School History of Hope, Maine

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In 1849 enrollments and amounts of money allotted for each of the seven schools were as follows: (Click on each line for more information, including pictures.)

District #1 Head of the Lake with 69 enrolled, and $ 86.25 allotted.
District #2 Alford Flat with 82 enrolled, and $105.21 allotted.
District #3 Mansfield with 64 enrolled , and $85.00 allotted.
District #4 Hope Corner with 88 enrolled, and $110.00 alloted. (first location)
District #4 Hope Corner (second location. Not in original list.)
District #5 Payson with 66 enrolled, and $82.50 alloted.
District #6 Safford[No.Hope] with 48 enrolled, and $60.80 alloted.
District #7 South Hope with 79 enrolled, and $98.75 alloted.

West Hope School?
Misc. Pictures

1885 to 1895 detailed school reports from Annual Town Reports.

(From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy Page 110 Schools at Mid 1800s)

By act of the legislature in 1828 all money derived from the sale of public lands in the state was put into a permanent fund. The annual income from this fund was distributed for the purposes of education to the towns according to the number of persons between the ages of 4 and 21.

In 1831 another law was passed by the state and every bank was taxed one per cent on assets annually. In 1833 this tax money was added to the above fund and the income from the total amount was distributed yearly to the towns.
Parents, of course, bought what books, chalk, slates, etc., were needed for their own children. School books though they cost something like 75 cents to one dollar, sometimes less depending on the subject, were made of excellent rag paper and many were leather covered. They were definitely not to be lost or misused. We have several old school books used by the Stephen Boardman children that had seen service through the years from 1820 to 1853 or so. They were found in a box under the eaves by the Hardy family, which bought the brick house in the early 1900s.

Students today would no doubt have a difficult time doing the grammar lessons, let alone the mercantile arithmetic, which boys learned in case their futures involved them with foreign money and weights used in trade. Algebra, history and geography were not neglected nor were spelling, penmanship and simple bookkeeping. Morality was a part of most literature.

Little verses written to favorite girls, hearts and flower drawings and other personal touches added by the owners, add to the quaintness of these books.

Lady teachers were usually hired for the summer sessions of nine to twelve weeks. Men were more often hired for the winter sessions when weather made things tougher and more older boys who could be better spared from farm work in the winter attended. No money was allowed for transportation as everyone walked.
State supervision of schools began in 1846 when a State Board of Education was established.

In 1860 there were 439 scholars ages 4 to 21. Not all attended every day or every term, but the little district schools were bulging. Many of Hope's young men attended academies for further education such as Kent's Hill, Coburn Classical, Warren Academy, Erskine at China, etc., where they paid their own expenses for board and tuition.

In his short journal, Westbra Bartlett mentions advanced classes. In 1858 he mentions an evening high school group at the local Hope Comer schoolhouse with 22 scholars taking algebra and geometry. Like Westbra, some attending were teachers at the local schools. A teachers' convention was held in Camden the same year which he and Alonzo True attended.

Alvin Dunton, writing master of the Boston school system, conducted writing classes in which all ages were included whenever he was visiting in the Hope and Camden areas.


(From History of Hope Maine by Anna Simpson Hardy Page 204-211)

Into the 20th Century

The progress of the schools can be followed in the town reports from 1885 onward. In the early printed reports School Supervisor Daniel H. Mansfield admonished the parents about children being absent. "An evil which has wrought much harm in our schools, is that of irregular attendance. Time is lost, money wasted, teachers annoyed, and schools rendered greatly inefficient, if not utterly useless, by the constant coming and going allowed in many of our schools. The effect is injurious to the school at large and almost ruinous to the student indulged. The practice which some have of being tardy has a mischievous effect on the schools. Parents should send their children to school when possible, every day and in season and know they go directly to school." As early as 1887 D. H. Mansfield made the following recommendation:

Abolish all the present school districts. Erect at Hope Corner and at South Hope a house suitable for graded schools. Pay all the scholars who live more than a mile from said schoolhouses, the amount allowed by law for transportation or provide suitable teams to carry the scholars living in the districts too remote to walk to and from said graded schools. Provide in each new school a fall term of "Free High School" (one-half of which expense will be paid by the State). In this way you can save the expense of three teachers each term and the cost of warming three cold schoolhouses in the winter.

You can have four good graded schools (rooms) which will be a blessing to the scholars and an honor to this town.

Having been elected three times to this office and being a firm believer in the principle of rotation, I am not a candidate for reelection.

Of course Daniel Mansfield's recommendations were right, but he was ahead of his time and nothing was changed. They continued to elect him supervisor for a number of years longer, in spite of his reluctance.

Schools were keeping a schedule of 26 weeks a year by 1902. In 1903 a new law was passed by the Legislature, to pay tuition to those attending secondary schools provided students attended throughout the year and were enrolled in a full four year program. In 1906 teachers were being paid $3.50 per week for fall and spring terms, and $4.00 a week in winter. Board allowed for teachers was $1.75 a week. Pupils entered secondary schools this year, as follows: Robert Payson, Hebron; Burley Mansfield, Kent's Hill.

By 1917 those listed as students at High Schools were Jennie and Clara Hall, Roy Hobbs, Newman Morrill and Lura Simmons at Camden High, and Roy Taylor at Bucksport. By 1919 the list had grown to twelve. It was not until 1939 that a consolidated school was built at Hope Corner to replace the four old schoolhouses - Alford Lake, North Hope, Payson, and Hope Corner.

The Mansfield and Alford Flat schools had been closed for some time for lack of pupils. The new lot was purchased from Ralph Wentworth for $150. Cost of the school building was $12,146. Of this amount $4,500 was provided by the federal government through the WPA Program and $500 came from state funds. The remainder was paid off over a period of time through yearly notes on a mortgage. The South Hope school continued in operation.

By 1955 a vote was taken to close the South Hope school and build two new rooms onto the present building at Hope Corner. There were some people at this time who thought it would be wise to send the 7th and 8th grade pupils to Camden and Union on a tuition basis along with the high schoolers, but others resisted this move.

A few years later a swap was made with Lincolnville, to have their primary grade come to Hope and our upper grades go to Lincolnville. This proved quite unsatisfactory, and the former program was reinstated.

Population increases in Lincolnville made for a very crowded situation.

Information from an email in 2012 from Donovan Bowley

A 1799 map of Hope drafted for the twenty associates Proprietors, by John Harkness (A copy can be found in the Maine State Archives) shows the location of the first schoolhouse. It is on lot 50 owned by Captain Samuel Payson.