Tin Cap School

(Sectional School #9)

A Brief History of the old Tincap school its’ teachers and students.

When the first frame school was erected around 1802 a shinny cap of tin was set on the cupola. It could be seen for miles, particularly on sunny days.

The school stood near the intersection of Hwy no. 29 and Kilkenny Road on the south sidde of Kilkenny Road. Col. David Breakinridge, later known as the “Duke of Leeds” or “Squire Breakinridge” was given a crown grant at Tincap in 1802 and the school was later built on a lot partitioned from this grant.

The first stone school was built near the Perth Road because of its accessibility to the road. In 1855 the first structure was demolished and replaced by a second school . The old tin cap was retrieved from the first school and placed atop the cupola of the second structure.

In 1894 this second school burned and was replaced with a new frame building and the tin cap was placed atop of this new school.

Early teachers at the original school were Jonathon Lyman and Miss Sarah Booth.

One of the first teachers at the second school was Mr. Bell, then Miss Jennie Smith, of Fairfield, who taught for several years. Later Mr. Morrison, who was described as having one arm, yet quite capable of wielding an oak rod with which he dealt out school justice to the unruly.

Other teachers were Mrs. Shepherd, Mrs. Fred Fulford and Miss Fannie Connor. Then Rev. W.A. McKenzie who was pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Brockville for many years, taught at Tincap. He lived in Morristown, N.Y. and commuted daily by boat and foot to reach the school. After rowing across the St. Lawrence he would walk through Brockville and up the Perth Road five miles to reach the school. History doesn’t record what time he had to get up in order to maake the journey on time to open the school. In winter he is reported to walk across the ice to make this trip.

Then Miss Anna Hutcheson of Brockville, Mr. James D. Truesdell and then Miss Martha Maley, who later married Mr. Truesdell. Miss Eliza Fair, Miss Chipman Miss Moore. Later Mrs.J.D.Truesdell again taught at the school and was the teacher when the school burned around 1894.

During this time classes were held in the stone house owned by Mr. M. O’Donnell until the new frame building was ready for classes.

The new frame school was equipped with a Tin Cap and a bell to keep the community linked to the original name. The first teacher in the new school was Miss Susie Hanna of Lyn and some of the pupils then attending were: Newton, Vida and Laura Young; Edward, William and John O’Donnell; Kitty, Edward and Elva Charlton; Minnie Warren, Katie Rogers, Gertrude and Gordon Thompson, Mary Bolger, Edwin Parker; Frank, Eva and Fannie Darling, and Flora Johnston. School records state that when this new frame school was being built, a carpender named Downey was killed in a fall from the roof.

Afterwards Mr. Albert Baker taught for one term. Then Miss Mabel Grant taught for five years. Among others who taught later were: Lena Beale, Rose Bresie, Stella Beale, Margaret Carr, Anna Anglin, Winnie Wilson, Anna Elliott, Violet Elliott, Vera Armstrong, Lela Wilson, Katherine Heffernan, Margaret Clow, Laura Dudley, Hazel Plunkett and Florence Ware.

School Superintendents Report (Ontario Archives)

Shows the following information, which in some cases contradicts what we have already researched, and contradicts other filed School Superintendents Reports:

1850: Stone building, constructed in 1844, condition: Good

1854: Frame building first opened in 1800


1905- earliest photo of the old frame school (photo #1)

Front Row: Wilbert Lang, Mary Davidson, Elva Charlton, Emma Clow; Clemma Clow

Back Row: James Thompson, Allen Davidson, Eva Jenton, (in door) Lottie Young and Margaret Carr (Teacher)

Side of Bldg: Jessie Davidson and Eva Davidson (twins)


1920 Tincap School Fall Fair (photo #2)


1925c Winter at the school (photo #3)


1936/37- Front Row: Russel brown, Harold Husdon, Gladys Simpson, Betty Simpson, Marion Hudson, Sheila Simpson, Charles Brown, Jackie Hudson, Ethel Hudson
Middle Row: Shirley Simpson, Waldo Gilroy, Okel Bowen, Wilma Simpson, Kathleen Tutak, Marie Rowsome, Jack Locke, Philip Simpson, Geraald Briggs.
Back Row: Alfred Clements, Douglas Simpson, Florence Ware (Teacher), Pearl Church. (photo #4)


