Back in the early 1870’s a young Scot by the name of John Kenneth Mclvor, came to Manitoba when he was 29 years old. He married Maryanne Corrigal and on a homestead, in what is now called Kirkness,
they raised a large family: Olive, Mary, Flora Magdaline, Kenneth James, Christina Alice, Catherine, Donald, Wilena, John Angus, Wlm. Lancelot, and Gladys Rosemont.
Mr. Mclvor felt there was a great need for a school in the area not only for his own children but the children of other families who had moved into the district. He made many a trip into Wpg. by ox cart through swamp, bush and rough trails trying to urge the Dept. of the necessity of a school for the area. The Dept. stipulated that there must be an enrollment of at least 10 pupils or more before the request could be considered.
Finally approval was given and in 1885 (Sept. 9) the school district of Ash field No. 428 was officially opened for the spring term of 1887 with an enrollment of I I boys and 8 girls. The first teacher in charge was Miss Nellie Collier.
The Dept. was very impressed with the young Scot, J.K. Mclvor, and left to him the naming of the school. Lt was he who named it “Ash field” after his home in Ontario ( Bruce County) which was located on the shores “off Lake Huron.
The Secretary Treasure’s over the year were: J.W. Sutherland, M.B Kierkness, John McMurchy and William T. Gowryluk. Mr. McMurchy servrd during the years 1922 to 1943, while Wlm. T. Gowryluk performed th Treasury duties from 1943 up to consolidation time in 1966.
The school trustees for the district were; Mr. John K. Mclvor, J.A Sutherland, Ed McMurchy, Rod Corrigal, John Mcleod, Stanislaw Jablonski, M.B. Kirkness, John Donalyuk, Colin Cox, Macori Horanski, Wlm. Moore,
John McMurchy, Donald Mclvor, J. Droto, J. Gowryluk, Mike Gowryluk, Magnus Kirkness, Alfred E. Cox, John Fewchuk, John Polenski, Leslie Mazur, Wlm. Herda, Wlm. Pihulak, S. Hnatiuk, Harry Mazur, Mike
Kolynchuk, Mrs. Kate Hrabi, Frank Florko, Sam Hnatuik, Ronald Swanson and Harry Gowerluk.
At the time of consolidation in Jan. 1966 the Board Members were: Harry Gowerluk, John Sellen, S. Hnatiuk and Wlm Gowryluk, John Sellen, S. Hnatiuk and Wlm. Gowryluk.
Back in 1887, the student count was 19, while 1906 it reached 23 ( 11 boys and 12 girls ) . During the year 1911 the boys numbered 30 while the girls totalled only 16.The peak enrollment for the school appears to be in the year 1925/26, when 74 student were registered ( 36 boys and 38 girls) From records it would appear that the average distance that students had to walk to school was about 1 ¾ miles. The school was located earlier on Se ¼ of 9-13-5E and was of frame construction. There was 1 globe, 11 maps and 84 sq. feet of blackboard.
In the year 1911 it was to be noted that there were some 90 school age children living within the Ashfield boundary but only 46 were attending school. As an example, only 16 attended in Oct, while Nov. and Dec. found 36 in the classroom. By May, 1913 only 12 out of the 42 were attending regularly.
In the year 1914 the biggest complaint from parents was that no nature study was being provided.
In Sept. 1919 and much of Oct. the school was officially closed for lack of attendance due to threshing and potatoes digging. There does not appear to be closure for this reason prior to that date. However, attendance was always poor during harvest but not sufficiently so to close the doors.
The Spring of 1922 was a year of blizzard and Measle epidemic for Ashfield. In 1922, they spent $ 85.60 on fuel and only $18.61 on school supplies. Friday, Jan. 5, 1923, there was “ no fire or heat” in the school.
According to records, Ashfield planted several trees on arbor Day: 11 trees were planted in 1915/16, 24 trees planted in 1934/ 35, 24 Spruce and 25 Maple trees were planted in 1935/ 36 and in 1937, 22 trees were planted.
Some of the School Inspectors who visited regularly were: Inspector H. Connolly, A.f. Kerr and W.S. Patterson, etc.
During a very troubled financial time Mr. Ira Stratton became the official trustee taking over the treasury from M. B Kirkness in 1917 and eventually handing over the work load to John McMurchy early in the year 1922.
However, Mr. McMurchy had quite a time of it, because the school district was indebted to the bank of Hamilton and the Munc. Was having difficulty collecting taxes within the district, much of it being arrears. According to the School Act the Munc. Was obliged on the 31 st of Jan.. following to pay over the whole of the balance due to the trustees, whether the necessary amount had been fully collected from the taxes leveid or not. In other words, any debt of Ashfield became a legal debt of the munc.
