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Dictionary of Miramichi Biography

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ALEXANDER, CECILIA (1849-1900)

ALEXANDER, CECILIA, teacher; b. Douglastown, 1 Jul 1849, d/o John Alexander, a native of Scotland, and Jane Hewetson (or Hewston), a native of England; unmarried; d. Vancouver, B.C., 18 Jun 1900.

Cecilia Alexander's father, who was a business partner of William Park, was accidentally killed in the Park & Alexander sawmill in 1855, at age thirty-four. A short time later her mother returned with the five children of the family to her former hometown of Chatham.

By 1870 Alexander possessed a 1st class teacher's license, and she announced in the Union Advocate that she would be conducting a "female department" at Harkins Academy. She planned to teach English and French and charge quarterly fees. This special department may not have opened, since she soon became a regular member of the Harkins staff. In 1873 she was the teacher in charge of the school's advanced department.

In 1874-75 Alexander was engaged to teach for a number of months in the 'Model School' which was conducted in conjunction with the Provincial Normal School in Fredericton, but she declined an offer of a regular appointment to the school. After her return to the Miramichi she joined the staff of the County Grammar School in Chatham as teacher of the primary department. The school inspector noted after observing her work there, that in her "a rare knowledge of child nature" was combined with "a pleasant manner and enthusiastic spirit." She was also admired for her organizational skills, and in 1879 her classroom was singled out for its "excellence in the matter of discipline."

The provincial education report for 1882 noted that the Grammar School had suffered a heavy loss by the resignation of Miss Alexander on account of poor health, but she returned to the staff in the fall of 1883. In 1889, when she signed up as teacher of the one-room school at Little Bartibog, she claimed twenty years of teaching experience. She continued to teach locally until 1893 and then resigned and moved to Vancouver, as several other Miramichi teachers did in the 1890s. She died in that city seven years later, at age fifty.

Sources

[b] church records [d] official records / Advance 1 May 1879; Advocate 3 Nov 1870, 8 May 1872, 24 Dec 1873, 9 Dec 1874, 5 Apr 1876; Educ. report 1882; Educ. Review, Sep 1893; Gleaner 14 Jul 1855; World 22 Aug 1883, 27 Jun 1900


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