1930c (photo #5)


1934 – Front Row: Ethel Hudson, Marie Rowsome, Edna Findon, Welma Simpson, Shirley Simpson, Marion Hudson
Middle Row: Albert Clements, Gerald Briggs, Pearl Church, John Findon, Hazel Hudson, Archie Worden, Alfred Clements
Back Row: Elsie Simpson, Fern Quinn, Greta Locke, Beatrice Church (photo #6)


1940c (photo #7)


1945 (photo #8)


1948, June- Lions Club Music Festival (photo #9)


1950 – Front Row: Gary MacDonald, Billy Hudson, unk, John Tristram, Barry Moffat, Alva Sheffield, Unk, Wilhemina TeKemp, Lynn MacDonald
Middle Row: Dinie TeKamp, Aleatha Burns, Beverly Tristram, Joan Loche, Lillan Kalenck, Unk Shipman, Marilyn Halfpenny, Rhena Sheffield
Back Row: Langford Mattice, Billy Halfpenny, Doug Johnson, Dennis Cooke, Ronnie White, Marilyn Brown, Grace Christie, Dorothy Wykes (Teacher), Barbara Spicer, Dorothy Kelly, Beatrice DeBruge, Verna DeBruge, Grace Christie, Shirley Conthe (photo #10)


1953 -(photo #11)


1955 – School Choir –Front Row: Angelina Stevens, Linda Simpson, Shirley Serson, Linda Ladd, Betty/Bobby Marginson; Ron Valcour, Bruce Gaskell
Middle Row: Evertt Adamson, Billy Davison, Betty Simpson, David Serson, Geraldine Shearer, Jo Ann Chrechton, Carol Ann Jones, Linda Massey
Back Row: Malcom Cambell, Marilyn York, Jim Carr, Georgina Edgeley, Doris Giffin, Ellery Edgeley (photo #12)


1956 – (photo #13)


1956 teacher Mary Munro (photo #14)


Certificate of Honor to Haveleigh MacNaamara (photo #15)


The Old Frame Tincap School (photo #16)


The old frame Tincap School (photo #17)


The Old Frame Tincap School (photo #18)




7 thoughts on “Tincap – A One Room School House in Elizabethtown

  1. I think there may be a year incorrect on one of the school photos. My Mom (Marie Rowsome) is pictured in the 1928 photo. In 1928 she would have only been 2 years old. I wouldn’t have noticed but Mom, who is 92 now, made me aware of it. Other than that, very nice site.

    • Hi thanks for this information. Can you give me the year in which you think the photo was taken and I can change it on the website.

      • Not really sure at the moment. I know she started school at age 6, which would be 1932. There’s another image with her from 1934 on the site.

        • If you can give me the photo number and an approximate date I will change the information on the website. Also does your mother have any photos or stories of the school that we could add to this history ?, Thanks, John

          • Picture is #4. I don’t live the in the area but I talked to Mom tonight. The teacher in the pic is Florence Ware. She had her as a teacher for grades 7/8. Mom was 11 in grade 8, she started high school at 12. So from that, I’d say the picture is either 1936 or 37, since she was born in ’26. I asked her if it was ok to call to see if she had any stories, and it’s no problem. Her # is 342-0125, name is Marie Moorhouse. Not sure if she’ll answer, we tell her not to answer any #’s she doesn’t know. She has an answering service but doesn’t always check it without being reminded. If you want to set up a time to call, let me know and I’ll tell her when to expect it. Or if she had a contact name/number she could call contact you.

          • Good morning Dale,

            It might be easiest if your mother called me. I am available almost all weekdays around 11am and can be reached at my home at 613-342-0722. I live just west of Brockville on the Lyn Road. Would you be any relation to a William Arthur Moorhouse (b1910 in Merrickville) who married a Vera Baker he passed away in 2004. They had 3 children Donald, Helen and Allan. He was an uncle of my wife, just curious.


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