OLIVET --------------------












1859 – 1943

 Publisher, Postmaster, Political Adviser,

Purveyor of Good Will

 .  .  .  foremost in civic enterprise and in all

 things devoted to Olivet.   


To this home-town devotion, wherever it is

found, we dedicate this book.


                                     Photo by W. F. Jackson

Olivet .  .  .  as sturdy and as seasoned as its Oaks.



A village centennial is usually the occasion for carnival spirit -- for parades, bands, bunting, and speeches; for commemorating the past with festivities and rejoicing; for honoring the old in the spirit of youth. 

But this is no year for celebration. Our youth are in the Armed Services. Also, travel is difficult and our time is more than occupied -- so that the festive spirit is not with us. Therefore, it is more fitting that we should quietly meditate on the way that we have come; on our failures and successes; on the community we have built; and on the way that lies ahead.








From left to right:  Walter Scott, Superintendent; Everett Reynolds, Secretary; Laurel Mott, President; George Bugbee, Treasurer; George Campbell, Trustee.  Darwin Jaquette was appointed at this meeting to replace Duane Wertz who had moved out of the district.



From left to right:  Mrs. King, School Secretary; Mr. Robinson, Mr. Kerrey, Miss Gray, Miss Heightman, Miss Briggs, Miss Nousiainen, Mr. McAllen, Miss Curtice, Miss Persons, Principal; Mr. Scott, Superintendent; Miss Lundin, Miss Edmonds, School Nurse; Miss Goodrich, Miss Graves, Mr. Reynolds, Miss Rudenberg, Mrs. Steeman, Mrs. Bugbee, Miss Grose.




The name of the public school in the village of Olivet became the Walton Township Unit School when, in 1920, the eight districts in Walton Township voted to unite. The oldest of these districts were Number One (Olivet) and Number Two (Fordham) organized in 1839.  At that time District Number One had fourteen children and Number Two had six on the school census.  As the settlements in the township increased, and the need arose, each of the other six districts was organized.  The first buildings for these schools were small log or frame structures, the Olivet School originally standing in the lot just north of the Congregational Church.  In about 1886, after the first brick building was erected, this original schoolhouse was moved to a downtown site, but it was later changed to its present location where it now serves as a garage on Mrs. Sexton’s lot.

Between 1870 and 1890, all the districts built more substantial buildings, which were used until one by one they were closed after the reorganization of 1920.  One of these, the Bosworth School, built in 1878, was moved in 1926 to the present Olivet school site where it is still used, for storage purposes, in connection with the modern plant.

In the early days, these eight buildings were the centers of activity in their various communities.  Here socials, spelling bees, singing school, and even religious services were held.  In the minutes of the school board meetings of the Stine School, we find recurring year after year a resolution “that the schoolhouse be used for religious services for one year from date.”  And that was at a time when there were six active churches in the township and two others just outside the township.

The length of the school year formerly varied from sixteen to thirty-six weeks and was divided into terms of eight to twelve weeks.  We find often in the minutes of the annual meetings of the districts and of the school board meetings resolutions to the effect “that a male teacher be employed for the winter term,” or “that a female teacher be hired for the summer term.”  The salaries of the teachers varied from six dollars a week to as high as forty dollars a month plus board and room in the respective homes.

The minutes contain other interesting information, such as: “. . . moved to buy ten cords of wood at 69¢ a cord”; “to introduce the teaching of music in the school if they (the school board) deem it for the best interests of the school”; “to maintain order peaceably if it can be so maintained, forcibly if it must be.”  One school board member presented a bill of twenty-five dollars for two and one-half years’ service as Director.  The bill was not allowed.

Meanwhile, the school census in the Olivet district (Walton Number One) was gradually increasing.  By 1875 the original fourteen had grown to two hundred five children.  This has since decreased slightly, the census for District Number One being one hundred forty in 1920 at the time of the reorganization of the districts, and one hundred thirty-two within the original district boundaries at the present time.  The total school census for the Unit District now numbers approximately four hundred.

In 1885, the Olivet District bought a portion of the present school site for seven hundred dollars, and by a vote of sixty-seven to twenty-three, decided to raise four thousand dollars for the building of a four-room, two-story structure.  An addition of two rooms was made to this building in 1897.  In 1885 also, the Olivet system became a graded school.  Peter Legg was hired to teach the upper grades at forty-five dollars per month; Miss Abbie Taber was hired to teach the intermediate grades at thirty-two dollars per month; and Miss Martha Goodwin was hired for the primary grades at twenty-four dollars per month.  In 1891, a ninth grade was added to this school; and in 1892, a tenth grade.  In June 1893, Ed Crampton was the only member of the first class to be graduated from the tenth grade.  The class of 1894, fifty years ago, had ten members.  In 1899, a kindergarten was added to the ten grades.  In 1901 the eleventh grade was added and in 1902 the twelfth.  The first class to complete the twelve grades was graduated in 1903.

