Marion Johnston Dunphy turned her passion for one-room
schools into a very special scrapbook
|A fascination with one-room schools led Marion Johnston Dunphy to photograph and compile information on many of these disappearing buildings. A copy of her scrapbook is in the Library and Archives at the New Brunswick Museum, Douglas Avenue, Saint John, N.B.|
Mum insisted we eat a hearty breakfast - Our brain food meal, she called it. In her opinion, no child could do well on school work with an empty stomach. She always tucked a little snack into our book bags for us to eat at recess time.
Today I was lucky as I was going to have two snacks. It was my turn to go at recess with a partner to get a pail of water from the water puncheon in Gramp's porch.
As Harold and I walked toward the house, swinging the pail, we wondered what kind of cookies Aunt Sadie would give us. I was hoping for one of her big white sugar cookies with jam in the centre. Harold wished for one of her molasses cookies. As soon as we entered the porch, she met us and handed us each a hot sugared doughnut.
Harold dipped the pail into the water puncheon and filled it to the brim. With the handle grasped tightly in our hands, we started back to school, munching on the hot doughnuts. Sugar smeared our faces liberally. Luckily we walked in unison as no water slopped down my boots.
Once we arrived at school, the pail of water was placed on a corner shelf at the back of the room. The tin dipper that hung on the wall served as a drinking cup to us all. There was no water fountain in the hall in those days.
As a pre-schooler, Marion Johnston Dunphy dreamed of attending the one room school at Ketepec, but by the time she started grade one, a new two room school had been built. When Marion started her teaching career in 1965, many one room schools had already been closed and by 1967 the doors were shut on the remaining 285. Although her dream of teaching in a one room school was not fulfilled, her strong interest in them continued. From 1974 to1984 she photographed 150 of these buildings and thus began her scrapbook. Once her project became known, many friends and colleagues contributed photographs and personal information.
She not only collected pictures of the schools, she did research into Education in New Brunswick She spent hours pouring over the Reports of School Superintendents and any other school related references she could find.
Shortly after the Loyalists arrived, they began to make plans for the free education of all children. Amazingly it took nearly one hundred years to accomplish the Common Free School Act in 1871 that brought standardized regulations, by 1899 there were approximately 1600 one room school buildings in New Brunswick.
After spending ten years of researching, Marion Dunphy deposited a copy
of her scrapbook, "The One Room Schools of New Brunswick and What Became
of Them" in the Library and Archives of the New Brunswick Museum, Douglas
Ave., Saint John where it can be viewed.
Other sources for research of schools:
The publication ‘New Brunswick Schools: A Guide to Archival Sources' by Diana Moore and Andrea Schwenke under the direction of Ernest Forbes is a compilation of school related material held in twenty-four repositories in New Brunswick and contains much useful information.
At the Saint John Free Public Library there are several microfilm reels of school records.
Researching, Remembering and Reliving might be considered the three Rs of an ancestor's school days that will lead us to a better understanding and insight of the days of their youth.
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Meirs - Mears: My Great-great-great grandmother is believed to be Ann Meirs, born in 1785 in Saint John. She was listed on a New Jersey census showing she was a widow living with her daughter and son-in-law Michael and Elizabeth Meirs Moore. I would be interested in corresponding with anyone who is researching the Meirs - Mears Family.
-Betty Wiese. E-mail to email@example.com.
Lawrence - Craig - Johnston: I am looking for information concerning William Lawrence, who was born in1888 in England He came with a sister and a baby in a carriage from England to Quebec where he was adopted by a William Charles Craig and Mary (Johnston) Craig, who at that time resided in Woodstock, New Brunswick.
-Pam Craig. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Baxter - Johnston: I am looking for any information on James and Margaret Baxter, who were both born in Ireland in 1793. They arrived in Saint John in 1819 and settled in Simonds Parish on the Quaco Road. The information that I have indicates they had the following children: Alexander (1822) - my Great-great-grandfather, who was married on Jun.18, 1847 to Margaret Johnston, also of the Quaco Road; John (1827); George (1828); Joseph (1831); Elizabeth (1833). I would like to know the part of Ireland from which they came and the date of their arrival to New Brunswick. When and where they were married. If there were other children. Most of all where they were buried. Anything else known about them would be appreciated.
-A. C. Pettengill;Box 171, Brewster, MA., USA, 02171. E-mail to email@example.com.
Burgar - Nelson: Peter Burgar was a Loyalist. His wife was Ann Nelson. There is a possibility they were in New Brunswick before settling in Ontario. Does anyone have information on their being in N.B.?
-Cary Burgar. E-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Ruby M. Cusack is a genealogy buff.
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