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History of Blythe School, S.S. # 3 Verulam Township

December 1, 2023

Blythe School Students with Flag

By Anne (Hughes) Junkin

Originally Written for the Blythe School Reunion, July 26, 1981

Now 8 Red Rock Road (CKL Road 30)

The schools in Verulam Township were numbered as they were built, with the first school built called S.S. No. 1. Blythe School was the third school to be built, so it became School Section No. 3, however, this was not at the present location. It was originally built in 1854 on the east half of the first concession, Lot 18, better known as Brandon’s Farm.

In April 1907, the caretaker built a fire in the school yard to heat water to clean the school. She was working inside and never noticed the grass was burning. The school was almost totally burnt before help could arrive and all the records were burnt.

It was decided the school section was too large and it should be divided into north and south sections. The school trustees at the time of the fire were Mr. Adam Rutherford, Mr. Robert Stewart and Mr. James Slater.

A petition for the division of the section was prepared by the trustees and presented to Warden Shaver of the County Council of Victoria, by William Hetherington, councilman of Verulam Township and Mr. William Graham of the school board. A technical flaw was found in this petition so Mr. Graham and Mr. Hetherington had to secure a petition signed by the rate payers. This was done on the same day as there were the required number of rate payers in Lindsay that day. A night session was held by council and the petition was granted. The arbitrators appointed were Mr. Stevens, Public School Inspector for West Victoria, Mr. Cundle, a retired school teacher from Cameron and Mr. Dunseath, an assessor for Verulam Township. The arbitrators created two school sections. The north section was numbered 13, known as Hetherington’s School and the south section retained School Section Number 3, which was called Blythe School.

The first board of trustees for the Union School Section Number 3, Verulam, Fenelon and Sturgeon Point were Mr. William Graham, Mr. William Ellis, Mr. James Slater, Mr. John E. Ellis (Sec.-Treas.) and Mr. Alfred Slade as caretaker.

The educational instruction had to be continued until the new school was built, so an old house on the property of Mr. William Kelly was used for this purpose. In the fall of 1907, a red brick school, 36 x 26 feet was built by Felix Northey of Fenelon Falls, containing a classroom, teachers room and a boys and girls cloak room. The grounds were cleaned and a wire fence erected around the lot. New single seats were purchased and it was ready for classes in January 1908.

In 1910 the basement floor was cemented and in 1912 the woodshed and other buildings were built. The school was heated by a large wood stove encircled by tin until the early 1930s, when a wood furnace replaced the stove, then in 1957 an oil furnace was installed.

The school was lit with coal-oil lamps on brackets fastened to the walls, later it was wired for electric lighting. In 1961, a new addition was built onto the front with new lighting and bathrooms modernizing the school. The old cloakrooms and teacher’s room were removed to enlarge the classroom and new library cupboards were built. In 1963 the fire escape was constructed by Mr. Roy Umphrey.

1964 brought a great change with the school boards in the area amalgamating to form the Verulam-Bobcaygeon school area.

The schools were graded with grades 1 to 4 being taken by bus to S.S. No. 10 (Red Rock) and Grades 5 to 8 attending S.S. No. 3 (Blythe). This included S.S. No. 13 (Hetherington’s), S.S. No 10 (Red Rock) and S.S. No. 3 (Blythe). They carried on this way until a major change in 1968, when the Victoria County School Board took over all the schools in Victoria County.

In 1969, the schools in Verulam Township were sold by Public Auction on November 8th. Mary and Sydney Permutter bought Blythe School and took possession in December of 1969. They are the present owners (1981) who have renovated the school for a lovely home away from home, making it a credit to the community, with such lovely landscaping.

Most of the early teachers boarded with families living close to the school and later many teachers had their own transportation. The students participated in various activities: The school fair was a big event which was held in Fenelon Falls. All the schools would march under their own banner competing for prizes in the parade. They would also show their work—needlework, woodwork, vegetables and many more items of their own creation. This event was later discontinued.

Arbour Day was always a day to remember. Everyone would come to school with their own rakes, forks and shovels to clean the school grounds and plant flowers or trees. They would all work as fast and as hard as they could because the teacher usually gave them the remainder of the day to pick wild flowers in the woods or go fishing for ‘suckers’ in the stream.

