellaneous schools, but they are all which have come to our knowledge that are worthy of especial mention.