David Caughie was born in Stranraer on 16th April, 1802, the son of Andrew Cawghey, a weaver in Hillhead, and his wife, Margaret Thomson.
Caughie’s Personal Life
Caughie married his first wife, Anne Gartley, the daughter of Daniel Gartley and Elizabeth McCrae from Hutchestoun, Glasgow, on September 23rd, 1826.
They had one child, Maryanne, who may have been named after Stow’s first wife, Marion or Maryanne. It is Anne Caughie who is referred to in the comments in the Visitors’ Book of the Glasgow Infant School Society.
‘I cannot express the impression made on my mind, on beholding such a group of Infants so far advanced in knowledge – great praise is due to their teacher Mr Caughie, also to Mrs Caughie for the material care she displays over her young charges.’ (September 29, 1829 – Allan Buchanan)
The cleanliness, attention and aptitude and intelligence of the children in their remarks and answers are striking and prove the fitness of Mr and Mrs Gaughie (sic) for leading on the young minds of their pupils through the different Parts of Instruction suited to an Infant School. (October 21, 1829 – Thomas Brown)
I have repeatedly visited this Infant School and on every occasion have had much gratification. I beg leave to bear testimony to the assiduous and parent like interest that Mr and Mrs Gauchie (sic) take in their youthful charge and the cleanliness, order and subordination and attention that are discovered among the children, not to speak of their intellectual attainments, afford sufficient proof of the importance of this Institution. I have therefore to record my approval of all that I have this day witnessed. (November 6, 1829 – Hugh L Brown)
An intriguing minute appears in the Minutes of the Free Church Training College for 2nd November, 1846:‘The meeting appoint Miss Caughie as an assistant to her father at a salary of £15 per annum commencing from first August last.’ This must be Maryanne Caughie who was born 6th April 1828 and who would therefore be 18 in November 1846.
Anne died sometime between 1830 (the last entry in the Visitors’ Book) and 1835, when Caughie married his second wife.
This was Jane Robertson, of India Place, and took place in St Stephen’s Parish Church on 16th April, 1835. Caughie is described as a ‘Teacher residing in St Andrew’s Parish, Glasgow’.
David and Jane had nine children.
Margaret Caughie (1836-1921) married a teacher, John Rebanks on 10th March, 1864 at ‘East Park Villa’ which still survives on Maryhill Road, Glasgow. David Stow and George Heggie, a fellow Sabbath-school teacher, were witnesses. John was from Longmartin Parish, Westmoreland. Their marriage was witnessed by Thomas Morrison, the Principal of the Free Church Training College, and John Henderson. They had at least one child, John. Margaret outlived her husband and died at 9 Westmoreland Street, Glasgow, of cerebral haemorrhage and haemophilia. Until her marriage, Margaret taught at the Free Church Normal Seminary:
‘By the recommendation of Mr. Stow and the Rector it was agreed to appoint Miss Margaret Caughie assistant to her father in the Initiatory Department at a salary of thirty pounds per annum.’ (FCTC Minutes, 30th August, 1852). She resigned on 10th June, 1861 (FCTC Minutes).
Jane Caughie was born three years after Margaret in 1839 when Robert Hislop, a master and later acting-Principal of the Normal Seminary were the witnesses. A ‘Miss Jean Caughie’ was appointed teacher in the Industrial Department of the Glasgow Free Church Training College on 10th June, 1861, the date that Margaret Caughie (above) resigned (FCTC Minutes). Jane (or possibly Jean) married Robert Macdonald also at East Park Villa, Maryhill. Her address is given as 215 New City Road (the site of the Normal Seminary) and his as 168, New City Road. They were married ‘according to the forms of the Free Church of Scotland’. James Caldwell and John Caughie were witnesses.
Andrew Thomson Caughie (1841-1879) followed, his baptism witnessed by Allan and Alexander McIntyre. He was a distiller and married Margaret Glen Forgie on 18th December, 1874 at 5, Osborne Terrace, Edinburgh. Andrew was then of Holford Square, London, and Margaret was married in her own home.
