poetry and prose about place

Schools of New Brunswick in 1888

with 7 comments

I love beginning a new project … love learning, love doing the research, love the dusty old books holding the information.


A project about the old schools of New Brunswick won’t be totally new to me. I grew up hearing the stories my Mother told about teaching in one-room schools. In University, I wrote a research paper about school in the 1800s and how schools were situated in the community and in the landscape. And I am always interested in older buildings and how they survive in the built landscape.


location of schools near Salt Springs, Kings County, New Brunswick in 1886

location of some schools in Upham Parish, Kings County in 1862, showing the effects of linear settlement on school location (map shown is from H.F. Walling, Topographical Map of the Counties of St. John and Kings New Brunswick, 1862)


My first step to research this topic was to take a drive in the countryside, to find some old schools (see post for April 26, 2016). My next step is to do some more reading about the school system in the nineteenth century.


I began with an old book, not dusty at all, but available on-line at Google Books (  Annual Report of the Schools of New Brunswick 1888 (Fredericton, 1889) by the Chief Superintendent of Education.


In 1888 there were 1,532 schools in New Brunswick. Some of these would have been larger schools, but the majority were one room schools in rural settings. There were 1,587 teachers and 59,636 pupils. Only 50% of these students were ‘daily present’ during the time the school was in session –  “…falls far short of what it ought to be …” reports the Superintendent! He suggested that teachers could help a lot if they would “… carefully inquire into the cause of every absence …”


P494-23 Carters Point School Kingston Penninsula

children and teacher at Carter’s Point School on the Kingston Peninsula (Source: Provincial Archives of New Brunswick)



The report contains over 1000 pages and lists the classes given most often:

Reading, Spelling, Recitations

Oral Lessons on Morals

Physical Exercise

Health, including Temperance


Print Script


Number Standards/ Arithmetic


Useful Knowledge (for example Plant Life)


I love the description of the Health instruction:

pure air, sunlight, good water,
wholesome food, proper clothing, cleanly and temperate habits, avoidance of draughts,
and the sudden checking of perspiration, dry feet, etc.


I think I will go check my perspiration and feet …


cumberland bay school 4


Copyright 2016  Jane Tims




7 Responses

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  1. lol! “Sudden” checking, too, not leisurely. 😀 I think we could take a lesson from the Health instruction, even today.

    Liked by 1 person


    April 18, 2016 at 1:24 pm

    • My husband says it’s very important to keep your feet dry. He didn’t think it was funny at all. Whoops, gotta go, check my feet (suddenly) …


      jane tims

      April 18, 2016 at 1:30 pm

      • Like your husband, this makes perfect sense to me. When I was a child I was always told to be sure to wear boots and to keep my feet dry so I won’t catch a cold. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person


        April 19, 2016 at 7:49 am

  2. That’s an unexpectedly funny ending. People a hundred years from now are bound to find that some of our concerns today are funny and bizarre.

    Liked by 1 person

    Steve Schwartzman

    April 18, 2016 at 9:15 am

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