Beginning in 1900 an arrangement was made between the school and the Preparatory Department of the college whereby the college preparatory students were taught certain subjects in the public school at ten cents per hour and high school students were taught the science studies in the Preparatory Department for twenty cents per hour.

In the latter part of April 1919, the Olivet six-room brick building burned to the ground.  Although the fire occurred during the daytime, all of the children marched safely out of the building and no one was injured.  However, some of the school records were destroyed.  For the remainder of the spring term, and the next year, classes were held in various places:  the church, Mather Hall and over store buildings.  Since the college was closed the next year, Parsons Hall was then used for the whole school.

During this time, a movement was started to interest other districts in the township in uniting with the Olivet district to form a consolidated school.  The first effort was to try to get two districts to combine with Number One and form a rural agricultural school, but this attempt failed.  Then a township election was held on April 6, 1920, to vote on forming a township unit school.  The result, with 327 ballots cast, was 220 in favor of the plan, and 107 against it.

As a result of this decision, on July 12, 1920, at the annual school meeting, an election was held to select a board of education for the unit school.  Everett P. Reynolds and Charles B. Allerton were elected for a term of three years each; Ohlin E. Walcott and Claude Crampton were selected for two-year terms, and Allen C. Fisher for a term of one year.  The newly elected board was organized and called a meeting of the school boards of the respective districts to make plans for turning over the properties of the districts to the unit school.  Plans also were begun for the raising of money to erect a suitable building for such a school.  Meanwhile, the rural districts operated as usual for a few years.

On March 22, 1921, an election was held at which the school electors voted on the proposition of bonding the district for $50,000 for the building project.  Of 543 ballots cast, 273 votes were for and 270 against the program.  Bonds for $50,000 were issued by the district at 6% interest payable over a period of fifteen years.  These bonds sold above par at 113.  On Jun 27, 1921, the board of education let contracts for the erection of a building, the plans for which had been prepared by Architect Warren Holmes of Lansing.  This building is the central portion of the present schoolhouse.  The total cost was $56,000.  It was completed and dedicated during the Christmas holidays of 1921-22, and was occupied by the school in January 1922.

During the summer of 1923, in order that the pupils of District Number Two (Fordham) might be transported to Olivet, the board of education bought its first school bus.  That fall the Fordham School was closed and its teacher, Miss Harriett Rice (Mrs. George Bugbee) came to the unit school to teach.  By 1929, the last one of the rural schools in the consolidated area had been discontinued, and all the pupils in the district were being transported to Olivet.  Moreover, in time, several other rural school boards asked for permission to send first their high school and later their grade pupils to the Walton Unit School.  As a result, today nine rural schools in the Olivet community area are closed and the high school students and some of the grade pupils of thirteen other schools are now transported by the present fleet of buses.

This influx of pupils from outside the unit district to Olivet soon caused an overcrowded condition in the school.  In 1935, the Kellogg Foundation became interested in the local school problem and offered to give the district financial aid to enlarge the building.  Similar aid was also sought and obtained from the Public Works Administration.  Plans were prepared by the architect of the W. K. Kellogg Foundation, and the district voted to bond for $36,000, payable over a period of thirty years.  During 1936, the south wing and gymnasium were built at a total cost of $112,000.  The P.W.A. gave 45% of the total cost and the Kellogg Foundation 55% of the cost, less the $36,000 supplied by the district.

In the fall of 1938, the shop and garage building, and the cafeteria under the south wing of the main building were further additions to the school plant.  For the construction of these the P.W.A. supplied 45% of the cost and the W. K. Kellogg Foundation 55%.  The total cost was $65,000, none of which was supplied by the district itself.

The result of this long history of growth and development of the Walton Township Unit School is an unusually complete and well-equipped plant of which every citizen of the Walton community area can be justly proud.  The buildings and equipment now are evaluated at approximately $300,000.  Twenty teachers furnish instruction for 226 grade and 247 junior and senior high school pupils, 82% of which are from rural homes.  Ten buses, for which a full-time mechanic is employed, supply transportation for rural pupils.  The Cafeteria on an average of 350 students each noon.  The graduating classes of recent years have averaged about thirty seniors.

R. L. Stickle E. P. Reynolds

As with any large enterprise of this type, it success has been achieved only through the cooperative efforts of many people.  Those who have served on the Board of Education, the Superintendents, and all the teachers aided invaluably in planning and administering the project.

The dynamic efforts and progressive foresight of Ralph L. Stickle contributed much to the development of the present system.  Mr. Stickle served this community for seventeen years; one year as teacher, five years as principal, and eleven years as superintendent.  At his request, the Board of Education granted him a leave of absence in 1941 and appointed Miss A. Fern Persons as Acting Superintendent for that year.  Since leaving this school Mr. Stickle served as an official in the National Youth Administration, and is now a field director with the American Red Cross located in the Southwest Pacific theatre of war.