Daniel and Peter McNabb witnessed the baptism of Amanda Stewart Caughie (1842-1917) who married William Barrie Falconer Fraser on 13th June, 1872 at 65, Bath Street, according to the Forms of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. He was a mercantile clerk. At the time of the marriage, both lived at 65, bath Street. The witnesses were Robert N. Caughie and Jessie Fraser. She died in Troon of ‘failure of the heart’.
The Caughies’ fifth child was named David Stow Caughie (1843-1897), obviously in honour of Caughie’s patron. The witnesses at his baptism, strangely, were John Stark and Robert Hislop. David married Elizabeth Cowan and they had at least one son, Frederick David Caughie, who was born in 1870. David died of consumption as a passenger on board the ‘Broderick Bay’.
Janet Robertson Caughie was born on 14th April, 1845: her baptism was witnessed by Robert ‘Heyslop’ (sic) and James Martin. Before her marriage she was an Assistant Teacher. She married John Balgarnie, (or Bilgarnie) a banker, on 13th August, 1872, at 65, Bath Street, according to the Forms of the Free Church. He was lodging with the Caughies in the Census of 1871 and they were married the following year. They were married by Robert Balgarnie, (presumably a relative of John although his father was a farmer). The witnesses were A. J. Caughie and Helen C. Whyte.
Inevitably, perhaps, the next child – Robert Hislop Caughie (1848-1877) was named after Caughie’s colleague at the Free Church Training College. His baptism was witnessed by James Martin and Hugh McKay.
The eighth child, William Stewart Caughie, was born on 13th October, 1849.
The last child, Sarah Stow Caughie (1854-1933) married George McHarg, a store-keeper, in 1871 at 30, Grafton Square, Glasgow, according to the Forms of the Reformed Presbyterian Church. George was a mercantile clerk of 23, Canal Bank, Glasgow. She lived at 65, Bath Street. Her sister, Amanda Stewart Caughie, and William Fraser, Stow’s first biographer, were witnesses. Sarah and George had at least one child, also Sarah Stow, who predeceased her mother. Robert Rusk, one of Stow’s earliest biographers, contacted Mrs McHarg when he was writing his ‘History of the training of teachers in Scotland’ for the EIS in 1928. On receipt of a copy of this book she wrote to thank him on 31st July 1928 from an address at 37, Cranworth Street, Hillhead, Glasgow.
Sarah died at 24, Riccarton Crescent, Troon
Throughout the records David Caugie is referred to as a teacher, Infant School Teacher, school-master, teacher of English and finally ‘Initiatory School teacher’.
David and Jane Caughie appear to have taken in boarders. The Scottish Census of 1841, in addition to his wife and five children, at Hope Place names:
While the Scottish Census, 1861, in addition to his wife and six children at East Park Villa, Maryhill, lists:
By the 1871 Census, David and Jane Caughie were living at 65, Bath Street and their daughters Amanda, Jane and Sarah were married from there. Presumably one consequence of Caughie joining the Free Church of Scotland in 1845 was that, he and many like him, lost his home.
Caughie was appointed to the Infant School in the Drygate by the Glasgow Infant School Society in 1828:
Mr Caughie on the occasion of his jubilee as a teacher referred more particularly to “my labours in connection with the Educational Society founded in 1827, under designation of the Glasgow Infant School Society, when in the spring of 1828, they established their Model Infant School in the Drygate, and appointed me as teacher of it.”
