The first mention we have of schools is in 1703 the Town of Exeter (Newmarket was part of Exeter) hired a school teacher for a year. He was to teach in the meeting house of that township for three months, and spend the rest of the year by turns teaching in the homes of Lt. Samuel Leavitt, Jonathan Robinson, Richard Hilton and William Taylor. The Hilton family on Grant Road had this hired man teach the Hilton children as well as neighboring farm families in area of the Hilton homestead.
In 1817 there was a small building listed as a school at the location of South Main and South St -- believed to be location where Newmarket Patriot Wentworth Cheswell was schoolmaster.
By the late 1800's there were, or had been the following school buildings in town:
- The Four Corners School
- The Northside School
- The Plains School
- The Pine Hill School
- Packers Falls Road School
- The Pump House School building at the corner of Spring & Central Street
- The Stone School (The oldest active schoolhouse in the state at time of closing).
- The Old High School
Around 1848 the brick Primary School at the corner of South Main and South Street began to absorb the other primary schools in town; 100 years later, in 1948, it was rebuilt into the Newmarket Fire Station (currently apartments).
The Grant Road School House (built 1830s). Between the 1840s and 1885 building was operated both a church meeting house and a school). By 1891 it was closed, opened up in 1902 as a meeting house. Between 1918-1922 the building was sold and removed by oxen to become the pig sty for the old Willey Hotel.
During World War I the old vacant Bayside School house (located on Bay Road close to the Durham Town line) was demolished by the boy scouts and all the wood was cut & transported to town and used to heat the Red Cross building for the War effort.
In 1897 the Forrester's Club, a Catholic Faternal Organization, purchased the Old Stone Church from the Catholic Church and the building became a "French Catholic School" with boys in the front half of the bottom floor, and girls in the back half. The French School continued until St. Mary's Catholic School was completed in 1910; it opened in August the same year with four sisters and 238 students.
This article's content provided by the Newmarket Historical Society