Because of the heavy demands upon his time during the reorganization and building programs, Mr. Stickle gave much responsibility to Miss Persons.  Her understanding of the function of public education and her high ideals of educational efficiency have contributed greatly to the esteem in which the school is now held.

Let it not be thought that the people of the Walton community area feel that public school improvement is complete even though they are justly proud of what has been achieved thus far.  In the attempt to equalize educational opportunity for all children in the area much remains to be done.  The problem of meeting the needs of individual children adequately is still to be solved.  The fields of pre-school child education, adult education, and further improvement in vocational education will require study and call for definite action.  The further reorganization of school districts within the community area will demand united effort.

Much of the historical material for this article was taken from the minutes of the Board of Education and other existing records. It was organized and presented to the editorial staff by Mr. E. P. Reynolds who has served as a member of the Board of Education for all but six years since Mr. Reynolds has at all times been a devoted servant of educational interests in this area.  He has worked with untiring efforts for efficiency and progress, which has made possible much of the expansion of the last twenty years without a large burden of debt to the community.

Recognition cannot be given here to all of those people who have contributed to the development of education in the Walton community area.  Their interest, devotion and loyalty continue to inspire those who are now serving in the Walton Township Unit School.


The first student council of the Walton Township Unit School was organized in 1926 under the leadership of Principal John H. Milor.  The purpose of the organization was to enable the student body, through its representatives, to manage such affairs of general interest to the student body as by mutual agreement rightfully fell under their jurisdiction.

The membership now consists of officers and representatives, who are elected annually, from the upper six grades.  The officers are selected from the Junior and Senior classes.  Increased enrollment and new trends in education have called for new objectives.  Emphasis has been placed upon school and community citizenship.

Miss Fern Persons, principal of the high school, is the present advisor to the Student Council.


In 1940, through the W. K. Kellogg Foundation “Five-For-One Book Program”, almost two thousand new volumes were added to the library.  The program provided that five old books could be exchanged for one new book.  This made possible a splendid addition to the library.  These, together with new books received ever month through membership in a book guild, and books purchased on request of the teachers, form a varies and extensive collection which serves the interests of the entire school area.

In 1941, The Parent Teachers Association furnished a recreational reading room to be used in connection with the library.  Under the guidance of Miss Helen Goodrich, a Library Club, of which all student librarians are members, was organized in 1943.


The record of the High School Band is one of continuous development since its organization in 1925.  Starting with a handful of boys and girls, plus a few old instruments and a huge amount of wind and enthusiasm, its early history is not unlike that of many similar bands.  From an approximate fifteen who reported for the first practices, the roster has increased until it is necessary to maintain both a Senior and a Junior Band reaching a total membership of seventy.  A medium by which its members can learn some of the disciplines of joint musical performance, it also acts as a socializing agent, and aims to contribute as much as possible to the life of both community and school.  The original gift of fine quality uniforms was largely made possible by a spontaneous expression of the mothers of band members.  This in itself seems sufficient testimony to the esteem in which the Band is held.

Among the important activities of the Band is the Olivet Festival held annually in April in McKay Gymnasium.  This occasion, supported jointly by the school and the college, affords an annual meeting ground for more than six hundred young musicians from as many as sixteen neighboring high schools.  Without question its values rank high in school and community spirit, musical education and experience, socializing force and the building of morale.  Inaugurated in 1934, this spring brings the completion of ten such festivals.


This year the Girls’ Glee Club was again organized in the high school.  The Glee Club made several appearances, the most important being at the community Christmas program, and at the Adult Institute.  The girls of the Glee Club had a Christmas dinner which was followed by carol singing in the village.


This year, through the cooperative efforts of the Parent Teachers Association Health Committee, of which Mrs. Bernard Hice is chairman, and the Community Health class, taught by Miss Dorothy Rudenberg, a room known as the Health Center has been furnished and equipped to accommodate three patients.  The room is also used by Miss Elizabeth Edmands, Eaton County public health nurse, who has assisted in the planning and organization of this project.

Students who become ill while at school are able to rest and have care under the supervision of girls from the Health class.  Each period during the day, including the noon hour, one student is in charge of the room to receive patients, make the necessary records, and arrange for any further care. 


The value of a hot luncheon at noon has long been recognized by the school, and facilities have been provided for the preparation of such a meal.  Before the present cafeteria was built, the room now used by the band was the cafeteria.  The Home Making students prepared hot lunches at noon.

A modern cafeteria was constructed with the building program of 1939.  The finest equipment makes it possible to serve lunches to all pupils who wish to take advantage of this service.  Some buy a complete lunch, while others supplement lunches brought from home with hot dishes purchased at a low cost at the cafeteria counter.

The first full-time manager of the cafeteria was Betty Thompson.  The present manager, Hilda Miller, came in 1942, and is assisted by a staff of students.


