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Reward of Merit to Amos Hamilton

(c) Pocumtuck Valley Memorial Association, Deerfield MA. All rights reserved.
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William Arms presented this handwritten and hand decorated Reward of Merit to his student, Amos Hamilton, in 1795. The certificate recognizes Amos' good behavior and attention to studies, as well as achieving the rank of "first" in his class. Amos may also have received from his teacher a small gift such as an inexpensive chapbook. The Wisdom District School Amos attended was one of fourteen one-room schools in the Town of Deerfield, Massachusetts. As in other New England towns, the Deerfield schoolhouses were located near a cluster of houses, often at a crossroads. The small group of households living in the district managed their school district. A District Committee elected by the male heads of households in the district hired the teacher and maintained the school. The District taxed itself to raise funds to pay the teacher who often was a relative of one of the Committee members. Committee members and parents were required to provide firewood for the school as well as "board round the teacher"-that is, room and board for the teacher for a week or more in their homes. Male schoolteachers like Mr. Arms taught the winter term. Young single women were hired at lower pay in the summer to teach the younger scholars while the older children worked on the farms.


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