Movers and Quakers – West Lake Boarding School

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The West Lake Quakers – 1840

Private school was a popular choice in the mid-19th century, many believing that the quality of public education could be poor. After a donation of £1000 sterling was made to The Society of Friends, a school would be built on Old Danforth Road and opened in 1841.

Through the Society of Friends’ founder George Fox’s preaching to magistrates to “tremble at the word of The Lord.”, the group would become known as the Quakers. The Friends would come to New England in the early 18th century, and would reach the Bay of Quinte and Niagara Peninsula by 1754. By the 1800s, the Quakers would establish meeting houses in Wellington, Fish Lake, Ameliasburgh, and Bloomfield.

West Lake Boarding School’s first two teachers were Mary V. Loag and Joseph H. Haines, the former responsible for the female department, and the latter for the male. Loag would receive a salary of £50 per annum, and Haines would receive £100 per annum.

In the year 1854, West Lake Boarding School would house 110 boarders, and receive 12 day students. A student would likely attend for two years in their teens, becoming educated in religion, mathematics, literature, farming and domestic skills.

The school’s decline would be a result of financial difficulties, competing quaker schools, and a rise in the quality of Egerton Ryerson’s public schools. The school would be sold in 1856, and today only the brick building which contained the girls’ quarters and dining room remains.

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Above: Segments from news concerning the school.

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A New Visitor

The Victoria Schoolhouse has a new family visiting this year.  A duck, and her eggs, have camped outside our 1904 schoolhouse and interpretive centre.  We’re assuming they want to be first in line when we open for the season.  If you’re in the Ameliasburgh area, please be careful around our family.  We want to ensure they’re happy and healthy.

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