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History of the County of Bruce, Ontario, Canada
Schools and Education, 1851-1906


Settlers had resided within the county of Bruce some three years before the largest community therein felt the necessity of establishing a school. When this time came it was after the School Act, 13 and 14 Vic, chap. 9, introducing much that proved to be an advance on previous methods, had come into force, which it did on July 24th, 1850. The initial step taken in the cause of education within the county of Bruce was the appointment of a local superintendent by the Council of the united counties of Huron, Perth and Bruce. School District No. 3 in the united counties comprised the six northerly townships in the county of Huron and all of the county of Bruce. Mr. John Nairn was the gentleman who received the appointment of superintendent for this district, the date of which was December 30th, 1850. At that time there was not a single school in the whole of the county of Bruce, but during the year 1851 a commencement was made by the establishing of one at Kincardine, located in the vicinity of the present railway station, the first teacher being Mrs. Jane Nairn. The following are the particulars concerning it as given in the "Statistical School Report of 1851," of the Department of Education, and are the only reliable ones available:

Pupils on roll, 66; boys, 31; girls, 35. Number of teachers, [The amounts are here given in dollars and cents, for the convenience of the reader, instead of in Halifax currency, as they appear in the report.]; certificate, second class; salary paid teacher,1 $145.80 (without board) per annum; length of time school was kept open during the year, six months. The school-house was a rented frame building, containing one room. Amount of legislative grant, $72.90; amount of other receipts, $12.00; total receipts, $84.90. Prom such a small beginning has arisen the extended and efficient system of public schools within the county.

At this period of school history in Canada West a certain amount of latitude was permitted in regard to what textbooks might be used in teaching, as uniformity was not provided for; those most commonly in use were the Irish National Readers and Arithmetic, Lennie's Grammar, Morse's Geography, and a spelling-book published in Canada.

The following year witnessed an increase within the county of educational privileges and also in the number of pupils. The Superintendent of Schools reports for the year 1852 three school-houses, all log buildings. Two of these were built during the year. [Footnote 1] These three schools were located, respectively, at Kincardine, Southampton and Walkerton. [

Mr. Gunn, in his report for 1853, says: "Only three schoolhouses in the county at first sight seems disproportionate to the population, now over 10,000. It must be remembered, however, that the county may be said to be entirely destitute of roads, for, with the exception of the Durham and Elora roads, of sectional roads we have not a mile."]

In January, 1852, a redistribution was made by the United Counties Council of the districts to be supervised by the local superintendents of education, and all of the counties of Huron and Bruce were then formed into one district. Mr. William Rath received the appointment of superintendent thereof. He was a painstaking officer, but he found the work so heavy, on account of the extent of territory in his district, that he resigned the position at the end of the year. It was in this year that the first levy of a municipal equivalent to the legislative grant to public schools was made in the county of Bruce. The amount so raised was $214.67.

On Mr. Bath's resignation Mr. William Gunn was appointed local superintendent of education for the whole of the county of Bruce, and performed the duties of his office over this large area during 1853 and the following year. In 1855 the county was divided for educational purposes into three districts, and two other gentlemen were appointed along with Mr. Gunn as local superintendents of education, at a salary of $5.00 per school. The details of this division of the county are as follows:

The Western District comprised the townships of Huron, Kincardine, Bruce and Kinloss. The local superintendent was Mr. Wm. Gunn.

The Northern District comprised the townships of Saugeen, Arran and Elderslie. The local superintendent was Rev. James Hutchison, who was a missionary of the Methodist Church to the Indians on the Saugeen Reserve.

The Eastern District comprised the townships of Brant, Carrick, Culross and Greenock. The local superintendent was Mr. John Eckford.

Mr. Gunn retained his office until the end of 1858, excepting during the early part of 1857, when Mr. Matthew McKendrick held the office.

Rev. Mr. Hutchison held office only during the year 1855. He was succeeded by the Rev. James H. McNaughton, who held the office during the years 1856, 1857 and 1858.

Mr. John Eckford held office for sixteen and a half years, that is, until the office of local superintendent of education was abolished by statute in 1871, and the office of inspector of public schools instituted instead. Mr. Eckford was a most efficient officer, and the reports of the School Committee of each succeeding County Council refer in most complimentary terms to his work as superintendent of schools.

