BARICH SCHOOL DISTRICT 2716
SW corner and NW 1/4 of Sec 31 T 15 R 9 W3
Near Grid Road 612 (2.9 km E)
MEADOW PRAIRIE SCHOOL DISTRICT 2716
SW 6 16 9 W3
Near Grid Road 612 (3.0 km ESE)
Township Road 160 Range Road 3100
Latitude & Longitude 50.313636 -107.236379
Near Morse, SK
Rural Municipality Lawtonia 135
Province of Saskatchewan, Canada
Photos of School District 2716
BARICH SD 2716 1910-1927 SW 1/4 Sec 31 T15 R 9 W 3rd
MEADOW PRAIRIE SD 2716 1927-1953 SW 1/4 Sec 6 T 16 R 9 W 3rd
by Merle Fonger Harrison
"The formation of Barich S.D. No. 2716 were made by Lewis L Rinde and Steve Barich, Oscar Miller who form themselves into a committee of 3 and form the district and the boundary was drawn and included the following sections in
T15 R 9 Sec 28-29-30-31-32-33 [Lawtonia] T15 R10 Sec 25-26-35-36 & NW 1/4 24 [Coulee] T 16 R 9 Sec 4-5-6-7-8-9 [Morse] T16 R 10 Sec 1-2-11-12 [Excelsior] west of the 3rd M." So read the minutes in the fall of 1910.
Three pioneers joined together in one common cause. In 1909, Lewis & Georgina (Beadle) Rinde arrived with their small family to this district. Lewis Rinde was the first secretary of the school district. They operated the mail service, known as the Rinde Post Office. Because the trail to it was an isolated one, along the western boundary of the RM of Lawtonia, it was dubbed "The Hungry Run" by couriers of the day. The Rinde family left the area around 1920. Arriving in 1908, Stephen Barich was a bachelor, who resided across the road from the site the school would be built on. Little is told about him, except he had built a big barn, and that during World War I "he went down with his ship" to an early death. Although no mention is made of how the name was selected, it is obvious that it was named Barich for him. Oscar Miller, as a young widower with seven children, trucked with team and horses from North Dakota in 1910 after the death of his wife Rosa. He lived until 1941 in this school district. These three homesteaders must have had great visions indeed for their chosen homes in a new land!
Recorded during the next two years are the events of electing trustees, setting a levy, borrowing funds, and securing land, which in April, 1911, read "... that Richard Donnelly agree to donate free of charge for School ground one (1) acre on the SW corner and NW 1/4 of Sec 31 T 15 R 9...". Expenditures were duly noted, from the buildings to curtains, and authorizing the purchase of "... 1 dust pan, 1 wash basin, soap & towels, 1 looking glass, comb, 1/2 doz. scissors, sewing cards ..." and fixing salaries. And when all of these details were taken care of, the first teacher was hired in June of 1912. One can hear the voices of children as they cross the prairie school yard to the resounding call of the hand held bell!
An excerpt from the 1913 minutes reads "...when dances are held in the school house, that whoever get order on permit to have a dance must have a written order from 2 of the trustees before the key can be obtained..." Providing an education then, as now, was costly and all meetings held discussions of levy (8 1/2 cents per acre), whether to dig a well, line the barn, or build a fence, but being patriotic, they bought a flag - the Union Jack - and pole. A fire guard was ploughed around the school house. In 1914, some concern about closing the school was expressed. By 1917 the levy was 10 cents an acre, and moving the school was under discussion: a motion to move was defeated: "...20 against and 7 in favor..." But by 1921, a delegate was elected as part of the procedure as this was now a matter in the School Act.
The name was changed from Barich to Meadow Prairie and filed with the Gazette in 1923. The process of relocating the school to the centre of the district was voted on in February, 1926 and the final vote was to build a new school. It seems that there were many stormy sessions preceding this change. In October, 1926, A.R. Fonger and A. Milne "... to go to Regina on behalf of the school board and interview the Dept. of Education in regard to injunction served on the school board ... take all necessary books and papers ... for consultation..." It was a full year later when Richard Donnelly's bid to purchase the existing school was accepted and the agreement of contract for the new school site ( also from Richard Donnelly) was made, which was SE corner of SW1/4 Sec 6 T16 R9 W3. Difficulties must have been resolved as the trustees met on May 30 and June 11, 1927 to "...accept the tender of Frank Thomson on the new school to be completed August 10th 1927 ... $4250.00 ... with the following extras: metal ceiling, double flue for furnace, steel coal shute, craftsman doors, slate black board and 25' steel flag pole..." There was also to be hardwood floors and the possibility of becoming a two room school in the future. All former pupils agree that this was a very fancy school: " ... there were even indoor bathrooms," as one said, "something the old school sure didn't have!"
