Remarkable family of Stonetown scholars
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Mar 13, 2013  |  Vote 0    0

Remarkable family of Stonetown scholars

St. Marys Journal Argus

Mary Smith, Historic St. Marys

The photograph in this week’s column, an informal snapshot taken in September, 1923, shows Frederika Dale and her four children — Douglas and Frances on her left, Margaret and Emmaline on her right. The St. Marys Museum’s archival holdings have several large boxes relating to the Dale family including many photographs. Both Margaret and Frances liked to take pictures and both kept them well-organized and labelled.

This picture is from Margaret’s album. On the back she has written: “Last Sunday, before going to College.” Margaret, 19, was the oldest of the Dale children and about to start her post-secondary studies at University College in Toronto. She earned a degree in Honours Classics in 1927. Frances, younger by four years, graduated from University College in Classics and Physical Education in 1930.

When this picture was taken, Frederika Dale had been a widow for two and a half years. Her husband, the remarkable William Dale, died in February, 1921, in his 72nd year. As a boy, he had attended St. Marys Grammar School and Upper Canada College. In 1871, he graduated from University College, Toronto, with First Class Honours in Classics and Mathematics. He earned an MA in 1873 and taught in several secondary schools, including a year as principal at St. Marys Collegiate in 1875. He was appointed to teach classics at University College and was a greatly admired lecturer there from 1885-95. He later taught at Queen’s and McMaster.

Returning to St. Marys, he was active in municipal politics serving as mayor in 1918-19. He led popular discussion groups on world events at the library and at the Methodist Church. Always a scholar, he continued to study and write until his death.

Frederika (Ryckman) Dale was also highly accomplished. She was an early female graduate of Queen’s, earning a BA in 1898. William Dale, 27 years her senior, was her Classics professor. They were married in 1901 and went to live on the Dale farm southwest of St. Marys in Blanshard Township. They later moved to 89 Ontario Street South where their four children grew up.

Mrs. Dale was a pillar of the Methodist Church, the Women’s Institute, the Women’s Christian Temperance Union and, during both World Wars, the Women’s Patriotic League. She was the first woman to serve on the St. Marys Public Library Board where her energy and organizational abilities led to a number of improvements. She died in 1971.

For more information, contact the St. Marys Museum at or 519-284-3556.

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