SCHOOLS OF MIDLAND COUNTY

by Melinda L. Mills

         Education is power.  So is money.  So is electricity.  Men who put coal into a furnace in order to produce steam in the boiler, and then use the steam to run an engine that generates electricity, have in the electricity a higher form of power than was in the coal.

         The commonwealth of Michigan, at an early day, converted a portion of its public lands into money; a part of that money goes for educational purposes.  The state has in the education of its citizens a higher form of energy than was in the money or in the land.

         The highest truth the ages teach, is:  “Man is the noblest work of God.”  But man is not God’s noblest work unless God has the cooperation of man himself in developing his threefold nature, his mental, moral and physical life.  To train this threefold nature is the function of the school.  To train for noble manhood and womanhood is the ideal of the school.  The highest form of energy the state can have is the good citizen.

         An account of the origin of the primary school fund and the history of the free public schools of the state cannot be separated from the early history of Midland county schools.

         The Foundation:--About ten years after the Declaration of Independence, the Congress of the Confederation passed an ordinance upon which the educational superstructure of Michigan has been reared.  This was entitled “An ordinance for ascertaining the mode of disposing of the lands of the Western Territory.”  By its provisions section numbered sixteen of every township was reserved for the maintenance of the public schools within such township.

         Two years later the now famous “Ordinance of 1787” was passed by the same congress.  It furnished a body of laws for the government of the “Northwest Territory,” and among other things declared that “religion, morality and knowledge, being necessary to good government and the happiness of mankind, schools and the means of education shall always be encouraged.”  As we contemplate the present status of our schools—the result of more than a century of progress—as we notice that the germinal thoughts which took root under the ordinance referred to are still growing and expanding in the laws of our state, in the institutions of our commonwealth, and in the schools of our county, we are not unmindful of the gratitude we owe to those who made these things possible.  Judge Cooley has fitly said that the founders of a commonwealth soon pass away, but in their aims and purposes they build themselves into the structure they create and give to it a character and individuality that become dominant in the mature life of the state.  The story of how the plan originated and grew is an interesting one.  Some fifty years ago, on a hill north of where the court house at Marshall now stands, two men might have been seen one pleasant afternoon sitting on a log and deeply engaged in conversation.  This was while Michigan was yet a territory and the country practically a wilderness.  One of these men was soon to represent the new state in congress, the other was to become the founder of the free school system of the state.  The first was General Isaac E. Crary, a graduate of an eastern college and a warm friend of education; the other was John D. Pierce, a graduate of Brown, who had been sent out in 1831 by the Congregationalists as a home missionary.  The two men were discussing Cousin’s report of the educational system in Prussia.  The subject of education was to them a theme of special interest, for the legislative council had authorized the calling of a convention to form a state constitution, and fixed upon May, 1835, for it to go to the convention, and he and his missionary neighbor were very desirous that a right start should be made in the matter of state education.  So they had informed themselves, so far as the books of that day enabled them to do, upon what was being done in Prussia and other countries.

         The ordinance of 1787 had dedicated to “freedom, intelligence and morality” the great states of the northwest, and in pursuance of these objects had set aside lands for school purposes in Ohio, Indiana and Illinois.  Experience in these states had shown that it was one thing to make a grant, and quite another to have that grant wisely handled, and the proceeds derived from it effectively used to accomplish the desired end.  On the admission of these states, the sixteenth section had been donated to the township, to be disposed of by the township for the support of its schools, but in most cases these sections had been so managed by the authorities as to be of little worth to the cause of education.

