Significant Dates & Events


1894 – December 20th – Fred is born to Jacob & Sarah (nee Livermore) Sloman at their home in Clinton, Ontario. Fred attended elementary and secondary school in Clinton.

1897 – February 15th – Cela Beacom is born in Goderich Township to William & Annie Beacom. She moved to Clinton after her father died when she was quite young. Cela attended elementary and secondary school in Clinton.

1914 – CN railway car #15089, a Colonist Car, is built by Crossen Car & Manufacturing Company of Cobourg, Ontario. The car was first used as a hospital car at a Quebec army base and then as a colonist car.

1915 – Fred serves in the Field Ambulance Corp in World War I in France and was injured while carrying a stretcher. He recovered in a British army hospital.

1916-17 – Cela attends Normal School (Teacher’s College) in Toronto.

1919-20 – Fred attends Normal School (Teacher’s College). Cela teaches kindergarten to immigrant children in Toronto.

1920-23 – Fred teaches Latin at the Blyth Continuation School.

1923 – Fred starts teaching in Northern Ontario at Krugerdorf, near New Liskeard, in a one room school house.

1923 – Fred returns home at Christmas to marry Cela in the Blyth Anglican Church (Cela gave up her teahing job in Toronto).

1926 – Fred contacts school superintendent J.B. McDougall with proposal to become a travelling teacher for children living in the bush.

1926 – Fred and Cela start a teaching experiment in September on the School Car, CN railway car #15071 at Capreol West, travelling on a 237 kilometre (150 miles) route. Prince George visits the School Car.

1927 – The Railway School Car program is considered to be successful so it is expanded beyond the original two routes.

1930 – Fred purchases a movie projector to be used for the community centre in the evenings.

1939 – July – King George and Queen Elizabeth visit the School Car.

1940 – Sloman family of seven take delivery of a larger rail car (#15089), which is 80 feet long, 28 feet longer than their first rail car. The School Program reaches its peak with seven routes throughout Northern Ontario, serving an area of over 1000 miles.

1960s – Student enrollment in the School Car program begins to decline significantly in the early 1960s.

1965 – Fred retires after 39 years on the School Car, 45 years in total spent teaching. Only two school cars remain in operation. Fred and Cela return to live in the Sloman family home in Clinton. Plans are made to have rail car #15089 made into a museum at North Bay (plans eventually fell through).

1967 – The last CN Rail School Car is donated to Exporail, a railroad museum in Delson, Quebec, near Montreal. The School Car program in Northern Ontario is discontinued.

1973 – Fred Sloman passes away at age 78 in Westminster Hospital in London, Ontario on February 14. A funeral is held at the Ball Funeral Home in Clinton and he is buried at Baird Cemetery in Stanley Township.

1982 – Clinton Town Council purchases the Sloman School Car after daughters Cela and Margaret find the car in a Toronto area railway salvage yard, in very poor condition. The school car arrives in Clinton, to Sloman Memorial Park, next to the Bayfield River. Restoration work begins. Margaret becomes the Curator of the Museum. Cela also receives the Ontario Medal for Good Citizenship in Toronto.

1984 – Cela receives the Order of Canada in Ottawa from Governor General Jeanne Sauve.

1989 – Cela passes away on June 16 at the age of 92 in her home in Clinton. Her funeral is held at Ball & Falconer Funeral Home and she is buried at Baird Cemetery in Stanley Township.

2003 – Fred Sloman is inducted into the Canadian Railway Hall of Fame in the Heroes category for his dedication and diligence during his teaching career that touched the lives of so many in remote Northern Ontario.

2007 – School on Wheels celebrates 25 years of being located in Clinton.

2012 – School on Wheels Railcar Museum has been located in Clinton for 30 years and celebrated this milestone in July 2012 with a day-long celebration.