The cost of erecting school buildings was one that many settlers felt was almost beyond their powers, but the desire to have their children educated constrained them to take action, so we find that they contributed willingly of their time and also of their means, as far as they were able, in the erection and completion of school-houses; while in most instances the sites for rural schools were freely and generously given by some settler.

It would not be satisfactory to pass over the early days of educational matters in the county with little more than a bare recital of statistics. It is, therefore, with pleasure that the writer is able here to insert an unfinished fragment of a paper written by the late Mr. Wm. Gunn on this subject. It is to be regretted that it ends so abruptly. It is as follows:

"Educational Matters in the Early Settlement of the County of Bruce.

"The first local Superintendent of Schools in Bruce was the late Mr. Wm. Rath, of the County of Huron, local Superintendent of that County. [Mr. Gunn is in error here in thinking that Mr. Rath was the first Superintendent of Schools. He was the second.—Author.] Finding it impossible to attend to the duties of the office extending over such a wide range of country, he resigned the Superintendency for Bruce in December, 1852, and in January, 1853, without his knowledge or consent, Mr. Gunn, now of Walker-ton, was appointed local Superintendent for the County of Bruce. There were at that time only three schools in the whole County, one at Kincardine, one at Southampton, and one in Walkerton. These had to be visited twice a year, and the only mode of locomotion was on foot, the road often for long distances being indicated simply by the surveyor's blaze, very few miles of roads having been opened in the County. The traveller in those days, in addition to a few necessary articles of toilet, found it very convenient to carry a moderate supply of crackers and cheese in his wallet slung over his shoulders, of which he could partake at noon by the side of some clear creek or spring. The settlers, however, were hospitable in the highest degree, and readily shared their humble meal with the traveller when he happened to come along at meal-time. The quality of the potatoes was always good, the salt excellent, and there was always bread and tea to be had, but fresh meat was a rarity for several years.

"In 1853 and 1854 considerable progress was made. Settlers were coming in freely and the population of the County rapidly increasing, the erection of school-houses was not neglected. The people, as a rule, did wonderfully considering their circumstances, and large were the demands made upon their muscles and purses in moving into this then wilderness country and making a beginning in clearing the forest and erecting places to dwell in.

"The school sections in the whole County were laid out about 1853 by the local Superintendents, the Municipal Clerk, Mr. C. B. Barker, and the Councils of the Townships, as these came into existence, [Excepting Kincardine, there were no township councils until 1854. , —Author.] and so well was this done that very few changes were found necessary afterwards.

"For several years the whole County had only one Reeve or representative in the United Counties Council of Huron and Bruce. This was the Reeve of Kincardine Township, but as the population and settlement increased, Beeves multiplied, and our voice became stronger at the Council Board. To the credit of the Beeves of the County of Huron it must be said that they were always most fair and considerate in all municipal action toward the pioneer settlers of Bruce.

"In 1854, as schools began to multiply outside of the triangle formed by Kincardine, Walkerton and Southampton (and as the absence of roads in many places enhanced the difficulty and fatigue of travelling on foot), Mr. Gunn got the County Council to divide the County into three districts, East, North and West. The late Mr. Eckford, of Dunkeld, was appointed local Superintendent of the Eastern District, composed of Brant, Carrick, Culross and Greenock; Rev. J. H. McNaughton of the Northern District, composed of Arran, Elderslie and Saugeen, Mr. Gunn retaining in the Western District Bruce, Huron, Kincardine and Kinloss. These gentlemen's duties commenced in 1855.

"In 1856 considerable progress had been made in the erection of school-houses ready for opening in 1857. The Legislative grant had increased to $1,325.00, being an increase over 1855 of $1,053.00. The apportionment of Townships is not given in the Chief Superintendent's Report. The Rate Bill in the County amounted to $603.50. The total expenditure for schools, $8,872.40. The total number of children attending school in 1856 was 1819, being an increase over 1855 of 985. The number of teachers in 1856 was 19, of whom 12 were males and 7 were females. The highest salary was $500 (paid by Kincardine) and the lowest $200. Of the 18 school-houses open in 1856, 5 were of stone, 2 of brick and 11 were of logs. Of those schools, 8 were opened and closed with prayer, in 10 of them the Bible and New Testament were used. Ten or twelve new school-houses were finished in 185'6, ready for use in 1857.

