Tag Archives: Cedardale

James and Jessie Panton

James Hoyes Panton was born on May 7th, 1847 in Cupar, Fife, Scotland. He was the son of Agnes (nee Wilkie) Panton and James H. Panton. When James was but one year old, he and his five siblings came to Canada with their parents. They sailed across the Atlantic in May of 1848, a voyage that took two months!

Hardship continued to plague the Panton family throughout their lives. Only six years after arriving in Toronto, James Panton Sr. had fallen victim to cholera. He passed away in July of 1854 leaving his wife and children essentially destitute. Soon after the death of their husband and father a friend living east of Toronto extended an invitation for the family to come live with them.

The family arrived at the Oshawa harbour on November 29, 1855 and traveled 9 miles north to the village of Columbus. James got used to living in the country and began assisting local farmers transport cattle and sheep to Toronto; he developed an interest in prayer at a young age and began attending the local school. In his memoir James notes that “nothing of striking interest occurred in school life.”[1] But something must have become clear to James through these years as he spent the remainder of his life teaching and working in education.

Late in 1886 the family moved closer to Oshawa and things began looking up for the family. They lived in their house rent free, had a number of animals that James cared for and the children continued with their studies in the country school. Though they only stayed there for a year, James was promoted to the fourth book. By December of 1887 the family had yet again moved closer to town, with the school only being one mile away. “At this early age [10 years], the writer began to show signs of being a good scholar, and by the time he was twelve he had reached the proud position of the best if not the first student in the school. At twelve he had learned six books of Euclid’s elements and had a good knowledge of all the subjects taught in a rural school.”[2]

James and his younger sister Jessie continued to excel in their studies. He notes that they “usually carried off all the 1st and 2nd prizes”[3] after examinations. By 1864 James Hoyes Panton had “succeeded in getting a First Class A[4] unlimited”[5] teaching certificate. He was only 17 years old.

Mr. Panton took several teaching jobs throughout the surrounding areas during the course of his career. His first job was at S.S. No. 2 Reach, near Manchester. He was paid $220 per year but had the expense of his own board. At the end of one year, he received a raise of $60 per year. James taught at S.S. No. 2 Reach for two years before his family finally moved to Oshawa in 1866. It was at this time that he was hired as a teacher at another S.S. No. 2, this time in the village of Cedardale with an annual salary of $320. James noted that many of his students were of American descent and quite clever. In 1868 his sister Jessie was appointed his assistant teacher. Olive French notes that Jessie Panton acted as a substitute teacher for her brother when he had to be absent and that she was just a young girl then.[6]

Jessie was born in 1850 in Cupar, Fife, Scotland and had a similar upbringing to her brother, James. After her time assisting her brother at S.S. No. 2, Cedardale School, she taught at one of the Ward Schools, Mary Street. Jessie was the principal, but on officially recognized because of a “board ruling that the headmasters of the ward schools should be male teachers. Her salary was $500 per year.”[7]

By 1885, Miss Panton had become the science teacher at the Centre Street School, though she was paid $100 less. In 1890, Miss Panton had been teaching ‘natural science’, similar to her brother, for five years. Although she briefly considered leaving, the Oshawa Board raised her salary by $100 per year to keep her in the position.

Jessie Panton continued on as the science teacher at Centre Street School until 1905 when she retired. Jessie remained active in her church, St. Andrew’s United; she never married or had any children. Jessie lived at 84 Division Street, which is currently occupied by the Durham Region Courthouse.

James Hoyes Panton died in Woolwich, ON, on February 2, 1898. Woolwich is near the University of Guelph where he was a Professor of Chemistry. Jessie Panton died in Newcastle, ON, on September 6, 1932.


[1] Autobiography. James Hoyes Panton. P.7

[2] Ibid. P.12

[3] Ibid. P. 13

[4] According to Olive French, a Class A certificate meant that you could teach anywhere in the country but had to have at least five years experience. Class A standing also meant that you obtained higher marks than someone with a Class B or Class C standing.

[5] Ibid. P. 13

[6] Jessie Panton would have been approximately 18 years old.

[7] Ross, Douglas. Education in Oshawa. Alger Press. Oshawa. P.64

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The Home and School Club 1921 – 1967

The Albert Street Home and School Club was organized early in 1921. The President was Mrs. Witterick.

South Simcoe was organized their Home and School Club, January 18th, 1921

Those clubs all functioned separately but made their reports to the Central Executive, thus coordinating their work through the Central Home and School Council. The object of the clubs was and of course still is, purely educational. They rendered great assistance in providing school equipment such as pianos, gramophones, flags, etc. All of the programs given in connection with the various organizations were of an educational nature.

