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. #7 Carden, Horncastle
Many residents and former residents of this area have been most helpful in giving us information about the “good old days” when Horncastle boasted a school of its own and had many pupils attending. A thank you is in order to Miss Annie Bassett, William Jacob, Mrs. Esther Ryan, Mrs. Florence Coolidge, Norman Holder, John Wylie, Mrs. Nellie Murphy, Lou Martin, William Teel, Fred Ashby and Melville Jacob.
Former teachers who assisted were Mrs. Verna McKague, Miss Nellie Allely, Mrs. George Ashby, Mrs. Isabel Truman and Mr. H. King.
All cash books and registers seem to have disappeared but some details were obtained from Public Archives Records and Inspector’s reports in Victoria County minute books.
Public Archives, Toronto have S.S. #7 first reported in 1866 with address Carden and teacher Elizabeth Graves. In 1870 it was again reported, the teacher being Mary Mitchell.
This school in Horncastle was situated up the 10th Concession near John Teel’s farm home at Lot 13. The first generation of pioneers’ children attended here. Among the 15 names on the 1865 Assessment Roll of this school area were: Ralph Adamson, Robert Peck, John Carew, Edward Dobbins, Patrick Duggan, John Howran, Cornelius and John Holland, Thomas Kempt, John Millaley, Richard Powell, Richard Rilance and John Teel. The 1869 list showed three additional names: John Ashby, James Jacob, and James Semple. By 1874 the names George Connor, William Holder and Thomas Hirstwood had been added.
These were the days when oldest children of the large families often had to assist in earning the family income at an early age. William Ashby is reported by his daughter to have gone to work at nine years of age. Being stable boy at a shanty brought a wage of 25¢ a day. In spite of this limited schooling, his ability to read and write seemed to be in the grade 7 or 8 level. Others barely touched on the 3 R’s, living life with a very scanty knowledge. An example of this was an incident years later when William Holder went to buy cattle. On hearing the asking price per cow was $28.00 he suggested trying to beat the farmer down to $30.00.
The inspector’s report of 1873 mentions the provision at that time for compelling parents to send their children to some school during 4 months of each year. Long distances over rugged trails and lack of warm clothing probably prevented many from attending school regularly. George Holder told a nephew years later about experiences when walking to school barefoot. In early spring or late fall when his feet became too cold he’d stop and use his cap to warm them.
Inspector Reazin’s report of 1880 described S.S. #7 as a log school having 27 pupils and teacher’s salary $204.00 – Teacher’s Certificate-3rd Class. His December 1881 report contained the following: “All our northern townships have suffered from recent bush fires. The desolate appearance of some of the burnt districts surpasses anything I had ever imagined. In some localities everything visible for miles together has the charred appearance of a newly burned fallow. Many children in these localities will be unable to attend school during the coming winter unless relief is afforded for the want of shoes and proper clothing. Many of the children at present in attendance have the appearance of suffering from cold and hunger. In 3 sections No. 3 Dalton, No. 7 Carden and No. 8 Bexley the school houses were burned. I would most respectfully recommend that a grant be made by your council to the trustees of each of these sections to assist in rebuilding their school houses.”
His 1883 report mentions the school buildings having been erected, aided by a liberal grant from the County Council. In 1884 “Duggans” school was described as a nice frame building, well lighted and heated; fair desks, seats, maps and blackboards. This frame building was situated on the 10th Concession across from the farm home of Daniel Duggan. It was on the corner lot of Killingsworth’s close to the line fence separating that property form the farm of Joe Hicks, Sr.
William Jacob recalls attending this school from about 1894 to 1899. It was more than a mile walk across ranches and fields from his parents log home at E. ½ Lot 12, Concession 8. School mates were Mark Ashby and Lou Martin. Miss Lavinia Ashby of the district had taught his older sister Kate. This clever teacher later became secretary-companion to Lady MacKenzie and travelled with her across Canada, to many important social and business functions.
