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  • Ontario, Canada

S.S. No. 12 Crozier School

Crozier School was located on Beachburg Road.

Notes from the writings of Evelyn Price 1955, and revised for the Laurentian View Tweedsmuir Book, 1960; also published in 1984 in her book “The History of the Corporation of the Township of Westmeath”

“This school section was not organized until 1871.  The original buildings at S.S. #12 were erected in 1868 although the school section was not organized until three years afterwards.  The land for the site was donated by Adam Crozier, one of the earliest settlers, hence the name Crozier’s School. The present owner of his farm Gerald McCulloch, married his great grand-daughter Thelma Dougherty.

1912 Brick S.S. #12 Crozier Schoolhouse

“The first school was constructed of pine logs with wide pine boards for flooring. Later an upper flooring of dressed pine was laid and the outside of the school covered in clapboards.  All the seats and desks were handmade, each seating two pupils, with no regard for large or small students as all seats were the same height.

“Some of the first teacher’s salaries were low.  In fact in 1873 he received the princely sum of $178.55 but this crept up to $300 by 1877. John Griffith was the teacher at that time. Harris Brown recalled he was one of his first teachers.  He also taught in “Stoney Hill” School on the Sixth Line , Westmeath, and married Miss Mary Anne Lyttle, an aunt of Mrs. Harris Brown.

“Salaries were not always prompt in forthcoming either, as taxes were hard to collect and the teachers might have to wait some time to receive their full stipend. Joseph Keyes was tax collector in 1881 as the records show.

“The caretaking in that period left much to be desired as the first big male student arriving in the morning had the privilege of lighting the fire in the huge box stove. The wood was hauled to the school in big round blocks and split by obliging trustees. By 1886 the Board had advanced to the stage of hiring a fireman and George Crozier was appointed that year. The fire had to be lit by 8 a.m. and he received $5 per annum for doing so. David Brown was given the contract for supplying the wood in 1878  for $9.79 with the stipulation  that half be dried pine and half hardwood and subject to the teacher’s approval. Matthew McLaren got the wood the following year for only $8.75.  That same year A. Crozier was paid $3. for cleaning the school three times. A broom only cost 25¢ while a box of chalk could be purchased for a nickel. Supposing a student got reckless and broke a pane of glass it was only a dime for a replacement.

“In earlier years before the railway was built in this vicinity a great deal of the lumbermen’s supplies for Pembroke and the Upper Ottawa were drawn over the main road by farmer’s of this and other localities. As whiskey was cheap and plentiful the teamsters were often “cheerful” and sang and shouted while passing the school.  It was a trial for the boys to obey rules and refrain from jumping up to look out of the windows. The long five fingered “tawes” helped to keep all walking the straight and narrow.

“The first school served its purpose for approximately 40 years, when the red brick school was built in 1912 by Caswell Brothers, Cobden, for the contract price of $800.00.

Never Heard of a Tawes?  Ouch!!

5-finger Tawes

“The tawse, sometimes formerly spelled taws (the plural of Scots taw, a thong of a whip) is an implement used for corporal punishment. It was used for educational discipline, primarily in Scotland.

“A tawse consists of a strip of leather, with one end split into a number of tails. The thickness of the leather and the number of tails is variable. Many Scottish saddlers made tawses for local schoolmasters. The official name “tawse” was hardly ever used in conversation by either teachers or pupils, who instead referred to it as either the school strap or the belt, the normal term for an unforked implement, as worn in trousers.

“Schools used the tawse to punish pupils of either sex on the palm of the outstretched hand. Pupils were usually instructed to hold out one hand, palm uppermost, supported by the other hand below, which made it difficult to move the hand away during the infliction of the strokes. It also ensured that the full force of each stroke was taken by the hand being strapped. The punishment was usually inflicted by the class teacher in front of the class, to act as a deterrent to others.”      –  from Wikipedia.

Excerpt from Beachburg Celebrates 175 Years:  

S.S. # 12 Westmeath

“The land for the S.S. # 12 School was donated by Adam Crozier an early settler, thus named the Crozier School. The first building was made of pine logs with pine flooring. Desks were handmade all the same size, each seating two pupils. That school remained the same for forty years until a red brick building was erected by the Caswell brothers of Cobden costing $800. It had slate blackboards and more modern seating. Later electricity was installed and a wood stove replaced by an oil furnace.

The school was sold in 1965 and became the Laurentian View Women’s Institute Hall, then was put into private hands and is a family home.

