Photos of the Old Wooden Marshall School and the later block building

Students of Marshall School, Unknown Year

Marshall School District #5

    In 1851 Marshall School classes were held in a lean-to building off the F. A. Marshall home.  A wood frame building was erected in 1855 near Cleveland and 72nd Avenue at a cost of $440.  In 1906 a cement block building was constructed to replace the frame one.  This burned and a second cement block building was erected which was much like the first one and still stands today.

    The first teacher, Mary Ann Murphy, earned $2.00 per week, and out of that salary she paid $1.00 a week for room and board to the family where she stayed.  many of the teachers lived with a family in the area due to poor transportation.

    Marshall School joined the Coopersville Public Schools in 1960.


Interesting History of Marshall School
(3 September 1920 - The Observer)

Read at First Annual Reunion of Teachers and Scholars

The following history of the Marshall School, was written by Mrs. George Marshall, and read, by her, at the First Annual Marshall School Reunion, which was held Friday, August 20:

To the Former Teachers, Pupils, and Friends of the Marshall School, Greetings:

For many years, I, the Spirit of the Marshall School, have been longing and hoping for this reunion, for there were so many things I wanted to tell you which I fear you have forgotten.

The Marshall school was organized September 6, 1851. The members of the Board were H. C. Durphy, Joel Parish and Timothy Collins. The school was held in a little lean-to off of F. A. Marshall's house until the spring of '55 when a building was erected at a cost of $440. F. A. Marshall was the contractor. The Building Committee were Henry Lawton, N. D. Wood and Enos Parish.

The first teacher, hired in 1851, was Mary Ann Durphy, and she was paid the magnificent salary of two dollars a week, (Teachers please take notice), and she boarded at F. A. Marshall's paying one dollar a week board. Her contract was some different than the contracts of today; School every day except every alternate Saturday, Sunday and the Fourth of July. I often contrast the good old days and the 0present, but in no instance do I find greater contrast than in the prices of 1851 and 1920. Why, wood was furnished for the school by F. A. Marshall for sixty cents a cord.

I was trying to count up the teachers the other day, and I find just fifty-three. Among these, twenty have gone to the great beyond. You might be interested, if I tell you the names of all these teachers:
Mary Ann Durphy, F. A. Marshall, Etta Cook, Emily Tracy, Amelia Lewis, Alice Hazelton Taft, Amelia Blackman, Henrietta McDerman, William Philleo, Maggie Chappel, Mattie Cady Wright, Reuben J. Foster, Lucy Sterling, Emily S. Walter Stamp, William T. Stamp, Mary G. Enos, William R. Barrett, Lillie Blakeney Howe, Jennie Woodmen Ayers, Emma Brace, Addie Wright, W. A. Norcross, Josephine Bishop Holden, Warren Wright, Mary Cunningham Starling, Thomas Culligan, Minnie McCarty Zoles, Etta Wellman, Vina Bailard Busman, Lillian Cole Murray, T. G. McGrath, John Powers, Etta Fitzpatrick Stevens, Minnie Golden Brown, Lizzie McCarty Golden, Chester Richards, Mary Nixon Holmes, May Dimock Constrock, Belle McClellan Weatherwax, Edith Woodman Yarrington, Henry Marshall, J. A. Schaub, Carrie Bailard, Thomas C. VandenBosch, Harry Easton, Mary Easton, Avis Parish VanEeuwen, Lura Hosmer Locklin, Asa Kelly, Florence Westover Stevens, Philo Way, Sadie Hart Lillis, Mary Stevens.

As I name these teachers, recollections crowd thick and fast, especially back in the early dyas. I am so glad so many of the early pupils are here today, and that they survived so many serious school accidents. I'll never forget when Charlie Lawton cut the end of his finger off and sprained his knee, so that he couldn't run fast; George Marshall broke his arm and Fred Marshall his nose; but one boy never had an accident, never got his clothes dirty, in fact, Ed Durphy was the model and exemplary boy of the school. You never found him up to tricks like Phil Turner, Ben Sharratts, John Sharratts, Wells Parish and Dell Durphy and many others I could name.

