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The Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse.

Following the end of the American Revolution in 1783, the Eastern Townships were opened for settlement in 1792 by proclamation of Lieutenant-Governor Alured Clarke. Surveys of the region began about the same time. Many of those we now consider early leaders of the Townships began applying for grants of land in 1792. Prior to this date, native peoples, including the Abenaki, who used the land for hunting and fishing, were the sole inhabitants of the area. However the settlements were begun.

The Hyatt Family were very instrumental in the settling of the Township of Ascott in Lower Canada. Loyalist, Abraham Hyatt Senior UE, born in 1737, and his wife, Merriam Hills, had ten children and many bore arms in the Revolution. There were seven sons and three daughters. The family came from Schenectady, New York, or Arlington, Vermont, to Lower Canada during and at the end of the American Revolution. Loyalist, Abraham Sr., a school teacher himself, along with six sons: Gilbert, Cornelius, Joseph, Isaac, Jacob and Charles, who all seem to have bore arms and were associates of the survey party, received early land grants, Abraham Jr. being too young. Daughters: Anna, married Loyalist, Alexander MacDougall UE; Merriam married Thomas Best, a Methodist minister; and Mary married Dr. Calvin May.

Loyalist, Gilbert Hyatt UE, was the leader of the survey party and was awarded the Township of Ascott, on 20 June 1792, consisting of 10,000 square miles. The total became officially 20,188 acres on 21 April 1803. He was accompanied by forty associates, most of whom settled in this area. Gilbert, along with his wife, Anna Canfield, and their family of six children, settled first at the junction of the Coaticook and Massawippi Rivers where, in 1793, he had cleared 100 acres of land, built a log house and several barns and, according to records, was known as a "skillful, industrious husbandman", before moving to another fork on the St. Francis and Magog Rivers in 1796, this area becoming known as Lower Forks Hyatt Mills and now the City of Sherbrooke. Here he operated a Grist and Saw Mill. He had received a Land Grant consisting of 1175 acres in Ascott Township.

Loyalist, Cornelius Hyatt UE, along with his wife, Parthenia Canfield, sister of Anna and daughters of Nathan Canfield and Lois Hard, of Arlington, Vermont, with their family of seven children, settled at the junction of the Moe and Salmon Rivers, where he built the first Grist and Saw Mill as early as 1796. This area became known as the Hyatt Settlement. He received 1200 acres from Lands Granted by the Crown but, when his father Abraham Seniors' lands were divided, he gained many more, including Lot 1, Range 4, where our little one-room schoolhouse is located. Cornelius also had Lot 3, Range 7, known as District No # 2, where the first schoolhouse, District No. # 1 was built. Historical data states, "nearby on property owned by Captain Cornelius Hyatt". Whether this school was built by Cornelius or not, we do not know but he, along with other early settlers, certainly was very instrumental in building ours, especially since he owned the nearby Saw Mill ! Possibly, his father, Abraham Sr., being a school teacher, was very instrumental in having Cornelius build a schoolhouse to educate the many young children who had arrived or were born in this area.

According to a Notarial Deed, when Cornelius' daughter, Aurilla, married Warren Loomis Senior, he sold fifty acres in Lot 1, Range 4, to them. However, it states, "With the exception of one acre which is hereby reserved for a School House which is actually built thereon". 29 November, 1822. This begins to date our schoolhouse. However, it only makes common sense that these early Loyalists and settlers had children born in the late 1790s and early 1800s who were not waiting until 1822 for their education. Therefore, we believe that our little one-room schoolhouse can very well date back to 1800. School buildings in the early days were also used as a House of Worship and for Notarial Transactions.

This schoolhouse, under the Royal Institute of Learning, served the area until its closure in 1948, at which time it was taken over by the Milby Woman's Institute, who used the building until 1988. Due to aged members and the building needing repairs, it was transferred to the Lennoxville Ascott Historical and Museum Society. As a point of interest, Hyatt Settlement later became known as Wilson Mills, in 1840, followed by Milby, in 1874. Due to lack of interest by members of the Historical Society, the schoolhouse was sold to Little Forks Branch in 1994. Branch Members decided to save and restore this Loyalist building, as it is one of the mandates of the Dominion Association. The building was in a dilapidated state and falling into the roadside ditch with a leaking roof and rotten floors.

After twenty-four years of dedicated volunteerism we are finally seeing the fruits of our labours.

This past year we unveiled our second Bilingual 4-foot x 10-foot double-sided Virtual Interpretation Panel, Listening Station. Its measurements and design are exactly the same as the Visual Panel unveiled in 2010.

This Listening Station Panel was to commemorate the 225th anniversary of the Township of Ascott and was our Project for Canada 150. We were presented with a lovely Bronze Plaque that was mounted on our new Granite Historical Plaque.

Just recently, we were extremely excited to have our Little Hyatt One-Room Schoolhouse and Site recognized as a National Historical Place Name by National Trust.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION:

Although Abraham Sr., along with Joseph, Isaac, Jacob, and Charles, received land grants in Ascott, they never settled in this area. Only Abraham Jr., who married Thankful Cartwright, and had a family of twelve children; his sister, Anna, and her husband, Alexander MacDougall, with their ten children, built a Grist & Saw Mill on the nearby Coaticook River; and Cornelius, with his wife, Parthenia, who had seven children, settled there. Joseph died young, in 1800, and his Grant of 1,230 acres was divided amongst his siblings and other early settlers, including the 200 acres granted to Isaac and the 200 acres granted to Jacob. Abraham Senior, along with his wife, Merriam, received two land grants, totalling 425 acres, in St. Armand West. Abraham taught school there along with travelling on horseback to Highgate, Vermont, two days a week. He no doubt had a strong influence on his son, Cornelius, to educate the children in the early Hyatt Settlement. Isaac married: first, Cynthia Hitchcock and second Mathilda Hatch. They settled in Argenteuil County. Jacob married Elizabeth (Betsey) Yates (Yeats) and, along with twelve children, settled in Philipsburg. Charles received land grants at Chaleur Bay, Gaspe, was a school teacher and, while returning to see his families in Ascott, was drowned in the Becancour River at Gentilly, near Three Rivers. Merriam and her husband, Thomas Best, returned to Highgate, Vermont, while Mary and Dr. Calvin May settled in Philipsburg.
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Title Annotation:HISTORICAL BACKGROUND
Publication:The Loyalist Gazette
Date:Sep 22, 2018
Words:1166
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