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
Union Section No 6 – Sylvan Glen
The first mention of School section number six in reports was in 1864. It was the fourth section opened in the township. The teacher in this report was Mr. Hugh C. Graham, address Balsover, now spelled Bolsover. In the records at Archives, Toronto, the section was again reported in 1867, the teacher still being Hugh Graham. James Bartley was the local superintendent in 1867.
The story of this section was made much easier, by the acquisition of well kept registers beginning in 1912 (still in the school) and of secretary’s books carefully kept by Mr. E. Eastcott, and from an exercise undertaken by the pupils of the present school, under the direction of their teacher, Mrs. G. McCrackin in 19??. This is reproduced almost in full below.
Rainy days or dry days,
Warm days or cool,
All the days are good days,
When I go to school.
Hard tasks or easy ones,
Large sums or small,
With a bit of patience
We will get them all. (Composed by Gr. 2)
The early morning sun cast its golden beams down on a sturdy log building, set down in a small clearing, its stumps still standing. The Old Knowledge Factory, for that is what they called it, waited expectantly for its little throng of boys and girls to come along the bush roads from their distant homes. Their noon lunches would be in the pockets of their home sewn pants, if they were boys; or under their arms, if they were girls, in their long full dresses. If it happened to be so, many of them would be barefoot, for it was fun to kick up dust in the buggy tracks, as they went along. Their summer holiday was only two weeks in length, but sometimes the bigger boys would be needed at home in the winter months to help their fathers. Then there would be many stormy days when it would be impossible to get to school.
Inside the building is a rough pine floor, now worn smooth by many feet. Twelve home-made desks and seats for the children are placed facing the teacher’s desk, which stands at the front of the room. These desks are not single ones as we see now, for in those days pupils sat together to use a copy book, as books were not so plentiful then as they are now. Initials were carved on some of the desks, silent evidence that idle hands always find something to do. An old fashioned slate, with a wooden frame and slate pencil on it, show some child’s haste to get home after school.
On the outside the school presented a snug appearance. It was made of thick logs, possibly hewn with a broad axe, fitted tightly into the notches at the corners. It was chinked with plaster to keep out the weather. What a lot of muscle it must have required to get those logs into place. It has one solid door, facing east, low to the ground, built to with stand the cold wind. Four windows, two along each side of the school are just two logs up from the ground, but what a window sill, the full width of a log. The window slides from side to side, for ventilation during some of those drowsy summer days. The school was located on the corner of the Cranberry Lake Road.
Back inside the school, the master’s desk, also a home made one, commands the front of the room. Its top lifts up, and underneath it will be found the teacher’s few books; but we suspect he carried much of his knowledge of reading, writing, arithmetic and spelling in his head, rather than in a text book. On the top of it lie a well worn Bible, ready to begin the next day’s work.
Back of his chair, a plain strong one, is a wooden black board with a few pieces of chalk lying nearby. On it is a sum. It seems a small black board in a small school. There is no doubt the pupils left that House of Learning with a really workable knowledge of the Three R’s. A long string of pipes overhead, and an old fashioned box stove, consumer of many a lusty hardwood block, warmed little fingers and toes on bitter winter days. To us it seems almost incredible that the best of hardwood could be bought for two dollars per cord, now cheap at fourteen dollars.
The walls were unadorned logs except for two well worn maps. Pictures were scarce, and as for a timepiece, the only one was in the school master’s pocket, for him alone to see.
In the back corner of the room was the uncovered water pail, carried by the bigger pupils a good half mile to the school from a neighbour’s farm. All drank from the same dipper, perhaps a wooden one. As for germs, no one worried about them too much. If one got the scarlet fever or other infectious disease, the others were sure to catch it anyway, so it might as well be got over when they were young.
As for a playground, didn’t they have all nature’s woods? How much more could they wish: plenty of tree trunks for hiding places, stumps and brush to make brush houses. One could pretend to be Indians hidden behind a bulky tree trunk, then spring out at a companion with an ear piercing whoop. No fences to restrict their freedom. It makes one wonder how the schoolmaster managed to call them back to school with only a metal rod to bang instead of a bell, from so vast and interesting a playground.
The log school house stood from 1870 until 1887, when it was burned. The registers and other records of these early schools were lost in the fire and in a fire at the home of the Board member, Mr. Donnely. The teacher at the time of the fire in 1887 was Mr. McLean. An early school board is mentioned as Hutchison, Donnely and Moran. School master McPhee of the early 90’s later became a noted doctor. Student Hutchinson of the early school became a professor in New York City. The information for this essay was obtained from interviews with Mrs. Jane Dack, conducted by her grandchildren, Barbara, Mary and Fred Dack, they also interviewed Mrs. Miriam Bench. Mr. Ken Black and Roy Eastcott interviewed Mr. Wm. Black. (These pioneers, Jane Dack and Wm. Black are since deceased.)
A ratepayer, Mr. Hutchison, who lived where Mr. Pat Scott now lives, donated the land for the present school site. Mr. Hutchison built the present school of stone at a cost of $400.00. It was completed in 1890, as the date on the school states. It is often called Sylvan Glen Stone School. (We are told that the minister’s wife, Mrs. G. Ross, who was conducting religious services in the neighbourhood, conceived the name Sylvan Glen, from the fairy like glen near the school.)
