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The rural school problem in British Columbia in the 1920s Stortz, Paul James 1988

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T H E R U R A L S C H O O L P R O B L E M IN B R I T I S H C O L U M B I A IN T H E 1920s by P A U L JAMES STORTZ B.A., Lakehead University, 1982 B.A.(Hons.), York University, 1984  A THESIS S U B M I T T E D IN P A R T I A L F U L F I L M E N T O F THE REQUIREMENTS FOR T H E D E G R E E OF MASTER OF ARTS  in T H E F A C U L T Y OF GRADUATE STUDIES Social And Educational Studies  We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard  T H E U N I V E R S I T Y O F BRITISH C O L U M B I A April 1988  © Paul James Stortz, 1988  In  presenting  degree  at  this  thesis  in  partial  fulfilment  the University  of  British  Columbia,  freely available copying  of  department publication  for reference  this or of  thesis by  this  and study.  for scholarly  his thesis  or  her  of  I agree  I further  purposes  agree  gain shall  It  is  ^ o O t c  The University of British 1956 Main Mall Vancouver, Canada V6T 1Y3 Date  3-2. U^rcL,  +  fcrPoCtqTicwa^  Columbia  1^58  that  s TV^"  for  the Library permission  advanced  an shall for  make  that without  it  extensive  by the head  understood  not be allowed  permission.  Department of  that  may be granted  representatives.  for financial  the requirements  of my  copying  or  my written  Abstract  This thesis examines rural schools in British Columbia in the 1920s.  Part I  (Chapters I and II) discusses difficulties in reforming rural schools generally, and offers an overview of conditions teachers faced in the province's one-room schools. Part II (Chapters III and IV) is a case stud}' of a region in north-central interior of the province. School conditions and the isolated communities in which the schools were located are studied, bringing to the fore the complexity of rural school reform. sources was  A wide range of  used, primarily Department of Education documents both printed and  manuscript which were authored by officials, reformers, inspectors, and teachers. All of these documents are available in the Provincial Archives in Victoria. Local histories, Census of Canada, and a limited number of oral interviews with former teachers were also used. The  rural schools in British Columbia in the 1920s were "inefficient."  Pupil  retardation in one-room schools was rife, and Department of Education officials saw the teacher, the manager of the schoolhouse,  as responsible for the problem.  Her  unpreparedness for remote school work prompted officials to advocate the creation of "rural-minded" teachers who  could readily adapt to rural living. This proposal  ultimately stillborn, seriously flawed by the reality of rural school teaching.  was The  majority of teachers were young, single, female teachers placed in a working and living environment which required physical strength and stamina to meet hardship, as well as mental agility in sensitive inter-personal relationships with community members.  The  normal school had no hope for success in training teachers to overcome such obstacles. Reform was especially misguided because the remote communities in which the schools  were located were often impoverished, scattered, and transient, and school conditions were greatly affected by the resulting lack of money and fluctuating pupil enrolment. The  pervasiveness of these circumstances was largely overlooked by the inspectors  whose brief visits to each school was for pedagogical supervision, and especially by officials viewing the province's hinterland from offices in Victoria. This thesis raises some important questions as to the lack of knowledge urban-minded administrators exhibited of economic and informal political activity in rural communities, and the many problems associated with implementation of Department of Education policies at the local level. As well, the role of community members is highlighted, in particular the influence of their actions on school conditions. Significantly, much of the thesis takes the perspective of the teacher. Her experiences give context to the study of school and community and demonstrate that the solution to the rural school problem was much more complicated than their merely becoming "rural-minded."  Table of  Contents  Abstract  ii  List  Of T a b l e s  vi  List  Of F i g u r e s . . . .  vi  L i s t Of Maps  vi  Acknowledgements  ix  Introduction  1  Part  I : The  R u r a l School Problem  in British  Columbia,  1920-1930  Chapter  I . The  R u r a l School Problem, Sources  1920-1925  5 8  Chapter  I I The  R u r a l School Problem,  1925-1930  28  Part  I I : The  S c h o o l s i n The  B r i t i s h Columbia N o r t h - C e n t r a l  I n t e r i o r : T e r r a c e To  Chapter  Vanderhoof  I I I . S e t t l e m e n t And S c h o o l s Overview Sources E c o n o m i c A c t i v i t y From The U p p e r S k e e n a R i v e r To The N e c h a k o V a l l e y , 1900-1930 The E s t a b l i s h m e n t Of S c h o o l s , 1 9 0 6 - 1 9 3 0 . . .  iv  53 53 57 60 70  Table of Contents  C h a p t e r I V . The  C h a p t e r V.  One-Room S c h o o l s Teacher T r a n s i e n c y The S c h o o l s Community P o l i t i c s  Conclusion  (con't)  88 88 98 109 123  Select Bibliography  133  V  L i s t of  T a b l e 1.  Tables.  S c h o o l A c t i v i t y On  a Yearly  Bas  List  of Figures  Figure  1. Number Of A l l S c h o o l s I n The D i s t r i c t 1906-1930  Figure  2. One-Room V e r s u s M u l t i - R o o m 1915-1930  Figure  3. T o t a l E n r o l m e n t  By Y e a r ,  S c h o o l s I n The D i s t r i c t , 80  I n The D i s t r i c t ,  1915-1930  F i g u r e 4. P e r c e n t a g e Of One-Room S c h o o l T e a c h e r s , F e m a l e V e r s u s M a l e , 1915-1930  Figure  79  82  92  5. P e r c e n t a g e Of M a r r i e d Women One-Room S c h o o l T e a c h e r s I n The D i s t r i c t , 1915-1930 ........93  vii  List  Map 1. The N o r t h w e s t Map 2. B r i t i s h  o f Maps  C e n t r e Of B r i t i s h  Columbia  Columbia  Census S u b d i s t r i c t s  1931  61  8 e, f , and g, 62  Map 3. S c h o o l s I n The D i s t r i c t ,  1906-1930  Map 4. S p r e a d Of S c h o o l s I n The  District  74  i.  1906-1914  75  ii.  1915-1917  76  iii  1918-1920  ....77  i v . 1921-1923. Map 5. R u r a l S c h o o l s I n The D i s t r i c t ,  viii  1930  78 83  Acknowledgements  I would like to express my appreciation especially to my committee for their help and support in the completion of this thesis: Jean Barman, whose comments were unfailingly provocative; special thanks to Bill Bruneau for taking me on as an advisee for a year and helping make the thesis at least visually acceptable; and J.D. Wilson, whose guidance was crucial to all aspects of this work. I would also like to thank Peter Ward in the History Department as well as Frank Echols for their constantly helpful suggestions particularly in the important early stages of research.  My gratitude is extended to all.  Ix  1  Introduction  The question of rural one-room schools in British Columbia between 1920-1930 has been almost untouched. Apart from J.D. Wilson "The Visions of Ordinary Participants: Teachers' Views of Rural Schooling in British Columbia in the 1920s," and with Paul 1  Stortz, "May the Lord Have Mercy on You: The Rural School Problem in British Columbia in the 1920s," both of which discuss financially and pedagogically inefficient 2  one-room  schools, no direct  systematic  investigation of these  small schools has  appeared. This dearth of research invites a study of one-room schools, best examined at 3  the intimate level of school inspectors, pupils, community, and particularly the teacher. This examination is essential if a large gap in rural school historiography is to be filled. Why study the one-room schools of the 1920s? First, they were rural institutions and during this time much of the province was rural. According to the 1931 Census of  ^J.D.  Wilson,  British Patricia 2  J . D .  E .  a n d  i n British  E x i s t i n g  to  Twenties,"  B . C .  1979),  see Belle  Gibson,  in  C a n a d a  the  C o l u m b i a n  Historical  (Spring  Experience,  publications  anecdotal  works  Cochrane,  T h e  g  assim,  a n d  ine-Koom  have o n  1914-1924," been  the  J o a n  Schools  i n  School  i n  a n d  Becky  A d a m s of British  Y e a r s  of  S h a p i n g  C o l u m b i a  Schooling Readings,  a n d  Jones,  of J . W . the  the  with  in  i n ed.  School  Society  D a v i d b u t  Fitzhenry Schools  a n d  Study  of  " T e a c h i n g  Schools,"  Jones,  T h e pp.  b u t they  Frozen  Printing,  the  Whiteside  1986T.  of the  (CaTgary:  C u r r i c u l u m  C a l a m ,  unsubstantial.  a n d  Publishing,  T h e  for  the  R u r a l  instruction:  Teachers: C .  in  Schools  Morris  N o r m a l  school  cannot  of  S t a m p  for rural  see J o h n  the one-room  Floating  the  Agriculture,"  Provincial ed.  Strategy  (Victoria:  Rural-Minded  " W e  Schooling  M .  specifically  r u r a l  administrative  Jones,  S h a p i n g  Gibson  interesting  H a r b o u r  R u r a l  C o l u m b i a  a n d  " T h e  C a n a d i a n  B . C .  (Toronto:  T h o m a s ,  C .  a n d Robert  designed  the Schools,  (Victoria:  i n British  political  see D a v i d  Fate"oTSchool  life,  Y o u : T h e  E d u c a t i o n - A g r i c u l t u r a l  " C r e a t i n g  school  C a n a d a  topics  1919-1920,"  of  specifically  of rural  on  a n d its deficiencies:  a n d Jones  concerned  nature  O n e - R o o m  E a r t h T T h e  a n d E a r l y  areas:  S h e e h a n ,  a n d W o r k  training  30-63,  M .  (Yearbook  teacher  1984):  B.C.,  N a n c y  M e r c y  general  30-60,  of c u r r i c u l u m  Perspective  of R u r a l Selected  (forthcoming).  h a s emphasized  the r u r a l  1978):  T h e Life  M o u m T o f  p p . 85-94;  more  u n d e r s t a n d  Chilliwack,  the failure  V i e w s  Columbia:  H a v e  Studies  with  i n  not  Jones,  Builder:  E s t a b l i s h m e n t  no. 61  in  Teachers'  British  L o r d  research  ( A u t u m n  C .  " T h e Little  1579),  Teachers:  Studies T w o  i n  D a v i d  T e a c h e r  a n d Jones,  E d u c a t i o n ,  39  do  the B . C .  mostly  T o date  w h o  of  forthcoming)]  " M a y  legislation  those  p p . 71-89;  History  P i t m a n ,  deals  Consolidation ed.  Participants:  A_  i n the 1920s,"  m a t e r i a l  Studies  West,  i n  Stortz,  of the 1920s.  r u n b y  Detselig, 1961),  C l a r k J .  of educational  be  Enlightenment: C a n a d i a n  of O r d i n a r y  1920s,"  C o l u m b i a  history  repercussions it  the  P a u l  secondary  educational allow  in  R o y (Toronto:  W i l s o n  P r o b l e m 3  " T h e Visions  C o l u m b i a  B . C .  British" 155-176.  are S e e  L t d . ,  Inkwells:  broad J e a n 1981), T h e  2  Canada, 277,000 of 524,000 residents of British Columbia in 1921 lived in "rural" areas. The Census defines "rural" as those areas not incorporated into cities, towns, villages, or hamlets. This is a rather restricted definition of "rural," however, as a map 4  of British Columbia in the 1920s shows numerous minute incorporated communities in extremely remote areas.  5  Second, the majority of schools in British Columbia were situated in the hinterland, far away from urban areas. The Statistical Tables in Department of Education Annual Reports for the 1920s are filled with extensive lists of "rural" and "assisted" schools as 6  opposed to elementary and city high schools. Through this decade approximately twenty percent of all pupils in the province attended small schools.  7  Third, the 1920s saw the appearance of "progressive" thought as embodied in the "new education" movement. The "new education" movement was defined broadly by 8  Douglas Lawr as "a comprehensive term which generally meant the new purposes, methodology, and subjects which came to be applied to the schools around the turn of the century." Around 1910 the movement was anxious that schools in rural areas promote 9  rural regeneration. As a result of insurmountable economic realities—rural poverty and urban industrialization--the  movement instead turned to promotion of vocational training  in urban schools. In the third phase, commonly situated in the 1920s, urban and rural differences were blurred in the name of a practical curriculum.  Here progressivism  became an underlying theme particularly in its belief that students were capable only of  4  D o m i n i o n  B u r e a u  of  Statistics,  S e v e n t h  C e n s u s  of  C a n a d a ,  1931,  I  (Ottawa:  1936),  pp.  364-369. 5  M a n y  are 6  m a p s  of the  available  in the  " A s s i s t e d "  ^Calculated 8  S e e  B.  Report," 9  Ibid.,  p.  was  the  from  A n n e  smallest  the  figures  Wood,  Dalhousie 254.  province  during  Provincial  time M a p  classification in  the  "Hegelian  Review  this  Archives,  62, no.  of schools  Statistical Resolutions 2  w h i c h  ( S u m m e r  outline  geographical  Division, Victoria, of w h i c h  a n d  political  features  B.C..  the  vast  majority  were  one-room.  Tables. in  the  1982):  N e w  M o v e m e n t :  254-277.  T h e  1925  P u t m a n - W e i r  pyschologically-limited achievements; thus the importance of intelligence tests.  This  belief complemented well the development of specialized courses of study, another "progressive" innovation. Progressive thought in education informed much of the public education policy-making of the 1920s and 1930s, and was in some degree responsible for increased demand for a comprehensive study of the province's educational system, carried out in 1924-1925. During this educational inquiry, as during the entire period of reform, a great deal of political attention was focused on rural society. Urbanization and industrialization were quickly taking up resources and manpower. Many education administrators worried about the preservation of "superior" rural mores. officals and  reformers  the  rural  uncontaminated  society where  "Efficiency"~the  progressives'  schools  "true"  To many Department of Education  were the  values  by-word-in  10  could  these  last bastion of a still be  schools,  found  whether  pure  and as  and  taught. financial  expediency or as pupil academic success, became all the more pertinent and pressing. As the predominant educational structure in rural society, the one-room school offers an appropriate framework in which to study rural education in British Columbia in the 1920s. This thesis will deal with the one-room school in two broad sections. Chapters I and II, which form Part I, will outline conditions in one-room schools before and after the major provincial administrative survey for educational reform, the Putman-Weir Report of 1925.  Rural school reform in the 1920s will be seen ultimately to have failed chiefly  because distant Department of Education officials were unfamiliar with isolated schools I n particular John Wesley Gibson, Administrator of Agricultural Education in British Columbia, was at the forefront of the movement for rural regeneration in the face of urban encroachment. Gibson attributed a spiritual character to his plan for agricultural instruction in school and he often stated that rural values must be protected and inculcated in all students in order to save the rural areas. This would lead the province and Canada in spiritual and moral progress. See Gibson, Teacher Builder, 1 9 6 1 , and David C. Jones, "Agriculture, The Land, and Education: British Columbia, 1 9 1 4 - 1 9 2 9 , " unpublished Ed. D thesis, University of British Columbia, 1 9 7 8 . 10  and society. In particular, teacher problems and material conditions of remote schools will be highlighted. The second part, Chapters III and IV, closely examines a specific region of the province, the north-central interior between 1920-1930, and outlines the growth and evolution of one-room schools in the district.  This will draw out the  seriousness of the impediments to school reform, verify school and community conditions summarized in the earlier chapters for the whole of British Columbia, and demonstrate that teaching in a one-room school in the province during the 1920s was a demanding endeavour. At the very least these aspects of rural schooling must be considered in any serious effort to unravel British Columbia's educational history.  Part I: The Rural School Problem in British Columbia, 1920-1930  5  Chapter I: The Rural School Problem, 1920-1925  In  British  geographically  Columbia  in the  isolated, and  1920s  relatively  rural poor.  schools They  were  had  typically  a small and  one  room,  sometimes  fluctuating pupil attendance, and experienced a rapid turnover of teaching personnel. Such schools were classified by the administrative statuses as "rural" and "assisted" schools. "Rural" status denoted a school that was neither urban nor consolidated and as a result was without the benefit of centralized municipal administration or finance. Still, the rural school on the average was more prosperous than the "assisted" school which was so impoverished that the teacher's salary, erection of the school building (with few exceptions), and the school equipment and supplies were underwritten entirely by the provincial government. In 1926 assisted schools outnumbered rural schools by three to one. Of the 574 one-room schools in the province, 88 percent were classified as assisted, 1  while the remaining 12 percent were rural. Conversely, of 521 assisted schools, 504 were one-room while just 70 of 150 rural schools were one room. Thus there was a 97 percent chance that when the administrators or teachers recorded a school as assisted, they were referring to a one room school. Particularly in the assisted schools, the progressive educators focused on academic retardation, the antithesis to their idea of an efficient school system. To the progressives who led the reform movement, the perfection of the schools in the province could only be realized when every student was  categorized accurately by age and  subsequently  directed to a appropriate programme of study. This would ensure the smooth transition  ^The  n u m b e r  Statistical r u r a l the  a n d  Public  of  assisted  Tables assisted Schools  in  the  schools  schools. of the  w a s  D e p a r t m e n t E a c h  Province  521. of  Figures  E d u c a t i o n  A n n u a l of British  Report  for  A n n u a l  w a s  Columbia.  1920-1925 Reports  k n o w n  are do  officially  unobtainable  not as  distinguish  the  A n n u a l  as  the  between Report  of  of the student into a productive niche in society. Retardation, an aberration in this process, implied that the student was not being properly graded and educated.  2  The  inspectors and the commissioners of the Putman-Weir Report determined that rural and especially assisted school students were overage and thereby less intelligent than their urban counterparts according to the proper grade levels as determined by standardized tests. Leslie J. Bruce, inspector of a large coastal district on the mainland, observed that "the standing and progress of pupils in ungraded rural schools was usually far below that of pupils in the other schools of the district." The Putman-Weir Report, which 3  contained elaborate research into retardation, found that the average retardation per pupil (the amount of time a pupil was behind in course work) in the assisted schools was 22.7 months-almost two years!-as opposed to 15.7 and 8.1 months in elementary rural and city schools repectively. Fully 53.7 percent of the pupils were over-age in respect to 4  their proper grade, and just 25.0 to 32.1 percent of all grade eight pupils in the assisted schools passed their grade eight examinations as opposed to 56.9 percent of urban students. These statistics were unsettling indeed to education officials who wanted a 5  cost-effective, scientifically-run, and generally efficient educational system. A.R.  Lord  of the Kelowna Inspectorate only slightly exaggerated when he asserted that "the rural-school problem is the most serious question confronting educational administration in this Province."  B y  retardation  retarded earlier  w h e n  age."  of Education, 3  4  5  6  British  is  Ibid., pp. A n n u a l  m e a n t  has  J . H .  less  arrived  P u t m a n  1925),  Columbia,  P u t m a n - W e i r  schools  he  6  p. 2 4 6 .  A n n u a l  Report,  p.  at  a n d  than a  G . M .  Hereafter Report  n o r m a l  point  in  the  Weir,  progress  Survey  referred  of the  in  the  school course  Public  of the  grades.  which School  he  S y s t e m  to as"the~T utman-Weir J  Schools,  1 9 2 0 , p.  A  should  pupil have  said  to  be  reached  is  at  a n  (Victoria:  D e p a r t m e n t  Report.  C27.  252.  128-131. Report,  simply  as  1920,  p.  "rural."  C34.  A t  times  the  inspectors  referred  to  both  rural  a n d  assisted  The cause of the rural school problem was diagnosed to be the teacher. Frequently, the Annual Reports and the Putman-Weir Report expressed concern over the perceived incompetency of the teacher. The attention given the one-room school teacher, however, was as much a testimony to her importance as it was a condemnation of her pedagogical effectiveness. As the manager of the schoolhouse the teacher wore many hats. Ideally 7  she was a role model for the students, usually the caretaker of the facility, a leader in the community where she was expected to help formulate school and community policy, and also the representative of the Department of Education between annual or biennial visits by the inspector. Most importantly she was the educator whose task was to create a stimulating atmosphere conducive to maximum learning. She was solely responsible for the standard of education each student received. In 1921, from Vancouver Inspectorate No. 3 which included some coast and island schools, J.T. Pollock wrote that "It is...the teacher's duty to study, work, and arouse the child's interest; that the pupils must be led to cultivate, among other good habits, accuracy application." Was  and  the power to make intense  8  the blame on the teacher well placed? In this respect the Putman-Weir Report  and Annual Reports were surprisingly naive. Their attention was drawn to the teacher's lack of qualifications and preparation to work in the remote areas, but evidence suggests that the problem was far more complicated than this. The importance of the teacher's age, gender, and marital status as detriments to her effectiveness was largely neglected as was the effect on school efficiency of the economic and social conditions unique to each community. The reformers and inspectors failed to realize that not even the best-trained  According to the 1925 Annual Reports, 80 percent of the rural and assisted school teachers listed (n = 903) were female. Thus, tor convenience throughout this thesis the teacher will be referred to in the feminine pronoun. Ibid., 1921 p. F23. 7  8  teacher had much control over the restlessness of rural youth or the transiency and impoverishment of the community. In order to examine this oversight this chapter will look at the perception held by the Putman-Weir Report and the Annual Reports of the rural school problem. The reformers' and particularly the education administrators' aspirations were in conflict with the reality of the situation and as a result attempted reform of the one-room school was destined to fail.  Sources  By considering the one-room school teacher's perceptions of work and community, we get a more in-depth sense of being on the inside "looking out." What was it like to teach in an elementary school in Box Lake, Burton City, Champion Creek, Orange Valley, or Pender Harbour in the 1920s? Being on the outside "looking in" is also valuable as the observations of the reformers in the Putman-Weir Report and the administrators and inspectors in the Annual Reports give an overall perspective of the rural school problem. A comparative analysis of the two kinds of source material make possible more comprehensive inquiry as to why teachers and education officials commented as they did, the accuracy of their comments, and the extent to which individual biases dictated their perceptions. Unfortunately, the surviving material documenting the one-room school teachers' impressions, experiences, and attitudes toward their work and community is slim indeed. The reconstruction of the life of a remote teacher is piecemeal work. Various diaries and reminiscences contain valuable information, but much of the systematic research done by the Department of Education in the 1920s did not survive the years. Two years of the  Teacher Bureau Records, 1923 and 1928, still exist however—this chapter will deal with the 1923 set-and they throw much light on the teachers' impressions regarding a host of issues related to their job. The Bureau Records consist of questionnaires distributed by 9  the Teachers' Bureau, established in 1920 as a branch of the Department of Education. They were filled out by rural and assisted school teachers to help future rural teachers choose a school to their liking as well as to aid local school boards in securing competent teachers.  10  This source is difficult to evaluate. The variety of responses showed that  each teacher obviously had her own preferences and motivations: some incessantly  about  the mosquitoes  in the summer,  others  complained  responded  rather  unenthusiastically with a singular adjective to describe the conditions-the weather, pupils, parents, trustees, salary, school, and school grounds were all "fair." To be sure, each school and school teacher were different and the historical accuracy of the reports, taken individually, is impossible to verify. To what degree were these collective observations close to the actual situations? Forces of bias must be considered. First, the job market for teachers in 1923 was constricting and any vociferous complaints by a novice teacher (as were most one-room school teachers) could have been interpreted by education officials as a sign of weakness and unsuitability for the job. I n this way a show of contentment was beneficial to the teacher. It could help solidify her position. However, the teacher was also compelled to attack the deficiencies of her employment—including  extraneous circumstances such as  the climate and terrain—in a lobbying effort for an improvement in her working T h e  9  T e a c h e r  Teachers' are 1  0  filed  S e e  contain  records  multi-room one-room  Reports,  schools.  k n o w n  of Education,  1 9 2 4 , p.  consulted,  high  are offically  schools.  from  T i l  as"School  Victoria,  b y school according to e a c h  6 5 8 responses  were a n d  Records  D e p a r t m e n t  alphabetically  the A n n u a l  Records the  B u r e a u  B u r e a u ,  for the purpose because  A p p r o x i m a t e l y  In  the  Information Provincial  F o r m s  for t h e  A r c h i v e s  they  year. of the Teachers'  1923 a n d 7 2 2 responses  however,  District  B.C.".  some 1,000  were  from  1928.  completed  responses  were  B u r e a u .  T h e  B u r e a u  F o r this  thesis  not all  b y  from  teachers assisted  o f  r u r a l  a n d  r u r a l  10  conditions. Although no evidence exists to confirm these individual nuances of bias, general sincerity of the teachers in the Bureau Records is substantiated by various individual recollections such as diaries and interviews that are quite unrelated to official correspondence.  Between the Bureau  Records and the reminiscences are common  experiences and perceptions. A comparison between the other major set of primary sources, the Annual Reports and the Putman-Weir Report, uncovers differences in the mood of administrative perceptions. In particular the Annual Reports give a more positive description of remote schools and teachers, and of the entire educational system,  as opposed  to the  Putman-Weir Report. This discrepancy can be partially resolved by understanding the purpose of the two sets of reports. In the case of the Annual Reports, the inspectors were employed to report each year on the general state of affairs in each district by describing  the conditions  and  problems  of local  schools.  They  outlined  with  evenhandedness what was wrong and right with the system as it functioned within each inspectorate.  On  the other hand, the Putman-Weir Report, commissioned  Department of Education as a comprehensive  by the  stock-taking of the entire educational  system, was to recommend necessary changes to make the system as efficient as possible. The Putman-Weir Report's job was to be critical: "It is the intention of the Survey...to point out defects, with a view to their betterment or elimination, than to praise the qualities of the many able teachers found in the schools in the Province."  11  The Putman-Weir Report often examined in detail the nature of each problem and offered specific solutions. Thus, while the Annual Reports described, the Putman-Weir Report explained, and in this way the Putman-Weir Report appeared far more critical than the Annual Reports. 1  Putman-Weir Report, p. 132.  11  A look at the authors of the two sets of reports reveals important biases that  may  have distorted the true picture of the remote school. Dr. J. Harold Putman and Dr. George M.  Weir, the authors of the Putman-Weir Report, entered the educational scene  in British Columbia with doctorates in education and experience in educational research. Putman came from Ottawa, and Weir, a professor of education at the University of British Columbia, originally was from Saskatchewan. Their political separation from the Department of Education  in Victoria allowed  them to comment without  worry of  jeopardizing their jobs; their pens were free to commend or condemn. Objectivity was compromised, however, because Putman and Weir were liberal and progressive. Their report was deeply influenced by personal philosophic outlooks. Whatever did not fit into their idea of progressive pedagogy was censured. During the commissioners' whirlwind 12  fact-finding tours of the province in 1924-1925, people became aware in various public meetings that the commissioners had "embarked on the task with preconceived notions and not with an open mind."  13  Ultimately the report was heavily laden with cynicism  and sarcasm, and disproportionately negative in relation to the real situation. In contrast, the Annual Reports were unduly positive because the inspectors were tied intimately to the Department of Education and their views were valued highly in teaching circles.  14  Their negative comments were more likely to be damaging to  colleagues with whom they were in constant contact. Normal school staffs often included ex-inspectors and as a result any condemnation of the quality of the rural and assisted school teachers profession.  seen as a criticism  13  14  to members and  friends of their  own  Thus, while the Putman-Weir Report was hampered by ideological biases,  See ibid., pp. 24-70. Wood, "Hegelian Resolutions," p. 259. Calam, "Teaching the Teachers," p. 61. Ibid., pp. 53-63.  12  15  15  was  12  the Annual Reports suffered from political and administrative concerns. Taken together these reports plus the Bureau Records and teacher reminiscences and recollections provide a fairly large amount of source material which can be used to suggest that rural school reform was in fact a complex issue.  The Putman-Weir Report and Annual Reports identified the teacher as the reason underlying the problem of the remote school. In particular they blamed pupil retardation on archaic teaching practices. Isolated from the new atmosphere of progressive inquiry in the city normal schools and unwilling to update her education through summer school,  16  the teacher "lost [her]  studious habits" and fell "into the rut of old-fogeyism,  routine and drudgery." She sustained "formalism," an obsolete style of teaching which 17  was condemned especially by the Putman-Weir Report as the nemesis to modern progressive education. Instead of leading active discussions with the pupils based on a curriculum designed for practical purposes (e.g. bookkeeping rather than mathematics), the teacher's schoolhouse pedagogy was characterized by oppressive discipline and rote learning. H.H. Mackenzie of the Vancouver Inspectorate No. 5, which included small schools in Maple Ridge, Matsqui, Mission, and Abbotsford, noted the results of this inflexible form of instruction: There is still in the majority of our schools too much "text-book teaching" and too little oral and mental work. In rural schools generally...about 90 percent of all recognized talking is done by the teacher. Under such conditions it is futile to expect any real development of language-power on the part of the pupils. 18  1  6  M a n y  See  inspectors  especially  c o m m e n t e d  A n n u a l  Report,  o n  the  1 9 2 1 , p.  teachers'  lack  F 6 3 ; 1 9 2 2 , p.  of e n t h u s i a s m  to  C 2 7 ; 1923, pp.  attend  s u m m e r  F 2 9 , F 3 8 ; a n d  school. 1 9 2 4 , p.  T50. 1  7  1  8  P u t m a n - W e i r A n n u a l  remote  Report,  Report,  schools,  p. 1 3 2 .  1 9 2 3 , p.  s e e 1 9 2 0 , p.  F 2 9 .  F o r  other  C 3 0 ; 1 9 2 1 , p.  inspectors'  reports  F 2 8 ; a n d 1923, pp.  of rigid  F 2 8 , F 3 0 .  teaching  practises  in  As usual the Putman-Weir Report was more explicit and condemning: This trilogy of "discipline"--marching, sitting, and speaking according to the rule-is characteristic of the formalist in the class-room. Formal disciplinary methods of instruction, blindly accepted, complete his pedagogical equipment. Instead of a philosophy of education, however elementary, or a working knowledge of educational psychology, his chief stock-in-trade is a box of tricks or a book of notes which he has acquired during the course of his professional training. Armed with this set of tools, which he does not really know how to use, he goes forth to practice on the most subtle of all intellectual or emotional entities-the mind of a child! Dogmatism, formalism, and ritualism are his besetting sins. The credulous worshipper of false educational gods, he becomes a wanderer in the dark, the unsuspecting victim of pedagogical charlatanism and foppery. 19  As well as the teacher's tendency to run the school like a military camp, the problem of teacher transiency was  equally devastating to school efficiency. According to the  Putman-Weir Report the most frequent changes of teachers were in rural and assisted schools where the teacher remained an average of 1.62 years as opposed to 2.69 years in the city elementary schools. H.H. 20  Mackenzie again noted, this time in colourful Gaelic:  To [rural and assisted school districts] young inexperienced teachers still come as members of a sort of migratory species; their movements not quite synchronizing with those of Nature's creatures, however, for in soft September days they come and in balmy June they flit away. And there is sadness in their passing, for in these lonely glens the soughing of the wind in the pines, the murmuring of the mountain streams seem to unite in the ancient lament, "Cha till shinne tuille" - "we return no more." 21  To a great extent market forces determined teacher turnover in the school as teachers tended to migrate from the remote area if jobs were available in larger communities. In general the one-room school was considered by the young and inexperienced teacher as a  1  2  2  9  0  P u t m a n - W e i r Ibid.,  p.  Annual  Report,  p.  134.  188. Report,  1920,  p.  C26.  14  training ground,  22  by the older and more experienced teacher merely as a temporary  setback, by the "birds of passage" as a "stepping stone" to another profession, and by 23  all as a place to get away from in order to improve their life and career chances elsewhere. The  inspectors frequently lamented the effects of teacher trainsiency on school  efficiency. A.F. Matthews of the Kamloops Inspectorate observed that "In those schools where the teachers have remained on for two or more years the work has invariably been of higher quality and the progress much more marked than in the schools where a new  teacher has been engaged each year."  24  Inspector G.H.  