"From this time on the progress made in all matters educational was very great and very satisfactory, culminating in the ample school accommodation and the thorough equipment for educational purposes of the present day, with a numerous staff of thoroughly trained teachers of the highest attainments. The old dark, dismal log school-house has everywhere given place to comfortable, commodious buildings, well lighted, well ventilated and well furnished.

"Perhaps no new settlement in Canada was ever more highly favored than the County of Bruce in the class of men composing the pioneers of the County. The early School Trustees and municipal Councillors of the County were men of generous minds and liberal ideas, many of them being men of excellent educational standing. [This remark of Mr. Gunn's no doubt was correct in the great majority of cases, but some Boards of Trustees did not come up to this standard, for in his report for 1856 he says: "He had sometimes to transact business with a School Board in Gaelic, as none of the Board were able to speak English."—Author.] They laid the foundations broad and deep, as circumstances would permit, of the educational system which now reflects so much credit on the County of Bruce, the youngest county in Ontario.

"In his report to the Chief Superintendent for 1852 Mr. Rath says: 'Speaking generally of the County of Bruce, I must do so in the highest praise of the efforts of the people in favor of the establishment of schools. Their exertions in this respect will bear favorable comparison with older counties, and this, too, in the very infancy of their settlement, and while many of them have had privations and hardships of no ordinary character to endure and difficulties of no ordinary character to encounter.'

"At a later date, in 1856, Mr. Eckford in his report says: 'Much has been done; in nearly every section progress has been made. When I consider, however, that the settlers have in general exhausted their funds in the purchase and improvement of lands, and in supporting their families before they obtained an adequate return from the soil, and also that the municipal and school taxes are heavy, that the home market is nearly closed, with no outlet for surplus produce, I feel that it would be injudicious to urge them to further exertion. In the face of all this, however, the increase would have been doubled but for the want of suitable teachers.'

"Rev. J. H. McNaughton reports six schools in Arran, all opened for the first time in 1856, and Elderslie one school.

"In his report for 1856 Mr. Gunn says: 'The want of a better supply of efficient teachers is very greatly felt throughout this county. We find it impossible to meet the demand and to a great extent the standard of qualifications, although meeting the present requirements of the law, which is lamentably low. Steady young men who intend following the profession of teaching, having matrimony in contemplation, or married men with small families, would find in these new settlements very favorable inducements to remove hither. I would particularly mention the facilities which exist for acquiring a little property, and the satisfaction of possessing a permanent home at a trifling outlay, without in any way interfering with their professional vocations. Such persons may with safety be recommended at least to visit this County.

"'In the early years of the settlement of the County, in consequence of the tender age of the majority of the children of the pioneers, female teachers were in great demand, their services being generally preferred, and their success in teaching most satisfactory; but it was very generally found that just as soon as an efficient female teacher with her three or four years' experience was becoming of great usefulness in her profession, some keen-eyed young pioneer, on matrimony intent, came along, and without consulting the school authorities, carried her off to adorn his shanty in the bush, leaving her place to be filled by some young and inexperienced member of the sex.'"

It is much to be regretted that Mr. Gunn's paper ends at this point. If he wrote more, the subsequent pages of his manuscript have been lost—a loss from an historical point of view not easily to be computed, as no one was better qualified than he to write on this subject.

It will be in place here to give a list of the local superintendents of education and inspectors of public schools in the county of Bruce down to the present day.

In the foregoing, the names of the local superintendents to the end of 1858 have been given for all the districts, and it has also been stated that Mr. Eckford remained in charge of the Eastern District until June, 1871. To this district there were added the townships of Elderslie and Saugeen for the years 1864 and 1871 inclusive, excepting that for the year 1868 only, Saugeen was united with Arran in a separate district, as is related later on.

