Northfield — Schools

Extracted from "History of the Connecticut Valley in Massachusetts, Volume II," by Louis H. Everts, 1879.

      The earliest recorded notice of public attention being given to educational matters dates back to 1721, when the wife of Ebenezer Field, the blacksmith, taught a select school at her own house, and charged fourpence each week per scholar.
      In 1731 there was some talk by the town of building a school-house, but nothing came of it, and it would appear from the records that the town, being presented by the county in 1736 for failing to have a school, straightway voted to have a schoolmaster, and to build, buy, or hire a school-house. A school-house was built and set in the street "against Samuel Hunt's home-lot," and Seth Field employed as a teacher. In 1748 a new school-house was erected near the meeting-house, and another one in 1764. Until 1781 the town had but one school-house and one school district.
      Between the years 1736 and 1785, the teachers were Seth Field (who taught most of the time between 1736 and 1775), Phinehas Wright, Lydia Warner, Daniel Babbit, and Abishai Colton. The first school known to the inhabitants on the west side of the river was taught in 1775.

The Northfield Academy Of Useful Knowledge

      The Northfield Academy Of Useful Knowledge was incorporated June, 1829, and opened in October in the building known as Hunt's Hotel, at Northfield village, which had been purchased and well furnished for school purposes. The academy passed, in 1835, into the hands of Phineas Allen, but was discontinued in 1843. Latterly, a select school has been taught in a part of the academy building, while the other portion has been devoted to the manufacture of agricultural implements.
      There were, in 1878, thirteen district schools in the town, for support of which in 1877 the expenditures were $2641.27. College graduates, natives of Northfield, as follows: Seth Field, Thomas Bridgman, Ebenezer Mattoon, Caleb Alexander, Benjamin Burt, Frederick Hunt, Ebenezer Janes, Elihu Lyman, Isaac B. Barber, Joseph S. Lyman, John Barrett, Jr., Charles Barrett, Joseph Allen, Fred. H. Allen, Isaiah Moody, Samuel Prentice, Caleb C. Field, Thomas P. Field, Dwight H. Olmstead, Justin Field, Frederick Janes, James K. Hosmer, Edgar F. Belding, Lucius Field, E. H. Allen.

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