The first Future Home Operators club was organized here in 1933 under the leadership of Miss Eleanor Laskey who was then the teacher of Home Economics.  The group became affiliated at this time with the Michigan Home Economics Association and the American Home Economics Association.  The first officers of the organization were:  President, Lucille Starks; Vice-President, Valdean Masters; Secretary, Nellie Dabrawa; Treasurer, Bette Burleson.  The officers for the present school year are Dorothy Loveless, Margaret McClure, Constance Barlond, and Margaret Johnson.

It is one of the purposes of the club to promote health, service, friendship, and courtesy.  Miss Dorothy Rudenberg is the present advisory to the organization.


Under the leadership and guidance of Donald H. Shepard, who came to Olivet as teacher of vocational agriculture in 1928, the students organized the Future Farmers of America, and joined the state association in February, 1932.  Mr. Shepherd left in 1939, and was followed by Keith King who was here from 1939 to 1941, and Thomas Kerrey, the present advisor.

Donald H. Shepard

Since is organization, the local chapter of the Future Farmers of America has been outstanding in county, district, and state activities, having won several state championships.  In 1937 the winning team in Fruit Judging was composed of Hubert Janousek, Harold Bradley, and Wendell Youngs.  The team winning the championship in Dairy Judging in 1939 was composed of Oliver Shaw, Allyn Van Dyke, and Marvin Eppelheimer.  Also in 1939, the championship in Livestock Judging was won by Dale Mahan, Marvin Eppelheimer, and Charles Zanger.  The 1940 championship in Livestock Judging was won by Dale Sumption, Owen Berkimer, and Gleason Williams.  Public Speaking contests were won by Howard Rice in 1935, Hugh Oxby in 1936, Donald Eppelheimer in 1937, and Allyn Van Dyke in 1938.  In 1943 a championship in Livestock Loss Prevention was won by Carroll Moon and Gerald Marquardt.

During the same twelve years, honors were conferred upon individual members of the chapter.  Douglas Barlond was elected to a state office, and seventeen members earned the State Farmer degree.  Those members were:  Marvin Eppelheimer, Allyn Van Dyke, Donald Eppelheimer, Loren Walker, Hugh Oxby, Ivan Baker, Burton Van Dyke, Arthur Jaquette, Douglas Barlond, Carroll Moon, Byron Waddell, Allen Ross, Charles Kleinfelt, Winton Hice, Max Powers, Clyde Bahmer, and Lyle Lond.  All of these young men and many others who have been members of the Future Farmers of America are now established in farming, or serving in the armed forces of this country.



The interest in basket ball has been keen through the years, and Olivet has produced many winning teams.  Olivet placed first in district tournaments in 1937, 1938, 1939, 1941, and 1942.  The 1941-42 team was coached by Walter Sprandel, and won the Eaton County Basket Ball League championship, winning ten games and losing none.  This year Olivet had a successful season, winning eight out of ten games, and placing second in the district tournament held at Charlotte.  This team was coached by Gordon McAllen who came to Olivet in 1942.

In former years, before the new gymnasium was built, Olivet College shared its facilities with the high school.  Superintendent Ralph Stickle coached many of the teams in the sixteen years prior to 1941.

In basket ball, as in other athletics, the emphasis has not been placed on winning games alone.  The development of good sportsmanship and ability to work together has been considered in measuring the success of a season.



The physical education program has always been considered a vital part of the curriculum.  The construction of the gymnasium in 1936 did much to stimulate interest in athletics.

Since January, 1943, this school has participated in a nation-wide program of physical fitness which has been generally stressed since the need for such a program has been recognized.

Physical Fitness classes for high school boys and girls attempt to improve endurance, strength, coordination, posture, and agility, through vigorous calis-thenics, hardening-up exercises, and recreational games.  Gordon McAllen instructed the boys and Helen Goodrich the girls.   


The growth of the transportation system closely parallels the development of the school.  The first school bus was purchased in the summer of 1923, at which time the Fordham school was closed.  A second bus was purchased the following year when the Hawkenberry and Bosworth schools were closed.  Today, these first buses would be very strange in appearance.  School records reveal that the body of the first one was hand-made, extremely heavy, that the windows were plate glass, and that it could accommodate twenty-four passengers.  “Bill” Winegar was the first bus driver.

By the time the last one-room schools in the township were closed, the district had purchased five buses.  The problem of storage facility was solved in the summer of 1925 when the first bus garage was built on what is now the cement skating platform east of the cafeteria.  Arrangements were made with the local garages of that time to keep the buses in repair.  Gasoline and oil were purchased from the local dealers.

As the educational program grew and districts outside the township became interested in sending their pupils to this school, the transportation system was expanded until now the district owns eleven buses.  The building program of 1939 provided the present busy garage which is one of the finest of its type in the state.  It accommodates twelve buses and has complete mechanical facilities for their maintenance.

