MORSA to Meet in Historic
St. Joseph County
by Rochelle Balkam
The 2017 Michigan One-room Schoolhouse
Association conference will hold registration and
the introductory session in the St. Joseph County
Historical Society's headquarters in downtown
Three Rivers, the center of nineteenth century
Michigan history. Their archives contain the meticulously
researched history of all of the oneroom
schools in the county. Walking through the
community one can appreciate the vibrant restorations
that have brought the past into the
Conference attendees will board a bus for a
tour of several one-room schools on the way to
historic stone Nottawa School built in 1870. It
was originally a frame building. The school's unique appearance draws photographers from
all over the country. Authenticity is preserved
with original artifacts both in the school and in
the annex. There they will be introduced to a
typical day in the one-room school taught by a
"school marm," and entertained with stories
by Warren Lawrence. The annual William Winglar
award will presented to the Schoolhouse
of the Year-2017.
Nearby historic sites include: the community
of White Pigeon, named for the Native
American chief whom legend has it, sacrificed
his life to warn residents of impending disaster.
Other historic sites to visit are the Langley
Covered Bridge, the home of Madame Marantette,
equestrienne extraordinaire, the
James Bonine House which played a significant
role on the Underground Railroad, and
the Old New York Central Railroad Depot.
Join us for this unique experience!
THE MICHIGAN ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE ASSOCIATION
INVITES YOU TO ATTEND :
MORSA 2017 Annual Conference
Saturday May 6, 2017
See information and registration form
By Tom M. Johnson
I have recently assumed responsibility
for answering the inquiries to MORSA, especially
those involving the list of one-room
schoolhouses in Michigan on our website
that was developed as a long labor of love
by board member Sue Daniel.
There were approximately 15 to 20 inquiries
that had not been answered. I was
going to answer these when I arrived home
early in March from a family sojourn in the
south, but much to my chagrin, all of the
emails in our Inbox had been deleted. We
contacted our provider and found there was
nothing that could be done about it.
For those of you who have requested
information and have not had a response,
please "re-request." Many of the requests
are worded as follows: Do you have a picture
of my school? Do you know the name of
the school in which my aunt taught in 1933-
1936? You have the location of my school in
the wrong place. Do you know what happened
Sadly, except in rare instances, we do
not have any information except that contained
in the list.
Board member Larry Schlack is putting
together a roadmap for how to find information
about specific one room schoolhouses.
It will be on our website for your convenience. It should be noted that there
are several counties which have outlined in
detail every school that existed in that county.
Before I left for vacation I was in email
conversations with several people regarding a
specific school in their locale. I asked them to
provide us with any information about that
school that would be useful to someone in the
future. By doing this, we can start to build a
repository of stories and information about
one room schools which will be housed at
Eastern Michigan University archives.
In the future when I answer an inquiry, I
will encourage people to respond with any
information they have regarding their school
As noted above, this one room school list
was a labor of love by a single individual, one
of the original board members - Suzanne
Daniel. I cannot believe the hours and miles
she put in to compile this gargantuan list. Yes,
it is incomplete and yes, there are errors, but
please help us to correct them. Sue is no
longer able to continue with the list, but must
be recognized for what she has accomplished,
which is a framework on which to build. Sue
was a professional school librarian and after
retirement was on the board and greatly involved
in Greenmead, which is Livonia's outstanding
historic site. While compiling the list
of schools, she has also become a recognized
expert on one room schoolhouse furniture.
On behalf of the board, we celebrate the
work that Suzanne Daniel, Board Member
Emeritus, has accomplished - the compilation
of one room schoolhouses, those that once
existed in Michigan and those that are still
standing. Thank you Suzanne!
Please keep those inquiries coming - we
all learn from them!
Walking to School for Eight
By George Harold Bonney
We lived about one mile south of the
Rhoads School in Floyd Township,
Sanborn County, South Dakota. It was expected
that the six Bonney kids would walk
to school an back. What else? Not all six
were there at any one time, but to see
three or four of us marching along the
graveled (dusty, muddy) road to and from
school was the scene. Once in a while we'
get a ride, part-way at least.