         In some townships the section would be of great value but would be bid in for a mere song.  In one township a section might sell for $31,000 (one section in this state actually did sell for that amount); in the next township the reserved section might not be worth as many cents.  There was no equality in this system, so it was deemed advisable by General Crary and Mr. Pierce to devise a different plan for the disposal of these lands when Michigan became a state.  As the two men discussed the question that afternoon they were agreed in thinking the outlines of the Prussian system might profitably be followed here.  They agreed that education ought to be a state affair and be cared for by an independent department of state government.  They were of the opinion that the lands, granted by the general government for school purposes, should be granted directly to the state as trustee, instead of being given to the township, as had heretofore been the practice when new states were admitted.  Just how this could be brought about was not clearly seen by them, for they knew that precedent was a mighty factor in drafting bills.  However, the time for the convention for drafting a constitution came and General Crary, as one of the delegates, went to Detroit.  It happened that he was appointed chairman of the committee on education, and that he drew up an article that became the law of the state.  This report provided for the appointment of an officer the like of which no state in the union had, viz:  A Superintendent of Public Instruction.  Happily for the educational interests of the new state General Crary was elected our first representative to congress.  On his way to Washington Gen. Crary had an interview with Gov. Mason and suggested that he appoint John D. Pierce to the newly created office of Superintendent of Public Instruction.  This he did on July 26, 1836.  Mr. Pierce was an enthusiast in his work, but his enthusiasm was tempered by practical sense, and the levelheadedness so essential to permanent and far-reaching success.  In the meantime General Crary in congress was wrestling with the problem that was giving the new superintendent and himself so much anxiety, viz:  How should the sixteen section of each township be given in trust to the state and not to the individual townships?  How the uniform policy of congress could be changed was the real problem.  It was accomplished in this wise:  General Crary was asked to draft the ordinance admitting Michigan as a state, and he worded it so these school lands were really conveyed to the state, and it passed without question.  The change seemed not to have been noticed.  Had it been, no doubt the common form would have been substituted and the lands given to the townships.  No deception was practiced, as the ordinance spoke for itself, but the change was all important.  We had received a foundation on which to rear a superstructure and materials with which to build.

         The Plan—At the time Superintendent Pierce was appointed, the legislature passed an act requiring him to prepare and submit a plan for the organization and support of primary schools, a plan for a university with branches, also a plan for the disposition of the state land of which the state had been made the trustee.  This report was to be ready in January, 1837.  On receiving his commission, Supt. Pierce made a two months’ visit east to confer with educational leaders in regard to the organization, management and support of schools.  On his return he drew up his report of the three specified plans required by the legislature.  This report was adopted and is the germ from which the present educational system of our state has been evolved.  Thus John D. Pierce became the founder of our Michigan free school system.

         While the constitution of 1835 required that a school of at least three months be maintained in each school district, it did not require they should be free.  All deficiencies in the current expenses of the common school fund were raised by a tax upon parents or guardians of children attending school, and was determined by the number of days attendance.  This was the “rate bill,” and the law provided for the collection of this tax by severe measures, including the sale of property.  As late as 1869 the rate bill was a serious obstacle in the way of progress of the schools.  Poor men could not afford to send their children to school, and miserly men would not; thus attendance was small.  The constitution of 1850 provided for free schools not later than 1855, but for some reason they were not truly free until 1869.  It is worthy of note, however, that Father Pierce did not fail to urge upon the people that the schools must be free.  In his first report he said:  “Let free schools be established and maintained in perpetuity and there can be no such thing as a permanent aristocracy in our land, for the monopoly of wealth is powerless when mind is allowed freely to come in contact with mind.  It is by allowing a monopoly of learning, as well as of wealth, that makes a barrier between the rich and poor possible.”  In the mind of this far seeing educator universal education ought to be the objective point of all education endeavor.  To him universities and high schools were necessary.  Without them elementary education must wither and perish.

         For five years did Mr. Pierce discharge the responsibilities of his office.  So confident has the state been in his wisdom that it has followed, with but little deviation, the path he marked out.  Ought not the children of Midland county to know Father Pierce?

 

MIDLAND COUNTY.