The first full time mechanic employed was Lester McAmis who was followed by Floyd King in 1941.

For the current year the buses carry approximately four hundred pupils daily, travel somewhat over seventeen hundred miles per week, and will have used about eight thousand gallons of gasoline by the end of the school year.



The Parent Teachers Association was organized in this school in May 1940.  Mr. Haakon Furu was elected president, and, after serving two years, was succeeded by Mrs. Crosby Washburne.  This year, the organization is under the leadership of Mrs. Percy Boult, who was elected in 1943.

Each year the organization has chosen and carried out a project in the interest of the school.  The association has furnished the Browsing Room, assisted in the purchase of band uniforms, and equipped the Health Room.  It has also presented to the school many other useful gifts.  This year, plans are being made to send a boy to Wolverine Boys’ State, and a girl to Wolverine Girls’ State.

During the past two years, the Parent Teachers Association and the Chamber of Commerce have entertained the children of the community at Hallowe’en and Christmas parties.

In February of this year the Parent Teachers Association sponsored its third annual Adult Institute which was again a profitable two-day program for the people of the community.



For several years the Walton Township Unit School has offered courses in Home Making and Agriculture for adults.  The war has added impetus to this program and, as the state and federal departments of vocational education made more funds available, the opportunities in this community were greatly increased.  During the last two years an average of eighteen courses per year has been offered in sewing, canning, gardening, swine, dairying, poultry, soils, farm management, tractor and truck repair, farm machinery, and farm labor training.  The average number of adults enrolled in these courses has been two hundred fifty.

This adult education program has been supervised by the local administration, and directed by Dorothy Rudenberg, teacher of Home Making, and Thomas Kerrey, of the Agriculture department.  Instruction was given also by residents of the community.  Those who taught courses in Dairying are, Clair Lake, Clyde Butterfield, Everett Reynolds, Bernard Hice, Arthur Jaquette, Dale Shrontz, and Charles Garner.  Classes in Swine and Poultry Husbandry were taught by Leonard Johnson and Ernest Nelson.  Instruction in Tractor and Truck Repair and Maintenance was given by Floyd King, and James Reynolds and Darwin Jaquette taught courses in Farm Machinery Repair and Maintenance.

These classes have been held at the school in the Home Making rooms, the Agriculture room, the Cafeteria, the shop, and the bus garage.  Other classes have met in rural schools, Grange halls, and, in some cases, in farm homes throughout the community.

Early Village School (1885)

The First Brick Structure, destroyed by fire in 1919 . . . Built about 1886

First Unit of Consolidated School (1922)

An early shop, R. L. Stickle, Instructor      One of the first Orchestras, Pedro Paz, Director



The KINDERGARTEN is enjoying a free play period; thus personal interest is given a chance to develop.


This group shows FIRST GRADE children interested in a daily activity of clay modeling.


The THIRD GRADE at work on a study of transportation.


FOURTH GRADE activity period divided into groups; bird study, observing a puppet show, and a geography study.


FIFTH GRADE making a study of one of the important spring enterprises of the community. 

They are producing maple sugar.


The SIXTH GRADE during one of their library periods; returning and checking out books.


The STUDENT COUNCIL is ready to discuss student problems under the guidance and council of their advisor.


One out of every three pupils in the Junior and Senior High School take band.  Rehearsals are held daily for 60 minutes.


A busy morning in the Health Room.  The doctor is giving hearing tests to grade pupils and 

two older students are under observation.


Mrs. Harold Miller, cafeteria manager, with the student assistants serving lunch to the second grade pupils.


The Future Home Operators hold an initiation meeting.  Officers are Dorothy Loveless, Margaret McClure, 

Constance Barlond, and Margaret Johnson.



The girls develop coordination, poise, and balance through exercise.


The opening of a meeting of the Future Farmers of America, with all officers at their stations.

Officers standing, left to right:  Max Powers, Kenneth Crilly, Lyle Lynd, Harold Tooley, Dale Cooley, 

and Mr. Thomas H. Kerrey, Advisor.


Farm Shop students repairing farm machinery and building farm equipment.  

Mr. James Reynolds,  the instructor, is supervising.


Left to right, first row:  George Perry, Theron Stults, Norman Heddon, Duane Shaw, Vinton Perry, Richard Herbert, and Leonard Johnson.  Second row:  Carol Severn Sorenson, Jr. (manager), Karl Goodnoe, James MacKenzie, Robert Sasnic, Gordon McAllen (coach), and Dorothy Loveless (cheerleader).


This is one of the milder forms of toughening up exercises that always follow calisthenics in our boys’ gym classes.


At the close of school the drivers and teachers check grade pupils on to the buses 

before the high school students are dismissed.


Left: Orma Stults and Fred Campbell, custodians, mechanic, take care of plumbing, 

heating electrical and machine repair, as well as building and grounds maintenance.

