poetry and prose about place

early schooling – finding the one room schools

with 4 comments

I am continuing to find interesting information in the Annual Report of the Schools of New Brunswick 1888 (Fredericton, 1889). This report includes information on the number of one room school houses in the late 1800s. Although the numbers are for all schools, you can see, by comparing the numbers of teachers to the numbers of schools, most schools had only one room.


Statistics on Schools in Four Counties of New Brunswick as of December 31, 1887

County Number of Schools Number of Teachers Number of Students Number of Boys Number of Girls
York 167 178 5558 2811 2746
Sunbury 46 48 1050 553 497
Queens 85 87 2196 1088 1108
Kings 155 161 4552 2303 2249
All Counties 1542 1613 55492 27888 27604


One of the things I want to do in my new project is visit a number of the schools still standing in four counties in the lower Saint John River watershed (Kings, Queens, Sunbury and York Counties). I’ll also visit some locations where schools once stood but are now gone.


Finding these schools by driving the roads is a rather inefficient approach. So how do I find the whereabouts of over 400 one room schools? To start, the location of every school in Kings County in 1862 is known from the Walling Map.  For more information on this map, see


I have also found a valuable resource in a book I found for sale at : Diana Moore and Andrea Schwenke. New Brunswick Schools: A Guide to Archival Sources. Acadiensis Press: Fredericton, 1992. The Guide provides information on where to find various sources for early schooling in New Brunswick. I will be consulting some of these:

  • a scrapbook by Marion Johnston Dunphy who photographed 150 schools from 1974 to 1984 (The One Room Schools of New Brunswick and What Became of Them).
  • a list of one room schools in Kings County in 1983 prepared by The Kings County Retired Teachers Association
  • old school records in the Provincial Archives and the Archives of the Saint John Museum
  • diaries of people who taught school, for example C. Gordon Lawrence (Tracy School, Sunbury County, 1903 – 1962)
  • various exercise books, workbooks and school registers from the 1800s


May 19, 2016 'recess' Jane Tims


The first of many drawings about days at the one room school. I think I should take a course on drawing people. They look a little bored.


Copyright Jane Tims 2016

Written by jane tims

May 25, 2016 at 7:00 am

4 Responses

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  1. Fascinating, Jane. We lose (yet gain) so much.

    Liked by 1 person


    May 25, 2016 at 8:06 am

    • Yes, old schools are like so much ‘ephemera’ we humans produce, depend on and then have to let go. Jane


      jane tims

      May 25, 2016 at 8:52 am

  2. After reading this post I tried searching “one room schools in Connecticut” instead of searching the town where my father grew up. Got many more hits… You’ve set me off on a new journey, Jane!

    I like the idea of putting children in the drawings – brings history more to life.

    Liked by 1 person

    Barbara Rodgers

    May 25, 2016 at 7:24 am

    • Hi Barbara. Great! Do you have a state archives? If they are like staff here, they will have a good idea of what information is available. As I said in my post, my children look a little bored, but I agree that putting them in drawings will help me to think of these as ‘active’ spaces … Good for the poetry! Let me know what information you turn up. Jane


      jane tims

      May 25, 2016 at 7:47 am

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