The schools now to be recorded were taken into the Corporation of Oshawa, quite recently. Some of them were established during the earliest years in the life of the surrounding district. These were:
Harmony School No. 1 – 1829
Thornton’s Corners No. 5 – 1833
Cedardale – 1833
Base Line West No. 4 – 1840
These ones were established at a much later date:
North Oshawa School – 1923
Westmount School No. 10 – 1923
Bloor Street East No. 6
The first four schools mentioned, were established when the land for the homesteads was being cleared. This country of ours is indebted to those pioneers for the prosperity we enjoy today. It has taken long years to bring it to this point.
I thought it would be of interest to school students if I gave a brief account of what life was like then for the children, their homes, food, clothes and schools.
The farmers worked from dawn to dusk at the back breaking and dangerous job of clearing the land. Some of the farms were turning out very good and others were like, what the man remarked about his, “All up hill and damned stony.” Taking down the trees was a slow job with the equipment they had, an axe and a crosscut saw. More than one man lost his life by being pinned under a fallen tree.
After the trees were taken down, the land had to be cleared of undergrowth and brush and made ready for seeding. The seed was sown at first between the stumps until they could be cleared away. The stumps were pulled out by a team of oxen or when they were dry they were burned. The last method simplified the work greatly. The ground was very fertile and the crops were good in a favourable season.