Mr. Jacob’s first teacher was a Mr. John Nichols, an older man who had the misfortune of losing one foot. Pupils of his term always looked in the snow and mud along the nearby creek for unmistakable footprints of their teacher whom they nick-named “Step and a Half.” Mr. Nichols sometimes lost patience with his charges and would give the command to “Go down to the bush and get lost.” One day a game was in progress and Bill Jacob, then a boy of 7 or 8 ran around the school corner at top speed and head down right into the stomach of Mr. Nichols. The teacher fell on his back holding his stomach and gasping for breath while the pupil stood staring and equally shocked. Mr. Nichols boarded at the log home of Charlie and Mary Holder, W. ½ Lot 12, Concession 9. Quilting parties were common place events at the home. One day such a gathering was just finished as he arrived from school. The ladies jokingly attempted to nd in the struggle that followed, the teacher ended on the floor, outnumbered by the ladies, all in laughter.
Most older students remember the oft repeated syory about Mr. Nicholis and the contract. Apparently one trustee, Abe Jacob, approached Mr. Nichols at a nearby village h the $20.00 figure, now signed the contract. But the third one, Abe Jacob, saw the discrepancy and refused to sign.
Mr. Nichols became the teacher at $20.00 a month and to supplement his income, fence into Duggan’s pasture. When Dan Duggan ordered him to keep his sheep out of his place, Mr. Nichols commented: “That old sheep knows what six 18’s are.”
Other teachers about that time were: Miss Alice De Wolf, Miss Mary Ann Connelly, Miss Huxtable, Miss Sherman.
Mr. Lou Martin (now of Brechin) recalled family names on the register when he attended from 1894 to 1899: Ashby, Britain, Duggan, Moore, Martin, Millaley, Teel, Jacob, Holder, LaRoche, McDonald, Pressey, Tree and Wilkinson. He clearly remembers the little unpainted frame school with its blackboard (3 boards together) in one corner of the room. A pile of wood was outside the door. Often the sheep huddled together underneath and through the cracks of the floor, the pupils heard the wheezing and snuffing of their breathing 2.
Many pupils came from the 8th and 9th Concessions. No road existed and pupils had to walk through the fields and ranches. In spring the swamps and beaver meadows flooded and children had to crawl along the fence tops to reach the school. Now a demand came for a new site for the school or else a proper road to it.
Apparently at this time more classroom space was needed. In the Inspector’s report of June 9, 1897 we find: “Nearly every school house in West Victoria now possesses sufficient and satisfactory indoor accommodation for all the pupils in attendance. No. 7 Carden is an exception.”
The new site chosen (Lot 11, Con.9) was on the quarterline about half way between the 9th and 10th concession roads, the south-east corner lot of William Holder’s farm. Bitter arguments took place before the location was agreed upon. Alexander Matchett contracted to move and enlarge the building for a price of about $300.00. The foundation was built by George Holder and the well was dug a year later by Charlie and Lou Martin. This “little red school house” was 18ft. by 24ft. and had a door at centre front.
The Inspector’s report of June 11, 1901 stated: “The school building in No. 7 Carden after some years of sharp contention has been removed to the south side of the section where it seems to accommodate a majority of the school children.”
Some of the first teachers at the new location were; ?oss, Ada Fowler, Miss Pinkham, Miss Connelly and Miss Nellie Moran. Some ex-pupils remember composing the following verse and surprising their teacher with it:
“Peter Moran killed a calf
Biddy Young got the half
Peter Marren got the tail
To make a swivel for his flail.”
The next ten years 1900-1910 seems to be the period when Horncastle’s population grew to its highest level and again their school became overcrowded. Some remember about 40 pupils from the following families: John Millaley, Tom Millaley, LaRoche Cassidy, Connolly, Charlie Teel, George Teel, Perry Teel, William Ashby, Joseph Ashby, Dan Duggan, John Martin, Charlie Holder, John Holder, Abe Jacob, John Wylie.
