The first school in section No. 5 (Reeders) was situated on the Thamesville Sideroad, south of the Ridge Road. It was a log building and was built on the farm of Mr John Wilson.
On December 4, 1872, one half acre of land was purchased from Mr John Reeder in Lot l4, concession 9 Howard Township. This was more central. On it was built a log school which served until the attendance became too large for it to accommodate. Afterwards a frame building was erected of large basswood boards with straight board benches for the children to sit upon.
During the year of 1872, Henry Richardson and Miss Margaret Hill taught. Mr Joseph Mitton was janitor. Mr Joseph Boothroyd and Mr Edmund Mitton were auditors. Then in 1874 Mr Joseph Boothroyd was paid $5.OO for acting Secretary- Treasurer for that year. In 1875 Mr Ezra Bonham and Mr Joseph Boothroyd were auditors and Mr Henry W. Reeder was Secretary-Treasurer with $4.00 per year salary.
On January 26, 1875, a special school meeting was called with Mr Benjamin Willson as Chairman and Mr Henry Reeder Secretary. It was decided to build a new brick schoolhouse on the present site that year and that $1,425 be raised in two annual payments to pay the costs. It was erected by Mr John W. Hawkins, and was opened with Mr Frank Sinclair as teacher at a salary of $200. Then Mr John Barr taught from September until the end of the year for $100. Mr John Reeder, Mr Edmund Mitton, Mr Joseph Boothroyd were the trustees. Mr Edward Ridley taught from January until August when Mr E. Marsales taught until the following year.
A new tight board fence was put up around the school-yard in l877. The trustees in 1878 were Mr J.N. Wilson, Mr Jacob Lutz and Mr J.S. Boothroyd. They bought wood from Mr David Green at nine shillings per cord. In 1880, when Mr Edwin Reeder took the census there were 48 children between the ages of 5 and l6 years in the section. Singing school was held in the school-house.
Mr Samuel Sinclair taught in l88l from January until April for $180. Mr Hugh Gillespie was hired for the balance of the year. Miss Margaret Bell taught in l883. A new iron fence was put up in front of the school grounds. All non-resident pupils were charged 20 cents per month each. Miss Gertrude Hay taught in l885 at a salary of $300. Miss E. Bruce taught in 1886 when Miss Harrison took over for 1887-1888 at $280 per annum.
In 1889 Mr Robert McDonald was Chairman for the December Annual meeting and Mr Joseph Boothroyd Secretary-Treasurer. It was then decided to pay the teacher quarterly. Miss Tena Wilson was hired to teach at $300. for the year. Mr H.B. Harrison was the new trustee. The schoolyard was to be decorated with evergreens.
Out of 44 applicants for teacher, Miss Lottie West was hired in 1892 for $27%. Miss Rutherford taught in 1893. Mr Joseph Whitsell drilled for gas on the school grounds, and when he struck gas, he blew the whistle as a signal for the trustees to meet. Miss Rutherford taught until August; Miss Alma Johnson finished out that year and remained. The windows were fitted with screens and a new flag was purchased.
In 1896 Miss Lena Young was hired to teach at $250 and she continued on until 1901 at $300. Trustees at that time were Mr John Barton, Mr Thomas Gosnell and Mr Joseph Rhody.
In l899 four lots in Orford Township were accepted into Reeder's School Section thus making it a union school. These ratepayers were Mr Thomas Gosnell, Mr J.B. Gosnell, Mr Thomas Johnson and Mr John Baxter. A new wood shed was built. Miss Eliza Chambers was hired to finish out the year of 1901 and remained until 1904, when Miss Sara Gosnell taught until 1905. Miss K. Andrews taught the next 3-1/2 years.
In 1908 One half acre of land was purchased from Mr George Reeder for $50 to enlarge the school grounds on the west side; also a new metallic ceiling and walls were put in the school and painted, and three brace rods were put lengthwise through the schoolhouse. Miss Pickard was then teacher. New adjustable chair and desk sets were installed in 1909. Miss Vanalstine taught until 1912 at a salary of $575. A new Waterbury furnace was installed in the schoolroom and a flagpole was erected. Hiss Allison took charge in 1913. Then Hiss Breeze finished out the year and taught for 1914-1915. Enrollment then was 35.