There were also the music festivals from which Blythe pupils brought back their share of diplomas, along with spelling bees and public speaking events. Several went on to compete at advanced competitions.

Music instruction was introduced at Blythe in 1938. Some of the instructors were Mr. H. Ouelette, Mrs. S. McKinney, Mr. Bruce Cooper and Mrs. Irene Coulter. School inspectors since 1908 have been Mr. Knight, Mr. Broderick, Mr. Downey, Mr. Anderson, Mr. Lees, Mr. MacDonald and Mr. Barrett. Secretary-Treasurers were Mr. John E. Ellis, Mr. John Rutherford (served 23 years), Mr. William Graham, Mr. Howard Arscott (served 21 years), Mr. Robert White, Mr. Clayton Taylor.

The following is a list of most of the students who attended Blythe school since it was built. Due to a lack of records it is impossible to be 100% accurate and hope you will excuse any errors or omissions made in this attempt to list all the people who attended Blythe School:

Nellie Curtis

Carmen Knox

Edythe Graham

Stanley Graham

Percy Ellis

Roy Rutherford

Wendell Slater

Amy Ellis

Edgar Arscott

Ella Abbot

George Rutherford

Garnet Junkin

Hartland Junkin

Wilmot McFarland

Elmer Roberts

Mary McFarland

Howard Arscott

Dorothy Golden

Kathleen Arscott

Russel Wray

Ronald Gillis

Marvin Miller

Norine Walsh

Gladys Gray

Frank Curtis

Emma Slade

Helen Graham

Wilfrid Ellis

Harry Ellis

Russel Rutherford

Cliff Rutherford

Wilhemena Ellis

Sadie Torrence

Eva Abbot

Flossie Parker

Leslie Knox

Glenna Knox

Isabel Roberts

Jack Junkin

Victor Arscott

Mossom Junkin

Robert Wray

Wrexford Groves

Mark Wray

Murray MacKenzie

Ruby Curtis

William Earl Quigley

Hazel Ritchey

Foster Graham

Sydney Slade

Gordon Graham

Mamie Ellis

Marion Rutherford

Gerald Slater

Lila Ellis

Nellie Arscott

Gertrude Abbot

Mable Abbot

Rockwell Parker

Arnold Junkin

Douglas Junkin

Violet McFarland

Harry Arscott

Eleanor Golden

Willie Wray

Clayton Bray

Gratton Rutherford

Franklin Miller

Marjory Wray

Annie Gray

Ross Curtis

Patricia Curtis

Marjory Rutherford

June Gillis

Carson Knox

Mary Ball

Minnie Gray

Leona Arscott

Robert White

Elizabeth Knox

Betty Nicholls

Garth Nicholls

Gordon Kavanagh

Fred Barrett

Robert Taggert

Ronald Junkin

Wayne Howe

Mary Harrison

Harvey Arscott

Bruce Switzer

Grace Stegenga

Peter Grieves

Gregory Quibell

Judy Northey

Paula Shankland

Philip Quibell

Janet Belanger

Eva Dodd

James Sage

Dorothy Sine

Audrey Walker

June Kensit

Lois Martin

Doreen Graham

Ralph Stewart

William Gray

Helen Graham

Orland Ball

Stanley Minnett

Martin Flowersmith

Graham Salmela

James McBride

Beverley Nicholls

Henry Baker

Susanne Junkin

Gary Rutherford

Carolyn Howe

Bonnie Crowe

Robert Switzer

Henry Stegenga

Glen Grieves

Barry Quibell

Francis Smoke

Erma Cutting

Bernice Rutherford

Donald MacLean

Lee Coleman

Elva Crowe

Melville Goudy

John Thompson

Charles Gray

Edna Arscott

Malcolm Martin

Gertrude Ball

Donald Stewart

Laverne Sutton

Russel Patterson

Ronald Minnett

Gwen White

Gordon Hall

Bert Ringe

Althea Ball

Arnold Patterson

George Harrison

Wayne Minnett

Brenda Ball

Marion Nicholls

Edward Harrison

Judy Switzer

Norma Grieves

Garry Grieves

Linda Northey

Brenda Shankland

