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. #2 Carden. (Red Brick)
We express our sincere thanks to Miss Nellie McDonald, Mr. John Walsh, and Mr. Ed Murphy, all of Kirkfield area for so kindly sharing their memories with us and thereby making this historical sketch possible. Other who assisted were: John McNaney, John Alton, Harold McDonald, Miss Mary Ann Wylie, Mrs. Frances Hogberg, Misses Helen, Nora, and Betty McDonald, and Mrs. V. McNamee. A former teacher who assisted was Mrs. MISSING INFO Finn (nee MISSING INFO Sullivan). We had the good fortune to be able to interview Mrs. Catherine Gribbin at Marycrest, Peterborough in October 1966 before her sudden passing in November.
Carefully kept records of S.S. #2 have been kept at the home of Mrs. Con. McDonald, Lift Locks, these were an invaluable help for the period 1912 to 1946.
For 1862, Public Archives Records gives S.S. #2 as a log school with address being Carden and teacher E.G. Graves. The school was valued at $150.00 in the 1863 report, and teacher of that year, Michael Heaphy, continued for the year 1864.
Mary Donegan was teacher in 1865, salary listed as $150.00.
Next year Mary Gillogly was teacher followed by Kate Duck in Confederation year 1867. Michael Heaphy was teacher in 1869, John Walsh was local superintendent of all schools of the township for the years 1869 and 1870.
Looking at the assessment list of 1865 we see this section then had fifty names on the roll. Present residents may be interested that the following names appeared: John Barrett, John Drury, John, Patrick, and William Finn, Richard Fitzgerald, William Holder, Patrick McNaney, Luke McNaney, Francis McElroy, Patrick McGee, Daniel McNamee, Thomas, Peter, and Luke Marren, Andrew Wylie.
Michael O’Byrne age 41 was listed for Concession 5, 8 ½ lot 1-88 acres – taxes 2.20. His famous son Patrick is referred to as “Cattle King Burns” in the book “Fifty Mighty Men”. The author, Grant MacEwan states: “He became one of the industrial tycoons of Canada, a senator and a cattle king – achieved what was once considered impossible – becoming a millionaire without losing a friend.” Apparently the family also owned land in Eldon Township and Patrick, one of 11 children, went to Kirkfield Public School at the same time as William Mackenzie. The name O’Byrne was changed to Byrne and then to Burns.
By 1869 three more names were added which may be of interest, Patrick Cronin, Patrick McDonald, and Patrick Walsh.
Mrs. Catherine Gribbin told us about attending the log school situated on the corner of the 9th concession road and McNaney Quarter line – a little east of the site of the present home of Ben McNamee at Lot 6, Concession 8. In the years 1878-1884 the property of Mr. Thomas Rae was adjoining the school. She recalled the school being too small for the number of pupils and very cold in the winter months.
The teacher’s desk was at the north side and the stove on the south side. There weren’t any desks, only benches along each side wall with a shelf above to be used when writing was required. The girls sat on one side of the room, the boys on the other. Slates were used and the pencils often sharpened on the big stone outside the door. More stress was put on forming letters well and learning number work than on any other subjects. Each year’s advancement was by book and on MISSING INFO? Book 11. The older boys attended only during the winter months since they helped out on the farms the rest of the year.
John Alton Sr. had been a pupil at this same school. His parents had moved to Carden in 1870, fugitives from the American MISSING INFO of Allegiance. John being then 8 years of age, received almost all his schooling at #2. A Miss Farrelly was one of his teachers. “King of the Castle” was a game played on the big stone near the door.
Teachers remembered by Mrs. Gribbin and Miss Nellie McDonald were Mr. McGann (a very strict but good teacher), Miss Mary Ann Connelly and Mr. Pat McFadden from Digby, who later became a railroad official. A poem by Liza McNamee “honoured” the latter teacher:
“The devil came from north to south
With Pat McFadden in his mouth
And when he found he was a fool
He left him teaching Carden School.”
Mrs. Gribbin informed us humorously that there were no conveniences at the school, only the shelter of Rae’d MISSING INFO patch and the fence was low. Luckily she lived close enough to the school to be able to go home for lunch and midday facilities. She recalled being considered delicate as a child and was kept home in the winter months. Ironically in August 1966, she celebrated her 95th birthday and had never been in a hospital.