“Many teachers served the community  over the years but some local ones were Ethel Collins, Ivan Crozier, Margaret Metcalfe, Mary Comrie, Phyllis Dougherty, Cora Salter, Hildred Coughlin, Emily Weedmark, Mildred McCulloch, Lydia Connors and Dawna Derouin.

“When amalgamation of schools occurred in the late 1960s, S.S. # 12 closed. Laurentian View Women’s Institute acquired the building for $1 from the Township of Westmeath /Stafford in 1966. It provided a place for meetings and gatherings for community courses and other special functions. A small kitchen replaced one bathroom but generally it remained the same. Events were usually cancelled during the winter due to heating costs. Though the ladies maintained the property for many years, upkeep soon became a task physically and financially for the aging membership. Reluctantly, it was decided to sell the property. In November 1997, Andre Lair of Beachburg purchased it. He renovated somewhat and sold it as a residence. A few owners have lived there since each making significant changes and additions.”

For further information go to Page 50,Beachburg a Rich History, Celebrating 175 years 1835 – 2010.

This excerpt from Evelyn Moore Price’s 1984 book “The History of the Corporation of Westmeath Township“, summarizes this school:

1893 School Children at S.S. No. 12
4th Row: James Kenny, John Bradley, Robert Richardson, Lorne McLean, Stephen McClelland, William Cassidy, Bella Fisher, Elizabeth Mclean, Sarah Cotnam.
3rd Row: George Cotnam, Thomas Kenny, Kathleen Fisher, Minnie Miller, Phoebe Brown, Emma Cotnam, Jessie Cassidy, Miss Mary Wright, Teacher.
2nd Row: Eliza Martin, Minnie Martin, Edith Coulter, Gwen Crozier, Mildred Kenny, Sadie McGonegal, Roxy Brown, Susie Burgess, Netta McClelland, Margaret Wilson, Mabel Wilson.
1st Row: Samuel Martin, S.J. McClelland, Thomas Burgess, William McGonegal, Charles Kelly, S.E. McClelland, Andrew Kelly, William Cotnam, Leslie Lafleur, and Gordon McClelland.
1909 School Children
1942 School Children
Back: Carland Broome, Allison Dunlop, Bernice McGonegal, Forette Price, Richard Scott
Middle: Gary McClelland, Wearl Martin, Ronald Johnson, Addison Smith, Eric Johnson, Joe Martin
Front: Marilyn Martin, Myra Smith, Shirley Martin, Lorna Cotnam, Dale McClelland. Mr. Hitsman, Teacher
1947 School Picture
1952 Class at S.S. # 12
Back: Arlene Martin, Fern Keuhl, Patsy McLaren, Sherry McGonegal, Geraldine Keuhl, Wanda McCulloch, Helen Johnson, Donna Burgess, Elaine Kenny, __ McLaren, Emily Weedmark, Teacher
Middle: Beatty McGonegal, Brian Cotnam, Douglas Kenny, Sharon Hawthorne, Eunice Keuhl, Ralph Martin, Neil McCalloch, Sheldon Martin, Larry McClelland.
Front: Murray Cotnam, Collin Kidd, Mervin Jeffery, Iverson Keuhl, David Hawthorne
1961 Class at R.R No 12
Back: Barbara Brown, Mary Derouin, Teacher, Donna Keuhl
4th Row, JC McCulloch, Claire Young, Darwin Burgess, Arlene Martin, Larry Hawthorne, Darl McCulloch
3rd Row: Gordon Johnson, Lyle Martin, Kevin Hawthorne, Larry Place
2nd Row: Danny Place, Neil Wright, Glen Martin, Lance Brown
Front: Carolyne Wright, Maureen McClelland, Linda Johnson, Ruth Labow, Judy Wright
June 1965 – Last Day of School at S.S. #12 Westmeath
Back: Dawna Derouin, Teacher, Gordon Johnson, Larry Place, Lance Brown, Kevin Hawthorne, Lyle Martin
4th Row: Linda Johnson, Judy Wright, Maureen McClelland, Carolyne Wright, Ruth Labow
3rd Row: Danny Place, Donald Johnson, Jim Labow, Neil Wright, Eleanor Kenney
2nd Row: Peggy Wright, Gail Johnson, Mary Labow, Nancy Place, Karen Johnson, Wendy Vanbeek
Front: Gary Brown, Marie Wright, Arthur Labow