Gower of Prince George  reported in 1922: "The most important problem that faces the rural district is how to retain the services of a competent teacher....the great majority of those teachers who are qualified do not remain sufficiently long in the schools to make a definite impression on the children." Arthur Anstey of the New 25  Westminster district elaborated:  Results in these smaller schools are usually quite inferior to those obtained in well-managed graded schools, and one reason for this is the frequent change of teacher, with all the lack of continuity that such changes entail. In nearly all these schools there are instances of retardation...for rarely indeed does the incoming teacher find a record of each child showing date of entry to the school, details of attendance, time spent in each grade, reasons for non-promotion, and other data which would enable her to guage the situation and to adopt the remedial measures demanded. 26  The Putman-Weir Report and Annual Reports attributed the phenomenon of teacher transiency partially to the remote teacher's below-average s a l a r y  ^Tbid., 2  3  2  4  2  5  2  6  A n n u a l  7  p.  Report, p.  C40.  Ibid.,  1922,  p.  C31.  S e e  the.  p.  p.  1922,  1922,  1923,  but their attention  F31. Report,  Ibid.,  C37; 2  1923,  P u t m a n - W e i r  27  F29;  C33.  For  1924,  P u t m a n - W e i r  189.  p.  pp.  other T 5 3 ,  Report,  reports T58; pp.  on and  teacher 1925,  190-192.  p.  T h e  transiency,  see  1922,  pp.  C25,  C27,  C33,  M 3 9 . inspectors  almost  were  u n a n i m o u s l y  in  15  was instead directed predominantly towards improving the teacher's education. They believed that both teacher transiency arid pedagogical archaism were related to the teacher's lack of professional training. Inspector G.H.  Gower wrote that  A number of the schools in these northern parts are handicapped year after year by the employment of unskilled, temporary certificated teachers, who have little knowledge of our courses, standards, and methods. Inability to organize the work of their class-rooms constitutes the chief criticism of the teachers in the one-room schools of this inspectorate. 28  The reformers' and inspectors' concern was supported by statistics. For example in 1925 the average rural and assisted school teacher was less educated than the urban teacher; only 4 percent of them as opposed to 10 percent of the teachers in the city held an academic teaching degree from a university, and 23 percent versus 33 percent had a first-class teaching certificate.  The rural and assisted school teacher also was much  29  less experienced. The overall teaching experience of city elementary school teachers was twice as great as that of the rural teachers, 7.9 years as opposed to 3.1 years respectively. In addition 48 percent of the rural and assisted school teachers had less than 3 years teaching experience compared to 16 percent of urban teachers.  [continued] 1920.  pp.  u n a n i m i t y been w a s  at  favour  C 2 7 , w a s  least  m u c h  dollars assisted  8  A n n u a l  2  9  year  1922,  high  O R  to  9  school  discontinued a  teacher  through retired 3  0  in  of  1922,  interviews  of  high  n o r m a l  required  temporary with  Report,  2  p a i d  r e m a i n  no  of  F36).  w a s  still  other F 2 9 ,  salary.  p.  by  m o s t  longer  A n  of  t h a n  the  graded  L o r d  failed  paid  (See  C31).  the  [rural]  w h e n  the  school to  roughly  A n n u a l  does  consider, $300  Report,  exception  less  to  this  schools  has  r e m u n e r a t i o n  not  lie  solely  however, t h a n  that  her  in the  u r b a n  reports  school  George B.C.,  186-188.  (either A  a n d  years  degree  certificate  school;  9  m o n t h s  of high  A . 13  complained  required  m e a n t  3  condition  second  w a s  that  of  teacher  inability,  see  F39.  a c a d e m i c  class  Vancouver, pp.  1922,  salary  a p p e a l  pp.  certificate  M r s .  teacher's  a n d  p.  For  A n  first  the  1921,  average  1923,  181.  "the  teachers  that  F39.  a  assisted  F 2 4 ;  Tables.  matriculation)  schoolteachers,  P u t m a n - W e i r  p.  p.  years  a  the  a n d  F 2 1 , that  yet  Report,  a n d  school;  (junior  with  a n n u m ,  on  C27;  months  noted  Statistical  Report,  4  w h o  rural  pp.  indication  1921,  p.  n o r m a l  university addition  the  the  1921,  ( A n n u a l  teacher  See  P u t m a n - W e i r  one  clear  Report,  especially  per  cents."  school  C37; L o r d  $1,200  counterpart. 2  A.R.  less—a  a n d  of increasing  C30,  30  class of  school trained  Steele  years of  considered  teaching n o r m a l  as  well  out  (nee  N o v e m b e r  3  years  of  as  4  school  senior  a  months  a n d  study  a n d  one  plus year  matriculation), required  third  class  of n o r m a l  province.  M c D o n a l d )  1987.  university  certificate  school;  the  of  high  3  M a r y  in of  certificate, school;  Information  Miss  years  a n d  verified  Pack,  both  16  The reformers strove to remedy the lack of education and experience through the creation of "rural-minded" teachers. The Putman-Weir Report recommended that the normal school instructors improve their own  professional training and  undertake  measures to alleviate the oppressive relationship between the older male instructor and the younger female student. As well, rural-oriented subjects should be included in the curriculum so that training in rural sociology and administration, educational theory, philosophy, psychology, and history, as well as tests and measurements would increase the teacher's understanding of her duties and situation in the one-room school. If this 31  course were followed, teacher discontent and subsequent migration would no longer exist. The Putman-Weir Report strongly suggested the implementation of practice teaching in isolated schools and  the development of a system of reports about each remote  community especially in relation to teacher accommodation.  32  Similar to one of the  Bureau Records' functions, these reports would be distributed to potential candidates for remote school teaching. The wildest hopes of the administrators would be the training of a legion of the "strongest" teachers,  33  rural-minded  and  well-versed in progressive  technique and philosophy, and intent on delivering the highest standards of education possible to isolated children. The Putman-Weir Report seemed to have prudently taken to heart the theme encapsulated  in Norman Fergus Black's metaphor in the  B.C.  Teacher in 1924: "Teaching in an urban graded school and teaching in an ungraded rural school have about as much in common as the grocery business and trade."  3  1  I b i d . ,  F63-63; 3  2  3  3  3  4  the hardware  34  pp.  194,  1922,  I b i d . ,  p.  I b i d . ,  p.  N o r m a n  207-214,  p.  C28;  and  and  of  1924,  the p.  inspectors'  reports,  see  especially  A n n u a l  Report,  1921,  T42.  195. 194. F e r g u s  Black,  " R u r a l  School Problems,"  B X L  T e a c h e r  (June  1924):  226-227.  pp.  17  A better-trained teacher was  considered somewhat of a panacea to the one-room  school problem of pupil retardation, but significantly the reformers failed to take into account the teacher's demographics: she was young, female, and unmarried. In  1925  out of 903 rural and assisted school teachers, 80 percent were female, 87 percent were unmarried, and the average age of the teacher was 23.6 years.  35  Although neither the  Putman-Weir Report nor the Annual Reports acknowledged these characteristics of the teacher as possible factors to job success, teacher correspondence  with educational  administrators in Victoria was permeated with the notion that the remote areas were too rugged and wild for a young, single woman. Mrs. school warned that this was  K.E.  Easton of the Fort St. John  a "..pioneer settlement... would not advice [sic] a lady  especially a young one to come here....Zero ladies here. Transportation poor—Mail every two (2) weeks." Miss Janet A. Mill who taught near Pender Harbour cautioned: 36  At Donley's Landing no place for young Lady Teacher living alone—no society, etc....The situation here I would say is not very good-There is no water at school-no toilet accomodation for teacher. It is only suitable for a male who likes catering for himself. Rowing and fishing can be had as a pastime. 37  Northern life required a teacher who was familiar with its harsh realities and capable of adapting accordingly. Many of the teachers experienced strenuous conditions of pioneer living. Necessities were often missing, such as running water (if the community was not situated near a flowing stream or river), telephone, and electricity, and basic supplies were dear. In the Bureau Records George S. Quigley who taught in Glencoe seven miles from Soda Creek wrote that the school was "Suitable for married couple or male. Must be prepared to supply own bed and table linen, crockery and cutlery. Water difficult to  3  5  3  6  3  7  P u t m a n - W e i r B u r e a u I b i d .  Report,  Records.  A l l  pp.177-179. the  records  Figures are  signed  for  assisted schools only  M a r c h  1923  unless  do  not  otherwise  exist. noted.  obtain during winter. Snow and ice good substitutes." In July 1925 Harold Des Reaney wrote to Victoria to make the education officials aware of the inconvenience of scarce supplies in Pachelqua: "Good water year round but inconvenient to obtain. Teacher cannot get supplies locally--will often have to walk to Lillooet and pack his stuff back." Lillooet  was  eight  miles  away.  From  38  Pineview near Prince  George, Ronald  Gordon-Cumming wrote: To begin with, we are in the midst of a water famine and we ourselves have to carry by hand every drop for cooking, drink, washing, etc., a distance of two miles. My home is a bachelor one and I have two boys to bring up so that as well as school to keep me busy I have housework, my farm, mending, darning, washing, and cooking to do for the three of us....Sunday I have washing and baking to do and as we do not get home from school until 5 o'clock (having the janitor work to do) it is seldom before 8 or 8:30 before we are eating supper. A t times I feel very nearly like giving up.... We get up at 5:45 in the morning, have to get breakfast, make up our lunches, tidy up the house and then walk nearly 3 miles to school. 39  Very often, presumably, the young, female teacher would be called upon to fulfill duties other than teaching. She would have to toil just to survive. At times, the teacher found remote school teaching arduous because of her position in the  life cycle. Young and unmarried, she was likely to be eligible for courtship. The  Putman-Weir Report mentioned briefly that some teachers migrated out of remote areas to marry, a phenomenon it attributed to the low financial security of the teacher's salary.  3  8  I b i d .  40  Other teachers married local people and left the profession altogether to raise a  It is  noted: First, they  in  useful m o s t  fact  Records response.  were  were  here  n o t  m a l e  T h i s  to  pause  a n d c o m m e n t  of the respondents  m a y  the  while be  teacher. the  a n  indication  3  9  0  J o n e s ,  "Agriculture,"  P u t m a n - W e i r  Report,  p. 3 5 7 . p p . 177, 188.  of  on the B u r e a u  in the "third  Second,  u n m a r r i e d  schools.  4  wrote  the most  person"  Records. thus  enthusiastic  female  teachers  w o m a n  teachers'  were  T w o points  giving  respondents brief  discontent  should  the impression  a n d a n d  in  the  sketchy a p a t h y  B u r e a u in  i n  be  t h a t their  remote  19  family.  Those who stayed faced definite hazards. The teacher had to be on the alert  41  constantly for men with less-than-honourable intentions. Lexie McLeod who taught in Lower Nicola near Merritt in 1921 remembered that the only single male in the area automatically "thought that I should be his girl" and it was a frightening experience indeed when "Alf" entered her room uninvited one night looking for romance.  42  Mildred  McQuillan who taught in Orange Valley two miles south Fort Fraser in 1927 noticed a preponderance of "poor niggers" who, after travelling miles to ask for her consideration, were subsequently turned down. The closest she came to a romantic evening was at a monthly dance where she danced with the only man in the hall to whom she was attracted but was reluctant to become intimate with him for fear of the rumours that would start in the community.  A t times to be young and unmarried was dangerous.  43  Miss Edna Hicks who taught in Olsen Valley near Powell River in 1926 remembered "the shock when a young teacher in a remote spot in Northern B.C. was murdered by a sad young man she encouraged then rejected."  44  Although documentary evidence of the teachers' amorous adventures is slim, the fact that the teacher was young and unmarried presented specific problems of adjustment. First, the teacher had to be careful in her selection of friends. Indiscreet fraternization in an isolated area could lead to a host of troubles which included invasion of privacy, alienation by a part of the community which disapproved of the relationship, and in the  4  1  I n t e r v i e w  M a r c h 4  2  4  3  with  I n t e r v i e w M i l d r e d  with M r s . E.  M c Q u i l l a n ' s contains y o u n g other this 4  4  M r s .  E d n a  E m b u r y  (n6e Hicks),  retired  schoolteacher,  Vancouver,  B.C.,  10  1986.  diary  h e r  is  beyond  attitudes  one-room naive  Lexie  M c Q u i l l a n  school  teachers  Lawrie,  retired  schoolteacher,  Diary,  1927,  Provincial  the  toward  teacher.  between  time  work  f r a m e  a n d  H e r  o f this  1920-1925.  chapter,  c o m m u n i t y ,  experiences  V a n c o u v e r ,  Archives, a n d  it  gives  encapsulate  M c Q u i l l a n ' s  diary  will  is  B.C., 24 February,  Victoria,  B.C..  instructive  a n  insight  those  to  into  use because the  underwent  be used  1986.  A l t h o u g h trials  by  extensively  it  of  a  countless throughout  thesis.  I n t e r v i e w  Chisholme motive  with  M r s .  m u r d e r  in  for the killing  E m b u r y , Port  were  1986.  Essington ever  M r s . south  uncovered.  E m b u r y of  m a y have  Prince  T h e tragedy  Rupert.  been  referring  Neither  is discussed  the  further  to t h e M a y 1 9 2 6  murderer  in C h a p t e r  nor III.  the  20  extreme, physical harm.  The  teacher had to gauge her acquaintances and the  community politics precisely. Second, considering the conditions within which she lived and worked, an active social life was important for her emotional security and support. In the Bureau Records several references are made to the teachers' general feelings of isolation and loneliness.  45  Often few desirable males resided in the small communities  and this encouraged the teacher to leave the area for one with a better marriage market.  46  Education in "rural-mindedness" could not create an ardent desire in the teacher for celibacy nor could it make the teacher effective enough to overcome adverse economic and social conditions peculiar to each community. Rural school reform was seriously impeded by the impoverishment of the remote community over which the teacher had no control.  The  Putman-Weir Report commented  on the wide discrepancies of the  socioeconomic conditions in remote areas of the province: "While urban British Columbia has long since emerged from the pioneer stage of its social evolution, the same cannot be said of the many remote areas of the Province where primitive conditions still prevail."  According to the Bureau Records the teacher was surrounded by picturesque  47  scenery and "rough," "rugged," and "wild" terrain; immersed in "healthy," "bracing," "invigorating," and "rigorous" weather where beautiful summers were traded off for "abundant" rainfall in the autumn and "arctic-like" winters. Usually the teacher resided  4  5  S e e  especially  teacher...the Creek M i s s  Station: N.L.  school"; " T h e  M i s s  w o r k the  of in  V . A .  Johnson  school  teacher  T h a c k e r  M i s s  A n n a the  h a d  Powell  to  chief disadvantage  is,  "create  River:  C h a s t e n e y  in  no  in  Gilpin:  becomes  your  "should  St.  mail  more  o w n  not  V i n c e n t  service.  "This  or  less  world";  advise B a y ;  O n e  is  would  m a k e  monotonous"; a  a n d  M i s s  M a r y  teacher M r s .  gloomy in  in  for  a n y  in  Cooper  S a l m o n  B e n c h ;  friends...to  H a r r i s  f r o m  place  B a l l a n t y n e  Gernell  without  M .  " m a r o o n e d "  a R.  accept  C h r i s t i a n  the beginning  this  Valley:  to the  e n d  of  term." 4  6  F o r  1986), after  e x a m p l e a n d  leaving  Times-Colonist, 4  7  Lexie  although  P u t m a n - W e i r  the 31  M c L e o d  left  M c Q u i l l a n c o m m u n i t y  A u g u s t  Report,  p.  in  1 9 8 1 , p. 124.  L o w e r  Nicola  struggled  with  December 35).  to  "grab  a  loneliness 1927.  h u s b a n d " in  Fort  in  V a n c o u v e r ,  Fraser,  ("Backwoods  she  Teacher,"  (Interview,  m a r r i e d T h e  shortly Victoria  21  in what George E.  Welbank of Despaid remote school, thirty miles from Vernon,  sarcastically considered a "fair, but not luxurious community."  Generally, poor local  48  conditions may have been partly caused by such economic factors as the seasonal nature of the single-industry community, complete exhaustion of the area's mining and logging resources, or crop failure in a community which subsisted on farming. As a result, in some areas the homes were wooden and crude, often resembling make-shift shacks. Concomitantly, health standards were poor.  49  In the Bureau Records, Wentworth A.  Smythe in Blaeberry Forde by Golden in the Kootenays wrote that he had "only been here since Xmas. Notice especially poor conditions of pupils' teeth (decay and germ disease)...the need in some homes to combat the deadly fly menace, and the poor variety of food noticed in some homes." Often medical help was distant, and for Gerry Andrews who  taught in Kelly Lake south of Dawson Creek in 1923-1925, "living in remote  isolation, far from medical services, we simply had to be healthy." The  impoverishment  of the community  was  reflected  50  in the teacher's living  conditions. In some areas the accommodation for the teacher was decrepit with few conveniences. Fairview  51  Miss J.D.  Caldwell threatened to resign because her accommodation in  twenty-five miles south of Pendiction was  so poor.  52  Such  unpleasant  conditions compounded the teacher's hardship and in a rare demonstration of insight by an educational administrator, Inspector A.F.  Matthews wrote that improving the  teacher's living conditions "would go far towards solving the problem of retaining the Bureau Records. Locations of communities cited in this thesis were mostly determined from: The Province of British Columbia, Department of Lands, Geographical Gazetteer of British Columbia, 1930. F o r example, see Bureau Records for Cultus Lake. Gerry Andrews, Metis Outpost: Memoirs of the First Schoolmaster at the Metis Settlement of Kelly Lake, B.C., 1923-1925 (Victoria: PencrestTubTications, 1985), p.T3Tj~ ^ i S e e especially Bureau Records, William George Watson in Woodcock; C. Bertrand in Soda Creek; Miss Annie Haughton who had to row to Hunter Creek School every morning to teach; and McQuillan Diary. Bureau Records. 48  49  50  52  services of teachers."  He did not offer any solutions, however, as to how the living  53  conditions could be made more comfortable. The teacher's working conditions were in the same state of affairs.  Owing to the  poverty of the community, the school itself was often inadequate. School was held in such places as a parent's house, village store, church, social hall, tent, lighthouse, shack, or log cabin. Some one-room schoolhouses were modern, built with lumber, but often even these were too small to house the pupils adequately. Water was as far away as two miles and electricity was a rare luxury. The Putman-Weir Report observed that: one would not expect to find other than modest school buildings in the assisted areas. The type of building varies from district to district, depending upon the degree of interest manifested by the citizens in their schools and on the wealth of these communities. Some buildings are neat and comfortable. Others are scarcely habitable. In certain cases dilapidated log structures, with numerous defects in heating, lighting, and ventilation, are used for school purposes. The water supply is usually inadequate, while the privies are often found in filthy condition. Especially is this the case in the more remote schools. The school sites, generally unfenced, have a most picturesque natural setting....In fact, every prospect (except the building and privies) pleases until, on entering the schoolhouse, the visitor's aesthetic sense receives a violent shock. 54  In the inspectors' reports, the general condition of some schools ranged from "dangerous and unsanitary firetraps"  to the lack of equipment and supplies.  55  56  Indeed, a common  complaint in the Bureau Records dealt with the school size, lack of lighting, ventilation, conveniences, and supplies, but education officials were hard-pressed to find a remedy. 57  5  3  5  4  A n n u a l  Report,  P u t m a n - W e i r  building  w a s  1 9 2 2 , p.  Report,  5  5  5  6  7  A n n u a l Ibid., S e e  Report,  1920,  pp.  especially  L a n d i n g ,  a n d  128.  underwritten  often reflected c o m m u n i t y 5  C33.  p.  by  N o r w e g i a n  school once  areas, the  the  cost  building  for  w a s  the  construction  erected;  thus,  the  of  the  school  F23.  C26,  B u r e a u  assisted  government  prosperity.  1 9 2 1 , p. C26,  In  the  C30;  Records Creek.  1924, for A l s o  pp.  C a c h e  T 5 5 ,  T 5 9 ;  Creek,  see M c Q u i l l a n  a n d  1925,  C h a m p i o n Diary,  a n d  p.  M 2 7 .  Creek,  Cultus  A n d r e w s ,  M6tis  L a k e ,  Johnson's  Outpost,  p.  24.  23  The  reformers  and  inspectors offered no  answers to improve fundamentally  the  conditions within which one-room school inefficiency was manifest. Instead they skirted the issue and suggested the creation of teachers who obstacles.  58  H.H.  could work with and around these  Mackenzie speculated that "Where parents, teachers, and trustees  work together in harmony for the improvement of educational conditions we shall find better-equipped school buildings, sanitary and pleasant surroundings....  59  But  how  could the teachers influence school efficiency if the community  was  insolvent? In the Bureau Records Dorothy A. Clarke wrote from North Dawson Creek that "the settlers are very poor and they find it exceedingly hard to get any money together for school purposes." Even where money was available for the school the local people were often parsimonious and uncooperative.  F.W.  Hobson who taught in Beaver  Cove south of Port McNeill on Vancouver Island reported that "This school district has no regular method of financing for school purposes. The amount collected occasionally being grudgingly paid by the residents, who are poorly paid owing to mill not operating. The inhabitants in general are narrow minded." Local school boards were a particular problem. As in Ontario, they were composed of three trustees elected by local ratepayers and they exercised considerable authority over the day-to-day operation of the school within the general guidelines established by the Department. The local school boards hired the teacher, set the teacher's salary, and controlled the expenditure  of funds for the  daily operation of the  school.  The  Putman-Weir Report noted that in some areas control over education was placed in the hands of local dictators who  5  8  p. 5  9  S e e  especially  F37;  and  A n n u a l  the  1924,  Report,  harboured "petty...jealousies" toward each other and as a  P u t m a n - W e i r  p. 1920,  Report,  pp.  128-135,  and  A n n u a l  Report,  1920,  p.  C22;  T50. p.  C27.  See  also  1921,  pp.  F22,  F32,  F34;  and  1922,  p.  C33.  1923,  24  result pushed local control to an "illogical extreme."  As well, volatile local politics kept  60  funds from being invested wisely. Inter-family disputes were rife and the teacher had to be careful to remain neutral. In Pineview  eight miles from Prince George,  R.R.  Gordon-Cumming confidentially wrote in the Bureau Records to Victoria that The district is at present divided over a dispute on location and assessment for school, which makes extremely difficult for teacher to be friendly with both parties. I have had to build my own house to avoid antagonizing one party by boarding with the other. It requires much tact to keep on good terms with people all round owing to this dispute. Often the uncooperative manner of the local people led to teacher transiency. C.B. Christianson in Cape Scott at the northern tip of Vancouver Island observed that "A spirit of jealousy and general distrust seems to pervade this district. Present one is the only teacher who had held position more than two years." Mrs. Christine Kearne in Okanagan Landing similarly saw that "There is very little cooperation between parents and trustees and parents and teacher. Trustees do not work harmoniously consequently frequent change of teacher."  together,  61  In addition to ideological and other personal differences among community members, the very nature of remote society had to be taken into account before any potentially effective means of redressing the remote school's inefficiency could be considered. The Annual Reports mostly neglected the socioeconomic aspects of the community, but the Putman-Weir Report  6  0  P u t m a n - W e i r  c o m m e n t e d financial m o n e y 6  1  F o r  on  Report, the  pp.  contributions,  complaints in  S i m m o n s  S q u a m  B a y ,  a n d  as  other  about  Bowie,  M e r v i n  18,  124-125.  disproportionate  for interests  S a n b o r n  took care to mention the prevelance  M i s s in  t h a n  the  as  the  tendency  of the  D o h l m a n n  Coupe,  H e l e n  also  pp.  of control for  272-279 local  the  where  trustees  the  P u t m a n - W e i r  wielded  c o m m u n i t y  as  opposed  administrators  to  Report to  their  use  the  education.  obstinancy  Inge  Pouce  M i s s  well  See  a m o u n t  of alcoholism in some  A.  M i s s  D e w a r  in  local people,  B u r g o y n e  M i n e r v a in  B a y ,  G r a n g e r  W i n l a w .  see  also  Miss in  St.  B u r e a u  Bess  Records,  Roney  E l m o ,  M i s s  in  M i s s  K i n g c o m e  E l v i r a  H a r r i e t Inlet,  W a l t e r s  in  25  c o m m u n i t i e s  W e i r  s a w  r e s p e c t  a n d  a s  this  to  a  o n l y  the  a n d  6  t e a c h e r  s h e  M a n y  the  w a s  a g r i c u l t u r e  o n l y  n e v e r  w e r e  w a s  u n t i l  a s s u r e d  m i g r a t e  the  o f  the  o u t  v a r i o u s  o f the  r u r a l  t h e  schools  f a c e d  for  f i g u r e s  w e r e  a  of  o u t  P u t m a n - W e i r  in  o r  6  4  I n  to  the  the  6  N e v e r t h e l e s s  2  vis-a-vis  pupil's  w i t h  the  the  of  the  i d i o s y n c r a c i e s  culture,  b u t  P u t m a n  school  u p b r i n g i n g ,  i m p l i c a t i o n s  in  t e a c h e r ' s  in  a n  o f  i n  s e c u r i t y ,  different  s o m e t i m e s  a n d  i n s t e a d  c o m m u n i t y ' s  of  f r o m  a  the  of  s t r u c t u r e d  of the  Report,  e t h n i c  l a n g u a g e s  a l i e n  o n e  a s  of p h y s i c a l  pp.  the  1923  on  Report,  O . A .  1922,  depleted.  6  5  school  a n y  a n d  in  t e a c h e r s ,  i m p r o v e m e n t s  f r a m e w o r k  t e a c h e r  f a m i l i e s  c o m m u n i t y  i n s p e c t o r s  the  s o m e  m o n e y  o n  w a s  m i g h t  R e p o r t  w a s  a  a l l u d e d  to  districts.  a r e a s  therefore,  (if t h e  b a s e d  the  a n d  c o m m u n i t y  P u t m a n - W e i r  the  issue.  f i s h i n g  the  b e c a u s e  t h r o u g h o u t  f l u c t u a t i o n  the  k e p t  r e m o t e  R e p o r t s  a s  r e s u l t  T h e  g i v e n  o p e n i n g s )  a  y e a r  e l s e w h e r e .  A n n u a l  F o r  A s  s u c h  difficult  the  a n y  w a s  M a n y  t e a c h e r  l o n g - r a n g e  a v a i l a b l e ) ,  projected  o r  a t t e n d a n c e  125-127. in  r e m a r k s  A n n u a l  ( a n d  p e d a g o g i c a l  negative  Report,  industries  a  q u e s t i o n .  mentioned  in K o k s i l a h ,  t h e  a t t e n d a n c e  p u p i l s . "  generally  P u t m a n - W e i r  o f  r e f o r m  r e s o u r c e  l i v i n g  in  school  a c t i v i t y  f o l l o w i n g  a  c l o s i n g s  c h r o n i c  w a y  the  m a d e  e c o n o m i c  w e r e  settlers  m a j o r i t y  school  w h e r e  t i m b e r  t h r e e  the  c o m m u n i t y  m a k e  R u s s i a n ,  5  alcohol  e x t r a c t i v e  r e - o p e n i n g  Italian,  6  o n  r e m o t e  the  local  F r e n c h ,  4  e f f i c i e n c y .  o n  w e r e  a r e a s  or  " p r o c e s s i o n  in  o f  Icelandic,  6  s p e n t  d e a l  a  w h e r e  a r e a  a s s i s t e d  s c h o o l  "^Nationalities  P e a c y  to  i n  n a t u r e  o n e  s u f f e r e d  w i t h  t h e  o n l y  a n d  d e v e l o p m e n t  2  o n l y  school  o f  r e s i d e n t .  6  n o t  school  a l c o h o l i s m  f o r c e d  m i n e r a l s  p e r m a n e n t  6  w a s  s e a s o n a l ,  t h a t  p l a n s  m o n e y  of  located  s p e c u l a t e d  w a s  to  o v e r l o o k e d  t e m p o r a r y  s c h o o l s  w e l l  o f  effects  A l s o  f a c t o r  3  F i n a l l y ,  alive  t e r m s  life.  T h e  c u s t o m s ;  w e l l .  in  h a r m f u l  c o m m u n i t y  m a k e - u p .  c o n t r i b u t i n g  B a r r y p. p.  the in  124. C23.  B u r e a u  Chinese,  ethnic  Records  a n d  m a k e - u p  S h a w n i g a n  Lake,  are  Japanese, of  the  Miss  Norwegian, as  well  community,  M a r y  Binnie  as see  Finnish, native  especially  in Slocan  Swedish,  Indian. M i s s  Junction.  F o r Lois  26  The  reformers  and inspectors largely ignored the problems of the remote community  as significant causes of pupil retardation because their research was cursory.  The  Putman-Weir Report was completed in a little over a year, and each year inspectors rarely stayed in a community for longer than a day. Each community was given a quick glance; consequently  first-hand  knowledge  of local impoverishment, politics, and  transiency was slim. In addition, the "new education" ideology which stressed rural regeneration must have blinded the officials to the sheer complexity and insuperability of some of the local problems. Their hopes for the creation of an army of teachers who could work within one-room schools to improve school efficiency and possibly community conditions appeared somewhat  Utopian.  6 6  On the other hand, the reformers' and inspectors' almost complete neglect of the teacher's demographics was made conspicuous  by the officials' intense devotion to  teacher reform. Education could overcome the lack of qualifications and preparation, and to some extent inexperience; however, the teachers' impressions in later reminiscences as well as the persistence of teacher transiency throughout the 1920s demonstrated that the effect of education on the hardship and loneliness of pioneer living was debatable. Underneath the officials' inattentiveness to some of the major issues in school reform was a host of related factors. For example, the teacher's life and career goals were neglected as potentially pernicious to pedagogical effectiveness and school efficiency. Similarly the pupil's physical and psychological health, family background, upbringing, ethnicity, and past experiences, as well as the parent's occupation and attitudes toward education, and overall community retardation. 6  6  T h e  reasons  The intimate nature of the one-room school made these factors all the  67  w h y  school efficiency 6  7  S e v e r a l  mores were all overlooked as contributors to pupil  recent  are  education  officials  discussed  sociological  further  works  continued  to o v e r l o o k  in C h a p t e r  have  explored  the  importance  of local  conditions  on  II. the  m e c h a n i c s  of pupil  academic  achievement,  more pertinent. As well they must be considered in light of the facts that pupil retardation was  still an  administrator's concern into the 1930s and  that local  interference and rural economic stagnation exist even today. In the 1920s rural school reform was a very complicated issue indeed.  [continued] Sociological a n d  especially Analysis,  S y d n e y TJ!  Enterprises,  Wilfred second  Milllen,  1982).  T h e  B . W .  edition  M a r t i n  and  A l l a n  (Scarborough:  Sociology  of  Eduction  J .  Prentice in  M a c D o n n e l l , Hall,  C a n a d a  1982),  a n d  C a n a d i a n a n d  B e y o n d  Education:  F r a n k  J .  (Calgary  A  Milllen Detselig  Chapter II: The Rural School Problem, 1925-1930  Between 1925-1930 the Inspectors' Reports in the Department of Education Annual Reports were rife with glowing depictions of the province's educational system. "sound of going in the tops of the mulberry trees" observed in 1927 by H.H.  The  Mackenzie  of Vancouver Inspectorate No. 5 summarized his belief that the "dissemination of the ideas of the newer education" will reap  a "bountiful harvest" whereby everyone  associated with the work of education will set about to discover the truth, namely progressivism. One year later Mackenzie's ardour had not faded. "The united efforts of 1  all educational forces concerned with the great project of educating the youth of the country and  raising up  citizens worthy of their great heritage are meeting with  ever-increasing success." In their assessments other inspectors were less grandiose but 2  equally enthusiastic. In particular they cited the remarkable efficacy and character of the zealous teacher. A.C.  Stewart of an inspectorate spanning the entire east coast of  Vancouver Island wrote that "The success attained by schools...is a measure and also a criterion of the efficiency of our public school system, and not only that, but also a tribute to the zeal, interest, and enthusiasm of trustees, parents, and teachers."  3  In Prince George Inspector W.G.  Gamble claimed  more especially the that the teachers'  "..personality and social training have a wonderful influence not only in the school, but also in the whole community, in which they are striving to lay the foundations of education and citizenship for the present and future welfare of this great Dominion." In 4  Annual Report, 1927, p. M34. Annual Reports after 1929. Ibid., 1928, p. V23. Ibid., 1927, p. M31. Ibid., 1929, p. R33. 1  2  3  4  Inspector's reports for each district are not included in the  29  the Kamloops Inspectorate teachers demonstrated strong interest in their work and were "..keenly alive to all opportunities for increasing their professional efficiency." A report 5  in 1927 commented that the attitude of the teachers "is most praiseworthy. [They] display a spirit of a true student and searcher after knowledge and truth." T.R.  Hall  6  from the Kelowna Inspectorate wrote that "it has been a pleasure to be associated with such an earnest and enthusiastic group..." the majority of whom were of excellent spirit.  Indeed, in the Annual Reports the commendations for the teachers were  7  numerous.  8  The inspectors also reported on school expansion and modernization.  For example,  the Nelson Inspectorate underwent a construction boom as old or temporary schools were replaced by newer, more modern structures. In Kamloops, "Ratepayers are realizing 9  the advantages of providing pleasant surroundings, hygenic buildings, and adequate equipment for the children."  The introduction of superior schools in some of the larger  10  rural elementary buildings, and school district consolidation, already begun in 1927, 11  emphasized the need for efficiency in education by extending educational opportunity and centralizing administrative control.  5  6  7  Ibid.,  1926,  Ibid.,  1 9 2 7 , p.  M 3 3 .  Ibid.,  1 9 2 9 , p.  R 3 0 .  See  8  also  1929, 9  1  1  0  1  to  1926,  Superior upper  level  1  2  from  S e v e r a l r u r a l  1928, R34;  pp.  