Below is published an interesting story of Greig’s School, Eighth line of Ramsay, written by Miss Ruby Wilson, who has been the teacher there for the last eight years. Miss Wilson is retiring and the following tribute has been paid to her by the people of the section and the trustees, through the Board secretary: “Under Miss Wilson’s guidance the school has continued to be a real community centre for the people of the section who from time to time have found entertainment there. “Miss Wilson leaves with the goodwill and best wishes of the people of the section, who will miss her leadership in the social as well as the educational life of the community ”
In choosing a topic for this evening’s talk we wished to find one that would be of interest to all of us, old and young. The people of No. 14, Ramsay, have always taken a keen interest in the school, so what could be more interesting than a story of our school. In it are wrapped up the lives of its pupils, who have become, or will become, the men and women. Some are long since moved away to carry on their duties in far places, some have settled in this section here, to play their part in the plan of life.
Some have won fame and fortune, while others have followed in a more humble way the daily round of common tasks; but over all, the school has shed her influence. Few of us who are grown up can remember our history, geography or grammar lessons, but all unaware we were learning in these lessons some things that were far more lasting, and from our contact with our fellow pupils, and our teachers, were learning how to live with our fellowman. Isn’t that, after all, the great object of education?
The subjects studied in school are all a means to this end. Let us journey back to 1826. School was then held in a log building on the corner of Rea’s, very close to the road. Early teachers had a house where the lilacs still bloom, in Greig’s field, near where the Greig house stands. The first teachers were mostly superannuated men. There at one time a Mr. Haggard lived for three years. About 1854 Mr. Joseph Rea still kept school in this log building But in 1859 a need was felt for a new building. So the present site was chosen—one quarter acre, commencing on the 8th Concession line, the distance of 21 chains, from the post between lots 9 and 10. This land was purchased from Mr. James Greig for the magnificent sum of $4. A contract was given for a frame building, -the old log school was not moved.
This new school was opened in I860. With what feeling of justifiable pride we opened school in the new building, under the capable guidance of Mr. James Dunlop, at a salary of $176.50. For that year the credit was $361.35 and debts amounted to $366.31. Many teachers were to follow his footsteps, and each to play some part in building the history of this community. Time permits us but to mention as we pass the names of these and some of the highlights in the history. Mr. Joshua Tennant followed Mr. Dunlop, with a salary of $192 per annum for three years.
At this time the section boasted 161, old and young, of which the following were the active ones at the first I annual meeting. George Donahoc chairman; John Cannon, secretary; George O’Brien, James Greig, George Drynan, John (McIntyre, David Watson, John Mc Arton and Joseph Rea. It was quite allowable then to have a lengthy meeting, for 11 1-2 cords of wood, cost only $17 in those days.
Sunday School was held at No. 14 with Mr. James Yuill, Superintendent: John Paul, John Cummings and Miss Agnes Paul as teachers. We cannot estimate the good that was done by these Sunday meetings. They had prayer meetings also once every week. What tales the older people could tell of the weekly event, “Singing School.” Old and young in the countryside attended. Mr. Robert Watchorn was the teacher, and later Mr. Donald Robertson. How they must have enjoyed those nights, for it did serve as a fine meeting place for the youth of yesterday.
Our next teacher in 1864, was John McYule. In 1865-67 Patrick Foley kept the white school in order. During his time $5 was given for prize books. The inspector at this time was Rev. McMoran, minister at the stone church. Mr. Thomas McDermott who was teacher in 1868-69 had his own times with ninety on the roll, in winter. However salaries were some better, $240. Needless to say with such a number on the roll, he earned his money. Helen Me Arton, the present Mrs. Houston, Tyvan, Sask. writes:
“Lessons weren’t much bother and sums weren’t hard either. We had lots of time to play tic, tac, toe. We didn’t like when a map was rolled out, we learned plenty then. But, I tell you we were scared when we saw the inspector coming along.” Mr. George Thompson of Almonte, relates many interesting tales of playing “Fenian Raids” on Shipman’s Pond to the anxiety of teachers and raiders. These ended with the sad result of one boy being “knocked out.”
