Every week, I share an excerpt from my Great Aunt’s book, As the Story is Told: A History of Morpeth and Community, which was printed in 1986. This week we start a new section on the region’s schools. Note that Howard-Harwich-Moravian is where I spent 9 years of my schooling from Kindergarten to Grade 8.
School Section Number One Howard (Trinity)
The very early records of this school section have been destroyed. Just when and where the first school was held is uncertain, but historians venture to say there were classes held soon after 1812.
The following statement was published in the Dominion of Canada Atlas 1881:
“A log school house, the first south of the Thames settlement was built on Lovell Harrison’s farm, Talbot Street, where one Eastman first presided as pedagogue, being followed in that capacity by a gentleman named Boyd.
The Harrisons settled on Lot 88 T.R.S. in 1815.
The first school on record was on the corner of the Westcott farm, Lot 81 T.R.S. Only the families, who had children going to the school, paid anything towards the teacher’s salary and they contributed only in proportion to the number of children they had attending. In addition to the small amount of money paid, the teacher boarded at the different homes. In 1880 the teacher, Miss Elizabeth Smith of Morpeth, received a salary of two hundred seventy dollars. A few years later the teacher’s salary was changed to one dollar for each teaching day.
After a time, the school building was moved onto the Scarlett property, Lot 81 T.R.N. It was here only a short time, when on Christmas Eve 1877 it was burned to the ground. It is suspected that it was set on fire, for there had been plenty of discussion as to where the school was to be; no one seemed to want it on their property.
After the school burned some definite settlement had to be made as to where the new school was to be erected. After considerable lawing a site was bought from Matthew Wilson for approximately five hundred dollars.
As the years passed changes and improvements were made to the school. In 1914 gas was piped in for heating. The fence and step were erected in 1926 and hydro installed in 1930. Inside washrooms were added in 1936 to further modernize the school.
A change in our educational system came in 1967 when the Howard-Harwich-Moravian, a new central school for the rural area was built. Its official opening by the Minister of Education for Ontario, the Honourable William G. Davis, was on October 4, 1967. During this special ceremony, the prayer of invocation for the new building was given by Rev. John Wood, minister of Morpeth United Church.
With the opening of the new school all the rural schools of the area were closed and sold at a public auction. S.S. No. 1 Howard was sold on July 18, 1967 and is now the home of Mrs.W. M. Winnis.