 

         Absolute knowledge of the facts connected with the early educational history of Midland county is hard to obtain.  There were many Indians and French half-breeds living here as early as 1830, and it is said that they had an Indian Mission on what is known as Ball’s farm.  The missionary gave some instruction in school books, but how extensive this instruction was is not known.  The first actual white settler who came to stay was John Whitman, whose arrival dates back to 1836.  John Wyman came the same year, but returned to Saginaw to give his children school advantages.  This was the year before Michigan became a state and fourteen years before Midland county was organized.  The first school house in the country was built in 1850.  It was made of logs and located on the farm belonging to Herbert Sias.  The first teacher was Henry C. Ashman, a half-breed Indian.  Mr. Wm. Vance, from whom these facts were collected, says he helped build the school house and he claims it was built in true pioneer style.  He also says that Mr. Ashman was an expert in making quill pens, and that he taught writing school winter evenings.  For diversion, Mr. Ashman used to carry his rifle with him, and frequently would kill one or two deer before school hours in the morning.  The school had but sixteen pupils, and was supported by the rate bill.  It is further related of this first teacher that his father, Judge Ashman, was stolen, when a boy, by Indians living in the Lake Superior region.  When he grew up and married a squaw and had several children.  Henry, it seems, succeeded in getting a college education, and it is said of him that he was scrupulously honest and without doubt was one of the most intelligent men the county had ever had.  It may be interesting to mention in this connection that Midland county’s first teacher was also Midland township’s first supervisor and the county’s first prosecuting attorney.  As it happened that he was also the first representative to Lansing from this district, he succeeded in getting the legislature to give to the board of supervisors and prosecuting attorney the privilege of fixing the site for the county seat.  Having a large landed interest in the vicinity of Midland, he very naturally thought that the most eligible site.

         Currie School at the Bluffs—School District No. 1, Midland township, was organized in 1856.  By some this is supposed to be the first school organized in the county.  There is no question as to its being the first school organized after the county officers were elected and the county seat was established.  Mr. Blodgett was the first director and Mr. Major and Mr. Ellsworth the other officers.  Lucy Merch was the first teacher.  She was hired for a term of three months at $1.00 per week, with the privilege of boarding around.  The school house was a small frame building 24x16 feet.  The first few terms the pupils numbered eight or nine and their books consisted of any reading matter they happened to have—sometimes only a few leaves found about the house.  There were two rows of seats with a narrow aisle between.  These seats were rude wooden benches.  The district extended over ten sections, and included what is now Banks or Bailey district, the Phetteplace district, and a few sections of Saginaw county.  After the first few terms the pupils numbered 80 or 90, and were compelled to sit three or four in a seat.

         Mr. Major was director 22 years.  The present school house was built 30 years ago.  The material for the first building was all brought from Saginaw, Mr. F. Brailey being the contractor.  The children were often allowed to go to school barefooted and bare-headed.  The Indians were about as much civilized as the white people.  At one place where the teacher went to board, a large stick fireplace served the double purpose of heating the room and cooking the food.  Incidentally it served another purpose—that of making the pupils’ clothing smell as if they had hung in a smokehouse.  One of the early teachers went before the township board of examiners for a certificate.  When asked where London was she replied that it was a capital but she could not locate it.  Neither could she locate Paris nor tell which was the largest city in the world.  How much will 3 ½ yards of cloth cost at $20.00 per yard? proved too much for her knowledge of arithmetic; but she got her certificate and took the school.  Two of the officers, however, were opposed to her teaching because there were large pupils to attend and they thought she was incompetent to teach them.  So they locked her out, but she collected her wages.

         Midland township had seven districts in all with a total enrollment of 406 pupils.  The school houses are all frame, in good repair, and most of them are well furnished.

         The next schools to be organized in the county were the one at La Porte in 1857 and the one on the north side of the river in Midland the same year.

         The school house in Midland occupied the present site of the Unitarian church, and was reached from Main Street by a corduroy road.  Miss Flanders taught the first school.  She had an enrollment of eleven pupils.  Mrs. John Larkin relates this rather amusing incident illustrating the meagerness of qualifications required of teachers at that time:  Miss Flanders had been looking forward to the examination, that must be given her by the township examiner before she would be a qualified teacher, with much fear and trembling.  When Mrs. Larkin noticed that the examiner had to spell out simple words from the book before he could give Miss Flanders the question, she placed her hand upon her and told her to tremble no more.  She learned later that the examiner could not write his name.