Games were often played in an old barn near the school. Here Mr. Jno. McArton, while crimping straws in the cogs of an old fanning machine, took an end off his thumb. In 1870 Mr. Robert Thomson was our master. During his regime new steps were built for the school. Next came Francis Haney and in 1872 Miss Anderson. It was then that the woodshed was built, the lumber was obtained from John McArton and W. Cannon. During these years the late Dr. R. Tait McKenzie’s father was an inspector. By 1874 this had become a popular and much sought after school, for there were 12 applications. Miss Janette Lindsay was chosen.
That year money was borrowed at 8 percent interest. Miss Carley stayed four months, followed by Alicia Thomas. It was then we got our first visitor’s book, and general register. The trustees, Peter McRostie, John McArton and Richard Thompson visited the school frequently, as did Mr. Slack, the Inspector. By this time the school boasted a small flagpole, Many times has the good old Union Jack, proudly flying, proclaimed to all that here was a small group of Canada’s loyal sons and daughters, learning to be better citizens of our fair Dominion and Empire. Miss Jane Houston who came in 1877 must have had quite a time with an average of 49. Many of these sat around on sticks of wood.
On the 23rd of Nov., 1878, the grounds were enlarged 1-4 acre. The land bought from Andrew Greig, was to be fenced by the section. R. Patterson, Almonte, was the lawyer. During Miss Houston’s time, by Inspector’s request, a well was bored by A. Stephenson, for $90. While Miss Kate Snedden was here in 1879, a log fence was put around the school with boards along. the front. At the annual meeting the trustees all voted against Township School Boards. Who says this is now a new idea. The Inspector at this time was Mr. Michell. During Bella Scott’s regime a new ash floor was laid. Next came Annie Baird, who owing to a sprained ankle had her sister Ellen, teach for three months. Miss Barbara Drynan who came
in 1887, left behind a lasting memory During her term she planted the spruce and some of the cedars along the front of the grounds.
The many scholars who have come here since, have had much reason to be grateful for these beautiful trees, which give us shade in summer and had helped to make our grounds more attractive. Wood was then $2.90 a cord. For the next three years 1890-91- 92, Miss Mary Wilson was our teacher. In this time we got a new gate and front fence and also the numeral frame. Several other names we pass over each with its own associations, many happy, some not so happy. When we remember the minutes of mortification we spent in the corner, or the tingling sensation of the hands after the application of a bit of rubber—wasn’t it the pride that was hurt most?
Miss Mama Fraser, Miss Moffat, Miss Clara Sadler, Miss Jessie Lindsay. For five years from 1896, Miss Lindsay guided the lives of Greig’s youth. A teacher’s chair, and window screens were important additions. The list of teachers grows, Miss Steele, Miss McKechnie, Miss Ethel Robertson, Hattie Caswell. By this time some of the school’s own pupils had graduated as teachers and Miss Daisy Eea returned in 1905 to guide the footsteps of her younger neighbors, at a salary of $250. In this year a new porch was built on the school by Mr. John Donaldson.
During a short absence of Miss Rea her sister Miss Bessie, supplied. Miss Buckingham, who came to us in 1907, remained only one year. Perhaps she found the barren field too cold, for outside windows were put on. Hats off to Miss Buckingham, we agree the drifts do pile high. In 1908 Miss N. McCrea had 12 on the roll, quite a difference in 40 years. Miss Addie Blackburn followed.
At the annual meeting in 1910 it was moved by Joseph Chapman, seconded by Wesley Rea, that the school be moved; and made comfortable. The contract for this was awarded to D. McCrea for $275. Miss Daisy Rea returned for another term. School problems must have been easily discussed, for in 1913 the annual meeting closed with Auld Lang Syne. Next came Lila Smith and Gertrude Ormrod. At the meeting in 1914, it was moved by Andrew Yuill and seconded by Joseph Chapman that the trustees have the grounds fenced with wire. This was done by W. C Gilmour.
