Early Shirley Schools

1757  - Three months of school were held at Jonas Longley’s house,
at the northeast of intersection of Clark & Hazen

1759-1766 - For two months in summer there was a reading/woman’s school
For one month in winter there was a writing/man’s school
These were held in private dwellings in north, middle, and south of the town

1761 -  Isaac Farnsworth was paid by the town as a teacher

1777  - A schoolhouse was built near the Common (location #80);
Dame Nutting held short term public classes and was allowed to live in the building
as payment; she also gave private lessons for longer terms

1778  - Rebekah Little and David McLeod were paid by the town as schoolmarm and schoolmaster;
McLeod’s house, including the schoolroom, was on Haskell St., but was later moved to Fredonian Street (location #156)

1779  - Elizabeth Watson was a schoolmarm;
Thomas Little and Wallis Little were teachers of "reading school";
The town had three schools: the Center School at Nutting’s house, the North and South Schools in private homes,
North School was at Reuben Hartwells - corner Garrison and Groton Rd. (#22)

1781  - David McLeod was giving private lessons
The town voted against building a schoolhouse

1786  - The town voted to divide into four districts, with each district having its own governance.  The Historical Society has a copy of the District #1 record book.

1787  - The town voted 90 pounds to build three schoolhouses

1788  - The East District was established

By 1800 there were five district schools
North School: located SW of Garrison Road and Groton Road
Center School: between present 1st Parish and Town Hall
South School: between Davis St. and Main St. (moved to location #228)
East School: NW of Kitteridge Rd. and Great Rd.
The Shakers had their own school
All were one room wooden schools

1809  - The Shakers were given permission to use town money to help with their school

1814  - The old buildings were sold and six new districts were formed
(1) Middle North (Center)
(2) Middle South (Pound Hill); NE corner Center & Hazen
(3) South: Lancaster Rd. opposite church
(4) East South: Mitchellville Crossing
(5) East North: Kitteredge Rd.
(6) North: Garrison Rd.

1837 -  The State required towns to form school committees and issue reports
A private school in Shirley had 25 pupils

1839  - Districts were officially numbered 1-6 as above;
The Shaker school was district #7

1840  - The Shakers refused to have the town examine their school, so the town refused to fund them

1841  - The schools got new books, blackboards, and maps, and stoves instead of fireplaces

1843  - School #5 burned and was rebuilt of brick

1844  - District schools reverted to town central governance

1845 -  A new brick school was built at District #6

1846  - A new brick school was built at District #4

1848  - A new brick school was built at District #8, north of the Catecunemaug Brook.
The town hall was built with the north end of the room on the first floor used as a classroom for older students

1855  - A new Pound Hill school was built of brick across the street from the old wooden one

1856  - A new brick school was built at Center District #1
A new two story school was built at District #3 (later became the Municipal Building)

For further information on our early town schools, look in Forrest Wing’s book  The Shirley Story  or come  see other files at the Historical Society Museum.

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