R35,  36;  1927,  pp.  M 3 7 ,  39,  40;  1928,  pp.  V 2 1 ,  24,  26,  30;  a n d  R37. were  pupils  parents  deal  schools. V 2 7 ,  1927, pp.  some be  (F.  University  reports  p r o g r a m m e s  in  m a y  home."  (Vancouver:  into  pp.  V 2 9 .  p.  schools  that  a w a y  1926,  R~2~6~, 2 8 .  1 9 2 8 , p.  Ibid.,  order  R 3 7 .  ibid.,  pp.  Ibid.,  p.  12  31; M 1 3 ,  saved  H e n r y  a  with  a n d 32;  elementary  schools,  portion  Johnson,  of British  See  of senior  elementary  of the  A  school  especially  expense  History  ColumbiaT ress,  of  Public  Report, a n d  1929,  pp.  R28,  29,  1928,  pp.  V 2 2 ,  23; a n d  1926, 31.  For  1 9 2 9 , p.  pp.  school  to  to  r u r a l  sending  E d u c a t i o n  in  courses  offered-  conditions their  British  "in  children C o l u m b i a  62-6"3T.  modernization,  A n n u a l  high  suitable  incidental  1964~T, p p .  J  expansion,  a n d junior  particularly  a n d R36,  reports R29.  the  extension  39; on  1927,  of high  pp.  consolidation,  schools  M 3 2 ,  35,  see  1926,  39; p.  30  According to the inspectors, between  1925-1930 the school system in British  Columbia seemed to be philosophically sound, expanding, and pedagogically efficient. New  Westminster Inspector E.G.  Daniels boasted that "retardation has been seriously  grappled with, the results in several cases being particularly gratifying." impoverished,  unequipped  schools  with  ill-prepared  and  13  The age of  underqualified teachers  immersed in a close-minded, selfish, and parsimonious community seemed to be drawing to a close. The community, teacher, and pupil were working together harmoniously to provide the best education possible for the pupil. The  existence of this improved educational state of affairs was  one-room schools it was  patently untrue.  As with the 1923  debatable; for  set of Bureau Records,  enlightening information on the seedier side of the province's educational system is contained in its 1928  counterpart.  14  Scores of reports continued to record difficult  teaching conditions and hardship in isolated districts. For example, Mrs. K. Hannan in Sunset Prairie east of Dawson Creek wrote: "This is an isolated district about 30 miles from churches, stores, hospital, trails are bad & there is no telephone communication." F. Julian Willway in Stevenson Creek five miles south of Princeton noted inhospitable community conditions: At present the teacher is boarded but this family do not wish (sic) to board teacher next year. No house for teacher to batch within mile and a half df school. This house is nearly eight miles from town. This would be a dangerous district to send a young girl to as there are many lone prospectors passing to and fro. The general conditions are [very poor]. There are three families—one a family of nine live in a small one room shack. No idea of sanitation.  William McDonagh's accommodation in Pachelqua by Lillooet was a "lean-to shack, airy 13  Ibid., 1929, p. R36. The Bureau Records used in this chapter all are dated the spring of 1928.  14  and leaky...unfit for human habitation, and it is impracticable to improve it as material must be transported over steep hills." In Bear Flats near Peace River, the school was in similar shape. Mrs. Jean Gething reported the the school "needs a new floor, new stove, new roofing....Building is very cold as the cracks between the logs are open and need chinking and mudding."  Into the latter half of the decade conditions in several  communities remained "very primitive." In some communities parents and trustees were still far from co-operative. Harold J. Bradley wrote that the residents of Burgoyne Bay on the west coast of Saltspring Island have the attitude that "what was good enough for them forty years ago is good enough for the children of today." A t times community politics was tense and this affected the academic potential of the pupils. In Stuart River east of Vanderhoof, J. Harry Downard recorded that "There is a great deal of jealousy and quarreling over where teacher boards. This spirit is carried by the parents towards the teacher, and some of the pupils carry this attitude into class with them, making this a very difficult and unpleasant district to live in." Were teachers content in these isolated regions? J.C. Lynch in South Fort George pleaded for an increase in salary, five teachers in the Bureau Records wanted to get "out" of the community  15  and Mrs. Margaret Manning (nee Lanyon) who taught in  Black Canyon in 1926 felt "stuck" in the community and despite accepting a pay cut left for a less isolated school at Dewdney.  16  The teachers in remote schools may have been  enthusiastic but not overly content.  1  5  B u r e a u  E.L. 1  6  Records,  R a n k i n  I n t e r v i e w  1987.  M r s .  in G r e y with  Helener  Creek,  M r s .  M i s s  M a r g a r e t  M c R a e  in  Ivy H a r p e r M a n n i n g ,  E a g l e  B a y ,  in H e n d o n , retired  M i s s  P a n s y  a n d M i s s  Price  H e l e n  schoolteacher,  R.  in  D o g  Creek,  W i l k i n s o n  V a n c o u v e r ,  B.C.,  in 12  M i s s Fife. A p r i l  32  When comparing the educational administrators' perspective as seen through the eyes of the inspectors and the experiences of the teacher in the field, it becomes clear that the Department of Education continued to hold a misconstrued idea of the nature of rural school teaching. The lack of understanding  of isolated teaching was  evident initially  between 1920-1925 when education officials and reformers attended to the problem of rural school inefficiency by concentrating on the improvement of teacher training.  The  teacher was considered a solution whereby the creation of better teachers who could act as an effective pedagogue and  community leader and  be capable of handling  and  appreciating the stress, hardship, and idiosyncracies of isolated teaching would raise the remote school out of the oppressive cloud of academic retardation. This chapter will expose the fallacy of this belief in the success of creating rural-minded teachers on two levels. First, between 1925-1930 the administrators surmised that the predominance of what seemed to be better prepared rural school teachers was the result of improvement in normal school instruction. In reality however, rural school teacher training was  not  being reformed and the teachers were no better equipped to deal with isolated teaching than they had been in the early 1920s.  Second, a brief synopsis of the teaching  conditions in remote communities in the latter half of the decade will show that teaching in an isolated one-room school remained demanding and difficult. The  administrators  continued to be largely oblivious to the seriousness of the remote teachers' plight. In essence, between 1925-1930 neither rural-minded teachers nor the educational land of milk and honey as portrayed by inspectors existed. As  delineated in the preceding chapter, the Putman-Weir Report of May  1925  encapsulated and brought to the fore the problems associated with remote schools. It recommended that the quality of teaching be  improved to reverse this academic  underachievement in the isolated schoolhouse and in so doing hopefully effect basic social  33  and economic change through more efficient rural educational service.  17  As discussed  previously, the Putman-Weir Report advocated a programme whereby rural-minded teachers would be created. Among other recommendations normal school curriculum was to be revised to include rural sociology and nature study, both of which would help the teacher better understand-in theory-rural conditions. Also the student teacher was to be trained in the theory and practice of tests and measurements so that she could gauge the progress of. individual pupils and adjust her lesson timetable accordingly. The Putman-Weir Report suggested practise teaching in isolated schools as part of normal school training, as well as a system of reports designed to warn the teacher of conditions she might expect to find in remote communities. Salaries should be commensurate with successful teaching and community conditions, and "an adequate system of supervision" of young teachers should be implemented.  18  If these recommendations were executed,  the Putman-Weir Report believed, rural schools would undoubtedly improve. The basis of the programme for creating rural-minded teachers was to equip remote teachers emotionally and intellectually by improving their training in normal school. To this end  the inspectors were delighted  Putman-Weir Report's publication.  in the years immediately following the  Their observations indicated that the teachers  between 1925-1930 were more qualified and happier as they stayed longer in each school. A "steadily improving" attitude of the teachers who were "deeply interested" in their work, "eager to improve their methods and technique," of excellent spirit and zeal, and whose "character of teaching...high [in] quality" proliferated throughout the  1  7  S e e  the  P u t m a n - W e i r  Introduction of  r u r a l  lor  m o r a l  a  a n d  1910. 1  8  Ibid.,  pp.  Report,  discussion  194-195.  physical  pp.  of the  132-135,  i m p r o v e m e n t  regeneration  150-151, of the  espoused  by  174-195,  one-room  a n d  252-256.  school based  educational  on  Refer the  administrators  to  the  philosophy as  early  as  34  countryside.  19  Greater efficiency and academic progress were recorded, attributed by  some inspectors to decreased teacher transiency.  20  S.J.  Willis of the Prince Rupert  Inspectorate reported: We are particularly free of those who have outlived their usefulness...; the majority are young men and women anxious to make good in the educational world, and willing to remain for a second or third year in the same school in order to prove themselves. Even my most remote schools are now able to hold their teachers for a reasonable period. Five years ago there were more changes at Christmas than there are now at the end of June. To the better attendance of pupils, the higher training of teachers, and the greater stability of the teaching staff are due, in large measure, the better results of the examinations. 2 1  The  inspectors believed that better formal  training  was responsible for  the  improvement in teachers. The normal school seemed to be producing better graduates. Inspector E.G.  Daniels wrote: The increasingly satisfactory professional attitude of a majority of teachers makes one very hopeful for the future. The growing efficiency of our normal schools, resulting in better-equipped graduates, should be a cause for grave concern to the few teachers who feel that there is nothing left for them to l e a r n . 22  In 1928 H.H.  Mackenzie asserted that: Most important of all, the general average of the teaching is steadily improving. The Fraser Valley is producing a fine body of teachers, both young men and young women, and I am persuaded that the acid test of the quality of the training received in British Columbia schools is the ever-increasing teaching ability as well as the splendid, wholesome character displayed by the young teachers in our rural schools who are the product of our own  I n addition to the earlier references to teacher commendations in the Annual Reports, see especially 1926, p. R37; 1928; p. V31; and 1929, pp. R l l , 30, 33. See especially ibid., 1926, pp. R32, 36, 38, 40; 1927, p. M41; 1928, p. V27; and 1929, p. R28. Ibid., 1926, p. R41. Ibid., 1928, p. V26. 19  20  21  22  elementary, secondary, institutions of learning.  professional,  and  higher  23  Joshua Hinchliffe, the Minister of Education, took time to point out in 1929 that teacher qualifications were "gradually strengthening" implying that the normal schools were doing good work.  The inspectors noted frequently that the summer school, a  24  division of the Victoria normal school, was being attended by an increasing number of teachers who wanted to better their qualifications and understanding for rural teaching. P.H.  Sheffield of the Nelson Inspectorate remarked: Throughout the inspectorate the teachers are manifesting a keen interest in their work and in all opportunities for improving their professional efficiency....The number of teachers from this district who attend...Summer Schools increases from year to year. This commendable attitude on the part of the teachers can only result in increased effectiveness of the class-room instruction. 2 5  Kamloops Inspector A.F. Matthews avowed that: In general the teachers have manifested a keen interest in their work throughout the year. Many of them are so eager to increase their professional efficiency that they are giving a large portion of each summer holiday to an attendance at the sessions of the Provincial Summer School... 26  In addition, the teachers' growing interest in attending Teachers' Conventions community meetings was  and  cited as an indication of greater teacher awareness and  enthusiasm for her rural profession.  27  The inspectors believed that rural-minded teachers were in fact being created.  The  normal schools appeared to be training teachers successfully in the art of rural school  2  3  2  4  2  5  2  6  Ibid.,  1928,  p.  V24.  Ibid.,  1929,  p.  R l l .  Ibid.,  1927,  p.  M39.  Ibid.,  school V 2 5 , 2  7  S e e  1928,  p.  training  30,  31;  and  especially  V27. are  T h e  reports  numerous.  1929, ibid.,  p. 1927,  See  w h i c h  linked  especially  increased  1926,  pp.  R31. pp.  M32,  37;  and  1928,  p.  teacher  R32,  V22.  36;  qualifications 1927,  p.  M14;  to  s u m m e r 1928,  pp.  36  teaching. The evidence was there: better teachers' qualifications, better teaching, less transiency, and more enthusiasm. The  inspectors were wrong, however, on several  counts. First, the Putman-Weir Report's recommendations for normal school reform of remote school teacher training were either sluggishly considered or merely ignored.  The  policy of creating rural-minded teachers never got off the ground. Of a total 23 courses included in the Victoria normal school curriculum in 1927, for example, only one, nature study, dealt with a rural subject.  28  Rural sociology was not offered. For the teachers  enrolled in Vancouver normal school, practise teaching in a one-room school  was  restricted to one week if at all. As well, practise teaching schools were located in communities such as Burnaby, Richmond, North Vancouver, Delta, and  Surrey—hardly  isolated enough for the teacher to experience-true conditions of remote teaching. Even a brief session in a coastal school (of which student teachers' attendance figures are unavailable) would not expose the teacher to the pedagogical problems associated with community impoverishment, transiency, and local politics. Moreover, throughout the latter half of the decade both normal schools complained of problems which worked against the success of an efficient one-room school practise teaching programme, in particular the lack of adequate facilities.  29  The summer school in Victoria was not as well attended as the inspectors believed. Despite their argument that better summer school attendance demonstrated the zeal of an increasingly qualified teachers corps, in reality few remote school teachers attended, partially because of its prohibitive tuition fees. At most 15 percent of all rural and assisted school teachers attended annually between 1925-1930-as low as 9 percent in  Ibid., 1 9 2 7 , p. M 5 0 , and 1 9 2 9 , p. R 4 3 . In 1 9 2 8 , 2 4 courses were offered; in 1 9 2 9 , 2 6 courses. See 1 9 2 8 , p. V 4 7 , and 1 9 2 9 , p. R 4 3 . The curriculum for the Vancouver normal school is unavailable for these years. See especially ibid., 1 9 2 6 , pp. R 5 1 - 5 2 ; 1 9 2 7 , pp. M 5 0 - 5 2 ; and 1 9 2 9 , p. R 4 3 . 28  29  37  1927 with a marked decrease in 1930.  30  Of the total 1,939 teachers who attended  summer school during these five years (558 of whom were rural and assisted teachers), the total enrolment in all courses which pertained to rural living was 59. In 1926 only 6 students sat in on rural science before the course was cancelled the following year; 6 teachers studied social science which incorporated rural sociology, in 1927: the course was dropped in 1928; and a high of 22 teachers attended nature study class in 1927, a course no longer offered by 1930.  31  Essentially in the five years a total of only 5  rural-related courses were offered in summer school while in any one year at least 14 other subjects were available in the curriculum.  32  Thus, not only was the vast majority  of one-room school teachers not attending summer school but the few who did shunned the courses which may have helped them better cope with rural contingencies. As with normal school reform other recommendations of the Putman-Weir Report were largely neglected. While the salary structure for assisted school teachers remained the same-they were still underpaid compared to rural and city school teachers -the 33  supervision of the teachers  actually got worse.  The inspectors were  hampered  constantly by inclement weather and poor transportation networks and their brief visit 34  to  each  school  was  occupied  with  administering  standardized  intelligence and  achievement tests. Mrs. Manning remembered how little the inspectors cared for her welfare 3  0  3  1  Indeed, T h e  and Miss M.J. Lynes in Crawford Creek northeast of Nelson responded to the  35  a high  average  1925-1930 It  is  assisted 3  2  3  3  3  4  statistics  S e e  C h a p t e r  F o r  example,  the  opposed  note  that  various  of all teachers  r u r a l to  the  rural  a n d  one-room courses  in the province  assisted  3 8 8 average  were  d r a w n  see A n n u a l  school  total  school  were  the A n n u a l  1987.  Report  "as the only  out of proportion  Interview,  from  I for a brief discussion  for the boats  altogether 5  to  of  enrolment teacher  smaller  attended  teachers  each  of all school  enrolment  t h a n  d u r i n g  for  the  in  figures  these year  teachers  s u m m e r given  for  years. between p e r  year.  school  a n d  rural  a n d  schoolteachers.  A 1 1  waiting  3  112 as  important i n  15 percent  attendance  w a s  attendance  of only  Reports.  of assisted  1 9 2 8 , p. m e a n s  to t h e n u m b e r  school teacher  V 2 8 ; a n d 1 9 2 7 , p.  of conveyance of schools  salaries. M 3 1 , where  in certain  to be  visited."  parts  the time  of [my]  c o n s u m e d  district...[was]  38  inquiry for information from the Teachers' Bureau with a resentful "This is the first request I have received." Miss Lynes may  have been bitter considering the oft-reported  aloof attitude many inspectors displayed towards the young schoolteacher. An  3 6  indication to the inspectors that the teachers were trying to upgrade their  knowledge and expertise was  increased attendance at Teachers' Conventions.  annually around Easter in a centrally-located community, the Convention  Held  acted as a  "medium for interchange of ideas; it is a sort or clearing house for teachers' problems, and a source of information..." A safe inference can be made, however, that few remote 37  teachers attended these conventions.  The conventions were held only in some districts  and were inaccessible to many one-room school teachers who, because of their isolation, found that even collecting the weekly mail from a town a few miles away was harrowing and labourious chore.  a  38  Although the inspectors were wrong about normal school effectiveness in creating rural-minded teachers and  about signs of increased teacher conscientiousness, they  accurately reported an improvement in teachers' qualifications.  39  Between 1925-1930  progressively more rural and assisted school teachers had first-class certificates (35 percent of all rural and assisted teachers in 1930 versus 23 percent in 1925), fewer held second-class certificates (59 percent in 1930  to 64 percent in 1925) and third-class  certificates (2 percent as opposed to 7 percent). Interestingly, fewer rural and assisted school teachers were attending university for an academic certificate as the 5 percent  Interview, Mrs. M. Embury, retired schoolteacher, Vancouver, B.C., March 1986; Mrs. Lexie Lawrie, retired schoolteacher, Vancouver, B.C., 24 February 1986; Mrs. Manning, 1987; Miss Mary Pack, retired schoolteacher, Vancouver, B.C., 25 March 1986; and Mrs. G.A. Steele, retired schoolteacher, Vancouver, B.C., 11 April 1987. A n n u a l Report, 1927, p. M37. Unfortunately, attendance figures for the various annual conventions are not available. None of the retired schoolteachers interviewed recalled attending a convention while employed as a teacher in a one-room school. See especially Annual Report 1926, p. R35; 1928, pp. V21, 31; and 1929, p. R l l . 36  37  38  39  39  who were working towards a Bachelor's Degree in 1925 dropped to just over 3 percent in 1930.  40  The inspectors attributed this improvement in teachers' qualifications to normal school effectiveness when in fact formal instruction had little to do with the increase in the preponderance of more educated graduates. Inspector Leslie J. Bruce was one of the few officials to recognize a larger force at work. "So many teachers are available," he wrote, "that School Boards now have the opportunity to obtain teachers who are likely to do at least fair work."  41  A.F. Matthews of the Kamloops Inspectorate noted in 1928  that the "supply of teachers in this Province is now demand for their services."  42  J.D.  somewhat greater than is the  MacLean, the Minister of Education in 1925  acknowledged the importance of market forces, especially their effect on teacher transiency. In 1925 the Province observed that five hundred teachers were out of work 43  and the normal schools were turning out teachers too quickly. Additional evidence that 44  the teachers' job market was constricting can be found in normal school enrolment. Between 1924-1926 attendance in both normal schools dropped from 661 to 335, and fluctuated between 339 and 375 up to 1930.  45  This widening discrepancy between  teacher supply and demand made teaching jobs more competitive. Better qualifications were needed if the teacher hoped to secure future employment. Once employed she would be reluctant to relinquish her post considering the lack of alternative positions available.  4  C h a n g e s  0  figures  for  46  The increase in teacher enthusiasm may have been somewhat superficial,  in  percentages  other  teacher  for  rural  a n d  classifications.  assisted A l l  schoolteachers  statistics  were  coincided  d r a w n  from  roughly  the  with  A n n u a l  the  Reports  tables. 4  Annual  4  2  4  3  4  4  4  5  4  6  Report,  1927,  I b i d . ,  1928,  p.  V 2 6 .  Ibid.,  1925,  p.  M i l .  D e p a r t m e n t  p.  of E d u c a t i o n  T h e  statistics  were  T h e  importance  of  d r a w n  M34.  N e w s p a p e r from  teaching  the  Clippings,  A n n u a l  qualifications  Provincial  Archives,  Victoria,  B.C.,  1925.  Reports. in  helping  to  secure  a  teaching job  was  dependent  40  therefore, because an indication of indifference on the part of the teacher could contribute to a negative inspector's report, subsequent dismissal, and unemployment. In essence, the normal schools were not responsible for producing better graduates. Student teacher instruction was not improving, rather the students were compelled to earn a higher certificate than before. Significantly, this added education did not include rural-oriented subjects. The most damning evidence to suggest that rural-minded teachers were not being created to teach in isolated communities and that the educational system was not progressing to new heights of pedagogical efficiency is contained in the 1928 set of the Bureau Records. Individual teacher reports from the late 1920s continued to document the adverse teaching conditions and utter frustration of working in a one-room school. The number of these schools between 1925-1930 hovered around 500, which represented at least 50 percent of all elementary schools and 20 percent of the province's school population. Within them 20 percent of all elementary school teachers were employed. As discussed in Chapter I, a fundamental flaw in the Putman-Weir Report's programme for creating rural-minded teachers and a fact largely overlooked by the inspectors was that the vast majority of one-room school teachers were young unmarried  women-a  demographic profile which could make work in the wilderness challenging. Of 500 one-room school teachers who responded in the 1928 Bureau Records, 51 percent noted that the community in which they worked subsisted on farming, 26 percent on lumber and logging, 8 percent mining, and the remaining communities on fishing, ranching, fruit growing, trapping, tie-making, railroad work, resorts, hydro-electric plants, and auto, [continued]  mostly  Interestingly, remote  school  covering  letter  convinced assured  in  that  upon  c o m m u n i t y  1926 M r s .  in  competition  which it  M a r g a r e t with  described  w a s the  h e r the teaching  a  h e r  s y m p a t h y  position.  requirements M a n n i n g "shoebox  full  father's  of  recent  expressed  (Interview,  a s  perceived  (nee L a n y o n )  b y  M r s .  150  applicants"  industrial  the  by  landed  local  M a n n i n g ,  the  board  1987).  school  in  because  accident.  school  local  her job  B l a c k s h e  M r s . for  this  board. C a n y o n  included  M a n n i n g event  a is  which  41  brick, and cannery factories. The teachers classified the conditions of a substantial number of these communities "fair" or "poor" (40 percent), and the climate in some of these communities was severe: seven feet of snow and -50 degrees F, in others rainy and 104 degrees F. Similar to the conditions found in the 1923 Bureau Records, the terrain was  as inhospitable as it was  diverse: "swampy," "mountainous," "wooded," "open  prairie," and "boggy lakes" were described with such adjectives as "rugged," "wild," "uncultivated," "rough," "desert-like," "barren," and "desolate." Common to all these communities was their isolation. Similar to the 1923 set, the 1928 Bureau Records shows that each young teacher perceived her plight differently. One teacher complained of travelling two miles to school each morning while another lived "only" four miles from work; Miss S.J.A. Laughton in Parson near Golden wrote that community conditions were fairly good while she described the houses as very poor and miserably cold in the winter. And  Robert  McGowan in Burns Lake west of Vanderhoof recorded that the schoolhouse was in very good  condition despite an accompanying  picture which  showed a delapidated log  schoolhouse. A brief synopsis of the conditions to which the teacher had to adapt will form an overview of the demands required of teaching in an isolated community. Here the teacher's ordeal changed little from the experiences related only a few years earlier. Often the ill-prepared teacher was immersed in a community unsure of itself or its future. Impoverishment continued to riddle many districts. Several communities were primitive. They were dirty, composed of shacks or log houses, even houses on floats, and had no modern conveniences. Settlements were dependent on the prosperity of the local 47  industry. From south of Greenwood in the southernmost part of the province, Miss  The 1928 Bureau Records contained many such depictions. For example, see reports from Castle Rock, Dawson Creek, Fraser Flats, Kelly Lake, and Morrissey Mines. 4 7  42  Margaret Albion wrote that "Boundary Falls used to be a fair-sized mining town with a smelter. Now  there are many old, deserted buildings, a post office and flag station.  A  few remaining families have ranches; some of them find it quite a struggle to make a living." Into the latter half of the 1920s communities existed which were temporary in nature as families moved out in search of better prospects when the timber became exhausted, mines stripped, or soil unproductive.  48  Teachers' accommodation was diverse. Living quarters were found in a farmhouse, ranchhouse, old school, teacherage attached to the school, hotel, post office, railroad station or section house, cookshack, remodelled warehouse, or hospital. communities teacher accommodation did not exist at a l l  4 9  In some  while in several others it was  squalid. Inhabitants supplied only the bare minimum at distances of up to sixteen miles from the nearest road, railroad, or boat landing. Mrs. D.M.  Todhunter in "desolate"  Seaford on the east coast of Cortes Island had a small unfurnished teacherage on the school grounds with no supplies.  Miss A.L.  Vye in Divide on Saltspring Island  remarked that "Boarding facilities are very bad indeed. The nearest house is a mile from school and the family very unclean. The next place is 3 1/2 miles from school over an impassable road."  Miss Abigail Nicholson in Kildonan west of Port Alberni on  Vancouver Island complained: Only a small lean adjoining school room, partly furnished 8 ft. by 18 ft. for teacher to live and board herself, which is very unsatisfactory because school is used for church, dance hall etc. & teacher has to put up with many disagreeable annoyances many times....A two-roomed cottage should be built for teacher, which will be more sanitary. At present I have to eat, sleep, cook, dry clothes etc. in just this little room, which is by no means healthy, 4  8  F o r  Road, 4  9  F o r  transient Hilltop, example  T a y l o r Central.  in  communities,  a n d see  Galiano  M y r t e ibid.,  see  reports  especially  from  B i g  L a k e ,  Blind  C h a n n e l ,  Fish  L a k e  Point. Miss  North;  E . M .  M i s s  C.  W a l l a c e B e r t r a n d  in in  C h a m p i o n Masset;  Creek; a n d  Miss  M.C.  E.  F r e y  S i m m o n s  in in  Cokato; Pouce  H . H . Coupe  43  not very much sunlight as it is behind school... Miss Nicholson concluded her report with the belief that "the School Board seems to think the teacher doesn't need a livable dwelling like any human being should have....I do not intend to stay here after this term owing to these conditions."  50  Frequently, the schoolhouse was in the same lamentable condition as the teacher's accommodation.  In the 1928 Bureau Records 40 percent labelled the school in "fair" or  "poor" condition. Similar to the 1923 reports, the school could be found in such buildings as a cottage, log cabin, shack, old ranch-house, church, store, room at a section house, community hall, or upstairs in a residence. Several schools were unhealthy, poorly heated and lit, and lacked adequate equipment and supplies. The grounds were small, rugged, and unfenced. In Vavenby about seventy miles north of Kamloops, the "rather primitive" school proved to be too fragile in the face of the elements when it and the surrounding woods were completely devastated by a violent windstorm.  51  Community impoverishment had a deleterious effect on school attendance. In some instances families were too embarrassed to send their children to school or kept them home as extra help on the farm.  52  Occasionally poor transportation facilities coupled  with harsh weather conditions made the school inaccessible to some pupils. A typical isolated community settlement pattern as delineated by Miss K. Wenmoth in Okeover A r m by Powell River was ."..rather unsettled. 4 families along a heavily wooded trail 3 miles long." Heavy snow or rain would make such a trail dangerous if not impossible to  5  0  T h e  For C E . 5  1  B u r e a u  example, Gilpin  N e x t  the  reports  grounds 5  2  in St.  to t h e  1923 a n d  Ewing's  Ibid.:  f r o m  Records see M i s s  V i n c e n t  teachers'  Carroll's  filled  descriptions  in C h u C h u a ,  B a y , a n d J a m e s  Records.  L a n d i n g ;  G r a y  with  Mitchell  a c c o m m o d a t i o n ,  1 9 2 8 B u r e a u  L a n d i n g ; a  are M a r y  Creek;  C r o y d o n  Port  Renfrew,  facilities  V i n s u l l a .  a n d  state  R h o n d a  were  Sirdar  given  the m o s t  teaching  w a s "useful,  where  accommodation.  i n Fort  St.  John,  M i s s  River.  of poor  the school  of teacher  Chattell  in Willow  examples  where  N e w l a n d s ;  a n d  L o n g  school  F o r good  "disgrace."  Jaffray,  C.  of the poor M i s s  the  attention  facilities  not beautiful";  school  w a s  i n  see the  small  both 1928  Deroche; a n d  the  44  traverse. In the communities poor conditions bred disease. A bout of whooping cough, scarlett fever, or infantile paralysis closed the school for indefinite periods of time. Also, school attendance was  53  subject to community transiency. Projected attendance  rates were impossible to calculate. Teachers would chart religiously the number of families in the departure.  district, always watchful  for signs of restlessness or  impending  54  Compounding the problem of coping with a poor and roving school population was the ethnic composition of the community. In her timetable the teacher not only had to juggle children of various ages, capabilities, and achievement, but she also had to accommodate children who  knew no English and, especially in ethnically-homogeneous settlements,  still clutching onto their native customs.  Norwegian, Swedish, Finnish, Russian,  Ukrainian, Czechoslovakian, Polish, Austrian, German, Dutch, Italian, Swiss, Slavic, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu, French, Indian, and half-breed children attended school.  55  At  times adults attended school to learn the language or basic mathematics. Throughout the isolated communities "heavy" schools-those which were difficult to organize because of the pupil composition—proliferated. To many teachers the fluctuating and diverse nature of the pupil population was an administrative nightmare.  56  By far the most aggravating and distressing condition the one-room school teacher had to confront and the one which inevitably drew the administrators' attention to the predicament of the teacher was the nature of community politics. Young, alone, lonely, and dominated by the whims of her landlord (according to the 1928 Bureau Records, 59  At Telegraph Creek, the nearest doctor was two hundred miles away. Also see reports from Cultus Lake, Quick, and Willow River. Ibid. See especially Gladwin, Kincolith, Cranberry, Marsh, and Canford. Ibid. See especially Carson, Glade, and Outlook. F o r examples of "heavy" schools, see reports from Albreda, Deroche, Shirley, and Fraser Flats. 5 3  54  55  56  45  percent of the teachers boarded), unpredictable school board demands, and inter-family jealousies, the teacher was thrust into another career, a diplomat, lest she be wrung through the local rumour mill and ostracized. In the Bureau Records teachers reiterated the need to remain tactful, canny, and impartial in all community squabbles. In Marten Lake east of Fort Fraser, R.T.  Pollack observed that the "People seem to [be] at  loggerheads with each other. Uncomfortable for a teacher with thin skin." Religious cliques were distinct in Kaleden, Pender Harbour was "the worst for scandal," and Miss Marion V. Sleighton in Mud River southwest of Prince George warned that "It would not be a wise policy to send an inexperienced teacher here, for the community does not have much co-operative spirit or harmony so it makes a teacher tread most carefully to keep on friendly terms with all." Residents quarrelled incessantly in Salmon River (also near Prince George), and on Thetis Island, O.A.  Barry suggested that the teacher must get to  know the chief people in the district for her stay to be pleasant. Miss Sadie J. Johnston who taught in West Demars on Sloca'n Lake in 1928 recalled: I experienced some small town jealousies there, so that if I was friendly with one family another would reject me. When I mentioned this to the Inspector he suggested I stay neutral and not patronize one family above another. This was not easy to do because the "hostile" family never did invite me to their home, explaining they couldn't as the husband had diabetes. There were only three families in the school....I felt the small town jealousies hard to deal with, so decided to try for new position. 