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The History of Redding Connecticut Schools- Old Boston District School
From Wilbur F. Thompson

The Old Boston District School
From Wilbur F. Thompson February 22, 1922
A Special Thank You to Irene Baldwin for forwarding me the information.

On a hill in old New England stands a schoolhouse old and grey, the schoolhouse of my childhood, many years have past away.

The sale of the Boston District schoolhouse to M. Connery of Georgetown forms the closing chapter in the history of a school that had had an existence of over 150 years. On December 6, 1920, this property was sold to M. Connery and on March 15, 1921, he sold it to James Driscoll, who used the site to build a home. Parts of the old school house were used in the construction of the garage.

In 1767 the town of Redding was organized and in 1768 was divided into school districts. Boston District Number 5, took in the section now known as Georgetown in Redding. The schoolhouse stood on the site of the building recently sold. It was for many years a famous school. Elias Bennett, later known as Post Rider Bennett, was a teacher from 1800 to 1815. Nathaniel Perry, Walter Bates, Aaron B. Hull, Gershom Banks, Oliver Dudley and William Bennett taught in the old school later.

In the 1850's the present schoolhouse was built. It was a great improvement on the old school, where the seats had no backs, and a wide board fastened to the wall on three sides of the room, formed the desks, with an open fireplace to heat the room in the winter. In the new school were desks and seats with backs and a box stove, standing in the center of the room, to heat the school in the winter. In the winter of 1864 the writer (Wilbur Thompson) was a pupil in the Boston school. The ages of the pupils ranged from six to twenty years. Many were grown men and women. Teachers in those days had to be men of muscle as well as of brains. David L. Rowland of Weston was teacher for the fall and winter term of 1864. In those days the teachers boarded with the parents of the children who attended the school. It was called "boarding around the district". The schools were not free schools as they are today, and the burden was heavy on many parents who had large families.

The following are names of the pupils who attended the winter term of 1864, giving the father's name also: Orrin Adam's children-Leroy, Imogene, Julia; William Albin's children-Frank, Lydia, Warson, Albert; Burr Bennett's children-William, Polly, Mary, Elinor; Gershom Bank's children-George, Jane, Will; Zalmon Fillow's child-Effie; Aaron Fillow's child-Fred; Joseph Goodsell's child-George B.; William Gorham's child-Ferdinand; Richard Higgin's children-Richard, John and Ellen; Moses Hill's children-Gershom, Deborah, Ebenezer, Mary, Samantha; Bradley Hill's children-Arthur B. and Albert; Burr Hill's children-Helen, Celia, Nathaniel; Edmund Lee's children-John, Margaret, Thornton and Jessie; Henry Lee's child-Frank; Ashur Merchant's children- Joel and Arthur; Aaron Olmstead's children-Hawley, Sarah, Samuel, Eva; Greenville Perry's children-Georganna, Eva, Timothy; Parson's grandchild-Hattie; John Rady's children-John, James and Ellen; Peter Smith's children-Eddie and Ruth; Dimon Sturges' children-Oscar and Ida; Edward Thompson's children-Wilbur F., and Herbert B.; Francis Welsh's children-Mary and Daniel.

Fifty-seven years have passed by and many of the pupils of the old school term of 1864-65 are dead, and a few of those alive are living in the old district. But their descendants are scattered all over this state. The children of the Boston District, Redding, are now pupils in the Gilbert and Bennett School, Georgetown. Following are the names of the teachers in the Boston district school from 1864 to 1872: Winter terms, David L. Rowland, Seth Platt Bates, John Belden Hurlbutt, Ambrose Platt, Arthur B. Hill; summer terms, Sarah Hill and Emma Olmstead.

Smooth and hollow are its doorsteps, worn and thin its ancient sill, by the many feet that entered in the schoolhouse on the hill. Wilbur F. Thompson, Danbury Connecticut-February 22, 1922.


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