SCHOOLS. The earliest schools in Pontiac date back to about 1822. They were private schools, supported by subscription, and were at first taught in the dwellings of the more prominent settlers. The teachers "boarded 'round," or wherever best suited their convenience. Among the very earliest teachers were two daughters of Jacob Stevens, --Eunice and Martha,-- who taught in Pontiac, probably in 1822. Ira Hodges, a brother of Schuyler Hodges, was one of the earliest in Pontiac. He also taught at or near Auburn, and probably in various other localities.

The first school-building erected in Pontiac stood a little west of the present location of the court-house. It was a small one-story frame building, and was built about 1824-25.

ACADEMY. The Pontiac Academy was chartered by the legislative council April 23, 1833. The original trustees were Samuel Sherwood, Hervey Parke, Olmstead Chamberlin, Amasa Andrews, and William Thompson.

A frame building was erected near the corner of Saginaw and Huron streets, and the school opened under favorable auspices. Among the early teachers was Charles Draper. This school was continued until the advent of the Pontiac branch of the university, which opened September 15, 1837, under the management of Professor George P. Williams, of the Central University at Ann Arbor, in the academy building. The school was short-lived, continuing only two or three years,--the plan having been found impracticable. Professor Williams was the first and only principal. When the academy building was erected, an agreement was made that it should not be used for other than school purposes; but very soon after the discontinuance of the schools religious societies were permitted to make use of it. Among these were the Episcopalians, Presbyterians, and Universalists.

About 1843 the Presbyterians made a proposition to the village trustees to purchase the property, but as the lots had originally been donated by the Pontiac Company solely for educational purposes, it was a question whether a title could be made to a religious body. A large share of the stock of the original Academy Company was held by the trustees of the First Presbyterian church of Pontiac. It would seem that the Pontiac Company had never executed a deed to the academy. The legislature finally passed an act enabling the trustees of the company to convey the property to the corporation of the village of Pontiac, and it was by them deeded to the Presbyterian trustees. The society occupied the building for religious purposes until the erection of their new one.

Schools were taught in various parts of the town for some years, and often there were several in operation at the same time.

In the spring of 1835 an institution called the "Pontiac Literary Association" opened an English and classical high school. The principal was a Mr. Griswold, a graduate of Union College, Schenectady, New York. The trustees or directors of this institution were Dr. O. Chamberlin, Gideon 0. Whittemore, David Paddack, and Dr. William Thompson. It was probably the old academy. The Rev. Isaac W&. Ruggles, the first Congregational minister in Oakland County, who came here from Chenango county, New York, in 1824, as a missionary, and received from the Missionary Society one hundred dollars per annum for his services, was obliged to pursue additional avocations to eke out a livelihood, and, together with his estimable wife, taught a classical or select school for several years in his own dwelling.

FEMALE SEMINARY. In the autumn of 1835, Miss Eunice Stevens was principal of a seminary for young ladies in the academy building, from which it is inferred that there were several rooms, and a portion of them were rented for outside school purposes.

In 1836, John F. Gile and Caleb Dow opened a literary institute in Pontiac.

In 1842 a school was in operation under the management of J. B. Chase and R. C. Smith, in the academy building, under the name of "Pontiac English and Classical School," and in 1844 a "high school" was opened by S. S. Gale and J. W. Crain.

This brief synopsis of the earlier schools brings us down to the consideration of the union and free-school system.  (As late as 1855, Miss Elizabeth Weaver taught a "select" school in the upper story of the Firemen's Hall.)

ORGANIZATION OF UNION DISTRICT NO. 2.  Previous to the year 1849 the public schools of the village of Pontiac were poorly supported, parents preferring to patronize private schools. In the spring of 1849 a few energetic, public-spirited citizens, aroused by the greater interest in matters of education astir throughout the State, petitioned the school inspectors of the township of Pontiac to form a union district of the village of Pontiac. In compliance with the petition, Union District No. 2 was formed, and its boundaries established.

By the adoption of the union system an absolutely free school was obtainable only, as such a school was not provided by the laws of Michigan until 1859. The new constitution of 1851 made provision that the legislature should establish the free-school system within five years from its adoption, but it was not so established in reality until 1859. Up to that time schools were supported in a greater or less degree by "rate bills" paid per capita by those who placed their children in them.

