It may be hard for us to fathom, but school has not always been public and free. In the state’s early days, if you wanted to educate your children, you sent them to private school, often far from home.
In January 1840 the first public school in the state opened in Rockingham County. The Common Law of 1839 authorized counties to vote for or against taxes to support schools.
Sixty-one of the 68 counties existing at the time voted in the affirmative, with the others soon following. By 1846 there was at least one public school in each county.
– Ron Smith, S&A Communications