         In a remarkable short time the school had increased in numbers so as to require more room.  The addition to the old building was put on about 1862, and the new brick building, costing $20,000, with furnishings at $3,000 more, was provided in 1872.  In 1887 this building was found to be insufficient and an addition was put up at a cost of $8,000.  Midland now has a fine central building and three ward buildings, all brick.  Thirteen teachers are employed, the schools numbering an enrollment of 600 pupils.  Total school property is valued at $38,000.  Midland school is now upon the University list.

         The La Porte School, as has been noticed, was organized in 1857.  The first census shows an enrollment of 11.  The last census, 147.  The grammar room of the present building was erected in 1873 and the primary in 1886.

         The earliest account of officers and teachers now on record begins in 1869, with B. G. Beden as director and Julia C. Carpenter, now Mrs. James VanKleeck of Bay City, as teacher.  In 1885 the school was divided into two departments.  Mary R. Burchard, the present principal, graded the school according to the State Course of Study in 1894.  La Porte school held its first annual commencement exercises in 1895.  There were four eighth grade graduates at this time and four ninth grade.  The second annual commencement of 1896 recorded five graduates from the eighth grade and four from the tenth grade.  This tenth grade passed the teachers’ examination in June, 1896.  Average age of class, sixteen years.  Examination papers have taken first premium at county fair for two years—1895 and 1896.  In 1895 the school established a circulating school library of 17 volumes; it now numbers 50 volumes.

         Edenville Schools—School District No. 1 was organized in 1859, with Daniel Burton as director, Daniel Bowman assessor, and Sylvester Erway as moderator.  A deserted log house on the bank of the Tittabawassee River was fitted up for a school house and Elizabeth Burton was installed as teacher.  There were eight pupils at that time.  In 1861 a plank building was erected on the site where the present house now stands.  The number of pupils was 14.  In 1882 it was found necessary to build again as the number of pupils had increased to 80.  A pretty frame building was now erected with modern furnishings to take the place of the uncomfortable home-made seats which had done duty so long in the old house.  This building afforded sufficient room until 1896, when again it was found to be too small to accommodate the 140 pupils now in the district.  An addition of 26x40 was put on to the main building.  This is now one of the finest buildings in the county and the patrons of Edenville are justly proud of their schools.

         Three pupils graduated from this school in 1893 under Miss Cora Blodgett, teacher; two in 1895, W. J. Caldwell, teacher; and six others graduated in 1896, with Miss Matie Baker as teacher.

         In Hope township there are four school districts.  The number of children in the township in 1896 between the ages of 5 and 20 was 312.  The school houses are all frame and in good condition.  District No. 1 was organized in 1862 with Charles Inman director, and Mrs. Wm. Ellsworth of Midland as teacher.  The first school house was made of logs with desks attached to walls by means of putting pins into the wall and then laying a plank thereon.  As no lumber was available, the desks, benches, floors, ceiling, table, etc., were all made with axe, plane and drawing knife.  At the present time one will find one of the finest frame buildings, surrounded by one of the finest and best kept lawns in the county.  Although the first teachers were largely imported from other counties, perhaps no other school has furnished so  many teachers to the county as this one has.

         Geneva has three districts and 198 pupils.  A fine  brick house can be found in District No. 1, while good frame structures may be found in the others.  North Bradley school house has a seating capacity of 80 pupils.  Mrs. Burchard graduated the first class in 1893, also one in 1894.  There were five members of each class.  A class of four graduated in 1896 under Miss Etta Wilson, and there are good prospects for the graduating of the same number under the same teacher this year.  This school has a ninth grade with algebra, general history, school law, pedagogy and literature as the additional studies.

         Larkin township has five districts and all are supplied with good frame buildings.  The total number of children in the district is 221.

         Lincoln township has but two districts with a census report of 179 pupils.  The school houses are all frame and in good repair.  The Sanford school was organized about 1872.  It has furnished seven teachers to the county, graduated three from eighth grade, with a prospect of three more this year.