William Philleo, the oldest teacher living had all these unruly boys for pupils, and no doubt he can tell you many tales out of school. He is now residing near Kalamazoo.

You have another old teacher living, William Barrett. He is living with his daughter Grace, in Grand ?Rapids, and though he has almost lost his sight, he is bright and cheerful and dearly loved to talk over old times.

You will notice that another old teacher, Lillie Blakeney Howe is on the program today for a song, and though a number of years have elapsed since she taught the Marshall school, we are glad she is still giving us the pleasure of hearing her voice in song.

Emma Brace, you observer there is no other name attached to hers, is keeping house for her brother instead of some one else's brother.

Thomas Culligan is working in the interests of a big corporation, the Grand Rapids Railway Co., and Vina Bailard Busman married a doctor, and is living in Chicago.

And just think of the teachers from the City of Dennison: T. G. McGrath, who is in business in Chicago; Minnie Brown; Lizzie McCarty Golden, who lives in Howard City; Minnie McCarty Zoles and Etta Fitzpatrick Stevens, who are on farms, also Carrie Bailard.

Lillian Cole Murray is living in Coopersville and seems to have found Ponce de Leon's secret--never growing old.

Now, would you have thought that when Chet Richards was teaching, that "politics" was his highest aspiration? Well, it is, and he never expects to give up until he writhes "Governor" before his name.

Now maybe you don't know it, but Mary Nixon Holmes taught the longest of any one at the Marshall school. Why, for about five years she labored to impart knowledge to those youngsters and she did it too, because you see they all loved her. Nearly always we have to go away to receive honor but her own home district honored and loved her.

History of Marshall School
(29 May 1952 - The Observer)
by Mrs. Albert J. Omlor

The Marshall School district was organized September 6, 1851 at a meeting of the taxpayers at the home of Henry Durphy, who lived on what is now the Herbert Laug farm. At this meeting they elected the following members for a district board: Henry Durphy, Joel Parish and Timothy Collins. The first school was held in a little lean-to off the F. A. Marshall home. The first teacher was Mary Ann Murphy, who was paid $2.00 a week and out of this she paid $1.00 a week for her board. She taught school every day except every other Sturday, Sundays and July 4th. In the spring of 1855 a meeting was called again at the home of Henry Durphy to discuss plans for building a school house. It was decided to build a school at a cost of $440.00. A building committee was chosen, namely; Henry Lawton, N. D. Wood and Enos Parish. The building was to be built on the southwest corner of Section 15, which at that time was covered by woods. A contract was let to F. A. Marshall for the sum of $9.00 to clear the land. The plans for the new building were submitted by the Committee to the residents of the district and were accepted. The specifications for the building were: The building was to be 24 x 30 feet. The sills were to be white oak and the floor white ash. There were to be two windows on each side and two on each end with 12 lights in each window and the glass to be 9 x 13 inches. There was to be an entry way to the whole length at one end of the building. There were to be two 4-panelled doors with a lock and key attached to the outside door. The inside of the building was to be sealed up to the bottom of the windows and above that ceiling was to be lathed and plastered. On each side of a door a hard finish was to be put on the wall and painted black for a blackboard; also one behind the teachers desk. Two rows of hand-made seats and desks were installed. The outside of the building was to be covered with good pine siding and the roof covered with the best pine shingles and the building was to be given two coats of paint. A chimney was to be built and a large box stove installed in the middle of the room. A contract was let to Jacob Sharrots to furnish 15 cords of 20ft. wood at $1.25 per cord.

In 1857 they began to find ways to raise more money to pay the expenses of running the school, so they assessed each pupil $1.00. That paid the teacher, the wood and that year they bought a Webster's dictionary.

Tis history could go on and on. You may wonder where all this information came from. There is a record book which is 100 years old and in it are the records of all the school meetings down to almost the present time. Not many years after the school started, a Mr. Gregg used to come to the school on evenings to teach penmanship, and I must say that they were better writers then, than now; at that time they were taught on reading, writing and arithmetic.

Around 1880 a school library was founded and in it were books on fiction and travel. In 1890 a singing school was started, with Mr. George Laubach as instructor and the evenings were enjoyed by old and young.