In 1914 it was decided to pay the teachers' salary monthly. Miss Arnold was hired in 1915. Plans were made for the school fair. A new flag was bought gas lights were installed and a telephone was put in in 1917 and used there until 1921.
Miss Bessie Handy took charge in 1918, at salary of $600. A large door was put on the woodshed so it could be used for a garage. Miss Cela McRae taught in 1919 and Miss Edith Buller in 1920. The enrollment then was 49. A cement walk was built from the schoolhouse to the road with provision made on either side of the walk for flower beds.
Miss Mary Gillanders was hired in 1921-22 at $1,000. Enrollment then was 45 pupils. Mr Ernest Chambers, Mr John H.Wllson and Mr John Barrett were the trustees, with Mr H.B. Harrison Secretary-Treasurer at $15 per year. A school nurse was hired for 1923 at $84 salary. Miss Drew taught from September 1923 until Christmas 1924 $l,000. In that year a hardwood floor was laid in the schoolroom and cloakrooms. A cement basement was put under the school and a second furnace was installed. Miss Fleming taught for the years 1925-27 at $1,000 a year, salary. Miss Dallas was hired for the following year. Mr John Simpson, Mr Erle Johnson and Mr William Cudmore were the trustees. Miss O. McMullen of Napanee was hired at $1,000 for 1929-1930.
Miss Edna Mitton took charge in 1931 at $700. A supply of library books were bought. Highway signs were placed on the road. A piano was purchased, and in 1931 the school was wired for electricity at a cost of $47.50.
Miss Aileen Chambers the first one of Reeder's own girls, was hired in 1935. Mr Merton Gosnell, Mr Emery Long and Mr J.H. Dilliott were the trustees. The school was newly painted and Manual training was introduced. In 1936 Miss Helen Gosnell was hired to teach music and a new supply of library books were bought. Miss Chambers remained to teach for 1937-38 at $650. Mrs M. Ellsworth was engaged to teach music at $60. per year. It was decided to buy all school supplies for the pupils.
In 1938 all necessary equipment was purchased to supply hot lunches for the children. A set (20 Volumes) of the Books of Knowledge were bought for $80.
Miss Sloan took charge in September 1938 until 1939. In January 1939 the school was burned inside and afterwards repaired and newly painted; the piano was overhauled; a new electric clock and hot plate were installed; and a large new library was purchased.
Miss Betty Vester was hired to teach from September 1939 and continued until June 1943. She was followed by Roberta Haggins of Cottam who taught one year, then another of Reeders own girls, Miss Donna Long took charge in September l944. A new lawn mower was bought and an Iron Fireman Stoker furnace at a cost of $400. Two new septic toilets were also installed.
The school board in 1947 is Garnet Lenentine, Tom Gosnell, and Mr Coatsworth. The teacher is Donna Long.
Boy's from Reeder's in World War I: Bruce and Norman McDonald who were born and raised in Reeder's and later moved to Saskatchewan, spent considerable time in Toronto and later overseas in France; Clarence Guyitt and Clare Geddis were both in France; Clifford Smith spent some time in London, Ontario, Canada and was placed in a lower category and discharged in London. Merton Gosnell spent some time in London, Canada and one year in England after the Armistice was signed. Clifford O'Connor was in London and later overseas. Bert Graves was placed in a lower category and discharged in London, Canada.
Miss Yvonne Patterson of Lambeth took charge of the school in September 1948-1951, with salary $1,900.
During the Easter holidays of 1951 a new Clare coal-burning furnace was installed at a cost of $457.20. This furnace with four hot air registers added greatly to the efficiency of the heating system of the school.
[Additional hand-written notes:
In September 1951, Miss June McAllister took charge and was rehired in May 1952 with salary $2300.00.
In September 1953, Eileen E. Rea was hired at a salary of $2,400.00 a year and she is still teaching in 1966-76 with 21 pupils in attendance.
Transcribed from the records of Mrs. Geo. S. Brien, Rural Ridgetown Women's Institute.