Colonial Schools of the Eighteenth Century 33
ments like the following in the newspapers of the period: —
Ran away : a Servant man who followed the occupation of a Schoolmaster, much given to drinking and gambling.
Among those who bought a bondsman for educational purposes was George Washington's father, and this bondsman was Washington's first schoolmaster. He was a slow, rusty old man by the name of Hobby. Besides doing duty as dominie he served as sexton, and in the intervals of teaching swept out the church and now and then dug a grave. The schoolhouse in which he taught is said to have stood in an "old plantation field" — a field exhausted by successive tobacco crops, and allowed to grow up to pines. Tradition relates that Hobby lived long enough to see his pupil rise to distinction. He was very proud of his own services as the boy's teacher, and was wont to boast it was he " who between his knees had laid the foundation of Washington's greatness."
After Hobby had laid this " foundation," his pupil attended another school for four or five years presided over by a Mr. Williams. If we are to believe one of Washington's early biographers, Mr. Williams " knew as little as Balaam's ass." Under him the boy in playtime became expert in running and wrestling, but in his studies failed to acquire either correct spelling or the commonest rules of English grammar. The book he perhaps learned most from at this time was one entitled The Young Man s Companion, which apparently came into his