On the 7th of May, 1849, pursuant to legal notice by order of said inspectors, a meeting of the taxable inhabitants was held at the court-house for permanent organization and the election of proper officers; Gideon O. Whittemore, chairman, and Charles Draper, secretary.

At this meeting Horace C. Thurber was chosen moderator (president), James A. Weeks, director (secretary), and Julius Dean, assessor (treasurer). Below are given the names of the different officers, the dates of their election, and the expiration of their term of office, from 1849 to 1876 inclusive:

Time in Office Moderator Director Assessors
May 7-Sept. 24, 1849 Horace C. Thurber James A. Weeks Julius Dean
1849-50 Horace C. Thurber Joseph R. Bowman Archibald Spear
1850-51 Randolph Manning Joseph R. Bowman Franklin O. Jones
1851-52 Gideon O. Whittemore Michael E. Crofoot John Lockwood
1852-53 M. LaMont Bagg Michael E. Crofoot L. T. Sperry
1853-54 Origen D. Richardson Joseph R. Bowman David Swan
1854-55 Pierce Patrick Joseph R. Bowman Don C. Buckland
1855-56 James A. Weeks Francis Darrow James Y. Warden
1856-57 M. E. Crofoot Francis Darrow Peter Hogan
1857-58 Augustus C. Baldwin Francis Darrow Peter Hogan
1858-59 J. Van Valkenburgh E. B. Comstock Z. B. Knight
1859-64 C. B. Pittman E. B. Comstock Willard M. McConnell
1864-65 C. B. Pittman E. B. Comstock Abiram Parker
1865-66 Byron G. Stout M. L. Bagg  *
1866-67 Amos Walker B. G. Stout  *
1867-68 M. L. Bagg Robert W. Davis B. G. Stout
1868-69 M. E. Crofoot Robert W. Davis  *
1869-70 M. E. Crofoot Robert W. Davis M. L. Bagg
1870-72 M. E. Crofoot W. M. McConnell M. L. Bagg
1872-75 M. E. Crofoot Mark Walter Charles Baldwin
1875-76 Augustus C. Baldwin Mark Walter W. M. McConnell

* No record of an election being held.


TRUSTEES. In 1851, at the annual meeting, September 24, the first full board of four trustees was chosen in addition to the regular officers. One trustee was elected each year to fill vacancy caused by the expiration of the term of office of one of the board, thereafter. There were now seven members on the board of education.

In 1859 the law was changed, and the board was re-organized. It was now composed of six members, of which two were elected for one year, two for two, and two for three years, and from which time to the present two have been chosen each year, each set of two holding office for three years. To the board the law gives the choice of district officers, and from its own members. It also places the full control of the schools in their hands, such as the hiring of teachers, adoption of text-books, approval of courses of study, organization and grading of schools, the distribution of all moneys belonging to the district, etc. For some time in the earlier history of the district, the director (secretary) was allowed a small compensation for his services, while of late years such custom has been discontinued, his duties largely falling on the clerk.

Below is a list of names of the trustees since 1849, together with the dates of their election, and the expiration of their term of office:


Date Name Office Expires Date Name Office Expires
1851. Wm. Thompson 1852 1863. Chas. Pittman 1866
  Samuel M. Stelle 1853   R.B. Comstock 1866
  John P. Le Roy 1854 1864. Robt. W. Davis 1867
  Hiram A. Rood 1855   H. M. Look 1867
1852. Wm. W. Phelps 1856 1865 M. L. Bagg 1868
  Charles Draper 1 1853   B. G. Stout 1868
1853. Chas. Pittman 1857   Amos Walker 6 1866
1854. Geo. W. Rogers 1858 1866. Erastus Spaulding 1869
  M.G. Spear 2 1855   Amos Walker 1869
  A.W. Hovey 3 1856 1867. Robt. W. Davis 1870
1855. Moses G. Spear 1859   W. M. McConnell 1870
1856 A. Bernard Cudworth 1860 1868. Augustus C. Baldwin 1871
1857 Charles Pittman 1861   M. E. Crofoot 1871
  Sol. W. Denton 4 1858 1869 John P. Wilson 1872
1858 Willard M. McConnell 1862   M. L. Bagg 1872
1859 John P. LeRoy 1860 1870 Charles Baldwin 1873
  Chas. Pittman 1860   W. M. McConnell 1873
  W. M. McConnell 1861 1871 Augustus C. Baldwin 1874
  Robt. W. Davis 1861   M. E. Crofoot 1874
  E. B. Comstock 1862 1872 Mark Walter 1875
  Francis Darrow 1862   M. L. Bagg 1875
1860 John P. LeRoy 1863 1873 Charles Baldwin 1876
  Charles Pittman 1863   W. M. McConnell 1876
1861 W. M. McConnell 1864   J. P. Wilson 7 1875
  Robt. W. Davis 1864 1874 Augustus C. Baldwin 1877
1862 Abiram Parker 1865   M. K. Crofoot 1877
  Charles H. Palmer 1865 1875 Mark Walter 1878
  E. B. Comstock 5 1863   John P. Wilson 1878


