Here is our third excerpt from Meadow Bank Women’s Institute Tweedsmuir History – published in 1951.
School instruction started around at houses in about the same way as church services were held. The principal courses on the curriculum being the three “R’s”. Tradition says that upon one occasion when a barn then on the property now owned by J.W. Crosby was used for a school, disobedient pupils were made to kneel and do penance on the cobble stones beside the barn.
As far as we know, the first schoolhouse was built about 1830, for we find in the Campbell’s History that in that year there were on the Island three grammar school teachers, seventy-one district teachers and six Acadian teachers. The first school inspector received appointment in 1837.
The first teacher we know of in Meadow Bank was a Mr. McCarval. It was then customary for each family to take a turn at keeping the teacher who got their board in return for extra help given to pupils at home. The present school was built in 1877. The last teacher in the old school (which is now Mr. Fred Hyde’s workshop) was Miss Furness. The first teacher in the new school was Miss Bessie Gill.
Serving as school secretaries have been Mr. Hammond Crosby, Mr. Samuel Drake, Mr. George Boyle. The present secretary is Mr. Stanley Hyde with Mr. Robert Jewell, Mr. Stewart Drake and Mr. Victor MacPhail on the Trustee Board (1950-51).
In the minutes of the school meeting of 1897 with William Boyle as chairman and Samuel Drake, secretary, we find the sum of $30 voted for expenses and $25 for teacher’s supplement. The janitor’s pay was $6.75. Compared with this, in 1951, the teacher’s supplement is $275 and the janitor’s pay is $80.
Wood was used for fuel until 1905 when the first coal stove was purchased.
In conversation with the oldest living residents, we find that at one time, mid-week prayer meetings were held in the school, led by Mr. William Boyle. For a time, a singing school was conducted by a blind teacher, Miss Porter, who boarded at the residence of Samuel Hyde.
Since 1947, the Meadow Bank branch of Cornwall Mission Band began meeting monthly in the school with Mrs. Colin Murray. Mrs. Charles Hyde and Mrs. Sterling Clow in turn serving as leaders assisted by different women of the district.
When Jessie MacKay was teaching in Meadow Bank, she and her pupils staged a concert in Cornwall Hall. The money earned ($25) was used to buy an organ which was originally owned by Harriet (Hyde) Howard. The organ was used for Christmas concerts, Mission Band and Sunday school meetings. The organ and other articles from the school may still be seen at Jewell’s Country Gardens.
Class of 1913:
Teacher: Jack Heartz Students: Charlie Hyde, Hazel MacLean, Lottie Crosby, Charlotte Drake, Winnie MacLean, Myrtle Crosby, Marie Crosby, Lillian Hyde, Dan MacLean, Dick Drake, Cora MacLean, Helen Crosby, Ethel & Tillie Boyle, Anita Hyde, Vera Hyde, Laura Crosby.
Class of 1917: (no listing of names)
Class of 1927 (Our contribution to this story: photo gathered during Clyde River Capturing Collective Memories Project – McLean collection)
Back row: Ethel (Ling) MacPhail (teacher), Percy Boyle, Jack Crosby
Centre row: Elmer Hyde, Stewart Drake, Reigh, Ruby, Helen Scott, Freddie Scott, Hazel Boyle, Hazel MacLean, Jean MacLean, Louis MacLean (standing on own to right)
Front Row: Vernon Drake, Lulu Scott, Lloyd Scott, Louise S., Jean Boyle, Harvey MacLean, Dorothy Mac L.
Class of 1950:
Back Row: Teacher Doris (Miller) Clow Students: David MacPhail, Ruth MacPhail, Miriam yde, Blois MacPhail, Douglas Hyde, Heath MacPhail, Garth Scott
Front Row: Jean MacPhail, Vivian Drake, Eleanor Hyde, Verna MacPhail, Avard Clow, Beverley Jewell, Russel Drake, Wendall Hyde, Byron Clow.
Class of 1952 or 53: photo gathered during Clyde River Capturing Collective Memories Project – McLean collection
Back row: David MacPhail, Garth Scott, Ernest Mutch (Teacher), Miriam Hyde (Lank), Ruth MacPhail (Roggeveen), Beverley Jewell (Gillespie)
Centre Row: Eleanor Hyde (Morrison), Verna MacPhail (Clow), Wendell Hyde, Byron Clow, Jean MacPhail
Front Row: Wilma Hyde (Newson), Sharon MacLean, Doris Hyde, David Yeo
If a family owned property in a community, they had the option to send their children to that community’s school. My mother (Hazel MacLean) Beer lived on a farm where the border of Clyde River and Meadow Bank crossed through their farm. She, her older sister Jean and their younger brother Louis went to school in Meadow Bank in the early years, as you see in the 1927 photo above. They would walk through the forest as a short cut to Meadow Bank School, but then they found there were more car rides heading to Clyde River and their close cousins lived there, so they began going to Clyde River School. The bonus in winter was crossing the ice at Clyde River which made it a short trip to school. They would go down through the fields where Lorne and Sadie MacLean live now, cross the ice and head up Murray’s field. A sled made it an even faster trip.
Watch out for our next excerpt on Meadow Bank’s History.