Harmony School No. 1 (1871 – 1920)

In 1871, a law was passed in Ontario declaring that all common (Public) schools must be free. Oshawa and Harmony were ahead of the Department of Education in this matter, by a few years.

The pump on the school grounds seemed to have been out of business quite a number of times. It must have been either the fault of the pump or the children. There [are?] bills of repairs that had to be paid.

Also it was recorded that Harmony school was receiving money from Clergy Reserves. In 1869 it was $36.00. It was said to have been getting less all the time, the last payment recorded was in 1905.

It was not until May of the year 1870 that the new school that Mr. Reazin recommended at the public exam was planned. It was of brick and was completed in 1871, but it did not have the gallery that he suggested.

Mr. W. H. Scott was hired as teacher in the school in 1872, at a salary of $400 per annum. He was in the school for fifteen years, altogether. The following item appears in the minutes of the school board meeting, December 28th, 1881, “Mr. W. Scott, teacher in the school 15 years out of the last twenty five, he has served to the satisfaction of the school section and it is thought fit at this annual meeting to mark our approval of his course as teacher and Christian ‘Carector’ [sic.] while among us. – John O. Clifford, Secretary”

Mr. Scott was also given written praise for this work among the students by visiting dignitaries at various times.

The next item of interest was recorded in the minutes of the trustee meeting on November 20th, 1876. “Moved by A. M. Farewell and seconded by W. T. Farewell that this school section does give their consent to the erection of a public hall on the site of the school property (Carried).” Later at the same meeting it was “moved by A. W. Farewell and seconded by George W. Young that the said hall be located on the south side of the present large entrance gate (Carried).” Calston Horn and Charles White were appointed as trustees of the hall. The school section was to pay the janitor.

Many happy hours were spent by both the young and old of those days. School and Sunday school concerts, community parties and dances, singing schools were held there. Also there was a non-denominational Sunday school which held services in the hall.

It was noted that it took ten cords of wood to heat school building at a cost of $2.50 per cord. That amount lasted for a year. By the year 1884, the price had gone up to $3.50 per cord. In 1891, the wood burning stove was replaced by a coal heater. In 1904 a furnace was installed.

At the school meeting on January 15th, 1884, it was moved by A.W Farewell and seconded by R. Mackie “that notices hereby be given that in one year from date, the oldest in the office of trustees will retire and another one be elected for three years. (Carried) – Signed Lewis Drew, Secretary”

On December 26th, 1884, a school meeting was held and it was moved by Mr. R. Mackie and seconded by R. Hinton that the trustees have another year to report on the land grabbing scheme by John McClellen. Land grabbing and expropriation which is the plague of peoples’ lives these days was apparent then, so it seems.

In 1890, trees were planted around the school property and those same trees were not taken down until this year [1967], when age made them unsafe. For a centennial project, the pupils and staff bought and planted ornamental shrubs.

On December 28th,1910, it was stated that Mr. J. Cinnamon, had present the school with a handsome library. A hearty note of thanks was extended to him for his gift and also for his many years of service during his term of office as school trustee.

By the year 1914 urban sprawl began to catch up with the community of Harmony. It was found that more class room space was needed for the school. The Community hall was then declared the property of the school section and it was fitted up for that purpose. An assistant teacher was hired.

It was noticed in the minutes of the school board meeting in 1919, that overcrowding was again catching up to the school and something would have to be done about it.


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