  1 Stelle resigned
2 Rood resigned
3 Phelps resigned
4 Rogers resigned
5 Le Roy resigned
6 Comstock resigned
7 Bagg resigned

Within ten days after the annual meeting each newly-elected trustee must file his written acceptance of the office to which he has been elected. The board must organize within twenty days. It has no set rules by which it is governed, choosing to follow such as usually govern such bodies. Neither has it stated times for its meetings, but assembles at the call of the moderator or director, or both, or even at the request of any member. The necessary duties being divided between its director, moderator, and chairmen of the committees, frequent meetings are unnecessary.


BOARD OF EDUCATION, 1875-76. Augustus C. Baldwin, moderator; Mark Walter, director; W. M. McConnell, assessor; M. E. Crofoot, John P. Wilson, Charles Baldwin, trustees.

Standing Committees.--On teachers, text-books, etc., A. C. Baldwin, M. E. Crofoot, Mark Walter. On buildings, grounds, repairs, and supplies, W. M. McConnell, M. E. Crofoot, Charles Baldwin. On finance and accounts, J. P. Wilson, Charles Baldwin, M. E. Crofoot. J. C. Jones, clerk and superintendent.

PRINCIPALS AND SUPERINTENDENTS FROM 1849 TO 1875. No particular person designated, 1849 to 1851; Jacob Safford, 1851, to April, 1853; Byron G. Stout, April, 1853, to April, 1854; Johnson A. Corbin, April, 1854, to 1864; Charles Hurd, September, 1864, to April, 1867; Johnson A. Corbin, spring term, 1867; Leander W. Pilcher, September, 1867, to January 1, 1869; Johnson A. Corbin, January 1 to February 1, 1869; T. C. Garner, February 1 to June 25, 1869; J. S. D. Taylor, 1869 to 1870; C. S. Fraser, 1870 to 1872; J. C. Jones, 1872.

TEACHERS FOR 1875-76. Joseph C. Jones, M.A., superintendent; salary, $1800.

High School.--Judson G. Pattengill, B.A., principal, instructor in the ancient languages, $1200; Eliza Benton, B.Ph., first assistant, instructor in higher mathematics and sciences, $700; Ada Botsford, second assistant, instructor in higher English and German, $475; Alice P. Myrick, third assistant, instructor in mathematics and German, $400.

Grammar Schools.--Anna E. Jewell, principal, eighth grade, $400; Lizzie Bradford, assistant, seventh grade, $360; Sarah McCarroll, sub-principal, sixth grade, $380; Estelle Short, assistant, fifth grade, $360.

Primary Schools.-Mary L. Beach, fourth grade, $380; Clara E. Norton, assistant, $320; Mary E. Benedict, second ward school, second and third grades, $360; Lucy A. Carpenter, second ward school, first grade, $320; Flora E. Bradford, third ward school, second and third grades, $360; Addie I. Murray, third ward school, first grade, $320; Sarah Palmer, fourth ward school, second and third grades, $360; Hattie S. Beach, fourth ward school, first grade, $320; Mary D. Lighterness, Old Union, first grade, $320.

