The Mason County Quiz, March 20, 2024: Answers

The Mason County Quiz is presented by Lake Michigan Senior Living, located on the bluffs of Lake Michigan in beautiful Summit Township.

How much do you know about Mason County?

By Rob Alway, Editor-in-Chief

1. What was the original name of Mason County Eastern School District?

a. Custer Township School District No. 5

b. Custer Public School

c. Custer Township School District No. 1, Weldon Creek

d. Resseguie School

A.

Custer Township School District No. 5 was established in the Village of Custer in 1886. Minnie McLatchie was its first teacher. In 1921, a new brick school building was built on the southeast corner of State and Main streets replacing two wooden buildings. The name of the school district was also changed that year to Custer Public School.

In 1929, Custer High School added a gymnasium. In 1957, the name of the school was changed to Mason County Eastern Public Schools, with the new school district annexing several one-room rural school districts. Harry Edwardsen was the first superintendent, serving from 1956-1957. At the time, the school district employed 17 teachers. The school had 100 kindergarten through fifth grade students (primary) enrolled at Fountain School in the Village of Fountain and 36 at Resseguie School at the corner of Custer and Wilson roads. There were about 320 primary and secondary students enrolled in Custer. The board of education included Gerald Cameron, president, Anthony Saya, secretary, Albert Bergez, treasurer, and trustees George Stahelin and E.J. Hanna.

An industrial arts building was built that same year on the south end of the high school, which also included a cafeteria, band room, home economics classroom, library and administrative offices.

In 1959, an elementary building was constructed. A new gymnasium was built in 1971. Final consolidation of rural schools took place in 1966.

In 1995, the current secondary complex opened and the 1921 building was razed.

Custer Township District No. 1, Welden Creek, was located on the west side of Reek Road between the railroad tracks and present-day US 10. I have not been able to find what year it opened but it closed in 1949 and was annexed to Custer Public School.

Custer Township District No. 2, Resseguie, originated as a public funded Native American school. In the mid-1800s, the federal government designated a reservation, known as Pashawsey, in the area now known as Custer and Eden townships in Mason County and Crystal and Elbridge townships in Oceana County. The approximately 1,700 Indians were relocated from the Grand River watershed area as the City of Grand Rapids, and other settlements west became populated by non-native settlers. Between 1857 and 1872, the U.S. government made payments to the Indians ranging from $13 to $75 annually.

A school was established in a log building in 1855, which was replaced by a frame building in 1859 at the modern intersection of Custer and Wilson roads. By 1877 the school was no longer operated by natives. Its name became Custer Township School District No. 2, Resseguie.

Read more here.

 

2. Who was the first person to graduate from Custer High School?__________________________

Elizabeth “Betty” Carson Greene was the first graduate of Custer High School in 1922. Betty was born on March 30, 1903 in Mattoon, Ill., the daughter of Clifford and Margaret Greene. After the death of her father in 1905, she moved with her mother and brother, Nathaniel, to Darke County, Ohio to live with her grandparents. She lived there until 1914 when her mother married David O. Flory and moved to Eden Township.

In 1995, I interviewed Betty for an article in the Ludington Daily News.

Betty attended Fern School (Eden Township District No. 3), located on the southwest corner of Custer and Anthony roads, until the 10th grade. Her family then moved to the village of Custer, across the street from the new three-story brick schoolhouse, which was still under construction.

Part of her senior year was spent in the Odd Fellow Hall on Main Street until the new high school was completed. Betty was the only member of the senior class of 1922 and became the first person to graduate from Custer High School in a ceremony that also included the eighth grade graduates.

Following high school, on April 17, 1923, she married Thomas Oliver Reeds, Sr. (1901-1969) and resided in Scottville the rest of her life.

Betty died on June 20, 1997. She and Oliver are buried at Scottville Brookside Cemetery.

Lake Michigan Senior Living, 4895 S. Lakeshore Dr. in Summit Township, offers beautiful views of Lake Michigan, activities and exceptional care 24 hours a day, seven days a week. The facility consists of four housing units on the bluffs overlooking Lake Michigan. For more information, call 231-843-9963 or go to www.lakemiseniorliving.com.

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