Family names on the registers of 1880-84 were Alton, Barrett, Drury, Fay, Finn, Marren, McNamee, NcNaney, McDonald, Walsh.
Inspector Reazin’s report of 1880 listed S.S. #2 as having an enrolment of seventy and teacher’s salary $300.00. In June, 1884, he reported it as a wretched old log cabin, bad desks, seats and blackboard, fair discipline – new school to be built.
When a new school was needed, it was built after much controversy, the parents of the majority of pupils winning out for it to be built on 2 acres of crown land on the east ½ of lot 5, Concession 7. This was of brick construction about 26 ft. by 36 ft. and had desks for the pupils. The grounds were not fenced until many years later. After the building of the brick school the old log one was used as a home by Tom Rae and later by MISSING INFO Duggan who added a kitchen to it. A cyclone damaged it one time but it continued in use as the home of the elderly widow, Mrs. Dan McNamee for many years. After her death it was burned about 1939.
Mrs. Gribbin remembered the new brick school being opened in 1885, teachers being Mr. McGann and Miles McAuley from Frankfort, Ont.
Mr. McAuley sent the first pupil form that section to try the High School Entrance Examinations at Oakwood. Inspector Reazin had suggested that Kate Drury should try and being successful she attended Lindsay Collegiate the first year it opened.
Miss Nellie McDonald and Mr. John Walsh Jr. also attended. Miles McAuley was remembered for his use of the birch rod. He and the bachelor John Murphy had occasional wrestling bouts. Other early teachers were Miss Alice Birmingham from Eldon Township and Miss Mary Campbell. Miss Louisa Irwin, another popular teacher about 1894, became Mrs. John Alton and remained in the district as a highly respected neighbour. Miss Mary Kirley, Miss Hannah Lehane are also remembered.
In the 1890’s Miss Kate Drury returned to the area as a teacher after training at Bracebridge Model School in 1891 and some experience in other schools. Ex-pupils recall Miss Drury arriving at school on horse-back, her sister along with her to ride the horse back home.
Next we come to the period when Carden’s popular reeve for 27 years Mr. Ed Murphy was pupil at S.S. #2 from about 1902 to 1911. Teachers in charge were Miss Loretta O’Connor, Miss Mollie O’Boyle, Miss Jemima Ewing and Miss Catherine Mahon.
This era saw the highest enrolment in this section, number on the roll being 55 from a register page in 1907 (the year the lift locks were opened). Three were seated at most of the desks, designed for two.
Regular farm families attending were Alton, Barrett, Cronin, Craggs, Duggan, Finn, Gooslagh, Hannivan, MISSING INFO, McCallum, McDonald, McGuire, McNaney, Murphy, O’Neill and Walsh. An influx of workers at the MISSING INFO and lift locks brought new family names to the register: Anderson, MISSING INFO, Cavanagh, Green, Lowes, McEachern, McKay, and Wylie. Winter months saw the temporary return to classes of many teenage boys and young men of the area who had been working in the summer months.
Ed remembers losing many a slate pencil in the cracks of the floor before a renovation of the school was done. A new floor was put over the old one, more windows added, slate blackboards installed and ventilators put under the floor. A teacher’s room and a cloakroom were subdivided from the classroom. It was decided the school was in danger of bursting at the seems and a steel rod was put in as a support for the upper walls, across the width of the school, at roof level. The Kirkfield blacksmith Mr. Alexander Fraser made the jumbo size bolt and nut with horseshoe shaped washers.
Ed remembers one day well – the time he and a couple of pals arrived late for school and Miss O’Boyle told them to leave. Being afraid to return home, they wandered into the bush behind the school and for excitement started fires in the pine stumps. Next day his father Mr. John Murphy, called to explain to the teacher that he had never heard of such punishment for lateness.
Harold McDonald and John Alton Jr. were both pupils at S.S. #2 until completing High School Entrance in 1918. Their certificates date October, 1918 have the letters S.O.S. in red ink, indicating they were “soldiers of the soil”. Being war time, regulations permitted boys to be excused from spring classes to work for a farmer, who would sign this required form. Up till this time Thomas Walsh had been the only boy from this section to pass High School Entrance.
The little red school was still a busy place with 40 or more pupils. On the register were names: Alton, Barrett, Craggs, Cronin, Duggan, Finn, Job,
(first lock master at lift locks) Irwin, McCallum, Murphy, McDonald, McGuire, McNaney and Walsh.