According to the records when the 1923 levy was received, St. Clements still owned $457.00 from the 1922 levy. On March 13, 1924, the Munc. Owed the Ashfield S. D about $ 1,746.95. The taxes aoutstanding within the school district as of Dec. 31, 1923, amounted to $ 3,913.91 with only about $ 1,000 paid into the munc. For schools. The boundary being leveid for Ashfield was the outer 2 miles of Lots 105a to 166A and the outer 2 miles of Lots 117 to 120 in the Parish of St. Clements, Outer 2 miles of Lots 132 to 163 in the Parish of St. Andrews was well as Section 3,4,5,6,7,8,9,10, in tp. 13-5E.
And as Thomas Bunn told the Hamilton Ban Manager, as well as the Deputy Minister of Education (R. Fletcher) re: Ashfield arrears in taxes:
“The fact remains that you cannot draw blood from a stone and if the taxpayers fail to pay the taxes and the Banks refuse to finance the municipality it makes it rather difficult to carry out the conditions of the Public School
Act. ” For almost 20 years Ashfield went through a financial tug and pull and on Feb. 10, 1944 the Board of Trustees passed By-Law No. 6 authorizing the execution of a release to the R.M. of St. Clements – whereby all arrears and levies up to Dec. 31, 1942 would be wiped out upon the payment of $265.25 to the said school.
In 1917 the school was moved I mile West and renovations were carried out. In 1951 the old school building was sold and a new school built. Bylaw No. 1- 51 of Ashfield S.D. No. 428 created a debenture debt of $12,500 to erect a new one-room school with attached teacherage.
Ashfield School District No. 428 was dissolved by Bylaw No. 1686 of the R.M. of St. Clements and all its lands transferred to the Consolidated School District of Happy Thought No. 1452, effective Jan. 1, 1966.
Also, we should mention that Mr. Colin Doroschuk taught for several years and on Jan. 24, 1964 by Minister’s orders, the school was respectfully closed at the time of his death. Mr. Doroschuk had been teaching about 40 years.
As to salaries, early staff received only $100 per year and this was gradually increased to about $400 in the early 1900’s, and further increases brought the wages up to about $60 per month by the end of the First World War, Ashfield School – Teacher, Miss Cherniak, 1949. Mrs. Catherine (Tena) Tina Crove (Wiens) when she taught at Ashfield ran 1920121 had a class of 4l (20 boys and 2l girls) (Grade l-7) and she was scheduled to receive just over the $1,000 for her term. Tena was the wife of Frederick Philip Grove (1879-1948) who has been classified as a leading Canadian novelist and essayist portraying prairie pioneer life. It has been stated that Mr.
Grove devoted all his time to writing and that much of his productive writing was done during Jan. to June, 1920 while residing at Ashfield.
Here for your information is a list of some of the teachers who dedicated their time and energy toward educating the children of the Ashfield S.D. No. 428, and a few photographs that should revive some fond memories:
Nellie Collier 1887-1888
Bella Horn 1889
Nellie Hislop 1889
Myrtie Armstrong 1889 1890
Sarah A. Craig 1890 1892
Ne1lie Collter 1892
Tillie Couch I892
J.W. Cleveiand 1893
Ella Flanagan 1893 1894
Martha Murphy 1894-1895
Kale Lucy 1895-1896
J.A. Broatch 1897
M.ti- Scoular 189?
Mary E. Albriu 1898-1899
Maggie M. Foster 1900-1901
Benjamin Lang l90l
Aggie Gestern l90l
Celia E. Mitchell 1905
Jessie A. Graham 1905
Lilian Delaware 1906 1907
Charlotte L. MacDonald 1907
Frederick V. Bird 1908
Lena G. Cook 1908-1909
M. Mclemman 1909
Irene Ramsay l9l0-l9l I
E.S. Jickling 1910
Mary G. Pearson l9l I
D.S. Morgan l9l3-1914
Grace Rolston l9l5-1916
D.E. Morgan 19l5
E.C. Loucit l9l7
Violet P. Rins 1917 l9l9
Mrs. A.E. Baldwin l9l9
Mrs. T. Grove 1920-1921
Annie Bro Ryan l92l
A. Brockman 1922
Vida L. Macdonald 1923-192J
Eleanor C. Fisher 1925-1926
E. Arnason 1926 1929
Daniel McWilliams 1929,1930
tsabella Heien Dresser 1930-1932
Mrs. May lrving Davidson 1932-1936
Andrew Danyleyko 1936-1938
Harry H. Mclntosh 1938-1941
Miss Jean Parfaniuk 1941
Mrs. Jean Hollinger 1942-1946
Peter Andrew Boyko 1946
Alberra Louella Hendy 1947-1949
Polly Cherniak 1949,1953
Mrs. Edmie L. Silvester 1953-1954
Colin Doroschuk 1954-1963
Rose Doroschuk 1964-1965
Judy Pidstawko l965
and then consolidation into the Happy Thought School.
Ashfield School Division No. 42