There were two primary schools in Edgartown, the North Primary and the South Primary. Before marrying Captain Jernegan, Helen earned $13 a month as a teacher at the North Primary School. Some whaling captains, like Jared Jernegan, chose to take their children on board their whaling ships, seeing that they would be educated while away from home. Others chose to leave their children, especially when they got older, at home to attend school.

Education was highly valued by Edgartown townspeople. The town would later get the first high school on the Vineyard after the state began enforcing the law requiring towns to provide free education through twelve grades.

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Martha's Vineyard Museum