The seating space was hardly sufficient during Miss Mahon’s year, when several pupils came from Horncastle school (S.S. #7). Harold will never forget the first day they arrived. Being then a small boy, he had the embarrassment of having to share his desk with one of their entrance class girls, Edith Holder. Lighting the fire for 50¢ a month was one of Harold’s early morning school-day duties. On seeing the teacher approach across the field nearby, he would hold the thermometer close to the stove a few moments to make sure she’d have a warm welcome on opening the door. Soon she’d be shivering seated at her desk.
Mr. William Finn recalls driving his sisters to school one cold frosty morning only to find they couldn’t get the door open. Someone had plugged the keyhole with a wet cloth which had frozen solid. As the window was not locked, the firs arrivals got in through the window while someone went to get Mr. Con McDonald, a trustee. He brought a screwdriver to take off the lock so it could be thawed out on the stove.
John Alton Jr. recalls the school fairs held at Kirkfield. The trustees race was a special event, as this section could count on Mr. Dave Finn to win. After years of carrying pails of water from Murphy’s pump, a well was drilled on the school ground. But alas! the sulphur flavoured water was such a disappointment that the water was still carried.
The few protestant children in the section enjoyed their special privilege of leaving school at 4 p.m., while the rest remained for catechism classes. Elections and council meetings brought extra holidays to the children of #2. Almost all the east half of Carden went there to vote.
Norman Holder will never forget his encounter with a tramp on his MISSING INFO a man wearing a coon skin cap was crouched behind a stump. The face seemed to stare at him and Norman stared back, motionless with fright. He finally turned quickly and ran back up the road to Grandma Wylie. (Not a relative, but known to all as Gramma). About noon he went back home – a day missed at school.
About 1920, the five Horncastle pupils were again transported to the Red Brick School, either by Will Jaclob with team or buggy or by Rich Ashby in his new 1919 Model T Ford.
Miss Mary Ann Wylie remembers the dances held at the school while Miss Lehane was teacher, music supplied by former pupils Jack McNaney and Art Alton. Hallowe’en and Valentine brought party days with candy, oranges and cookies brought from home by each pupil. A garden in the yard south of the school was attempted, each pupil had a plot.
Mrs. Frances Hogberg (nee McDonald) now teaching in Cochrane Ontario, remembers the day the deep snow prevented her from getting to school. Anxious to never miss a day, her father attempted to drive her, but the horse could get no farther than the locks, about 200 yards from their house. They unhitched the horse and returned on foot.
The last thirty years of this school’s history reflect the stable, smooth running life of the community. Teachers stayed more than one year and no serious problems occurred. The teachers boarded at John Barrett’s, John Alton’s, John Walsh’s, William McDonald’s and F. McNamee’s.
Shortly before the school closed, electricity was installed, at the urging of trustee, John McNaney. Then the children could enjoy hot soup or chocolate at lunch hour in the cold months.
Gradually the number of pupils decreased. By 1948, pupils from Section #1 and the Wylie children from #7 brought the attendance up to only 18. On the register would be found Burke, Fitzgerald, Murphy, McDonald, McNaney and Wylie, (almost all being descendants of the families on the first assessments.)
Since this section had always been predominately Roman Catholic in faith, it seems natural that it became part of a separate school area in 1951. St. John’s School in Kirkfield serves nearly communities. The church hall at Victoria Road was used briefly during the change.
The red brick building has been sold in 1967 and is being enjoyed as a country retreat. School desks are once more useful at the picnic table. Following is a list of teachers and salaries from 1913 to 1951 – the year of closing.
Sept. 1913 – June 1914 Miss Julia Murphy 540.00
Sept. 1914 – June 1917 Miss Lizzie Sullivan 600.00
Sept. 1917 – June 1919 Miss Anna B. Fox 600.00
Sept. 1919 – June 1920 Miss Callista Walsh 640.00
Sept. 1920 – June 1921 Miss Mabel Farrelly 875.00
Sept. 1921 – June 1924 Miss Katie Houlihan 880.00
Sept. 1925 – June 1928 Miss Bernadine Lehane 880.00
Sept. 1928 – June 1935 Miss Lucy Sullivan 880.00 – 600.00
Sept. 1935 – June 1939 Miss Hazel O’Neill 600.00
Sept. 1939 – June 1940 Miss Patricia Coughlin 600.00
Sept. 1940 – June 1941 Miss Emmaline Towns 700.00
Sept. 1942 – June 1943 Miss Mary Mooney 800.00 to 1,000.00
Sept. 1945 – June 1946 Mrs. Jos. McNamee
Sept. 1946 – June 1948 Miss Margaret Hurlihey
Sept. 1948 – June 1951 Miss Elizabeth McCann $1,800.00
Last teacher – 17 pupils
A few entries from the cash books may amuse and bring back memories to ex-pupils and residents of the area.
