Michelle Ann Kratts

Lewiston’s First School-House

In Lewiston, Lewiston Public Library, School Days on August 9, 2013 at 7:09 pm

It is believed that the first school-house in Niagara County opened in Lewiston in 1806. A Scotsman, by the name of Watson, who had previously served in the British Army, taught school in an old log house that was also partially inhabited by a family. By 1807, Jonas Harrison took over as school master. He was also Lewiston’s first lawyer.

Unfortunately as the War of 1812 swept through Niagara, leaving much of Lewiston scorched, many of the citizens fled the scene. As they began to return and rebuild, a new school-house was erected near present day Center Street.  School District No. 1, town of Cambria, was formed in 1816.  On February 27, 1818, the Town of Lewiston separated from Cambria and became known as Lewiston.  It was decided at a meeting held at the infamous, Hustler’s Tavern, that the site of the stone building already “begun and intended for a school house…shall be and remain the site of the school house for District No. 1 in the Town of Lewiston.”

Some interesting facts about the school:

  • In 1820 it was voted to pay the teacher $16 per month and have him “board with each family in proportion to every scholar each individual family sent to school.”
  •  In 1824 it was voted to have two teachers; one man and a woman named, Miss Brown.
  • In 1827, the number of children of school age, 5-15 years, was 142 and the number in school was 95.
  • School was in session 12 months per year
  • School funds raised by tuition, taxation and an annual income from the ferry that worked between Lewiston and Queenston, Ontario
Lewiston's Old Brick School

Lewiston’s Old Brick School…As you can see from the newspaper photograph the old cemetery can be seen in the background.

The Lewiston Public Library has in its collection transcribed records of the original School Fund ledgers dating back to April 16, 1816.  The library also houses the original “Catalogue of Books.”  Please click on the link below to view the Catalogue of Books, 1874.

Catalogue of Books

 

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