William Fraser notes:
‘In the selection of the first trainer, Mr. Stow showed great skill. A young man whose abilities as a teacher were not then recognised beyond the limits of the small and remote village of Stranraer, in Wigtonshire, was among the applicants for the new office, and, after proving his fitness for the work, was appointed. Earnestly devoted, loving his work as a Christian teacher – patient, lively, and exhaustless in resources for awakening and sustaining the attention of the youngest – buoyant of spirit, and lightening his labour with fitful gleams of natural humour – he soon proved a Model Infant Trainer, gained the respect of the directors, and faithfully represented in practice Mr. Stow’s principles, within the limited means then at his command. Mr Caughie is still, sustaining, with unflagging zeal, his labours among the young, drawing their sympathies to himself, directing their tender faculties, and honourably maintaining his universally acknowledged position as the oldest and ablest infant school trainer in Scotland.’ (Fraser, William 1868, Memoir of David Stow, p. 82)
Chambers Biography of Eminent Scotsmen notes
The Society’s Model School, Drygate Street. Mr and Mrs Caughie are the teachers. From its establishment, in 1827, the scholars have varied from 120 to 150, according to the season of the year. Later moved to Steel Street (St Andrew’s).
Saltmarket School (actually in Steel Street, off the Saltmarket.) The buildings for this School are also in such a state of forwardness as to admit of the School being opened early in 1832. This School is now to be the model; Mr and Mrs Caughie, from Drygate School, teachers – it is under the management of the Parent Society, and will accommodate 300 scholars. The locality of this School is admirable. Infants who are now allowed to run wild in crowded streets, or filthy closes, will have the benefit of a spacious school room, and enclosed play ground, under the protection of affectionate teachers. This school was accommodated upon the ground floor of a Wesleyan Chapel in the Saltmarket, with the space in front for a playground.
This school was also chosen by the Glasgow Educational Society as one of their ‘Model’ schools for ‘Normal’ training. ‘The Committee also report that St Andrew’s Parochial Infant School, Saltmarket, already known by the name of ‘The Model Infant School’, and under the charge of Mr Caughie, is justly entitled to be held up to public attention, as exhibiting the best and purest specimen with which they are acquainted, of an Infant school; and as, in all respects, well fitted for receiving young men to be trained as masters’
The Post Office Directories trace Caughie’s progress as an Infant School Teacher
For 1828-9 (Glasgow, l828): Infant School, 39 Drygate; David Caughy (sic), teacher;
For 1829-30 (Glasgow, l829): Infant School, 39 Drygate; David Caughie, teacher
For 1830-31 (Glasgow, 1830): Infant School, 39 Drygate; David Caughie, teacher
For 183l-32 (Glasgow, 1831): Infant Model School, 15 Drygate; Mr David Caughie, teacher.
For 1832-33 (Glasgow, l832): Caughie, David, teacher, Infant School, Green St.
For 1833-34 (Glasgow, 1833): Caughie, David, teacher, Infant School, Green Street.
For 1834-35 (Glasgow, 1834): Caughie, David, teacher, Infant School: Green Street.
For 1835-36 (Glasgow, 1835): Caughie, David, master of the Model Infant School, Saltmarket; entry Steel Street and St Andrew Square.
For 1836-37 (Glasgow, 1836): As above
For 1837-38 (Glasgow, 1837): Caughie, David, infant teacher, Normal Seminary, Dundas Vale, Cowcaddens.
‘The Infant department has already commenced, under the able superintendence of Mr Caughie, and the Juvenile department begins next week. The buildings are admirably adapted to the objects in view.’
Curious incidents in Caughie’s career
A curious incident occurred in February 1853, when the Rector brought before the Committee of the Free Church Training College ‘a statement of some reports which had been made against Mr. Caughie in regard to the distribution of bread among the children attending his department which the meeting after hearing reports had been communicated to Mr. Caughie by Mr. Long’.
The Minutes continue: ‘The meeting, after hearing Mr. Caughie and Mr. Long in explanation agreed to adjourn the further consideration of the case until Monday the 14th, Current.
Four days later at a subsequent meeting to hear the case, Caughie was completely exonerated.