Jan. 1912 – David Finn – 7 cords wood at 3.25 22.75
Apr. 1912 – Eddie McGuire – Lighting fires 4 months 4.00
Oct. 1912 – Mrs. John Murphy – cleaning school 2.00
Oct. 1913 – Robert Morrow – on woodshed 134.00
Dec. 1913 – Robert Morrow – balance on woodshed 152.75
Jan. 1914 – J.W. Shields – one broom .40
Jan. 1914 – E. Huxtable – 1 box chalk .20
Jan. 1914 – Martin Connolly – 6 cords maple @ 6.00 36.00
Jan. 1915 – J.W. Coad – Pump for school 22.50
Dec. 1916 – W.J. Neal – for box stove 14.50
Nov. 1917 – G.M. Hendry – 5 maps @ 4.00 20.00
Feb. 1920 – Luke McNaney – 4 cords maple 40.00
May 1925 – Bob Lytle – for building steps 6.00
Feb. 1929 – Geo. Hendry and Co. – desk 27.50
April 1930 – John McNaney – 6 days repairing fence
and shed 15.60
April 1930 – E. Murphy – 10 days repairing fence and
cleaning shed 39.50
Mar. 1939 – John McNaney – 4 cords maple 28.00
Mrs. Catherine Gribbin seems to be one of the most remarkable ex-pupils of S.S. #2, not only because of her longevity but also for her talents as a teacher. She taught in Muskoka before attending Nodel School, and then taught at S.S. #2 as well as S.S. #1, Whalen School. Her career took her to schools in Manitoba and Quebec as well as Ontario. Having taught at Business College as well, she could compare the merits of the Pitman or Gregg Shorthand courses. At the age of 79, she resumed teaching in the far north at Ombabaki (chiefly Indian pupils) and lived in a teacher’s quarters connected with the school. Lack of modern conveniences meant she carried in her own wood and water after school. Then at age 82 she went to Northern Quebec to the end of a railroad line where they sorely needed a teacher. There she stayed only one month as French was the only language spoken by the children. On her return, she was satisfied to retire for good – her retirement well earned.
In municipal affairs, John Alton Sr. was an outstanding ex-pupil of S.S. #2 log school. Known as “Honest John” he served as Reeve of Carden for 11 years and Warden of Victoria County in 1922. Of his family of 3, Alice (Mrs. J. Sinclair) is a teacher – Mary, a teacher and nurse – John Jr. a successful farmer, ex-reeve of Eldon and ex-warden of Victoria County.
The Walsh family seem deserving of special mention. John Walsh Sr. was local superintendent of Carden and Dalton Schools in the years 1869 and 1870. From the Public Archives report we quote: “In 1870, John Walsh the local superintendent enclosed a letter with his report to the Department of Education describing the condition of the schools and the teaching in the townships of Dalton and Carden. He advocated establishing a township board to help eliminate a corrupt system which allowed indifferent and poorly qualified teachers to teach in these townships.” In municipal work he was clerk and treasurer for over 50 years, resigning in 1924. Three of his daughters – Annie, Callista and Cecilia were teachers; Annastatia (Dolly) was a nurse.
In its school business #2 Section had two specially loyal servants in the McDonald family. Con Sr. was for many years “The Trustee” and solved many a problem both great and small. The sight of his horse tied to the door knob of the school was the sign that a meeting was in progress. His cousin, Con, gave years of capable and trustworthy service in the duties of secretary. The trustees unanimously approved his decisions, having complete faith in his good judgment.
Most of the male pupils from the older generations became farmers many of whom or their descendants are still on the farms. Others went into lumbering and mining operations. Quite a number of girls became teachers and nurses. In later years the bus service to high schools enabled many more to continue on to higher education.