THE RESOURCES OF THE DISTRICT. These may be classified under four general heads, as follows: Taxes voted, two-mill tax provided for by law; primary school fund, being interest on public moneys arising from the sale of lands donated by the United States for education, held in trust by the State, and incidental sources, such as tuition from nonresident pupils, fines, bonds, interest, etc.

BUILDINGS. OLD UNION.  --Of the school-buildings in the village of Pontiac previous to 1844, but one is now standing, having been converted into a private dwelling. The old log and frame houses have long since disappeared.

On the 9th of May, 1849, the newly-elected school-board was petitioned by William Thompson, George W. Rogers, J. S. Boss, Isaac Dunster, W. W. Phelps, W. I. Fish, J. Hendrickson, H. Pratt, and William Robertson, in the language of the notice, "to call a special meeting of the taxable inhabitants of union district No. 2 of the township of Pontiac, to be held on the 22d of May, seven o'clock P.M., at the court-house, for the purpose of considering the subject of the location of a site whereon to build a school-house, the building of a schoolhouse, and of laying a tax for the same."

Agreeable to the above notice, the taxable inhabitants of the village of Pontiac assembled in the court-house at the appointed hour. William Gilmour, supported by Hon. M. E. Crofoot, offered in substance the following, which directed "the purchase of a site, building of a house, and the levying of the proper and necessary amount of tax."  This being adopted, committed the district to that line of policy since so liberally carried on.

After ten earnest and interesting meetings a site was selected, plans adopted, and money levied for the purchase of the site and building of the Old Union. The site cost six hundred and thirty-eight dollars and eighteen cents, and the contractor's bill was three thousand nine hundred and ninety-seven dollars and thirty-eight cents, two dollars and sixty-two cents less than the amount appropriated. July 28, 1854, two hundred dollars was ordered levied at a special meeting, for the purchase of the bell that now hangs on its cupola. March 31, 1856, to provide for further school room, five hundred dollars was voted to repair and seat three small rooms in the basement of the Old Union.

Description.--The Old Union is a two-story building above the basement, constructed of brick. It has two school-rooms on each floor, separated by a recitation-room and hall-way. Its seating capacity, when used, was two hundred and seventy-five. The use of the basement was early dispensed with. The building was heated with stoves and a furnace. In the fall of 1874, owing to its unsafe condition, it was abandoned.

At the annual meeting in 1858, a resolution was passed directing the appointment of a committee which should investigate, and report at an adjourned meeting in three weeks, the necessities for a new school-building. The report of the committee was adverse; still, on February 1, 1859, it was voted to build a new house worth twenty-five thousand dollars, and establish, in the language of the resolution, a school that "will make our village a desirable place of residence for those seeking a good education for their children." This commendable project received its death-blow March 15, 1859. The architect, who had nearly completed necessary plans and specifications, was requested to present his bill at the next annual meeting in September. 

In 1863 a site was purchased and house built for the colored pupils of the district. The course of events removing the necessity for a separate school, the school was discontinued, and in 1873 the site and house were sold.

THE WARD BUILDINGS.-The increase in the population of the city during the years of 1860 and 1870, inclusive, made it imperative further school accommodations should be provided, notwithstanding the opposition successfully manifested in 1859. On the 10th of July, 1865, in special meeting assembled, the taxable inhabitants ordered that a site on Pike street west, in the vicinity of the Episcopal. church, be purchased and a two-room building of brick be erected thereon, to accommodate the small children in that part of the city. The consummation of this action would relieve the necessities of' the school-board but partially. July 12, in adjourned meeting, sites in the second and third wards were ordered purchased also, and similar houses as above named built on them. Money to the amount of three thousand dollars was voted and six thousand dollars in bonds directed to be issued by the board. These three sites cost three thousand four hundred and fifty-one dollars. The original design was changed and but one-room buildings erected.

Although the Old Union was located on the eastern side of the city, there were many children yet unable to be accommodated; so in 1866, at the annual meeting, the board were authorized to purchase a site opposite the Old Union, on the bank of the mill-pond,-eligible site,-refit an old structure upon the same, which is still standing and in use, besides building thereon a small house with one room, both to be used for children in the primary grade. Notwithstanding by this action and the construction of the ward schools the board had added three hundred and fifty new sittings, there was still need of additional room. July 9, 1867, three thousand six hundred dollars was appropriated for the completion of the original design for two rooms in the ward school-houses. To each of these were added similar ones in size and shape.