It is the most picturesque school in the township, constructed of local field stone of varying colours; to visit the school at Xmas concert time, is to go back a century, with the wide windows laden with glistening decorations. The walls are two foot thick, the building itself 38×28 ft., with six large windows, a roomy porch and one door, glass paned, leading into the interior. An attic tops the school room.
The first seats were double desks. Present ones were put in the school in 1953. The school was painted brown inside, until 1952 when it was painted pink. Electricity was installed in 1952. The present teacher’s desk was placed in the school when it was built, as was the library. An organ was acquired in 1909. The original clock was large with Roman numerals, an electric one is now used. (This information was obtained from an interview with Mr. E. Eastcott by Geraldine Black and with Gilbert Graham by Judy and Bob Graham.)
The minute books kept by Mr. E. Eastcott make fascinating reading and a few records of cost may be interesting – Lighting fires-$3.00, Chalk-20¢ box, Broom-25¢, Dustpan-10¢, Axe 25¢. In 1911, 5 Readers cost $1.25. In 1902, the salary of the teacher was $210.00. A Poor School Grant of $30.00 was received in that year. Auditors of this account were John Black and R.J. Eastcott. The Secretary Treasurer was given $5.00.
At one point it is recorded that a loan of sixty dollars was made by James Graham to keep things going. On one occasion the secretary, Gilbert Smith, was travelling from Mara Treasury to Carden Treasury to get money to pay expenses when his horse played out. Not to be outdone, Mr. Smith borrowed a horse and carried on to complete his mission. One amusing incident concerns a call to Mr. Elmer Eastcott, who has been student, trustee, and secretary treasurer for more years than he cares to admit, to correct a major catastrophe. Bees had made themselves very much at home in the boys toilet, and had inflicted some painful injury. DDT had no effect on the bees, so regulations were enforced on usage of the girls facilities until the unwelcome guests were evicted. Mr. Eastcott recalls that no spare teachers were hired, and so school was occasionally closed. Business in the early days was with the Traders Bank, probably Cannington.
As early as 1927, Household Science was taught. Library books were purchased even when money was scarce in 1910. A very interesting booklet kept in 1909 by Teachers Boyle, Fitzgerald and others exists, given the books taken out by the youngsters. Since this is the earliest authentic list of pupils on record, it is here reproduced. Willie Moran, Joe Moran, Clara Campbell, George Shepherd (killed in 1914-18 war), Jerome Donnely, George Rogers, Alfred Walker, Della Campbell, Amy Campbell, Arthur Keitching, Donald Cottrell, Horace Walker, Leonard Pearson, Arthur Pearson, Edith Smith, Roy Black, Duncan Campbell, John Bartley, Lila Campbell, Edgar Snodden and Maggie Snoddon.
Many families boasted 10 children or more, such as O. Crosby, Richard Black and Colin Campbell. The largest enrolment in the school to be discovered is 28, the smallest about 10. Other family names which appear on subsequent registers are Eastcott, Parliament, Lank, Wood, Draper, Rawn, Swarthton, McPeak, Scott, Wilson, Crosby, Loveday, McGillivray, Dack, Graham, Gowanlock, Barnes, Randall, Chisholm, McDonald, McLean and Clutchey.
A partial list of teachers is Mary Boyle, Miss L.G. Fleger, Miss Mina Bell, Miss Mary Brown of Cannington, Miss L.C. Gaddye, Miss Margaret Herr, Miss Anna McElroy, T.W. Montgomery, Lillian McArter, Effie M. Calder, Miss M. Chrysler, Mary McGillivray, Anna Sproule, J.J. Irwin (now principal in Orillia and member of Carden Council in 1940-41), Mrs. Mabel Speiran, John Lorne Graham, Mrs. Clutchey (teacher in Orillia), Helen Butts, Ruth Beaton, Mildred McLeod, Donna Hughes, Mrs. G. McCrackin (vice-principal at Uptergrove Central School), Mr. McPhee (later a dentist in Orillia), Miss E. Graham, Miss Moran, Miss Wiseman, Miss Heenan, Mrs. R. Fox (who took her provisions and stayed in the school in stormy weather, to make sure school was open.)
Teachers made interesting notes in the registers. Once under temperature was the notation “No thermometer”. Another teacher notes regards library books in 1902. “Some of the books are too deep for the children, but some of them were greatly enjoyed.” It is not difficult to find entries in the registers “No school due to storm, no school due to illness, no school due to funeral.” Dr. Ross was a caller on medical inspection, and Rev. Rose for religious instruction.
Names frequently on School Board duty were W.J. Black, P. Scott, S. Graham, E. Eastcott, R. Black, Douglas Gowanlock, Gilbert Smith, W.A. Snodden. John Donnely was secretary until 1905. Ben Snodden, Albert Snodden, Fred Eastcott, Ina Eastcott (only lady member.)
When the remaining schools in Carden Township became a School area in 1940, #6 decided to remain outside the area, in this way the school retained its sectional flavour and managed its own affairs until an act of parliament forced all single unit boards to join a school area, which it did, becoming a part of Carden TSA, and was represented by Mr. L. Graham.