MARY'S GENEALOGY TREASURES
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Memories of McMahon School

Water Works Wonders
A History of the White, Wilson, McMahon,
River Junction School Districts Page 189 - 190
by Harry Patching

I'm sending along a few notes of what I remember of McMahon School in its early days. I may not be able to add anything you don't already have, and some of these points may be a little too trivial, but you will use your own judgment of what you put in your write up.

School began in Sept. 1927 but as there was no school building on the site, it was held upstairs in the Patching house. Charles Patching constructed a table and benches plus whatever else was needed for school classes (Grades I to 10)

Later into the fall a building was moved on to a three acre site on the S.E. of 15-7-19. The land was I believe donated by Mart McMahon but I don't know for sure where the building came from - probably a Hutterite Colony. Not too long after the building was used the upper west windows were covered up so that it was easier to see the blackboard on the west wall. Heat was provided by a pot bellied stove at the back of the room. If it was not warm enough for classes first thing in the morning, the students would run in a circle around the room to warm up.

The first school board I believe was C. Patching, W. Robinson, and probably Harold Hudson. First families were Jorgensons, Patchings, Wocknitz, and Robinsons. A year or so later they were joined by Hydechuks and M. Hudsons, and Robinsons left and were replaced by McMahons. (Not sure of year). First teachers at the school in order - I year each - Helen James, Margary Rossiter, Dorothy Glasser, Dorothy Robertson. They were single and I believe at their first school. Later Muriel Toppley.

All boarded with a family near by except for Toppley who lived at the Wocknitz place after they moved out to Creston.

Later families to attend were Smiths, and G. Hickey.

The men of the district built a school barn but those that rode horses to school usually pastured their horses in the school yard.

A well was dug inside the school yard. Testing was done with extensions on a post hole auger. Water was found and a well dug by hand and then a wood crib put in. This was not too far from a slough just north of the school yard. There was a problem of ants in the water for a time.

About 1935 or so a basement was dug under the school building so that a furnace could be put there, giving better heat.

The slough outside of the grounds provided some of the recreation. In the summer there was a raft made out of old fence posts which contributed to lots of wet clothes as we fell off and there was a problem too of some getting stranded on the rock island in the centre about bell time. In the winter and spring we often skated there, sometimes falling through the thin ice into shallow water. We could change our skates fast even able to get a skate during a 15 minute recess.

An experience, not easy to forget was the visit or visits of the school inspector. Mr. Morgan would come around once in a while. It was a terrifying experience, even to the students as well as the young teacher.

The most sought after job of janitor was held by one of the older boys, one year at a time. He swept the floors and looked after the stove. Pay was $4.00 a month in the warmer months and $8.00 in the winter.

Games played - - Run sheep run; Dare base; Pump up pullaway, Marbles, Soft ball, etc.

Although the early teachers were courted in the district by local farmers, none married in the district.

Of the early students most went on to get their grades I I and 12 and most went on to get post high school educations.

Can't think of much also of interest at the time, or of anything else that we think should be made public.

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