The teachers came and left more frequently, some staying only a few weeks. Names remembered are: Miss Ella Winn, Miss B. Birmingham, Miss Armour, Percy Seymour, Miss Elva McPhadyen, Miss Nellie Allely, Miss May Fowler, Miss I. Begley, Miss Annie Walsh and Miss Lizzie Walsh.
These seemed to be the most troubled times in the school history. Some remember going to the Brick School (S.S. #2) for a short time when there was no teacher at Horncastle or when the building was being renovated. Others remember many disciplinary problems, especially when older boys returned to studies in the winter months. Some ex-pupils remember the games sometimes organized with protestant pupils competing against the Roman Catholics. Teachers were sometimes chosen according to their faith, apparently an effort being made to alternate between the two faiths. One teacher was said to have been met at the Victoria Road station by the secretary who very promptly inquired about her faith and on discovering that she was not of his, he advised her that the Board would have to make a new decision.
The highlight of the decade was the enlarging of the school building to 18ft. by 32ft. in 1908. The outside porch at centre front was removed, the outline of it being visible still in the stone foundation ruins. The window arrangements were altered from 3 on each side to 4 on 1 side and 1 on the other. Ventilation ducts were installed, under the floor as well as in 2 corners. A teachers’ room was in new plan, with a cloakroom as you entered the front door. A new woodshed and outside conveniences were built. The outside colour became white instead of red.
About this time the inspector, Mr. Stevens ordered the board to buy a set of books. Mrs. Verna McKague (Principal of Public School, Woodville) remembers the set of books which aroused her great love for reading. She read and re-read them and also enjoyed the abridged stories from Dickens and Shakespeare.
The 1910-1920 period seemed to be the age of the great migration out of Carden Township to Eldon, its neighbour to the south. The school population dwindled from 35 to 40 pupils to about 5. Families which left were: George Holders in 1911, Charlie Teels in 1912, John Holders in 1916, Perry Teels in 1916 and George Teels in 1920. The children of the other families had mostly all passed public school age. The decade had a succession of teachers: Miss Molly O’Boyle, Wilfred Worsley, Miss Helen Feeney, Miss Irene Murphy, Miss Jean Barden, Miss Maine, Robert Norris, Miss Annie Millaley, and school.)
Almost all pupils of the Miss Molly O’Boyle term remember the teacher pupil incident which ended in court at Victoria Road. Roy Teel, the pupil, expressed a saucy remark to Miss O’Boyle, who seized her strap to mete out punishment. The pair circled the classroom, the pupil trying to protect his hands by putting them into his pockets and the teacher’s temper becoming more and more violent. When Mr. Teel saw his son’s swollen wrists that evening, he decided to prosecute the teacher. The key witness, Norman Holder, was asked if he had seen the teacher hit the defendant over 100 times. He replied the he hadn’t been counting as he watched. The teacher was fined $1 and costs.
By 1922 there were only 5 pupils at #7 school, Gladys Wylie, Alma Wylie, Russel Hicks, Cecil Holder and Melville Jacob. Miss Ina Munro taught from January, 1922 to June, 1925, the salary being $900. Other teachers of the 1920 decade were Miss Verna Ashby, Miss Alma Hamill, Miss Mildred Hamill, Miss Armeta Carlin, Miss Isabel Clancy, Miss Beulah Sinclair, Miss Mary McGillivray and Miss Jean Morrison.
By 1930 only 3 pupils remained and this number was unchanged until the school closed in 1936. Miss Rose McCarthy, Miss Maude McGillivray, Miss Isabel Truman, Miss Gladys Godwin and Miss Marjorie Parkin were the last list of teachers with Miss McCarthy being the only one who stayed a second year.