5 7  The teacher's boarding situation complicated any strategy of neutrality. Although in some communities the families refused to board the teacher, the extra income and help 58  around the house were irresistible inducements to offer the teacher a room. This caused further strife in a sometimes divided community  5  7  5  8  L e t t e r , F o r  M r s .  example,  Sadie see  J .  Stromgren,  B u r e a u  Records,  retired Prairie,  when families argued over  schoolteacher,  N e w  Bouchie  E n d a k o ,  Lake,  Westminster,  B.C.,  Palling, a n d  A p r i l  who  1986.  Stevenson.  46  deserved to house the paying guest. Mrs. Annie Abercrombie summarized the situation of many one-room school teachers when she warned that to keep the peace in her community, Three Valley west of Revelstoke, "it is advisable for a teacher to board herself." Similar to the situation found in many remote areas in the early 1920s,, community members were at times parsimonious and obstinate. In several settlements the school board prohibited teachers from boarding outside the district because of the money brought in through rent.  59  From Pine near Merritt, Miss Mabel Nelson wrote that the  "Boarding Place predominating  idea "How  much will you pay for it?" 1st term-It  couldn't be better. 2nd term-Everyone trys (sic) to govern the teacher." Frederick Job referred to Burtondale on the northeast end of Lower Arrow Lake as "...probably the most backward school in B.C.  The district is exceedingly loath to spend money for school  purposes....Their sole idea is to get a teacher & pay the minimum salary possible. Motto of the community uncooperative.  "Keep down the taxes."  Stingy community members could be  From just north of Vanderhoof, Miss Dorothy Baxter mentioned that  "Chilco would be a very nice district to teach in if it were not for two families who are always ready to make trouble for every teacher" and Miss Belle McGauley in Ashton Creek five miles east of Enderby sensed a "continual feeling of anijja^sity opposition in the a i r . "  60  Although neglectful, the inspectors and administrators were never totally oblivious to the hardship of teaching in a one-room school.  In the 1928 Bureau Records the  Ibid. See especially Miss L. Hayes in Salmon Valley. In one area, the teacher was fired explicitly for taking up residence outside the community. (Interview, Mrs. Manning, 1986). See also Bureau Records for Brisco, where "a better feeling among inhabitants" was needed; the people of North Cedar needed "tactful handling"; the settlers in West Creston did not want the school to open; one family made teaching undesirable in Curzon; the sparsely settled Meadow Valley families were simply "unsociable"; Proctor society was divided into two factions; and Tatalrose, where a "lack of co-operation on the part of the parents in school undertakings" was evident. 59  60  47  inspectors found nine "men's schools" which denoted that the district, because of its rugged conditions and predominance of anxious bachelors, was too dangerous for a young inexperienced woman teacher. The inspectors' individual school reports (apart from the 61  reports found in the Annual Reports) occasionally described conditions which militated against successful one-room school pedagogy.  A case for prescience was made in 1927  62  when A.C. Stewart of a Victoria Inspectorate devoted an inordinate amount of attention to encouraging the isolated teacher in the face of community pressure. In all other lines of human activity it is the general opinion that more allowance is made for the young and inexperienced than in the teaching profession. This is, I think, generally true, especially in the rural districts. We all have the same burden of human defects and need all the helpfulness, sympathy, and encouragement possible from the community in which we serve in order that we may rise in some measure and in some degree to the height of the service required and demanded of us. Whatever the baffling conditions, whatever the adverse and apparently unjust criticism, if we honestly and sincerely try and strive we shall at least enjoy the luxury of self-respect. "Criticism," it has been wisely said, "is a study by which men grow important and formidable at a very small expense..." 63  In this same district, one year later, a young woman teacher shot herself to death in her cabin ostensibly, according to her suicide note, because the trustees were unduly b  l  T h e  men's  Pacific, 6  2  C o p i e s  of  the  D e p a r t m e n t on  schools"  Porteau,  school  sanitation,  grading  standing  reports River  from  W o o d s h e d F a s t e n e d where "pupils L a n e ; a n d  3  [(6)]  are  all  of pupils,  school  (3)  A n w a s  very  disinfectant  where  " T h e s e should  reports  are  Report,  1927,  the be  used p.  pupils be  used  to  which  are &  were  m a p s ,  of  "(1)  outhouses  in Chapters  building used  fenced  by &  F l a g  pole  Blucher  responsible";  classes  should  III a n d  IV.  are be  in  very a  kept  See  B e a v e r  [(5)]  Blueberry B a r  Creek  T h e  the  Chinook  conditions";  unsatisfactory  clean."  (2)  Desk  where  Bridesville,  b a c k w a r d  very  were  especially  improved  erected  Boston  in  control,  chapter  students;  H a l l ;  is  toilets  this  poor  grounds,  a n d  otherwise  problems;  not  in  a n d  information  a n d  alphabetically.  (4)  Falls,  trustees,  contain  m a n a g e m e n t  hindered for  O k a n a g a n  teacher,  they  family  found  backward....The these  w a s  chinked";  H a n d  the  reports  G r o u n d s  a n d  teacher  school  listed  provided  building  to  Victoria,  the  are  progress  water  Miss  given in  Grove,  Hill.  blackboards,  A l l  they  M a p l e  Sullivan  teaching,  attitude.  illness  "Present  extensively M 3 1 .  of  School due  for  where  desks,  improved:  Lake,  a n d  Archives  Archives  supply  provided.  b a c k w a r d  reports  satisfactory  could  irregular  Cokato  where  In  adequate  Bookcase  school  Provincial  teacher  H o m e  Woodcock,  character  a n d  year.  were  Creek,  service,  water,  conditions  Clearwater;  A n n u a l  of  Siding,  attendance  individual 6  built  Concord  S o m e  Alice school  in the  janitorial  quality  1927-1928  where  Records  individual  A v a i l a b l e  a n d  the  B u r e a u  inspectors'  officials.  a n d  the  T e l e g r a p h  availability from  in  Skidegate,  state.  inspectors'  48  critical of her work in the school. The event brought the struggle of remote school teachers to the public's attention. The Vancouver Province published her suicide note: There are a few people who would like to see me out of the way so I am trying to please them....I know this is a coward's way of doing things, but what they said about me almost broke my heart. They are not true. Among the complaints levelled at Miss Mabel Jones by the Cowichan Lake School Board were lack of discipline in the classroom and her failure to lower the school flag at night. The Province included the rider to the coroner's jury verdict of temporary insanity which suggested an amendment to the School Act so that school affairs in "small, isolated school districts" be put in the hands of "competent trustees, not necessarily elected, thus freeing the teacher from the gossip of irresponsible and petty citizens." In the midst of the publicity concerning Jones' d e a t h  65  64  the Minister of Education  acted promptly. With the support and confidence of the British Columbia Teachers' Federation, Joshua Hinchliffe removed the Cowichan Lake School Board and appointed 66  an official trustee in its place. He set forth several recommendations: a revision of rural school classification on the basis of quality of teaching conditions; an increase in the salaries of assisted school teachers as a means of reward for successful service; a system whereby provincial police would visit periodically the isolated teachers to check on their progress; and the appointment of a "Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer" whose duty was to "visit the rural districts of the province where the living and social conditions under which young female teachers are working are not found to be satisfactory." To the  6  4  6  5  D e p a r t m e n t P u b l i c  system a 6  a n d  bastion 6  T h e  local  stand  O r g a n  the  N e w s p a p e r  mixed.  O n e  administration  apparently  transforming Official  w a s  of democracy.  official  towards  of E d u c a t i o n  reaction  of  the  B C T F  school  B.C.  while  w a s  out  lauded  Clippings, s o m e w h a t  supervision  of the  boards  larger  Teachers'  Provincial  cried  another  N e w s p a p e r  adequate  local  of the  See  Clippings,  editorial  into  Federation  for the the  reform  passive. a n d  N o v e m b e r teachers'  1928. supervisory  school  board  as  1929. It  w a s  merely  administrative VIII, no. 4  21  of the  community-controlled  F e b r u a r y  schools  Archives,  unquestioningly called  units.  (December  for  See  a  favourable  consideration  T h e  1928)f£6".  B.C.  of  Teacher:  49  one-room school teacher the Welfare Officer was to act as a "friend and good counsellor who will ever be ready  to respond to any call that may  come for advice and  assistance." Finally, the administrators seemed to be showing concern proportionate to 67  the seriousness of teaching in an isolated community. This was not to be the case. The inspectors remained silent on the entire issue and the death of Mabel Jones faded rapidly from public and administrative attention. A n official investigation was undertaken by the Department of Education into Jones' death, but as a result Hinchliffe's only recommendation to be acted upon was the employment of Lottie Bowron as the Teachers' Welfare Officer. Although a step in the right direction, her appointment was a kneejerk response to Jones' death, a belated, almost flippant concession to the gravity of the isolated teachers' situation.  Ultimately Bowron's  appointment was inadequate to deal with the problem. Because travel was difficult in some areas which made many schools inaccessible, in 1929 and 1930 she visited less than half of all rural and assisted schools in the province thus leaving most remote teachers to fend for themselves. Her own recommendation that only men or married women be sent to rural districts had no impact as into the 1930s the vast majority of remote school teachers remained young, female, and single. Only her part as guest lecturer in the normal schools where she warned the students of the social and economic conditions of remote communities had any hope for real success. The  question remains as to the apathy expressed  68  by the administrators and  inspectors towards the problems of one-room school teaching. No evidence existed to prove that the remote schools were improving.  In fact, of 56 individual inspector's  reports from 1928 randomly consulted, 13 included a lack of progress among the  6  6  7  8  A n n u a l Ibid.,  Report,  1 9 2 9 , p.  R I O .  s e e 1 9 2 9 , p. 3 4 ; a n d 1 9 3 0 , p.  Q 3 2 .  50  students or outright retardation. Certainly in some schools the teaching conditions were no better than they had been between 1920-1925 and in some transient communities the general conditions quite possibly had deteriorated. Why  the Department of Education  chose to neglect remote schools after 1925 demands a larger study into its administrative machinery and hierarchy during this time but speculation here into the possible reasons may  be instructive. First, the administrators were getting the wrong impression of remote conditions.  The Bureau Records were distributed by a branch of the Department of Education, the Teachers' Bureau, primarily to assist local school boards in securing  appropriate  teachers and to acquaint teachers with desirable schools. The educational policy-makers may  never have consulted these forms. The administrators' information about isolated  communities came from the inspectors, the majority of whom spent only a few hours in each school, largely for the purpose of administering the Department's new intelligence and achievement tests. They would not have had the time or conviction to explore local problems. As well, as discussed in Chapter I, the inspectors' reports tended to be overly positive. Promotion out of the field where in some cases thousands of miles of rugged terrain had to be traversed each year must have appeared very attractive to the inspectors. positive report of one's own  district meant that good work was  A  being done, a fine  reference to have when a position opened up in the Department administration, a normal school, or a less remote inspectorate. Moreover, at this time of scrutiny mainly from the Putman-Weir Report, the  inspectors lauded the efforts of the normal schools for  producing better graduates, a favourable impression which must have sat well with friends and colleagues in Victoria and Vancouver who  were upset with the criticism  51  levelled at them by Putman and Weir.  69  Third, to the administrators no news was good news. The lack of adequate research into the stress of teaching in remote districts could have caused them to suspect that the teaching conditions in the isolated communities were being improved. Automatically the administrators assumed that any problem was dealt with successfully through such remedial measures as correspondence schools, experimental consolidation, and Lottie Bowron. Most remote school teachers had no effective outlet for their grievances; thus the Department of Education remained ignorant of their plight. In relation to this, the administrators may have been blinded by progress in other areas of the educational system. During the late 1920s school facilities and educational opportunity were expanding. New  urban schools were built, student population was  increasing and attendance levels were rising, high schools and superior schools in the larger rural areas were established, and a proportionate increase in expenses was being budgeted.  The  bureaucracy expanded  as problems of growth were tackled  and  unarticulated conditions of stagnation or decay were easily ignored. As remote school teaching was as difficult or became even more strenuous throughout the 1920s, the administrators seemed to remain unconcerned. An overview of the entire decade reveals that they had little idea of the hardship and frustration experienced by thousands  of isolated  teachers.  Evidence of the  Department  of Education's  misunderstanding of the problem is abundant but nowhere is it clearer than the administrators' misguided belief in the efficacy of what they considered the production of  °  9  S e e  J o h n  Provincial eds.  N a n c y  75-97, few."(p.  for  C a l a m , "  N o r m a l  a  87).  M . look  T e a c h i n g  Schools,"  S h e e h a n , at  the  J .  in  the  D o n a l d  impact  Teachers:  Schools  of  in  the  Wilson,  P u t m a n  E s t a b l i s h m e n t West:  a n d  a n d  E s s a y s  D a v i d  Weir's  (J.  in  a n d  E a r l y  C a n a d i a n  Jones  Y e a r s  (Calgary:  recommendations  of  the  E d u c a t i o n a l Detselig,  w h i c h  B.C.  History,  1986),  "stunned  pp.  not  a  52  better-equipped teachers, as well as the continued intractable conditions of teaching in a remote community.  Well into the 1930s, within these small pockets of civilization  throughout British Columbia, schools remained inefficient and teachers continued to struggle.  52a  Part II: The Schools in the British Columbia North-Central Interior: Terrace to Vanderhoof  Chapter III: Settlement and Schools  "Talking of schools, one must speak of the great asset to the community of the young school-marms of those days. Most of them were quite young and entered whole heartedly into the life of the district. We had often remarked on the fact that in stories written about early days of settlement the young school marm was usually in the role of heroine, or at least of leading lady. In actual experience it was not difficult to learn the reason, for, very often, she was the only eligible lady among a flock of bachelors. Some of these school marms stayed in the country as settler's wives, and I don't think they have regretted the step, and they have certainly made good wives." 1  "2 months and 1 week left"  2.  Overview  The above quotes indicate two very different realities of rural school teaching. Implied in the second quote and discussed at length in Part I, young, single women were often faced with general hardship, frustration, and loneliness when teaching in the dire 1920s conditions of northern  British  Columbia  communities.  In 1927 Mildred  McQuillan, teacher of Orange Valley School near Fort Fraser, late for school one day, "crawl[ed] out [of bed] at 8:30--get to school at 9:15 exactly-don't give a darn either--life is bitter!" Why teachers did not enjoy their jobs under remote school circumstances is easy to understand, and the rate of teacher transiency in these schools supplies the numerical evidence. •'•Arthur Archives, 2  M i l d r e d  1927, in  Shelford,  "Reminiscences,"  revised  a n d enlarged  edition,  1 9 6 8 ,p.  2 3 ,  Provincial  Victoria B C . M c Q u i l l a n ,  counting  d o w n  the Provincial  teacher t h ed a y s  Archives  o f O r a n g e  Valley  t o h e rd e p a r t u r e .  i n Victoria,  British  one-room Mildred  C o l u m b i a .  school  from  M c Q u i l l a n ' s  S e p t e m b e r D i a r y ,  to  1927, is  D e c e m b e r reposited  54  The other reality is more elusive. To what extent did remote school teachers find such challenging work enjoyable?  Various diaries and reminiscences  all tended to  minimize the pleasurable side of one-room school teaching, and unfortunately, no statistics and little qualitative evidence exist to explore the issue of those teachers who, so liking the area, remained in the community after leaving the teaching profession. The Bureau Records only infrequently report positive remote teaching experiences. Yet some examples exist. In a rare outburst of enthusiasm from a teacher working in a one-room school, Miss J.E. Moodie in Ewing's Landing on the west side of Okanagan Lake wrote in 1928 "The happiest spot in B.C. for the right person!-My fourth year,-and they still cheer me on!" A t times, working conditions were well-disposed. Miss Mary Dobson in Australian, just south of Quesnel, reported that "The people in this district are nearly all well-educated and very hospitable. They take a great interest in the school and a pride in keeping the school well supplied." People in Atlin, a far north mining town on the east side of Atlin Lake were "exceptionally kind and hospitable to teacher," and Miss Kathleen Holman in Killarney, south of remote Dease Lake in the Cassiar district wrote that the "school board very helpful. Parents co-operative. District friendly towards teacher.  Children eager to come to school."  Some communities  provided  very  satisfactory accommodation and clean, well-built schools. For entertainment few schools could match Robson, a few miles north of Castlegar, where the community had a general store, post office, two tennis courts, a badminton and winter social club. In Roe Lake near Lillooet outdoor life meant "ample facilities for riding, fishing, skiing, skating, etc." Other Bureau Records remarked on the health and cleanliness of local communities.  3  T h e  above  Records. Dove  Creek;  Creek, a n d  For  where  references generally K a l e d e n , a  picturesque  Brisco;  "good  except where  social  scenery,  Cedarville,  for  favourable  where  the  the  people  time"  hiking  A u s t r a l i a n teaching is  a n d  living  a n d  A t l i n  conditions,  strove  possible;  to  conditions  m a k e  R e a d  fishing";  "Good.  a n d  People  from  Records,  teacher  w h i c h  lake,  taken  B u r e a u  the  Island  S w a n  are  were  see  is  feel  are  1928  if  "one  is  Station;  clean  a n d  B u r e a u  especially  comfortable;  ideal  Stuart  the 1923  3  the  fond  a n d  for  M e l d r u m in  of  wild 1928:  children  are  55  Despite these few claims in the Bureau Records that some remote schools provided agreeable working conditions for the seemingly complacent teacher, overwhelming evidence suggests that being employed in a British Columbia one-room school in the 1920s was demanding, labourious, and often frustrating when forced to adapt to pioneer conditions which tested personal character and will. Moreover, at times the conditions were extremely dangerous. The teachers in the remote schools were frequently faced with torrential rain, snow, or wind storms which would topple trees and shack houses, flood roads and foot paths, and make some communities inaccessible for days. Wild animals provided an additional hazard, as did some transient strangers of suspect intentions who would appear in the community for a few months and disappear just as mysteriously. Most newly-settled areas in the province were characterized by comparable conditions but no clearer can such indiscriminate dangers be epitomized than when Miss Loretta A. Chisholme, 21 years old and teacher'of the Port Essington Assisted School, ventured out from her boarding house on a Sunday morning in May 1926 for her customary walk before church.  She never returned.  The body of a teacher of "ability and high  character" who taught in several one-room schools in the northern interior was found the following day in a bush near a walking path, her chest and the back of her head crushed, jaw and nose broken, and moss forced down her throat, probably to stifle her screams. The autopsy revealed that she suffocated to death. A n Indian was indicted then later acquitted for lack of evidence as the jury declared that "the deceased came to her death as a result of foul play on the part of some person or persons unknown." In this extreme example the danger of teaching in a northern remote school in the 1920s became  [continued] hospitable  well  nourished  families;  Cobble  a n d  healthy";  Hill, Elko,  C h i m n e y  a n d M e a d o w  C r e e k  Creek.  w h i c h  h a d  "kind-hearted"  a n d  56  patently obvious.  4  So far the look at rural school teaching has been in generalizations, the over-all picture of working in a small, one-room school in the 1920s. Ultimately, this perspective is  incomplete,  especially  when  considering  the problem  faced  by  educational  administrators at the time. As seen particularly in the Annual Reports, the Department of Education was either unaware of or neglected the importance of the vast differences among rural communities. The physical conditions of the communities, both natural and man-made, as well as informal politics (local social interaction) and local economic activity  made  rural British Columbia  resemble a hodge-podge of settlement, a  checkerboard of small enclaves of population each unique to itself.  Each remote  community in which a one-room school was located was a microcosm of affairs, isolated from other groups of people by weather and rugged terrain. Individual communities presented their own impediments to school efficiency. For example, personal interests varied from one community to another, and neither the inspector nor the teacher often knew what to expect in regards to local support for the school. In addition, reform of the financially and pedagogically inefficient rural school was difficult due to community isolation, transiency and impoverishment. Astutely, but in frustration, the Putman-Weir Report noted that British Columbia must attain a much higher stage in her social evolution....Many handicaps, both economic and social, incident to rural life, will necessarily be experienced in the remote areas of the Province for a considerable number of years. The conditions of pioneer life in many of these areas are still in existence and  4  T h e  case  Prince N e w  r e m a i n s  R u p e r t  W e s t m i n s t e r  E v e n  t h e  g a t h e r e d  D a i l y In  questionable alone.  unsolved.  D a i l y  N e w s ,  C o l u m b i a n ,  Tfews  the  2 7  M a y 7  in  of some  a  full -  A p r i l  c o m m e n t e d  village  nature  F o r  the  o n  description  16 J u n e , 1927. the  fishing  o f the locals,  season  of  m u r d e r  N o v e m b e r  T h e official  hazards  M i s s  of the  22-25  inquest  the  a n d  Chisholme  legal  manuscripts  locality.  despite  a n d  proceedings,  1 9 2 6 , a n d for " A l l  several  persisted  the are  kinds  of  w a r n i n g s  o n taking  appeal,  see the  unavailable. characters" about  her S u n d a y  the walks  57  cannot be entirely overcome by any government, however paternal it may be. 5  A closer look at individual schools is necessary.  Keeping in mind the underlying  relationship between the young school teacher and the frequently distressful teaching conditions, this chapter will introduce a specific region of study, namely the schools which existed in the years 1915-1930 roughly between Terrace and Vanderhoof along the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. The chapter following will then focus on how  a variety of  factors such as local economic activity, settlement patterns, and local politics interacted with the teacher herself to provide difficulties for those seeking remote school pedagogical and financial reform. Moreover, a clearer picture of the conditions in which the one-room school teacher worked can be delineated to show how  rural school teaching in British  Columbia was a demanding and highly personal ordeal.  Sources  Various source materials were used to piece together the 1920s history of one-room schools in the northern interior of the province. The inspectors' individual school reports allow for a close look into the actual pedagogy of each school. The inspectors rarely reported on aspects of rural teaching other than the quality of the teaching, school enrolment and attendance, and general conditions of the school building and equipment. The purpose of the reports was strictly administrative. By law, copies were distributed to the teacher, school board, and Department of Education officials in Victoria, and they 6  5  6  P u t m a n - W e i r B r i t i s h  Report,  C o l u m b i a ,  Victoria, chapter  p.  Office  226,  178. of  the  section  7.  Provincial  Secretary,  Revised  Statutes  of  British  C o l u m b i a ,  III,  58  functioned as quality control whereby problems with teaching technique and schoolhouse atmosphere could be brought to the fore and corrected. For the region in question, Terrace to Vanderhoof, most schools were inspected twice a year, and these reports served as invaluable official comment on the teacher's professional progress.  7  The Rural Teachers' Welfare Officer's reports add another dimension to the study of individual one-room schools. Lottie Bowron's perspective on the plight of the remote school teacher is somewhat refreshing. Here was  an objective observer  operating  between 1929-1933, a trouble-shooter who travelled the northern hinterland seeking primarily not to criticize but to act as a counsellor in the event of teacher distress with living accommodation or personal differences with community members. Her reports sometimes show quite clearly the physical conditions in which the teacher lived and worked, and they give succinct renditions of local disputes which help explain that teaching success in a remote school was frequently contingent on the ability of the teacher to be canny and diplomatic.  8  Various local histories which in varying degrees refer to schools in the area also help piece together an over-all picture of community life.  7  T h e s e  reports  Archives. E d u c a t i o n 8  Lottie  few  Reports  Archives.  invaluable  for  that  a  north  historical  h a v e  described  F r o m  she  area.  B o w r o n .  one  In  visit  with  1930). in-depth  met this  the  in  case  reels  by  of  microfilm  school.  while J.D.  Bowron.  reported  H e l e n  in  Consult  trying to  in  the  the  Provincial  D e p a r t m e n t  she  the  w a y  W i l s o n  w a s  of  "This  the  w a s  is  have  monitor en  m a s s e  Dorreen  passing  freight of  to  simply a  unloading of  a  on  s m a l l  that  of  the  place  a  n u m b e r  to  a  (half  freight." British  the are  six  a n d  Also, of  w a y  in  "I  h a d  (Bowron  C o l u m b i a  is  it  hundred h a d  a  south  of  past  times  between  that  "has  the  schools  wrote  one  miles  at  merely  a n d  teacher  centrally-located  B o w r o n  in  reports  occasion  village  c o m m u n i t y  lonely  122)  c o m m u n i t y  improved."  school  through.  University  the  ( G R  Bowron's  vague,  a n d  tie-making  reports  M i s s  K i t w a n g a ,  wrote  a n d  that  come  teacher  from  conditions  individual  A l t h o u g h  frustratingly  the  B o w r o n  1929  but  Hibbert  as  1932  f a r m i n g  in  school  inspectors'  1929-1933.  sometimes  River,  small  in  M i s s  Dr.  a  h a d  teacher of  several  between  example,  teachers  B o w r o n  the  are  inherent  Often  in  arisen  S k e e n a  the  with  Currently, study  on  alphabetically  years  they  Tintagel,  difficulties  geographical K i t w a n g a )  on  the  h a d  F o r  tantalizingly  tribulations the  1920s  included  study,  problem  of T e r r a c e  Lake, been  the listed  s p a n  resolved.  difficulties."  B u r n s  for are  are  T h e y  serious  subsequently  miles  T h e y  A i d .  Bowron's  stating  available  122).  Finding  Provincial  w a s  are  ( G R  They are at times unreliable,  there  B o w r o n  over  a  vast  place  to  meet  T e r r a c e a  very  Reports,  a n d short  October  u n d e r t a k i n g  a n  59  however, because of their nostalgia and penchant for anecdotes, and many are written by well-intentioned amateur historians who tend to rely on memory rather than recorded document. Other local histories are well compiled and better referenced. In sum, along 9  10  with the Bureau Records, the Putman-Weir Report, and assorted reminiscences collected through interviews and diaries, sources such as the inspectors' individual school reports, the Bowron Reports, and local histories all combine to afford a fairly comprehensive overview of teaching conditions in one-room schools. Two other sources are noteworthy. First, the Department of Education's Annual Reports give a broad perspective of inspectorate affairs, while the statistical tables therein are indispensible for charting on a yearly basis the establishment of the schools in the region as well as each school's pupil enrolment, attendance, operating budget, and teacher transiency rate. Ultimately, the information derived from the tables can be used to reveal school conditions which in some cases were very distressful. As "one of the largest activities of the Government both in the extent of the organization required for collecting data, and in the magnitude of the operations involved in compiling, analyzing and otherwise adapting these data to...public and private uses,"  11  the 1931 Canadian Census for an entire census district can be a wealth of  information about, for example, demographic trends, unemployment, and community conditions such as building structures and service industries. As this study is confined to a subdistrict, the Census was valuable only as background information, particularly in relation to population composition and growth.  F o r  9  B.C.,  a  Stories 1  0  good  W i g g s  F o r  Destiny  e x a m p l e O'Neil,  of N o r t h e r n a n  e x a m p l e  (Sidney,  ^ D o m i n i o n  of this Sperry  British of  of wispy G o r d o n  C o l u m b i a , "  this  B.C.: Gray's  B u r e a u  kind Cline,  dedicated  Robinson,  see  a n d  the  Provincial  Stanley  Archives,  R o u g h ,  " T i m e  Victoria,  a n d  Place:  (no date). form  Publishing,  of Statistics,  scholarship,  Seventh  of  local  history,  see  R . G .  Large,  Skeena:  River  1981). C e n s u s  of C a n a d a ,  1931,I ( O t t a w a :  1 9 3 6 ) , p. 2 9 .  of  60  Economic Activity from the Upper Skeena River to the Nechako Valley, 1900-1930  The area of study is in the northwest centre of the province approximately 700 miles north of Vancouver. (See map 1). The 1931 Census designated this area as "subdistrict 8e, f, and g." (See Map 2). The district is approximately 30,000 square m i l e s 12  13  and  about 300 miles long from north to south, and 120 miles wide at its base. Until 1930 patches of settlement were located along a thin valley winding from Vanderhoof in the Nechako Valley, northwest through Smithers in the Bulkley Valley, north to Hazelton then south along the Skeena River to Terrace. This was a 350 mile strip of land approximately 15 miles wide on either side of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. As well, tiny communities were found in the low rolling marsh and farm lands of Francois and Ootsa Lakes south of Burns Lake, and in the northern outpost of Fort St. James, about fifty miles north of Vanderhoof. The remaining area, consisting of northern heavily-timbered mountainous wilderness as well as mountains and lakes of the south, remained unsettled other than the indigenous Athapaskan and Tsimishian Indian ethnic divisions, comprised of numerous scattered tribes.  14  This relatively  small  geographical area within the wide expanse of the interior of British Columbia by 1930 contained some sixty-seven schools. In 1908, the district had been considered by the Bureau of Provincial Information as  Unless 1  otherwise  C a l c u l a t e d  3  far  north  a s  from  stated  these  the figure  M a c K e n z i e  subdistricts  given  will be referred  for all of District  a n d as far south  as W i l l i a m s  8  to a s a  w h i c h  L a k e  district,  extends  a n d Alexis  singular.  to the A l b e r t a Creek.  See  border  1931  a s  C e n s u s ,  II, p p . 5-6. 1  4  S e e  no.  W i l s o n  Duff,  5 (Victoria:  study  T h e I m p a c t  Provincial  of the Indian  ethnic  of the W h i t e  M a n , Anthropology  M u s e u m  of N a t u r a l  divisions  a n d tribes  History  in British  a n d Anthropology,  in British  C o l u m b i a .  C o l u m b i a  M e m o i r ,  1964), for a n  1,  extensive  63  a "great unknown region." In the west, few pack trails crossed the landscape prior to 15  white man's first major penetration along the Skeena River and east into the Nechako Valley in the mid-nineteenth century.  In 1866 surveyors from the Collins Overland  Telegraph Company pushed up the Skeena through to Hazelton in an ambitious effort to establish a communication link between Europe and North America through Alaska and Russia. When the work was abandoned fifteen miles north of Hazelton the same year that the Atlantic telegraph cable was laid, most of the line locators who were hired to stake out the trail vacated the Upper Skeena and a few lone prospectors remained behind.  Apart from the missionaries who lived in the Indian villages around the  Kitwanga-Hazelton area and the early Hudson's Bay explorers who searched for suitable trading post sites,  16  the Upper Skeena region remained wild and for the most part  untouched until the twentieth century. Prior to 1900, the eastern boundary of the district was only brushed by white man, when in the early 1800s the Hudson's Bay Company established trading posts in Fort St. James and along the Nechako River at Fort Fraser. The terrain was unyielding; the Stuart and Babine Lake area in the north was a vast expanse of forested and rugged mountainous country with few navigable rivers while the wilderness west of Fort Fraser was  uncleared.  This  area  between  Vanderhoof and Hazelton  remained largely  unexplored until 1886 when surveyors were hired by the Dominion Government to link up Quesnel to Hazelton by telegraph, a feat eventually accomplished fifteen years later. Amid small and isolated Indian settlements, the Nechako and south Bulkley Valley, similar to the Upper Skeena region, experienced an explosion of population with the  1  5  B u r e a u  G r e a t 1  6  of  C e n t r a l  H a z e l t o n  Provincial  Information,  a n d N o r t h e r n  w a s the lone  Interior,"  trading  post  " N e w  British  Bulletin  C o l u m b i a :  22, edition  in the U p p e r  S k e e n a  T h e  Undeveloped  8, 1 9 0 8 . River  area.  A r e a s  of  the  64  coming of the G.T.P. in the early twentieth century.  