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 Oakgrove / Oaklawn School, 1832-??, #2 Fr. Pittsfield
Oak Lawn School, Year Unknown

Location: Northeast corner of Bemis and Carpenter Roads in Section 36. Currenty used for storage.

Captions: 1) The black and white picture was taken before the school was remodeled in 1935 and is turned 45 degrees clockwise from the color photo.

2) The newer picture is a garage that just barely retains the shape of the original school - minus the additions.

Oak Lawn School Today

3) The map of the Oak Lawn School District is reversed, with south at the top and north at the bottom. It is displayed in this manner because of the way the roads and property names were written on the map. This reflects property owners in the school district circa 1940.

Note: This account was written by the students attending Oakgrove / Oaklawn School during 1940-1941.

Map of Oak Lawn School District, circa 1940

Our school is now called Oaklawn, however, not such a long time ago it was called Oakgrove. As there already was an Oakgrove School we are presuming that that was the reason for the change in name. No doubt it was confusing.

The name Oakgrove was probably chosen as the school was situated in a grove of oak trees. The name Oaklawn was chosen for the same reason undoubtedly.

Due to the fact that all of the records of our school previous to 1927, were burned when Mr. Baylis, the Director, lost his home by fire on January 24, 1931, we have been handicapped in securing very much material about the history of the school. However, a few very interesting items have been uncovered. From an abstract belonging to Annie Van Ashe, the present Treasurer of the school board, we gained some of the very first history of the school.

On April 4, 1833, Andrew Jackson, President of the United States signed the deed to the first school property. According to this deed the people on the school board were Eleanor Welch, Roderick Rowley, and David I. Gilbert.

Previous to this in December, 1831, the United States government granted to John Shipman eighty acres containing the original school property.

October 29, 1932, John Shipman and his wife sold to the above school directors of school District number 10, of the Town of Ypsilanti, two and one half acres to be used for school property.

Later Franklin C. Crittenden, Allen Crittendon, and Thomas Hinckly, bought land situated farther west and resold to John Shipman some of the original prop[r]ty. This was dated October 21, 1859. The School District was now Fractional School District #5 of York Township and #2 of Pittsfield Township.

The property resold was one and one half acres. The new property bought was one and three quarters acres. This made the school property two acres. It is now about one acre, the other acre having been sold to someone else later.

As Michigan was admitted to the Union in 1837, and as the school was started in 1832, there has been a school here for approximately 109 years.

In all probability the present building is the third building. This present building was remodeled during the school year of 1935-36. A government labor project was used to furnish the labor and material was provided by the district.

As we have not been able to delve into the past history, and clearly see how interesting future history will be, we have tried to put forth some effort in setting down information that will be history of our district in time to come. Among these items we are including a page in memory of Chester Bissel, who was on the school board for over twenty four years.

In 1929 the State Legislature provided means for a hospital for the insane to be built near Ypsilanti. Some of the property in this School District was sold to the state for this purpose. The hospital was first opened in June, 1931. Some of the parents of our pupils are employed there.

At the present time in the county there is one teacher teaching who went to our school. She is Mrs. Stevenson at Mills School. Her father owned the present Hayes Farm. Also, another woman, Mrs. Walter Hiscock, whose name was Hinckley, is the Director of Gale School, where Ida Mae Bell, who formerly taught here is teaching. One of Mrs. Hiscock’s relatives, Thomas Hinckly, signed one of the first deeds to the school property. His name appears earlier in this history.

At the beginning of the present school year (1940-41) we had twenty-five pupils attending the school. One pupil left during the year. Her name was Doris Gross. The following were the pupils enrolled in their respective grades. There was no eig[h]th grade. William James, Duane Royal, and Clarence Elliott, were in the seventh grade. Doris Gross, Louise Beck, and Harold James were in the sixth grade. In the Fifth Grade were Jane Massey, Nora McCarter, Barbara Beck, and Donald Elliott. The Fourth Grade was Alice Porterfield, and Garaldine Massey. In the Third Grade was Daniel Eaton, Robert McCarter, and Norman Massey. John Hayes, Mary McCarter, Frances Elliott, and Nancy Estermeyer were in the Second Grade. Jerry Eaton, Forest Porterfield, and Richard Royal made up the First Grade. The Beginners were Patty Rattray, James Hayes, and Dale Porterfield.

The School Board for the 1940-41 school was – Director, Mrs. William Hayes, Moderator, Ross Hessler, Treasurer, Annie Van Ashe.

Note: On the last page was the following information. - Marcia Ticknor

[Map of lots and property adjacent to U.S.23]
[snapshots of school and pupils,1941].

This page is put into this history in the memory of Chester Bissell, who was a very devoted member of the school board for twenty three years.

Mr. Bissell was born in Vassar, Michigan, April 15, 1875, and died January 16, 1940, in Ypsilanti, Michigan
[Snapshot of Mr. Bissell].

Source: Pittsfield Township records, box 1, Bentley Historical Library, University of Michigan. This entry is from a history of Washtenaw County Schools written by students in the schools and loaned to the Bentley Historical Library by Julius W. Haab, County Superintendent, August 1943. It has been edited slightly for inclusion on the Pittsfield Township Historical Society Website.

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