This is the second of a four-part history series running this week.
The local schoolhouse was known as Chesterfield District Number One and was also referred to as the “Weller School.” It was located on the property of the cattle dealership of Samuel Weller, on Gratiot, about 200 yards from 22 Mile. This schoolhouse has been moved to the Chesterfield Historical Village on Sugarbush Road.
Like most one-room schoolhouses of the time, this one had a bell to call the students to school. Each gender had their own door, with the males using the right entrance. The outhouse had the same gender-based doors. As many as 12 to 20 students would attend classes at a time, all from grades one through eight. Each student would work on their own until their turn to go to the recitation desk and give their lesson of the day.
Sharp students would learn in advance of their grades, slow ones would often drop out early to help in the fields. Early on, scholars who wanted to go on to high school would have to make the trek to Mt. Clemens High. That is, until the Hathaway Institute opened in New Baltimore about 1885.
One of the buildings of the Chesterfield unincorporated village was originally a grocery store called Fraser’s, then a tavern with a dance area called the Family Tavern. The dance area was moved to a different building next door (that was once a restaurant called the Flying Machine) that is now a rib restaurant. The building was purchased by one-time State Representative George Furton and refurbished into a real estate office in the 1970s.
For more information about the small towns and villages of Chesterfield Township, check out Images of America: Chesterfield Township by Alan Naldrett. The book is available in the local public libraries or can be purchased through Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and other popular online sites. It may also be purchased at the Chesterfield Public Library, the Chesterfield Treasurer’s office, Ecco Bookstore, and Preston Automotive.