17  Between 1900-1930 the development of the Upper Skeena and the push inward as far  as Burns Lake from the west along with immigration from the east was greatly  facilitated by the opening of the Grand Trunk Pacific Railway. Although the district between Terrace and north of Francois Lake was populated sporadically by lone prospectors, trappers, missionaries, and Indians, no major influx of people occurred until the first few years of the twentieth century when railway survey workers travelled perilously up the Skeena River by steamboat, then down the Bulkley River.  Every  convenient port in which they settled was later established as administrative centres, supply depots, and in the case of Pacific, Dorreen, Smithers, Telkwa, Quick, and Houston, railway construction camps.  Transportation and communication networks  grew-by 1915 Hazelton was receiving mail an unheard of twice a week -as people 18  steadily moved into the Skeena and Bulkley Valley regions from both the west and east. As an economic draw the railway became shortly thereafter somewhat of a white elephant, however, as its full potential was never met as a viable network to move western Canadian goods to Pacific ports. The G.T.P. was used only to move lumber to  1  ' I n f o r m a t i o n  Appleton, Bourgon,  Rubber  (Smithers: Ho!  T o n a  M a g a z i n e  a n d  S t a n  Press,  M o u l d ,  O'Neil,  (Smithers: F o r m a l 8  F o r  district  1921,  " T i m e  river  of  (Burns  steamers,  Archives,  W h o  (no  the  canoes,  date).  The~ rown  B u r n s early a n d  1923;  L a k e  L y n n P a t  dog  of  " N e w  Shervill,  L a n d  Society,  see  E . N .  of Destiny,  Whitlow Sentinal N e c h a k o  1981;  Province  of  C o l u m b i a , "  F r o m  S w a m p  a n d T h s t r i c t :  British  Victoria,  Valley  1973; Provincial  B.C. J a c k  Bulletin  Division,  "Bulkley  L a k e  V a l l e y  W e s t w a r d  N o r t h e r n  Recording  Stories: Archives, to  Village  A~History  1973).  c o m m u n i c a t i o n  teams,  Bulkley  F.  N a n  History—Terrace  1976)7  Smithers:  B u r n s  the  J o h n  79-82;  Valley,"  M r s .  British  Archives,  T u r k k i ,  in  in:  (Vanderhoof:  of  River  Hetherington,  Historical  m e a n s  W a i t  House,  of L a n d s ,  1908):  (Kitimat:  Ve~ars  S k e e n a :  B.C.,  Life  O'Neil,  W o u l d n ' t  Provincial  ed., T o n a  a n d  even  W i g g s  H a n c o c k  contained  (June  "Bulkley  to H a z e l t o n  1984); Large,  D e p a r t m e n t  is  6  of Pioneer  H u n d r e d  Victoria,  1900 no.  Clement,  that  T  1981);  II,  Cline,  Essington  (no date); R.  Lake: on  Sperry  (Saanichton:  24,  after  W . J .  Kerby~(-)ne  R e m e m b e r , "  Smithers,  reading  M e m o r i e s  1979);  Society,  Columbia,  a n d Place,"  T o w n  O t h e r  Information,  Bulletin  a n d  M a g a z i n e  75-78;  N.J.  Broadaxes  before  H o !  Trail: Port  M u s e u m  Provincial  O l d T i m e r s  T h e  A n d  1908):  1979);  of British  a n d Informal  Provincial  a n d  of  30,  interesting b y  (June  the T o t e m  Regional  1908; Province  W i g g s  district  Hancock~7Vanderhoof:  B u r e a u  from  the  W e s t w a r d  Heatherington,  Society,  S t u m p f a r m s  Collected  6  A l o n g  L y n n  Bulletin  of  for D a n c i n g :  J a n e t  II, no.  Terrace  C o l u m b i a , B.C.,  history Valley,"  Boots  Historical  (Terrace:  1  the  a n d  Rough,  1961);  Valley  22,  on  " N e c h a k o  W i g g s  a n d  transportation  O'Neil,  " T i m e  a n d  in  the  Place,"  65  Prince Rupert and in the 1920s to local sawmills, as well as to transport passengers and small freight within the district. Railroading towns of Engen, Endako, Burns Lake, and Topley sprang up, only to be left surviving precariously once the construction camps were vacated. Small groups of maintenance workers remained, each composed of three to four men who lived in makeshift accommodation.  By 1914 Burns Lake resembled a  collection of tents rather than a permanent settlement, and many of these communities throughout the war years served as central meeting places for the lone prospectors, trappers, and land seekers.  Thus, the new railway helped establish small settlements  19  when the construction crews cleared the land, and served as a communication corridor through the mountains, but from traffic underuse did not draw the men or capital needed to offset a general economic and population stagnation that occured in the district only a decade later.  20  The population of the district increased tremendously after 1918 primarily because of a more extensive transportation network, as well as soldier settlement schemes designed by the provincial government which offered 160 acres in return for $10 and a specified amount of land improvement,  a slowly expanding service industry characteristic of  21  new communities, increased need for railway ties for domestic use, and new mineral discoveries around Babine Lake. The district's population increased from approximately 2,000 in 1910 to over 8,000 by 1920; however, the growth was subsequently slowed by such factors as wildly fluctuating mineral markets, stability of railway tie demand, 1  9  S e e  M o u l d ,  settlements cabins, 2  0  F o r  A m i d  2  1  2  2  the  see T u r k k i , a  succinct  the  Leonard, B.C.  S t u m p f a r m s  along  I b i d . ,  business.  B u r n s  s u m m a r y  M o u n t a i n s , " G r a n d  Studies,  M o u l d ,  n e w  36.  T h e  B e t w e e n  a n d  of the  Pacific  ( A u t u m n  S t u m p f a r m s , p.  L a k e  Broadaxes, r a i l w a y  p. tie  a n d  a n d  B.C. the  1984):  pp.  w h i c h  District,  rise  1870-1930,"  T r u n k  no. 63  and  G.T.P.  131-134.  were  For  composed  a  good  primarily  description  of tents  a n d  of  22  the  scattered  1973.  fall  of the  Studies  no.  G.T.P. 58  E s t a b l i s h m e n t  Railway,  ( S u m m e r of the  City  see  1983):  Cole  17-23.  of Prince  Harris, Also  George,  " M o v i n g  see  F r a n k  1911-1915,"  29-54.  13. industry  1924-1930  over  r e m a i n e d five  constant  million  ties  throughout  were  shipped  the out  1920s, of  the  doing  B u r n s  excellent  Lake/South  66  land which in some areas proved to be unproductive, a lack of local markets for produce, and a falling market for furs. Between 1920-1930 the population in this vast territory had risen by only 1600 people.  The area remained overwhelmingly rural, characterized  23  by unincorporated communities  24  with Smithers, Burns Lake, and Vanderhoof the only  incorporated settlements and the only communities of more than 200 residents in the entire district by 1931.  25  Within the district, trapping was  a viable economic endeavour because deer, bear,  coyote, rabbit, beaver, muskrat, fox, wolverine, marten, lynx, otter, pheasant, grouse, geese, and ducks proliferated throughout this region. Joining the trappers were mining prospectors who century. unexplored  The  came in waves throughout the first three decades of the twentieth prospectors  either worked alone  staking out claims on  previously  rivers and mountains or they were employed by the Butte Company of  Hazelton, for example, to mine the large gold, silver, copper, lead, iron, and zinc veins near Usk, Kispiox, Smithers, and Telkwa. Mining was less productive in the eastern part of the district, but a few placer mines which extracted small quantities of quartzite, silver, lead, and zinc existed in sporadic isolated settlements around Fort St. James and areas south of Francois Lake. Essentially, mining was a precarious industry. When the metal market was buoyant up to 1916, in 1922, and again in 1928, money and  men  flowed into nearby settlements, but when the price for the metals deflated, large mining companies folded just as quickly.  [continued] Bulkley Valley region. The figures were calculated from the 1931 Census, II, pp. 103-106. The 1931 Census defines "rural" as those areas not incorporated into cities, towns, villages, or hamlets. This is a useful distinction because "the incorporation of a town or village is a reflection of the needs of the surrounding area." (vol. I, p. 154). Smithers was incorporated as a village in 1921, and by 1931 had a recorded population of 999, Burns Lake was incorporated in 1923 with a population in 1931 of 202, and Vanderhoofs date was 1926, 1931 population 305. Ibid., pp. 193-194. 23  24  25  67  Until  1930  the district's  population  was  highly  transient.  The  individual  precariousness of some of the economic activity caused rapid movements in population away from depressed areas and into regions where employment opportunities existed. Trappers and prospectors roamed the countryside, mining labourers came and went according to fluctuating markets, and railway, and later road construction workers stayed only as long as they were needed. After the First World War settlers arrived in increasing numbers aided by the new railway and growing network of pack trails which were widened for the horse and buggy, and later, the automobile. The immigrants to 26  the region spread out along the valley to Smithers, and they often mingled with travellers from the Skeena River. As well, prospective farmers and ranchers moved south into the rolling land which surrounded Francois and Ootsa Lakes. Homesteaders found excellent pastures for crop and stock-raising but even after the first financially lean years of land-clearing, with few local markets to sell produce, the style of farm living remained pioneer well into the 1930s.  27  In stark contrast to some other areas of Canada which when newly settled depended primarily on one industry to maintain economic sustenance, for example the fishing communities of the east and west coasts or the farming towns on the Prairies and southwestern Ontario, between 1900-1930 the settlers in the Upper Skeena, Bulkley Valley, Francois and Ootsa Lakes, and the Nechako Valley were often engaged in a number of economic activities within the same community. Trapping, mining, ranching, mixed-farming, 2  6  F o r  a  A m i d 2  7  look  the  T h e  a t the  1931  f a r m s  settlement  in  8  I n  this  roads  C e n s u s  1,288  individual  2  railway and road construction and maintenance, land clearing, and  M o u n t a i n s , "  recorded,  grains,  28  region,  hay,  show  lived were  this  between  pp.  p a r t  m i x e d  potatoes,  on  T e r r a c e  a n d  V a n d e r h o o f during  this  time,  see H a r r i s ,  " M o v i n g  27-30. the  N e c h a k o  f a r m s  typically of the  region  to  be  percent),  isolated,  highly  (vol.  these  agricultural.  VIII,  figures  pp.  reflect  O f  764-765). the  the  1,920  residents  Considering  scattered  nature  that  of  the  district.  farmers roots,  (67  raised  corn,  a n  beans,  assortment peas,  of crops  turnips,  which  carrots,  included  b u s h  fruit,  wheat, timothy,  oats,  mixed  grass  a n d  68  tie-hacking were all viable pursuits. Only tie-hacking and farming could be considered staple industries.  29  Indeed, the tie-making industry was a "god-send" to the struggling  settlers. Throughout the 1920s many farmers chose to supplement their subsistence in the winter as they took advantage of the virtually unlimited market for railway ties. Between October and April, when the ties could be easily transported over the snow or ice, summer farmers became "free-lance" tie-cutters or part of a group hired by a logging company  who cut down trees into manageable portions and transported the logs by  30  horse and sleigh along icy paths to the railway.  The logs were loaded onto flatbeds  31  from the railway sidings and shipped to local sawmills for processing.  32  The ties were  used for local rail repair or sent to Prince Rupert for shipment to export markets. This rather straight-forward operation for the seasonal tie-hacker-the more trees cut the higher the pay-allowed "stumpfarmers" (land-clearers) and subsistence farmers the necessary resources, for example the money to purchase seed and farm equipment, to survive the summer months on their homesteads.  33  The tie-making industry added both permanency and transiency to the district's population. Sawmills in Decker Lake, Rose Lake, and Quick ensured the existence of  [continued] swine,  a n d  VIII, pp. 2  9  S e e  0  T h e  3  1  B u r n s  L a k e in the  most  3  2  pp.  Decker  C h a d  in  on  the  to s e l l  A s  as  M a y  well, f a r m  1927  some  farmers  livestock  for  companies  A n d e r s o n  the  in  the  of  C o m p a n y  countryside.  Prince S k e e n a  n e w  Controversy similar  C o l u m b i a lumber  a n d  book,  logger/farmer  r e m a r k a b l y  of British  5  contracting  to l o c a l s p r u c e  Gaffield's  describes  Observer,  Lake's  1906  F r e n c h - L a n g u a g e w a s  rice.  district's  a n d  raised  horses,  produce,  see  cattle,  the  1931  sheep, Census,  a  contemporary  account  of  the  history  of  region.  throughout  to U s k  accessibility 3  even  list of the  See  tie-hackers  both  of w h i c h  M o u l d ,  were  the  H a n s o n  sub-contracted  S t u m p f a r m s ,  pp.  out  C o m p a n y to  two  of  to  six  m o v e d  its  25-31.  42-81.  E s t a b l i s h e d  operations  3  a n d  a  prominent  a n d  operations  Ibid.,  For  activity  Smithers m e n  seeds,  728-753.  the  economic 3  clover  poultry.  in  in  to  the  order  to  in the  Rupert, River, cedar  poles.  L a n g u a g e , in  the  then  survive  Prescott the  See  L u m b e r  opened  ibid., pp. a n d  (Kingston:  century  subsistence  1920s.  1925  Schooling,  Ontario  nineteenth  H a n s o n in  s u m m e r  T i m b e r in  C o m p a n y  S m i t h e r s  to g a i n  better  15-25. Conflict:  M c G i l l - Q u e e n s  eastern  Ontario.  T h e  tie-hacker  settlers  m o n t h s  a n d  s a w m i l l  C u l t u r a l  farmer/winter C o u n t y  a  on  relied the  "systeme  of the  on  farms.  T h e  University  Press,  wood  pp.  of  the  T 9 8 7 )  agro-forestier"  north-central  cutting See  Origins  in  83-89.  the  interior winter  69  various settlements throughout the 1920s, while individual tie-hackers and those in camps of between two to twenty workers roamed the timbered wilderness for pine, spruce, and cedar trees. The hackers who were not part-time farmers were especially susceptible to being uprooted and forced to travel to less spent areas, and often their families were obliged to live in a succession of make-shift quarters as they moved from one shack to another with every new tie season. Either  as  separate  or complementary  34  occupations, tie-hacking and  farming  proliferated in all areas of the district, including the lakes and mountains south of Burns Lake (once the road system developed in the late 1920s) where logs were floated down streams or slid down ice and pulled up to the railway or local sawmill along snow-covered wagon trails. As mentioned, no one economic activity was an exclusive endeavour of a particular region, and in many areas community  members were comprised  of an  assortment of trappers, miners, railway and road construction personnel, ranchers, tie-makers, or farmers. Within this mixture of mobile and permanent populations, the desire for educational opportunity was strong, evidenced by the proliferation of one-room schools in the district.  3  4  S e e  M o u l d ,  V a l l e y - B u r n s out"  S t u m p f a r m s L a k e  operations,  (p.  region. 36).  for T h e  a n  excellent  account  tie-hacking  industry  of  the  was  farmer/tie-hacker  often  characterized  in by  the "cut  Bulkley a n d  get  The Establishment of Schools, 1906-1930  Between 1906-1930 this district acquired sixty-seven schools. (See Table 1 and Map 3). The appearance of the schools closely followed settlement patterns. (See maps 4 i-iv). First established in major communities, the schools proliferated throughout the countryside. (See figures 1 and 2). Hazelton, a steamship port, mining and fur-trading 35  centre, as well as a large agricultural area, in 1906 became the first community in the district to establish an officially-recognized one-room school. The second one-room school was opened in 1913 in Telkwa, an early administrative and coal-mining centre. Schools sometimes appeared in places as sparsely populated  as with only two or three  families. The majority of these one-room schools in the district were symbols of isolated 36  civilization in the hinterland, the existence of a schoolhouse a signal of nearby settlers. In general the district's schools were tiny, individual entities. A fact which would have concerned educational administrators who supported consolidation as a policy to remedy cost inefficiency in rural schools, between 1920-1930 the district's one-room schools enrolled only 0.5 percent (7,897) of all the pupils in the province (1,419,442) in 5.0 percent of the province's school buildings. The average class size of these schools 37  was 13.6 students, 25.3 percent less than the mean enrolment of all other assisted schools in the province and just over one half (51.2 percent) of the average class size of all rural and assisted schools.  38  Moreover between 1920-1930 the one-room schools in  Note that the number of schools reflected the influx of settlers into the district especially between 1918-1923, and that the stagnation of the schools' growth in the 1920s corresponded with the drastic drop in immigration at that time. F o r example, Kispiox school, in a small farming and trapping settlement north of Hazelton had an enrolment of eight, all from one family. Bureau Records, 1928. T h e statistics were based on a compilation of averages. All figures were taken from the Annual Reports Statistical Tables. Assisted school figures are based on the Statistical Tables, 1926-1930, and for rural and assisted schools, 1920-1930. The class size of the one-room schools in the district was more 35  36  37  38  T a b l e 1: S c h o o l A c t i v i t y  On A Y e a r l y B a s i s  Year  Opened  Closed  1906  Hazelton  1913  Telkwa  1914  Fort Fraser New H a z e l t o n Mapes Smithers  1915  Chilco Copper C i t y Endako . Mapes Stellaco Vanderhoof  1916  A l e x a n d e r Manson: (Ootsa Lake) Engen Telkwa  1917  Houston Nechako Pacific  Engen  1918  Burns Usk  A l e x a n d e r Manson: (Ootsa Lake)  1919  A l e x a n d e r Manson B e a r Head Braeside Cedarvale Engen  SMITHERS u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s  1920  Bulkley North B e a r Head B u l k l e y South Stellaco Ellesby F r a n c o i s Lake F r a n c o i s Lake South Lakes D i s t r i c t Nithi River Round L a k e  BURNS LAKE u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s VANDERHOOF u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s  Lake  Other  Telkwa Mapes  SMITHERS u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s  SMITHERS r a i s e d t o rural status  Table 1 (con't)  Closed  Other  Year  Opened  1921  Decker Lake D r i f t w o o d Creek Glentanna Hanall Orange V a l l e y T c h e s i n k u t Lake Topley Wistaria  Copper  1922  B e a r Head Colleymount F r a s e r Lake Grassy P l a i n s Kitwanga Pratt Quick Southbank Tatalrose Uncha V a l l e y Willowvale  Braes ide  1923  City  Cedarvale Copper C i t y Colleymount Evelyn Fort Fraser North F o r t S t . James Kispiox Omenica Palling Streatham Woodcock Woodmere Grassy P l a i n s Nechako  1924  Dorreen Perow Prairiedale  1925  Four M i l e Settlement B u l k l e y N. Tintagel Ellesby Engen Glentanna Hanall Pratt  SMITHERS u p g r a d e d to three d i v i s i o n s SMITHERS o p e n s a superior school USK u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s VANDERHOOF upgraded t o t h r e e divisions SMITHERS u p g r a d e d to four d i v i s i o n s  SMITHERS d o w n g r a d e d to three d i v i s i o n s SMITHERS o p e n s a high school USK r a i s e d t o r u r a l status VANDERHOOF r a i s e d t o rural status VANDERHOOF o p e n s a superior school BURNS LAKE r a i s e d to r u r a l status SMITHERS u p g r a d e d to four d i v i s i o n s TELKWA u p g r a d e d , t o two d i v i s i o n s TELKWA r a i s e d t o rural status  Table  Year  1  (con't)  Closed  Opened  Other  Engen. Bear F r a s e r Lake N o r t h Glentanna Sheraton  1927  Cedarvale L i l y Lake M a r t e n Lake  Decker  1928  Decker Duthie Grassy  F o r t . F r a s e r N, HOUSTON r a i s e d t o Nithi River rural status  1929  Colleymount Nadina R i v e r  D e c k e r Lake Glentanna Omineca  VANDERHOOF u p g r a d e d to four d i v i s i o n s  1930  Decker Lake Glentanna Nithi River  Uncha  HAZELTON u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s NEW HAZELTON u p g r a d e d t o two divisions FORT FRASER l o w e r e d to a s s i s t e d status SMITHERS u p g r a d e d t o six divisions  Lake Mines Plains  Head  FORT FRASER r a i s e d to r u r a l s t a t u s HAZELTON r a i s e d t o rural status NEW HAZELTON r a i s e d to r u r a l s t a t u s  1926  Lake  Valley  FORT FRASER u p g r a d e d t o two d i v i s i o n s SMITHERS u p g r a d e d t o five divisions USK downgraded t o one d i v i s i o n  74  MAP 3 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 3. 9. 10. 11. 12. 13. 14. 15. 16. 17. 13. 19. 20. 21. 22. 23.  SCHOOLS IN THE DISTRICT 1906-1930  F o r t S t . James Chilco Ellesby Vanderhoof Lakes D i s t r i c t Mapes Nechako Braeside Prairiedale B e a r Head Engen Marten Lake willoHvale L i l y Lake Fort Fraser Fort Fraser North F r a s e r Lake North Orange V a l l e y F r a s e r Lake Nithi River Stellaco Endako Sheraton  Alexander Kanson. B e a r Head...10 Braeside...3 Bulkley North.. Bulkley South.. Burns Lake...25 Cedarvale...62 Chilco...2 Colleymount. . Copper C i t y . . Decker Lake.. Dorreen...63 Driftwood Creek...52 Duthie Mines...51 Ellesby...3 Endako...22 Engen...11 Evelyn...54 tort Fraser.. Fort Fraser North.. F o r t S t . James...1 Four M i l e S e t t l e m e n t . Francois Lake...27  24. 25. 26. 27. 28. 29. 30. 31. 32. 33. 34. 35. 36. 37. 38. 39. 40. 41. 42. 43. 44. 45.  Tintagel Burns Lake Tchesinkut Lake F r a n c o i s Lake Southbank uncha v a l l e y F r a n c o i s Lake South Grassy Plains Tatalrose A l e x a n d e r Hanson Streatham wistaria Nadina River Colleymount Decker Lake Palling Omineca South Bulkley Topley Perow North Bulkley Houston  46. 47. 43. 49. 50. 51. 52. 53. 54. 55. 56. 57. 53. 59. 60. 61. 62. 63. 64. 65. 66. 67.  Francois Lake South... Fraser Lake...19 F r a s e r Lake North. Glentanna...53 Grassy P l a i n s . Hanall...65 Hazelton...57 New H a z e l t o n . . Houston...45 Kispiox...59 Lakes D i s t r i c t . . Lily Lake...14 Mapes...6 M a r t e n L a k e . . .12 N a d i n a R i v e r . .36 Nechako...7 Nithi River.. Omineca...40 Orange V a l l e y . . . 1 8 Pacific...64 Palling...39 , Perow...43  Round Lake Quick Woodmere Telkwa Smithers Duthie Mines Driftwood Creek Glentanna Evelyn Pratt New H a z e l t o n Hazelton Four M i l e S e t t l e m e n t Kispiox Kitwanga Woodcock Cedarvale Dorreen Pacific Hanall Usk Copper C i t y  Kitwanga...CO Prairiedale...9 Pratt...55 Quick...47 Round Lake...4& Sheraton...23 Smithers...50 Southbank...28 Stellaco...21 Gtreathan...34 Vatalrose...32 T c h e s i n k u t Lake...; Tsikwa...49 Tintagel...24 Topley...42 Uncha V a l l e y . . . 2 9 Usk...66 V a n d e r h o o f . . .A W i l l o t / v a l e . .. 13 Wistaria...35 Woodcock...61 Woodmere...48  100  Mi  Fgi. 1N N U M B E R O F A L LY S C H O O L S I19061 T H E D S I T R C I T B Y E A R -930 50- j | Asse itd Schoo sl B%iH a rlcho So sl gihRuS sclhoo Supeoir Schoo sl  40-  3020101906 1913 1914 ' 15 1'6 1'7 "18 ~19 2'0 2' 1  80  Fgi. 2N O N R E -O O M V s. MU R L-T O IOM S C H O O L S I19151 T H E D S I T R C I T -930 50 ne R -oom Schoo sl M R -iu to lom Schoo sl H gih Schoo sl  -£ o 302010 —  1915 1916 1917 1918 1919 1920 1921 1922 1923 1924 1925 1926  the district were getting smaller. The school enrolment in 1919 was 16.7 pupils; 1921: 15.9 pupils; the enrolment fluctuated for five years until 1927 when an average class size was 13.9 pupils, and steadily declined to the 1930 figure of 12.8. (See Figure 3). Between 1927-1930 the number of one-room and multi-roomed schools in the district remained approximately constant.  Comparing this with Figure 2, during this time a  corresponding increase in the proportion of pupils who attended high schools may have indicated  "an  ever  increasing demand  for high-school  privileges throughout the  [district]" while the increased percentage of pupils who were enrolled in multi-roomed 39  elementary schools could have reflected the growing power of larger settlements to draw population as opposed to the smaller, more isolated communities which typically had stagnant subsistence economies. While most schools in the district remained small and assisted throughout the 1920s, others evolved into multi-roomed rural schools. (See Map 5). Starting out as one-room buildings with characteristically small enrolments, one-room schools grew rapidly in size as communities were forced to create new school divisions to cope with an expanding school population. By 1930 Vanderhoof, Burns Lake, Telkwa, Smithers, Hazelton, and 40  New Hazelton had all established multi-roomed rural schools with an average enrolment of ninety, Vanderhoof with four divisions and a superior school, and Smithers with six divisions along with a high school. Although fifty one-room schools were open in 1930, the multi-divisional schools enrolled close to half of the pupils in the district. (See Figure 3),  [continued] indicate include 3  4  9  0  representative  because some  A n n u a l  were  1924, the  of other  average  multi-roomed  Report,  D i v i s i o n s  the  one-room  enrolment  schools  figures  for  in  the  the  province  provincial  t h a n  assisted  buildings.  p.  n u m b e r  T 5 7 . of separate  classes  (not  grades)  in the  school.  the  statistics  schools  (18.2  would pupils)  82 Fig . 3  TOTAL ENROLLMENT IN T H E DISTRICT 1915-1930  1915  1916  1917  1918  1919  1920  1921  1922  1923  1924  1925  1926  1927  1928  1929  1930  84  The multi-room schools in the district suggested local prosperity. By 1930 Smithers and Vanderhoof were bustling commercial depots while Hazelton, New  Hazelton, and  Burns Lake remained solvent through a large diversified economic base, namely the financial impetus afforded by sawmills which opened in mid-decade.  Usk one-room  school went to two divisions in 1921 but in 1927 lost half its pupils probably as a result of family migration out of the community when the Hanson Lumber and Timber Company transferred inland operations from Terrace and Usk to Smithers.  Fort  41  Fraser was the only rural school in the district to revert to an assisted one. While its enrolment remained steady the community's school contribution from a calculated property tax dropped from $2,000 in 1928 to $1,000 in 1930. This was possibly a sign of the community's growing dependence on subsistence mixed-farming as the Nechako Valley  settlements  came  under  increased  competition  because  the Burns  Lake  tie-hackers had resources which were plentiful and more accessible to the major processing centres of Houston and Smithers.  42  Similar to the larger schools, the one-room schools proliferated in areas o f collective economic activity, for example the mixed-farming/tie-hacking/ranching/trapping/railway communities of the Nechako Valley and Francois-Ootsa Lake areas, t h e Bulkley Valley where mining was pursued as well, and the the struggling railway stops/mining/ ranching/tie-hacking settlements of the Skeena River. Also, schools  w e r e  established on  trade and transportation routes, most notably on Southbank and Tchesinkut Lake wagon  4  1  T h e  Cline, in  W.R.  W r i g h t  A l o n g  the  1924  whereby  population  in  headquarters M o u l d , 4  2  S e e  a  Trail,  new  1927. there  S t u m p f a r m s , Alice  increasing 24-40.  C o m p a n y ' s  T o t e m  B e l s h a m  sawmill  pp.  division T h i s  a n d pp. a n d  predominance  the  w a s  m a y  nearby  in  23-28.  added  have  H a n a l l  Smithers to  been  accompanied  the a  closed  experienced school, result  increase  of  with  of  at an  s a m e  another  the  timber  the  i m m e d i a t e  in  See  influx  of  increase  H a n s o n  cutting  time. in  C o m p a n y ' s the  S p e r r y students  the  school  move  countryside.  of See  16-20. J .  Philip  of H o u s t o n  Myers, a n d  "History  B u r n s  L a k e  of  Fort  Fraser,"  tie-hackers,  see  1958,  a n d  M o u l d ,  on  the  S t u m p f a r m s ,  for  more  pp.  trails south of Burns Lake and up the old "Telegraph Trail" on the Kispiox River north of Hazelton. Inferences which connect the existence and behaviour of the schools (openings and closures, enrolment fluctuations) to local economic activity, however, presume that the settlers considered the schools to be an important social institution. Indeed, this claim is supported by the timing of the school's appearance in each community. Certainly to the inspectors new communities were synonymous with new schools. G.H. Gower of the vast Prince Rupert Inspectorate was the first official in the Annual Reports to recognize the potential for school expansion in the province's central interior. In 1915 he noted the possibility of an increase in the already steady influx of settlers (a trickle compared to 1918 immigration) whereby the railway "has brought within reach of the settler large areas of fertile land hitherto quite inaccessible and made possible their permanent occupation."  43  A.R. Lord, who inspected the same district in 1919, saw  schools as a measure of settlement. During the year under review development in Central British Columbia has been more extensive than in any previous year. Among contributing factors have been the opening-up of new mineral properties; lumbering activities on the Coast;...agricultural settlement in the Nechako, Bulkley, Francois-Ootsa Lake...Districts. Of these, the last-mentioned industry easily holds first place in importance, as the majority of the new settlers are farmers from the Prairie Provinces who are possessed of both capital and experience. A variety of statistics are available as to the extent of this development, but the truest indication is afforded by the number of schools which have been organized. 44  In 1921 J.M. Paterson of the newly-bounded Prince Rupert Inspectorate, now extended only as far east as Endako as opposed previously to the Alberta border, accurately reported a one hundred percent jump in teachers in the district over two  4  4  3  4  A n n u a l I b i d . ,  Report,  1 9 1 9 ,p.  1 9 1 5 , p. A 3 5 .  A 4 2 .  86  years, and along with Gower, who now inspected the Prince George District, noticed an increased need for school facilities, in particular superior and high schools. Petitions for 45  schools poured in, "indicative of the rapid development of northern British Columbia, especially in the Omineca,"  and "the establishment of new schools year after year  46  indicates the steady growth of this northern section of the Province."  47  Local histories allow for a closer look into the chronology of various settlements and many of them indicate that the necessary three-man school board, elected among members of the immediate district, as well as the required ten pupil enrolment for a new school, were in place shortly after the population was large enough to support such an 48  institution.  The schools were established in conjunction with other buildings of  49  community service, very often immediately after the construction of the local church. For example, in Burns Lake the rush for land which brought settlers into the region in 1917 saw a church built that same year, a school the next year, followed in 1919 by restaurants, stores, a post office, and police. Into the 1930s the scattered settlements 50  around Ootsa Lake opened schools before the establishment of the post office and general store.  Interestingly, in. communities populated by transient families, schools often  appeared before the construction of the community hall-a building which signified commitment to and administrative responsibility for the particular region. Other local histories even of communities with extremely high transient populations offer a similar  4  I b i d . ,  5  Prince 4  I b i d . ,  6  Prince 4  4  8  9  A s  L a k e  T u r k k i , 5  0  p.  p.  S e e  the in  in the  p.  B u r n s  ibid., pp.  a n d  Lake,  pp.  30-40.  w a s  1921  the  p.  1896,  respectively,  289-295.  electoral  1929  A l e x a n d e r  at  this  this  time  were  in  Prince  Rupert  a n d  year.  district  w h i c h  included  the  d e m a n d  for  a r e a  east  of  L a k e .  c o m m e n t s  a n d  schools  school in  of B u r n s  Report,  of the  high  superior  further M 3 9 ;  A n n u a l  constuction 1916  north  For  1925  closest a  O m i n e c a  L a k e ,  P40.  T57-59;  T h e  opened  C39.  to R o s e  stipulated to  F38-39.  Smithers  1923,  pp.  P r i o r  the  pp.  1922, Rupert  I b i d . ,  7  1924, 4  1921, George.  p.  on  the  steady  public  schooling,  see  R 3 3 . 185.  M a n s o n pupils  (Ootsa  were  L a k e )  a n d  collectively  W i s t a r i a  schooled  in  schools private  north  of  homes.  87  chronology.  51  Often schools would open with far fewer than ten pupils-schools would temporarily "borrow" pupils from nearby schools to fulfill the necessary minimum -and the schools 52  established in poor settlements suggest that education to many was an important concern, at times second only to making a living.  When the school first appeared in a  53  community in relation to other frontier social institutions, however, is a crude index of local interest in education because it does not elucidate those areas which were settled but had no school up to 1930.  Moreover, it does not show the degree to which the  54  community members followed school policy as put forth by Department of Education officials, contibuted financially to the school, allowed their children to attend, or supported the teacher. To get at these kinds of questions the next chapter will take a closer look at certain aspects of teaching experiences, in particular teaching and living conditions, and local politics, which contributed to the overall mystique of the British Columbia one-room school in the 1920s as existing on a financial precipice, unpredictable in community support and pedagogical quality, and distinctly unique in character.  5  S e e  1  especially  "History E v e l y n Story  school; of  a  Victoria 5  2  ibid.,  of Schools a n d  B e t w e e n  were  S o u t h b a n k  A  school  does  not  I n  3  See 5  4  the  the  of  a n in  B u l k l e y  N u m b e r  one-room T h e  one-room  enrolment  various  54,"  school  S o u t h  at  Provincial  school,  T h e  Side  Archives);  a n  a n d  Forestdale; Archives,  Southside of  the  A.  George  Victoria  Centennial  Francois  of  effort to keep  M o u l d  argues  that  four  schools,  Lake,"  L a k e  school, the  a c c u r a c y m a y  of  S h e p h a r d ,  B.C.,  1971,  Committee,  Provincial  for  " T h e  Archives,  w a s  second  Rubber a n d  statistics to  example,  Moricetown  on  t h a n  ten  "borrowing"  North-Central  the  Boots  111-117);  for  D a n c i n g ,  impossible.  their  list  a  attendance~Tigures  is  teaching jobs  schooling  of  pp.  of  o w n  misrepresentation  a n d  fewer  Story  (Bourgon,  returned  with  E x a m p l e s  S t u m p f a r m s ,  enrolment  teacher  school open  " T h e  these  have  operated  pupils.  (Mould,  C o m m i t t e e ,  outright  the  district  or  concerns  w h o  or  the  three  V a l l e y  R o u n d  pupils  year,  in  as  w h i c h  Verifying  school  few  C e n t e n n i a l  however,  "borrowed" the  schools  as  Bulkley  Side  arises,  school in  of a n d  settlements Priestly  peripheral largest  Shervill's count.  S o u t h  of  school the  for  Evidence districts  n u m b e r  of  secure. of  pioneer's  priorities.  111.  H i s t o r i e s  ignore  several  district.  S t u m p f a r m s , p.  Smithers,  of  in  during the  the  Settlement:  (South  Provincial  exist  sometime  5  recorded  question  e a c h  for  District  S o u t h b a n k  with  school,  Settlement,  in  for  1915-1930  pupils  pupils  184,  1959.  