Potsdam, the school that became Munro

The Rev Andrew Willis


4th headmaster




Teachers in this Presbytery -
      William Scholefield, Hampden P.O.
      [blank] Mount Zion
      James Graves, Golden Grove
      Joseph Maxwell, Rose Hill 
      Andrew Willis, Montego Bay
      Adam Gale, Goodwill
      George McLachlan, Somerton.


             Daily Gleaner,  January 16 1872

'The Rev Andrew Willis and the Rev J Robertson trained at the Theological Hall in Jamaica have been ordained'
extract from:
Text not available
          Daily Gleaner,  June 19 1872

Relatively little is known generally about Andrew Willis, his life and career; virtually nothing about his brief headship at Potsdam

 According to B B Ward's notes, Willis was paid £160 p a, considerably less

than the £300 paid to Kenroth. It is also recorded that during his two years

numbers increased from 15 to 25. So far this is the only information I have

found. The Jamaica Almanac for 1875 records the details of the school at

that point in time.


1875 Jamaica Almanac




The Honble W. H. Coke, Custos, St Elizabeth, Chairman
The Custos and Rector of Manchester
The Rector of Saint Elizabeth.
The Ven Archdeacon Rowe, M A, Robert Smith, and John M. Cooper, Esqrs.,
And the Members of the Municipal Board
 J. R. Usher, Clerk
The Charity supports two Boarding Schools in the Santa Cruz Mountains of Saint Elizabeth.

Potsdam - A Boys' School. There are 15 boys of poor parents. (Orphans having the preference) who are boarded clothed, and educated at the expense of the trust and 5 boys at the quarterly payment of £5 each.

Mr. A. Willis, Master
Mrs J. A . Nash, Matron

Mount Zion - A Girls' School. At this School there are 6 girls of poor parents (Orphans having the preference) who are boarded, clothed and educated at the expense of the Trust, and 6 others at a quarterly payment of £5 each.

Miss E. E. Ramson, Mistress
J. Adolphus, MRCS., Eng., Medical Attendant to schools.

The grants to the Day Schools in different parts [of] Saint Elizabeth, and part of Manchester, have lately been withdrawn, in lieu and with a view of raising the standard of these Schools, 6 prizes have been offered (open to all the Schools in the Parish) taking the highest number of marks at the next Government Examination.

The Charity further distributes annually among recipients of the poor and necessitous of Saint Elizabeth the sum of £250.


However, there is a brief comment on the life of Andrew Willis

up to 1876 in an issue of the Gleaner in that year:

Daily Gleaner, March 4 1876
The Fort School at Port Antonio was re-opened oh Monday last by the Rev Andrew Willis. The Acting Chief Inspector of Schools took him in on the previous Monday, and installed him. The School, since Mr. Rouse's removal to the Reformatory, Stoney Hill, was closed. We are happy to say that Mr. Willis is just the right man in the right place, he is one of the best scholars that ever left the Montego Bay Presbyterian Academy. He passed the full curriculum of four years in training for a Teacher; and eight years in the Theological Hall, under the late Professor Benton of Scotland, for the Ministry. He has been successfully engaged in teaching for many years; he filled the temporary place of Head Master to the Potsdam Free School, St. Elizabeth, for some time, and previously kept a high school at Sav-la-Mar; his ordeal [sic] and religious character is of the highest standing. Mr. Willis resigned his Ministerial labours in the Presbyterian Body on the score of salary. His pay was not at all adequate to his position and standing in the Ministry. It will be well if the different religious bodies in Jamaica would take into consideration the smallness of the salaries of the native Ministers. In our opinion that things will not work well in the Churches until their pay is made better. It is preposterous to train men for the Ministry, and then fix for them salaries that are altogether insufficient for them to maintain their position by.

[The school referred to as the Fort School later became the Titchfield School.]

I have so far found no indication of Willis's colour, and since the first headmaster, who was Jamaican, was a Coloured man, it seems possible that the fourth head was also. Although the term 'native Ministers' in the piece above may only refer to men who were Jamaican born, it does sometimes indicate men of African ancestry, and it may be a pointer to Willis's colour. The man who became headmaster of Titchfield when it was reorganised in 1886 was W H Plant, a Coloured man.


 Later references to the Rev Mr Willis:

Willis Andrew Rev., teacher, Government school


Jamaica Witness
Thursday, November 1, 1883

Subscriptions received for 1883:

Miss Kerr, A. S. Dillon, Edward Fray Jnr., James Minot, Frederick Fletcher, A. M. Jackson, W. Vernon, Rev. A. Willis, Joseph Segre, Rev. Q. R. Noble, John Nixon, Sergeant Major Gordon, Rev. O. C. Dolphy, E. P. Pullar, J. O. Milke, R. D. G. Howard, Rev. O. S. Smyth, J. G. Chisholm, J. A. S. Monaghan.

[beyond this date no further references so far found]

B B Ward writes that Andrew Willis married Helen Scott and had a large family.