River Bend Elementary
Located on Kenowa Avenue and River Bend Drive.
History of the River Bend School, Fractional
District No. 10
1878 - Yellow brick Schoolhouse built on Kenowa Avenue
1952 - Replaced by present building. Students now attend Grandville Schools.
(written by Nellie Pratt Farley in 1902)
Mr. Albert Barker was the first settler in this vicinity. He crossed the Grand River from Muskegon in 1840 with a hand bag in his hand which contained the money with which he purchased the land where Mrs. Nellis, Mrs. Chappell, Mr. Huntley, Mr. Roberts, and Mrs. Hendricks now live. He bought the land from Mr. John Ball known for the land he donated to the City of Grand Rapids for a park bearing his name. When Mr. Barker first came here, he batched it, but a little later Mr. Picks came over and the two batched it together.
About five years after Mr. Barker came to this part of the country, some more emigrants came and bought land; among them Mr. George Barker, Samuel Westlake, Thomas Ranger, J. H. Hard, David Waters, William Quigly, Leonard Stoneburner, Jonathan Blair, John McMahon, Jonathan Cook, Hezekiah Gridley, William Gridley, Isaac Quigley and Castle. After these settlers got there, they thought a school was needed. So in 1848, they organized a school and elected the school board. Mr. Thomas Ranger was elected director; Mr. J. H. Hard, treasurer; and Mr. Isaac Quigley, moderator. Although they had oranized a school in Tallmadge and Walker fractional district No. 10, they did not build a school house until 1850; two years later. They had school in an old log house belonging to Mr. Albert Barker, located where Mr. Huntly's house now stands.
Mr. Isaac Quigly, the moderator, was sent to hunt up a teacher. He went over north to inquire from Sol Wright where he could find a teacher. So Mr. Wright directed him to go to Alpine Township. Although it was a forest, there were two or three families living around there. He went to two houses and inquired for a teacher, but they sent him three miles further to the home of a family named Rogers. When he got there, he made his business known. Miss Margaret Rogers was willing to come but her mother did not like to have her go so far from home, but she finally consented. So Mr. Quigly engaged her for three months at $1.50 per week, and board around from house to house. They had to raise the money by subscriptions from those who sent their children to school, for they were not allowed any public money until school had been taught three months. There were fifteen pupils at that time large enough to attend school. Mr. Barker went after her for he was the only one that had a horse team. Mr. Isaac Quigly had to thrash grain all day to pay Mr. Barker for going after the teacher. The next term of school was taught by Miss Artinisha Hedges.
After the two years were up, in 1850, Mr. Barker gave a piece of land on which to build the schoolhouse, on the condition that they should keep the school yard fenced, but is has been sadly neglected. The school house was built by subscriptions and work thrown in, which made the cost of the schoolhouse amount to 300 dollars. Lumber was cheap at that time and they got out a good deal of timber themselves. They all worked together and made the sills and put the frame up. Then Mr. J. H. Hard put the siding on; Mr. Cook put the shingles on; and Mr. Quigly made the windows and door frames, and bought the door in Grand Rapids. The proper name of the school was the Barker School, because Mr. Barker gave the land upon which it was built. At one time it was called the Hard School. Mr. H. Hard, a brother-in-law of Mr. Barker's, was a Congregational minister and he used to preach in the school house, year after year, and for that reason it was called the Hard district. People living at a distance got the impression that the character of the school was hard.
In 1854 Mr. Uriah Pratt and family came from New Jersey and made their home on the farm known as the Hendrick's farm, and a few years later they bought the land.
The teachers who taught in the frame schoolhouse were: John Blair, John Pratt, Miss Ide, Miss Libbie Pierce, Fred Church, Miss Anna Stoddard, Silas Hedges, Olds Maid Burnun, Luman Bishop, Miss May Lillie, J. Hard, Mr. Toms, Miss Helmaka, Miss Daniels, Miss Jennie Robe, Miss Eunice Thair, Mr. Robert Dunn, Miss Sylvia Phelps, Miss Matilda Rice, Miss Mary Rice, Miss Emma Chase, Thaxter Miller, Robert Vickers, Edson Willig, Miss Ethelyn Gardner, Mr. Hotteling, Miss Libbie Abbott, Miss Emma Abbott, Miss Ellen Ryan, Miss Stella Bailey, Miss Eva Angle, Miss Matilda Hard, Thomas Smith, Miss Nora Crownon, Miss Jennie Penoyer, Miss Ella Baxter, John Buckley, Harmon Harbeck, Miss Mattie Harris, Manly Rounds, Curtis Napolean, B. Wallace, Mr. Lasalle Maynard, and Miss Ida Maynard.
The settlement around her grew so large that the old frame schoolhouse could not accommodate the pupils that wanted to attend school. So in 1878 the people of the district decided to build a brick schoolhouse. They made out a contract and the one who could build it the cheapest, got the contract. Mr. Wm Davidson took the contract to build it for $1,000 and furnish the material. He did $100 extra work for which he as paid, making the total cost $1,100 dollars.
The inhabitants now are: Ed Hart, Ed Shaw, Wm Gridley, Mr. Tourtellotte, J. A. Dwinell, M.W. Wheeler, J. Blair, Olive Quigly, Mr. Goodale, Mr. VanLier, Mr. Whalen, Wm Powers, J. E. Arment, C. Rosendale, A. Butterfield, Mr. Levenworth, Mrs. Nellis, E. Rosendale, P. Chappell, John Huntly, P. T. Peck, Mrs. Uriah Pratt, Mr. Heyboer, M. Doyle, Wm Roberts, Wm Snyder, George Snyder, J. Hesselink, Mr. Schellhaas, Jo Schulte, and Mrs. Hendricks.
Teacher who have taught in the new school are the following: Frank Blair, Miss Mattie Barker, Tom Murphy, Miss Maggie Doyle, Jerry Walling, Miss Libbie Mayfield, Miss Jessie Hardy, Miss Edith Hardy, Colon C. Lillie, Miss Mattie Hatch, H. P. Mowerson, Oral L. Herschiser, Miss Cora Goodnow, Miss May Sandford, Miss Myra Dickerson, Miss Margie Hawley, Ben Corwin, C. E. Gregg, Miss May Goodnow, Miss Jennie Vinson, Miss Melvina Bailard, and Miss Edith Loucks. The number of pupils at present is 31.
Some of the old teachers in our school have
made themselves prominent in life; for instance:
Mr. Luman Bishop has been quite successful as a business man, and is at present our postmaster in Grand Rapids.
Miss Cora Goodnow has been a successful teacher for years, held the office of school commissioner for several years, and is now running a large farm near Berlin.
Ben Corwin studied law after he taught our school and is one of the leading lawyers in Grand Rapids.
Miss Helmaka married a wealthy farmer and resides on Bridge Street.
Miss Jennie Robe married Mr. Stevens of Foster and Stevens Hardware.
Miss Daniels married a wealthy gentleman by the name of Stone. They went to California on their wedding trip; from there they took a voyage on the Pacific. The boat took fire and all on board were lost.
Miss Jennie Pennoyer was among those who suffered from the Chicago fire in 1871. She lost everything but her life. She was a very successful teacher in her time.
Created: 2 March 2006