Summary of Information supplied by former Secretaries of the School Sections of Mara Twp.
Information contributed by Jim Westcott
No. 1 Mara (Montreal)
On July 27, 1846, the Trustees, James McGregor, Henry McCuaig and Ronald Gilchrist, purchased a quarter-acre site for a log school on the S-W corner of Lot 5, Con. 1 from Donald Gilchrist for 5 shillings. This school continued in use until 1879 when a frame school was constructed across the road from it.
This school, bricked over during the 1880’s, was constructed on a ¾ acre site on the S-E Corner of Lot 6, Con. 1 purchased on Jan. 8, 1879 by the Trustees, Alexander Campbell and John Cameron, from John Gilchrist and wife Margaret for the sum of 85.00.
Note: Mr. J. B. Warren, former secretary, states that a history of the section was written in 1948 as a thesis for Western University by Mr. Burns, a nephew of the McGregor family mentioned.
No. 2 Mara (Point Mara)
The first (log) school was constructed in 1858 on a one-acre site located on the S/E corner of Lot 15, Con. I. This was replaced by a frame building in 1872. In 1914 the school was bricked over at a cost of $1,600.00.
Mr. Harper Newman, former secretary, states that there is a history of the section in a General Register in the school.
No. 3 Mara (Brechin)
A log school located on the S/E quarter of Lot 12, Concession 4, served this section for a number of years. This site and the school building were later sold to Duncan MacDonald for $150.00.
On December 18, 1883, a site of 1 acre and 2 rods located on the south-half of Lot 11, Concession 4, was acquired from Mrs. O’Neil for $375.00. A white brick school 53’ X 33’ was ready for occupancy on this site by December 30th, 1885. It was built by D. Munroe of Bolsover for $2,575.00.
An increase in enrolment necessitated the use of the local church Sunday School Room as a classroom for an extra teacher from January, 1961 to Sept. 1962.
Mrs. Elizabeth Dack, former secretary, states that the original trustees for this section were – Michael O’Donnell, Robert Bruce, and William Broomfield. The original secretary was John Malone, School Master, and that a history of the section is being prepared.
No. 4 Mara (Uptergrove)
Mr. Angus McDonald (Senior) in a letter appearing in the February 28th, 1901, issue of the Orillia Packet states, “In the spring of 1834 our family moved to North Mara……….there was not a footpath then in North Mara, unless an Indian path……..Some time afterwards an uncle of Mr. Robson, near Fair Valley, was engaged as Teacher in a log “shanty” at the Lake Shore. After his death, Mr. William McMullen was employed to teach School in a log house on his farm. Afterwards the school was moved to its present site at Uptergrove.” Note: See complete letter attached for further details.
An old Minute book for No. 4 Mara commences with a meeting held January 11, 1854, although school was held, as indicated above, for some years prior to that.
In 1861 a quarter-acre site, located on Lot 24, Concession 10, was purchased from Edward and Ellen Gettings for 5 shillings.
Here a frame school including a teacher’s residence was erected. Mr. Thomas Byrne, who had been teaching in the old log building, was engaged at 80 pounds currency with residence, garden and firewood provided.
In 1889 an additional acre of land was secured from Mrs. Ellen Gettings.
This school building remained in use until a new brick school was erected on the same site in 1900.
This was designed by Thomas Kennedy & Co., architects, and constructed by James Speiran and Andrew Green for $1, 470.00 (contract price).
This school was abandoned during the spring term of 1963 when a new modern two-room brick school was ready for occupancy.
The school and site were sold to St. Columbkill’s Parish and the building was dismantled in 1964.
Note: Mr. Patrick F. Clarke and Mrs. Clarke have provided information which will provide the basis for a very complete history of the section.
No. 5 Mara (Atherley)
A one-room log school operated from about 1850 to 1870 on a small site purchased from W.R. McPhee on the East half of Lot 28, Concession X.
A three-quarter acre site located on the west half of Lot 29, Concesssion X, was purchased from Henry Whitney about 1870. A one-room brick school with no teacher’s room, cloak rooms or basement, was erected on this site.
In 1908 the trustees, John Byers, Robert Calderwood and Edward James, were active in having a new one-room brick school erected on the same site. This school included a teacher’s room, 2 large cloak rooms and a large basement. In 1909 a half acre on the west side was purchased from Albert Duffett (or) Annie MacDonald.