         Homer township has three districts with 221 pupils.  Good frame houses are found in each.  These schools have also given to the county several graduates.

         Greendale township has three districts.  Good frame buildings, well furnished, in two of the districts.

         Lee has four school districts, with a report of 103 pupils.  Three school houses are frame, and one is log.

         Mt. Haley has four districts and 241 pupils.  Two of the houses are frame and two are log.

         Porter has five districts with an enrollment of 249 pupils.  All frame buildings.

         Jasper has six districts and 360 pupils enrolled.  Frame houses are found in all the districts.  In 1896 Hanley school gave to the county one graduate, and the Burlingame gave two.  Joint graduating exercises were held in the fine new church, marking an epoch in the history of Jasper schools.

         Mills township, organized in 1894, has three districts with 57 pupils.

         Coleman—The first school in the village was taught in 1871 by Miss Della Pierce, and was in a room about 12 feet square, which now forms a part of the dining room of the Coleman Exchange.  It soon outgrew these quarters and was transferred to a larger building on section 20.  Here Coleman pupils were cared for until about three years ago, when steps were taken to erect the fine structure now standing on block 36.  This school has at present seven departments, with a teacher in each, besides a room unoccupied.  Coleman has one of the finest school buildings in this part of the state.  Its pupils number nearly 400 according to the census report of 1896.  There are eleven grades in this school.

         There are now six districts in the township of Warren with a total enrollment of 593.  The buildings are all frame and are quite modern in their arrangement.

 

GENERAL EDUCATION NOTES.

 

         Reviewing a little, we find that Midland county’s first teacher became the first attorney, besides being the first holder of many other offices.  We found that his school was made up of nearly twenty pupils, part of whom were half-breeds.  A dingy little apartment made of logs served for a school room.  His pupils still insist that Mr. Ashman was a good teacher.  From this nucleus, and in harmony with the comprehensive system of the state as planned by Father Pierce, have grown the schools within the county as fast as the increase of population made school advantages necessary.  The people of Midland county have always evinced a commendable interest in the education of their youth.  These early schools were of course very rude and the instruction exceedingly elementary.  The early settlers were of limited means financially, but their circumstances were not sufficient, in their minds, to warrant a neglect of school privileges.  Hence, as soon as there was a sufficient number to entitle them to a school, a district was organized and a house built, or, as happened in several instances, school was held in a part of a dwelling house.  These houses, as has been noticed elsewhere, were often built of logs, the crevices being filled with split sticks and mud.  On the side and at one end of the room desks were made against the wall by boring holes into the logs and driving in pegs on which boards were fastened.  In front of these desks were benches, made by splitting logs in halves and inserting legs under the convex side.  Thus the pupils, while studying, sat with their backs to the teacher, and when the class was called they simply lifted their feet over the benches and faced the teacher.  They were then ready to recite.  The course of study consisted mainly of the three “R’s”—“readin, ritin and rithmetic.”  No one expected to do more than conquer fractions; very few mastered into the multiplication table, although they were put to ciphering the first thing.  There was little or no mental arithmetic.  Before the pupil mastered multiplication he often had occasion to repeat the familiar “saw” of that day:

           

                                    “Multiplication is vexation,

                                            Subtraction is as bad;

                                    The rule of three, it puzzles me,

                                            And fractions made me mad.”

 

         The teacher’s wages were raised by the rate bill, and the inducements held out to enter the profession of teaching included the privilege of “boarding around” and a salary ranging all the way from four or five dollars a month in summer to the extravagant price of fourteen dollars per month in winter.

         For many years the schools of our county increased more in number than in efficiency.  The wages paid offered little inducements for young men and women to educate themselves for the profession of teaching.  School apparatus consisted of a few ill assorted books and occasionally a square yard of blackboard made up of matched lumber covered with black paint, and cubes or chunks of chalk purchased by the pupils who used them.  A few of these boards may still be found, for they never wear out.  If they would only break, or if the teacher dare convert them into kindlings, it would prove a blessing to many schools.

