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let, as in her will signed February 16, 1662, she bequeaths all her estate “to my very loving sonne Mr. Elijah Corlett and to my daughter Barbare his wife with whom I have now sojourned about twenty years.” If Mr. Corlet had married in 1642, as would seem to be indicated by this extract, it is very probable that before that time he had already opened his grammar school, and that that was the grammar school referred to in New Englands First Fruits. Mr. Corlet resided on the east side of Dunster Street between Mount Auburn and Winthrop Streets and it is more than probable that in this house, from 1640 to 1648, was kept the "faire grammar schoole.”
In 1647 there was a movement among some of the public spirited citizens for the erection of a building to be used for school purposes only, and acting as agent for these citizens Mr. Dunster purchased the “Daye house,” which he had previously sold to John Fownell. The “Daye house" was to be removed and on the lot was to be erected a stone building, the agreement for the building of which is still in 'existence, and which we quote as showing the style of the first grammar school building and also that the land must have been purchased early in 1647, although not recorded until 1648.
Articles of agreement between Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe on the one party and Nicholas Withe and Richard Wilson, Daniel Hudson, masons, on the other party, witness as followeth:
1. Impr. That we Nicolas Wite, Richard Wilson and Daniel Hudson, masons, have undertaken to get at Charlestowne Rock one hundred and fifty load of rock stone, and to lay them in a convenient place whence they may be fetched with carts, and that betwene this present third month 1647 and the tenth of the ninth month next ensuing, for the which stones Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe covenant to pay to us sixe pence the load.
2. Item. That we the foresaid three masons will wal or lay the said stones in wall for twelve pence the yard, so long as we lay any side of the said wall within the ground, and the other answering wals at the same price until they come to the hight of the wal that lieth within the grounde, albeit that these wals should ly both sides of the ground to the open ayre, and that wee will measure all this cellar or in ground wall within the house.
3. Item. That we will lay in wall the saide stones above ground a
foote and a halfe thick at the least, at the middle story, and so proportionally gathering in until it end in the wal plats or eaves, about a foote thick, for eighteene pence a yard, making in the said above ground wals, where Henry Dunster or Edward Goffe shal apointe, convenient dore ways, arched over head, and windowe spaces as we shal be ordered and directed for timber windowes to be put in as we goe up with the wall, one of which said dore ways, and as many window spaces as shall bee judged convenient, we will alsoe make in the cellar wall as we shall be directed.
4. Item. That we will erect a chimney below, ten foote wide within the jaumes, and another in the rome above, eight foot 1/2 wide within the jaumes, in the place where we shal be directed, whereof if the jaumes be different from the wal of the house we will receive eighteene pence a yard for as much as we wal with stone, and ten shillings a thousand for what square brickes we lay, and sixteene shillings a thousand for the bricks that appear out of the roofe.
5. Item. The said Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe are to prepare and lay on the ground in redines, within forty or at the most fifty foote of the aforesaid cellar, al the aforesaid brickes and rock stones; but the said brickes, as many as shal need to be cut, are to be done by the sayde masons. The convenient planckes alsoe and poles for staging are to be laid in redines by the said Henry and Edward, and the stages to be made by the said masons.
6. Item. The 2 gable endes of the foresaid wals or scholehouse shall be wrought up in battlement fashion, at the prize of eighteene pence a yard, as above said.
7. Item. The foresaid masons by these presents covenant that they will lath the roofe of the aforesaid schoolehouse and tile the same at sixe shillings the thousand the tile.
8. Item. The said masons covenant to perfect the saide worke that is herein mentioned before the first of the sixth month that shal be in the yeare one thousand sixe hundred forty-eight, provided the said Henry Dunster and Edward Goffe procure all the materials requisite of stones, brick, timber, clay, lime, sand, and the sayd materials lay in convenient place.
9. Item. It is the true intent and meaning of both partyes, that al pay specified in these writings should be such as is received of the inhabitants and neighbours of the town of Cambridge, provided it bee good and merchandible in its kind, whether corn or cattle, and to goe at such rates as now it is payable from man to man when the aforesaid masons take the aforesaid worke, that is to say, Wheat at 49. Ry at 38 6d. Indian at 3. Pease at 38. 64. Barley mault at 48 6d. the bushell. In witness of the premises wee for our parts subscribe our hands,
HENRIE DUNSTER (L. s.)
EDWARD GOFFE (L. s.] Sealed, signed, indented and delivered in presence of
This agreement shows that Mr. Dunster and Mr. Goffe had been appointed a committee by the persons engaged in the enterprise, and had assumed the responsibility and the expense. It also shows that the land upon which they intended to erect the building must have been bought before May, 1647, as it is not probable that they would have contracted for the delivery of stone if they had not land upon which to store it. This would seem to be very strong evidence that the “Daye house" must have been sold to John Fownell in 1646.
The following extracts from the Records of the Town of Cambridge show conclusively that the town did not assist in erecting the building, nor pay any of the expenses of maintaining the school, except a part of Mr. Corlet's salary, until 1656, when it bought the building.