In 1906 it was decided by the voters that a new school was needed. It was built of cement blocks, and the first teacher was Mrs. Carrie Baillard Thorpe. In 1914 this building burned, when Laura Hosmer Locklin was teaching. The school was rebuilt and is the present building.

It is impossible to mention all of the families who lived in the district about 1851. But there were the Walter's the Durphy's, F. E. Easton, Harter, Sharrett, Austin, DeCan, Peabody, Nixon, Gates, Collins, Aikers, McClellan, Dimock, Smith, Parish, Jewell, Stamp, and probably many more. After 1878 there were the Callahan's, Fox, Taylor, Stapleton, Michael, Swifink, Parkins, Connell, Jordan, Laug's, Blackmer, Swartz, Turner, Beers, Woodhull, Seymour, Bliss, Burgomaster, Hancock, Haystead, Kelly, Wallis, Walbring, Hecksels, Bushman, Christian, Laufersky, Walt, Venema, and Walcott.

In ??1837?? Mr. Ezekiel Jewell was elected director and he held that office until 1897, when the late George Marshall became director. He was followed by Edwin Nixon, Henry Marshall, Mrs. Henry Marshall, Mr. John W. Laug, and now Harold Veeneman. As to the teachers there have been many during this time. I only know of two of the older teachers still living and they are Mrs. Mary (Nixon) Holmes of Coopersville, and Mrs. Lizzie (McCarthy) Golden of Howard City. I am very happy to say I went to school to both of them. At the time they were teaching, the last day of school came in August. For a month we practiced songs, dialogues, and recitations, and when the day came the men of the district would build a stage in the Newton woods (which is now the Swartz farm); someone in the district would loan an organ for our program. Everyone in the district would be there for the dinner at noon and in the afternoon would be the program.

In 1920 a Marshall school reunion was held in Harm Laug's woods. There were about 340 former teachers and pupils present. This would be a good place to mention some of the teachers who taught here and I am sure many of them you will remember. There was Thomas Culligan, Lizzie McCarthy, Minnie Zolls, Lillian Cole Murray, Thomas McGrath, John Powers, Chester Richards, Mary Nixon Holmes, May Dimmock Comstock, Belle McLellan Weatherwax, Edith Woodman, Henry Marshall, John Schaub, Carrie Baillard Thorpe, Thomas VandenBosch, Harry Easton, Mary Easton, Celia Ginsburg, Diana Bailard Bushman, Avis Parish VanEeuwen, Lura Hosmer Locklin, Asa Kelly, Florence Westover Gilmore, Philo Way, Sadie Hart Lillis, Mary Stevens Kendall, Ruth Hubbel Parish, Marjorie Frost Messinger, Mrs. Hester Ruster, Mrs. Robert Turner, Mrs. Ruth Ellis, Edna Housler Wohlford, Constance Hillman Frank, Mrs. Inez Hubbel and at present Mrs. LaVerne Sichterman. In 1926 a Parent-Teachers Association was organized and active until 1937. Of late a Mother's Club was formed and has been very active and are the sponsors of tonight's program.

In 1890 the school was made an 8th grade school and pupils who passed the 8th grade could then go to Coopersville High School which at that time was an 11th grade school. Every year since then as the pupils left the Marshall school there have been those who became teachers, musicians, nurses, clerical workers, farmers, lawyers, ministers and others. We are proud of the talent we still have with us and in the school.

The oldest living pupil of the Marshall school is my aunt, Mrs. Susan Lawton Smith of Belding, who was 93 last month. This is the only school that she ever attended. She later studied music and taught in this vicinity.

Four generations of my own family have attended the Marshall school, my father, F. W. Turner, myself, my children and all of my grandsons.

Young men of the Marshall school district answered their country's call at the time of the Civil War, World War I and II, and some now in the Korean conflict.

The youngsters who are now attending the school and are with us tonight will continue to uphold the tradition and honor of the school, I am sure. There will be many more stories and names to write in the next 100 years of the school's history.


Scanned: ES     Transcriber: ES
Created: 4 October 2009 and 20 April 2012