From The Story of Dartmouth, by John P. Martin:
Hon. J. W. Johnston, who had been at the head of the Nova Scotia Government in the previous decade, again became Premier of the Province in February 1857 when the Liberals were defeated on a want of confidence vote in the Assembly. (See Calkin’s History.)
One of the ablest of the Conservative members was Dr. Charles Tupper of Cumberland, who was residing that winter with Dr. Parker at “Beechwood” not far from Mr. Johnston’s home at “Mount Amelia.” In his reminiscences published long afterwards, Sir Charles Tupper tells us that it was at “Beechwood” where Mr. Johnston and he met to hold discussions on Conservative policy and no doubt to select the new Executive Council of that time.
Hon. Dr. Tupper evidently remained in Dartmouth after the close of the Legislative session on May 1st, because the ferry records show that he had a commutation ticket for himself, his wife and family for the six-month period ending on June 30th, 1857.
There is considerable information available regarding schools about this time. From the newspaper “Dartmouth Journal” we learn that the old school on the Quaker Meeting House site was torn down about 1857, and the teachers were scattered around in different buildings so that there was no system of school management.
From scraps of annotations on school returns, one gathers that classes were held in private houses, that pupils still paid fees and the teacher in some cases “boarded round”. For instance the school return of William Cox shows that he taught in Dartmouth for the summer term ending November, 1857. Fees for those, “who write, read and spell and cipher 12/6 per quarter. The smaller class 7/6 per quarter.” Salary for six months, “£25 exclusive of board and lodging”. Number of scholars, 19 boys, 6 girls. And finally, “school was held in a room of a dwelling in a large upper room.”
The school return of Elizabeth Frame that term shows 35 small boys and girls enrolled, among them being Benjamin Russell aged 8. In his reminiscences 75 years later, Judge Russell locates this house on Wilson’s Lane near Quarrell Street. His teacher in 1856 had been Miss Eliza Kuhn in a house next to the present Capitol Stores on Portland Street. (Up to within recent years children’s classes continued to be taught in private houses.)
John R. Miller, who later became School Inspector, commenced teaching at Dartmouth in 1857. His scholars varied in age from 9 years to 19. These were the more advanced pupils and their curriculum included Latin, Greek and French. Mr. Fitch assisted for three months, then Mr. Chase came, according to the school return. At the closing exercises of that term, a Halifax newspaper referred to the school as the Dartmouth Academy and gave the name of Miss Carlisle as junior class teacher.