The Western District was under the charge of the Rev. Walter Inglis as local superintendent for the years 1859, 1860 and 1861. and of the Rev. Wm. Fraser, who held the office for the years 1862 to 1867, inclusive. For part of 1868 the Rev. A. McKay was local superintendent, and on his resigning during the year, Dr. De Witt H. Martyn was appointed, and filled the office until the end of 1869, being succeeded in 1870 by the Rev. John Ferguson. In January, 1871, the township of Bruce was set apart as a separate district, over which the Rev. J. Anderson acted as local superintendent, while Dr. D. A. McCrimmon filled the same office over the remaining part of the Western District. On the establishment of a grammar school at Kincardine, in the year 1860, Mr. Alexander Shaw was appointed local superintendent for the village. How long after 1860 he retained the office is not very clear from any available records.

The Northern District was under the local superintendency of the Rev. K. McLennan in 1859 and 1860, of F. H. L. Staunton in 1861, and of Dr. W. S. Scott in 1862. In 1863 this district was split up, and for that year only a separate school district was formed of the townships of Saugeen and Elderslie, the Rev. Mr. Waters being local superintendent, but for the next eight years these two townships were united to Mr. Eckford's district. For the year 1863 the townships of Arran, Amabel and Albemarle were formed into a school district, the local superintendent being Dr. E. Hawksworth, who held the office for both 1863 and 1864. In 1865 Mr. William Bull was appointed local superintendent for the townships of Amabel and Albemarle, which position he held until the abolishing of the office in June, 1871. During the last six months of Mr. Bull's duties, Eastnor was included in his district. In 1865 the township of Arran was set apart as a separate district, and Dr. E. Hawksworth placed over it as local superintendent. He died during the year and was succeeded by Dr. W. S. Francis, who held the office until the end of 1867. In 1868, Arran and Saugeen were formed into a separate district, over which the Rev. A. Tolmie presided as local superintendent. Arran in 1869 again became a separate district, and Dr. W. S. Francis was once more the local superintendent. He was succeeded in 1870 by the Rev. B. S. Cooper, who remained in office until June, 1871.

On the 15th of February, 1871, the Legislature passed an Act [34 Vic. Chap. 33.] which abolished the office of local superintendent of education and provided instead inspectors of public schools. The County Council, at the following June session, divided the county into two districts, Eastern and Western, and appointed Richard V. Langdon as inspector over the Eastern District and Benjamin Freer over the Western District, at salaries of $5.00 per school and $2.00 additional for expenses. The number of schools in the county at this time was slightly over 130 in all. Mr. Langdon held office for two years and a half, when (December 11th, 1873) Mr. W. S. Clendening was appointed. He was succeeded by Mr. John McCool, April 1st, 1906. Mr. Freer held office until the January session of the County Council in 1877. He was succeeded by Mr. Alexander Campbell, who held office until April, 1902, when Mr. W. I. Chisholm was appointed as inspector of public schools for West Bruce.

At the June session, 1861, of the United Counties Council it was decided that a Board of Public Instruction for examination of teachers, etc., be established in Bruce. This decision was carried out, and the Rev. R. C. Moffatt was the first appointed secretary.

The first detailed school statistics of common schools in the county of Bruce that the author has met with are those for the year 1855. They are here given, and to indicate the process of development, those for 1863 are given in part also:

The following extracts from the reports of the local superintendents of education will serve to give an idea of educational matters subsequent to the date referred to in Mr. Gunn's paper and prior to the appointment of inspectors. In 1857 Superintendent McNaughton reports that "The township of Elderslie has done admirably in the way of school building during the past year. Although the newest of the three townships under my charge, it is now the first with regard to school-houses. This may be attributed in a great measure to the wisdom of the Township Council in offering a certain sum of money to each section on condition that the school-house would be erected within the year. The result is that there is not now a single section without a school-house."

Rev. Mr. Fraser, local superintendent of the Western District, writes, May, 1867: "In a number of our schools pleasing progress is being made in book-keeping, mensuration, algebra and geometry, so that the advanced state of the schools will soon force all the third-class teachers to retire."

Mr. J. Eckford says, in June, 1867: "It affords me much pleasure to be able to state that the schools under my supervision are, with few exceptions, in a prosperous condition. This is to a great extent to be attributed to the teachers, who, both in scholarship and in the art of instruction, are generally very superior to their predecessors of some years ago. The school attendance over my entire district is becoming very large, partly from the increase of population, and also because the children are coming out better and attending more regularly. One section has a senior and a junior school, and in another the master has the services of an assistant."

