Colrain — Schools

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

      The first recorded evidence of any action by the "Colrain" proprietors looking to the encouragement of public education is dated March, 1753, when it was agreed to have a school; but against this decision a protest was entered by Hugh Morrison, James Breckenridge, Archibald Pennell, and John McCreles, who objected to having the schoolmaster or school mistress paid except by the scholars who attended the school. It was, however, decided to appropriate £8 for schooling, to be paid by assessment upon each of the sixty lots.
      The first schoolmaster is said to have been James Stewart, who taught school at his house. The dwelling is still occupied as a residence by W. B. McGee, Esq., and occupies its original site on the Greenfield road, a mile south of the old burying-ground. In the summer of 1761, school having in the mean while been taught in dwellings, the town built a school-house 18 feet long by 16 feet wide, composed of round logs and covered with long shingles. Two shillings per day were allowed to each man for working upon the school-house, and it was because of the expense incurred in erecting the building that the town decided not to build that year the public pound, which had been decided upon. £8 12s. were raised for schooling, and it was resolved that "all Parsons who Send Schoolers to the School Shall Provide wood, according to the preportion of there Schoolers, and Cut it fit for the fire."
      The school term usually extended from July to January, for which the ordinary appropriation was £10. This school-house stood at the foot of Meeting-house Hill.
      In 1768 it was resolved to build three school-houses, and that each school-squadron should build and maintain its own school-house and choose its own teacher.
      In 1771 a new school-house was built at the centre, between John Clark's and Nathaniel Carswell's; in the same year another one was built; "on the North River;" and in 1774 another was built, near the meeting-house.
      In 1797 the town had so advanced in population that it was divided into 11 school-classes or districts, and for the support of education £140 were raised. In 1800 a school-house was built on the river, near Jas. McCullough's, and another near Jesse Lyon's.
      Coleraine expended, in 1877, $2694.14 for the support of 15 schools, at which the average total daily attendance was 272.

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