Page:Southern Historical Society Papers volume 19.djvu/144

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138 Southern Historical Society Papers.

pared favorably with such average acquirements in Old England or New England. My friend, President Tyler, of William and Mary College, who has carefully examined the records of York county from 1645, informs me that they sustain this conclusion. He found, how- ever, at the conclusion of the seventeenth century evidences of a marked improvement in education and in material circumstances. Possessions were more valuable, and included many concomitants of comfort and refinement. Mr. Meredith proves from the marriage bonds recorded in Norfolk county from 1750 to 1761, that ninety-four per cent, of its inhabitants conld write.

Indentured servants and others, who by service, usually for three years, repaid the costs advanced for their transportation (hence the term transport), were employed from an early period. Many of such servants were persons of education, who by vicissitude of fortune had fallen into poverty. I published from the original in the Rich- mond Standard, November 16, 1878, an indenture dated July I, 1628, binding one John Logwood to service for four years to Edward Hurd, in Virginia. This document is witnessed by excellent signatures of two servants of Hurd. Such educated servants were constantly em- ployed as tutors in the families of the planters. The fact is noted by a traveller in 1746, who writes of the Virginians: Those that can't afford to send their children to the better schools send them to the country schoolmaster. * * * * Often a clever servant * is indentured to some planter * * as a schoolmaster. 35

In 1649 there were twenty churches in Virginia, with ministers to each. There were also, besides other schools, a free school in Eliza- beth City county amply endowed by bequest of Benjamin Symes in 1634 tne first legacy for such purpose made by a resident of the American plantations. 36

Other free schools followed in the benefactions of Virginia plant- ers in Gloucester county in 1675, founded by Henry Peasley; in Yorktown in 1691, by Governor Francis Nicholson; 87 in Westmore- and in 1700, by William Horton; in Accomac in 1710, by Samuel Sanford; in Elizabeth City in 1730, by Thomas Eaton. In 1700 there

30 Extracts from " Itinerant Observations in America " London Magazine, 1746. Published in the Richmond Standard, September 7, 14, 21, 1878.

36 A Perfect Description of Virginia, 1649, page 15. Force's Tracts, Vol- ume II.

37 Of this school Robert Leightonhouse, who died in 1701, was the first teacher. The school-house was standing in Yorktown at the beginning of our late war.