The last few years were no doubt the quietest in the school’s history with each of
The teachers had boarded at various homes in the community – at George Holder’s, George Teel’s, Joe Ashby’s, and William Ashby’s. In later years Mrs. John Millaley provided a comfortable home for most of the teachers. In the 1890’s cost of board was as low as $4.00 a month ranging upward to $15.00 a month.
4 The very last teacher was Mr. Henderson King, now supervising principal of Public Schools, Newmarket. The plans were under way to close the school but he persuaded the trustees to let him teach without a contract for the short time the school would remain open. Although having Senior Matriculation and a 1st Class Teacher’s certificate he’d been unable to get a position. In September, 1936 he taught the 2 pupils – Willis Jacob and Lorne Holder. He was pleased to receive a full month’s salary $50.00 even though his duties ended after 3 weeks. He sometimes walked the 5 miles from his home at Victoria Road, when not lucky enough to be able to borrow his brother’s car.
After closing the school the two remaining pupils were driven to Kirkfield Public School to continue their elementary grades there. Lillian Holder was the third child in the area still of compulsory school age (under 16) but had completed grades 9 and 10 at the “Little White School.” Because of the strong insistence of school inspector L. Copp, Kirkfield School although 7 miles away, was chosen so that this girl of high school level could be taken with them to attend St. Margaret’s School there.
The Township School Area minute book records an entry as follows: “Meeting at School No. 1 June 11,19?? – Moved by Russel Day, seconded by Earl Wilson that Mr. Wm. H. Baldwin tender for #7 school be accepted for the sum of $300.00 – school to be moved by January 1, 1952.”
Ex-pupils of Horncastle School have scattered to numerous walks of life in many places – some far afield and some close to the home community. Among their many present occupations one would find teacher, nurse, missionary, private secretary, engineer, policeman, farmer and housewife. Although the classes ended more then 30 years ago, the lessons learned are still being used and the school-day pranks are still being mentioned in the United States and our Canadian provinces from coast to coast.
As I Remember Horncastle (By Annie (Martin) Bassett)
I began my school days in 1887 at the age of 7 years, the school a little one room building, painted red. It had six windows, 3 on each side, one door in end, with a porch without a door. The porch filled with snow in winter. There was a large stone in front, which we used for a step.
The school stood on six short posts. There was no foundation, as I recall in playing Hide-seek we ran and hid behind the school and if we stooped down and looked from the front, we spyed them all at the back. There were very few places to hide. We had two out-door toilets. Sometimes we hid behind them. The school, No. 7, was on the 10th concession of Carden. The teachers usually stayed one term. The wage was $18.00 a month. They boarded with a farmer as close as they could get to the school – sometimes at Charlie Teel’s or at Dan Duggan’s. We had a Mr. Nichols for a few terms, he invested in not a very healthy class of sheep. The farmers fed them for a small sum – so much a head; but that did not pay so he quit. He was lame and wore bedroom slippers in school.
As I recall about the interior, on each side of the chimney, there was a map of the world on one side, on the other side a map on which I remember seeing Lake Ontario for the first time. Our desks at first were very crude funny old high things and long benches to sit on. One year the school board bought 12 new desks, seats attached. We used slates and pencils. I remember breaking my pencil and sharing with my friend and in return she shared with me.
We had a large box stove in the centre of the room. The larger boys brought the wood in and prepared shavings and kindling. The teacher had to build the fire herself. There was a little platform under the chimney. The teacher had a little table for the register and a few books. She had a little hand bell to call us off the grounds. We had one blackboard. We had a little cupboard on the wall for extra books. We had a globe to find places.
Mr. Nichols and other teachers put on little entertainments. We sang little songs and memorized poetry. They had basket social evenings to make a bit of money to buy supplies for the school. The girls trimmed biscuit boxes (covered them with green and pink tissue paper.) Food was always good. Perhaps the basket would bring 65 cents. It was in that way that the teachers bought green paper and made six window shades. They got green yarn and doubled it and made tassels and ties to roll and hold the shade half length on window. They got dark blue cretonne with red flowers which the girls hemmed by hand and made drapes. They also bought 5 smaller maps. My dad used to make pointers so we could reach different places on the map.