Buddy Grieves

George Switzer

Edgar Dodd

Bert Sage

Gordon Arscott

Edna Walker

Margaret Thompson

Ronald Precoor

Jim Graham

June Patterson

Lloyd Junkin

Edward Wells

Jim Minnett

Carolyn Ball

Dianne Gravell

Randolph Switzer

Anne Patterson

Anu Malminen

Bill Swartman

Elizabeth Junkin

Susan Smith

Ernie Ball

Teresa Quibell

Duane Johnston

Brian Stinson

Anthony House

Roger Ball

Annie Stegenga

Donald Junkin

Donna Precoor

Warren Arscott

Bonnie Tilley

Richard Switzer

Robert Wells

Marylou Patterson

John Gravell

Ethel Crowe

Karen Rutherford

Steven Whiston

Kevin Arscott

Joan Knox

John Junkin

Ronald Wilson

Debbie Ball

Grant Hall

Morris Ingram

Bill Griffin

Marion Wilson

Lawrence Morey

Virginia Quibell

Shirley Johnstone

Lynda Precoor

Roland Ball

Terry Arscott

Ted Stevens

Dale House

Elaine Rutherford

Wilhamena Gravell

Jennifer Knox

Wayne Wells

Juha Halminen

Sylvia Crowe

Lori White

Dianne Junkin

Denise Musson

Charles Stewart

Eileen Junkin

John Corbett

Bradley Griffin

Rick Musson

Gregory Everson

Kenneth Martin

Eddie Rivers

Secretary-Treasurers from January 1908 to 1963:

John E. Ellis – January 1908 to January 1909

Mr. John Rutherford January 1909 to December 1932 – 23 years of faithful service

Mr. William Graham – December 1932 to December 1939.

Mr. Howard Arscott – December 1939 to 1960.

Mr. Robert White – 1961 to 1963

Teachers:

Miss Pearl Junkin, January 1908 to December 1909 – 2 years

Miss Mabel Liggitt, January 1910 to December 1911 – 2 years

Miss Ethel Burk, January 1912 to June 1912 – ½ year

Miss Mae Kennedy, September 1912 to December 1912 – ½ year

Miss Annie Rahal, January 1913 to December 1914 – 2 years

Miss Harrington, January 1915 to Easter 1915 – 4 months

Miss Park, Easter 1915 to June 1915 – 2 months

Miss Annie Whitehead, September 1915 to December 1915 – ½ year

Miss Margaret McCallum, January 1916 to June 1916, ½ year

Miss Nyhl Hetherington, September 1916 to June 1918 – 2 years

Miss Vera Knox, September 1918 to June 1919 – 1 year

Miss Mildred Powles, September 1919 to June 1920 – 1 year

Miss Marjorie Junkin, September 1920 to June 1923 – 3 years

Miss Nora Brokenshire, September 1923 to June 1926 – 3 years

Miss Stella Patterson, September 1926 to June 1929 – 3 years

Miss Ila Captstick, September 1929 to June 1931 – 2 years

Miss Margaret Graham, September 1931 to June 1935 – 4 years

Miss Dorothy Menzies, September 1935 to June 1937 – 2 years

D.J. Campbell, September 1937 to June 1940 – 3 years

Miss Catherine Nelson, September 1940 to June 1942 – 2 years

Miss Margaret Graham, September 1942 to June 1944 – 2 years

Miss Hazel Dike, September 1944 to June 1946 – 2 years

Mr. Vernon Goheen, September 1946 to June 1947 – 1 year

Mrs. Alice Graham, September 1947 to June 1949 – 2 years. Salary $1800 per year.

Miss Betty Umphrey, September 1949 to June 1951 – 2 years

Miss Joan Creighton, September 1951 to June 1952 – 1 year

Miss Vera Palmer, September 1952 to June 1954 – 2 years

Mrs. Margaret Craig, September 1954 to June 1955 – 1 year

Mr. Bill Valentine, September 1955 to June 1957 – 2 years

Miss Aletha Johnston, September 1957 – December 1969—12 Years

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