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The Free Schools in 1720-1776



The following notice appears in regard to the free schools of Syms and Eaton:

Aug. 17, 1720. - Upon complt made by Henry Irvin gent agt Jno Curie about Eaton's free schoole land of waste made of the timbers, it is ordered that the Clk. bring sd Eaton's will and Deed to next court concerning the premises and a copy of the vestry ordr whereby Curie hath the land granted to him.

Nov. 17, 1725.- Upon the motion of William Tucker setting forth that he is willing to take the school land and provide a schoolmaster, it is ordered that the said Tucker have possession of the said land with this provisio and condition, that he constantly keep and provide a schoolmaster to teach children in said land.

Dec. 18, 1728. - Ordered that the quit rents due for the school land according to the rent rolls thereof be paid out of the money arising from the sale of wood from the said land to Henry Cary.

Page thirty-four



It appears that in course of time much pecuniary loss befell both schools from trespassers, who cut down the timber, and from tenants who failed to pay rents.

To put Eaton's school on a better footing, the General Assembly thought proper, in 1730, to give authority for leasing the land in parcels, and when by reason of the trustees not being incorporated by the act, some doubt was again started as to the validity of their authority to punish trespassers and delinquents and called arrearages of rent, the Legislature incorporated the trustees of both schools, under the name, in the one case (1759), of "The Trustees and Governors of Eaton's Charity School," and in the other (1753), under that of "The Trustees and Governors of S>Tiis' Free School."

The trustees were empowered to have perpetual succession; to use a corporate seal; to select and remove the master, who, before selection, was to be approved by the minister and by the government; to visit the school; to order, reform, and redress all abuses ; and to lease the school lands and the cattle thereon for a period not exceeding twenty-one years.

In 1765 there was a lease of tract No. 1, surveyed by Robert Lucas in 1759, and containing 75 acres, the consideration being an annual rent of 4 pounds 10s., the building a dwelling 28 feet long by 16 feet broad, pitch 9 feet, to be covered with good heart pine or c\T)ress and two rooms above and two below, ,lathed and plastered, and doors floors and windows of good plank, as also an orchard of 100 Grixon (?) apple trees, which is to be kept fenced and secure against all damage.

By an advertisement in the Virginia Gazette we learn that in 1752 the perquisites of Sjths' school was 31 pounds annually. The act of 1759 testified to the good work performed by the Eaton school, to which, in addition to the proper objects of charity, "a great number of children" had been admitted free "who were able to pay for their own education."



Page thirty-five

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