We had a board on the wall with hooks on to hang our wraps. We got drinking water from the closest farm house – pupils getting permission to go for it. The pail of water was kept on a chair at the door. There was a tin cup but my mother gave us a glass to drink out of. We had a broom and a couple of lamps set in brackets up on the wall. The teacher bought those.
For our recreation we played ball and skated on a beaver meadow in winter. I recall one day during classes some of the boys saw what they thought was a beaver come up through the ice on the meadow. We all dropped our books and ran out. We scared the poor thing and it disappeared. We returned to class to have the teacher tell us – that had been our recess, so we remained in until noon.
Our school average was about 18 or 20. Everyone had a big family then. Pupils I remember were: Fred Arman, Henry, Alfred, Walter and Norman Ashby, Annie Benson, Katie Connors, Nellie Gilroy, Johnny Hicks, Annie, Gertrude, Edith and Florence Holder, Katie, Bill and Esther Jacob, Charlie Killingsworth, Birdie and Katie Laroche, Annie, Jim, Charlie and Lou Martin, Archie McDonald, Edith, Frank and William Tree. Our teachers were: Miss Twohey of Lindsay, Connely of Lower Carden, Huxtable of Lindsay, Hoolihan of Lindsay, Lena Perkins of Norland, Bell McKay of Victoria Road, Lavinia Ashby, a neighbour and Messrs. Mills and Nichols.
Memories of Mrs. Verna McKague (ex-pupil and teacher)
One outstanding teacher in my memory was Miss Annie Walsh (from Red Brick School Area). Who made sure that we understood what she taught. Her course laid a foundation in grammar and mathematics which have stayed with me all through my student and teaching years.
The deep gratitude of three pupils in the Senior Fourth class of 1914 went to our teacher, Miss Helen Feeney. When she came we had had a succession of teachers, as many as four in a year and we were very much behind in our work. She kept up all the regular work and took us for classes before 9 a.m. and after 4 p.m. She also went with us to school on Saturdays and covered all the subjects necessary for our high school entrance exams. We didn’t pass with honours but passed well enough that we were all successful students at Lindsay Collegiate Institute.
When Mr. Norris was our teacher he boarded with my parents. The snow was very deep that winter and he used snow shoes to cross the fields in our short cut to school and we always walked in the same tracks and so had a good solid path. We walked on the path or rather ran, grateful that we didn’t have to go the longer distance by the road.
Many nature study lessons came first hand. When taking a short cut through the bush to school we discovered a partridge nest. We were so thrilled to see it under its protecting log. There were seventeen eggs in it. Day after day we passed by, taking a peak each time. One morning to our great joy, we saw that the eggs were chipped. We were sure that we would see the chicks when going home. To our consternation when we passed by that night the nest was full of empty shells. Not a single egg or chick remained. Mother Partridge had timed their departure perfectly.
Playtime at S.S. No. 7 By Florence Coolidge
Most pupils took a keen interest in baseball. One teacher started the game of stake-jail. Antie-Antie over the school house was such sport that most of us thought it worth the cost of replacing a pane of glass in the event the ball went through a window. In the summer months, playing house was popular. Each family group would have a corner of the zig-zag rail fence along the road. Cedar trees helped to form the outside walls. Tug of war, crack the whip and London Bridge is falling down were all played.
Little square dances took place on the flat rock nearby. One boy playing the mouth organ for music and one calling the changes.
Sleigh riding down the hill and sliding on ice ponds were the winter sports. Football the greatest game of all came in the fall, until the snow got too deep. A good leather ball was purchased from the proceeds of our Christmas concert. In our school yard we were unable to find a flat piece of ground big enough for a football game, so we played in the corner of the adjoining fields.
