Potsdam, the school that became Munro

completed pages: 

Andrew Willis


                        the start

In 1867 a writer in The Freed-man gave an account of the origins of the funding for the school at Potsdam. I have not seen elsewhere an identification of both Monro and Dickenson [yes, there are variant spellings] as Coloured men and I am trying to get confirmation of that identification.

The extracts below give some idea of the origins of the school.

                                 The Freed-Man, May 1, 1867, p143

           Daily Gleaner,  November 23, 1898

MUNROE AND DICKENSON’S SCHOOLS (in the Parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth).
 A very large sum was bequeathed by these individuals for the establishment and maintenance of Schools in these Parishes, but the funds till recently have been grievously mismanaged, and up to the present time little has been done to promote the objects of the Trust. A small school has recently been established in St. Elizabeth’s by a portion of the funds, but it is considered very inefficient compared with the Bequest.

MUNROE AND DICKENSON'S FREE SCHOOL, AND CHARITY (in the Parishes of Manchester and St. Elizabeth).
   A very large sum was bequeathed by these individuals for the above-named purposes, but the funds were grievously mismanaged, and until recently very little has been done to promote the objects of the Trust. We learn with pleasure that one, or more schools supported by this Trust, are now in operation in St. Elizabeth.
   Funds in Island Treasury at £6 per cent., £20,337. 4s. 3d
  Governors and Trustees:-The Governor, the President and Members of the Council, the Speaker and Members of: the Assembly, the Chief-Justice of the Island, the Attorney-General of the Island, and the Custos Rotulorum, magistrates, Vestrymen, rector, and churchwardens of the Parish of St. Elizabeth all for the time being. Five to be a quorum.
   Local Trustees of the Real Property of the Charity:- James Miller, Hon. John Salmon, jun , William Finlason, Thomas Patrick Mahon, Thomas Mason, Rev. John Campbell Stone, Hon. Joseph Arthur Shakspeare.
   Clerk to Local Trustees:- John Myers Cooper.


Some sources:

Daily Gleaner archives

The Freedman    1865-8

Jamaica Archives, 4/135/11 notes by B B W[ard], headmaster of Munro, 1946-54

Jamaica Archives, 7/132  Munro College Centenary Review, 1956

various web sites found using Google search

 Note re use of terms:
In Jamaica at the period dealt with on this site it was usual to describe people who were, or appeared to be, of pure African ancestry as Black; those of mixed African/European 'ethnic/racial' ancestry as Coloured; those who were apparently of European ancestry as White (qualified as 'Jamaica White' if their ancestry was probably not entirely European). I shall therefore use the terms Black, Coloured and White, without quotation marks, in those senses here.
However, one of the problems of research in this period is that of identifying the 'ethnicity/racial origins' of the people mentioned in the sources, so it will not always be possible to identify those origins with any certainty.

I have tried to be as factually accurate as possible on these pages, but there are certainly errors which need to be corrected. I shall be grateful for information on any such needed corrections.  My opinions are another matter, but I have tried to keep them to a minimum any way!

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