sometimes  84).  p.  School  North-Central  B.C.,  pupils,  p.  in  such  west  communities;  n e a r b y  Smithers,  a n d  as,  instead  settlement. to  for  of E n d a k o  a  lesser  are the  unavailable. histories  Larger, extent  more  H a n c o c k ,  a n d  Local  outline  the  Seaton  histories events  sophisticated Vanderhoof,  in  local are  between of  the  Hazelton  district  a region histories,  particularly  in the for guilty  a n d  tend  to  context e x a m p l e on  this  88  Chapter IV: The One-Room Schools  Teacher Transiency  Similar to most rural areas in British Columbia in the 1920s, the communities between Terrace and Vanderhoof in which one-room schools were located were typically impoverished, isolated, and rugged. Apart from stretches of arable land, in several places the district was heavily forested and mountainous with lakes and streams running throughout the terrain. This created picturesque scenery but was a severe impediment to transportation and communication. The road system was designed to supplement railway and shipping routes-the roads in this district were used primarily to transport ties to railway sidings-and as a result little external capital for construction or upkeep was available. Even with the advent of the automobile in the district in the early 1920s, 1  the roads often resembled widened tracks of mud.  A road journey between the more  populated area of Burns Lake to Smithers entailed a long, hazardous day's trek, usually done only in case of emergencies. The  railway remained the primary mode of  2  transportation for the settlers but because of the inadequate road system many of the settlements throughout the district remained remote and isolated. Some communities became islands of civilization, even more so when the snow fell which left only foot and  1  S e e  Harris,  province's 2  M o u l d ,  "Moving  road  S t u m p f a r m s ,  way-freight  was  schedule..." m o n t h s Prince w a s  covered and,  are  a  (pp. 1927  Rupert  trains, snow  in  A m i d  system  with  pp.  93-96.  97-98). w a s  delayed  twenty  recorded.  wait  feet  of  E v e n  to in  the  travelling  experience:  23-30  h o m e  Pacific,  snow  from  trying  M c Q u i l l a n  the  w h o  in  by  by  there  M c Q u i l l a n go  desperately See  pp.  for  a n  interesting  description  of  the  time.  Mildred  not  for e x a m p l e ,  also  M o u n t a i n s , "  this  nerve-wracking  could  she  the  during  railway  w a s  no  taught  D e c e m b e r Terrace,  a  recent  to  keep  Diary,  for  w a s  in  but  1927.  no  O r a n g e o n  her  eighteen  snowslide. the  harrowing.  service,  railway  H e r  heat, V a l l e y  w a y  hours  to  "Travelling  a n d  course,  School the  lanterns  for  s t e a m s h i p  because  experiences  station's  of  the  of lit  four a t  r a i l w a y  waiting in  by no  for  blowing  sleigh trails to the railway, which in Fort St. was more than fifty miles distant. In  relation  James and the Ootsa Lake settlements  3  to organizational duties, the inspectors often commented  on the  predominance of small, scattered isolated settlements and schools in the district. In 1921  Gower's work was  largely of "pioneer nature" because his Prince  Inspectorate, bounded to the west by Endako, was populated by "new scattered settlements." In 1922 Inspector H.C.  George  and widely  Fraser of the Prince Rupert district  4  found that "many of these schools are in remote sections and quite isolated; consequently much time spent in travel." As late as 1929 Fraser, Gower, and A.R.  Lord repeatedly  5  commented on the sparse nature of the district's settlements.  6  As previously discussed many of the communities existed with little expendible capital. In 1917 A.R.  Lord of the Prince Rupert Inspectorate summed up best the  situation of many of the smaller settlements, some of which would later open a school with a below minimum required enrolment. The most serious problem from an educational standpoint in British Columbia is the question of single families and small communities in isolated localities. Many cases exist where one or two families with a few children have settled on land miles from the nearest neighbour, and where, under present conditions, these children are growing to manhood and womanhood in comparative if not absolute ignorance. Their parents are quite unable for financial reasons to send them outside to be educated, and in the majority of instances it will be years before ten children-the minimum requirement for an assisted  3  Interestingly,  remote 4  5  6  t h a t  A n n u a l Ibid., S e e  R33. east in  1931,  to t h e  all of the  years  before  c o m m u n i c a t e d  1 9 2 1 , p.  p.  especially  twelve  settlers  Report,  1922,  In  only  the  the  with  local smoke  school's signals.  opening See  in  1918,  B u r n s  T u r k k i , B u r n s  L a k e  Lake,  p.  w a s  so  225.  F 3 9 .  C 3 9 . ibid., the  A l b e r t a r u r a l  1916,  p.  population border)  areas  in  A 4 1 ; density  w a s the  a  1917, of all  lowly  province.  .30  p.  A 4 3 ;  1920,  of District people  1931  per  Census,  8  p.  C37;  (which  square I, p p .  1924,  included  mile  versus  360-362.  p.  the a  T 5 9 ; Prince density  a n d  1929,  George of .83  p.  a r e a people  school-are in residence.  In  7  some areas snow, mud, dust, torrential rain, and mosquitoes added to generally  miserable physical conditions.  8  This district was frought with  incidents historically characteristic  of frontier  settlement. Much of the activities of the larger communities such as Burns Lake and Houston centred around gambling houses, red light districts, and beer parlours, the scene of some "awesome binges." In 1910 Shorty Dunn, Bill Miner's train-robbing accomplice 9  hid out in Ootsa Lake,  and the New Hazelton bank was held up in 1913 and again in  10  1914 when three of four bandits were shot and killed.  11  Accidental deaths were not  uncommon, for example in 1920 when two Wistaria settlers were killed, one by a falling tree, the other fell through the ice on Ootsa Lake. Another settler drowned on Francois Lake in 1922 as did the schoolteacher for Decker Lake one-room school in the same year.  The vast majority of the buildings in this district were constructed of wood  12  (ninety-eight percent!)  and in the 1920s devastating fires destroyed homesteads and  13  schools in Willowvale, Wistaria, Tchesinkut Lake, Decker Lake, South Bulkley (Forestdale), and Houston. The lack of adequate housing prompted one resident to report that "there is alot of suffering and cold in the Hazelton district." Wild animals such as 14  A n n u a l  7  F o r  8  Report,  Diary,  1  0  S t u m p f a r m s ,  T u r k k i ,  B u r n s  ^ B e a t r i c e Pacific 1  2  S e e  A 4 3 .  m u d a n d slush  seemed  Williscroft,  Railway," T u r k k i ,  Provincial  B u r n s  L a k e ,  that  a  m o n t h  trapper  died  from  a  of the Bulkley  Archives, pp.  Victoria  4  1 9 3 1 B u r n s  Census, L a k e  exposure  V , p. 9 6 3 .  Observer,  Valley  2 8 A p r i l  1927.  h i s life by  B i g  D u r i n g  Construction  B.C., 1976, (no page  172, 263, a n d 289-293.  m a n h a d lost  district. 3  Valley.  S e e the  M c Q u i l l a n  p. 2 7 2 . " M e m o r i e s  reported  1  in O r a n g e  p. 3 8 .  L a k e ,  Observer  1  to b e e v e r y w h e r e  1927.  M o u l d ,  9  1 9 1 7 , p.  M c Q u i l l a n ,  A s  o n the rapids E u t s u k  L a k e ,  well, near i n  of the G r a n d  T r u n k  number).  in J u n e O o t s a the  1927 the B u r n s L a k e ,  a n d in the  southernmost  part  L a k e s a m e of  the  91  bears and wolves constantly played havoc with settlers' nerves.  15  Between 1929-1932  Lottie Bowron visited 37 of the schools in the district, and based on her loose criteria of comfort and safety designated fully half or 18 of the schools as those in which only a man or older married woman should be sent.  16  Into this milieu the one-room school teacher came...and left: but first, the teacher herself. Between 1915-1930 a total of 579 one-room school teachers taught in the district which represented 1.2 percent of the total teaching workforce in the province and 4.6 percent of all rural and assisted school teachers. In 1924 Inspector H.C. Prince Rupert accurately observed that "The North is a man's country," the  district  31.1 percent  of all one-room school teachers  Fraser of  as in 1925 in  17  were male versus a  province-wide proportion for rural and assisted schools of 21.0 percent.  Despite the  exhortations from Bowron, into the 1930s the percentage of teachers who were women and unmarried increased. (See Figures 4 and 5). Starting in 1924, the one-room school 18  teachers in the district followed a provincial rural and assisted school trend of becoming more highly qualified, as in that year of all one-room school teachers 27.0 percent held either an academic or first class teaching certificate versus 70.8 percent with a second or third class certificate. By 1930 the gap had closed to 40.4 percent as opposed to 57.7 percent respectively, the remaining number in possession of a temporary certificate. Taking a random year, however, for example 1926, the district's teachers were slightly  1  5  A c c o r d i n g  she w a y 1  6  1  7  1  8  to t h e M c Q u i l l a n  w a s threatened h o m e  Reports,  A n n u a l  Report,  appears  w o m e n single  teachers also  1926-1930 m a r r i e d those  a  pretty  to  be  rose  a  p.  infested  h e r room,  coyotes  d o g , a n d one d a y she "thought  h a r d — O h  h o w I wish  I were  r o a m e d I heard  the a  countryside,  fierce  beast  o n  proportion  of  home."  f r o m  from  T 5 8 .  province-wide  from  for t h e one-room  trend  8 1 . 5 percent  9 1 . 3 percent  in all of the province's  dropped  mice  wild  1928-1932. 1924,  climbed  Diary,  vicious  so I h i t t h e trail  B o w r o n  T h i s  b y  8.8 percent school  teachers  assisted  to 9 2 . 5 percent  assisted to  in  to 8 3 . 5 percent  schools  7.5 percent. i n this  schools in  during  the s a m e  the proportion Both  district.  a s  i n  1 9 2 6 the  1 9 3 0 a n d those period.  of w o m e n  percentages  teachers  were  A s  w h o  well,  teachers slightly  were  between  w h o  higher  were t h a n  94  less educated than other assisted school teachers. Of the district's one-room school teachers, 2.1 percent  held an academic certificate, 22.9 percent had first class  qualifications, as opposed to 3.1 percent and 26.3 percent respectively for all of British 19  Columbia's assisted school teachers. This may have been an indication that because of 20  the frontier nature of the district's communities and being so far from major urban centres, most of the higher-qualified teachers sought employment elsewhere. Thus, in the district, although statistics show fewer women teachers, fewer married women teachers,  and teachers  with  slightly  less  academic  credentials,  the teachers'  specifications can be seen as roughly representative of the rest of the province.  2 1  Between 1915-1930, omitting those teachers who left the one-room schools because the schools closed (28 teachers or 4.8 percent of the district's total), the average amount of time a teacher stayed in any one of these schools was only 1.28 years. In other words, assuming an eight month academic year, if a teacher started teaching in a school on 1 September 1920, for example, the possibility that she would still be teaching there after 7 November 1921 becomes less than half. Recorded in the Putman-Weir Report for 1925, the figure for the rural and assisted school teachers throughout the province was 1.62 y e a r s  22  or given the same scenario on the average the teacher would be employed  until 28 January 1922. Up to 1930, the district inspectors, G.H. Gower and W.G. Gamble of Prince George, and H.C. Fraser of Prince Rupert referred to teacher transiency almost exclusively in  1  9  N o t e  that  1 9 2 6 - 2 5 slight 2  0  aberration  T e a c h i n g  assisted e a c h 2  1  A l l  the 2  2  the combined  p e r c e n t - w a s  teaching  teachers) certificate  preceding  teachers  to t h e s e v e n  qualifications  school  a r e  P u t m a n - W e i r  figures  lower  figures  the  years  (1924-1930)  for  all  o f  c a n be found were  province's  i n C h a p t e r f r o m  proportion  of increased  unavailable.  calculated  p. 1 8 8 .  w h o h a d academic  1 9 2 4 combined  the  a r e currently  unavailable. Report,  for teachers  t h a n  teachers'  one-room A  or first of  school  description  2 7  class  certificates  percent.  This  w a s  in a  qualifications. teachers  (as  of t h e education  opposed  to  required for  I.  the Statistical  Tables.  Unfortunately,  the ages  of  95  terms of its decline. Indeed, in 1921, of all the one-room school teachers in the area, 92 23  percent did not return to the schools they had taught in the year before—a decade high-and the turnover rate declined to 70 percent in 1926, rising slightly to rest at 76 percent in 1930.  In that same year approximately three out of four schools had a new  teacher. This was  significant because the pupils and community of each school were  forced to readjust to such change, as were the inspectors when their specific pedagogical advice based on the goal of long-term academic efficiency in each schoolhouse constantly undermined by unsettling teacher discontinuity.  was  24  Between 1915-1930, 11.7 percent of all the transient teachers in these one-room schools transferred to at least one other school in the district. It was  hoped that by  tracing the travels of this group of teachers a pattern might be uncovered as to the reasons why  a teacher vacated a one-room school for another.  No  such pattern  was  discernible. Teacher transiency seemed quite arbitrary. Some teachers left a school for a post just a few miles away while over a summer other teachers travelled from one end of the district to the other. In an extreme example, in 1919 Miss E.M.  Law  transferred  from Chilco east of Vanderhoof to the smaller Copper City school near Terrace several hundred miles away. Other examples are indicative of the numerous mobile teachers who crisscrossed the countryside: Mrs. Muriel Donovan went from Engen school, a few miles east to Braeside, back to Engen, to nearby Bear Head, then back to Engen all in a span of ten years, while between 1926-1929 Miss Marjory D.  Jacquot travelled from  Evelyn school by Smithers down to Usk on the Skeena River, then back north ninety miles to New  Hazelton.  Tatalrose in 1924 2  3  S e e  1927, 2  4  A11  the p.  A n n u a l  Loretta Chisholme lost $40  anually when she moved from  south to Wistaria in 1925-while most other transient teachers'  Report,  1923,  pp.  F39-40;  1924,  p.  T58;  M T T  preceding figures  calculated from  the  Statistical  Tables.  1925,  p.  M 3 9 ;  1926,  p.  R41;  and  salaries remained the same from one school to the next. Significantly, when considering the mobility of all the teachers, 19 of a total of 57 transfers entailed a move to a school with a smaller enrolment (4 were to schools of the same size), and again 19 of the transfers were to schools with a smaller operating budget (2 went to schools with identical budgets).  25  Thus, while the majority of transfers reflected the general trend in  the province of teachers who  moved to larger, wealthier schools, the figures also  indicated other personal and more capricious motives at work. The reasons why a teacher left a one-room school remain largely unknown. In 1927 Miss Alice Smith left Omineca School in Rose Lake, a relatively stable farming and tie-hacking community, to teach in Glentanna School near Smithers. Mrs. Steele (nee Smith) recalls that she did not enjoy teaching in Rose Lake (although she could not ascertain why), and is still puzzled by the fact that the teacher who replaced her and with whom she was friends, Miss S. Mildred McDonald, liked working in Omineca School and stayed there for over two years.  Mildred McQuillan took an immediate  26  dislike to Orange Valley School by Fraser Lake, a struggling farming and tie-hacking settlement, and was prepared to leave only two days into her employment.  27  In "simple  but not luxurious" Topley where "no one is really starving to death," Allan McLuckie found himself "disappointed in his position and not at all interested in his work" for reasons unknown to the inspector, and in Lily Lake twelve miles south of Fort Fraser 28  Miss Kathleen V. Munday resigned "apparently for no good reason...and proposes to  2  5  F i v e  transfers  information  w h i c h  were  not  with  Mrs.  a  result  included  were  in  these  George  A .  of  school  closures  calculations,  the  a n d  figures  one  school  compiled  with  from  insufficient  the  Statistical  Tables. 2  6  I n t e r v i e w  Steele,  retired  schoolteacher,  1987. 2  7  2  8  M c Q u i l l a n B u r e a u  Diary,  Records,  1927. 1928,  a n d  Inspectors'  Reports,  1927.  V a n c o u v e r  B.C.,  13  N o v e m b e r  97  leave the district at Easter."  29  In Dorreen, a tiny well-attended school on the Skeena  River, Miss Mina V. Deane was "much more at home in an ungraded school like this than she was in a graded room in Prince Rupert," while paradoxically one year later in 1929 the new teacher, Miss Kathleen A. Moxham "is not remaining in this school next term....She is anxious to have a more responsible position in a larger school."  30  Despite  being an extremely poor railway stop/tie-hacking/agricultural community with internal political divisions, Engen School posted throughout the 1920s one of the lowest teacher transiency rates in the district--1.44 years; the district record for teacher retainability was in Woodcock, an impoverished mountainous farm and mining settlement south of Hazelton surrounded by Indian villages and populated by just three families. Here Miss Helen M.  Hibberd worked for five years even though she boarded one year with a  railway construction gang.  On the other hand, some higher transiency rates were  recorded in relatively large, stable schools in financially secure communities such as Burns Lake and Ellesby, a satellite of Vanderhoof.  31  Thus, a look at the district between Terrace and Vanderhoof forces a consideration of teacher transiency on an individual level. The provincial pattern of the one-room school teacher who moved to more prosperous working conditions (see Chapter I) has exceptions in that a minority of teachers transferred or chose to remain in what appeared to be decrepit surroundings for reasons other than career advancement.  No  doubt the  hardship and loneliness was enough to drive some teachers away from a school, but 32  unfortunately  2  9  3  0  3  1  Inspectors'  Reports,  I b i d . ,  a n d  T h e  1928  transiency  Statistical 3  2  specific  S e e  which relates community  conditions and  teacher  1927.  1929. rates  for  both  schools  w a s  only  one  year.  Figures  calculated  from  remote  communities  for  the  Tables.  C h a p t e r  with better  evidence  I for  m a r r i a g e  a  brief discussion markets.  of forlorn  teachers  who  left  ones  preferences to teacher mobility is sparse indeed. This caprice in the teachers' individual motives had a counterpart in material conditions: essentially, each one-room school was unique.  Exploring beyond the  generalizations in one-room school conditions put forth in Chapters I and II, it will be seen that differences in circumstance  among the schools between  Vanderhoof made one-room school teaching an extremely  Terrace and  personal experience.  To  examine further the schools in this context, both the conditions in which the teacher lived and worked have to be considered. Thus, still to be discussed are the schools' pedagogical and physical conditions as influenced by community settlement, transiency, and poverty; and the local politics which helped determine the nature of local initiative in school affairs while at times promoting great social disharmony in the communities.  The Schools  From the beginning, in the newly-settled areas of the district some pupils were backward and overage because the one-room schools were extending  educational  opportunity to frontier settlements which previously had no such formal institution.  33  Retardation statistics are not available for the schools in this district but figures for pupil attendance may indicate a form of academic underachievement. Between 1927-1930 the average attendance rate for the one-room assisted schools in the district was almost exactly the same as the rate for provincial assisted schools, 83.1 percent versus 83.0  3  3  F o r  examples  of  Inspectors'  expected,"  see F o r t  St.  J a m e s ,  Sheraton,  1926; a n d N a d i n a  Reports  o f the  1922; B e a r  River,  1928.  schools  H e a d ,  in  the  1921;Lily  district  L a k e  with  retarded  1927; M a r t e n  L a k e ,  pupils  " a s  1927, a n d  99  percent respectively, but the rate was 4.2 percent less than the provincial average for 34  all rural and assisted schools.  The inspectors considered attendance an important  35  factor for schoolhouse success. In 1930, even in Perow, a small farming and tie-hacking community with one of the best over-all attendance rates in the entire district, Inspector Fraser recorded that "the progress of the pupils has been greatly retarded on account of loss of time" through poor attendance. Four miles from Quick, the school in Round 36  Lake was centrally-located in an extremely scattered, predominantly agricultural area, and was one of the largest schools in the district but also one of the most poorly attended. In his September. 1922 report Fraser wrote Poorest attendance in the whole Inspectorate....Miss Davis is doing conscientious work but the parents are giving neither teacher nor pupils a fair chance....[Last year] pupil making highest attendance lost over three weeks. The two next highest...both lost seven and one half weeks and fifteen weeks respectively. No marvel that not a single entrance pupil passed. When it is remembered that all other pupils lost more time than these three, no one can attach blame to the teacher. 37  Also a problem with other one-room schools in the province, inclement weather which blocked already  poor roads, and distances from home  to school  were  common  impediments to pupil attendance. Between Fort Fraser and Vanderhoof, Engen was a railway maintenance stop but also centre for a large, scattered farming and tie-hacking community. In 1928 Miss Elsie Arland wrote in the Bureau Records that "Attendance is good...unless the freezing or thawing of the Nechako [River] prevents 4 children from  3  S e e  4  the  school 3  3  3  B a s e d  5  6  1931 Census,  attendance o n figures  Inspectors'  7  S e v e r a l  the of  other  other  students students  calculated  for a  good  graphic  representation  of census  district  C a n a d a . from  the Statistical  Tables.  Reports, 1930.  Inspectors' 7  X I I , pp. 668-669  throughout  schools Reports  reported  "do n o t attend were  pupil  for Francois  retardation  L a k e  sufficiently  u p to s t a n d a r d s  o n account  (1923-1925), regularly  for their  to m a k e  grades."  of poor  a n d N i t h i  attendance.  River  good  south  progress  S e e  especially  of E n d a k o , possible.  where  O n l y  2  t w o  100  attending. Severe cold has also kept at home 3 children who live 4 miles away." During the  1920s attendance in Engen School was  uncertain as land clearing preceded  throughout the countryside which drove families further away from the school which was situated only one-quarter mile from the railway.  Grassy Plains, a small community  38  between Francois and Ootsa Lakes where the permanent residents were mixed-farmers and ranchers living several miles apart, was so constantly handicapped by weather and road conditions as well as contagious illness that its school was closed three times in the 1920s on account of poor attendance. In September 1927 Inspector Fraser wrote that "After being closed 3 years this school has been re-opened. Of the 11 pupils available 3 are not yet enrolled owing to whooping cough and a fourth is too far away to come alone." The effects of illness-several times throughout the decade inspectors commented on the disabling effects of skin disease, whooping cough, chicken pox, and the measles on attendance and on keeping the schools o p e n  39  -was only one factor associated with the  problem of schooling in scattered communities. In the district throughout the 1920s, the trend of opening schools in the wilderness to bring education to nearby settlers created a host of small, poorly kept schools which were at times not easily accessible. For example, between 1920-1923 when Fort Fraser's school enrolment increased from 16 to 28 and school trustees contemplating a building expansion, a log cabin school was constructed nine miles north across the Nechako River in Fort Fraser North to service a minute enrolment of.seven pupils. (The school was closed in 1928). Here, as well as ten 3  8  S e e  good 3  9  the  T h e  effect  M a n s o n , 1926 poor  Inspectors'  descriptions  of illness  T c h e s i n k u t  "on  account  attendance  where  the  Bulkley  Reports  of  the  on  a n d  N i t h i  colds  one  h a l f  a n d  the  opening Quick;  B u r e a u in w h i c h  attendance  L a k e ,  m a d e  school's  South,  a n d  of the c o m m u n i t i e s  w a s of  schoolhouse w a s  also  River;  delayed  K i t w a n g a ;  the  Records the  recorded  B e a r  H e a d  pupils  were  "plenty because  a n d  for  Copper  E n g e n  residents  big  at  as  well  lived miles least  and  once  City.  M c Q u i l l a n  cough  D i a r y  the  1920s  in  for  A l e x a n d e r  Evelyn; Topley  Consequently,  enough."(Bureau  of whooping  in  S t r e a t h a m ;  absent."  as  apart.  Records,  a m o n g  the  the  where  in  chronically  1928); children  O m i n e c a in  1927;  101  miles west in Fraser Lake and teacher transient Fraser Lake North, the school district was not centralizing but actually expanding outward into the wilderness. Tiny schools proliferated into the hinterland north and south of Smithers as well as down the wagon trails between Burns Lake and Wistaria.  Isolated schools were forced to fend for  themselves far from modern conveniences. More remote areas presented difficulties for delivery of government services such as police, road construction and maintenance, and health care. Indeed, even on a major transportation network, in Houston during the 1920s "the greatest felt lack of this community...has been its medical services, and a most deplorable fact it is, that there never was a clinic, First Aid Station, or even doctor {  to render temporary attention and comfort to unfortunate people who so often required it....People were so frightened of the flu! It was a dreadful scourge!"  40  To the inspectors, one-room schools in the wilderness presented certain problems of organization. As schools expanded into less developed areas their financial base became increasingly precarious. In addition, uncertain transportation routes to these schools often made for an extremely arduous journey for the inspector. Consolidation seemed to be the answer. Closing remote schools and amalgamating them with more accessible ones, and centralizing the administration of the school district through the elimination of tiny school boards was tried as an experiment in 1924 when the pupils of Nechako School were transported by bus over extremely poor roads to Vanderhoof multi-roomed school. Although a success-for example some problems with attendance and schoolhouse upkeep were eliminated—this remained the only example of consolidation in the district well into the 1930s.  4  0  H o u s t o n  Provincial 4  1  S e e  41  Centennial Archives,  Hancock,  C o m m i t t e e ,  Victoria,  Vanderhoof,  B.C.,  pp.  " M a r k s 1971,  125-130.  pp.  on 49,  the 61.  Forest  Floor:  A  Story  of  H o u s t o n ,  B.C.,"  102  The transient as well as scattered nature of the settlements affected schools in a way beyond the control of the inspectors or teachers. For example, in Colleymount, a small highly transient community of trappers and prospectors on Francois Lake, even before the schoolhouse was completed, the school closed in 1922 for seven years because no children were left in the district.  Opened in 1920 to serve a tiny enrolment of three  42  girls, North Bulkley School closed four years later when the children from a large family engaged in cutting ties at a distant camp failed to return in the spring. Several times Inspector Fraser suggested that this school should be closed and amalgamated with Perow, only a few miles distant, but once closed no corresponding jump in attendance was recorded in Perow, nor in nearby Houston or Topley. Where did the pupils go? Less of a mystery was the ongoing pupil exchange between Decker Lake and Palling. Both schools suffered from high enrolment fluctuations when in the winter Palling lost families to the tie-camps nearer to Decker Lake, only ten miles away. Once the tie-cutting season was over Palling's school attendance would again jump while Decker Lake school registered a concomitant decrease.  43  In highly transient communities such as those dependent on sawmills or mines, or engaged in seasonal tie-hacking, the teacher was always working under the spectre of possible school closure.  4  4  ^ T u r k k i , 3  S e e  the  B u r n s 4  4  B u r n s  L a k e ,  S o m e  pp.  the  W i l h e l m i n a  l u m b e r i n g family to  in  in  the  South  operations m o v i n g  children  L i l i a n for  is  a n d  H a n n a h  closed.  of  Moore  winter.  a n d  the  teachers future.  B u r e a u  the  1923  district; of  B u r e a u  A s  ceased.  in  A n o t h e r such  attended  school  the has  Records  for b o t h  likely  but  gone  trapping to  w a s  communities,  in 21  to "I  until 1929,  six  been  Inspector  be  closed."  h a d  as  well  4  the  that In  for  Fraser T h e  as  T u r k k i ,  M i n e s  abruptly  " O n l y  opened  to  n u m b e r 9  in  families the  w h e n  the  "another  a g a i n In in of  1930.  2  of  Mrs.  1925  that  C h r i s t m a s .  fluctuations the  3  years  problem.  until  hopes  E n g e n ,  J a n u a r y  l a m e n t e d  a  the  of  three  school  R a d i c a l fell  fact  closed  in  south  made...."  divisions  Duthie  then  to  population miles  r e m a i n e d  M a y . "  unproductive in  local  school  attendance  that  the just  resigned has  the  1922  have  Records as  H e a d ,  progress  N o v e m b e r  trappers  19  monitor  Cedarvale,  B u r e a u  from  to  B e a r  Records  little  in  will  communities, w e n t  yet  In  a n d  try  pioneer  K i t w a n g a  prospectors  wrote  would In  away....School  a c c o m p a n i e d the  229-235.  Reports  school's  r e m a i n e d  school  pp.  As well, in communities with a large proportion of transient  166-181.  inspectors  predicting h a v e  L a k e ,  Inspectors'  44  in  1926  1928  Miss  pupils  left  attendance pupils T h e  who school  103  members the teacher often taught unfamiliar faces because, according to the inspectors, many schools were comprised of "pupils from various districts." Of those schools so deemed most were on the major transportation routes. Decker Lake, Topley, Houston, and Hanall were all railway stops and except for Hanall were large tie-hacking communities. Tchesinkut Lake was a meeting place for those travelling between the isolated south Lake district and Burns L a k e ,  and Alexander Manson, the school  45  farthest south in the district, had an assorted school population which reflected its importance as a remote school for families of trappers, prospectors, and landseekers. Common to almost all of the transient or stable communities in the district (and throughout the province) was impoverishment. By virtue of their "floating" populations, economic instability, scattered settlement pattern, or isolation, these communities carried on frontier living well into the 1930s. The repercussions of insolvency were enormous. Often school attendance was affected by the pupil's value as an extra worker on the homestead or additional source of family income. Children in these small communities were considered units of labour. Extra hands in helping to bring in a harvest, clear land, or work in a sawmill were considered invaluable to the financially-strapped settler. As a result, school attendance fell prey to the struggle for family solvency.  Thus, for  46  example, in the winter some Francois Lake settlers would cut pine trees and haul them to the frozen lake where the timber later was hauled to a local sawmill for processing; [continued] closed t h a t 4  5  S e e  the South  T u r k k i , 4  6  T h e  B u r n s  L a k e ,  schoolable  homestead two  Ontario  counties  R y t h m  of  (Toronto: contingent  child  a m o n g  (pp.  See the Statistical  Committee,  whose  tendency  a  few dollars  In  L a n g u a g e ,  labourers  124-126);  a n d  in the late  School,"  year.  "Story  Tables.  of a  North-Central  Settlement,"  1959; a n d  p. 1 5 1 .  studies:  County,  s a m e  Centennial  or e a r n i n g  Ontario  enrolment  work  Side  in  M c M i l l a n ,  a n d in  o n the fact  w a s not available  that  week  farmers' in-depth  Ryerson  pp.  to  forsake  (if lucky)  Schooling,  nineteenth  Egerton 1978),  a n  a  the child  for the y o u n g  a n d C u l t u r a l  children look  century, a n d  221-253,  H i s  found  a t  w a s  education  Conflict,  enrolment  D a v e y  T i m e s , that  m i n e  "especially  school  I a n E .  w a s too y o u n g labourer.  formal  a t the local  eds. in  in  to contribute  labouring  Gaffield limited"  in  that  1880s  a n d attendance M c D o n a l d  areas  school  o n  in  of W o r k a n d  A l f  income  in  school  Prescott several a n d the Chaiton  attendance  to t h e f a m i l y ' s  the  is discussed  found  " T h e R y t h m  Neil  rural  for  or sawmill  or  w a s that  104  because the children had to "help out with the bay," attendance at the local school was one of the lowest in the district.  47  Just south of Smithers in Telkwa, throughout the  1920s school attendance was also poor. A t this railway flag stop and centre for trappers, miners, and tie-hackers, the majority of the large proportion of farmers in the population were "badly off...attendance poor as farmers keep out boys to help on farms-unable to engage help." Alfred J. Clotworthy contended in the 1928 Bureau Records that the inflated prices of the food and rent in the community made for difficult living, and contradicting the logic to be espoused a year later by Lottie Bowron, cautioned unwisely, "Salary far too low for a married man-only single teachers should be sent here." In the rolling hilly meadows of Tchesinkut Lake, a community mostly engaged in relatively low-labour intensive ranching of sheep and horses with little tie-hacking nearby, in 1923 school attendance was near perfect because "the school is the only interest the children have...."  48  Several unexplained truancies sent inspectors scrambling to quote verbatim Section 159 of the Public Schools Act regarding parental responsibility for education,  49  but at  least one truancy could be explained by community poverty. Although its school had one of the largest enrolments and operating budgets in the entire district, according to McQuillan's diary, Orange Valley, only two miles from the railway stop of Engen, was a picture of isolation and poverty.  The trapping and tie-hacking settlement was a  collection of shacks along a long dirt trail, the school was a one-room log cabin and McQuillan lived in part of a resident's house, her bedroom cordoned off by a tattered  4  4  7  8  Inspectors' B u r e a u  B u r n s 4  9  F o r  1925; Office 1924.  Reports,  Records,  Lake,  p p .  example,  October 1 9 2 1 .  M a r c h  1923.  History  of T c h e s i n k u t  L a k e  region  is  contained  i n  T u r k k i ,  151-155. see the Inspectors'  a n d E v e l y n  a n d Francois  of the Provincial  L a k e  Secretary,  Reports South  for Tintagel, for 1 9 2 7 .  