Description.--These houses are in the form of the letter T, both rooms communicating by means of a door. The rooms are pleasant, well lighted, ventilated by cold-air flues, have high ceilings. Each is heated by a large woodstove, and has as much blackboard room upon the walls as the doors and windows do not occupy. The seating is double. The seating capacity of each room is sixty-four. The dimensions of the rooms are twenty-four feet by forty feet. The grounds are large and pleasantly situated, affording fine play-room for the pupils.

 THE NEW HIGH SCHOOL BUILDING.-In ten years from the unsuccessful effort to build a school-house that should be an ornament and credit to the city, compelled by the growing want for more room, and the fact that the Old Union must soon be abandoned, after two earnest meetings, the school-board were authorized to purchase a site and issue bonds for the erection of a house. Accordingly, the beautiful oak grove of nine acres on Huron and White Lake streets was purchased, and during the years of 1869, '70, and '71, was placed upon it one of the finest school structures in the State, which, on the 30th of August, 1871, was dedicated with appropriate exercises. Superintendent Duane Doty, of Detroit, delivered an address on the subject of education, and the Hon. H. M. Look, of Pontiac, read one of his most finished poems,-"Cui Bono?"-a satire, on the same subject. Hon. M. E. Crofoot, moderator, gave a history of the transactions attending the inception of the undertaking, the mode of procedure, a financial statement and general description of the building. Upon the first-named subject he said, "As we have assembled on this occasion to dedicate this noble structure to the high purpose for which it was designed and reared, viz., to furnish the means of a thorough and practical education free to all within the limits of the district, it may not be inappropriate, in fact it may be expected, that something of the history of its inception and construction should be given. While many of the cities and villages surrounding us had secured the erection of buildings of beauty and capacity, devoted to the same purpose, Pontiac looked on, but moved not in her organic capacity until fairly shamed into activity by the progress around her. It is true that some of the citizens here for many years had been urging the construction of a building that would correspond with those in surrounding cities, yet the district received but slight agitation from the long slumber and weary drowsiness that surrounded it in quietude. All reforms are the offspring of agitation, and whether what was designed, when the gentle ripple is set in motion that culminates in the whirlwind of action, is accomplished or not, if the effort be made toward progress... something valuable is sure to come of it. So it was that the thought and the wish of many here to see a creditable school-building erected received the first successful impulse in the effort to awaken Pontiac to the necessity of securing more public thoroughfares by new lines of railroad communication, which, though in that line a failure, developed in measures for the successful erection of an edifice which in appearance and merit ranks second to none found in the sister cities of our State."

Description.-The building is in the shape of a Greek cross, and is ninety-six by one hundred feet, with three stories above the basement. The basement is fourteen feet in height, the first and second each fifteen feet, while the third is twenty-six from floor to ceiling. The whole building and surrounding country is overlooked by a tower one hundred feet high. In whatever direction the city is approached, this building is seen for miles away. In the basement are separate play-rooms for boys and girls, supplied with water and heated with stoves. Here also are dwelling-rooms for the janitor, a fuel- and a furnace-room. Upon the first floor are two school-rooms thirty-eight by fifty-one feet, separated by a large hall eighteen feet in width, extending east and west the length of the building. Adjoining these school-rooms on e ach end are three recitation-rooms. Separated from the south school-room by a short, narrow hall in the eastern end of the building, is an office. Stairways reach the second floor from either end of the lower hall. Upon the second floor are the same number and kind of rooms as upon the first, including a room in the tower used as a laboratory, except that the room above the office includes also the space occupied by the hall below. In the third story, reached by correspondingly similar stairs as the second, are music-, library-, two recitation-, and large lecture- or audience-rooms, this latter fifty-one by ninety-two feet, with a stage in the south end twenty-two by thirty-five feet, adjoining either side of which are two small waiting-rooms. The audience-room will readily accommodate eight hundred. The building is faced with white burnt brick and trimmed with cut stone. It is capped with a French roof covered with slate and tin. The ventilation (imperfect) is by cold-air flues. It is heated by steam through pipes fastened to the wainscoting in each room. The seating is single except one room, and all of cherry. Each desk is furnished with an inkstand. The four rooms accommodate four hundred and thirty pupils. Blackboards occupy all available space in every room. The whole structure is finished in the most workmanlike manner. The walls are rough finished and tinted, while the ceilings are of wood painted brown. The wood-work of the doors, windows, and stairways is very elaborate, the doors and window casings being grained a light oak color. The beautiful and sonorous bell that hangs in its tower was donated by the ladies of Pontiac, purchased with funds they had raised to establish a young ladies' seminary, at a time when interest in the public schools was not as enthusiastic as to-day. Its weight is above twelve hundred pounds.