         For thirty years after the state was admitted, the licensing of teachers was done by a township board.  Everyone who applied for a license to teach received it.  Uncultured teachers and unprogressive schools were the natural results of such a system.  The township board was required by law to elect one of its members “visitor” of schools, and it was his duty to visit each school in his township at least once a term and examine the work of the teacher by testing the pupils.  But school supervision requires technical knowledge as much as does the law, and the man who only occasionally interests himself in educational affairs cannot do effective work supervising schools.  In 1867 the law providing for a county superintendent of schools went into effect, but it proved unpopular, and after eight years of trial it was abolished.  In place of a county superintendent there was elected a superintendent for each township.  This drift back to the township was a total failure.  A demand for improvement in the rural schools led to the creation in 1881 of a county board of school examiners, to be composed of three members, whose duty it was to examine and license candidates.  The secretary of this board was to visit schools when the occasion demanded.  By the law of 1889 the secretary was to give his whole time to the supervision, with the title of County Secretary of Schools.  In 1891 the name of the officer was changed from County Secretary to Commissioner of Schools.  C. L. Jenney was the first to hold this office by appointment of the board of supervisors.  Melinda L. Mills, the present incumbent, was the first to be elected to the office by popular vote.  Miss Alice Warner was elected to succeed Miss Mills, whose term of office closes the last of June.

         Many improvements have been made in the last two decades.  A large percent of our schools have maps, dictionary, globe, reading charts, black boards, etc.  Uniformity of text books, improved methods, a higher standard of teaching ability, and a more professional spirit among teachers is doing, and will continue to do, its work in placing on a more efficient basis the rural schools of our county.

         Perhaps nothing has helped to put our rural schools upon this more efficient basis, next to the raising of the standard of its teachers, than the preparation of a State Course of Study in 1889, under the supervision of Prof. Estabrook, then state superintendent.

         First—This manual enables the children of the district schools to follow from term to term and from year to year a plain, simple, progressive line of study that shall give them a good, common school education.

         Second—It is also calculated to regulate the steps from grade to grade, so that pupils shall be interested and kept in school, encouraged and credited for work done, and that the usual waste of time and aimless work resulting from frequent change of teachers may be reduced to a minimum.

         Third—To put all the school work of the county on one common plan, so that methods used in teaching the various branches, amount of work accomplished, the system of reports, records, etc., may be the same.

         Fourth—To make the work of supervision stronger and more effective, and to enlist the interest and sympathy of parents and school officers by making them better acquainted with what the schools are endeavoring to do for their children.

         This course of study was adopted in Midland county in 1891.  Sixteen finished the course, that is, became graduates, in 1893, twenty-six in 1894, thirty-four in 1895 and forty in 1896.  All admit that the grading of our rural schools has been a success.  Teachers find it a great incentive to pupils to do better work and to remain longer in school.

         While the work of grading thus far has been gratifying, the work has not reached that perfection that it is yet to attain.  It has been compared to a plant of slow growth that needs a great deal of care.  To this end, educational rallies, township associations and patrons’ meetings have been held, the plan has been discussed in the homes, circulars have been sent to patrons, a manual of fifty pages was sent out in 1894, and the subject has been brought to the attention of our people in every available way, and yet this is the great burden of need:  that our patrons may be helped to more fully realize the system of grading and their part in contributing to its success.  So long as only about 70 percent of those drawing primary money are enrolled, and only about 75 percent of number enrolled are in attendance for the six or eight months, as the term may be, there will be great need of commissioners, school officers and teachers working together to secure the cooperation of indifferent parents.

         Midland county schools have prepared seven exhibitions of their work in the last four years.  These have been held at our teachers’ associations, both here and at Lansing, at our state institute and at our county fairs.  Exhibitions by individual schools are quite a common occurrence.  These exhibitions have been of great value to our schools.  By this means all have had the benefit of seeing work from the best schools.