Rev. J. Ferguson reports, December, 1870, as follows: "Considering the newness and remoteness of a good many school sections, the ill-judged selection of trustees in many cases, the employment of poorly qualified, because cheap, teachers, and the inability of some sections to build and equip good schools and otherwise to hold out inducements to both teachers and scholars, there are yet many encouraging features connected with schools in this new county. Some of the school-houses are first-class and a considerable number of the teachers are an honor to their profession."

"The Common and Grammar School Act of 1871" marked the beginning of important changes in both of those classes of schools. All common schools became free public schools, and every child from seven to thirteen years of age, inclusive, was declared to have the legal right of attending some public school. The assessment and collection of public school rates was by these acts transferred from the trustees to the municipalities. County inspectors with larger powers and duties were substituted for local superintendents. In place of "County Boards of Public Instruction," "County Boards of Examiners " were established for the examination and licensing of teachers, and county grammar schools became high schools. It might appear as if these changes were of name only; this would be an incorrect view, for with the changed name the scope, regulations and duties of each were also changed and enlarged. In 1877, by further legislation, the Education Department was empowered to arrange with trustees for "constituting one or more of the public schools to be the county model school for the preliminary training of public school teachers." The above legislative changes in educational matters remain practically in force to the present day.

The standing of education in our public schools under the present system of inspectorate may be best referred to by extracts from some of the annual reports of the inspectors, as follows:

R. V. Langdon, inspector of public schools for East Bruce, in January, 1872, reports that under the School Act, two examinations of candidates for teachers' certificates had been held and out of ninety-six applicants, only thirty-two obtained certificates. "It is thought," he goes on to say, "by some that the failure of so many candidates is owing to the introduction of new subjects, but this is not the case, as the majority of failures were in the subjects of spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic and English grammar."

W. S. Clendening, inspector of public schools for East Bruce, in June, 1877, reports the total expenditure in his district in 1874 to have been $46,400, and in 1876, $56,400. That the number of school-houses in 1874 were 73, and in 1876 there were 82. Of this latter number, 19 were brick, 11 were stone, 42 were frame, and 10 were log buildings. Also that in 1874 there were 7,624 pupils on the school registers, and in 1876 there were 8,432. This latter number of pupils were taught by 90 teachers; of these 18 held second-class certificates, 68 third-class certificates, and 4 held permits.

A. Campbell, inspector of public schools for West Bruce, in December, 1877, reports 88 schools in his district (not including the town of Kincardine), and says: "Progress has been made during the year, although the schools taken as a whole are far from being as efficient as I should like to see them," and further on says, "Reading and spelling, which may be considered among the most important subjects of the programme of studies, were taught in a wretched manner in a large majority of the schools; indeed, I may say that they were almost entirely neglected. For instance, I may mention the fact that out of forty-eight candidates for admission to the Kincardine high school who came up from different parts of the county at the July examinations, only five passed, and nearly all the rejected candidates failed in spelling."

In 1885 Inspector W. S. Clendening says, after speaking of the number who had passed the entrance examination, and the high standing of some of the schools in his Inspectorate: "This record is - strong evidence that the schools of East Bruce are quite abreast of the times and doing a work of which they need not feel ashamed." In the same year Inspector A. Campbell, in West Bruce, expresses his satisfaction at the progress that was made during the year.

The opportunity to obtain a good elementary education has from the first been the privilege of pupils attending the public schools of Bruce. This statement applies more especially to the last quarter of a century, as a result of the higher standard of teaching then demanded. The educational possibilities of the early days were much enlarged when advanced classes were established in many schools in response to a much-felt need, existing in districts lacking high school privileges. The Legislature gave an impetus to this movement when, in 1891, a grant (to be supplemented by the County Council) was made to such public schools as conduct a " leaving examination." A change in the regulations regarding such was made in 1896, by authorizing the establishment of "continuation classes," the Legislative grant—and the county equivalent thereto—being $100, $50, $25, or $15, according to grade. The number of such classes in the various grades in the county in 1905 was 3, 1, 4 and 6, respectively. That good work is done in these continuation classes is evidenced by the fact that a Chesley schoolboy [R. C. Halliday, son of Robert Halliday. The value of the scholarship was $50 in cash and free tuition in Toronto University for four years, amounting to $195 in all.] captured a scholarship at the 1903 departmental examinations, standing fourth among the pupils of the whole province then examined. This is the first time in the history of departmental examinations that a scholarship has fallen to any public school scholar. All honor to the boy from Bruce.