Library and Apparatus.-Connected with the schools is a small library of three hundred volumes. It is intended yearly additions shall be made. The value of the apparatus and laboratory is thirteen hundred dollars. It is in good condition and of very great practical value, being in constant use during the necessities of the subject before the classes. Each student in chemistry is occupied with the teacher on the simpler chemical manipulations in the laboratory during the progress of the study. The board of education furnish chemicals for this purpose. Greater interest is thus aroused, producing more beneficial and pronounced results.

Each room is furnished with a large English dictionary. The high school has encyclopedias, gazetteers, histories, charts, and maps in addition. All schools are furnished with proper maps on geography, and four with arithmetical charts, for practice in the fundamental rules of arithmetic.

High School Courses of Study.


Class Term Classical Latin-Scientific Scientific English
Freshman 1 Elementary Algebra. English Composition. Latin Same as Classical. Elementary Algebra. English Grammar. Physiology. Elementary Algebra. English Composition. Higher Arithmetic. Reading.
  2 Elementary Algebra. English Analysis. Latin. Same as Classical. Elementary Algebra. English Grammar. Zoology. Elementary Algebra English Grammar. Higher Arithmetic.
  3 Elementary Algebra. Botany. Latin. Same as Classical. Elementary Algebra. English Analysis. Botany. Elementary Algebra English Analysis. Botany. Book-Keeping, E.
Middle 1 Latin. General History. Botany, 8 w. Physical Geography. Same as Classical. Higher Arithmetic. General History. Botany, 8 w.  Physical Geography. Physiology. General History. Botany, 8 w.  Physical Geography
  2 Latin. General History. Physical Geography. Same as Classical. Higher Arithmetic. General History. Physical Geography. Zoology. General History. Physical Geography.
  3 Latin. Greek History. Rhetoric. Same as Classical. Book-Keeping. General History. Science of Government. Chemistry. General History. Science of Government.
Junior 1 Latin. Greek. Nat. Philosophy, 6 w. Latin. French or German. Natural Philosophy. Geometry. French or German. Natural Philosophy. Geometry. Rhetoric. Natural Philosophy.
  2 Latin. Greek. Natural Philosophy. Geography, 6 w. Latin. French or German. Natural Philosophy, 6 w. Geometry, 6 w. Geometry. French or German. Natural Philosophy. Geometry. English Literature. Natural Philosophy, 6 w. U.S. History, 6 w.
  3 Latin. Greek. Geometry. Latin. French or German. Geometry. Geometry. French or German. Geology. Astronomy. English Literature. Geology.
Senior 1 Latin. Greek. Geometry. Latin. French or German. Geometry. Higher Algebra. French or German. Rhetoric.  --
  2 Latin. Greek. Higher Algebra. Latin. French or German. Higher Algebra. Higher Algebra. French or German. English Literature.  --
  3 Latin. Greek. Higher Algebra. Latin. French or German. Higher Algebra. Geometrical Drawing. French or German. English Literature. Reviews.  --

Rhetorical exercises are given the pupils every four weeks during the entire course.

Reading and spelling are practiced daily for the first two years from Reader or History.

Lessons in writing are given daily the first and third terms of the first and second years.

Non-resident students, and resident students after the first year, who do not choose to complete a full course, under the advice and consent of the superintendent, may elect such studies as they wish to pursue.

The grading of the Pontiac public schools may be represented in tabular form as follows:

Grading of the Pontiac Public Schools.


