Potsdam, the school that became Munro

Mr Charles Plummer


1st headmaster


'The first headmaster was Charles Plummer,  . . .  a gentleman of English extraction who had lived in Jamaica all his life. He remained at this post until 1864 when the number of pupils was approximately 20. Mr Plummer is reputed to have had 14 children of his own but history does not relate how many of these were included in the above mentioned twenty.' [N.K.J]

Munro Centenary Review, 1956, p15

This is all I have learned about Charles Plummer from Munro

history emanating from the school itself; unfortunately the

information is very limited and implications are made that

are not reliable!

Charles Plummer was born in Montego Bay on May 4, 1830, and was educated at the Montego Bay Academy, the well-known and successful educational institution run by the Presbyterian church. He may then have hoped to train for the ministry of the Church of England.

He died in Kingston on March 7, 1899.  At the time of his death he left six sons and six daughters. 

information from the obituary in Daily Gleaner, March 8, 1899.

In a pamphlet in 1867 a determined opponent of Mr Plummer made clear his ethnicity:

 So far, I have not got very far in establishing Charles Plummer's ancestry; he appears to have been the eldest son of H A Plummer and Mary W Christie.  H A Plummer was described in 1837 as a wharfinger in Montego Bay, but it is not clear what connection, if any, he had with William Plummer, at some point Speaker of the House of Assembly, and his son, Henry Waite Plummer, who was attorney for the famous 'Monk" Lewis. Any help on this topic would be most gratefully received.

Any further information I find I will include on Charles Plummer and his family.

The reference to 'boys of his own station of life' could indicate that pupils at Potsdam during  the headship of Charles Plummer were Coloured, like the headmaster.


 The school at Potsdam during the headship of Charles Plummer:

Information on the school at Potsdam at this period seems very limited; below is what

little I have found so far.

The Munro Centenary Review suggests that the first in-take at the school consisted of 8

pupils and that the numbers grew to 20 over the eight years. The sly suggestion that

Plummer's own children made up a substantial proportion of that number seems unlikely,

since he was only 26 at the time of becoming headmaster and could hardly have produced 

a squad of school-age boys in eight years!

However, the anonymous author of Jamaica: its state and prospects had several suggestions

as to problems which led to the termination of Plummer's tenure of the headship.

It turned out, however, that Charles Plummer's 'resignation' was only the prelude to a whole

sequence of events, some rather unnerving, and a career in education for the rest of the century;

and his family developed very close links with the leading political family in Jamaica in

the 20th century.



Daily Gleaner archives

The Freedman    1865-8

Jamaica: its state and prospects, 1867


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