South Evergreen Schoolhouse

Saving an important piece of history

South Evergreen Schoolhouse† -† History

There are two properties that are encompassed by the triangle in the above photo.† The small diamond shaped one (8780 100-007) is where the schoolhouse sits at the corner of 88th Avenue and Leonard Road.† The remainder of the triangle is labeled (100-008).† We want to purchase the diamond shaped property.† It is approximately 3/4 acre.† The remainder of the triangle (100-008) is approximately 1-3/4 acre.


Inside the South Evergreen schoolhouse ( 1978 )


From Left to Right: Tim Dunlap, Joe Fitzpatrick, Jim Fitzpatrick.


Joe purchased the schoolhouse in 1975 and lived there for a few months.† He then rented it to Tim and his girlfriend Jeanie Terany for a time before it was sold to a woman and her son named Kim.† Kim lived there for a few years, passed away and his mom then sold the schoolhouse to Allen L.

Nelson C. Severance, one of the founders, had a daughter Sarah J. Severance.† Sarah married James A. Wilson.† His sister was Fannie Wilson, the first teacher.† The Wilsons came from Ireland.† As did the Rice family.


Thanks to Claudia Timmerman Throop for providing the above information.


Claudia also had the following information on David Derial Rice.† Since David Derial Rice died in 1868, and was one of the promoterís and Instigatorís in forming the South Evergreen School, we know the idea for the school came about before 1868.

This is the tin type photo of the David Derial Rice log cabin.† Claudia provided the following information about this photo.


This original cabin sat west of the house that was built at a later time.  The adults are David Derial Rice and his wife Sarah J. Burke Rice.  Older son William is near the oxen.  He was legally blind and did not marry until the age of 25.  Six older children were not living a home.  These three younger children are Albert, Derial Riley and Martha J. Rice, all born in Michigan.  The Rice family immigrated from Canada in 1855 to this land that sits on the northern shore of the Grand River and just west of Eastmanville.  The 1860 Agricultural Census lists these oxen as being used on the farm.  The log cabin sat in the midst of a Hickory tree grove.  Williamís grandson Harold often told his children that the Indians had planted this grove and would come to harvest the nuts in the fall.  For many year, Harold too would gather enough nuts to crack during winter months for the piles of cookies that his wife Millie made to feed family and friends.

The following are notes from a conversation with Diane Tandy.


Dianeís Grandmother, Blanche Stewart, was a teacher at South Evergreen.† Blanche was born in 1897 and graduated from Coopersville High School in 1915 and taught at South Evergreen soon after that.† Diane doesn't know exactly what years.† Her grandmother also taught at other one room schools in the area.


One story that Diane remembers her grandmother telling in reference to South Evergreen is that during the approach of a tornado that came through the area at the time, Blanche took all of her students out of the school immediately and was able to get them to a nearby farmhouse and take shelter in the basement.


Blanche appears in the front row, far right of a 1915 Coopersville High School graduation photo.† Blanche, according to Diane, is buried in the Coopersville Cemetery.