'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