Education in Wakefield

  • Education in Wakefield
  • "The early settlers of Reading were men and women of modest means, concerned primarily with the building of modest domiciles for themselves, meeting houses, and sanctuaries where they could worship in peace. The first meeting hosue, built before 1647, no doubt exhausted their resources and left them with little from which to build their school. In 1680 the town was criticized by the General Court for definciency of a grammar school, causing the townspeople to make arrangements for one of their own to educate the children. The first schoolmaster was Master John Brown, Esq., one of the best educated and influential settlers. In 1693, 50 years after the town's incorporation, the town ordered that there should be a 'free' school kept in the town and appropriated four pounds for its support. The first teacher of the free school was Nicholas Lynde from Charlestown, a graduate of Harvard College in 1690. Students were taught by one teacher who traveled to different sections of the town. This teacher was responsible for teaching students in those sections for three to four months each year, a term determined by the Selectmen. In 1708, a committee was selected to help the town officials superintend the schools. This committee, not the first formal school committee, consisted of Capt. John Brown, Lieut. Hananiah and Ens. Nathaniel Parker. From 1721 to 1778, each separate parish was responsible for the care and support of the schools under the watch of the parish assessors who served as an unofficial school committee. The second schoool house was built in what is now Reading in 1708 and in 1799 Wakefield built three new school houses, one for the center district, one for the west and one for the south. The center district school was located at the northerly end of the Common and measured 28' x 24' and could seat, uncomfortably, about 100 pupils. In compliance with a law passed by the Legislature, the grammar school was established in 1791 and would be distinct from the English school. (These latter schools were schools in;Captions: 1. James F. Blackinton, first High School Master (principal). -- 2. Wakefield High School's first football team (1893).
  • Image from the Wakefield Municipal Gas and Light Department annual calendar, 1989
  • Photos courtesy of the Wakefield Historical Society.
  • [Wakefield, Mass.] : Wakefield Municipal Gas & Light Department


“Education in Wakefield,” Lucius Beebe Memorial Library, Wakefield, Mass., accessed December 5, 2021,


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