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Grammar School Period
Grammar School Period
In attempting to take advantage of this decision compromise was
necessary. Those representing the " Established Church of Scotland"
with the Universities and Theological Halls in. Scotland were not
interested in the higher work of a college which would under local
conditions very materially aid the preparation of candidates for the
ministry of the dissenting Presbyterians known as anti-burghers,
while the established Kirk expected to draw their ministers from
Scotland or from among Pictonians educated in Scotland. These wanted
nothing more than a grammar school; but if there were to be college
studies they would have to be conducted in the same building not in
a separate. one. The Trustees under the reform Act of 1832
represented the two parties; but the internal friction prevented the
successful development of either the college or grammar school
grades of the academy.
In 1838 Dr. McCulloch with $800 of grant, was at last transferred to
Dalhousie College and made president, which position he continued to
hold until his death in 1843. His remains rest in the old Pictou
cemetery where his students erected a monument to his memory. From
1832-1842, the academy was reduced to the level of a Grammar school,
with Michael McCulloch, Geo. A. Blanchard, Wm. McDonald and Mr.
McNaughton as teachers. In 1842 the grant totally failed. The
academy lingered on until August 1844 when its doors were closed.
The building was in a state of dilapidation. The library was
moldering on the shelves, the scientific collections were sold
This state of affairs, however, soon aroused the
people. Public meetings were called by the two great parties of the
county. The Act of 1845 carried in its preamble a record of the
desire of the people interested in the Pictou Academy to cooperate
"as to unite the two parties existing in that county in the support
thereof." It is at this time the motto "Concordia Salus" was
probably adopted. It was certainly the first time an effective local
effort was made to carry out the principle. This period is therefore
well known as one of union in academic development; and united local
support has since carried the academy on through subsequent changes
with ever growing success. The old board of trustees resigned and a
new union board was elected. The new board of trustees set to work
energetically in repairing the building, organizing the departments,
and securing teachers.
In 1846 the academy re-opened and next year the three departments
were in good working order. Basil Bell was Principal and classical
master, with Charles H. Hay and
Alexander McPhail in the other two departments. In December 1847 Mr.
McPhail resigned and was succeeded by Wm. Jack, who continued in
this department until 1865. At this time John William Dawson
delivered a course of lectures on natural history. Mr. Hay suddenly
died in 1847 and some time elapsed before his place was filled.
In 1850 William R. Mulholland was appointed mathematical teacher. At
the same time W. G. T. Jarvis succeeded Mr. Bell, and three years
later, he was succeeded by T. R. Mulholland. In 1855 W. R.
Mulholland was transferred to the Normal School, Truro, and T. R.
Mulholland resigned. In the same year, John Costley became classical
master, and continued in charge until 1865, when a new era was
inaugurated throughout the province in educational matters. In that
year the Nova Scotia Free School system was enacted, and the academy
was organized into a special academy.
The Free School Act of 1865 provided grants of $600
each for county academies, to which students passing the entrance
examination from any part of the county would be admitted free.
Pictou Academy and about a half a dozen other leading institutions
were classed as special academies. It was to function as a county
academy; but on account of its superior equipment received a grant
of $1000 instead of $600 per annum. Until the Act to encourage
Academic education in 1885, the academy and public schools of the
town of Pictou was governed by a board of trustees from the Board of
the academy and the board of the public schools, thus making the
academy the head of the Pictou public school system. This
arrangement proved most satisfactory, and under this plan the
academy made another forward step. Herbert A. Bayne was appointed
first principal and the organizer of the new order of things, which
he did most successfully. In the autumn of 1867 Mr. Bayne left to
complete his course in Dalhousie College and Aubrey Lippincott, B.
A., one of the first graduates of Dalhousie College, was appointed
substitute principal for a year. He also, was very successful in
winning the respect and affection of his students and carried
forward the work most efficiently. He is now a successful eye
specialist in Pittsburgh, Pa.
In the following year Mr. Bayne returned accompanied by J. J.
MacKenzie. Mr. MacKenzie at first taught the preparatory department,
but shortly afterwards the two departments were combined, Principal
Bayne teaching classics and science and Mr. MacKenzie English and
Mathematics. These gentlemen both resigned in 1873 to take a post
graduate course in Germany where each won a Doctor's degree.
Returning to Canada, Dr. Bayne took a position in the Military
College, Kingston, and Dr. MacKenzie the professorship of Physics in
Dalhousie College. Both were cut down by death in early manhood.
In 1873 A. H. MacKay (now Dr. MacKay, Superintendent of Education
for Nova Scotia) became principal. With him were associated F. W.
George, M. A., Principal MacKay teaching, Mathematics and Science
and Mr. George, English and Classics. In October 1876, Mr. George
resigned to enter upon Church work. In 1876, Robert Maclellan, the
present principal, was appointed to the Classical and English
department which position he held until 1883, when he resigned to
take the position of Inspector of Schools for Pictou and South
Under Principal MacKay's strong administration the Academy made
rapid strides. It became celebrated throughout the province and far
beyond its limits. Students flocked in from all quarters until there
was not room enough to receive. Larger quarters became absolutely
necessary, and the citizens of Pictou, with a public spirit worthy
of their ancestors, raised about $20,000 for a new building. It was
erected in 1880 on the site of the present building. Although it
would be entirely inadequate for the present day, it was far in
advance of any other high school building in the province. It
contained four class rooms, Convocation hall, a small chemical
laboratory capable of accommodating five or six students. At the
same time a third instructor became necessary and Roderick MacKay,
B. A., was appointed teacher of Mathematics. After two years Mr.
MacKay resigned to enter the ministry and is now pastor of a
congregation in Ontario. Mr. W. R. Fraser, B. A., (now Ph. D., Johns
Hopkins) was appointed as his successor. Mr. Fraser taught until
1888 when he resigned to take a post graduate course in Johns
Meanwhile in 1883 Mr. Maclellan resigned as before stated, and was
succeeded by Mr. Hector McInnes, now K. C., and head of one of the
most influential law firms in Halifax. Mr. McInnes taught
Mathematics while the Classical subjects were divided between
Principal MacKay and Mr. Fraser.
Pictonians at Home and Abroad, 1914