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The First School Teacher of the Long Point Settlement
by Francis L. Walsh, Registrar of Norfolk County

Late in the fall of the year 1797, two persons, William Pitt Gilbert and Daniel Culver, undertook to pass down the then uninhabited north shore of Lake Erie from Malden to Long Point Settlement in a canoe, but from roughness of the lake and the inclemency of the weather they were so long delayed on the way that their stock of provisions become entirely exhausted.

At length a violent storm overtook them and their canoe upset. They however, succeeded in their endeavor to reach shore and with much difficulty climbed up the bank of the lake, destitute of everything except the wet clothes on their backs.

Here they found the ground covered to a considerable depth with snow, through which they pursued their weary way without food of any kind, and not knowing how far they might be from the Settlement.

At length they came upon the trail of Mr. Pell, of the city of New York, who wishing to return from Canada by way of Detroit, had procured a guide and proceeded upon snow shoes up the north side of Lake Erie, about that time.

Encouraged by finding the trail, the disconsolate men renewed their exertions and moved onward as well as their enfeebled condition permitted, until at length, frost bitten, exhausted and famishing for want of food, they reached the Settlement, and were received at the house of Messrs. Pearce and Dedrick, at the north of Murphy's Creek, where their wants were kindly relieved, and in the course of two or three weeks from that time they were sufficiently recovered to be able to go in search of employment.

William Pitt Gilbert, being a person qualified to teach school, came to the house of Mr. Abraham Smith, the first settler on the plains in the Township of Charlotteville, and solicited to be employed in that capacity, and he was accordingly employed to teach school by the following persons, namely
Abraham Smith, of No. 15, 6th concession;
Thomas Welch, No. 12, 5th concession;
Dan Maillard, Esq., No. 12, 3rd concession;
Ellhu Price, No. 11, 4th concession;
Walter Anderson, No. 20, 4th concession;
Donald McCall, No. 19, 4th concession;
John Gustin, No. 22, 3rd concession; and
Dr. William B. Gould, No. 12, 5th concession.

Thus was the first teacher employed to teach the first school which was established in the County of Norfolk, or as it was then called the Long Point Settlement.

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