First Grade, or Year. Second Grade, or Year. Third Grade, or Year. Fourth Grade, or Year.   Fifth Grade, or Year. Sixth Grade, or Year. Seventh Grade, or Year. Eighth Grade, or Year.   Ninth Grade, or Year. Tenth Grade, or Year. Eleventh Grade, or Year. Twelfth Grade, or Year.
1. 2. 3. 4.   5. 6. 7. 8.   9. 10. 22. 12.

Generally speaking, the grades and classes correspond; if, however, the number of pupils in any room belonging to any one grade are so many as to require it, one or more classes may be formed.

At present, the First Grade pupils are distributed through four rooms in the Park street and Ward buildings; the Second and Third Grades occupy one room in each of the three Ward buildings, while the Fourth to the Twelfth, inclusive, are in the Grove building, --the Fourth occupying the north room on the first floor; the Fifth to the Eighth, inclusive, the south rooms on the first and second floors, while the north room on the second floor is used exclusively for the high school.  The high school classes are Freshman, Middle, Junior, and Senior for the Classical, Latin-Scientific and Scientific Courses, and Freshman, Middle, and Senior for the English Courses.

It is a safe statement that of the classes entering the high school, one-third graduate, one-third enter on teaching, while the remaining third continue in attendance for periods of time varying from one-third to three and a third years.  This latter third are composed largely of boys and girls from out of the city, with no intention of remaining in school on entering beyond a term, or year, at most, and of those unstable characters found in every school to whom study is a burden.

In confirmation of the above the following facts are corroborative: The class that entered just four years ago graduate just one-third of the thirty-seven beside its additions, while twelve have taught or are teaching.  Of the class below them thirty-four per cent will graduate, while forty-two per cent are teaching.  Of the present middle class more than half expect to graduate.  Of the one hundred and fifty pupils enrolled in the high school in 1872-73, sixty-seven are teaching.  Of the non-resident pupils for the past five years in the high school, over thirty-five per cent, are teachers.


Class of 1867.- 1Ella Gaylord, Waterford; Maggie Hubbell, 1Charlotte Tyler, 1Addie Jennelle, 1Emma L. Comstock, 1*Richard Hudson, 1 2Charles Chandler, Pontiac.

Class of 1869. -- 1Mary Ripley, 1Sarah McCarroll, Pontiac.

Class of 1872. — 1Enoch M. Beebe, 1Ella M. Crissey, Pontiac; 1Alice P. Myrick, Ann Arbor; 2Joseph O. Ripley, Pontiac; 2Arthur A. Tripp, Commerce.

Class of 1873.-- 1Florus A. Barbour, 1 2Hattie L. Beach, Pontiac; 1Lucy H. Carpenter, West Bloomfield; 1Minnie E. Chandler, 1Eva Chandler,: Louis W. Crofoot, 3John S. Crombie,  1 2Cloey Dawson, 1Mary Lighterness, William McCarroll,  1 2Emily E. West, 1Frank A. West, Pontiac.

Class of 1874.-Eva Adams, Belle Bacon, 1George S. Fisher,2Edward King, 1Francis Le Roy, Belle Manning, George McCallum,  1 2Addie I. Murray, Pontiac; Sallie Myrick, 2Harry Myrick, Ann Arbor; 1Sarah Palmer,  1 2Edwin Phillips, Pontiac; 2James T. Shaw, Detroit; 2Hiram E. Terry, Avon;  1 2Elmer R. Webster,: White Lake; 2Newton Weist, Pontiac.

Class of 1875.-Alice Chandler, Katie E. Beach, 1Carleton Beardsley, 1Marion Gerls,  1 2Fanny Goodnow, Pontiac; 2Will. Morris,: Detroit; 1Clara Norton, 2Lottie M. Smith, Pontiac.




The high school is one of those in the State whose pupils are admitted to the university at Ann Arbor, without examination, on presentation of the proper diploma. It has sustained this present relation since 1872, since which time fifteen have availed themselves of the privilege. Others from the school have entered on examination, these to the literary department; while to the professional schools, many others from the school, not graduates, have gone. The number entering the different departments, especially the literary, is increasing each year. A number have also gone from the school to the Agricultural College at Lansing.

