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Oyama School class, circa 1926

A new two-room school was built in 1917 and in 1921 a third room was added for the new Oyama High School. The catchment area included Winfield and those students arrived by car or bus. 

The accompanying photograph was taken of the senior class in about 1926.  They are Back Row, L to R: Dorothy Bowsher, Roma Thomson, Alice Towgood, Florence Goulding. Pearl Redgrave (teacher), Beatrice Belsey, Betty Byers, Betty Phillips, unknown; Middle Row, L to R: Eileen Dobson, Doreen Byers, George Briscoe, Doug Cleal, Jack Pothecary, Dick Young, Charlie Thomson, Marg Goulding, Lilah Henderson; Front Row L to R: Harold Thomson, Roy Scott, Charlie Patterson, George Pothecary, Gordon Griffith.




I find this photograph interesting from a number of perspectives. No Winfield students are shown. The students have come prepared for the photo, some boys even dressed in suits and ties. Why was my father holding a dog? Have they participated in a school performance? This group includes a wide range of ages, from 11 to 16 or grades 6 to 11 (junior Matriculation) but numerous of their age cohorts are missing. Oyama had far more students within this age group than appear here. Dick Young, age 16 is there, but not his 13-year old sister, Kathleen; Dorothy Bowsher is included but not her brother, Norman; 13-year old Betty Byers is included, but not her 12-year old sister, Doreen. Other families with student within these ages are not represented at all. Where are Ron and Gordie Allingham, Ken Wynne, Gertrude Rea, or the three Lloyd sisters, Emily, Lucy and Rose? 

How large was the 6 to 16-year age cohort from Oyama in 1926? I do not know the total number but in 1921, when the Canada Census was taken, Oyama counted 70 school-aged children, most of them born prior to 1914.  The pool of school-aged students was likely much smaller in 1926 than it was in 1921, the year the high school opened. WW1 had a large impact on family formation. With so many men posted overseas, fewer children would have been born in the years 1914 to 1919, offspring who would be between 7 to 12-years in 1926. 

So many questions. Any suggestions?

Duane Thomson



  • Thanks Duane, great history lesson.

  • Duane, is the George Briscoe in the photo the same George Briscoe who taught math at Seaton School in Vernon in the 50’s and 60’s?

  • I love this picture of the Oyama School students. My mother Margaret Goulding turned 12 in March of 1926.
    Her sister, Florence (Fornie), would have been about 15.

  • Thanks Duane….I was wondering why the photo caption was “ the senior class”, when there were a variety of ages. No answer yet…but interesting to read the other names, census and how world affairs affect a small community

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