T h e Revised  Driftwood  T h e Public  Statutes  of British  Creek,  Schools  a n d R o u n d  L a k e  A c t is contained  C o l u m b i a ,  III ( V i c t o r i a  for  i n the ,  B.C.),  105  curtain. On one occasion a local settler visited her for dinner and left with a tin of flour "to save from starvation." The children of one family did not attend school "for they had not a thing for lunch-starving" while another pupil regularly came to school in icy weather without stockings. As well, one day "August Newman [was] away from school this  A.M..  I asked  Cecil  his brother  where he was and this was his reply  '--eh--a-a-a-August had to stay home cause he had a hole in his p-p-p-pants.'" While school administrators in Victoria seemingly failed to see the serious attendance problems characteristic of community impoverishment, they did not entirely neglect the reality of local insolvency.  According to the Public Schools Act, in assisted school  districts the teacher's salary was to be paid by the Minister of Finance and the cost of the erection of the schoolhouse was to be defrayed by the Provincial Treasury.  50  In assisted  school districts without local assessment (as between 1915-1930 in the area from Terrace to Vanderhoof one quarter of all schools were classified) "the building in which the public school is held, as well as the furnishings and the incidental expenses in connection with the maintenance of the school shall be provided by the voluntary contribution of parents and others interested..." In assisted school districts with local 51  assessment a property tax was levied on the residents according to the school's particular needs, subject to the approval of the provincial assessor. The money raised was to be used to supplement the work of the voluntary labour necessary to construct and maintain the school.  52  Neither condition, however, offered a common basis for  support among the assisted one-room schools in the district. Between 1918-1930 the average contribution paid by the communities with tax assessment was only $221.57 with a recorded low of $13.10 put forth by Fort Fraser in 1919 and a high of $1,239.07 5  0  5  1  5  2  Ibid.,  1 9 2 4 ,C h a p t e r  Ibid.,  C h a p t e r  226,Section 110.  226,Sections  Ibid.,  C h a p t e r  226,Section  2 5 ,31.  113, 199-122.  106  paid by the residents of Quick in 1922.  Throughout the district various amounts of  53  money were at the school trustees' disposal each year and considering the local economies such as in Francois Lake South where goods were exhorbitantly expensive  54  as opposed to an almost barter form of exchange in Hanall, ten miles north of Usk, as well as the sometimes total dependence of each school on volunteer enthusiasm, the Public Schools Act itself can be seen to have ensured variety in teachers' working conditions. The Act offered a financial base on which to establish a school and hire a teacher but left the future of the school in the hands of local material constraints and personal idiosyncracies. As a result, schoolhouse conditions varied enormously in quality.  Copper City's  school was "crude," a small frame building with broken windows and no toilets which prompted Inspector Fraser to advocate finally in 1929 the erection of a new building. In "pioneer" Decker Lake where extreme temperatures meant -50 degrees F on some winter days, the log school was "in need of great improvement," in particular for the holes in its walls.  55  Nithi River, an isolated farm and tie-hacking community south of  Endako, was constantly harangued by the inspector for unimproved school conditions which saw a "fair-sized" frame building with a classroom that was bare, dirty, "unattractive," and with holes in its walls.  56  Although only two miles from Vanderhoof  with the people responsible for schoolhouse maintenance being "interested in the school," poorly attended Nechako school was in a constant state of distress. In 1921 Inspector Gower wrote that the school had no ventilation, a dirty room and no water. Two years later the Bureau Records anonymously recorded that the "Building is a small one. 5  3  T h e  schools 5  4  5  5  5  6  average  B u r e a u Ibid.,  operating  in the district Records,  budget  (which  w a s $1,179.49.  included  A l l figures  teacher's from  salary)  for  all  the Statistical  1923.  1 9 2 3 , 1928, a n d see the 1925 Inspectors'  Inspectors'  the  calculated  Reports,  Reports  1920, 1921, 1923, a n d 1926.  for Decker  L a k e  School.  the  Tables.  one-room  107  Draughty.  Ceiling too low...grounds unimproved....School is not well equipped." In  frontier ranching, farming, and trapping Wistaria on Ootsa Lake, the school was held in an overcrowded old log house until it was destroyed by fire in 1924 and although the equipment was adequate the flag had to be protected against rats. New  Hazelton in a large ranching district, Pratt's new  Seven miles from  57  log school building  was  comfortable enough but in 1923 the teacher Matthew Buckpitt wrote "School grounds very rough and stony on bank of creek which freezes up and runs all over school grounds at first cold snap in winter."  Numerous other schools were in poor condition, had  "rough" and "unimproved" grounds, and were held in various types of buildings such as an Anglican Church, vacant house, government road building, and local hotel.  58  Other communities provided fine school buildings and sometimes, significantly, in extremely impoverished areas. Despite its isolation and dependency on trapping and small farming, in 1923  Fort St. James erected a large, well lit and ventilated  comfortable frame. building with a painted porch, papered classroom and closet space. Even the grounds were cleared which prompted Gower to write in 1925 that "the school property is a credit to the district." Another school similarly described was in Palling, a railway flag stop north of Burns Lake. Built in 1922 in a natural clearing with spring water nearby, the new, lined log school with large fenced grounds proved to be "one of the best small schools in this inspectorate" despite a tiny enrolment and highly transient community  5  7  5 8  Ibid.,  As  a n d a  the  B u r e a u a  in  this  see  building  A in  a n d  M c Q u i l l a n  Records  n e a r b y  district.  number. 1922);  comprised  predominantly  of tie-hackers.  59  Uncha  of  School  Valley,  1923.  examples,  room  in  members  36  new w h i c h N o r t h  a n d  hotel; Fort children  building this  for  Fraser,  are is  school  Bulkley  D i a r y  Inspectors'  is  w h i c h  where  crowded  long  her  description  Reports  in  held h a d  a  is  not  s m a l l  "A a  w h e n  f r a m e  class-room  overdue."  O r a n g e  for: E n g e n ,  fit  for  short-lived  1920  is  suitable  Reports,  h u m a n  "primitive"  the  habitation." school  with  as  for  1925);  as  school  building...is u s e d  that  (Inspectors'  Valley  in  a  the w a s  half  Lake:  (Inspectors' unfenced  in  schoolhouse  about  Fraser  "cell"; held  that " T h e  Reports,  grounds  on  a  riverbank. 5  9  P a l l i n g  school  served  as  a  c h u r c h  as  well.  See  the  Inspectors'  Reports  1923,  the  B u r e a u  108  south-east of Southbank was a struggling farming and trapping community but one which "takes a deep interest in the affairs of the school" with corresponding results: a large, clean and well-lit school equipped to the hilt with a library which in 1929 contained over two hundred volumes.  Schoolhouse conditions varied considerably just miles  60  apart. For example, while only nine miles north into the wilderness of one of the worst schoolhouses in the district, in 1923 Fort Fraser North School was  "creditable,"  according to Gower, newly painted, clean, with good light and ventilation. Other schools in the district were lauded for their most satisfactory condition.  61  Thus, while settlement patterns, transiency, and poverty of each community affected in certain degrees schoolhouse conditions as well as school enrolment and attendance, a most significant factor of variability in teaching conditions among one-room schools in the district was local politics driven by the whims and caprice of people enclosed in an isolated community. Local social interaction, of which community initiative and support for schooling was a part, ensured different and frequently trying teaching experiences from one school to the next.  o  a  6  0  [continued]  interests. institution 1  A s  to  the  m a t c h  school see  h a d  1927);  birches  a n d  a  a n d  T u r k k i ,  Establishing  Public  any  Schools  contribution  B u r n s  L a k e ,  school Act,  of  C h a p t e r  $50  pp.  176-181.  libraries  or  w a s  226,  under  dependent  Section  m a d e  by  27,  the  the  entirely Council  c o m m u n i t y  on of  local Public  toward  the  library.  the  "one  a n d  1928,  1926.  B u r e a u  improvements  w h i c h  Reports, white  would of a  examples,  continuous Perow  1923,  Reports,  A c c o r d i n g  Instruction  6  Records  Inspectors'  m a d e of  the  Dorreen: few  lone  Records this  a n d  school  neatest  "Grounds  "a  Inspectors' credit  to  Reports  the  a n d  best  school  have  been  cleared  pines; the result  is q u i t e  for:  district," buildings so  as  artistic."  to  Willowvale; (Inspectors' in  the  leave  where 1927);  valley"  several  (Inspectors'  E n d a k o Reports,  nice  Reports,  (Inspectors' clumps 1928).  of  109  Community Politics  Local politics refers to the nuances in interpersonal relations and material conditions brought about by small groups of people interacting within a geographically-constricted area. Throughout the 1920s the settlements between Terrace and Vanderhoof were outstanding examples in British Columbia of enclosed communities impervious to any constant outside economic or social influence, such as that experienced by those areas affected by urban encroachment or engulfed by the sudden economic superiority of a nearby town. Here, because the communication and transportation networks were extremely  unreliable  and the nature of the local economies de-emphasized any  importance of inter-community trade, each settlement became a separate society made distinct by such factors as unique social composition and personal interests. As a result, each community resembled a clique of sorts which inevitably forced the teacher to adapt to its priorities. As discussed previously, the lack of checks built into the Public Schools Act for the maintenance of remote schools created a wide variety of school conditions. As well, it let loose the full capriciousness of community intiative in various degrees. For example, in 1922 the people of farming and tie-hacking Willowvale south of Fort Fraser "have shown a very commendable degree of courage and enterprise in erecting a new building so soon after the loss [by fire] of their first schoolhouse. The present schoolhouse is a neat frame building..." while in Francois Lake the transient prospectors, trappers, and tie-hackers took from 1920 to 1926 to construct a medium-sized frame school despite an abundance of materials nearby. Some small, isolated but "progressive" communities had residents 62  See  the Inspectors'  Reports  i n 1 9 2 3 for W i l l o w v a l e  a n d 1920-1926  for Francois  Lake.  110  who would "do anything for the benefit of the teacher"  63  whereby they organized  "building bees" of volunteers who gathered to construct the school,  64  or held basket  socials where lunches prepared by the teachers were auctioned, with the money collected treated as donations towards the upkeep of the local school. On the other hand, several 65  communities demonstrated a clear lack of support for the school. Tiny Glentanna School, a log house in the sparsely-settled farming and prospecting community eight miles from Smithers, suffered from chronically poor attendance and the school had to be closed for a year "on account of misunderstanding in the district."  66  Decker Lake settlers took three  years to clear a playground for the school, and in 1928 the parents of eight children in Francois Lake South refused to send the children to school for unspecified reasons while the delapidated school building was finally abandoned after three years of inspector recommendations for massive improvements.  67  In 1929 Inspector Fraser reported from  impoverished Usk north of Copper City that "The desks...at present not in use...are being broken badly and the maps are carelessly used. Whether this is due to present conditions or from last year I cannot say, but [the] pupils have been warned against this wanton destruction of school property." Certainly not to be overlooked as a factor in the variety of school conditions was the unique climate of community initiative for school affairs. Essentially, school support was unpredictable because the isolated societies were based on weak social hierarchies. By their nature subsistence communities had no traditional route to individual local power.  6  3  B u r e a u  see a n d  Records,  the B u r e a u  U n c h a  Records  teacher-stable  Valley,  a n d the  Driftwood  1923.  F o r schools  Inspectors'  Creek.  Also  supported  Reports  for  see T u r k k i ,  Fort  B u r n s  b y  similarly  F r a s e r L a k e  cooperative  settlers  Sheraton,  Palling,  North,  for O m i n e c a  i n Rose  L a k e ,  p.  181. 6  4  6  5  F o r  example,  S e e  Evelyn  see T u r k k i , School's  B u r n s  basket  L a k e ,  social  i n  1971. 6  6  6  7  Inspectors' S e e  ibid.,  Reports,  1920-1923  1925. for both  schools. .  pp.  184-190  S h e p h a r d ,  for B u l k l e y "History  of  S o u t h  School.  Schools,"  Provincial  Archives,  Ill Very limited opportunities existed to accumulate financial resources: each settler more or less on  a similar economic plane.  was  Tie-hackers, farmers, trappers, and  prospectors all had a common basis of economic struggle. Social position was dependent on personal criteria.  Decreased social range created "a weaker sense of the social  whole...a stronger sense of the individual" province. Ultimately school policy was  68  than in the more urban regions of the  relegated to personal interests. Putman and  Weir were particularly fearful for this situation. In 1925 they wrote Petty local jealousies...retard school progress in rural areas. A brief digression by way of illustration may by justifiable here. A proposed consolidation, undoubtedly advisable from an educational viewpoint was defeated in a small centre in the northern part of the Province because a trustee was at odds with his business rival, who was the prime mover in the consolidation project....This spurious brand of democracy...should receive a well-merited rebuke....The action of this trustee is in reality anti-democratic...This case is by no means an isolated one. 69  The  local school board's powers were extensive.  Its duty  was  to assess  the  community for possible taxation, supervise the building of the school and acquire its equipment, select the site of the schoolhouse through community consensus, provide health inspection for the pupils, and hire and fire the teacher. Enough autocratic school 70  boards who  did not seem to have the local school's best interests at heart existed  throughout the province, however, that the Putman-Weir Report advocated "in cases of petty obstruction" for the inspector to be the final authority in assisted school policy decisions. As well, throughout the 1920s Official Trustees, or "O.T.'s" were used with 71  increased frequency to administer local school affairs. An "O.T." was appointed by the  °°Cole (Spring 6  9  7  0  7  Harris, 1981):  P u t m a n - W e i r R e v i s e d  "Reflections  Report,  Statutes,  Putman-Weir  on  the  Surface  of  a  Pond:  92. pp.  124-125.  C h a p t e r  Report,  p.  226,  125.  Sections  102,  133.  A  Review  Article,"  B.C.  Studies  no.  49  112  Council of Public Instruction to replace the entire school board in some districts so that he may "exercise every power and function which under this Act might otherwise lawfully be had and exercised by qualified voters [and] Board of School Trustees."  7 2  In many settlements in the district trustees were probably elected on some basis of prestige derived from personal characteristics, or given the minute size of some of the communities and since no record of campaigning or electoral disputes seem to exist, the prospective trustee may merely have had to volunteer for the job. Interestingly, several school boards had a founding settler as a member which may have indicated that a route to power was not in dollars or land but seniority.  Ultimately, the Board was a  73  representative of the local people, not an official body of the Department of Education, and as a result was subject to the economic • egalitarian forces which shaped the local society where one voice was equal to the next. Differences in individual power and right were vague at best; thus, disputes within and without the school board were rife and major issues were often settled by conflict. In these isolated and intimate communities personal and family problems became community  concerns.  Social schisms  frequently  erupted.  In Grassy  Plains, a  community twenty-five miles south of Burns Lake populated by tie-hackers, prospectors, and subsistence mixed-farmers and ranchers, "Few hillbilly type feuds of short duration began because the stock bulls often got loose and wandered the range. The arguments as  Revised  7  overt  regions  suicide 3  M a n y  policy. pp. Side  of the  of obvious  example,  7  Statutes,  policy  C h a p t e r  local  the C o w i c h a n  of M a b e l local  histories  a n d  Centennial  Shephard,  problems L a k e  156.  of Education. with  School  school  B o a r d  Official T h e y  Trustees  were  administration.  w a s replaced  did not s e e m  installed  with  A s a n  rather  discussed " O . T . "  to be p a r t  arbitrarily, in  of a n y only  C h a p t e r  immediately  in  II,  for  after  the  Jones.  See especially  229-240;  226, Section  D e p a r t m e n t  r e m a r k T u r k k i ,  G r a s s y  Plains,  Committee,  "History  o n the integral B u r n s  role  for S o u t h  pp.249-260;  "Story  of Schools,"  L a k e  of the first Bulkley  for Palling  of a North-Central  Provincial  Archives,  settlers  School,  a n d  w h o s h a p e d  L a k e  local  school  184; C o l l e y m o u n t  S o u t h b a n k  Settlement,"  for R o u n d  p.  schools  Provincial School.  School,  see the  Archives;  South  a n d see  113  to whose bull had been where were often hot and heavy."  74  Occasionally selecting a  school site was an explosive affair. To stem a community fight, a resident in Decker Lake obtained a land map,  plotted the homes of the families whose children were  attending school and pin-pointed the centre of the area encompassed by the homes.  75  The  situation in Orange Valley was more intense as divisions in the society of the scattered settlement were manifest when the school was burned down twice in the early 1920s ostensibly because some residents were dissatisfied with its location. In October  1927  McQuillan sensed that the autumn school meeting was to be a "great event" because of the issue at stake. At the meeting a new school site was selected closer to the centre of the settlement but still inter-family acrimony lingered. One resident was "a little huffy over [the] situation," another visited her "raising cane about school-site," and "old farmers" were incessantly "grouching" over the selection. officially  recognized  remained.  76  by  a  petition  to the  Official  Eventually the site  Trustee  but  settler  was  disputes  In Palling, a railway flag stop north of Burns Lake, a dispute at an annual  meeting "developed into rowdy discussion and from there into a free fight in which ratepayers became involved." involved the teacher. Mrs.  77  On  numerous occasions community disputes directly  Alice Steele (nee Smith) recalled the problems created in  Rose Lake north of Palling which she  felt were representative of other isolated  settlements where two factions split the community in half with two or three families on each side. If the teacher had  dinner in one house, in order to keep peace in the  community she had to accept an invitation at the neighbours'. She could not date just one local boy without being branded as playing favorites. The first thing she learned 7  4  7  5  7  6  7  7  T u r k k i , Ibid., S e e  p.  B u r n s  M c Q u i l l a n  T u r k k i ,  L a k e ,  p.  264.  166.  B u r n s  Diary, L a k e ,  1927. p.  181.  114  when she taught in remote communities was diplomacy: "Don't gossip, and don't say one thing about one family to another."  78  In some areas diplomacy was ineffective. In her reports Lottie Bowron frequently alluded to outright community antipathy towards the teacher. Although "the fact that [the teacher] had (in most cases) immediate ties with the far away cities clothed them with an aura of mystery and sophistication that fascinated and enslaved their rustic pupils," this was not a reverence as prevalently shared by the parents or other settlers 79  in the community. Often the teacher was treated like a second class citizen, a foreigner subservient to the demands and standards of the community. The settlers seemed to have regarded the teacher as a labourer over whom they could rightfully dictate. This prerogative was supported by the fact that the community initiated the establishment of the school in the first place when it petitioned the government, and the school board was given absolute power (barring appeal) to hire or fire the teacher as it saw fit. Animosity toward the teacher was common when at times she must have exuded an almost alien urban presence, an academic in an overwhelmingly working class milieu. As a result the teacher was particularly susceptible to an inordinate amount of criticism. For example, in 1930 Lottie Bowron was summoned by Miss Gwendolyn Lang, the teacher in Engen, a community of predominantly transient tie-hackers and subsistence mixed-farmers, to investigate unwelcome boarding conditions. Bowron wrote that she visited many people in the settlement and "During this time I heard a great many tales and could see that the district was  badly divided, the teacher coming in for her share of both friends and  opponents."  Tantalizingly, Bowron stated without elaboration that "Engen has been a  difficult school district for sometime and much could be said in regard to some of the  'Interview, Mrs. 'Mould,  Steele,  S t u m p f a r m s ,  p.  N o v e m b e r 117.  1987.  115  unpleasant things that have occurred there recently but I am hopeful that most of the teacher's problems have been removed."  80  In tiny teacher-transient Lily Lake, twelve  miles south of Fort Fraser, Bowron reported in March 1929 that the teacher, Miss Mary Burton had written to me in January saying she would like to see me and discuss matters. Evidently she had been going through a very trying time indeed. She said it had affected the efficiency of her work and on that account seemed greatly worried....The criticism of the Board, which she felt was against her, and the fact that the community had two factions made life very difficult for her. Lily Lake was  a good example of a community of subsistence farmers and roving  trappers which by its isolation and poverty intensified the loneliness and frustration of the teacher in the face of hostile local politics. Although not often detailed in the source material, the reasons for a community's dissatisfaction with the teacher appeared to be genuinely personal. Rare examples give notice of this: In the 1928 Bureau Records Miss Verna Marett described Evelyn, ten miles from Smithers, as "nice" with good living conditions but the following year Bowron noted "some tribulations in this neighbourhood" where a parent caused waves "which chiefly seemed to arise over the treatment of a twin who is rather backward. I suggested the two women get together and talk the matter over quietly." No further explication of the grievance in the Bowron Reports exists.  81  Image and reputation was an important  possession in intimate communities. McQuillan who  started smoking cigarettes shortly  after her arrival in Orange Valley took extensive measures to hide the habit from the local residents. In Alexander Manson School in the remote Ootsa Lake settlement, a 82  8  8  8  0  1  2  B o w r o n Ibid., S e e  Reports,  E n g e n ,  Evelyn, J u n e  the  M c Q u i l l a n  F e b r u a r y  1929. Diary,  1927.  1930.  116  teacher's dismissal was pending because of the company she kept. Bowron wrote Miss Beechy is...engaged to'a man whom the community does not care about, and this man spends far too much time in Miss Beechy's house, having his meals there, etc., and this, with some school problems has caused the trouble. I called on...one of the trustees who informed me that the Board was going to dismiss her...and I believe [it is] willing to give her an opportunity to resign. 83  In Houston, the teacher "has been placed in a very trying position which has caused her a great deal of worry. Fortunately, she has the support of a splendid school board who are ready to protect her."  84  Of course some communities were socially harmonious, they gave the teacher no trouble, and the teacher was well-liked and respected in the school,  but not to  85  empathize with McQuillan is difficult when on an evening in December 1927 she was finally ready to leave Orange Valley. She finished dinner with the family with whom she boarded, then "there was an argument as to how and who was taking me to the train; no one at all keen which was so pleasant for me."  Substantial evidence exists to  86  suggest that the teacher was not always treated fairly, or in McQuillan's case, with dignity, but no where is the case of disrespect for the teacher more apparent than in her  8  3  B o w r o n  Reports,  A l e x a n d e r  school the following 8  4  8  5  M y  italics.  F o r  teacher, which M a y  w a s poor 1932),  T e l k w a  Reports,  8  6  needs  Duthie Records, B o w r o n  Diary,  "people  Beechy  d i d n o t return  to t h e  w i t h  were  well  likes  the "best were  "Fairly  G o o d  provided  for  a n dFort  seemed  S t .  to b e  this  m o d e  [school]  a t  a n d  J a m e s  the  with  building  school  a n d the  B o w r o n  River  Reports,  in a n y o f my...Districts,"  W o o d m e r e ,  rough,"  a n d Kispiox  itself  o n the S k e e n a  o f living...",  all well-liked;  b u t rather  peace  c o m m u n i t y  ( B u r e a u w a s  w h i c h  o n e both  six  miles  Records, of  from  1923) b u t  the  h a dschool  largest boards  efficacious. 1 9 2 7 .  Francois  believed  criticism."  a n d healthy  were  see the B u r e a u Mines;  M i s s  a n d lumbering  ("the c o m m u n i t y  i n the district;  extremely  M c Q u i l l a n  teacher,  1931.  w h i c h  trapping,  1927) a n d the teachers  living conditions  teacher's were  mining,  a n d scattered  community-funded that  c o m m u n i t i e s  a tiny  b u t w a s clean  where  S e p t e m b e r  F e b r u a r y 1 9 3 0 .  o f "pleasant"  see Cedarvale,  (Inspectors' the  Ibid., Houston,  examples  M a n s o n ,  year.  seem that  F o r other  Records, L a k e ; to  have  a n d been  the teacher  e x a m p l e s  Inspectors' tiny a t  o f communities  Reports,  M a r t e n  L a k e  loggerheads  " h a s been  through  w h i c h  were  a n d t h e B o w r o n where  with  e a c h  perhaps  unpleasant  Reports  according  to  other,"  while  more  t h a n  the i n  for the  especially 1 9 2 8 M a r c h  the u s u a l  for  B u r e a u 1 9 2 9  a m o u n t  of  117  living accommodation. Whether the teacher lived in a log cabin, shack, hotel, restaurant, farmhouse, railway station, store, teacherage, or boarded with a family,  with few  87  exceptions throughout the district the accommodation was very poor. At the best of times living conditions reflected local poverty. The teacher was never given special treatment, and as an essential criteria for community acceptance she was expected to adapt readily to unfamiliar conditions. For example, large familes took in teachers for rent money, but at times offered the teacher only a bed separated from the rest of the house by a curtain.  88  Other communities outrightly refused to board the teacher which  left her to find makeshift quarters elsewhere, sometimes miles from the school. accommodation  was  largely  dependent  on local  interest.  In both  Living  89  settler- and  teacher-transient Decker Lake, one family, the Piches, who rented rooms to travelling tie-hackers, usually had realm over teacher accommodation.  With few beds to spare in  the entire community overnight guests shared a bed while the teacher slept with Mrs. Piche. (Mr. Piche slept on the couch). The teachers had all been female until one year when the School Board sent a replacement without advising Mrs. Piche as to whether the teacher was male or female. After preparing her room as usual, she opened the door to a young gentleman and was so non-plussed that she sent him away. 90  8  7  0 u t  o f  district, group, 8  8  S e e  5 6  26  8, " b a t c h e d " M c Q u i l l a n  S o u t h b a n k ; nine 8  9  responses  teachers  a n d  children.  F o r  in  the  recorded in a  Diary,  small  c o m m u n i t i e s  where  the b o a r d i n g  which  the  teacher  1930);  E n d a k o  board  the teacher," a n d  regards  to b o a r d i n g  left  facilities stayed  where  houses;  L a k e ,  Reports,  which  in  Woodcock:  0  T u r k k i ,  B u r n s  the  facilities  L a k e ,  dealt  with  a  the  p. 1 6 7 .  B u r e a u  where  with  private  " a  "very  1923  there  Ellen  living family  a c c o m m o d a t i o n a n d  the  in  second  the  largest  h a d to  Reports  for M a r t e n  share  s m a l l  a  L a k e ;  house  w i t h  1931). few  choices  for  "no house  B u r e a u  Records  few  place." people  W i l l i a m  T e m p o r a r y  accommodation,  Records,  conveniences  where  "None.  living  ( B u r e a u  uninhabitable  T e l k w a  were  a n d B o w r o n  M u r r a y  uncertain,"  rather were  Records  M i s s  teacher  Records);  gang." 9  the  1928 there In  that  boarded  September  were  w a s  ( B u r e a u  Records  they  cabin.  1927, a n d  T c h e s i n k u t  (Bowron  B u r e a u  that  1928),  (Bowron  a n d a h a d  very extra  George  boarding  a n d  Reports, few people rooms  W a t s o n with  see  the  E n g e n ,  the hotel  in  i n  F e b r u a r y willing their  wrote railway  that  to  tiny in  section  118 <  According to the 1923 Bureau Records, the teacher Mr. George Atkinson finally settled in an undisclosed residence "very far, two miles from school." Often the low priority given the teacher's comfort was demonstrated when the teachers lived in dire conditions in communities which otherwise demonstrated an extreme interest in school affairs.  91  Bowron frequently commented on the teachers' living conditions, sometimes in relation to community problems--for example in Willowvale five miles from Fort Fraser the teacher batched next door to a Board member's house because "this district seems to be known as a little trying for a teacher"  --but she also reported on another related  92  issue: the social life of the community.  In several settlements Bowron warned  prospective teachers that the area was lonely and isolated with few opportunities for exciting leisure activities. With an acute lack of recreational facilities to pass the time, 93  the  teacher was often restricted to the occasional dance sometimes miles away in a  larger community or to visiting residents in nearby settlements. Here the teacher had to be at her diplomatic best because such infrequent encounters with a large group of local people or frequent meetings with individual families in the district helped make or break a teacher's chance of acceptance in the community.  See  9  E n d a k o ,  (Inspectors' m e t h o d  of  2  9  3  G l e n t a n n a a n d  miles 9  4  T h e  small  A p r i l  the  M c Q u i l l a n  very  ( M a y  to  of to  "some  the  extremely  distance  teacher  despite  the  s m a l l  schools  in  the  district"  poor  w h i c h  best  board  the  L a k e ,  loneliness  this  teacher."  ( B u r e a u Reports,  the  school...no  accommodation  residents'  (Inspectors'  from  Francois  w a s  settler-transient  little  one  unique  inspectorate"  Records, 1928), lives  1928); but  very  the  near."  social  a n d  life  Copper  L a k e ,  c o m p o u n d e d Bulkley  a n d  few  City  w h i c h  South,  y o u n g  U n c h a  by  a n d  people  w a s  a  Valley,  unfriendly  Perow;  (June  lonely  a n d  residents;  L a k e ,  teacher-transient  1929);  place  extremely Lily  and  although  Woodcock, only  three  1932).  scrutinized  "merry-go-round," a n  cares  house  the  Cedarvale,  for  one credit  T c h e s i n k u t  L a k e ,  D i a r y  "one  but  Palling,  1930).  M a r t e n  w a s  was  school 1928;  1931. for  h a d  Records,  "no " a  vacant  where  Terrace.  teacher  but w a s  River  w h i c h  well-funded  (fisticuffs)  February,  struggling  from  termed  a  large  B u r e a u  1923),  especially  N a d i n a  impoverished tiny  a  school  Reports,  ibid.,  isolated  in  Reports,  B o w r o n S e e  whose  lived  (Bowron 9  Reports,  Perow,  teacher  h a d  1927),  policy-making  (Inspectors' a n d  w h i c h  Reports  94  at  the  w a s  interesting  dances a n  by  the  important  description  local people, p a r t  of the  of  a n d  a d a p t i n g  activity  of  visiting, or w h a t to  local  "visiting."  politics.  M c Q u i l l a n See  the  119  Functioning socially in a remote community was imperative if the teacher was to survive in a one-room school. Adding a further dimension to the unique local politics which forced the teacher to exercise diplomacy and tact was each community's social composition.  The  teacher could not remain aloof from other residents, which  was  especially the case considering the male to female ratio in the district. In 1931, 5,735 males were recorded as opposed to 4,143 females, but for the entire census district 50.2 percent of the men  15 years of age and older were single.  95  The large proportion of  bachelors in the population may have been a result of the character of the district. Such a newly-opened, rugged area based on subsistence and transient economic activity was not immediately conducive to the formation of large towns characterized by permanent settler families because remaining in any one place for an extended period of time apart from engaging in farming or ranching, for example, would be economically inexpedient. The young, single schoolteacher became a target of the bachelors where at a dance "the local schoolma'am, often the only unmarried adult female in attendance, was invariably the 'belle of the ball' and from the point of view of the males a Saturday night was a dismal failure if [she] failed to show up."  96  At times the community rivalry was serious.  The teacher's basket lunches at auctions fetched relatively astronomical prices when, for example, in 1920 in Francois Lake, the teacher's basket was bought for $35 (the price of a month's rent) when a group of bachelors got together and tried to outbid the teacher's boyfriend, a police constable in the  district.  97  Sadly, Mrs.  "unco-operative" poorly attended Tatalrose School was  Mary  Mcintosh  in  edged out of her job when a  pressure group of local tie-hacking bachelors at a public meeting requested that she be  n=4972. See the 1 9 3 1 Census II, pp. 2 4 9 , 2 7 0 - 2 7 1 , 2 7 8 - 2 8 7 . for our district (Census District 8 e , f, and g) are unavailable. Mould, Stumpfarms, p. 1 2 6 . Turkki, B urns Lake, p. 2 4 6 . 9  5  96  97  Unfortunately, marital figures  120  dismissed because "there were many unmarried teachers out of work."  98  A n added dimension to the social composition of the local communities but one that did not seem to be a significant factor in promoting social disharmony and teacher frustration was the variety of ethnic or cultural background of the settlers. The largest ethnic group in the district was British (43 percent of the 9908 residents), followed by sprinklings of French, Dutch, Finnish, German, Polish, Scandinavian, and Orientals. Significantly, 33 percent of all the people in the district were native Indian, but only 31 of the 3,312 Indians were not living on reserves.  