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To write the Educational History of the County would require far more space than can be allowed for the purpose. The names of the old school-masters who formed the minds of the youth sixty years ago will be found in the sketches of the townships. It will be observed that the Grammar School of the Western or London District was placed near Vittoria, and was taught by Judge Mitchell, Rev. Egerton Ryerson, Rev. Eli Chadwick, and others, at an early day. Subsequently the County Grammar School was removed to Simcoe, and for a long time was taught by Rev. J. Evans. A large number of his pupils has since come to fill important positions. A great many persons too will remember with gratitude the skilful teaching of Rev. J. Mulholland, who for fourteen years conducted the Simcoe High School. He was succeeded by J. J. Wadsworth, M.A., who was appointed Public School Inspector of Norfolk in 1871. The next Principal was Mr. Dion C. Sullivan, LL.B., followed by the present Master, Rev. Geo. Grant, B.A.

At present there are two other High School in the County, one at Port Dover, taught for many years by James Lumsden, M.A., the other at Port Rowan, now in a prosperous condition under Mr. A. Carlyle, M.A.

Probably no names will be remembered more pleasantly than those of James Covernton, Esq., Rev. Wm. Craigie, John A. Backhouse, Dr. Phelan, Geo. Frost, Charles Harris, Elders VanLoon and Slaght, D. W. Freeman and D. C. Brady, who had for many years charge of the Public Schools of this County, as Local Superintendents, and did much valuable work in the cause of education in their respective townships. Mr. James Covernton, who is now over seventy years of age, is still a hard working friend of the schools, doing his duty faithfully on the Board of Examiners for the County.

R. T. Livingstone, Esq. B.A., Barrister, etc. another member of the Board, brings the ripest scholarship, combined with natural talents of the first order, to the support of educational interest. Mr. Livingstone was for nine years a High School Master, and therefore possesses a practical knowledge of teachers and teaching which is of great service to the Board. The same may be said of Mr. Augustine James Donly who has a teaching experience of about seventeen years, and who does service to the cause with great ability, industry and earnestness.

The total number of Public Schools in the County is now 163, exclusive of Simcoe. Many of them are doing work which will compare favorably with that of any in the Province. The total number of children in attendance in 1876 was about 10,000.

Written examinations form now a very prominent feature in the educational machinery of the County. During the present summer (1877) there have been held seven written Examinations of a Provincial character -- namely, the three Entrance Examinations at the three High Schools. Intermediate Examinations at Port Rowan and Simcoe -- and the Examination for second and third class teachers.

The result is that a very strong stimulus -- stronger than any hitherto known -- has been applied to both teachers and pupils to do school work in the soundest and most thorough style of which it is capable -- the test not being local, but Provincial -- and the verdict that of tried and impartial judges.

The youth of the County are awakening to the necessity of doing their work in a manner which will bear the scrutiny of the most advanced educationists of the country. At the Entrance Examination there were seventy-four candidates, at the Intermediate about 12; at the Second Class Examinations 10; at the Third Class 91; the majority being the sons and daughters of farmers.

From page 55 of the Mika re-print of 1877 Illustrated Historical Atlas of Norfolk County
Copyright 1997-2012 John Cardiff and Norfolk Historical Society

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