Who Can Forget SS #1, Drummond?



*Lanark County, Ontario : SS No. 3, Drummond Township, about 1909-Charles Dobie Collection

Perth Courier, June 21, 1935

Who Can Forget SS #1, Drummond

By one of the 3rd School – in the Lanark Era


SS #15, Drummond, on the Scotch Line where Nat McLenaghan’s lane entered the road once stood a wide spreading elm tree with a trunk of enormous size.  How this great elm rejoiced to see brides coming to cabins and homes springing up north, south, east and west.  Wider and wider it spread its branches when in mid summer with its luxurious foliage it kindly bestowed cooling cover.  The storms blew, fires razed, and on every side the companions of this elm passed but still it grew and flourished with the settlers.  George McFarlane, Hophni Aytoon, Walter McIlquham, James McIlquham, William Cunningham and William Cuthbertson had farms in this section.  They all had large families which was a great asset to a young country.

Soon a school house was necessary and erected near to where the present school house stands, only on the opposite side of the concession.  The school house was built of logs.  The old tree witnessed the clearing of the site, the rearing of the building, the mothers preparing the children for school and the youngsters toddling off and the settlers taking shelter from the hot July sun while doing statute labour.  About 1840 the once unbroken forest assumed the appearance of farm land.  New houses and barns were erected and during the winter months the sound of the flail was heard in the barn from early morning until darkness while in the home the hum of the spinning wheel was heard accompanied by the steady beat of a woman’s feet as she walked backward and forward drawing out and twisting the thread and running it on the spindle.

One hot August day as Nat McLenaghan and George McFarlane were resting under the old elm, Nat became reminiscent and told George the story of how he crossed at Oliver’s Ferry.  Lighting an ancient clay pipe he began, “I got to the ferry where a man with a birch bark canoe was ready to take me across for a small sum.  I agreed.  He told me to jump in.  Being nimble on my feet I skipped into the canoe which as readily slipped from under me and I fell into the water.  I could not swim so I clenched the water with mighty force but every clench I took it slipped.  I managed to get to the shore and immediately armed myself with stones which I hurled at the head of the canoe man as I thought he had fully intended to drown me.  He assured me of his innocence and his sorrow, advising me not to be so rash when getting into a canoe.  I took his advice and on the second attempt I was quickly taken across.”  The old elm recorded it as another instance of the green Irishman.

On the register in the almost forgotten school are the names of McLenaghan, McFarlane, McIlquham, Culbertson, Cook, Cunningham, Brown, Hunter, Echlin and Finlayson are found in profusion.  While in these families triplets were unknown yet we know that the first school house had to give way to a much larger building to accommodate the ever growing community.  Families of one or two children were a rarity while the ordinary family consisted of 9, 10 or 11.

In time, new names were at the head of households.  Looking over the list of more than a half century ago, the old elm finds the names of John McLaren, William McFarlane, Ed. McLenaghan, Charles McLenaghan, William Cunningham, James Cunningham, Dick Haley, William Cuthbertson, J.K. McIlquham, John Watson, Archibald McTavish, J.S. Tullis, William Tullis, Henry Echlin, William McIlquham, Wat. McIlquham, Dick Hawkins, J. Hunter, Bob Finlayson, John McFarlane, James McFarlane, Ed Rathwell, J. Hudson and others; names were dimmed by the passing years.  All had inherited the sturdy frames of their fathers and were schooled to meet obstacles with determination.

The second school house was too small and new quarters were demanded.  Duncan McGregor reared the third school house to comply.  The roof was covered by hand made shingles, the floor of boards and it boasted four windows.  A platform ran along part of the north side and over the platform was a black board made of pine boards painted black.  The desks were hand made of pine, strongly built but the tops often gave way to the sturdy jack knife.

Peter McIlquham and James McLenaghan of Drummond vividly recall their early childhood school days.  They tell of the games played, the pranks performed, the fights in the school yard, the reading, the writing, the arithmetic, the hickory stick.  The old schools are clear in their memories particularly the second school which they attended.  The floor of sided logs with gaping cracks filled with bread crumbs invited the rats to dine upon the refuse.  How often would their eyes fill with tears when they dropped the slate pencil and it would disappear between the logs on the floor to fraternize with the rats.  Slates were precious and all exercises were worked on them, the exercises being ushered into oblivion by means of spittal and the coat sleeve.  Some of the early teachers were:  Chrisholm, Cameron, Reynolds, Morgan, Long, Gilespie, York, Stone, Wiley, Thompson and Comrie(?).  They were of the old school—rank and fearless—and they always kept to the proverb “spare the rod and spoil the child”.

