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Rama Poll #6 pg 32
Rama Poll #6 pg 32

    This particular copy of Carden Schools was given to us by Mr. Wayne Teel

    The hand written name on the front page is William H. Teel

    Mrs. Margaret(Thasher) Stewart and Miss Lillian Holder compiled the original information. That book is available at the Carden library

    Mrs. Francis(Fox) Laver is now in the process of updating that book and adding some pictures.

    Miss Angie Hallett converted our copy to computer format

    S.S. #1. Whalen’s School

    Residents of School Section #1, Carden Township, have been very helpful in compiling the information contained below. We are especially indebted to Mrs. W. Burke, who wrote her own, and Mr. Frank Whalen’s memories of earlier days. To Mrs. Mangan of Udney for reminiscences of ninety years back, we are grateful, to Mrs. Howden and others.

    A letter from Archives in Toronto gives us the information that this section was the first opened in the newly surveyed township. The local superintendent’s report, P.H. Clarke of Woodville, records that there were 50 pupils between the ages of 5 and 16 years on the school register, and 54 pupils in all. This was in 1861. The teacher’s salary was $144.00 for one half year. By the following year two more schools were opened. The P.O. address for S.S. #1 was North Eldon. The teacher in the year 1862 was B.W.S. Campbell. The school was valued at $150.00.

    In 1863, Richard Delaney became the local superintendent. The teacher at #1 was now Duncan McIntyre. The address is given as Bolsover. (Bolsover)

    In 1865, Nancy Purvis was the teacher. The average salary was $150.00 per half year. In 1866, a record appears for #1, the teacher being Hugh C. Graham. In 1867, (Confederation Year) education in the small section was under the direction of Henrietta Connor. James Bartley was the local superintendent. In 1869, the record shows the teacher as E. McIntyre. In 1870, we learn that George Munroe was the teacher of #1 School.

    So much for the records of these very early days in the township. Settlers were coming in from the southern townships and directly from the Old Country. Most of the pioneers to this area, such as the McElroys were from Ireland, but they came from other lands as well, and set to with a will to set up homesteads and supply their children with an education. The first log school was located on Lot 6, Concession 4, Carden.

    This was the usual simple log structure, heated by a large stove, and with a long desk along the walls. The floors were rough by our standard, and had to be scrubbed by the pupils themselves at intervals. Both teachers and students made their way on foot, to work with their slates and a few books. The lessons however, were eagerly learned, and remembered, for memory work and copy work were stressed. The children were clothed in home made flannel clothes, “full cloth” as it was termed. The wool was carded and made into white cloth, if a mother could contrive to dye the wool, say bright red, and add a row of shirt buttons for trim, the scholar was proud to no end. Even the boys’ pants had to be made by hand. Shoes were worn for warmth in winter and for style on special occasions, but in the summer, the students wore bare feet, which was comfortable and economical. The children jumped over the benches to sit down and jumped back over, when it was their turn to recite “The boy stood on the burning deck”, or similar poems.

    Much of the memory lines had a moral or religious lesson, for the pioneers were fond of their church as well as their school. The trails were rough but the children followed their parents all the way to Victoria Road for Mass whenever they could. There were always a few books in the library for the curious and Uncle Tom’s Cabin was a favourite. When the inspector made his annual call, the children were well warned to behave, or else – indeed they looked forward to that day in spite of the harrowing inspection, for this MISSING INFO.

    The families which made up the little Rohallian community were Strands, McInnis, Crawfords, Campbells, McNultys, Hopkins, Burkes and perhaps others. The Rohallian post office existed from in the Whalen house for many years and is still so named on the road map. In those early days any pupil who went to the “fifth class” could teach, and many talented local girls did that.

    Some of the teachers from early days were Pearl Graham, Miss ReeMISSING LETTER(S) of Digby, Kate McClatchy (had long hair) a Miss Mallally, most of them boarded at Lochie McInnis’s for the sum of $5.00 a month. In Mrs. Mangan’s memory, $215.00 was the annual wage. Mrs. Mangan remembers playing with a ball in the summer, games such as “one in the middle” and in the winter, everyone attached skates to their boots and skated on the little ponds around. The district was known locally as Lower Carden, and a good neighbourly feeling existed between the farms of the little community. Land values have gone from one extreme to the other for much of the low-lying land was not valuable then, but now is water front property.

    In 1875, it was decided that this school was not central enough and so a second log school was built at Lot 3, Concession 5.

    This school served as had its predecessor until about 1902 when the present white frame school was erected. There was some discussion as to its location, but due to the fact that no youngsters were attending from the 6th concession, at the time, agreement was reached on the corner near the Whalen home. Lot 3, Concession 4.

    Mr. Norman Peel of Coboconk accompanied his father William Peel (called Carpenter Bill) on the job of constructing the new school. The men boarded at the Whalen home, and enjoyed the good home atmosphere and cooking, not to mention some teasing. As the work progressed, the plan did not make plain where the large chimney was located, and the inspector had to be sent for. This required three days delay and the elder carpenter decided to go home, but young Norman stayed on the site to discuss the matter. When it came to plastering the school, an expert plasterer was hired. He was no doubt doing a good job, but was so slow that Mr. Bill Peel, (who was rather impatient) decided he could do as well and certainly faster, and so fired the plasterer. However when it came to do the job, he was not so sure of himself and played sick on the day the finishing coat went on, so that Norman, a young man of 18 had to tackle the job. It has certainly stood the test of time, even so.

