Historic Sites of Manitoba: Thirlstane School No. 483 (Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester)

Originally known as Rosehill School District when established in September 1886, it was renamed Thirlstane in commemoration of the Scottish birthplace of local farmer John Scott, who provided the land on which a school building was erected at NW22-3-23W in what is now the Municipality of Deloraine-Winchester. A frame structure measuring 18 by 24 feet, with a small porch, the school opened in the fall of 1887. Local lore says the first teacher was noted educator John H. Riddell but, if true, this would mean he was teaching at the improbable age of 14 years.

As the population of the area increased, the district enlarged accordingly until the early 1890s, when the Kirkwood School District was created to educate students from the vicinity of Whitewater Lake. In 1908, the Thirlstane school building was moved to SE29-3-23W, to what was thought to be a more central location for students, on the farm of William A. Franklin. The original building became a teacherage and a new 22 by 34 foot frame structure, with a brick veneer, was erected nearby. Through the years, the school also served as a community centre, church, and meeting place. The building was modernized in 1947 with the addition of a full basement and coal-burning furnace and, in subsequent years, an oil furnace, electric power, and a telephone were added.

Student enrollment declined through the 1960s and, by the time the school closed in June 1966, there were just 10 students left. After the closure, they were bussed to Deloraine Consolidated School No. 2448. The building was moved into Deloraine for use as an additional classroom for the elementary school. A cairn was erected at the former site of Thirlstane School.

Teachers at Thirlstane School through the years included the following: R. Ridell, Mr. Doxie, Miss Yeomans, Miss Boyd, Fred Potter, Charles Somerville, A. Dickson, George Scott, R. Pettypiece, Miss L. Beynon, Agnes Wilson, Hattie McKay, Gwen Emerson, Robert Kilbourne, Isabel McKenzie, Jennie Frith, Cecelia Cresswell, Henry Dann, James Lawson, Mrs. Hagerman, Crawford Lawson, Mr. Butress, Laura Burns, Marie Morton, Edith Gervin, Helena Mann, Audrey Burky, Mildred Burnett, Dorothy Stewart, Vesta Sampson, Ruby Fulford, Doris Lewis, Jane Caldbick, Margaret McGee, Eva Moffatt, Mrs. Kes Edwards, Phyllis Weidenhamer, Elsie Edwards, Isobel Drummond, Marjorie Weidenhamer, Margaret Holden, Jill Lebeau, Mrs. L. Marcq, Frances Burnett, Joan Edmondson, Loraine Hill, L. Casson, Ruth Holden, Kristine Olafson, Myrna Mosby, and Mrs. Jill Combs.

Thirlstane School commemorative monument

Thirlstane School commemorative monument (October 2011)
Source: Gordon Goldsborough

Site Coordinates (lat/long): N49.24391, W100.53372
denoted by symbol on the map above

See also:

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Chipping Hill School No. 488 (Municipality of North Norfolk)

Historic Sites of Manitoba: Rosehill School No. 90 (Municipality of Cartwright-Roblin)


One Hundred Years in the History of the Rural Schools of Manitoba: Their Formation, Reorganization and Dissolution (1871-1971) by Mary B. Perfect, MEd thesis, University of Manitoba, April 1978.

Deloraine Scans a Century: 1880-1980 by Deloraine History Book Committee, 1980, pages 147-149.

This page was prepared by Gordon Goldsborough.

Page revised: 20 April 2020

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