Lunch boxes in hand other necessities
rounded up, the procession would start-
either through the south west enclosed
porch, or the east closed porch, or northeast
through the yard past the brushy Russian
Olive trees, through a gap in the fence
with the mailboxes on the right and we
head north toward school.
Moods might vary widely. Small, unfinished
quarrels might linger-we might be a
few minutes late-weather nasty. Or a
good breakfast, homework done, bright
spring sun-all is well. If the road was dry,
the occasional auto would cascade us in
brown dust or a pebble spun out by a tire.
The Olson boys from a mile east might join
us, riding along on their old horse. The
horse was sheltered at the Rhoads farm
near the school.
The mile of road was quite level, almost
no hills. On our left was our pasture; right
was one of Dad's fields. At the half-way
mark, the field had an area for one of our
two potato patches. Very important food
producer. On the west at the half mile was
the cemetery...Bonney cemetery, some
said, perhaps because Grandpa Bonney
gave the land out of his pasture. But a varied
group of families have some members
buried there-maybe 50-75 groves including
our baby sister Doris May, whom we
never knew. There grew the miniature iris
we dubbed "Doris May" iris.
Half-mile fences ran east and west, proclaiming that
we were now passing Rhoads acres-pasture west and
large field east. At that fence stood a large Cottonwood
tree-the only tree we passed between our homestead
and Rhoads homestead. Prairie!
We arrived at school just beyond the east and west
mile road-gravel or course. If it was nice, early kids
might play around outside for a few minutes. If it was
cold, or we were late or on-time, we would go into the
sheltered but unheated ante room, get off our boots,
caps, coats, deposit lunch buckets and go on into the
(hopefully) warm school room. Hopefully, because it
was the teacher's job to start the fire each morning. If
she/he was late, or it the fire didn't start well, the
room could be cool in the corners. Of course a little of
this heat seeped into the ante room-water and
lunches didn't freeze there.
After school we would repeat the walk, only things
were in reverse. Sometimes we might find things of
interest along the road. Once we saw a playing card or
two. We felt they were so wicked we hardly dared
touch them. So, the walks to
school. Some calculations suggest
perhaps 2,850 miles in the
eight years! Helped keep us
healthy, wealthy and wise-
~Excerpted from An Agrarian Life
by George Harold Bonney
Visitors inside of the District No. 1 School.
Lady dressed in period clothing with her son
Black History Month Showcased
In One-Room Schoolhouse
by Cheryl Vatcher Martin, M.A.
One doesn't automatically presume that tours
related to Black History Month would transpire in
a one room school house. But, on February 11th,
2017, the City of Romulus, in conjunction with the
museum director, Pearl Varner, organized a tour
of our historic buildings, including District No. 1
School, in Romulus, Michigan (circa 1839). The
opportunity to learn about local history, or even
their own history, presented itself as visitors
stepped into the one room school.
This tour, the third event in three years, was
held on a Saturday, early in the day so that the
attendees who visited where able to see everything
during daylight hours.
Some individuals who participated in this
event wore a type of period dress reflecting their
ancestors or the 1800's time frame, and into the
A program was put together in a booklet/
pamphlet for the attendees to read before
and along the travel route. Each stop on the tour
lasted approximately a half an hour. Besides the
schoolhouse and the historic Samuel Kingsley
House, they could also see the historic windmill
next to the Kingsley House. Behind and adjacent
to the school house stands the Pavilion, the restored
Caboose, and the original Freight House.
The Samuel Kingsley House, circa 1855, sits
across the road from the District No. 1 school
house in its present location. This Civil War home
was presumed to be a stop on the Underground
railroad, when that house was located elsewhere
in the City. Also, of relevance, is the fact that
these two buildings were moved to the present
location on Hunt Street as part of Romulus' Historic
Park in downtown Romulus, Mi.
One relic inside of the showcase at the Historic
Kingsley House is a pair of shackles or handcuffs
which adds a sacred realism to what some of
our own members of society perpetuated upon
the slaves. It's a sobering moment for all to see
such period artifacts. In the District School House, the showcase promoting Black History Month
has a variety of items inside it including an old
photocopy of the White Church, a Methodist
Church that also had a secret room in the dirt
cellar which hid escaped slaves on their way to
Canada. This dirt room was discovered in 1955
when the Church was moved a few feet to begin
work on a basement. A few individuals saw
this dugout under the church which was large
enough to hold several people. At the time
some eating utensils, broken pottery, and hand
carvings made out of wood were found there.