Right: Floyd King, the full-time mechanic, keeps the fleet of eleven 

buses in first class operating condition. 


Row 1:  W. Bradford,  F. Bowles,  N. Burke,  N. Crilly, F.  Campbell,  J. Cooper,  C. Caplin,  M. Dillon, S. Engle, L. Hall. 

Row 2:  I. Harris, M. Ingram, J. Kerry, J. Masters, D. Miller, H. McDonald, G. Mogg, B. Nye, B. Sumption, M. Tompkins.  

Row 3:  L. Bolley, J. Boult, N. Campbell, V. Campbell, R. DeBaun, D. Demaree, L. Eishen, M. Gettys, G. Hall.  

Row 4:  E. Hall, A. Halsey, N. Halsey, J. Harris, G. Heisler, C. Hickok, K. Janousek, C. Johnson, D. King, J. Love. 

Row 5: S. Owen, G. Patterson, R. Peters, S. Peters, G. Ryor, P. Scott, M. Sheplar, A. Swan, C. Thornton, R. Vahs.  

Row 6:  R. VanNortrick, D. Wertz, J. Wolf, E. Abson, E. Allen, J. Bolly, M. Bowles, D. Bugbee, C. Bugbee.  

Row 7:  F. Campbell, J. Campbell, M. Engle, D.  Hefflebower, G. Gray, A.Hickok, R. Johnson, T. Kerry, R. Leslie, D. Lamb.  

Row 8:  M. McDonald, S. Marsh, L. Miller, J. Morrison, L. Murphy, V. Norton, C. Otenry, J. Root, J. Sharp, S. Sherman.  

Row 9:  D. Shrontz,  J. Velliquet, A. Weaver, D. Weaver, J. Wolf, E. Wood, J. Boysen, D. Campbell, D. Carpenter.   

Row 10:  G. Chapman, C. Conant, J. Crilly, D. Dillon, R. Dowding, S. Engle, R.,Halsey, H. Hammond, A. Harris, P. Herbert.


Row 1:  F. Jewell, D. Judd, D. Keller, D. King, N. Kleinfelt, M. Lover, N. Mann, D. Mather, J. Mattingly, D. Merrill.  

Row 2:  E. Mogg, F. Morales, N. Norton, N. Owen, A. Patterson, B. Reiss, D. Ripley, J. Ryor, B. Sheets, D. Spangler.  

Row 3:  R. Stukey, J. Thornton, D. Bennett, J. Boult, B. Boysen, G. Burke, C. Gardner, E. Halsey, J. Halsey.  

Row 4:  D. Harris, L. Hice, R. Hisler, V. Hisler, R. Jewell, P. Johnson, K. Marsh, L. Mathias, D. Moon, L. McDonald.  

Row 5:  S. Murphy, M. McCollum, J. Peters, C. Rundle, J. Sharp, P. Sheets, J. Shrontz, L. Vedder, R. White.  

Row 6:  H. Bailey, L. Bugbee, V. Campbell, J. Carpenter, N. Cooper, P. Fields, A. Hansen, G. Harris, E. Hefflebower, C. Keller.  

Row 7:  E. Hensen, K. Masters, D. Mather, L. Mathias, B. McClure, C. Nobles, R. Norton, G. Persons, S. Ripley, R. Root.  

Row 8: D. Ryor,G.  Sherman, P. Spillane, M. Winterstein, R. Bahmer, R. Boysen, J. Clark, C. Conant, D. Crilley.  

Row 9: M. Dowding, G. Eishen, A. Halsey, G. Hammond, C. Horn, C. Johnson, L. King, J. Kleinfelt, W. Loveless, M. Mather. 

Row 10:  J. Mellor, C. Morrison, F. Morrison, B. Paige, T. Patterson, D. Peters, A. Powers, H. Ruffner, J. Russell, D. Stevens.


Row 1:  R. Vedder, R. Allen, J. Bradford, R. Clark, W. Coats, M. Collins, C. Conant, C. DeBaun, W. Dema-Ree.  

Row 2:  S. Dowding, R. Edick, F. Hammond, J. Hansen, C. Heisler, D. Heisler, H. Hensen, G. Howard,W. Kleinfelt, D. Leslie.  

Row 3:  I. Martis, R. McFarland, B. Morales, L. Murphy, L. Myers, H. Obrinski, L. Phillips, G. Pratt, T. Priest, A. Reid.  

Row 4:  B. Root, C. Sherman, V. Thompkins, J. Vance, V. Van Nortrick, N. Washburne, D. Weaver, Y. Bailey, R. Boult.  

Row 5:  J. Bugbee, P. Church, M. Davis, M. Davis, D. Eishen, J. DeBaun, I. Faulkner, B. Goodrich, D. Harris, D. Heisler.  

Row 6:  B. Hogle, B. Horn, L. Howard, G. Hubert, F. Hydon, R. Jaquette, C. Jones, D. Joshick, D. King, J. Kopp.  

