It has been stated that Everett Miller was the first school teacher in Rolla. True, but he did this on his own, unofficially. The first three teachers sent in August 1915 by the Department of Education were Mr. Cameron for Rolla, Miss Annie Ligertwood for Saskatoon Creek and Miss Winnifred Fairman for Dawson Creek. I have a snapshot with myself standing between Mr. Cameron and Miss Fairman in the Harper yard. Miss Ligertwood took the picture. The statement was made too, that Mrs. Clare Clark, sister of the Bradens, was the first qualified teacher in the Rolla School. She was second, following Mr. Cameron. He did not teach there very long before he enlisted in the army and was killed in the First Great War.
Miss Fairman did not teach in the [Pouce Coupe] Central School. This statement appears in Mrs. Coutts’ History of Dawson Creek and is the only error in her fine history. Miss Fairman taught in the Dawson Creek School from 1915 to 1917, when she left the district and went to Vegreville, where she was secretary to a lawyer, Mr. Baldwin, until her death in 1936. I corresponded with her all this time. Central School was not built until 1918, with Mr. Simmons as the first teacher. From 1915 to 1917 there were only three schools in the country — Rolla, Saskatoon Creek and Dawson Creek. Incidentally, the Inspector sent in by Victoria in answer to the appeal by Mr. A. W. Harper, was Mr. Gower, father of Don Gower, former druggist in Dawson Creek. Mr. Gower was our School Inspector for several years.
Now about Dr. Plenderleith being the first Doctor of the Medical health unit. Dr. Plenderleith is not a medical doctor; he is a Doctor of Education. When he lived here he was just plain Mr. Wm. Plenderleith, and he was our School Inspector. The first doctors of the health unit were Dr. Beckwith, Dr. Cole, Dr. Hershey, Dr. Taylor and Dr. McDonald. I am not sure which one was the first.
When I tell you that I attended the first sports day at Tremblays in 1914 and the first sports event at Rolla in 1915, perhaps you will agree that I am qualified to make a couple of small corrections, and one larger one. These corrections are not meant to be taken as criticisms, however, but just to set the record straight.
1. Rolla School was always called just Rolla School, and was not called Pouce Coupe North. This can be verified from the Records in the Government Office.
2. Pouce Coupe Central School was not built before 1917 or 1918. As I was living at Edmonton during the years when my husband was overseas, I am not sure of the exact date. For the same reason I am not sure who the first teacher was in Central School. Mr. M.C. Simmons, if not the first, was one of the first, and he was the teacher in this school for a number of years. Central School was moved to its present location from its original site, which was a mile or so north, closer to Normark’s Lake.
Mr. Harper was in the district all during the war, and I am sure he would be able to tell you the name of the first teacher in Central School.
3. Miss Winnifred Fairman never taught in Central School, but she was the first teacher in the Dawson Creek School. Dawson Creek, Saskatoon Creek, and Rolla Schools were the first three schools in the district, and they were opened in September 1915. Dawson Creek School was a log building and was situated in almost the exact spot now occupied by the office of the Cedar Lodge Motel.
One of the first pupils in Dawson Creek School was Olive Strong, who is now Mrs. Jack Fynn. She will be able to tell you the names of the other pupils that first term. For some time after Dawson Creek Village was moved to its present location, the children still had to cross the creek to go to school.
Miss Fairman and Miss Ligertwood who taught in Dawson Creek and Saskatoon Creek in 1915 were friends of mine. I corresponded with Miss Fairman until her death in Vegreville, Alberta, in 1939. I still write to Miss Ligertwood, who is now Mrs. John McKenzie.