In June, 1874, an association of the alumni of the high-school graduates was successfully organized. Its first public exercises were held July 2, 1875. Orator, Charles Chandler, of the class of '67; poet, Frankie West, class of '73; essayist, Sarah McCarroll, class of '69; president, Arthur A. Tripp, class of '72.




Members of the Graduating Class:

The proceedings of this evening form an important event in your lives. The hopes and the ambition of youth have aided in giving you strength and courage to persevere in a praiseworthy undertaking, and pursue, successfully, the course prescribed in this school; and have prepared you for your very creditable graduation.

The guidance and care of your friends, your own application and industry, culminate; and you are rewarded in the fact that you have passed the various gradations, and now possess the evidence that is, and I trust will ever be, prized by ambitious and ingenuous youth,-the parchment that silently testifies to your modest bearing and good scholarship in this school, and is evidence that you are fitted to stand at the portals, and are prepared for admission to higher institutions of learning.

We all congratulate you; and as you step forth from this hall to take your part in the moving panorama of life, you will have the best wishes of the school-board, joined to that of your worthy and painstaking teachers.

Some of you may pass hence to another institution of learning, to prosecute a higher course of study. Others may at once enter upon life's great duties, and when the exercises of this evening terminate, feel that their school-days are over.

School-days, my young friends, in the ordinary acceptation of the term, you will hereafter realize, are the happiest and most important days of youth. Then are laid, more or less deeply, the foundations upon which the great superstructure of life is erected. In nearly every instance, the solidity, the usefulness, the influence for good or evil in the world, depend upon the use made by the individual of the time at his disposal, and the opportunity afforded.

Parents, teachers, and friends can only aid by their daily example and advice in the formation of' your character and the development of your faculties, but all their exertions would be unavailing without your hearty, conscientious cooperation.

You will soon learn that education is not wholly derived from schools.  While we concede their all-important influence is giving early instruction and proper direction to the young, yet they cannot take the place of, or supplant the necessity of, careful and continued self-exertion and study. Education is a work of a lifetime, and it is your duty, wherever your lot may be cast, to husband your time, and continue, as you have begun, to store your minds with useful information.

You will find teachers, guides, books, all around you wherever you go. However you may be employed, make the great arcana of nature your study, and

Though you may reach the orthodox "threescore and ten," as you approach that gloomy and dreaded goal you will have almost hourly, mournful recollections of the myriad of wasted minutes that might have been employed in the acquisition of knowledge.

I cannot impress upon you in too strong language that you devote your time to some important branch of study. Select that most in accordance with your taste, and therein endeavor to make yourselves proficient.

Our government and the organization of society is such that there is a wide field for woman as well as man. She is as distinguished in many of the higher and nobler fields of intellect as her brother, and there is no reason why she should either relinquish her studies or in any respect flag in their pursuit.

In your reading you have already learned the efficiency and the success attending those persons who have been deprived in younger days of the aid of teachers and schools in giving them youthful training, and directing their minds in proper channels.

Profit by their example. You have had the preliminary training; and the fruit of the future depends not only upon your good resolution, but your action.

Prescribe for yourselves a course of study, discarding as much as possible the light literature of the day, and follow that course with persistency.

Whatever vocation you seek, whether a professional, mechanical, or agricultural life,-all are honorable, and all require earnest workers, and show no favors to laggards, —there is opportunity for improvement, and in each you will have plenty of time for study and reflection.

In the past you have had the guidance of loving parents and laborious and devoted teachers. In the future, upon the threshold of which you are now stepping,, those guides will be separated from you, and your fate and your destiny will be in your own hands.

Strive, then, to be studious, to continue to add to the. knowledge you have already received, to avoid the pit-falls and snares everywhere provided for the capture of innocent and unsuspecting youth.

Let this centennial year mark a new epoch, and may you so demean yourselves that your future life may be crowned with honor and redound to your credit and to the welfare of our common country.


Source:  History of Oakland County, Michigan by Durant, Samuel W. Philadelphia: L. H. Everts & co., 1877.

* Deceased.   1Teaching since graduation (31).    2Entered the University of Michigan (19).
3Entered West Point Military Academy.

"Find tongues in trees, books in the running brooks,
Sermons in stones, and good in everything."
Previous  |  Next ]     [ Up  |  First  |  Last ]     (Article 64 of 241)