The Moore school on the Beachburg Road is now a private home but that old building was dear to the heart of many children of Perretton.
“It is situated in the centre of the farming community of Perretton, so-called after the first school teacher and postmaster H.W. Perrett, who spent the last years of his life in Pembroke. It is half way between Pembroke and Beachburg.
“S.S.# 1 Westmeath is one of the oldest and largest school sections in the township. The first school site was purchased on October 18th, 1852 for the sum of seven pence, half penny. It is on Lot 24 N.F.A. and was bought from John Moore, the brother of the fist settler William Moore, Sr. It is well known throughout Renfrew County as it is a familiar polling place in elections.
“The first school was at the junction of the Beachburg-Pembroke Road and the Indian Road. It was of log construction. As time went on it was replaced by a frame building with much larger windows. The desks were double and attached to the floor.
“In the winter the seasonal attendance showed a marked increase with sometimes as high as 50 students enrolled. This necessitated three students sitting on the one seat. The teacher’s salary was a mere pittance and the teacher “boarded around” amongst the neighbours, possible staying for one month at each place.
“The old frame school was sold in 1928 to Percy Moore for the sum of $22. He converted it to a double garage and workshop. He sold the porch to Edward Wright whose farm was later purchased by Harold Jeffrey. At the back of the old school was another frame building – a woodshed. It is now on the farm of Hector Robinson.”
From 1955 in the Laurentian View Tweedsmuir Book
The school, at the heart of the community, was often the venue for other activities, such as this fund-raising social for a destitute unnamed family with seven children and no bread-winner.
“In 1928 a new school site was purchased from Henry Robinson and a brick School was erected on Cushing’s Hill by the estate f Walter Beatty of Pembroke for the sum of $5,000. Possibly the men in charge on the local school board had never studied town planning, but they had the foresight to have the new school built in a direct line with Grace United Church, which is situated a short distance from the school. The new building was a decided contrast to the old school as it was equipped with an individual seating arrangement. But the teacher’s desk, knee hole type, which was in the old school, still is in use in the new school. Modern slate blackboards were added which were a big improvement and they sufficed until 1959, when up-to-date green toned boards where installed.
“As time progressed other conveniences were added such as a Victrola, a radio, and playground equipment including swings. An upright piano was purchased prior to the 1957 concert at Christmas.
“The old school was inadequately heated with an ancient box stove round which many a pinafore was scorched and in the winter months when Jack Frost was no respecter of ink, the huge smears of blue on the ceiling bore mute testimony to the fact the boys derived a lot of fun when the ink “hit the ceiling”. This was bound to happen when ink bottles full of frozen ink where placed on the stove and the temperature rose.”
-Tweedsmuir excerpts continued.
Evelyn Moore Price in her 1984 local history, ” The History of the Corporation of Westmeath Township,” remains the best source for the early beginnings of this school. Being a Moore descendent herself, she produced the following excerpt:
2010 S.S. No. 1 School Reunion: On July 3rd, 2010, a school reunion took place that will not soon be forgotten. Over the course of the previous twelve months the organizers had contacted former S.S. No. 1 students from near and far , inviting them back to Westmeath for a long overdue School Reunion.
People were asked to submit photographs they might have of their school days and their photos, plus shots from the reunion itself, were all made available on a CD afterwards. Here are some of the group photos from through the years. Thanks to reunion organizer Diane Moore Mau for the use of the photos.