This chapter has woven into it much of mere facts which, although interesting, may to some form somewhat dry reading, so laying aside for the time being school law, inspectors, schools and classes, we shall, for the purpose of brightening up the chapter, let some of the scholars who have studied in our schools step to the front and speak for themselves. That this might be vividly done, a teacher who possesses a deep appreciation of humor, and who has taught many years in the county, was asked by the author to furnish some reminiscenses of the school-room, who, consenting, has supplied the following, for which the reader will no doubt be as grateful as the author.

"Humor in the School-room.

"The following may be given as a few of the amusing answers actually given by school boys and girls of Bruce, some of them culled from examination papers, others given orally:

"'From what animal do we get beef?' asked the teacher of a primary class. 'The butcher,' was the ready answer of one of the little ones.

"'Into how many parts is the day divided?' 'Three, breakfast, dinner and supper.'

"A teacher giving a lesson on the proper use of the words 'bring' and 'fetch,' asked this question: 'If the cows were in a field and I wanted the dog to go after them, what would I be likely to say to the dog?' 'Sic 'em!' said the boy.

"Here are some of the answers given to the question: 'How do you know that the earth is round?' 'The earth is round, because if it wasn't you'd fall off when you came to the end.' Another still more original was, 'The earth rolls round the sun; a square thing can't roll, therefore the earth must be round.'

"Another answer as to the shape of the earth: 'The earth is round like an orange, flat at both ends. When it was first made it was round like a ball, but it has been spinning so fast for such a long time that it has wore flat at the two ends.'

"'What is the capital of a country?' 'Where the jail is.' 'What is a republic?' 'A place where they all elect themselves.'

"Here are some rather astonishing historical facts:

"'John did not want to sign the Charta, but the barns said he had to, all the same.'

"'Mary Queen of Scots married the Dolphin of France before she was beheaded.'

"'Charles I. met his doom without a flinch.'

"'Who appoints the Governor of Canada?' 'The Pope,' said one. 'Mr. Cargill,' said another.

"'It was very difficult for William Lyon MacKenzie to escape to the United States, because 1,000 lbs. was put on his head.'

"'The British searched American ships for deserters. The Americans looked so like themselves that they could not tell which to arrest.'

"'What is a mummy?'' asked the teacher. 'A cured man,' replied a boy. 'Cured of what?' queried the teacher. 'Not that kind of cured, cured so he'd keep,' was the answer. Another answer: 'A stuffed man.'

"'The foe was sullenly firing.' 'Why sullenly?' 'Because they'd just been licked,' said a boy, who doubtless could easily imagine their feelings.

"The question, 'Give in your own words this quotation from "The Brook," "I linger by my shingly bars," elicited the following from one of the girls, 'I stay about the old frame hotel.'

"'What is the difference between "discover" and "invent"?' 'Discover is to find something that was there all the time. Invent is to find something that never was there before.'

"'What is the masculine gender of witch?' 'Bachelor.' 'What is the feminine gender of bachelor?' 'Widow.' 'The masculine of duchess?' 'Dutchman.' 'The feminine of monk?' 'Monkey.' 'For what do these letters stand: "B.A."?' 'Before Adam,' 'Begin Again,' ' Bachelor of Adversity.' '"D.D." stands for "Dry Dock."'

"In a school in Kinloss was a little boy who would persist in saying 'have went.' The teacher kept him in one night and said, 'Now, while I am out of the room you may write "have gone" fifty times.' When the teacher came back he looked at the boy's paper, and there was, 'Have gone fifty times.' On the other side was written, 'I have went home.'"

