The Fight Over One Room Schools in 1965!


In April of 1965 trouble was brewing and the pot was over flowing. Mrs. Nino Manzon of Carleton Place had been carrying on a paper war since January against the townships eight schools.  In 1965 Margaret Manzon’s children were attending Tennyson School in Beckwith Township. Declaring the rural one room school “antiquated”, she began a campaign to bring modern educational facilities to the area. While Mrs. Manzon continued her fight in Carleton Place W.P. Williams school district inspector from Smiths Falls was urging the school board to abandon the one room school houses for a central school.

In the Perth Road district parents kept their children home from three of the one room schools to protest their planned closing. Mrs. Manzon’s campaign had already resulted in the the township school board voting to scrap the one room schools. The concerned mother stated they were fire traps because they were still being heated by wood stoves and unsanitary because of polluted wells and chemical toilets.

Manzon also contended that her children were missing out academically. Charles Williams the education departments chief inspector says there was now a strong trend toward centralization. A central school would provide a larger level of training because the teachers could devote all their time to one or two grades than spreading over eight grades. He also said that central schools would attract specialized teachers to rural areas enriching education through subjects such as art and music. Isn’t it ironic that these subjects have now been phased out of most schools? Many Beckwith residents backed her fight, but many others supported the one room schools and denounced her as a meddler. In March 1966, Beckwith Township Council voted in favour of amalgamating its public schools with the Carleton Place Public School Board. Students were now to be bussed into town, and the following July, the old one room school houses were auctioned off. She died in 2013.


19th Century Schoolroom

Glass Plate Negative – Inside a 19th Century Schoolroom
NLRM 2012.55.20
19th Century

North Lanark Regional Museum

This rare photograph depicts the inside of a school house classroom in the late nineteenth century. A chalkboard and wooden desks are visible. This image was scanned from a glass plate negative from the Almonte Gazette archives.

S.S. No. 6 Lanark – Middleville School
This stone building was originally a two-room schoolhouse.  It is now the Middleville Museum.


S.S. No. 8 Lanark & S.S. No. 19 Drummond
1106 Ferguson Falls Road, Ferguson Falls

S.S. No. 11 Lanark – Bishop’s Mills

S.S. No. 13 Lanark – Hopetown School
5633 Highway 511, Hopetown


Photograph of school class at Clayton Ontario, about 1909. Charles Dobie
The only student identified on the back of the photo is Roy Reston Evans, third from the right,
with pen marks above his head.

Photo of Pending sale and some files from The Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum.

About lindaseccaspina

Linda Knight Seccaspina was born in Cowansville, Quebec about the same time as the wheel was invented and the first time she realized she could tell a tale was when she got caught passing her smutty stories around in Grade 7 at CHS by Mrs. Blinn. When Derek "Wheels" Wheeler from Degrassi Jr. High died in 2010, Linda wrote her own obituary. Some people said she should think about a career in writing obituaries. Before she laid her fingers to a keyboard, Linda owned the eclectic store Flash Cadilac and Savannah Devilles in Ottawa from 1976-1996. After writing for years about things that she cared about or pissed her off she finally found her calling. Is it sex drugs and rock n' roll you might ask? No, it is history. Seeing that her very first boyfriend in Grade 5 (who she won a Twist contest with in the 60s) is the head of the Brome Misissiquoi Historical Society and also specializes in local history back in Quebec, she finds that quite funny. She writes every single day and is also a columnist for Hometown News and Screamin's Mamas. She is a volunteer for the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum, an admin for the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page, and a local guest speaker. She has been now labelled an historian by the locals which in her mind is wrong. You see she will never be like the iconic local Lanark County historian Howard Morton Brown, nor like famed local writer Mary Cook. She proudly calls herself The National Enquirer Historical writer of Lanark County, and that she can live with. Linda has been called the most stubborn woman in Lanark County, and has requested her ashes to be distributed in any Casino parking lot as close to any Wheel of Fortune machine as you can get. But since she wrote her obituary, most people assume she's already dead. Linda has published six books, "Menopausal Woman From the Corn," "Cowansville High Misremembered," "Naked Yoga, Twinkies and Celebrities," "Cancer Calls Collect," "The Tilted Kilt-Vintage Whispers of Carleton Place," and "Flashbacks of Little Miss Flash Cadilac." All are available at Amazon in paperback and Kindle. Linda's books are for sale on Amazon or at Wisteria · 62 Bridge Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada, and at the Carleton Place and Beckwith Heritage Museum · 267 Edmund Street · Carleton Place, Ottawa, Canada--Appleton Museum-Mississippi Textile Mill and Mill Street Books and Heritage House Museum and The Artists Loft in Smith Falls.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s