Not having skates, we children were sliding on the ice pond quite a distance form the school, when Pearl Teel fell on the ice and hit her head so hard that she was sick. There were no telephones to contact any of our parents and we couldn’t leave her on the cold ice. The three older girls, Maggie Millaley, Mary Teel and myself remembered being taught a little tactic for carrying someone. Two of us made a seat by clasping our four hands together and then carried the sick girl who held on with her arms around our necks. We took turns and with the help of her brother Roy and cousin Joe, we carried her all the way home. It was about a mile and a half so we were glad she was only a little girl.
A summer pastime was to use a board from the woodshed and run it through the rail fence which surrounded our school yard. One or two girls on each side had a teeter-totter. One day one fell off and Margaret Millaley was thrown off the other side, receiving a broken leg.
The teacher applied cold cloths to the leg while the two girls ran to her home to get her father who took her to the Victoria Road Doctor about 5 and a half miles away. Feeling so sorry about the accident, we made many visits to her home while she recovered.
A playtime hazard was the poison ivy which covered so much of the school yard. Several pupils got it regularly each year in June, usually missing some weeks of school and often spending part of the holidays trying to clear up the rash. Some one tried to get rid of it by ploughing the yard, but the stony nature of the yard defied the plough and the poison ivy persisted.
A daily after school chore for my brother Will and me was to go to our ranch and bring our cows home, to be milked. One day as we rounded up the cows we saw to bear cubs in the thick bushes. A little farther on we saw the mother bear, but we were too frightened to look at her, and were glad she was quite a distance from us. We hurried the cows home and told father what we saw. We accompanied father with the shot gun back to the ranch but the bears had disappeared.
Nature Study Incidents Remembered By Melville Jacob
Melville Jacob never forgets an experience with a ground hog at #7. The classes were in progress but looking out to the bottom of the hill the boys could see a mother ground hog with several of her wee ones. It seemed a long wait to get out for lunch to eagerly rush to the spot. By this time the little family had gone into their underground burrow. Determined to try to catch or see one up close, his school pal, Cecil Holder reached down into the hole as far as his arm would go. Ouch! Ouch! out came the arm with baby ground hog’s teeth hanging on tightly to the finger tips.
Another day they learned something about porcupines. Not far from the school yard among the cedars, they came upon a porcupine. Not knowing the rules of preservation, they decided to kill it. Another boy hit it with a long stick used as a club. The blow was so hard that the end broke off the stick. Melville wanted to help so hurried to pick up the end of the stick. Down went the stick. Those quills. The palm of his hand was full of them and now a new problem of trying to get them out. The porcupine’s defensive covering had saved his life – and he continued on his way now unnoticed by the hard hearted boys.
Days Remembered By Lorne Holder
One morning, a Monday, as we three (Willis Jacob, my sister Lillian and myself) sauntered to school we were talking the blues about having to go to school. I said I wished the school would burn down (not really meaning it). As we got within sight of the school, we saw what appeared to be smoke coming form behind the woodshed. We rushed to the spot as fast as we could and found flames pouring from a portion of the woodshed and board partition.
Already there was a hole about 4 ft. in diameter burned out of the boards. We ran for a pail and carried water from the pump about 75 yards away. After many trips to the pump we succeeded in putting out the fire.
When the teacher arrived we told her what had happened. She was very pleased and the trustees thanked us for such a great deed to the community. What they never did know was that a few moments before our good deed, we were all wishing the school would burn down.
One day when running across the school yard in bare feet, I almost stepped on a cluster of garter snakes lying in the sun. I jumped right over them in one leap. Being afraid of snakes I hurried back to the school and told my chum Willis Jacob what I had seen. We rushed back just in time to see them disappear down the hole in the rocks. We waited a while and soon one stuck its head up and crawled out. Using a big stick as a club we killed it. Soon another appeared to get the same treatment from us. They came out one after another until we had killed eleven in all. We carried them to the old rail fence and left them hanging over the top rail.