No one will deny that this should be plenty of room for scholars to work off their superfluous energy, but just as soon as the fence was up the boys began to feel it would be far more fun playing “tag” or “deer” in Thompson’s bush, or skating on Ford’s pond. So to the present day some brave little soul is elected to go to the teacher and say “Please Miss may we go outside to play.”
How can a teacher refuse such a plea? People were beginning to fake a greater interest in. No. 14 as this was the first year of any mention, regarding School Fair Prize Money. .
“Greig’s’ ‘ still continued to send her sons and daughters to the High Schools and under Miss Annie Neilson, many passed. Mr. Froats was then Inspector. Miss C. E. Gardner came to us in 1917 and remained two years, during which time, window screens were procured, a very valuable piece of “furniture” especially in mosquito time.
In June 1918 the school was saddened by the loss of a much loved pupil, Sandy Chapman. Again a former pupil, Miss Marion Chapman, returned to guide 22 little souls along. Just to show how conditions had improved by that time, or how the cost of living had increased, Miss Waddell, who came for two years, received a $1,000 salary. While Miss Gardner was our teacher, under Mr. Spence as Inspector, a hardwood floor was laid, bought from A. F. Campbell, Arnprior, and laid by James Smith. At the same time an organ was bought from Mrs. Camelon. In 1924 Miss Kathleen Graham came to us, staying four years: Hot lunch had its real beginning then, a new coal oil stove with a warming oven being bought.
Hardwood prices had then reached $8 a cord with soft and cedar at $6, New equipment for school is surely a sign of progress, and if this is so we, of this section’ may rightly claim our share. New desks were installed in 1930 while Miss Elizabeth Martin was our teacher. They are still here in excellent condition. One or two of the lads managed to carve their names on the surface of the old ones, as a lasting reminder that they had a sharp jack knife, and a keen desire never to be forgotten. In the last few years our school has boasted of many improvements, including window’ boxes, free exercise books for all pupils and our wood shed made into a compact building, with a sliding door.
How glad we were a week ago, when rain came dripping through, that some thoughtful men had roofed at least half of our building with tin. Someone has said “It is false economy not to keep a building in proper repair.” As in a feast we have left the best of our last eight years, to the end. Every Wednesday morning Mr. Hector Dallimore very ably takes the class to pleasant “Songland.”
How delighted the pupils are, as you may judge from their earnest efforts this evening. In an account of this sort it is inevitable that much of interest must be omitted and perhaps some important events unrecorded. We beg of you all to forgive these omissions and mistakes, and we would be grateful for any additions from anyone for future references. We hope you have enjoyed these memories which this brief history has brought back. From messages we have received from early teachers we quote— “I shall never forget my pleasant days at Greig’s. Everyone was so willing and kind.” and again from Miss Rea, “After 25 years’ teaching in Ottawa. I have only happy, grateful memories of my old Ramsay home, I and of the old neighbors, among whom I lived and worked so long. “It is the spirit of co-operation and kindliness which has done so much to make this school the success it . is. Let us keep alive our love of this school, and be true to her message This is the word that year by year, While in her place the school is set Everyone of her sons must hear, And none that hears it dares forget This they all with a joyful mind, Bear through life life a torch in flame. And falling, fling to the host behind Play up! Play up! and play the game.
This is a list of teachers— 1860—James Dunlop, $176.50. 1861-63—Joshua Tennant, $192. 1864—John Yule. 1865-67—Patrick Folev. ‘ 1368-69—’Thomas McDermott, $240. 1870—Richard Thomson. 1871—Francis Haney. 1372-73—Miss Anderson. 1.374—Miss Janethe Lindsay. 1875-76—Miss Carley and Miss Alicia Thomas. 1877-79—Miss Jane Houston. 1380-82—Kate Snedden. 1883—Bella Scott. 1884-86—Annie Baird.