The registers of the third school contain the names of a later date.  Many of these have passed from the scene of action.  We find the names of Bill Selton; Eddie, Arthur and Alice Cuthbertson; Ettie, Annie and William Cunningham; Jack, Janet, Bill and George Echlin; Sinclair and Jessie Craig; Tom McCaffrey; William May; George McIlquham;  Jack, Jessie and Dave McIlquham; Mary, Alex, Bill, Wallace, Laura and Eva McLaren; Bob, Kate, Tom, John, Edwin, Fred and Minnie McFarlane; John A., Clara and Ida McFarlane; Dick, Bill, Fred and Kate Hawkins; Ned, Lizzie and Janet Hunger; J. Stevens, Joe Hudson; William Lambert, and others whose names were dim.

Some of the teachers were:  Gibson, Doherty, Thompson, Cunningham, Graham, McFarlane, Robertson, Kerr, McEwen, and McCue.

These are some of the names of the teachers and students of the third school of many years ago, replaced by a more modern building on a new site on McLenaghan’s farm but still bears the name of McIlquham’s school.  The fourth school was built by Connors and Legary and stands in strong contrast to the former buildings.  It is modern in every respect and is a concrete monument to the memory of F.L. Mitchell, late inspector of the public schools in Lanark County.




*Photo–Back Row, L to R: Walter Leach, Bob Richardson, Russell Munroe, Royden Armstrong, Tommy Armstrong, George McLenaghen, Harold McLenaghen,George Stedman, Austin McLenaghen, Isobel Livingston, Olive Blair, Carrie Armstrong, Edith Livingstone, Gladys Stedman, Hilda Murphy, and Lena James (teacher).
Front Row, L to R: Bert Andison, Harry McLenaghen, Leslie Andison, Frank Armstrong, Elmer Leach, Irving Kerr, Mary Andison, Edith Livingstone, Mary Frizell, Unknown, Anna Armstrong, Matilda McLenaghen, Sadie Kerr.

For more reading go to:

Ladies & Gentlemen- Your School Teachers of Lanark County 1898

This is from the One Room Schoohouse–click here for more info

U.S.S. No. 1 Drummond & No. 1 North Elmsley

This brick school was built on land purchased from a Mr. Acheson, William Imeson (Lot 20 Con. 10) and R.A. Wilson.  The Merry Makers, a local club, raised money for playground equipment and the installation of electricity.  Pearl Richardson was the first teacher in 1914, and Norma Devlin was the last in 1967.

U.S.S. No. 2 Drummond & No. 4 North Elmsley
McTavish’s School

When the first log schoolhouse burned down about 1840, Alex McTavish donated land for a schoolhouse across the road from Lot 12 Concession 1 Drummond.  In 1940, the school won first prize for the Improvement of Local Schools in Lanark County.

S.S. No. 3 Drummond
James’s School

The original school was built in 1854 on W1/2 Lot Con. 2 Beckwith.  In 1867, the teacher was Mary Ann Conn.  The second school was built by Benjamin James for $650 in 1873.  Mrs. Dorothy Cavanaugh was the last teacher in 1967.  It burned down and no longer exists.

U.S.S. No. 4 Drummond & No. 1 Beckwith

The first schoolhouse was built in the 1820s at Gillies’ Corners on Lot 3 Con. 2 Beckwith.  A white brick building replaced it in 1881 until 1966.  Donald Conboy was the last teacher.

S.S. No. 5 Drummond

S.S. No. 5 Drummond was the first log school in the township, built in 1817 with cedar shakes for the roof, on land owned by Thomas White.  Duncan McCormick was the first teacher.  In 1903, the school section was divided into numbers 6, 8 and 12.

U.S.S. No. 6 Drummond & No. 6 Bathurst

This union school was located at E1/2 Lot 24 Con. 4 Bathurst on land purchased from James White in 1874.  The first teacher was Sarah Lever and the last were Mr. Phillips Shirley Peters when the school closed in 1967.

U.S.S. No. 7 Drummond & No. 9 Bathurst
Armstrong’s Corners School

This school was originally built in 1820 on Lot 1 Cons. 6 Bathurst.  It became a union school with No. 9 Bathurst on Lot 25 Con. 6 Bathurst sometime before 1890.  A third school was built across the road in 1952 before it closed for good in 1967.

S.S. No. 8 Drummond
Wayside or Hogan’s School

The first school on this site existed in 1842.  Ralph Davidson built the second school in 1872.  Annie Mary Enright came from Ireland to be the first teacher with a salary of $200.  In 1867, Letitia Murphy instructed.  William Spence won L.H. James Gold Medal for have the highest marks in the Perth Collegiate Grade 8 Entrance Exams in 1937.  Mrs. Gladys Thomas was the educator when the school closed in 1968.

