David A. Maxwell: From Farm Boy to Respected Educator
David Maxwell lived a long and successful life but never got the opportunity of opening the school named in his honor.
Maxwell died at the age of 83 at his home in Kingsville, less than a week before the official opening of David Maxwell School in January of 1929.
He was well known throughout Southwestern Ontario as a teacher, an administrator and a scholar, great accomplishments for a man born on a farm in Middlesex County in the late 1840s. Although his father died when he was just an infant, he worked on the farm and studied until he got his teaching certificate at the age of 16.
In the early years he taught in Cornwall, Wallaceburg and Chatham. He then moved into the position of principal in Strathroy, where he met his wife Catherine Luckham, also a teacher. They had four sons.
By 1875 Maxwell was ready for bigger things: he became the inspector of schools for South Essex. He and his family moved to Amherstburg where they were community leaders and important members of the local Methodist Church.
At that time, Maxwell was known for his determination to visit all the schools he inspected. Even in the worst of winter weather he would take his horse and buggy across the county to keep check on the schools. He was particularly interested in the ventilation and lighting in the school rooms. That may sound strange today but at the time, it was considered very forward thinking.
He was also concerned about play activities and schools under his direction became models for other schools across the province.
Maxwell took on more responsibility when he moved to Windsor to also become the inspector of schools for Windsor, Walkerville and Ford City.
At his death in 1929, David Maxwell was praised by educators and other leaders from across the province but perhaps his greatest honor was the naming of David Maxwell School. Even 90 years later, the school reminds us of the contributions Maxwell made to the community.
(Note: The information on David Maxwell is primarily from the archives of The Windsor Star.)