‘The meeting having been duly constituted proceeded to investigate the charges made against Mr. Caughie. After due deliberation it was unanimously agreed that there was no foundation for the charges in question and that Mr. Caughie was entirely free from blame and that Mr. Long, while acting conscientiously, should be reprimanded for his undue interference in the matter.’
Caughie also tells of having ‘to flee for his life before an infuriated mob that wrecked his class-room’when he introduced the arithmeticon.
He was a member of St John’s Parish Church, contributing £2.10 to the erection of the new Chalmers Parish Church in Claythorn Street. After the Disruption, Caughie continued as the ‘head trainer of the initiatory or infant department of the Glasgow F.C. Normal Seminary’Caughie celebrated his Jubilee as a teacher in 1868:
‘A meeting was held in the hall of the Free Church Normal School yesterday evening, for the purpose of presenting Mr. David Caughie with a testimonial on the occasion of his having attained his fiftieth year as a teacher. The Rev. Dr. Buchanan presided. The proceedings having been opened with praise and prayer, the Rector (Mr. T. Morrison) referred to Mr Caughie’s great success as a teacher and trainer of the young; and concluded by presenting him, in name of friends, with a silver salver and a purse of sovereigns. Mr. Caughie acknowledged the presentation at some length, referring in the course of his observations, to the utility of infant training schools. The Rev. chairman made a few remarks. He expressed his conviction that Mr. Caughie was the prince of infant school teachers. The meeting was subsequently addressed by the Rev. William Fraser, the Rev. Dr. Lorimer, and the Rev. R. Wilson. Music enlivened the proceedings.’
At the presentation of the bust by Handyside Ritchie to Stow in 1851, it was David Caughie: who made the speech on behalf of the subscribers,to which Stow responded graciously:
‘When I remember, for the long period of twenty-five years (when you and I, Mr. Caughie, first worked together) the ardour, the prudence, intelligence, and Christian deportment of the master trainers, and the excellent conduct and devotedness of the students under their charge……. I feel proud at receiving this testimonial from the hands of such a class of persons.’
Caughie died on May 10th, 1874
This ‘Prince of Infant School Teachers’, as he has been happily called, died at his residence in Bath Street, on Sabbath afternoon. By many, outside the circle of his own immediate relatives, his death will be felt as a personal loss, while his removal causes a blank in the staff of the Free Church Normal School, in which he has laboured ever since its establishment in 1843, which it will be impossible to fill. Mr. Caughie was born an infant school teacher. His power was natural to him, was part and parcel of the man, though, like every natural gift, it was improved by the knowledge acquired by experience. He early attracted the notice of the lat Dr Welsh and Mr. Stow at the time when they contemplated establishing a Normal School in connection with the Glasgow Education Society. Brought by them to Glasgow in the year 1827, Mr. Caughie has thus laboured for 47 years in the cause of infant school education – in the Saltmarket, in the Church of Scotland Normal School, and since in the Free Church Normal School. In his own particular walk he had no equal. His influence over the young was complete. He retained the most child-like disposition to the last, and his power of understanding children and of sympathising with them was wonderful. Two generations of scholars have passed through his hands, all of whom will call to remembrance the hearty, active, genial old man, as he moved among his little ones with the authority of a master, but with the feelings of a child. It would be difficult to analyse the secret of his power, everything he did seemed in him so natural, but difficult of attainment by another man. On seeing him conduct a lesson, one had the feeling that it was so simple that anyone could do the like; it was only after trial that the mistake was found out. Simplicity was a leading characteristic of the man – the highest attainment, and the most difficult for anyone to reach. He was simple as a child, his character transparent and open, and won his way to the heart of all, whether young or old, as if by instinct. Early imbued with the knowledge and love of divine truth, he made it his great aim in life to impress this truth on the hearts of his scholars, and many in far distant lands have gladly testified to the benefits which they derived from his instruction. In every relation of life Mr. Caughie exhibited the grace of singularly unobtrusive but warmest piety. As an office bearer of the Church, he was held in high esteem. As an estimable citizen, he was respected by all who knew him. A good man, and full of years, he has passed away after serving his generation faithfully. Few men have been privileged to do more good than he in his own special sphere and how he rests from his labours, and his work ceases.