In 1956 an additional half acre was purchased from Jack O’Connell on the East side for $400.00 and an additional classroom was added and the rest of the school was modernized at a total cost of $29,300.00.
Information supplied by Hager H. Whitney, former secretary, who has prepared a very complete history of this section.
No. 6 Mara (Fairvalley)
The first school house in S.S. No. 6 Mara, built in 1870, was located on the S ½ of Lot 18, Concession 12, on land donated by Mr. Wm. McNeil. This building, set on posts, was of clapboard construction and was painted white. On January 7th, 1900, it was destroyed by fire.
The woodshed was used temporarily as a classroom until the new brick school, constructed by J.R. Eaton for $1,197.00 was completed on the same site in that year.
Mrs. Margaret E. Grey, former secretary, has completed a very complete short history of the section, outlining school problems, names of secretaries, etc.
No. 7 Mara (Dungannon)
A log school was first erected on the S ½ (S-E Corner) of Lot 14, in Concession 8. Later a second log school made its appearance on the S. E. Corner of Lot 16 in Concession 8.
A brick school was erected on a one-acre site purchased October 14, 1879, on the S-E Corner of Lot 16, Concession 8, from John Fox, Sr. for the sum of $85.00.
This school was built by Alex. McDonald, who resigned from the school board to accept the contract. The school was completed in 1880 at a contract price of $1,175.00.
A history of this section is being prepared with the assistance of Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Fox, Mrs. Morris Martin, Miss Veronica Egan and others.
No. 8 Mara (Lawrence)
Prior to 1873 there was no school in this section. Some of the pupils attended the Mud Lake School, U3,#, Carden and Mara and others attended No. 9, Mara (Udney).
A school located on a one-acre site donated by John Lawrence was completed in 1873 on the S-W Corner of Lot 4, Concession 11, Mara. It remained in use until 1902 when a new frame veneer building was constructed at a reported cost of about $600.00 on a site purchased from Thomas Warren on Lot 7, Concession 11 of Mara Twp.
Mr. Gerald Westcott who has prepared a brief history of the section from which the above is taken, states that the first Trustees were John Lawrence, Charles McLean, and Patrick Greer. John Lawrence acted as the first secretary-treasurer.
No. 9 Mara (Udney)
Until the first log school was completed on Lot 9, Con. 8, school was held in Mr. Flynn’s home N ½ Lot 8, Con. 8. This school was in use from 1857 to 1878.
The next school of brick construction was located on the west side of the sideroad half way between the 8th and 9th, just at the jog in the road. It was destroyed during the terrible storm of August 1st, 1917.
For a time school was held in Wade Moore’s house S ½ Lot 11, Con. 10 being Andy Lambe’s house across from Mundie’s General Store. Then later in the same term the Orange Hall, Udney, Lot 10, Con. 9, opposite in the United Church on the 10th was used until 1924 when another school was built.
This third school still in use was located on Lot 10, Concession 8 on Highway 69.
The above is taken from an account of the history of No. 9 section prepared by Mrs. Norma Carrick from school registers and with assistance from Mrs. Morris Martin, Mr. and Mrs. Maurice Fox, Miss Veronica Egan and Mr. Smith Speiran.
Note: Mrs. Carrick’s account states that prior to 1877 No. 7 and No. 9 schools combined with one teacher teaching one day in No. 7 and the next in No. 9.
No. 11 (No Local Name)
Some time during the first term following the destruction of the school building August 1st, 1917, it was thought fit to divide S.S. No. 9 section. The division resulted in a new section S. S. No. 11 which continued as such until 1924 when the new school referred to above was completed. The pupils resident in SS No. 11 were taught in an old log house rented from Daniel Harrington, Lot 7, Concession 9. This house was originally owned by Martin O’Donnell, one of the earliest settlers in this part of the country.
As supplied in a brief account of the history of S.S. No. 9, Mara.
No. 10 (Scotch Hills)
In 1877 the first school, a frame building, was erected at a cost of $234.00 on a half-acre site located on the S-W Corner of the North Half of Lot 25, Concession 12. This site which had no well was purchased from D. R. McDonald for $20.00.
In 1908 a new site consisting of 1 acre was selected midway on the West Side of the N/half of Lot 25, Concession 12 and purchased for $95.00 from Malcolm McKinnon. A new brick school was erected at a cost of $1200.00 on this site. A well was dug in 1920.
The above information has been taken from data supplied by John A. MacDonald, who served this section as secretary-treasurer for some 45 years.