I love history, so the chance to introduce a little history even indirectly into one of my stories was exciting for me. It was only because Isaiah and Levi had their education that they were able to play a central role in Aggie Boyle and The Lost Beauty. You’ll have to read the book to see just how this worked out!
Anyway, in Aggie Boyle and The Lost Beauty, both Isaiah and Levi learned Latin. This is because their characters were based on true-life Puritan children. In the 17th and 18th centuries, the Puritans from the Massachusetts Bay Colony valued education and believed it was a necessity.
In 1647, Massachusetts passed a law that required every town with fifty or more families to support an elementary level school. Some of the small towns or villages would have school at the teacher’s home. Other larger towns and cities would have their own schoolhouses. The teacher or schoolmaster would teach both boys and girls how to read and write. It was important to the Puritans for their children to keep up with their religious studies, which included the reading of the Bible. Educating everyone also helped them live better lives.
Towns with more than a hundred families were required to have a grammar or Latin schoolmaster who would prepare boys for higher education. Boys learned Latin and grammar in preparation for college with hopes of going to Harvard College to study ministry or law. Girls were not allowed to go to college at this time but at least they received an elementary education so they could read and write.
It was not until 1803 when the first higher educational institution in Massachusetts admitted women. This was at the Bradford Academy in Bradford, Massachusetts. It was founded as a co-educational institution, but became exclusively for women in 1837.