In 1877 two model schools were established, one at Walkerton and the other at Kincardine. In his report of that year, Mr. Campbell speaks hopefully of them, and says that there were, in that the opening year, thirteen pupils in attendance at Walkerton and fourteen pupils at Kincardine. Speaking again in 1885, he says: "A great deal of the improvements that have taken place in our schools during the last few years can be traced to the efficiency of our model schools and to the beneficial effects of attendance at teachers' associations." The county can point with pride to these two model schools. The training imparted therein to the future teachers throughout the county has been of the very best, and reflects credit upon the various principals who have been at the head of them since their establishment. There is no doubt that to them is largely due the success which has of late years marked the imparting of instruction in our public schools. [Prior to 1877 the Board of Examiners issued third-class certificates, and the Inspector permits to teach, for which it was not required to possess professional training.]

The initial step in the way of higher education for the youth of the county of Bruce was the establishment in 1860 of a county grammar school, which was located at Kincardine., This was after several years of agitation, the first petition to the County Council to establish such a school being made in June, 1857. The first Board of Trustees had as its members Rev. K. McLennan, of Paisley; William Gunn, of Inverhuron; and Rev. Walter Inglis, Rev. Isaac Middleton, Alex. Shaw and Matthew McKendrick, of Kincardine. Its first meeting was on 18th March, 1860. The duties of this Board differed somewhat from High School Boards of the present day. An inspection of the minutes show that committees were appointed to select books, to examine the pupils and grade the classes, and to investigate cases of misconduct. The pupils' fee was fixed at $2.00 quarterly. The first principal, Mr. Albert Andrews, filled the position in a most satisfactory manner for six or seven years. In 1890, S. W. Perry, B.A., was appointed principal of this school, and has retained the position since, filling the duties of the position most successfully. For twelve years Kincardine rejoiced in possessing the only grammar school in the county. Considering this circumstance, the County Council felt justified in the years 1870 and 1871 in granting $150 and $100 respectively, as scholarship prizes, an attraction for bright, earnest scholars not now offered at any school in the county. That an idea may be had as to the manner in which these amounts were allocated, the names of the successful competitors for these scholarships at the December, 1871, examination are here given: John Collwell, value $15; Archena McDougall, $10.00; Robert Boal, $8.00; Alexander Baird, $7.00; Sarah Harvey, $5.00. The names of those who carried off the prizes in the June or other examinations the writer has not been able to obtain.

The Act passed by the Provincial Legislature in February, 1871, "to improve the common and grammar schools," gave the County Council extended powers as to the formation of high school districts. Various local municipalities within the county being desirous of taking advantage of privileges now attainable, petitioned the County Council at the January session, 1872, requesting to be established as high school districts. The Council complied with these petitions and passed at that session "A by-law to establish five high school districts in the county of Bruce." The places therein named were Kincardine, Walkerton, Paisley, Port Elgin and Southampton. These municipalities were thereby authorized to establish a high school, but it was a privilege that three of the five named municipalities did not avail themselves of, owing, no doubt, to the increase of taxation involved. Kincardine already possessed a high school; of the other four places the ratepayers of Walkerton alone were willing to bear an increase of taxation for the advantages and privilege of possessing a high school in their town. The following comprised the first Board of Walkerton High School Trustees: Messrs. J. J. Kingsmill, John McLay, Alexander Sproat, J. G. Cooper, Paul Ross and Alexander Shaw. The first teacher to preside over this school was Arnoldus Miller, B.A. This school, by special permission granted by the Superintendent of Education, was allowed to open without any assistant teacher. It was not long, however, before assistants were secured, one after another, as necessity arose, until the staff of the Walkerton High School became sufficient to entitle it to rank as a collegiate institute, a position that it will, in the near future, no doubt, attain to. Joseph Morgan, M.A., has been principal of this school since 1881.

The high schools at Kincardine and Walkerton remained for many years the only ones in the county, other municipalities being apparently apathetic in the matter of higher education. The first evidence of a move in that direction was when Paisley sent a deputation, in 1886, to wait on the County Council, with the request that that village and neighborhood be set apart as a high school district; [The good people of Paisley then, and again in 1891, as well as the County Council, seem to have forgotten the by-law mentioned in a foregoing paragraph. That mads Paisley the centre of a high school district, which by-law is unrepealed.] but the deputation failed to convince the Council that it was advisable to make any increase in the number of high schools in the county. The following year a similar deputation from Port Elgin was more successful, and despite a strong opposition, a by-law was passed June 10th, 1887, establishing Port Elgin as a high school district. This school was opened in the fall term of 1889 with 75 names on the roll, Mr. J. T. Lillie, B.A., being the head master. The attendance rose to 153 in 1891, which figure has not been exceeded since. Mr. Lillie continued to the end of 1904 in the head mastership. The high percentage of the successful pupils of this school who wrote at the departmental examinations speaks well as to his qualifications for the post he held for so many years. Mr. J. C. Clark is the present head master of this school.