         The subject of spelling has been revived by a system of spelling contests beginning with the district and ending with the state.  This revival was inaugurated by Supt. Pattengill in 1895.  The plan was adopted in this county much to the pleasure and profit of our schools.  Claudia Pontius, of Coleman, was the successful contestant.

         The establishing of district libraries has received considerable attention.  As a result many of our schools have secured a library, while many others are planning for one.

         The Teachers’ Reading Circle work has proved a helpful feature in developing a professional spirit among our teachers.  A large percentage of the teachers are enrolled.  The books read thus far have been:  Swett’s Methods and Shepherd’s Historical Readings; Boone’s History of Education and Parker’s Methods in Geography; Wood’s How to Study Botany and White’s School Management; American Outlines of Literature and King’s Interest and Duties.

         Midland County Teachers’ Association meets biennially and is largely attended.  Primary subjects, including child study, has received a large share of consideration.  A percent of attendance of ninety at the last state institute proves our teachers desire to improve.

         The plan of furnishing language paper, drawing paper, report cards, certificates of promotion, diplomas and the interest attendant upon the granting of diplomas, have all been productive of great good.

         All the schools, whether graded or ungraded, receive the money for their support from these sources:

         1.   From the interest on the primary school fund.

         2.   From a one-mill tax.

         3.   From school district taxes.

 

         1.  The origin of the primary school fund has been fully described in the first part of this article; its annual amount is about $1.50 per capita for all children of school age in the county.  This fund is apportioned by the Superintendent of Public Instruction among the townships, and by the township clerks among the district.

         2.   On all the taxable property of the county there is levied an annual tax of one mill on a dollar for school purposes.  This is called the one mill tax; it is assessed by the supervisor upon the taxable property of his township.  It amounts on an average to about one dollar per child.

         3.   At the annual meeting of every school district, except those that work under special charter, money is voted for school purposes:  as for instance, the building of school houses, keeping them in repair, purchasing necessary apparatus, etc.  This money, together with the amount estimated by the district board for hiring teachers, and for meeting all expenses arising from the proper maintenance of the school during the year, from the school taxes, and is levied by the supervisor on the taxable property of the school district.  In cities working under special charter, the form varies somewhat, but the idea is practically the same.

 

STATISTICS FOR 1896.

 

Number of school district                                                      73

Number of schools                                                                91

Value of school property                                             $84,712

Children between 5 and 20                                               4,641

Children attending                                                            3,324

Total number of teachers                                                     106

Male teachers                                                                           9

Female teachers                                                                     97

Average monthly wages paid male teachers                 $  46.74

Average monthly wages paid female teachers             $  28.82

Wages paid male teachers                                            $  2,561

Wages paid female teachers                                                     $16,152

Total wages paid                                                          $18,714

Total expenditures                                                       $34,978

Primary school fund                                                    $ 5,218

Number of school houses, brick                                                         6

Number of school houses, frame                                                       58

Number of school houses, log                                               12

Total number of school houses                                                          76

 

Lists of graduates having finished the State Course of Study for the rural school.

 

                                            1893

 

Bernice Blake                                                  Josie French

Dorrice Blake                                                  Wallace Hill

Earnest Baker                                                  Jemima Wilson

Willis Abbott                                                   Gertie Storer

Bessie Babcock                                               Nellie Smith

Meta Whitehead                                               Edith Hubbard

Hattie Russ                                                      Edith Dunton

Maggie Robinson                                             Norma Burton

 

                                            1894

 

Ernest Mills                                                      Lillian Smith

Laura Chambers                                              James D. Smith

Anna McCann                                                 Anna Holstrom

Inez Baker                                                       David Averill

Isabella Gandie                                                Tena Powers

Anna Galloway                                                Dora Howe

Maggie Holmes                                                LottieM. Tebbel

Angus Gowing                                                 Maude Morris

Lelia Putnam                                                    George Warner

Maggie Clancy                                                 Laura Winslow

Clara Northway                                               Dollie Winslow

Mabel Camp                                                    Ethel Beckley

Frank Zimmerman                                           Orpha Williams

 