The following Home and School Clubs were organized later:

North Simcoe – October 16th, 1924

President – Mrs. C.H. Mundy

Secretary – Miss Helen G. Batty

Treasurer – Miss V. Lack

Cedardale early in 1924

President – Mrs. F. Robson

Ritson Road

President – Mrs. Owen D. Friend

In the year 1927, (the Jubilee year) there were only eight public schools in Oshawa. I thought it would be of interest to some people to report the names of those on the executive at that time.

The Home and School Council:

President – Mrs. R.S. McLaughlin[1]

1st Vice-president – Mrs. C.A. Kinnear

2nd Vice-president – Mrs. J.C. Young

Secretary – Miss Velma Kaiser[2]

Treasurer – Mrs. A. Hartman

Press Secretary – Mrs. B.C. Colpus.

The presidents of the eight public schools were:

King Street School – Mrs. George Morris

Centre Street School – Mrs. B.C. Colpus

Ritson Road School – Mrs. Owen D. Friend

North Simcoe Street School – Mrs. H. Smith

Albert Street School – Mrs. Jones

South Simcoe Street School – Mrs. J.V. Johnston

Cedardale School – Mrs. Frank Robson

Mary Street School – Mrs. F. McLaughlin

Oshawa has made a tremendous growth since 1927 and many more schools have been added to the list. The school sections of the surrounding district had realized the value of the Home and School Clubs and had organized their own. Hot lunches were one of the conveniences installed by them in the rural schools.

In the year 1951, all of the schools surrounding Oshawa were taken in by the corporation. Cedardale was annexed shortly after 1927. Most of these schools had their own very active Home and School Associations.

For some time now Home and School clubs have been called, Home and School Associations. Some of the Roman Catholic schools have P.T.A. (Parent and Teacher Associations). As of 2011, the Durham District School Board has what is known as School Community Councils.

School Community Councils (SCC’s) have always been a vital part of our school communities, providing strong links between home and school to create a positive learning environment for students.

SCC’s are comprised of parents, school staff, students and community members who work together to support student achievement. SCC members are elected by the school community, within the first 30 days of the school year, and work together to advise the principal on matters related to the school.

The Parent Involvement Committee supports SCC’s by providing them with resources, professional development, and support. The committee is comprised of parent representatives from SCC’s throughout Durham, Trustees, School and Board staff.

Regional SCC meetings are conducted throughout the year to provide SCC members an opportunity to attend workshops and exchange ideas.[3]

For a number of years the Ontario Federations of Home and School are represented on most educational committees in the province. The Home and School Associations in the city can take the credit for having been very influential in getting musical training started in the schools.

A Home and School Association was organized at O.C.V.I. on March 19th, 1934.

At the present time the Associations are all as busy as they were in the past with projects in their own separate districts. The needs of the schools have changed in later years; the Board of Education now provides more extras for classroom use. Field trips for pupils in Grade VII and VIII are now being sponsored. Sports equipment is still one of the items high on the list. Efforts are being made to explain to the people the trends of modern education through speakers, panels of discussion and films; also questions pertaining to youth, such as drugs, alcohol, smoking and anything that is detrimental to health.

The presidents of the Home and School Council in this our Centennial year (1967) were Mrs. Carl Creamer from January to June and Mrs. Richard A. Donald from June to December.

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Cedardale School No. 2

Cedardale holds the honour of having had two homes of the oldest residents in the district taken over by the Oshawa Museum.

 There seems to be little information available in connection with the history of Cedardale School. I have written to the archives in Toronto for the dates when the first schools were established. Their reply was they had none. In early years the district near the lake at the foot of “Skae’s Road” now Simcoe Street was called Port Oshawa. Judging from the fact that a few families were there at the time, it would be safe to say that the first school, a log one was established in the very early part of the last century. It was described as having “ran parallel to the hamlet of Oshawa and the lake shore.” The next school was a small brick one room school erected in 1833, on the same site. It faced Simcoe Street. The attendance was small.

When the Scythe Works was established where the Tannery is now, it brought more people to the district.

By the year 1867, the school attendance had increased and a two room red brick school was built on or near the same site. It was on the west side facing Simcoe Street. The School Section No. 2 was established in 1868.

In those early years, there was not a house built on Simcoe Street from Cedardale north to the McGrigor home on Royal Street, it was all bush. Mr. Panton (known as “Professor Panton”) taught in Cedardale School in the late 1860’s. A brother of Miss Jessie said that when he had to be absent for any reason, Miss Panton took charge of the school. She was only a young girl then.

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Schools taken into the Corporation

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.

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