Row 7:  M. Lake, S. Loveless, D. Lynd, S. Mason, M. Masters, M. Mather, D. Mitchell, M. Morales, H. Morrison, I. Mott.  

Row 8:  I. Norton, G. Paige, H. Patterson, P. Peters, C. Pratt, P. Robinson, P. Ross, G. Rundle, W. Russell, M. Sadowsky.  

Row 9:  R. Spangler, J. Sumption, J. Swan, W. Turner, D. Velliquette, M. Waddell, B.Weldon, G. Adrianson, G. Betts.  

Row 10:  M. Bowen, V. Brangwin, E. Clark, N. Coats, J. Cornell, P. Davis, Day, V. Fleming, H. Frieny, B. Gardner.



Row 1:  M. Godward, W. Harris, C. Hisler, B. Horn, R. Johnson, A. Joshick, M. King, B. Lear, M. Leslie, B. Maier.  

Row 2:  I. Marsman, I. Marsman, M. Masters, M. McCullough, J. Miller, V. Nelson, M. Niver, V. Nobles, M. Patterson, H. Piatt.  

Row 3:  A. Ripley, R. Ross, B. Russell, D. Smant, C. Sorenson, D. Southward, H. Stukey, D. Stults, N. Sundberg, R. Tucker.  

Row 4: J. Vance, A. Arquette, M. Bargy, K. Bradford, L. Bradford, D. Carpenter, G. Crilly, G. Fuller, K. Goodnoe.  

Row 5:  J. Gray, J. DeGroot, W. Haun, N. Heddon, R. Herbert, H. Hisler, J. Hoagle, L. Howard, R. Howard, R. Howard.  

Row 6:  B. Lake, J. Lewellen, S. Lewis, P. Lynd, O. MacKenzie, J. Morales, E. Mount, J. Mull, D. Norton, J. Ott.  

Row 7:  D. Parker, S. Parr, N. Patterson, O. Patterson, G. Perry, B. Peters, C. Rundle, D. Rundle, W. Spangler, A. Stanton.  

Row 8:  G. Sandberg, R. Swick, H. Taylor, D., Thums, R. Turner, D. Washburne, C. Wells, H. Williams, H. Willis, R. Yoder.  

Row 9:  S. Adrianson, C. Barlond, G. Bradley, T. DeLong, M. Dowding, J. Fairchild, N. Goodrich, D. Hansen, H. Hickok.  

Row 10:  D. Horn, R. Jaquette, L. Johnson, H. Loucks, M. McClure, V. Perry, V. Reid, J. Robinson, F. Ross, V. Sabin.



Row 1:  R. Sasnic, T. Stults, R. Sumption, T. Vedder, G. Williams, D. Wood, C. Bahmer, V. Ballard, M. Bingham.  

Row 2:  B. Carpenter, D. Coats, K. Crilly, L. Flynn, A. Greenfield, W. Hice, P. Jewell, M. Johnson, J. Johnston, D. Lear.  

Row 3:  D. Loveless, L. Lynd, D. Mathis, I. Maurer, H. McDonald, R. Myers, M. Powers, H. Rundle, M. Russell, Z. Shapley.  


Those Absent from These Pictures

Kindergarten: P. Hoffman, R. Leslie, S. Stroo, D. Stultz, J. Dowding, C. Uhl, P. Powers, S. Mott, J. Emerson, P. Curtis.

1st Grade: B. Bolley, I. Griffin, G. Vierk, C. Uhl, B. Hyde, L. Mathias, K. Wintersteen.

2nd Grade: S. Stainsburg, S. Emerson, R. Wintersteen, D. Clark.

3rd Grade: L. Emerson, J. Hice, D. Custer, D. Wertz.

4th Grade: O. Dillin, J. Persons, M. Willis, L. Griffin, E. Leonard.

5th Grade:  J. Fasnaugh, C. Faulkner, F. VanNortrick, C. Wintersteen, R. Grable, M. Farrand.

6th Grade: R. Mull, B. Leslie, B. Stansbury, D. Farrand.

8th Grade: J. Wirt, M. McConnell.

9th Grade: M. Mills, S. Swift, W. Dillon, M. Farrand.

10th Grade: M. Starks, H. Bugbee, C. Hayter, J. MacKenzie.

11th Grade: S. Nichols, E. Horn, B. Hick, J. Sweet, D. Cooley.

12th Grade: D. Fleming, K. Hisler.




1844 - 1944




Down the years what hosts are marching!

In their hands faith's sword is strong;

Thru the mists their eyes are searching

Rough the pathway, steep and long.

But their giving and their striving

Made the paths we tread secure,

And the goals of our arriving

Thru their vision shall endure.


For the treasure they have given,

What have we today to give?

Oh! they have greatly striven

That we may greatly live.