                                            1895

Bessie Blasdel                                                  Edith MaChette

Minnie Button                                                  Bird J. Vincent

Weston Burrington                                           Electa Warner

John Booth                                                      Regina Abbott

Nellie Burns                                                     Grace O’Donnell

Pearl Blasdell                                                   Anna Ryan

Guy Kroll                                                                    Alice Ryan

Ada Yager                                                       Hannah Ryan

Capitola Rogers                                               Ella Hynes

Retta Bennett                                                   Edith Herbeck

Emma Spencer                                                 Mabel Herbeck

Mary Carroll                                                    Maggie Davidson

Annie McNair                                                  Gertrude Hawley

 

                                            1896

 

Bernard Wilson                                                Grace Lum

Maud Jackson                                                  Ray Young

Kate Swanton                                                  George Crowe

Jossie Hutchins                                                Bessie Hardy

Bernard Wilson                                                Grace Tremper

Belle Burgess                                                   Ralph Stafford

Katie Willis                                                      Gilbert Currie

Celian Nowlin                                                  Luella Wood

Dora Rice                                                                    Ida Winslow

Raleigh Wilson                                                Minnie Reifenburg

Clifford Lane                                                   Edna Warner

Clara Burns                                                      Hattie Pierce

Eva Keith                                                                     Minnie Johnson

Fred Keith                                                        Helen Fisher

Edith Geary                                                     Ida McMillan

Phebe Lamee                                                   Raymond Jacobs

Sophrona Windover                                         Phebe Lemee

Lauria Meredith                                               Florence Phiel

Eva Mainhood                                                 Lora Laffin

Laurin Budge                                                   Frank Luxton

Walter Budge                                                   Ethel Turner

Lillie Sugnet                                                     Edith Turner

Mae Wood                                                       Eva McDonald

 

 

REMINISCENCE

 

Once on a time and not far away,

In a village school one summer’s day

A teacher taught without credentials,

Not having been to the potentials.

The school board said it was no matter,

But to save her trouble, they soon or later

Would see the examiner, and send him down—

The school being a little out of town.

 

And so they did, in a month or so,

For the examiner had need to go

Down to the village on the green—

The village often called “Sixteen.”

To stop in going may have been his intent,

But on something else his mind seemed bent,

Until coming back, then was reminded by no lack

Of playing children at the door,

Young men and maidens all galore,

Numbering in all, at least, three score.

 

And one thing else he did forget—

Since he and the teacher had never met—

‘Twas, at the door to give his name,

To announce his coming, or, why he came.

The entry door it stood ajar,

And the first the teacher was aware

Of his approach, she heard a fall,

And there behind her on the floor

Lay a young man less than two score

Measuring in height, six feet or more.

 

Upon arising to his feet,

He thus announced in words not meek,

“I am the Superintendent,

And I have called to have you show

How many answers to these you know.”

At this, he opened up a sheet

Of questions (State), and quite complete;

“But, before proceeding you’d better say:

The pupils can go out to play.”

 

The teacher said this was not needed,

To which he reluctantly acceded,

And then began, Socratic fashion,

To give her her examination.

The questions came both thick and fast,

The answers likewise, to the last.

The pupils gazed, the smile went round

To hear the answers so profound.

 

Or, if perchance the answers stayed,

He noted not they were delayed,

At length, by all was heard to quote:

“Write me one promissory note,

As a specimen of your handwriting.”

This done, the sheet he did restore,

The license signed, then, to the door

He turned.  The teacher smiled to think ‘twas o’er,

Though mortal never had before

So credulous a questioner.

If we had room for the moral here,

It would be this:  Never drink beer;

For if you do, you may chance to fall

Like our hero did when he came to call.

 

        

©  2012 of transcription by Barbara Thornton

©  2012 by Donna Hoff-Grambau
ALL RIGHTS RESERVED

Volunteers hold copyright to the material they have donated for this site.  Not to be copied and used in any format to any other site or in any other media. 

 This server space is provided by Michigan Family History Network
 
Visit the Michigan Family History Network for more Midland County names.

 

Back to the Midland County Page!