The agitation for additional high schools in districts not already provided once more came before the County Council in June, 1891, Paisley and Wiarton being the municipalities applying. Again Paisley failed to obtain the consent of the Council, Wiarton carrying off the coveted privilege, and by by-law passed June 6th, 1891, was established as a high school district, and in the beginning of the following year the school was opened under the head mastership of T. H. Farrell, who was succeeded by Henry De La Mater. For some time the school accommodation was not all that the Department of Education required, but any deficiencies in this respect are now at an end, as the new school building, opened in 1896, is fully abreast of all requirements. The next place to obtain a high school was Chesley. This high school was opened in 1904, R. D. McMurchy being the head master, he being succeeded by Henry Bonis.

The cause of education within the county of Bruce has had an excellent auxiliary in the free and public libraries scattered throughout its municipalities, in the number of which Bruce is the leading county in Ontario, having twenty-five in all. [On December 31st, 1903.] Besides these, there are thirteen rural school libraries, all situated in the West Bruce inspectorate. The localities where the public libraries are situated, with the number of volumes on their shelves, are to be found in a [footnote]; the figures given are from the report of the Minister of Education for the year 1903. It is impossible to estimate the educational and intellectual uplift derived by the public having access to 55,000 books of select, pure, good literature. That the opportunities offered have been made use of the large number of members of the several libraries testify. Another pleasing feature about the public libraries in Bruce is that a number of them are situated in purely rural or semi-rural localities. The first library established in the county, as far as the writer is aware, was one at Inverhuron in 1856, which commenced with a total of 39 volumes. Prom such a modest beginning has developed the present numerous and well-equipped library system of the county. The writer was honored by being made the first librarian of the public library established at Kincardine (this was in the spring of 1861), he being expected to perform the duties without any recompense beyond the fact of knowing that he was helping on a good work. The number of volumes placed in his charge were under two hundred. This library has grown to be the largest in the county, and numbers now over 4,500 volumes. Hugh Black, who was its painstaking librarian for many years, has lately passed away.

[Footnote: List of Public and Free Libraries in the county, December 31st, 1903. Those that are free are marked with an asterisk.

Bervie (Vols. 1,654); Cargill (Vols. 1,932);' Chepstowe (Vols. 333); Chesley* (Vols 1,923); Elmwood (Vols. 657); Glammis (Vols. 446); Hep-worth (Vols 1,011); Holyrood* (Vols. 2,151); Kincardine (Vols. 4.552); Lion's Head (Vols. 1,102); Lucknow* (Vols. 3,224); Mildmay (Vols 2,073); Paisley* (Vols. 4,232); Pinkerton (Vols. 1,605); Port Elgin (Vols. 3,127); Ripley (Vols. 1727); Riversdale (Vols. 923); Southampton (Vols. 4 503); Teeswater (Vols. 3,863); Tara* (Vols. 2,009); Tiverton Vols 1,910); Underwood (Vols. 2,588); Walkerton (Vols. 3,259); Westford* (Vols. 1,423); Wiarton* (Vols. 3,596). The total number of volumes is 55,823.]

In bringing this chapter to a close it might be well to summarize and show what half a century has wrought for the cause of education in the county of Bruce. The first school in the county was opened in the summer of 1851 with sixty-six pupils; fifty years later this solitary centre of learning had developed and multiplied, as is set forth in the figures given in the report of the Minister of Education for the year 1901, which are summarized as follows:

The county of Bruce has no cause to think the money it has spent so freely in the cause of education has been wasted. Her young people have been fitted to enter the battle of life possessing the advantages arising from a sound education. From her schools have graduated many who now fill most prominent positions throughout our wide Dominion, bringing honor to those who have in an enlightened manner encouraged and maintained a high standard of education in their mother county.


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