S.S. No. 9 Drummond
McPhail’s or Code’s School

James Code owned Lot 16 Con. 3 on Tennyson Road where the first log school was built.  John H. Flemming was the teacher in 1867.  In 1875, land was purchased for the second log school on another part of the lot from for $50.  A brick building was erected in 1916 with a basement, furnace and single seating for forty students.

U.S.S. No. 10 Drummond & No. 5 Beckwith

U.S.S. No. 10 Drummond & No. 5 Beckwith existed at Tennyson in 1874.  The school had a 30-foot well in 1877.  The school closed in 1966 and the children were bused to Caldwell School in Carleton Place.

S.S. No. 11 Drummond & S.S. N. 14 Bathurst
Balderson’s School

In 1820, Balderson’s School was the union school S.S. No. 11 Drummond & S.S. No. 14 Bathurst at Balderson’s Corners on Lot 1 Con. 8 Drummond.  In 1868, an unused Orange Hall was purchased for $525 and moved across the street.  It served as the only two-room school in Drummond Township until 1968.

S.S. No. 12 Drummond
McGarry’s School

McGarry’s School was built on Lot 11 Con. 7 in the 1820s.  Peter McGarry sold some property for the second log school in 1873.  Twelve years later the teacher, Miss C. Sinclair, had maple trees planted on Arbour Day that still exist today.  Joyce Widenmaier won the public speaking contest and had the highest standing for the Grade 8 Entrance Exam in 1942.  Richard Shaw won the public speaking contest for Lanark County in 1966.  Mrs. Laura Ireton Thompson was the last teacher when the school closed in 1968.

S.S. No. 13 Drummond
Flintoff’s School

The first log school, built in 1818, burnt down and a second one was erected 1870 in Drummond Centre with Mr. Stewart as the teacher.  It was furnished with one blackboard, a sheepskin for an eraser and five maps on the walls.  Twelve students sat in two rows of pine planks.  Miss Winifred McRostie was the last teacher in 1929.  Next, a modern brick building boasted a library, teacher’s room, two cloakrooms, hot-air furnace, flush toilets, pump room and play area.  Start student, Roy Warner won the T. Eaton Co. Cup as Champion Pupil at the Drummond Rural School Fair, the Drummond Centre Women’s Institute prize for highest marks in arithmetic and composition, and the Lawrence James Gold Medal for  the highest marks for the Entrance Exams in Lanark West and.  In 1952, Mildred Stead Munro taught there for $1700 a year.  Mrs. Carmel Fergusson was the last teacher in 1968 when the school closed.


U.S.S. No. 14 Drummond & No. 10 Beckwith  Scotch Corners School

About 1830, the union school, U.S.S. No. 14 Drummond and No. 10 Beckwith, was constructed with logs on Colin King’s property at Lot 2 Con. 10 Beckwith.  Forty-two years later, Charles Stewart and his son, Don, built a framed structure beside the old school on land given by William Dowdall.  They installed a well and pump in 1895.  History records Miss Conn as the first teacher of Scotch Corners School and Lois Pretty as the last teacher in 1966.

S.S. No. 15 Drummond – McIlquaham School
2397 10th Concession, McIlquaham-Blair Side Rd., Lanark

Blair’s great grandfather, George McIlquham, donated the land for S.S. No. 15 Drummond in 1840.  The first log building was eventually torn down and a rough lumber structure erected, but it was too small for the growing community and the site was wet and muddy, so a brick building was built across the road on Chas Campbell’s farm.  The Maple Leaf Literary Society donated a 6-shelf library in 1915 and in 1925 chemical closets were installed inside the school.  Various items were purchased over the years with money made at annual Christmas concerts, including a victrola, a teacher’s chair, a basketball, a water cooler, an aquarium with five goldfish, and a first aid kit. In 1948, electric lights were installed and a well was drilled.  The school was finally closed in 1965 and is now a private residence owned by André Messier.

S.S. No. 16 Drummond
Prentice’s School

 In 1867, the teacher was Agnes Forgie.

S.S. No. 17 Drummond
Innisville School

 In 1867, the teacher was Andrew Patterson.

S.S. No. 18 Drummond
Ralston’s School

In 1867, the teacher was Melissa Smith.

Come and visit the Lanark County Genealogical Society Facebook page– what’s there? Cool old photos–and lots of things interesting to read.

Information where you can buy all Linda Seccaspina’s books-You can also read Linda in Hometown News and now in The Townships Sun


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.

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