The History of Long and Brier Islands

Tibert School\Church, Central Grove

by | Oct 8, 2021 | Central Grove, churches, Schools | 1 comment

Central Groves First School and Church

(I have already wrote a blog on “The Central Grove School” but that one dealt mainly with the second school, this one is about the first school and church.)

Now when did the first people settle at Central Grove? Rev. Walter Greenwood in his book “History of Freeport” that in the year, 1798 Nicholas Tibert was living at Central Grove.

When the early settlers first came to our Islands, at first, education did not exist. Later travelling teachers would stop in the villages and teach in lofts or any place that could accommodate a group of children. It was the responsibility of the parents to pay these teachers without any outside help.

Nicholas Tibert was the first settler in Central Grove and was known to be living there before 1798. He had came from New York City, and in 1798 married Anne Burns of Digby. They had four children Debbie, Sally, George, and Jacob. Nicolas Tibert and his wife Ann operated the first hotel on either Island.

Nicholas Tibert lived where James Tibert lives today (2021). The AF church and CO. Map dated March 24th, 1871 shows this Tibert School in Central Grove, it was located on the property we know today as Kendall Ossinger and Lorilee Boudreau’s home in Central Grove. This school was on a piece of land with no other buildings in 1871.

The Church Map dated 1871 shows that Jacob Tibert lived next house up from the school, where Nicholas Tibert once lived. The next house going up from Jacob Tibert’s was George Tibert’s home and the map showed that the saw mill that Nicholas Tibert had once owned on the brook, now belonged to his son George Tibert.

Although Nicholas Tibert lived in Central Grove he was one of the original members the Hilltop Church in Freeport. Nicholas Tibert bought two pews in this church, numbers 28 and number 30. He was the first in Central Grove to bring religion to his community.

The earliest legislation in aid of Public Schools, was an Act passed in 1811, providing for payments of one hundred dollars towards a school or schools in any settlement of not less than thirty families, where two hundred dollars were raised by assessment for such purposes.

John Thurber, son of Borden Thurber by his first marriage, supervised the schools on Long and Brier Islands during the first three months of 1810 and 1811, also one or two similar years periods of succeding years.

After repeated attempts to have boundries established for  education work, in July, 1826, nineteen “School Districts” were established in Digby Township, having same limits as Districts for Highway Labour, one of being Brier Island; two were on Long Island; and the remaining sixteen on the mainland.

A school was erected at Freeport in 1835 on the corner of Post Road and Ledge Street, Freeport. William Dickie taught there the first twelve months.

A school house was built at Tiverton, about eight rods easterly from the Christian Church, about 1840.

In 1839 the county seat was changed from Annoplis Royal to Digby and in 1840 names were given to the different section in the county. Freeport received it’s name then as did Tiverton. Central Grove received it’s name at that time too. 

Up until 1864, “Schooling” was paid for by the quarter; ten shillings per quarter, per pupil was the usual fee.

Many of these new sections did not have school buildings. In 1864, Parliament enacted the Compulsory Education Act. Under its salutary provisions, sweeping improvements soon transpired. The country was carefully surveyed, and boundries of almost every school district changed in the line of accommodations for pupils. Each section was now assigned by a special place. 

On Monday, October 16th, 1864 the first annual School Meeting was held and it was decided that the remaining sections without a school house, had to build one. Hainsville, No.8, and some others built their school houses in 1865. Hill Grove and others built in 1866.

Isaiah W. Wilson in his history of Digby County tells us that the Baptist were having services and meetings at the Tibert School in Central Grove in 1863. The school had to have been built before then or at that time. I have not been able to find out for sure. So we will give the Tibert School a date of 1863. This would be the first school for Central Grove and the first church for Central Grove.

Rev. Walter Greenwood tells us in his “History of Freeport” “we also note the beginnings of a separate church life at Central Grove. Preaching and conference  meeting are first recorded at the Tibert Schoolhouse in 1863. Five were baptised at Flour Cove that summer.”

Where in Central Grove was this School/Church? Rev. Greenwood tell us “The Tibert  School-house on the farm now owned by Melvin Tibert continued to be used until, during the pastorate of W. T. Parker, the present church edifice was undertaken and completed later during the ministry of L. M. Weeks. Sixteen members were dismissed in 1906 to form the present organization at Central Grove.”

Rev. W. Greenwood wrote this in 1934 and Melvin and Florrie Tibert were living on that farm at that time. When I was going to Central Grove School in the early 50’s I had to walk by this farm, to and from school each day. The farm Rev. Greenwood was referring to in 1934 later was the summer home of Rev. Eric Titus, that returned from California each summer for a vacation. This summer home of Rev Titus’s is Kendall Ossinger and Lorrilee Boudreau’s home today (2021).

When I would walk by this house I always remembered that there was three buildings besides the house at this location, and one was the first school, as I was told this by my teacher Mrs. Florrie Tibert. I later went on to Tiverton School and then later to Freeport School and I forgot about this school. This building disappeared sometime in the fifty’s. I came across these photos on “Islanders” someone had posted on the internet talking about something different that this, but I saw the Tibert School/Church.

This Picture shows the Tibert School/Church behind the young boy.(the boys name is David Titus son of Rev. Eric Titus) Picture dated about 1951

This Picture is on the opposite side of the driveway and the man with the sythe is Rev. Eric Titus.

Mrs. Florrie Tibert lived on Tibert farm and was my first school teacher.

In 1880 the congregation from the Tibert church started using the new church at Flour Cove, and they also started using the new graveyard “Central Haven Graveyard” at the end of Flour Cove Road. Previous to this they  used the “Tibert Graveyard” just up the road from the Tibert Church.

Tenders to Build second School at Central Grove

Digby Courier; March 20th 1885

Digby Courier; Nov 5th 1886

In 1885 the residents of Central Grove had built a new school to replace the Tibert school. This was the end of the Tibert School\Church 1863-1885.

1 Comment

  1. Jennifer Melanson

    Very interesting! My 4th great-grandfather was Nicholas Tibert.


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