Wilderman School No. 1561

1934 - Wilderman School: Front Helene Bertrand, Dorothy Percifield, Jesse Percifield, Ruby Baldwin, Lucille Russell. Row 2: D. Baldwin, Giles Wilderman, Ron Wilderman, Richard Percifield, Billie Bertrand. Back: Sidney Baldwin, Jack Mitton, Ray Baldwin.

Wilderman School was built in 1907 by Sam Brown. For a short time he had help from Mr. Hansen. Located on Isaac land section 4, it was a large white, square, wooden frame building, with windows on both east and west sides, an open porch leading into a cloak room and behind that a coal shed. Inside the school room in the southwest corner was a large Waterbury stove. It was surrounded by a large tin jacket that kept the ceiling hot and the floor cold. Like a fireplace, you roasted on the near side and froze on the other. Sam Brown later became a Member of the Legislative Assembly (M.L.A.), representing his area in the Alberta Legislature. The school was named after the Wilderman family, local farmers in the area.

The school district was established on October 11, 1906. The school was built on SW 4-19-26-W4. Directions from Vulcan – North 12 miles on Highway 23, turn west at Highway 23/24/542 junction (Corner Store) for 13 miles. Latitude 50.5724, Longitude 113.5594.

The first trustees were Fred Bertrand, W. H. Wilderman and Mr. Bill Twiss. The last trustees were Lillian Wilderman, Lu Russell, and Bill Auld.

School was held in the summer and fall with time out for seeding and harvest. School was closed during bitterly cold weather because pupils and their teachers travelled by horse and buggy or by horseback for long distances. The Aulds drove a mule team.

1908 – Miss Mary McLeod (Mollie) boarded at Wildermans and taught September to December. She can remember only Cora and Bud Wilderman’s names. She married Harry Streeter of Mazeppa and now resides in Calgary.

1910 – two pupils were George and Mae Chaffin. Mae and George only had one small pinto pony between them, so the last one ready for school would ride to the corner of Archie Howe’s farm, tie the pony up and walk the remaining mile. The one who had left the house first, walked the first mile then got on the pony and rode the rest of the way to school.

1913- Belle Curley taught July, August and September and boarded at Grandma Bateman’s. She recalls Bob Bateman, Mary, Bill and Ed Auld as pupils. She married Cal Murdock and now lives in High River.

1914 – Vira Towns received a Certificate of Merit.

1915 – Miss Duteau married Sam Tretault and now resides in Calgary. She boarded with W. H. Wilderman and had Jamie and Sam Brown; Bob, Vella and Glen Bateman; Bill, Ed and Mary Auld, Lester Letts and Wezats.

1917 – Miss Ruth Bowlus finished out a term for another teacher and she now resides in High River.

1917 – Hazel Mitton boarded at George Bateman’s and taught July to December, two weeks closure for harvest in September, as well as December 20 due to bitterly cold weather. Her pupils were Batemans, Aulds and Browns.

The school remained closed until September 1931 when a new crop of youngsters forced the reopening of the school.

1931-34 – Miss Rosie Korczynski started school with four pupils, Dorothy and Richard Percifield, Lucille Russell and Giles Wilderman increased by Bill Bertrand, Jack Mitton, four children of the Baldwin family, Ronnie Wilderman, Jessie Percifield, Vivian Warner and Mabel Hlookoff and sister. Rose married Bill Auld and boarded at Homer Wilderman’s.

1934 to 1939 – Nancy Hay from Vulcan boarded at Homer Wilderman’s and taught grades one to eight. Outstanding events during these years were our Christmas concerts and the winning of drama events in Musical Festivals. Mr. Jack Pickersgill instilled the love of music in pupils of Wilderman, Blackie and Brant.

1940 – Miss Edna Gillanders had the largest enrollment and taught grades one to nine inclusive. All 7 of her grade 9 students passed. During this year, we built our own tennis court and hockey rink. Small trenches were dug and filled with gravel to mark the tennis court boundaries, our net was chicken wire. To flood our rink, barrels of water were hauled on a stone boat by Lu and Homer. We had a three day holiday when someone raised the puck and hit the goalie, Miss Gillanders, on the shin and put her in the hospital. She married Alan Macdonald of Okotoks.

Maurice Lefreniere was raised to speak only the French language, so he had to learn English at school.

Wilderman School was closed in 1939 or 1940 . It was moved into Blackie, where it served for many years as the teacherage. .

Family names of students attending: Auld, Bateman, Brown, Chaffin, Letts, Miles, Wilderman, Baldwin, Bertrand, Elliott, Dougherty, Gilbert, Hlookoff, LaFreniere, Milton, Percifield, Warner

Teachers were: Mary (McLeod) Streeter, Ruth Bowlus, Hazel (Mitton) Thomson, Belle Curley, Vera Towns, Miss Duteau, Rose (Korczynski) Auld, Nancy (Hay) Ainscough, Edna (Gillanders) MacDonald, John Pickersgill.

Trustees were: Dave Bertrand, W. Twiss, Wm. H. Wilderman, Bill Auld, Luther Russell, Lillian (Evans) Wilderman.

More information about Wilderman School may be found in “Fencelines and Furrows – a history of Old Brant, Frankburg, Herronton, Farrow, Mazeppa and Blackie” at the Vulcan and District Archives and from school directories (maps and driving directions) which are available at the Vulcan & District Museum.

Post a Comment

You must be logged in to post a comment.