While all other sciences have advanced, that of government is at a standstill - little better understood, little better practiced now than three or four thousand years ago. — John Adams

Stephen of Philadelphia - James Otis

Enoch Flower's School

Two days before we had made the last spike for Samuel Carpenter, word was given by written notice posted on the corner of the Blue Anchor tavern, that Enoch Flower would open a school in his house.

His fee for teaching one to read English, was four shillings; for fitting a pupil in writing, six shillings; and if one wanted to learn how to read, write, and cast accounts, the cost would be eight shillings.

Now Jethro and I had in cash, wampum, furs, and in debts that could be collected, sixteen pounds English money, all of which we had earned by our own labor. In addition, we each had a pair of good skates, which should surely be reckoned in with our earnings, since they represented the capture of very many turkeys.

It was not necessary we should ask our fathers for money with which to pay Enoch Flower, and we decided to get all he could teach us, meaning that we would study reading, writing, and the casting up of accounts.

As I have already said, we could read and write at that time, thanks to our parents; but it seemed as if we should be able to learn a great deal more regarding such things at a regular school, therefore it was that we were willing to spend sixteen shillings.

Enoch Flower's house was by no means the most comfortable in town, and we were forced to sit on short lengths of stout logs, when, with a little labor, benches might have been made, for of a verity there was an ample supply of raw material at hand.

The school hours were from eight in the morning until twelve at noon. In the afternoon the teacher gave all his attention to spinning, for he was a master hand at such work, and thus we lads found plenty of time for home chores and as much of sport as we really needed.

We each read aloud one page from the Bible, or as much from the laws of Pennsylvania as would amount to the same in number of words, and the teacher carded wool meanwhile, in order that his time might not be wholly wasted.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis

Then, with half a clapboard held on our knees as a desk, we wrote twenty lines from either the laws, or the Book, if so be we had brought with us enough of paper to contain them, for it was not in the bargain that Enoch Flower should provide us with anything save a smoothly sanded board on which we could work out the sums in arithmetic that he made up to puzzle us.

We spent the greater portion of our time figuring on the number of pounds of wool required to make an hundred skeins of yarn, or the wages of a spinner for so many hours at such an amount per skein. But whatever the questions he put to us, we benefited much by the work, and not only learned to "cast up accounts" in the wool or yarn business, but how to spin and card, for the only punishment good Enoch Flower ever bestowed upon us when we were inattentive, was to oblige such disobedient pupils to help him in his daily labor.

[Illustration] from Stephen of Philadelphia by James Otis


Front Matter

The Name of My City
My Own Name
Why We Went to London
Bound for America
On Board Ship
Unknown Country
The End of the Voyage
Going Ashore
Our First Shelter
A Tedious Task
Our Cave Home Completed
How We Kept House
Savages Come to Town
What the Savages Wore
Game in Plenty
Sea Food
News of the Factor
Arrival of the Amity
Going to Meet the Factor
A Tiresome Journey
Meeting Old Friends
Roasting Turkeys
Turning an Honest Penny
A Place for the City
Building the City
A Bear Hunt
The New Home
Penn's Care for Colonists
The First Baby
How the Indians Live
Indian Utensils and Tools
Canoes of Bark
Making Wampum
The Beehive Huts
Finishing the Cure
Starting a Fire
Cooking Indian Corn
News of Penn's Arrival
Our Humble Preparations
The Welcome to Penn
A Day of Festivities
Penn Joins in the Sports
More Serious Business
What a Bake Oven Is
Baking in the New Oven
Penn Plans to Buy Land
Penn and the Indians
The Price Paid for Land
Gratitude of the Indians
Trapping Wild Turkeys
New Arrivals
Government by the People
The Promise of a School
Dock Creek Bridge
The Nail Business
Buying Iron in New York
No Merrymaking after Dark
Busy Days
Enoch Flower's School
End of Our School Days
Settlement of Germantown
New Laws in Our Own Town
A Division of Opinion
A Matter of History
Boundary Lines
The Governor's Following
A Proud Departure
The Settlement of Chester
Dining in State
Anchored off New Castle
An Uncomfortable Night
A Dull Journey
In Lord Baltimore's City
A Splendid Home
A Question of Duty
Amy of Maryland
The Shops of Maryland
The Result of the Visit
Philadelphia Progresses
Penn Goes Back to London