Unfortunately these artifacts no longer exist,
however, one gentleman did a photo documentary
with Pearl Varner. His story is a part
of Romulus' historical collection.
The one room school house museum is an
educational facility. The archives contain one
room school house history, and more. Romulus'
extensive archives begin in the school
house, and the rest are in the Kingsley House.
Scholars, researchers, history buffs, and the
general public locally and from all over the
country have visited to research about the City,
their ancestors, and the many one room
schools that served the area's populace. Normal
hours are held on Sunday from 1:00pm-
4:00pm, and during events such as Black History
Month docent tours.
Some of Romulus' history is in the author's recent
book, One Room Schools-Vanishing One Room Schools,
for $23.00. Her other book that includes Romulus history
is Haiku For You: With Some One Room School House
History, for $32.00. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org
for further mailing information.
THE MICHIGAN ONE-ROOM SCHOOLHOUSE ASSOCIATION
INVITES YOU TO ATTEND :
MORSA 2017 Annual Conference
Saturday May 6, 2017
Sessions from 9:00 A.M. TO 3:00 P.M.
8:30 Registration will be at the St. Joseph Historical Museum
34 N. Main Street
Three Rivers, Michigan 49093
The annual conference is an open and
friendly opportunity for all participants
to see - talk - learn - eat - reminisce as
we celebrate the heritage of Michigan's
Conference attendees will:
- Board a bus for a tour of several one-room schools on the way to historic
stone Nottawa School built in 1870.
- Enjoy a typical day in the one-room school taught by a "school marm,"
- Be entertained with schoolhouse stories by Warren Lawrence
The annual William Winglar award will presented to the Schoolhouse of the
For information contact
Rochelle Balkam, MORSA Vice-Chairman
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103
Phone: 734/668-6294 Email: Balkamhp@gmail.com
Please register now as our exciting event is fast approaching
Places to Stay Three Rivers MI
0.3 miles from City Center
210 East St.
T&R Inn Between the Lakes
6.0 miles from city center
in between the lakes.com 269/244-5620
Holiday Inn Express Hotel
1207 W. Broadway 800/465-4329
Americas Best Value Inn
1211 W. Broadway 269/273-8100
689 Super 8 Way 269/279-8888
For further information: www.rivercountry.com
The Juddville School (Shiawassee
Co.)was one of the earliest schools built
in Hazelton Township. It was built in
1854 on the NW corner of the NW 1/4 of
section 34 (the southeast corner of Durand
and Juddville Rd.) It was a log
school and Miss Jane Judd was the first
teacher. School had been held previous
to this in a log cabin in section 22.
John Judd had moved to Hazelton in
1853, purchasing 400 acres in the area.
He was instrumental in starting the
school and it was named in honor of him.
He also started church services in the log
The log school was used until 1884
when it was replaced by a brick building
which has been re-sided with white siding.
The school was closed in the early
1960s and the district was annexed to
the New Lothrop and Corunna School
Districts. The school stands today (1989)
and is owned by Irene Turk.
~"Schools of Yesteryears, Our Heritage," presented
by The Shiawassee County Historical
Trying to find a time when all
MORSA board members can meet
to carry on business is ever a challenge for
MORSA Chairman, Tom M. Johnson. The following
note arrived one day in our email inboxes
from our excellent leader:
"Well, it turned out that some could
come one week and some could come the
other. Then some could come anytime and
there were some who could come one day
and not the next. There were even people
who couldn't come any day..."
~Tom M. Johnson,
Chair of MORSA
And that was inspiration for this poem
The Meeting Time
It was time to have a meeting,
The date, it must be set.
But try to find a date for all-
It's not been settled yet!
For some, they could come one day-
And no other day would do.
But then others said that anytime
Would work-sky gray or blue.
Then there were some who couldn't
Come to any get-together.
So Chairman Tom, forever calm,
Announced his whither-whether:
"We'll have to meet another time,"
Said he-"It shan't be long!"
But like herding cats, he'll find that
They'll scatter and be gone.
~Hannah Geddes Wright