“A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962–2017” Excerpt

John Grant Oldham Consolidated School history

Here’s a little of what you’ll find in A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962-2017 by John N. Grant.

The Oakfield School District was named in honour of the estate and community established by Major (later Lieutenant-General) John Wimburn Laurie (1835-1912). Laurie arrived in Nova Scotia in 1861, and he married Francis Robie Collins at St. Paul’s Church in Halifax in 1863. Her father, Enos Collins (1774-1871), was an entrepreneurial businessman who accumulated one of the greatest fortunes in British North America, and her mother, Margaret Haliburton Collins, was a member of the provincial gentry, a descendent of both Sir Breton Haliburton, Chief Justice of Nova Scotia, and Charles Inglis, the first Lord Bishop of the province.3 Collins apparently hoped the young couple would settle near Windsor where he owned land, but they set their hearts on Grand Lake. In 1865, Laurie purchased 500 acres of land there and called the estate ‘Oakfield’. One of his descendants later recorded that it “was a shock to their many friends in society when Col. and Mrs. Laurie closed their house on Morris Street [Halifax] and moved 25 miles away to the house they were building in the woods on the shores of Grand Lake.”4 The closest settlement was Fletcher’s Bridge, which Laurie eventually renamed Wellington in honour of the great British war hero and political leader, Arthur Wellesley, (1769-1852), the Duke of Wellington.

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The Anniversary of the Halifax Explosion

Today at 9:05 am, we mark the 104th anniversary of the Halifax Explosion, the largest man-made explosion at the time. More than 2,000 individuals lost their life and thousands more were injured.

The Nova Scotia Archives lists the names of 1783 known victims. The list includes the name, place, age and date of death, which for most is December 6, 1917.

The first on the list is Lottie Aarestrup of 31 Veith Street, Halifax. She was 40 years old. Next is Foster William Aarestrup, age 8, of the same address. This was probably her son.

Anyone researching this event or family that may have been involved will find this list a great place to start. To dig further into this tragedy, visit the Nova Scotia Genealogy website where birth, marriage and death records are available.

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The Halifax Explosion: 104 years ago

The Coldest December

On December 6th, 104 years will have passed since that devastating day on a cool fall morning in Halifax Harbour when two ships collided, causing the largest man-made explosion up to that time. The official death toll reached almost 2,000 but in the chaos, fires and resulting tsunami that washed victims out to sea, the true death toll will forever remain unknown. Some suggest it was closer to 3,000.

An additional 9,000 were injured or blinded, and more than 25,000 people were left homeless.

To remember the victims of the disaster on it’s one hundredth anniversary in 2017, Quarter Castle Publishing released The Coldest December, a collection of short stories written by Nova Scotia authors. The stories revolve around the explosion and the affect it had on those involved.

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“Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School Diary 1892-1893”

Melanie Ballard and John N. Grant released their book Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School Diary 1892-1893 earlier this spring. Copies are available through John N. Grant (contact him through email: jgrant@stfx.ca) and the Little White Schoolhouse Museum in Truro, Nova Scotia. Contact the museum through their contact page. While the book has yet to be added to their website, they have copies on hand to be purchased in person or through the mail.

Learn more about the book on our website here: Mary Kaulbach’s Normal School Diary 1892 – 1893.

Sneak Peak at Upcoming Book about Mary Kaulbach at Normal School

Historians Melanie Ballard and John N. Grant are set to release a wonderful piece of Nova Scotia history involving one student’s experience at the Normal School located in Truro, Nova Scotia. Over the past several years, they’ve been compiling material for the book, which includes the diary of Mary Kaulbach, a brief history of Mary’s life, images related to the subject and details to elaborate on the people, places and events mentioned in the diary.

Who was Mary Kaulbach?

Mary Kaulbach was one of nine children born to Elizabeth and Francis ‘Frank’ Kaulbach. She was born May 22, 1874 on the family farm at Conquerall Mills, Lunenburg County, Nova Scotia.

Mary’s birth record is found on the Nova Scotia Genealogy website under the following file name: Mary Kaulback [sic] birth Conquerall, Lunenburg County in 1874; Birth Registration: Year: 1874 book: 1817 page: 298 number: 626.

The record states Mary was born July 1874. No exact date appears to have been recorded unless it has faded over time. Her father, Frank, was a farmer who was born and was living at Conquerall. Her mother was Elizabeth (nee Fancy). Mary’s birth was registered at Bridgewater with the clerk J. Whitford. The informant was Reverend W. E. Gelling, which may indicate why the birth date was recorded incorrectly as he was a travelling clergyman, who recorded several births from his visits around the county.

Mary attended Normal School from fall of 1892 until June 1893.

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Schooling in Guysborough County by John N. Grant

John N. Grant, author of A History of Oldfield Consolidated School 1962 – 2017, has a new book for history enthusiasts. In late August, he released Schooling in Guysborough County 1735-2016A Case Study of Public Education in Rural Nova Scotia.

Description

The history of schooling reflects the impact of economic, political, military and other social forces on the local community. The history of schooling in Guysborough  County covers almost 300 years. In 1735, there was one school in the County; in 1959, there were almost one hundred; in 2018, there were three. This is the story of what happened in between.

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