Mary Fisher born 1855

James Simpson, born in Fife, took over the role of Fortingall schoolmaster a couple of years after the education act of 1872. He continued in office until 1921.

In 1881 he was boarding with the Archibald and Jane McGregor who were then renting Glenlyon house. In 1882 James married Mary Fisher a younger sister of my great grandfather James. (The McGregor's daughter Susan later married Peter Anderson whose mother was Elizabeth Fisher, Mary's aunt.) The same year a new school house, with schoolroom attached, was built and the newly weds became the first occupants.

The old School is the white building in the picture on the right. The 1862 map of Fortingall shows it on the eastern edge of the village. The new school, half a mile to the east between the road and the river Lyon, is now a private house. It was absent on the 1862 map but is present on the 1898 25" OS map.

Alexandra Stewart, brought up in Woodend, described her experiences at Fortingall School in her book 'Daughters of the Glen' ;

'The Fortingall schoolmaster all the time our family made the daily walk was Mr James Simpson. Miss Menzies who had been teacher in the side school at Keltneyburn, moved to Fortingall when the roles became too big for Mr Simpson to handle alone and retired at the same time. Miss Menzies was a stickler for a good manners but she had a great way with children and they were always anxious to please her. She was kind, and any child who felt under the weather was taken to sit by the lovely coal fire. At the same time Miss Menzies encouraged a healthy spirit of competition in striving to be top of the class. We were well grounded when we left to go into standard 3 in the big room where Mr Simpson taught English, history, geography and arithmetic on the solid basis of Miss Menzies's ABC work.
Mr Simpson was strict and the tawse was often in evidence but he was a very good schoolmaster, with the resources allowed him - very methodical, considerate if a pupil had a real difficulty although severe on impishness. He was fond of music which he taught occasionally and was careful in choosing poetry for recitation. A few weeks before Christmas Mr Simpson relaxed a little from the usual routine and concentrated on our singing for Lady Currie's Christmas treat. He taught us Christmas hymns and carols. He had a rich baritone voice and he mellowed as he sang.He was an elder and sunday school superintendent in the little United Free Church beside the school .
His earnest hope was that his little charges would learn adequately and do well, and many of them did'.

Peter Fisher's memories of James Simpson were less forgiving. He was Mary's nephew.

James also acted as registrar. Some of the family certificates bear his name.

In May 1921 he retired from teaching. In 1932 James died in Drummond View in Fortingall and Mary, who had moved intoTigh na Dalloch in Keltneyburn with her daughter Mary Campbell, died in 1943.

Simpson familyTheir children

Mary and James had eight children. Mary Simpson, their only daughter, married John Campbell. He farmed Duneaves which had been farmed for 50 years by James Anderson and his wife Elizabeth Fisher. They spent their later years at Tigh na Dalloch.

John and Mary's daughter, Mary Campbell, married David Robertson Dow, who followed Charles and John Ford as gamekeeper at Glenlyon House. David Dow's first wife was Elizabeth Coupar whose mother was the daughter of Peter Fisher and the post-mistress at Fortingall. When David was forced by arthritis of the hips to give up gamekeeping he took over as post-master.

On 10 February, 1926 the following article appeared in the Perthshire advertiser:

Fortingall Canadians. Mr Robert Fisher, second son of Mr John Fisher, Culdaremore, Fortingall, who after an absence of six years, has been at home on a two months' visit from Canada, sails on his return journey on Saturday, the 13th inst. Mr Fisher is engaged in sheep farming near Taber, S. Alberta, and is doing well. On his return he acquires additional 36 square miles of pasture land leased from the Dominion government. His youngest brother, Peter, who went out three years ago, is in company with him.
Another from the Fortingall district is Mr Robert T. Simpson, of Alderson, S. Alberta. He likewise is engaged in sheep farming, and having revisited the home country during last summer, after an absence of 11 years, returned to Canada in October. His brother, Mr James Ian Simpson MC MA, emigrated five years ago, shortly after the conclusion of the great War. At first he was interested in arable farming in Alberta, but now, for the third session, holds an appointment in University School, Victoria, BC, in which teachers are all graduates of English and Scottish universities. The latter two are sons of Mr J. Simpson, retired teacher.

James Ian subsequently founded 'Glen Lyon School' in Victoria.

Page last updated - 7/11/15