Thursday, March 18, 2010

Londonderry School District Number Eight

I recently explored the Internet Archive website at This website provides free books, moving images (from film and video), audio and text images. From their home page “The Internet Archive, a 501(c)(3) non-profit, is building a digital library of Internet sites and other cultural artifacts in digital form. Like a paper library, we provide free access to researchers, historians, scholars, and the general public.” It is full of scanned images and primary source documents that are a genealogist’s dream!

I put the word LONDONDERRY into the search box and I found the 1908 book “School District Number Eight” at Here you can page through the book, left or right, and even download the book or print it out. It is only 60 pages, but it loaded with lots of good Londonderry trivia, including names and other genealogical gems.

School House number 8 was located on Bartley Hill Road. A District Number Eight Old Home Association of former teachers, pupils and residents was formed, and on August 24, 1906 about twenty five people showed up at a meeting in the schoolhouse to consider writing up the history of the school, and to have a celebration. Adults paid 25 cents, children 10 cents to belong to the association.

According to this little booklet, the first schoolhouse in this district was built in 1794 as Number 17 in Londonderry, until the town of Derry broke off in 1829. The author Daniel Gage Annis lists some historical facts, such as in 1800 it was voted that every pupil should bring 4 feet of wood to school, or in 1812 it was voted to give the school 40 cents for a “pale and mug.” In 1829 it was voted to sell the stove ashes to give the scholars “some refreshments- No rum brought into school.”

In 1839 $25 was raised to buy a new stove. In 1856 $1000 was voted to build a new schoolhouse, and in 1858 $136 was voted to finish the school house, with another $100 voted for outbuildings (an outhouse? Woodshed?) In 1894 the cost per scholar was $10.63 and there were 26 children. Compare this to this month’s town meeting where the 2010-2011 school budget is expected to be $63,472,328.00, for nearly 5300 students.

Also included in the booklet are lists of teachers, board members and donors. There is a short chapter on the history of the Adams Fund, which came from the estate of Mr. Edmund Adams, a resident of the school district. He formed this fund out of the sale of two shares of Manchester and Lawrence Railroad stock in 1870. His sons were students in the district, one becoming a graduate of Dartmouth, a grandson graduating from Harvard, and a granddaughter graduating from Johns Hopkins.

At the end of the booklet, there is a chapter describing the celebration of the Old Home Association for the school on August 21, 1907. There are several letters of regret from former teachers and students, which are interesting to read. They include the names and their 1907 addresses, mostly out of state.

If you would like to examine the original copy of this book, it is available at the Londonderry Leach library, filed under HIS REF 974.2b LON, School district number eight, Londonderry, New Hampshire. Concord, N.H: Rumford Printing, 1908.

Copyright 2010, Heather Wilkinson Rojo

1 comment:

  1. Hi Heather,
    This is in regards to the comment you left on my blog. I know Mary Gertrude Mott Healey's sister, Estrella, went to Hawaii and visited and wrote about it, is that the journal your contact was talking about? If it is a Haley/Healey and not a Mott, I'd be very interested to learn more as it would be news to me. I loved your posts on the Dominis family in Hawaii, it'll be interesting to learn more about them and their connection to this journal and the Haleys. Thanks for the heads up on the journal, I'm excited to hear more about it.