Evaluation of this work: September 7, 1928: The Scottish Educational Journal
A Great Educationalist: David Caughie Born 1802, died 1874.
When the Centenary of David Stow is celebrated next week it is well that the man who contributed so largely to the success of Stow’s educational work should not be forgotten. David Caughie, by his loyal support, his abounding enthusiasm, his originality and remarkable talents, ensured practical success in the school room for the aspirations and dreams of the great educationist. Stow seemed to have attempted an impossible task when he established, in the Drygate, a school in which children should not merely learn the three R’s but should be in the fullest sense educated, and trained, though not too obtrusively( in morals and citizenship.
The children were selected from all classes – rather they were quite unselected – and the project was regarded somewhat suspiciously at first by the parents, but the originator had confidence and courage, and, backed by the loyal support and educative genius of David Caughie, he achieved a remarkable triumph.
Children were welcomed at three years of age and were admitted up to eight or nine, and, while the school was open to the poorest, quite a number of prominent Glasgow citizens survive who remember clearly and gratefully their old master. The work consisted of a judicious blend of lessons and play with frequent recourse to singing and music during the working hours. We hear much in these days of self-determination, and eurhythmics, and kindergartens, as triumphs of educational research, but these, a full century ago, were the commonplaces of David Caughie’s daily routine. Children were allowed to develop on lines that appealed to them: manual and constructive work was an essential part of his system: marching, physical exercises and natural dancing were almost hourly relaxations. Truancy was practically unknown, children were reduced to tears when detained at home, and the school room became at once the refuge and the playground of his little pupils. He had frequently more than a hundred children in his tiered gallery of seats and the elder and more advanced pupils were delighted to assist the beginners and the backward.
The very thought of physical punishment revolted the great infant teacher and the only penalty for the very rare breaches of rules was the silent but unmistakable disapproval of the other scholars. Moral training – in kindliness and consideration for others, absolute truthfulness and fairness, observance of rules and duties, and in personal cleanliness and tidiness were as much, or more, the aim of the teacher as advancement in learning. Caughie always maintained ‘that the playground was a much more fruitful field for character building and ethical training than the class room. His pupils were then less on their guard and moral delinquencies were more frequuently revealed.
He invariably supervised all games and pastimes, and he could move about the playground with children swinging from his arms, and even his coat tails, without loss of respect or personal, dignity.
Teachers came from all over Scotland to see the great master and his methods, and many who came prepared to scoff departed full of respect and amazement. Many wondered whether it was the man or the method that produced such amazing results: none of his followers was ever quite so successful, and it is remarkable that his methods were continued by his students in the United States when they had fallen into abeyance in Scotland. His career, however, was not one of unbroken success and he remembered to his dying day how, on his introduction of the ball-frame for counting, – the report was spread that he was introducing beads and popish teaching, and he had to flee for his life before an infuriated mob that wrecked his class-room. The years he spent at Dundas Vale and later at the Stow Training School were fortunately free from such unpleasant incidents.
It is safe to say that no other man ever had such a profound personal effect on the minds and morals of young children. Yet he was not a man of deep intellect and he had neither great learning nor wide culture, but he possessed to a unique degree a gift that amounted almost to genius. The secret of his success has never been apprehended even by those who knew him best. When one pictures that short and stocky figure with the massive head, the thin straight lips, and dour Calvinistic cast of features, it takes more than the generous brow and steady kindly eyes of the portrait to suggest the warm humanity and tender sympathy of his real nature. Almost four generations of pupils passed through his hands, and, when he died, the newspapers of the day bear generous tribute to this “prince of schoolmasters” and lament the city’s loss. Few men have been privileged to do more good than he in his own special sphere.