    The school was erected and considered a great improvement on the old log schools. It was of white frame, with an entrance lobby and a small library room. The windows were large and the interior finished in well matched v-joint wood. The floor was smooth and the teachers and pupils desks followed the usual trend. The pupils desks were double in style. The first person to enter the new school was Mr. Frank Whalen, then a young man who attended the other school as well.

    Two early teachers who are remembered were Peter McPherson and Mary Ann Connely who were obliged to walk two miles to teach. In the beginning they would light the fire after they arrived. Sometimes the children would arrive first, and they would look out at the storm, hoping the teacher could not make it that day, but they did not have many holidays, for the teachers were punctual in attendance. Mary Ann Connely used a boat to come across the water to teach, and skated in the winter. Mrs. Hogberg (Frances McDonald) remembers being storm stayed at her home at the Lift Locks, she decided to walk back to teach on MISSING INFO.

    Other teachers who gave good leadership in the school and community were Molly Boyle, Kate Drury, Annie Walsh (Mrs. MISSING INFO) May Murtha, Margaret Gallagher, Mary Breen, Margaret O’Brien, Mary McPherson, Margaret Clancy, Helen O’Sullivan, Agnes Hart, (Mrs. Frank Whalen), Kathleen Condon (Mrs. W. Burke), Molly MISSING INFO, Rose Costello (Mrs. Gene Downey), Mary Bagley, Mary Armstrong, Enid Wren, Howard Wilson, Grances McDonald, Miss McDonald, Mary Kelly, Josephine Ryan (Mrs. J. McNamee). Miss Elizabeth McCann of Brechin, who later became a nun, was the last teacher at this little school in 1947, at a salary of $1500.00.

    When the school closed there were 8 pupils, at one time a former student remembered as few as three, this was for a short time only. Mrs. McNamee, a former teacher, remembers looking at the registers during the time the Trent Valley Canal was put through the area, at which time an influx of workers had as many as fifty pupils on the roll. It is unfortunate that vandalism has resulted in the loss of most of the registers and other books of interest and value, but carefully kept cash books pertaining to this school back to 1912, do exist at the home of Mrs. Con. McDonald, near the liftlock.

    Names which would undoubtedly be on the registers in the new school were Crawford, Russell, Finn, McAnulty, Fitzgerald, McElroy, Whalen, Burke, Mallalley, Freelen, and Snider. Many of the families were large and had several brothers and sisters in attendance. One former teacher remembers this section as one in which most interest was shown in school affairs. “No matter what social gathering took place,” said she, “it would not be long till conversation would turn to what was doing at the school.”

    Of course school was not all work, and the fun loving youngsters were not above teasing the teacher about her boyfriend or in other ways. One day a mysterious light flickered about the school, each child was questioned about it, but it turned out to be a flash from a mirror in a nearby upstair window which caused the fun. Misbehaving boys or girls were punished by being made to sit with the opposite sex in one of the double desks. (Not always a punishment!) The front corner, dubbed the dunce’s corner, was not always vacant either.

    The pupils were glad to exchange the scratching of the slate pencils and the inevitable wet rag to clean the slate for a neater copy book. Lessons are remembered in Reading, Arithmetic, Writing, History, Geography and Nature Study. There was always a Xmas Concert in which the adults of the section took part. An older man acted as Santa Claus to amuse the younger tots, and always claimed a kiss from the pretty and harassed school teacher as part of the fun. Someone with a violin was always present and a toe tapping tune had everyone dancing. Lunch would be served by the ladies of the district. The event was looked forward to for months, and careful preparation of “parts” and clothes took place. The second big day of the term was a closing picnic, each lady bringing a bountiful lunch; games and prizes for attendance and good work would be dispensed.

    This section produced many good scholars. It was difficult in early years to go on to secondary education, for this involved living in Orillia or Lindsay and paying board, but in spite of this several nurses, teachers, business administrators, and good farmers were graduated. Members of the section are proud of Father Bart Burke, who was educated here and became a priest.

    Improvements such as electricity and single desks came in time. People who worked on the school board at one time or another are Leo Ritzgerald, Alf Snider, Wilfred Burke, Hugh McElroy, Bill Whalen, Mrs. Burke, and others.

    Transportation was provided after the school closed to other nearby schools. Nothing remains of the two older schools, except a large stone which Ed Murphy was able to point out as the door stone of the school across the corner from Mick McGee’s. Mr. Murphy’s father, John, attended that early school, although all that remains of the Murphy farm which was flooded in the building of the canal is an island, below W. Burke’s.

    The pupils have scattered to cities and towns far from Rohallian and carefree days, but the memories and lessons of the little country school are not soon forgotten.

    Website Exec.

    Submission Committee:
    Frances Laver
    Fred Lamb
    Mike Crosby
    Rick McNamee

    Tom Mangan
    Mike Crosby
    Rob Byers
    Frances Laver
    Steve McIsaac
    Herb Furniss

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