Next morning we went to see them and were surprised to find not one to be seen. Although at the time we were very puzzled at the disappearance, I’ve since decided a crow or hawk had carried them off for a meal for themselves or their young.
Horncastle School 1933-1934 By Mrs. Isabel Truman
After completing my Grade 13 in Lindsay Collegiate Institute I attended Peterborough Normal School during the depression year 1932-33. In June, of 1933, we all wrote hundreds of applications. There were so many teachers for the positions offered. During July, we continued hopefully to answer advertisements and go where it looked hopeful.
By August, I had given up hope, in those days qualifications meant far less than having an uncle on the school board.
One afternoon we heard that Horncastle was vacant. That evening we drove in and went to Mrs. Wm. Jacob’s home. He came with us and we went to the trustees Mr. Cecil Holder and Mr. Fred Ashby. After some conversation I signed my first teaching contract at $475.00 a year.
I found that Mrs. John Millaley usually boarded the teacher. She offered me board for $15.00 a month and I must say I have never met a better cook or kinder couple.
On September 4th, 1933 I was at school early. It was a neat clean well kept little school about 2 miles from any house.
I had only three pupils that term. One Grade 2, Lorne Holder. One Grade 5, Willis Jacob, who became a member of the O.P.P. and was killed in a car accident in 1958. One Grade 8 pupil, Lillian Holder.
I was very nervous and in spite of theory on teaching, just didn’t know how to begin. I remember assigning reading to Lorne Holder, the Grade 2 boy. After he had read it over silently, I asked if there were any words he didn’t know, and he answered, “Yes, Ma’am, a fearful lot.”
As the months went by, I became more confident and found the pupils most co-operative.
At Christmas my salary was increased to $600.00. January was an exceptionally cold month and my grade 8 pupil, Lillian Holder had her toes frozen one morning. She was absent almost two months. In spite of this, she passed her entrance examinations with flying colours – in fact was almost the top student it Victoria County.
On the first Friday in May, we observed Arbour Day and raked the grass. We started a bonfire which got out of control. I shall never forget my panic. Three pupils and myself with no one in sight. The fire raced across the yard, burnt rail fences and went to the top of birch trees. Fortunately the mail man, Mr. John Wylie came and with water and pine boughs we got it under control. Never since have I started a bonfire on Arbour Day.
The rancher Mr. Mick Millaley was very understanding when I reported the burnt rail fence.
In June, I was offered the position of teacher in my home school. I accepted the offer but I indeed felt sorry to leave Horncastle where I had spent my first year amid kind, honest and understanding people.
My Experience at S.S. #7 By Henderson King
Positions as school teachers were extremely scarce in 1936 when the trustees of S.S. #7 Carden expressed their willingness to encourage me in my chosen profession. Mr. William Jacob, Mr. Rich Ashby and Mr. C. Holder were the friendly people who agreed to have me teach the two pupils until final arrangements would be completed for the boys to be taught elsewhere.
I was elated at the prospect of teaching so close to home after I had received no response from the more than one hundred and fifty applications I had made farther afield. While returning from a hitch-hiking tour in the Madoc area I was involved in an accident when the alcohol influenced driver rolled his new car five times near Indian River. Although I was badly bruised on that Saturday evening, I hired a young driver to take me back to Victoria Road so I would not miss the opening of school the following Tuesday.
Walking to Horncastle School was not an obstacle after I had attended St. Margaret’s School in Kirkfield for five years and had frequently walked both ways when kind neighbours and the C.N.R. were not able to help keep the schedule.
My recollection of the school must include the lovely warm September weather which encouraged wasps in the school. The boys were lovers of nature and we discussed the life history of the science specimens that they brought in – frogs, grasshoppers and some game birds. Weeds were prevalent and we were studying some of these. Discussions were matter of fact and humorous according to the care-free mood of the young students.
The days passed all too quickly and my notice arrived with my cheque. I had difficulty in assessing my first teaching experience.