Oldest School In Ottawa County
(June 19, 1903)

Eastmanville School is doubtless the oldest organized school district in Ottawa county, with the possible exception of Grand Haven.

In 1835 Rev. William Ferry, the founder of that place, erected a small frame building, (the first frame building in the county) in which Miss Mary White opened a private school consisting of nine pupils, William M., Thomas and Noath, children of Rev. William Ferry; Francis, Peter Louisa Deverny; Maston, George and Galen Eastman, the last three being the eldest children of Dr. Timothy Eastman. The building was used for some time for Church, Sunday-school and Courthouse. There is not to my knowledge any record of the time when the first public school was organized at Grand Haven.

The school at Eastmanville was organized 7 November 1842, and was known as district No. 1, of Tallmadge, and after the organization of Polkton in 1845, as district No. 1 of the latter town. As Benjamin and Timothy Lillie were the first settlers of the western part of the town of Wright, and as they did not moved into that region until 1843, there was not any school house there at that time. The facts are that the first school house in Wright was not built until about the year 1848, and the first school was held in that year, and the teacher was Miss Jennie Eastman; the second school was held in 1849, the teacher being Miss Abbie Eastman, both daughters of Dr. Timothy Eastman, of Eastmanville. The town of Wright was not organized as a separate township until 5 April 1847, at which time it was detached from Tallmadge. It is a question whether this school is entitled to be called the third school organized in the county of Ottawa. I think that Tallmadge, Georgetown and even Spring Lake, come in ahead of Wright. The dates of these last three I cannot give. The first school house in Tallmadge was built about a mile above Steele's Landing (now Lamont) opposite the Stoddard farm, and the first teacher was the well known old settler, the late Stephen Hedges, of that place. The year is not, to me, known but is supposed to be about the year 1845. The first school in Georgetown is said to have been built about 1846, and its location where the Bosworth or "Canada Hill" School is now located. One of the first teachers of this school was Miss Ann Evarts, who was also a teacher in the Eastmanville school in 1850. Miss Evarts was the late Mrs. William N. Angell, of Grand Haven.

The Eastmanville School held classes three months each year. No names of teachers was given until 1847 when William Angell presided. Miss Martha Maxfield taught in the summer of 1848 and was paid one dollar per week for her services. In the summer of 1849, Miss Mathilda Angell (now Mrs. William Blakney, of Lamont) taught a three months' term for which she received "eleven shillings" per week, a raise on her predecessor of 3 shillings a week. In 1851, they voted to hire a male teacher for the winter term, provided a suitable person could be had, and they voted the pay not to exceed the sum of fifteen dollars per month. George Lowell was the man found to fill the bill. The latter at last account was residing near Lansing; he has a nephew in Grand Rapids, an attorney by the name of Arthur Lowell.

Contributed by "Old Settler"

Transcriber: ES
Created: 17 April 2012
URL: http://ottawa.migenweb.net/schools/polkton/EastmanvilleOldest.html