24 Old-time Schools and School-books
Likewife Boarded with a great conveniency. My encouragement where I am being as yet but fmall; If any Perfon can advife to any Place or Parifh wanting a School-mafter; upon affurance of a competent livelihood, I fhall foon quit my prefent concerns, and readily accept it.
The ministers had much to do with the public schools in all places, large and small. Their supervision was constant and vigilant. The church was then supported by the whole town, and its affairs regulated in the town meetings ; and the minister was a town officer. He was employed for the religious instruction of the people; and as the children were an important part of his charge, his visits to the schools were frequent. He examined the children in the catechism and in their knowledge of the Bible, and sometimes questioned them on the sermon of the preceding Sunday. In 17 10 we find it was expected of the Boston ministers that they would, on their school visits, pray with the pupils, and " entertain them with some instructions of piety specially adapted to their age and education " ; and something of this sort continued to be the duty of the ministers in our rural towns until the middle of the last century. The rural minister also often rendered service as a teacher, especially as a teacher of Latin in towns that had no grammar school. Many ministers boarded several students, as well as taught them.
When other means of education were lacking, the laws ordered that the parents themselves should impart instruction to their children. But most communities contrived at least to have a dame school.