Eastmanville School District Has Long, Interesting
History, 1842 - 1951
(4 October 1951 - The Observer)
Eastmanville School is very fortunate in having their school records from the very first year of organization in 1842. Not only have the minutes of the school and board meetings been preserved but the rate bills, lists of scholars and teachers, assessors bonds and other valuable papers also. These papers and records will be on display at the school house on November ninth.
The first school was a log school built in 1844. It stood near where the large stone on the northeast corner of the main intersection now stands. It cost $75 and most of the work was done by Dr. Eastman, who was the lowest bidder. Later he bought it back for $5.
The teachers who taught in the log school were Marcia C. Hopkins, Martha Maxfield, and Matilda Angell. In 1848 Miss Maxfield taught 12 weeks for $12.00. School was held only in the summer.
The second school was of frame construction. It was built by William C. Comford for the sum of $349.50 and was completed by the first day of January, 1849. This building stood right north of the Ossewaarde & Pratt Garage.
Martha Maxfield was again hired to teach the school, but this time was a winter term of 17 weeks at $2 per week. Later this Miss Maxfield taught the Indians that lived at Battle Point.
This school like others at that time had a fence around the yard. In the book of instructions the children were forbidden to sit on or climb over the fence.
It seems that the plaster didn't stay on this building very well, for in the fall of 1856 a contract was made with a Mr. Britain to plaster the schoolhouse. It was specified that all the old plaster should be removed from over head and as much removed from the walls as was in anyway loose, that a substantial brown coat was to be put on those parts from which the old plaster was removed, the whole then was to receive a good white coat and it was to be done in a workmanlike manner and for the same the board agreed to pay Mr. Britain $40. This job, however was not done in a workmanlike manner so Mr. Britain received only $25.
At each school meeting the furnishing of the winters supply of wood was let to the lowest bidder. Usually the specifications called for one-half green wood and one-half dry and usually two and a half foot long.
One item of business at each school meeting was to vote on whether a male or female teacher was to be hired.
In 1859 the whole board resigned soon after taking office, the trouble seemed to be a disagreement over how much to pay the teacher.
In 1862 the three year term for each board member begun (prior to this an officer held his position one year only.) He always had to file his acceptance.
In 1867, 113 children attended school, they were not counted twice, and they averaged four months of attendance each. School was in session 8 months. The library consisted of 22 volumes.
In 1868 it was voted to buy the present site of the school from Thomas Hefferan. According to the plot of the town it was Block 12. Later in the year another meeting was held at which a motion was made and seconded to sell the old building. However, the minority refused to acquire the will of the majority and for the purpose of keeping harmony, a motion was made and seconded that the vote be rescinded.
The old site was sold to Thomas Hefferan for $75 and the old building was moved to the present site where it was enlarged to the present size, except for the front entrance which has been added in recent years. Marvel Garrison built the school for $1,000 and Daniel Really built the foundation for $115. The first term of school in the present building was in 1869.
The bell now in use was bought in 1856 by Timothy Eastman for $47.50. When they built around the old school they didn't bother to removed the old roof, so it is still in the attic.
When it was first built it consisted of two rooms. later the partition was removed but today it is back into two rooms, but the partition is not in the same place.
There is an interesting story in connection with the setting out of the maple trees, which are so numerous in the school yard. It was voted in 1872 to set out some maple trees. In 1876 it was voted to reset those that had died out. Still the trees continued to die, so in 1879 they voted at the school meeting to let to the lowest bidder, Charles Brown, a contract to reset 20 hard maple trees on the school ground. The trees were to be 2 inches in diameter and he was to keep them alive for three years, at the end of which time they agreed to pay him 95 cents a piece for all the trees that were alive. Six years later he collected on all twenty of them.
By these records it is known, therefore that part of the present building is 102 years old and the main part as it stands today is 83 years. The maple trees that so graciously shade the school yard are approximately 75 years of age.
Although there are two rooms, school is held in only one, the other is a play room for stormy days. At present the school has 32 pupils and all the grades from kindergarten through eighth.
Mr. Arthur Dyksterhouse has been director the last thirty years. He was replaced this year by James L. Mulder, Jr.
The museum and costuming committees for the schools 109th anniversary celebration, which is to be held November 8th and 9th, are anxious to contact people who have clothing that can be used in the pageant, or other articles that would be of historical interest for display. Anyone having such information please write or phone Mr. C. R. Kent or Mrs. James L. Mulder, jr. at Coopersville, or Mrs. Jack Van Wyke on the Marne exchange.
Created: 17 April 2012