Ashfield — Educational History
Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.
It has already been seen that provision was made in the original allotment of the town land for a school lot. The first vote recorded appropriating money to the support of a school was on March 31, 1766, when the sum of £4 was so appropriated. In March, 1768, £12 were appropriated for the use of a school and other necessary town charges."
On Feb. 5, 1772, it was voted to divide the town into three school districts, to build three school-houses, and "that Timothy Lewis, Samuel Belding, and Aaron Lyon be a committee to build said houses." On March 1, 1773, £15 were appropriated for a school. In 1777 a committee was chosen to divide the town into school districts, and a similar committee was chosen in 1787. The appropriation for schools in 1789 was £40; in 1790, £80; in 1791, £100; in 1794, £120; in 1796, £150; in 1798, £150, and $60 for a music teacher; in 1802, $450, and by a gradual increase until, in 1879, it reached $1600. The school fund, resulting from the land set apart for educational purposes, has produced an annual average of about $80.
Among some of the early teachers of the district schools of the town, mention should be made of Gen. Longley (of Hawley), Isaac Taylor, Bethuel Lilly, Abigail White, afterward the wife of Capt. Kimbal Howes, Wait Bement, Lydia Bassett,* afterward the wife of Lucius Smith, Betsey Smith, Samuel and Bassett, Polly Hall, and David Williams.
At the present time there are fourteen school districts in the town, having in attendance 238 pupils, at an average cost per scholar of $8.42.
* Daughter of Lot, born in 1794, still a resident of the town.
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29 Jun 2005