Subsequently "...contract for moving school barn to new site let to John Jeffries Sr for $40.00..." and the "...two school closets be sold for $10.00 to MacLeod Bros..."
A Historical Set of McConnell Maps No. 16 for $49.50 was ordered, probably an expensive purchase considered essential to education, as was the "minimum science equipment" bought later. In 1930, lightning rods were added. The school district received money by levy from the municipalities of Lawtonia, Morse, Excelsior and Coulee, which in 1934 was 6 mills. The subject of finance was apparently a continual concern, and the minutes recorded payments on debentures, for operational items such as coal and school supplies as well as oft complained about "high" salaries, which included janitorial duties; borrowing money: "...$120.00 dated November 20, 1934 was borrowed from Dept. of Education at 6% to pay a salary..." Many decisions!
Although the minutes of the first 25 years record in detail the nominations of trustees, financial concerns, and construction and maintenance of buildings, there is the occasional mention of discipline problems by teachers, supplying noon lunches, the annual Christmas tree, charging for the use of the school for dances, "...that the barn was not to be played in..." and various illness and adversity of the small country schools. One can read between the lines and vividly see those trustees serious in discussion either at the school or someone's kitchen table, probably with the odd clenched fist. Memories are told by Rita Jeffrey Redpath, who started grade one at Barich, and later to Meadow Prairie to complete all of her ten grades. She says "... she walked to school with the teacher, who often boarded at their house." Later on, walking with her family, she says "... it was nice taking different trails to school - coulees, hills, a creek in spring after snow and rain..." Her mother "...played the organ and spent may hours chording for the violin players..." and "...one teacher taught Scottish and Irish dances..." Esther Andres Gerl remembers "... always a picnic at the end of the school year, which all the people of the district came to. There were ball games and horseshoes, races for the younger ones, ice cream and cookies usually rounded out the day..." Bill Schultz tells of "...traveling by horse & buggy, or walk - barefoot, I might add - to dances, picnics and ball games with neighboring schools ..." School days, now recalled with nostalgia by former pupils, mention the Christmas concert with the one tree in the district which was often sold after the program; the country dances and box socials where children were put to sleep until it was time to hook up the horses to the sleigh to go home; crepe paper decorations; playing games in the basement; the dark coal bin behind the big furnace; spending the night in the school, waiting out a storm ... no one got any sleep and were very hungry by morning; eating lunches in the barn; the ritualistic raising, saluting and lowering the flag, along with God Save the King and the Lord's Prayer; the swings, ball games, picnics, church services, field days; the school ball teams; the boys catching gophers; the time a skunk wandered into the basement giving up a day of school; and lots of pranks, as noted by some students: "troublemakers" as they called themselves. The school yard was bordered on two sides by an exceptionally fine grove of trees, which had likely been hand watered with care to grow on this barren landscape. So the pupils would "walk in the forest" no doubt with a great deal of imagination and tomfoolery!
After the depression years and the war, farmers moved to town or to other provinces, former students relocated in the cities, the community dwindled in school population, so that by 1950, because most of the pupils were from the east side of the district, a small teacherage was located on the Abe Andres farm yard to accommodate them. Teachers were in short supply so "study supervisors" were employed. The Meadow Prairie school officially closed with the advent of buses in 1953, a decision that must have been heart breaking for those pioneers who had built up the district and had collectively arranged basic education for four decades. The land that both schools were located on reverted to Richard Donnelly, owned and operated today by his son, Tom. The lumber from the first school was used in 1927 to construct the house that was their family home, and still stands as a storage building in 2000. The school house was moved to Glen Kerr to continue as a school, then later was bought by the Legion, and is still being used as a community centre.
It is white now instead of yellow but it still looks the same. And when any of us who tread those hallowed steps happen to drive by, we see it in our memory's eye as it was - a very fancy school!
It seems that school terms did not run consistently, sometimes for only part of a year or a half a year, and the minutes do not record the dates and length of time that a teacher stayed. Accuracy to date & name matches may not be exact as the teacher list is a combination from minutes, from the old registers that were available and from the memory of several pupils who attended.
RESIDENTS & PUPILS
Barich/Meadow Prairie was located at the corner of four municipalities, so for historical purposes, all of the families listed here were part of the school district. Names are taken from old maps, minutes, and memory of descendants. They are listed in alphabetical order, but divided into two eras as much as can be can be determined.
Meadow Prairie School c1928
Barich School c1920 gathering
Meadow Prairie School
trees were planted in 1927
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