10th 12 55
Also whereas m? Dunster hath made a prposiccon to the Townsmen for the acquitting and discharging of the said forty pounds so received as before p'mised [by the said Thomas Danforth,] vpon the acct of his out layng for the schoole house. The townsmen do hereby declare ym that as they cannot yeld to the same for the Reasons before mentioned, yet never the less if m' Dunster shall please to p'sent any prposiccon to the Towne when mett together, they shalbe willing to further the same according to Justice & Equity (pp. 109–110).
At a Gen'al meeting of the Inhabitants of the towne, the 8th of the 10 th mo. 1656.
The Towne do agree and consent that there shalbe a rate made to the vallue of 108" 108 and levied of the seu’all Inhabitants, for the paymt of the schoole house provided euły man be allowed wt he hath already freely contrebuted thereto, in part of his prporcon of such rate (p. 113).
1 Paige's History of Cambridge, pp. 370–372.
At a Publique meeting of the Inhabitants the 12th of novem? 1660. .
As a finall issue of all complaints referring to m’ Dunsters Expences about the schoole house, all though in strict justice nothing doth appeare to be due, it being done by a voluntary act of prticular Inhabitants, & m? Dunster: and also the Towne haueing otherwise recompenced mo Dunster for his labor and expences therein yet ye Towne considering the case as it is now circumstanced, and especially the Condiccon of his relict widow & children, do agree yt thirty pounds be levied on the Inhabitants of the Towne by the Select men, & payd to m’ Dunsters Excecuto's, & yt on Condiccion yt they make an absolute deed of sale of ye Said House and land to the Towne, with a clear acquittance for the full payment thereof (pp. 132–133).
4 (8) 1669 at A meeting of the selecmen m' william Maning and petter Towne was appointed to agree with workmen to take downe the scholehouse, and set It vp againe; and to Cary the stones in the seller to the place wheare the house for the ministry Is to be built (p. 180).
At a Generall meeting of the Inhabitants of Cambridge yo: 24th of June 1700.
It was then Voted that ye Schoolhouse Should be forthwith fitted up By Rebuilding yo Same. And that ye Charge y Should arise thereby Should be added (by ye Select Men) to ye town Rate granted by yo Inhabitants ye 18th of May 1700 (p. 330).
Sept gth 1700. At a Meeting of the Selectmen John Leverett Esq?: & Deacon Hasting were appointed to Treat wth Zachry: Hicks Ju' and Jos: Hicks, or some other Sutable person or persons Concerning the Rebuilding the Schoolhouse woh gd house is to be 20 foot wide & 26 foot In length, the above mentioned persons are also appointed to take care that ye above mentioned House be speedyly done, In good Workman like order (p. 331).
This house lasted until 1769, when it was ordered to be demolished and a new house be erected on the southern side of Garden Street, about one hundred feet west of Appian Way.
It was in the first two school houses erected on the “Daye house" lot that Master Elijah Corlet taught for forty years. His school was a preparatory school for the College and the grammar he taught was the Latin grammar. It was exclusively a boys' school and at one time among his pupils were five Indian youths fitting for the College. For his salary he was dependant upon the parents, although occasionally the town gave a little assistance. On November 13, 1648, it voted “for the gratifying of M. Corlet, for his paines in keepeing a schoole in the Towne,”a gratuity of ten pounds. On November 13, 1654, it voted to "Levy about forty Pounds, for the Incouragement of the Gramer Schoole master," but two months later, January 29, 1654–5, reconsidered and reduced the amount to twenty pounds. On the March 25, 1662, “considering his p'sent necessity, by reason of the fewnes of his schollars," the town granted him ten pounds. On November 14, 1664, the town “Voted on the affirmative that mo Elijah Corlet shall be allowed & paid out of the Towne rate, annually twenty pounds, for so long as Hee continue to be schoolemaster in this place.” On November 8, 1669, the town allowed him forty shillings “for the Repayering of his house, wheare hee keepe schoole, because the schoole house is to bee taken downe.” 1
For the teaching of the Indian scholars he was paid by the Commissioners of the United Colonies of New England.2 Possibly for the board of his son, one Indian, Netus, of Sudbury, had become indebted to Mr. Corlet in the sum of four pounds and ten shillings. For the payment of this debt apparently he was obliged to ask the assistance of the General Court, as on May 22, 1661, we find the following entry:
In ans' to the petition of M* Eljjah Corlett, the Court judgeth it meete to graunt the petitioner liberty to purchase of Netus, the Indian, so much land as the sajd Netus, sajd Indian, is possessed of, according to lawe, for the satisfaction of the debt due the petitioner from sajd Netus, & that Edmond Rice, Sen, & Ensigne Thomas Noise, of Sudbury, be appointed to apprise the land to the petitioner for his satisffaction, & determine the proportion & bounds thereof, making a returne to this Court to be confirmed. 3
In the return of Messrs. Rice and Noyes made October 11, 1665, they say:
1 Records of the Town of Cambridge, pp. 106, 138, 153, 182.