1887-89—Barbara Drynan. 1890-92—Mary Wilson. 1893—Martha Fraser. 1894—Kate Moffat. ‘895—Clara Sadler. 1896-1900—Jessie Lindsay. 1901-02—Edith McKechnie. 1903-04—Hattie. Caswell. 1905-07—Daisy Rea and Bessie Rea. 1907—Mildred Buckingham. 1908—Nora McCrea. 1909—10—Addie Blackburn. 1911-13—Daisy Rea. 1913-14—Lila Smith and Gertrude Ormrod. 1915-Gertrude Metcalfe and Mabel Smith. 1916-17—A. E. Neilson. 1917-20—C. E. Gardner. 1920-Marion Chapman. 1921-22—Bella Waddell, $1,000. 1922-24—C. E. Gardner. 1924-28—Kathleen Graham. 1928-30—Elizabeth Martin. 1930-38—Ruby Wilson.
The following are the secretaries: 1860-73—John Cannon. 1874—Joseph Rea. 1874-86—Peter McRostie. 1.887-94—John Watson. 1395-08—John Rea. 1903-16—Jacob Matthews. 1917-20—Robt. Tosh. 1921-38—Alton Matthews.
RAMSAY S.S. 11 Senior Room— i To Grade V III—Kenneth iFee, Muriel Fee H, Mack James H, Henry Collie. To Grade V II—Agnes Cavers, Arthur Dowdall, Lome Neilson H, Leo O’Brien, Pat O ’Brien H, Leonard Spinks, Nelson Syme. —Anna. M. Turner, Principal. Junior Room— -, To Grade VI—John Edwards, [Helen Fee K, Joyce Gladish, Carman ifames, Jean Kellough H. Doris Lowe,, Shirley Lowe, Keith Salisbury. I To Grade V—Maisie Edwards, May James H. To Grade III—Florence Kelloqgh H, Murray Webber. To Gradel II—Fred Edwards, Melville Fee, Margaret Hodgkinson, Elsie Lowe. —Iva M. Crawford, Teacher.
S. S. NO. 3 FITZROY Grade IX-Grade X —John Coady, John Hugh Lunney, Grade VII-Grade V III—Rita Coady. Grade VI-Grade VII—Mary Brown, Tommy ‘Lunney, Grant Greene, Cyril Greene. Grade V-Grade VI—Agnes Stewart, Monica Coady, Reuben Brown. Ina Stewart. Grade IV-Grade V—Donald Stewart, Edward Lunney, Ethel Stewart. Grade III-Grade IV— Maryalice Colton, Bernice Coady. Grade II-Grade III—Mary Lunney. Grade I-Grade II — Kenneth Greene, Betty Stewart, Olive Greene. Primer-Grade I—Willie Stewart* Jr. Primer-Sr. Primer— Edna Young, Jack Lalonde. Number on roll—23. Average attendance—22.2. —A. E. Moreton, Teacher.
S.S. No. 14 Ramsay – Greig’s School
In 1826, a long builting was found on Rea’s lot. Early teachers, Mr. Huggart and Joseph Rea, lived in a house in Greig’s field. James Greig sold one quarter acre on the eighth line, Lot 10, Concession 7, Ramsay for $4.00 and a frame building was put up. Andrew Greig sold another quarter acre of land in 1878 to enlarge the school grounds. Mrs. Pearl McCann created history when she became the first married female teacher in 1942. When S.S. No. 5 only had 5 pupils, the Board decided to amalgamate the two schools from 1945-1947. In 1963, the school was destroyed by fire and students had to temporarily attend S.S. No. 2 Ramsay. On June 30, 1960, many former students and teachers celebrated the 100th anniversary of the school. In 1970, pupils from S.S. No. 14 moved to Naismith Memorial in Almonte and the school property was sold to Edgar Finlayson for $4,500.