Schools on the Eighth Line

 In Opinion

As promised earlier I plan to continue writing about life on the Eighth Line south of the village of Glen Huron in earlier days. Schools were very important to the earlier settlers. In many cases schooling had been denied to the poverty stricken people of Great Britain who fled across the Atlantic to what became Ontario. They wanted to do better in their new homes and schools provided a hope for their children.
Early in 1863 the neighbours on the Eighth Line got together and proposed that a school be built. As a result they took their request to a meeting of the Nottawasaga Township. A bylaw was passed and the school section, labelled number 16 came into existence. A log school was built on the south side of Lot 14 on Concession 9. This is the general area where the now closed brick schoolhouse now stands and is used as a private residence.
When the first school year commenced in 1864 Jacob Belfrey was engaged as teacher. Many teachers served in these years, many still living in 1920 when a record was made. These were Rev. John Campbell, Rev. Joshua Galloway, Mrs. George Lawrence, Mrs. Wm Ovens and Miss Nellie Taylor.
Teachers salaries ranged from $200 to $260 per annum, while wood was supplied at the unbelievable price of 65 to 80 cents per cord delivered to the school premises. Records reveal that the one article requiring most frequent repair was the door latch.
With an increase in school population steps were taken to replace the original log school. The site chosen was at the corner of the Eighth Line and Sideroad 12/13. This school became known as The Pine Tree and from that name the sideroad also became known as The Pine Tree. The name came from a very large pine tree that was never cut down when the land was cleared. An 83-year-old man has told me he remembers that tree. It was probably five feet in diameter. I have no information about when that tree disappeared. Perhaps someone can provide it.
On the new site in the year 1880 a schoolhouse was erected that was to serve the community for 41 years. Plans and specifications were prepared by J.J. Carruthers, while the building contract was awarded to James Murray. The first teacher in charge of this new school was Miss Nellie Taylor. Seventeen years later the school was modernized with new furniture to replace the well carved desks of by-gone years, while the exterior boasted a new brick covering. A woodshed, always a necessity in the early days was built in 1887 at a cost of $74.
A highlight in the year was always the excursion picnic to Sunset Point. For this excursion the children were transported in a stock truck hired for the event. Many will recall the eagerness with which they looked forward to going barefoot on the 24th of May and to swimming in the big swimming hole where the Aikens men washed their sheep before shearing them. This was always a risky undertaking for it must be done secretly to escape the knowledge of both parents and teacher. In the fall the butternuts were always a treat with the ones on the neighbouring farms tasting much superior to those found in the school years. However, to secure these without being bitten by the farmer’s dog was quite an accomplishment.

– This history was compiled by Marshall McLeod, Bonnie Campbell, Daisy McLeod, Donald Brown, Percy Curran and Wilmot Arnold about 1967. 

Photo: Pine Tree School, Eighth Line, Nottawasaga – Back: Bill McLeod, Wes Lane, Russell Joyce, Roy Ferguson, Ella Jordan, Gordon More, Katie Campbell, teacher. Middle: Grace Joyce, Katie McLeod, Jean McKeowan, Bessie White, Lola Anderson, Percy Ferguson, Cecil Ferguson, Verna Smyth, Arther McKeowan, Bill Campbell, Wheldale Sidney, _ Ferguson, Grace Joyce, L.C. Sidey, _, D.A Campbell, Elsie Ferguson. Front: Lillian White, Elsie Mulline, Lizzie Sidey, George Gomm, Wilmot Lane, Harmon Best, Frank? Joyce, _ Collins, _ Collins, _ Mullin, Sadie McLeod.

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