Source: Onaway News, Thursday, August 17, 1972, page 6
Contributed by James Hall & Nute Chapman
From the beginning, except for the meeting held jointly with the Burt Township Board, Waverly Township meetings and elections took place in the District 1 school house. This first building stood in that wooden area between what is now the Julian Leithart residence and the Roland Johnstons on the south side of the Hutchinson Road. Just how old this building was when the township was established, or what happened to it after the new building was erected we have not been able to determine for certain. We’ve found no record of it being built and no one is sure if it was moved or simply rotted down. We did find record of the old school house being sold for $10.00 to Benjamin Sayers.
Discussion of a site for a new school house went on for some years and after consultation with the county clerk in Cheboygan, a site was chosen in section 26 and a piece of land purchased from E. A. Sayers. It was decided in April of 1893 that the new school would be a board building 20’ x 30’ with 10’ corner (ceiling). At the annual town meeting two years later a special tax was levied for the purpose of building the new school, and the board accepted the bid of C. J. Hutchinson to erect the house for $320.00. The bid was accepted July 20, 1895 and the building completed by September 28, 1895. The building material was tongue and grooved white pine siding and was put on in such way to keep it from rotting. This building still stands with the original siding on it—the smaller of two buildings known to most folks around as the Twin Schools at the corner of Twin Schools Road and Black River Road.
The next year (1896) O. S. Merrill turned in a bill to the board for a rebate on his taxes since the new school was too great a distance from his lands (he lived where Al Morgan’s place is). During the first discussions of a site, they had considered building on the quarter line in section 23 and 24 one half mile north of Benjamin Averys (now the Virgil Gays) which would have put the school house right between the Charles Deckers and Hewitt Galls. This would have been more to the liking of Mr. Merrill who did not get the rebate he asked for, since his lands were still within the school district 1 boundaries set up.
By the year 1912 Waverly township people had built and supported 4 schools and furnished a 5th. District No. 2 school was first a log building on the same site where the second building now stands east of the Clarence Stockwell residence. This was converted to a pleasant home by Alex Campbells several years ago and is now owned by one of the Morgans. Both No. 3 and No. 4 schools burned in forest fires and were replaced by new buildings about 1911. No. 3 was built near Shanty Rapids and the new school erected on the same site. No. 4 school was first located where the Don St. Germains now live and was relocated west of there on the hill near the Bradys when rebuilt. No. 5 school was situated near the water hole on the old railroad grade going west to La Grand, and the school board was not responsible for the building of this school but did furnish it with seats and books. This school was established in a small settlement known as Kentuckyville, lasted only a couple of years and Miss Gladys Cole was the teacher.
The new District No. 1 school house had been erected by 1912 also and the old building was sold to the township for a town hall. The new school was built just north of the old one and they became known as the Twin schools.
At first the Township board took care of town business and school business, electing school commissioners to be responsible for the running and maintenance of the schools, later there was a school board and later still this was called the board of education.
All the schools had wood stoves in the early days and the chore of cutting wood was let out to various persons—as in 1889 Charley Hutchinson cut 8 cord of wood for 82 cents per cord; 6 cord of hard wood and 2 of soft wood and put it in the wood shed. Other chores were assigned and paid for—1890, Westley Bush cleaned school house and yard, blacked stove, and piled up the wood in wood shed; in 1891 the cleaning and banking (with dirt around bottom of building) and plastering of all holes where the plaster was off, and mowing all weeds and brush from school yard was accomplished by Jessie Hutchinson for $1.47.
School census went from 18 in 1888 to 34 in 1897, with youngsters from age 6 through 19. After that the township grew rapidly and increased enough to cause the school board to build additional schools.
The first teacher’s contract we find was signed by Miss Angie Stewart September 12, 1887. She taught No. 1 school that year for thirty-two dollars a month. Other teachers through the years were William Van Loon, John Chester, Edith M. Milliken, Miss Linda Stewart, Miss Maggie Graham, Lizzie Aiken, William Wilson, S. A. Lester, Angie Roberts, Grace Allison, Miss Orpha Doolittle, Miss Madge Sandison, and Margaret Penoyer. All these were teachers at No. 1 school before 1900 at which time Margaret Penoyer was contracted to teach No. 2 school. In 1901 Miss Sadie Swindlehurst had No. 1 and Miss Penoyer stayed at No. 2; in ’02 Ivah Smith had 1, and Orpha Doolittle No 2; following Miss Doolittle were Grace Southerland and Ethel Lee.
The school district provided someone to build the school fire and keep the school buildings in repair for all the lady teachers but all the men teachers were expected to tend these chores themselves for an extra $5.00 per month.
Much of the history of the township is building into the schools, as the building were used for town meetings, school meetings, elections both local and national, and they were the places for programs and parties. Even though there was a town hall, elections were still held in the school house and the kids had a vacation that day.
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