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VI. JOHN 8. HART,
PRINCIPAL OF THE PHILADELPHIA HIGH SCHOOL.
The name of this gentleman is so identified with the history of the Philadelphia High School, one of the most successful of its class on the American Continent, that a brief sketch of his life has been repeatedly called for by the readers of this Journal.
John SEELY HART* was born on the 28th of January, 1810, in Stockbridge township, Berkshire county, Massachusetts, on the bank of the Housatonic, at a point where there has since sprung up the enterprising little manufacturing village of Glendale.
When John was two years old, the family with several of their neighbors emigrated into what was then an unbroken wilderness, in the upper part of Luzerne county, Pennsylvania. The settlement made by these Massachusetts families, in 1812, was in Providence township, on the Lackawanna river, two miles north of where the thriving town of Scranton now stands. The subject of this memoir continued to reside in Providence until he was thirteen years old. His earliest recollections are of a log-house, in the midst of a small clearing, skirted on all sides with the primeval forest. The life of a pioneer, in the back woods, though furnishing doubtless abundant materials for romantic adventure, is yet essentially a life of hardship. Children especially, in such circumstances, often suffer severe privations. The boyhood of Mr. Hart has been described by himself as “one continued sorrow.”
In 1823, his father removed with the family to Laurel Run, the seat of a small mill-privilege in a wild dell about two miles from Wilkesbarre. John was then thirteen years old. He was a pale, sickly boy, with delicate features, and a general appearance of extreme physical debility. His education, so far as book-knowledge was con
* Mr. Hart is a lineal descendant, in the eighth generation, from Stephen Hart, who came from Braintree, Essex county, England, in 1630, with the company that settled in Braintree, Massachusetts. This Stephen Hart was one of the fifty-four settlers of Cambridge, who organized a church there, and invited the Rev. Thomas Hooker from England to be their pastor. Stephen Hart went thence in 1635, with Mr. Hooker and several others, to Hartford, Connecticut, and was one of the original proprietors of that place. Thence, in 1640, he removed with others into a valley a few miles west of Hartford, and formed a settlement called Farmington, where direct descendants of the family in the male line have continued to reside ever since, upon a part of the original homestead.