99  The communities were ethnically and  culturally diverse, and "the failure to sustain the immigrants' cultural variety reflects the fact that culture is a collective inheritance, that individuals isolated from the cultural mass are culturally vulnerable....Households and rural neighbourhoods became crucibles of assimilation in which sparsely represented cultures were rapidly eliminated."  100  For  this district no evidence exists to suggest that social strife was caused by differences that were ethnically or racially-based. What in fact the teacher had was an extremely difficult job. Teacher transiency indicated that teaching in a one-room school was a personal experience as well as demanding employment.  A  sparse settlement  pattern, community transiency and  impoverishment as well as local school support and intra-community social disharmony often driven by personal disputes were all ingredients in a recipe that made the Terrace to Vanderhoof district a compilation of separate societies. No feasible normal school  9  8  B u r e a u  Schools," 9  9  S e e  the 1  0  0  Records,  1 9 2 8 ,a n d B o w r o n  Provincial  Archives, 1971.  the 1 9 3 1 C e n s u s  Reports,  S e p t e m b e r  II, p p . 490-491  for a b r e a k d o w n  o n the Surface  of the P o n d , "  1931.  See also  of the ethnicity  S h e p h a r d ,  a m o n g  "History  of  the population  i n  district. H a r r i s ,  "Reflections  the  province  i n ethnically-homogeneous  the  coast  the D o u k h o b o u r  isolated  discussion groups  or  from  a n y  deleterious  of the problems  o f i m m i g r a n t s ,  settlements effects  associated  see C h a p t e r  II.  p.  c o m m m u n i t i e s i n  t h e  o f outside with  91. such  K o o t e n a y s  interference  teaching  T h i s as  w a s not the case  the J a p a n e s e  where  groups  on cultural  in communities  elsewhere  fishing  villages  of i m m i g r a n t s  practises.  populated  F o r  a  i n o n  were brief  predominantly  b y  121  training could have prepared the teacher for the idiosyncracies of remote communities she encountered, nor the degree of neglect from the local people of many of the teacher's rights in the way of general working conditions, living accommodation, and the occasional unjustified personal reprimand.  Here teaching in a one-room school put the teacher in  the rural public's eye and thus she serves as a portal by which the study into British Columbia's rural history can be conducted,  as well as an interesting historical  protagonist of one of the most important institutions in society. The one-room schools between Terrace and Vanderhoof is an excellent subject for a case study of education in rural British Columbia. From the establishment of the first school in 1906 to the proliferation of the one-room schools throughout the district in the 1920s, school conditions were seen to be similar to those found in the province as a whole. For example, many one-room schools in both the district and provincial studies suffered from a preponderance of unsuitable teachers, teacher transiency, and generally poor living and working conditions. As well, a look at a small group of schools in a geographically-constricted area demonstrates that teaching in a one-room school was an arduous task. For that reason alone teacher transiency can be readily  understood.  Moreover, the case study supported the contention that the education officials' perception of the rural school problem and possible solutions seemed to be fundamentally misguided. As  discussed in Part I, the administrators neglected to consider the teacher's  characteristics which could make remote school teaching difficult—the typical teacher was young, single, and female. Significantly, as rural school conditions remained much the same throughout the 1920s, the education officials continued to overlook the importance of rural society itself. "Rural-minded" teachers had little efficacy in communities which were impoverished, scattered, and transient, as well as over settlers who were at times obstinate in school affairs. In a study of these issues the historian breaches the gap  122  between uncovering exclusively educational history and the broader question of rural history in general.  123  Chapter V: Conclusion  A study of one-room schools in British Columbia of the 1920s is significant. British Columbia's rural educational history has been largely unexplored. Indeed, only recently has Canadian rural history in general been given much print, a sharp contrast to the quantity of research undertaken about France, England, and Europe as a whole. Only 1  2  3  Chad Gaffield's work on Prescott County in Ontario, David Gagan's study of Peel 4  County, and David C. Jones' look at the Prairie Dry Belt stand out as recent examples 5  6  of in-depth Canadian rural history. In particular, the first two works provide exhaustive quantitative analyses as well as sound use of qualitative sources to explain the behaviour of rural families in the face of changing economic circumstance. Articles in several volumes of Canadian Papers in Rural History which are of general interest to "economic and social historians, folklorists, historical geographers, and historians of technology"  1  F o r  example,  (California:  see  M a r g a r a d a n t ' s Nineteenth R u r a l  Century,"  University 1972 the 2  F o r  T h e  is  growing  Origins  no.  a n d  4  see  of  D a v i d  of E n g l i s h University  Villages  the  Louise  A . as  56,  in  E s s a y  4  248-260. by  the  of rural  article  " T h e  11, no.  4  Th~e F a m i l y , M a r g a r e t  Seventeenth  L a r g e  Property  a n d  Spufford,  Centuries  ( N e w  G o r d o n  F r e n c h  a  Social  W r i g h t , History,"  newsletter  It is a  reflection  N o r t h  Pictures  269-274;  of  A l a n  in of  A m e r i c a . N i n e t e e n t h  M a c F a r l a n e ,  T r a n s i t i o n  (Cambridge:  C o m m u n i t i e s :  C a m b r i d g e  WT the  Stanford  R u r a l  as  a n d  Contrasting  T e d  d u r i n g  (Stanford:  began  S m a l l  York:  F r a n c e  of U t a h .  1984):  Characteristics 1931);  667-697;  in E u r o p e  a n d  ( S u m m e r  in  R u r a l  M o d e r n Studies  both  Basic  C e n t u r y  University  areas  review  a n d  on  P e a s a n t  its  in  (1984):  T w e n t i e t h  Tilly ""Reflections a journal  on  written  Modernity no.  the  Studies  1979);  A n  originally  a n d  History  1984):  Individualism: a n d  "Tradition  to studies  Levine's P e a s a n t  Sixteenth  1967;  P e a s a n t r y  quarterly  Press,  History:  M o d e r n  T h e  attributed  E n g l a n d , "  R u r a l Press,  article,  ( S u m m e r  published  C a m b r i d g e in  J o u r n a l  importance  R u r a l  F r e n c h  California  France:  T964); 11,  now  example,  C e n t u r y  in  Press,  Studies  a n d  Bloch, of  historiographical  Revolution  P e a s a n t  M a r c  University  E n g l i s h  University  Press,  1974). 3  A  good  comprehensive  W e s t e r n  Europe,  H u t c h i n s o n 4  C h a d  5  D a v i d  County, 6  D a v i d  A l b e r t a  University  Gaffield,  L a n g u a g e  C a n a d a C.  in  Hopeful W e s t  Jones,  University  Press,  of  Sheldon  J .  W a t t s ,  A m o n g  C u l t u r a l  L a n d ,  of Toronto  Settling  Conflict:  McGill-Queen's  Families,  University  Dust:  19~87T.  is  Solidarities  a n d  (Kingston:  Travellers:  (Toronto:  history a n d  R u r a l  A  Social  "People  History  of  (Hutchinson:  1986).  Schooling,  Ontario  E m p i r e  rural  Tensions  Library,  L a n g u a g e ,  Controversy  G a g a n ,  E u r o p e a n  1450-1720:  a n d  a n d  Social  Press,  T h e  University  Origins Press,  C h a n g e  in  of  the  F r e n c h  198T). Mid-Victorian  Peel  198 lj!  A b a n d o n i n g  the  Prairie  D r y  Belt  ( E d m o n t o n :  124  have been recently released. Articles on the Canadian West that deal with broad rural 7  developments can be found in D.C. Jones, and in Jones and MacPherson. 8  9  Pertinent studies in Canadian rural educational history are even harder to find. Articles that deal with specific topics in British Columbia were mentioned in the Introduction, in particular works by D.C. Jones, most of which were based on his 1978 doctoral dissertation for the University of British Columbia, "Agriculture, The Land, and Education: British Columbia, 1914-1929." Significantly, studies that discuss pointedly the development of rural schooling elsewhere in Canada support the generalizability of research into British Columbia one-room schools. For example, R.S. Patterson's "Voices From the Past: The Personal and Professional Struggle of Rural School Teachers" and David C. Jones' "Schools and Social Disintegration in the Alberta D r y Belt of the Twenties," both in Schools in the West,  found that school teacher hardships were  10  legion in the many Financially strapped one-room schools on the Prairies during the • 1920s and 1930s.  The phenomenon of young, unmarried, predominantly female  teaching corps challenged by work in remote schools seemed to be common for western Canada.  John Abbott argues that to educate the isolated child in northern Ontario  between  1900-1930 meant to struggle with uncompromising terrain and climate,  impoverished  and transient  communities, and urban-minded  administrators who  misunderstood the nature of the obstacles, all of which contributed to poor schooling.  ' S t a r t i n g  i n  C a n a d i a n 8  We'11  L a n g d a l e  1978,  P a p e r s  A l l B e  i n R u r a l  Buried  Press  History.  D o w n  Here:  (Calgary:  A l b e r t a  Records  ^Building  B e y o n d  t h e H o m e s t e a d :  M a c P h e r s o n 1  0  S c h o o l s  (Calgary:  Wilson,  J o h n  Abbott,  1  :  1  for  "Hostile  "Sequestered"  Society  i n  C u r r i c u l u m  E s s a y s  a n d D a v i d  C .  C a n a d i a n  T h e Prairie  R u r a l  History,  a n d Instruction,  e d .  J .  University  h a s  Disaster,  o n t h e Prairies,  Educational Detselig  Ontario, D o n a l d  of British  published  five  volumes  o f  1917-1926,  eds.  D a v i d  ed.  C .  D . C .  Jones  Jones  a n dI a n  19"Bl>r  a n d t h e Spectre  N o r t h e r n  Ontario  imminent.  D r y l a n d  Press,  (Calgary:  is  1986).  History  i n C a n a d i a n  Jones  i n  Board,  o f C a l g a r y  L a n d s c a p e s  Children  G a n a n o q u e ,  sixth volume  Publications  University  i n t h e West:  D o n a l d  i n A  11  History,  eds.  N a n c y  Enterprises,  1986),  of Illiteracy:  Devising  1875-1930,"  Wilson  Imperfect  (Vancouver:  Columbia,  1984),  p p .  pp.  M .  Retrieval  Past:  Centre  S h e e h a n ,  J .  99-111, 265-283. for  181-194.  S y s t e m s  E d u c a t i o n t h e  a n d  Study  o f  125  Also similar to conditions in 1920s British Columbia, Gaffield found that one-room schools in Prescott County during the 1880s were materially wanting, school attendance fluctuated with the demands of farms and logging camps, teacher transiency was rife, the teacher's status in the community was  low, and the teacher was  considered by  provincial education officials as the main impediment to school efficiency. Thus, as this 12  thesis suggests, one-room schools in British Columbia are exemplary of elsewhere in Canada: oblivious to provincial boundaries, rural school scenarios seem to have been remarkably similar across Canada, although not always at the same time. Equally significant, study of the province's one-room schools shows the usefulness of a perspective on these small rural institutions that emphasizes intimacy. F. Johnson  13  Henry  and Alison Prentice, for example, examine large administrative structures 14  or mechanisms of social control. Both of these studies neglect the fact that history is necessarily concerned as much with individuals as with passive and faceless masses. Parents, pupils, and other community members, as well as teachers, were all individual decision-makers.  Chad Gaffield strikes at the heart of the importance of this local  perspective for historical writing: "Beyond contemporary perceptions and behind the pronouncements of educational officials lived the boys and girls, men  and women whose  lives gave meaning to the questions of schooling." This is the perspective I have tried to 15  adopt in this study. In the milieu of rural British Columbia in the 1920s, the teacher was participant.  Not just part of a "passive" and  an active  "faceless" teaching corps, she  was  Gaffield, Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict, pp. 1 0 1 - 1 3 0 . F . Henry Johnson, A_ History of Public Education in British Columbia (Vancouver: University of British Columbia Press, 1 9 6 4 ) . Alison Prentice, The School Promoters: Education and Social Class in Mid-Nineteenth Century Upper Canada (Toronto: McClelland and Stewart, 1 9 7 7 ) . Gaffield, Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict, p. 3 0 . 12  13  14  15  126  conspicuous as manager of the rural schoolhouse and exercised power over day-to-day pedagogical activity. With little outside help, she was responsible for the standard of education each pupil received despite sometimes considerable hardship.  The one-room  school was run by her clock: in such an intimate atmosphere, each isolated school became as individual as the teacher. This individuality comes forth particularly in the Bureau Records. Transiency worried educational officials in the first half of the 1920s. It turns out to have been not a mass movement away from smaller schools as most officials believed. Chapter IV showed instead that teachers left one-room schools for highly personal, often undisclosed reasons.  For some teachers, neither money nor career advancement by  accepting posts in larger, more well-funded schools seemed to be motives behind moving. Instead, where some teachers did not enjoy their work, they simply packed up and left. Essentially, the teacher was an adventurer, subject to the force of her own preferences. The teacher is the protagonist in this thesis, and her role in rural schools is impossible to ignore. It gives context to the entire question of school reform in the 1920s.  16  In the  intellectual climate of progressivism, perfection of the school system demanded that all schools be as "efficient" as possible. Both the Putman-Weir Report and the Annual Reports paid much attention to the question of how to end pupil retardation where it was most acute, in the rural schools. The propensity of teachers to transfer out of small schools after about one  year  of service indicated to educational  reformers  and  administrators that the best solution to retardation was to equip teachers with the mental tools necessary for successful rural employment, that is, to make the teachers "rural-minded."  1  6  S e e  M a r t a  Perspective," i m p o r t a n t  However, reform of the teacher was a stillborn idea. The reality of  D a n y l e w y c z Interchange  historical  a n d 17,  questions  Alison no. w h i c h  2  Prentice, ( S u m m e r m a y  be  "Revising 1986):  addressed  the  History  135-146 through  for  the  of a n  study  Teachers: insightful of  A  C a n a d i a n  overview  teachers.  of  127  remote school teaching was  too pervasive: young, single, inexperienced women were  teaching in isolated pioneer communities. The problems associated with this scenario were beyond rectification by mere improvement of normal school training. The failure of rural school reform uncovers two broad, important historical issues. First, in British Columbia in the 1920s, a dichotomy existed between rural and urban areas. Proposed reform of the rural schools was misguided because in addition to being distracted by growth in the urban school system, the Department of Education had little feedback as to the true conditions of remote communities. middlemen through which communication between Victoria and  Inspectors  were the  the hinterland  was  exchanged, but due to poor transportation and communication networks, as well as the large number of schools requiring supervision within the inspectorates, each school was given only superficial attention. As a result, education officials remained oblivious to the complexity  of rural school reform.  They did not consider with any  seriousness the  intricacies of rural living or the characteristics of the teacher which could hamper successful employment in the small school. By the same token, rural communities, because of their isolation, saw  little of the  government. This allowed for community members-another group of people "whose lives gave meaning to the question of schooling"-to exercise considerable authority over local schools.  Their authority was  not always clear, however, as by  statute the  community had power to establish the school, raise taxes for its maintenance, and hire and fire the teacher, but similarly by law the Department of Education was responsible for the functioning of the entire provincial public school system, and throughout the 1920s it asserted this right whenever possible. Indeed, as the blueprint for reform, the Putman-Weir Report recommended an overall strengthening of the centralization of educational control in the province in order to impose a uniform "efficiency" on all  128  schools.  Thus, late into the decade, in some areas local school boards were being  replaced  with  "official trustees," administrative  consolidation was  attempted in  Vanderhoof, Lottie Bowron was appointed by the government as a "comforter" for one-room school teachers in distress, and a programme for training rural representatives of the Department, "rural-minded" teachers, was proposed. Tension existed between the local school boards and the central school administration, and neglect or outright resistance to policies imposed from above was common. For example, the diverse conditions of the one-room schools made the 1911 Public Works designs for uniformity in the construction of provincial one-room schools worthless.  17  School consolidation was extemely slow due to local misgivings about accompanying tax increases.  18  Throughout the 1920s Inspectors' Reports submitted to local school boards  recorded numerous incidents of recommendations for school improvements which went unheeded.  And in some communities, animosity was directed towards the teacher,  whose stigma as an "outsider" led to considerable local ostracism. A discussion of the two separate entities of community and central control of rural schools  introduces  the second and  related issue of historical import,  the rural  communities themselves. Using the teacher as an historical focus, this thesis considered rural living in the 1920s to be characterized by hardship, isolation, loneliness, and occasionally danger. Specifically, one aspect of rural communities discussed in Chapter IV was community politics. In many impoverished and scattered communities, economic egalitarianism made one voice in school affairs equal to the next; thus, local politics was often dominated by inter-personal conflict, so unique to each community that school 1  7  F o r  the  1930," 1  8  a  discussion  province,  S e e  P a r k s A l a n  of the  see  Ivan  C a n a d a H . U n i t  1972-1973):  57-70.  in  " A  Peace  for  similarity  Saunders,  Research  Child,  E d u c a t i o n a l  proposal J.  Bulletin  Little River  "A no.  225  Tempest: District  a m o n g  S u r v e y  of  of  one-room  British  (November Public  British  school  C o l u m b i a  construction School  throughout  Architecture  to  1984).  Reaction C o l u m b i a , "  to  the  B.C.  F o r m a t i o n Studies  no.  of 16  a  L a r g e (Winter  129  conditions and teacher comfort varied from one region to another. As well, the community's economic activity, in particular the priority of family solvency, was  an  important factor in local schooling. For example, local school  attendance fluctuated wildly as seasonal tie-hacking drove families back and forth between Decker Lake and Palling in search of work. When lumber or tie industries faltered in Usk and Fort Fraser, families emigrated en masse from the communities, and as a result school attendence decreased dramatically, sometimes forcing the school to close altogether. In addition, school attendance fell victim to the child's value as an 19  extra (or only) source of family income. At times, parents in agricultural communities kept their children on the farm to do chores, and in tie-hacking areas male children missed school as they were needed to help cut and haul logs. Again, school attendance suffered while some schools closed. These individual decisions within the family-where to settle to maximize immediate financial benefits, and allotting the children's time between work and school—made the one-room school's survival in many communities unpredictable.  Starting from a study of rural schools in British Columbia research could follow an number of directions.  in the 1920s, future  This thesis dealt with the central  education officials' myopic perception of rural school problem. Little is known about the Department's structure and function in the past, however; What were its hierarchical lines of command and the actual mechanics of policy-making? behind closed doors? Who  What exactly went on  set policy? Unfortunately, sources needed to unravel these  questions would be hard to obtain-many Department documents have not survived from these years—but research may  'See Chapters III and IV.  be pursued from another angle. More direct study is  130  needed of supervision in the province's rural schools, in particular the character and career ambitions of the inspectors, some of whom travelled thousands of miles every year.  A clearer awareness might well be provided of employment opportunities and  20  possibilities for career advancement in the Department of Education available to men and women in the 1920s. As well, research could give attention to the sexual division of labour characteristic of the Department and government as a whole.  21  Such information  could uncover some aspects of the Department's "pecking order" while promoting an even better understanding of the rural school problem as perceived by a bureaucrat in Victoria "looking out" onto the province's hinterland. The one-room schools themselves offer plenty to consider. In the future, research into pedagogical "efficiency" could include a study of the dynamics of the 1920s rural classroom, in particular teacher-pupil relations, and how it differed from multi-room rural and urban schools which both recorded lower retardation rates. As well, clues to further research is contained in "Visions of Ordinary Participants: Teachers' Views of Rural Schooling in British Columbia in the 1920s," where J.D. Wilson remarks on superior school conditions in some company towns. In communities such as Premier Mines near the Portland Canal in northern British Columbia, and Corbin in the Crowsnest Pass, schools were "first-rate" due to the support of local companies which  2  0  F o r  o n e of the f e w studies  Fleming's  article,  C h a n g i n g  C h a r a c t e r  into  " " O u r Boys of  i n  School  the structure the  Field"":  Leadership  i n  o f the school School British  supervisory  Inspectors, C o l u m b i a , "  system,  see  Superintendents, Schools  i n  t h e  T h o m a s a n d the  West,  pp.  285-303. 2  Alison  study See  Prentice  of w o m e n especially  B u r e a u c r a t i z i n g E d u c a t i o n  School  in  the  C a n a d a , "  Evolution Q u e b e c  articles  Quarterly  Perceptions C e n t r a l  a t the Ontario  teachers  role  co-authored Systems  E m e r g i n g Labour/Le  Study,"  Institute  in  School T r a v a i l  Division  Histoire  for Studies  i n E d u c a t i o n  in the bureaucratization with  M a r t a  Nineteenth  X X , no. 1 (Spring  of the Sexual  C a s e  a n d their  1984):  75-100;  S y s t e m s 17  Sociale/Social  o f  (Spring  of L a b o u r  i n  D a n y l e w y c z :  C e n t u r y  "Teacher's  1986):  T e a c h i n g :  History  a n d  Work:  a n d  59-80; A  active  in  C h a n g i n g  Nineteenth  16, no. 31 (1983):  B e t h  C e n t u r y  81-109.  systems. a n d  History  Patterns  T w e n t i e t h  with  historical  Gender,  Toronto,"  E a r l y  a n d  the  a n d state  "Teachers,  M o n t r e a l  N i n e t e e n t h  is  o f the school  of arid"  Century  Light, Ontario  " T h e a n d  131  had sound reputations for service to schooling and  community.  22  Local employers'  influence over school conditions hints at the potential for comparing local conditions as well as  other aspects  of rural  schools  such  as  enrolment, attendance,  teacher  accommodation and transiency with other case studies. This might uncover how schools differed between company towns and  subsistence farming communities; fishing or  railway communities as opposed to schools in areas of diversified economies such those as between Terrace and Vanderhoof; coastal versus inland settlements; and frontier in contrast to more accessible regions. To suggest an even more ambitious study: how did these aspects of rural schooling change over time, for example into the Depression of the 1930s? As the focus shifts to the isolated community, research could be conducted into the rural perception of the role of education in society. As discussed in Part II, the priority given to schooling among families was  high, probably second only to making a living.  The appearance of a school in the early years of each settlement and the increased number of petitions for superior and high schools throughout the 1920s demonstrate the importance local people placed on education. In this context, what end did education serve as perceived by the community? Did interest in the local school indicate a belief in the use of education in pupil social mobility? Finally, a study of rural teachers and schools invites research into non-educational questions. Community conditions as well as the economic and idiosyncratic behaviour of community members are important considerations in any serious work into a previously ignored facet of British Columbia's past.  2  2  J . D .  Wilson,  British C l a r k  "The  C o l u m b i a  P i t m a n ,  in  Visions the  of  1920s,"  forthcoming).  O r d i n a r y A.  Here, the educational historian is in fact  Participants:  History  of  British  Teachers' C o l u m b i a :  V i e w s  of  Selected  R u r a l  Schooling  Readings  in  (Toronto:  132  exploring rural life itself. A study of one-room schools in British Columbia in the 1920s is only a beginning.  It is a means by which research can be conducted not only into  educational history but rural history as a whole.  133  Select Bibliography  I. Primary Sources  A. Printed Sources  "Backwoods Teacher," Victoria Times-Colonist, 31 August 1981, p. 35.  British Columbia, Bureau of Provincial Information. "New British Columbia: The Undeveloped Areas of the Great Central and Northern Interior." Bulletin 22, edition 8, 1908.  British Columbia, Department (1905-1931).  of Education.  Annual Report of the Public Schools.  British Columbia, Department of Lands, Land Recording Division. Bulletin 30, 1921; 24, 1923.  British Columbia, Office of the Provincial Secretary. The Revised Statutes of British Columbia. Ill, 1924.  Burns Lake Observer, 5 May 1927, June 1927.  Canada, Dominion Bureau of Statistics. Seventh Census of Canada, 1931, vol I. (1936), pp. 364-369.  Daily News (Prince Rupert), 27 May-16 June 1926, 22-25 November 1926.  New Westminster Columbian, 7 April 1927.  134  Provincial  Archives of British Columbia. Clippings, 1918-1930.  Department  of Education Newspaper  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Wiggs O'Neil, Sperry Cline, Gordon Robinson, and Stanley Rough, "Time and Place: Stories of Northern British Columbia," no date.  Putman, J.H., and Weir, G.M.. Survey of the School System. Victoria: Department of Education, 1925.  B. Manuscript Sources  British Columbia, Department of Education. Inspectors' Reports. 1920-1930.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Mildred McQuillan Diary. 1927.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Reports from the Teachers' Welfare Officer, Department of Education. 1928-1933.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. School District Information Forms for the Teachers'Bureau, Department of Education. 1923, 1928.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Arthur Shelford, "Reminiscences." 1968.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. A. George Shephard, "History of Schools in School District Number 54." 1971.  Pack, Miss Mary. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. Letter, April 1986.  Stromgren, Mrs. Sadie J.. Retired Schoolteacher, New Personal Letter, April 1986.  Personal  Westminster, British Columbia.  135  C. Oral Interviews  Embury, Mrs M.. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. Interview, 10 March 1986.  Gibbard, John. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. February 1986.  Interview, 24  Lawrie, Lexie. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. February 1986.  Interview, 24  Manning, Mrs. Margaret. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Interview, 12 April 1987.  Columbia.  Pack, Miss Mary. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. Interview, 25 March 1986.  Steele, Mrs. G.A.. Retired Schoolteacher, Vancouver, British Columbia. Interview, 11 April 1987, 13 November 1987.  II. Secondary Sources  A. Books  Adams, Joan, and Becky Thomas. Floating Schools and Frozen Inkwells: The One-Room Schools of British Columbia. Pendor Harbour: Harbour Publishing, 1985.  Andrews, Gerry. Metis Outpost: Memoirs of the First Schoolmaster at the Metis Settlement of Kelly Lake, B.C., 1923-1925. Victoria: Pencrest Publications, 1985.  136  Bourgon, Nan. Rubber Boots for Dancing: And Other Memories of Pioneer Life in the Bulkley Valley. Smithers: Tona and Janet Heatherington, 1979.  Cline, Sperry; Wiggs O'Neil, Mrs. E.N. Whitlow, and Stan Rough. Along the Totem Trail: Port Essington to Hazelton. Kitimat: Northern Sentinel Press, 1961.  Cochrane, Jean. The One-Room School in Canada. Toronto: Fitzhenry and Whiteside, 1981.  Gaffield, Chad. Language, Schooling, and Cultural Conflict: The Origins of the French-Language Controversy in Ontario. Kingston: McGill-Queen's University Press, 1987.  Gibson, Belle. Teacher Builder: The Life and Work of J.W. Gibson. Victoria: Morris Printing, 1961.  Hancock, Lynn. Vanderhoof: The Town that Wouldn't Wait. Vanderhoof: Nechako Valley Historical Society, 1979.  Hetherington, Tona, ed. Provincial Archives of British Columbia. "Bulkley Valley Stories: Collected from Old Timers Who Remember." N.pl.m.p., 1973.  Johnson, F. Henry. A History of Public Education in British Columbia. University of British Columbia Press, 1964.  Vancouver:  Jones, David C , Nancy M. Sheehan, and Robert M. Stamp, eds. Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West. Calgary: Detselig, 1979.  Kerby, N.J. One Hundred Years of History-Terrace B.C.. Museum Society, 1984.  Terrace: Terrace Regional  Large, R.G. Skeena: River of Destiny. Sidney, B.C.: Gray's Publishing, 1981.  Mould, Jack. Stumpfarms and Broadaxes.  Saanichton: Hancock House, 1976.  137  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Houston Centennial Committee, "Marks on the Forest Floor: A Story of Houston, B.C.." 1971.  Provincial Archives of British Columbia. Southside Centennial Committee, "The Story of a North-Central Settlement." (no date).  Sheehan, Nancy M., J.D. Wilson, and David C. Jones, eds. Schools in the West: Essays in Canadian Educational History. Calgary: Detselig, 1986.  Shervill, R.  Lynn. Smithers: From Smithers, 1981.  Swamp to Village.  Smithers: The Town of  Turkki, Pat. Burns Lake and District: A History Formal and Informal. Burns Lake: Burns Lake Historical Society, 1973.  Wilson, J. Donald, Robert M. Stamp, and Louis-Phillippe Audet, eds. Canadian Education: A History. Scarborough: Prentice-Hall, 1970.  Wilson, J. Donald, ed. A n Imperfect Past: Education and Society in Canadian History. Vancouver: Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, University of British Columbia, 1984.  Wilson, J.D., and D.C. Jones, eds. Schooling and Society in Twentieth Century British Columbia. Calgary: Detselig, 1980.  B. Articles  Abbott, John.  "Hostile Landscapes and the Spectre of Illiteracy: Devising Retrieval Systems for "Sequestered" Children in Northern Ontario, 1875-1930," in J. Donald Wilson, ed., An Imperfect Past: Education and Society in Canadian History (Vancouver: Centre for the Study of Curriculum and Instruction, University of British Columbia, 1984), pp. 181-194.  138  Appleton, John F. "Nechako Valley," Westward Ho! 79-82.  Magazine II, 6 (June 1908):  Black, Norman Fergus. "Rural School Problems," B.C. Teacher (June 1924): 225-227.  Danylewycz, Marta, and Alison Prentice. "Revising the History of Teachers: Canadian Perspective," Interchange 17, 2 (Summer 1986): 135-146.  Calam, John.  A  "Teaching the Teachers: Establishment and Early Years of the B.C. Provincial Normal Schools." B.C. Studies 61 (Spring 1984): 30-63.  Child, Alan H. "A Little Tempest: Public Reaction to the Formation of a Large Educational Unit in Peace River District of British Columbia," B.C. Studies 16 (Winter 1972-1973): 57-70.  Clement, W.J.  "Bulkley Valley," Westward Ho! Magazine II, 6 (June 1908): 75-78.  Fleming, Thomas. ""Our Boys in the Field": School Inspectors, Superintendents, and the Changing Character of School Leadership in British Columbia, in Nancy M. Sheehan, J. Donald Wilson, and David C. Jones, eds., Schools in the West: Essays in Canadian Educational History (Calgary: Detselig, 1986), pp. 285-303.  Harris, Cole. "Moving Amid the Mountains, 1870-1930," B.C. 1983): 17-23.  Studies 58 (Summer  . "Reflections of the Surface of a Pond: A Review Article," B.C. (Spring 1981): 86-93.  Studies 49  Jones, David C. "Creating Rural-Minded Teachers: The British Columbian Experience, 1914-1924," in David C. Jones, Nancy M. Sheehan, and Robert M. Stamp, eds., Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West (Calgary: Detselig, 1979), pp. 155-176.  "The Little Mound of Earth-The Fate of School Agriculture." The Curriculum in Canada in Historical Perspective, Yearbook of the Canadian Society for the Study of Education (1979): 85-94.  139  . "Schools and Social Disintegration in the Alberta D r y Belt of the Twenties," in Nancy M. Sheehan, J.D. Wilson, and David C. Jones, eds., Schools in the West: Essays in Canadian Educational History (Calgary: Detselig, 1986), pp. 265-283.  "The Strategy of Rural Enlightenment: Consolidation in Chilliwack, B.C., 1919-1920," in David C. Jones, Nancy M. Sheehan, and Robert M. Stamp, eds., Shaping the Schools of the Canadian West (Calgary: Detselig, 1979), pp. 136-151.  "We  Cannot Allow It To Be Run By Those Who Do Not Education-Agricultural Schooling in the Twenties," B.C. (Autumn 1978): 30-60.  Understand Studies 39  . "The Zeitgeist of Western Settlement: Education and the Myth of the Land," in J.D. Wilson and D.C. Jones, eds., Schooling and Society in Twentieth Century British Columbia (Calgary: Detselig, 1980), pp. 71-89.  Patterson, R.S. "Voices From the Past: The Personal and Professional Struggle of Rural School Teachers," in Nancy M. Sheehan, J.D. Wilson, and David C. Jones, eds., Schools in the West: Essays in Canadian Educational History (Calgary: Detselig, 1986), pp. 99-111.  Saunders, Ivan J. "A Survey of British Columbia School Architecture to 1930," Parks Canada Research Bulletin no. 225 (November 1984).  Wilson, J.D. "The Visions of Ordinary Participants: Teachers' Views of Rural Schooling in British Columbia in the 1920s," in Patricia E. Roy, ed., A History of British Columbia: Selected Readings (Toronto: Clark Pitman, forthcoming).  Wood, Anne B. "Hegelian Resolutions in the New Education Movement: The 1925 Putman-Weir Report," Dalhousie Review 62, no. 2 (summer 1982): 254-277.  140  C. Theses  Jones, David C. "Agriculture, The Land, and Education: British Columbia, 1914-1929." Ed. D. thesis, University of British Columbia, 1978.  


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