1850 census -
(Mich. pop. 397,654) It may be said that nearly 4,000,000 of our youth were receiving instruction in our schools at the rate of 1 to every 5 free persons (of all ages) on the 1st of June, 1850. Teachers - more than 115,000, colleges & schools, 100,000. -
Constitution of 1850 - within 5 years of the adoption of the constitution, the legislature shall provide & establish a system of primary schools, whereby a school shall be kept without charge for tuition for at least 3 mos. in each school year in every school district in the state, & all instruction in said school shall be conducted in the English language. "The principle of free schooling was not entirely acceptable, however, & the legislature failed to make complete provisions until 1869.
- Quaife & Glazer, Michigan, p 193
The early school laws granted local inspectors almost exclusive powers over education, including standards for teachers, which powers were later assumed by the state. In 1867 a law was passed providing for County Superintendents of Schools, & the supervision of schools & the certification of teachers were placed under their direction. The law was subsequently repealed, & though many counties retained the office, it was not until 1891 that the office (called County Commissioner) was revived on a mandatory basis.
- Quaife & Glazer, Michigan, p. 333
Chronology (Michigan) -
1809 - (when population under 5,000) act adopted for laying off into school districts of all
settled portions of the territory; any schools established under this act must have been few
1817 - Gov. Cass secured the adoption of an act "to establish the Univ. of Michigania." Still
a plan; more pressing - primary education.
1826 - Cass urged legislature to establish schools to be supported by taxation. Until then the
only fund had been 16th section [of each township] set aside [in the Land Ordinance of
1785] to be sold to support schools.
1829 - School laws completely revised & a Dept. of Ed. established with a Supt. of Common
Schools appointed by the governor. Laws subsequently revised so that schools were
required to be kept in every district 3 mos. in the year, with teachers "of approved
competency," "in which the children of the [poor?] were to be instructed free of charge;"
those who could would pay.
1835 - [Mich.] Constitutional Convention made Supt. of Ed. permanent & 3 mos. school
required. The 1st Supt. [was] John D. Pierce.
1850 - New Constit. Required free instruction in every school district for at least 3 mos.; the
rate bill abolished so all went free.
Beaver Island schools -
Sunnyside - when Mary Early (daughter of Don Father Gallagher) went there it was a log school house taught by Maggie Gordon & Lizzie Dunlevy. [Mary] came here at [age] 4 in 1884.
A School at the Point - this is the one that is now the house where Bill Cashman lives. Paddy Mary Ellen went there. It was afterwards moved to its present location. [Was] in the building that I knew as the Wards', now owned by the Roundtrees. Mamie Maloney taught this school.
Sloptown Rd. - across from Turner's, opposite the end of the Darkytown Rd. where it runs into the Sloptown Rd.. This was taught by Johnny Maloney & also by his sister Mamie.
Greentown School - this is the Little Red Schoolhouse. Lawrence: "I taught the Greentown school Sept. 7, 1911 - April 1, 1912."
Sand Bay - below Vesty's. It ran 5 mos. in the summer.
Schools in 1915:
Sunnyside School - the one near the church
The Little Red Schoolhouse (see Greentown, above)
Lizzie Green (Mrs. Andy Mary Ellen) had a great deal to say about the schools. In the summer they went to the school at Big Sand Bay for 3 months. The building was by the stream
near Vesty's. They walked across the fields, usually barefoot. They loved running on the sandy beach & wading in the water after school or perhaps at recess. Mamie Maloney was the teacher & she was a fine teacher. Lizzie Dunlevy also taught the school, but she wasn't so good a teacher. "With Mamie you learned, or else. What she taught you, you remembered." In the winter there was a three-month school taught by the same people (Sloptown Rd., above). They walked through the fields several miles in the snow, sometimes hip deep. When they got to school they were soaked through & through & only dried out about time to go home, when they had to go out & get soaked again. They looked forward to getting home & warm & taking off the wet, heavy wool socks their mother knit for them. Going to school, how happy they were when they got to what is now the Fox Lake Rd., because the teams had broken it.
P. 42, 48, 51, 130, 140, 142, 144, 147 [probably references to schools, but source unspecified]
Mel Big Own told me, "I couldn't stand all the people who couldn't read & write telling me how to teach & run a school."
When the Gentiles returned after the Exodus they used the good Mormon schoolhouse, which had a good library left by Strang. There were books in Greek, Latin, histories, law books. It was taught in 1854 by Isaac Wright of Illinois. ( -Mrs. Williams)
In 1861 Bishop Baraga brought Dennis Harrington from Detroit to teach the Indians on Garden [Island] but they refused to have him. The Bishop left him on B.I. to teach.