Here us, hosts that went before us,

You whose days in toil were set,

While her oak leaves rustle o'er us

Pledge our hearts to Olivet.


'Mid the oaks you too saw growing

One by one strong towers arise;

On the paths worn by your going

Youth is hastening to be wise.

Faith and valor, still we need them

Goals more glorious beckon yet;

We for brotherhood and freedom

Pledge our hearts for Olivet.

Verses by Mafra Wright Newhall, '02

Music by Samuel Robinson



The Paths Worn by their Going . . .

Esther Raymond Shipherd

John Jay Shipherd was born at Granville, New York, just across the border from Vermont; the date was March 29, 1802.  His father, Zebulon. Rudd  Shipherd, was a Yankee Lawyer and former Federalist member of Congress who sometime in the 1820’s became an enthusiastic follower of the great New York evangelist, Charles Grandison Finney.  The younger Shipherd came under Finney’s influence when he was at the most impressionable age and always looked to him for guidance and leadership.

John Shipherd studied at various local academies and then, foregoing a college education because of illness, prepared for the ministry in the home of the Rev. Josiah Hopkins, at New Haven, Vermont.  He held on pastorate – at Shelbourne in Vermont – and from 1828 to 1830, served as General Agent of the Vermont Sabbath School Union.

About that time the Congregational and Presbyterian churches of the East had become much interested in the effort to extend Christian influence among the new settlers of the Mississippi society; and Absolom Peters’ Home Missionary and Pastor’s Journal begun in Boston in 1828 was the official organ of the movement.  Shipherd was persuaded that he had a call to go to these “unplowed spiritual fields.”  He wrote to his father in May, 1830:

“As it now seems to me the finger of Providence points westward even to Mississippi’s vast valley, which is fast filling up with bones which are dry; and the Spirit that giveth life is not wont to breathe upon them, till the prophet’s voice be uttered.  Who shall utter it?  As if affrighted at the sight, many who, I think, ought to go, stand back.  The cultivated field of New England and the Middle States is more inviting than the new and desolate region of the west; and has a multitude of laborers in it compared with that valley of moral death.  The Lord of the harvest says “Whom shall I send, and who will go for us?”  The Heart of your unworthy son responds:  ‘Here am I, send me.’”

In the autumn, Shipherd went to the Western Reserve in Ohio as a home missionary with the benediction of Charles G. Finney and receiving partial support from the Home Missionary society.  His pastorate at Elyria was none too successful.  His church was divided by factional controversies; his health gave way.  But there he dreamt his dream of a combined Christian colony and school which might serve as a leaven for the whole “wicked Valley of the Mississippi.”

Though others made their contributions, the conception, the inspiration, the determination to carry through the plan of Oberlin was almost wholly Shipherd’s.  A group of pious New Englanders would settle together in the wilderness at a sufficiently safe distance from worldly influences.  They would establish a manual labor school where their own children and the children of other poor Yankee farmers could be prepared to go out as disseminators of elementary education, sound morals, true democracy, humanitarian benevolence and devoted piety among the growing millions of the New West.  Shipherd selected and gathered his colonists on lands which he begged from New Haven land speculators.  He became first pastor of their church.  He established Oberlin Collegiate Institute.  Then, when the enterprise seemed about to collapse because of a lack of funds, by one magnificent coup he brought to Oberlin the financial support of certain rich New York merchants, the moral support of the Christian reform movement and the personal prestige of Finney himself.

Success in Oberlin had germinated in Shipherd’s mind an expanded vision.  He would fill the whole region with institutions on the Oberlin plan where, through manual labor combined with study, the young men and women of the West could be trained up for the great work of converting the valley to Christianity.  In his official letter of farewell to his congregation, he wrote:  “The great head of the church is Opening before me a Door of Usefulness, wide and effectual in the work of Christian Education, and distinctly calling me into that great and blessed work so that while I can do but little in the plenteous harvests by personal ministry, I can do much to supply it with effective Laborers and thus preach Christ still through the Oberlin Institute and kindred Seminaries which under God I may aid in building.”  Certain New York merchants were to finance a succession of missionary colleges in the West.  Eliza Branch, an Oberlin teacher, acting as amanuensis, wrote of the plan to Shipherd’s brother:  “The brethren . . . having pledge $13,000  . . . he will leave Oberlin about 1st June on an exploring tour . . . He is to select and purchase the most eligible site for a manual labor institution.  The design is to get 10,000 acres and to raise money enough on the sale of it to endow the college, and add some $10,000.  In addition to this enough to make a second purchase for a Theological Sem. from which enough must be saved for a third purchase and so on, until through these, that great valley shall be supplied with efficient laborers who will reap down her harvests, already ripe and gather them unto the gardner of the Lord.”

Elihu P. Ingersoll, Professor of Church Music and Principal of the Preparatory Department at Oberlin in 1835—1836, had a brother Erastus S. Ingersoll, who had originated a scheme to establish a Christian colony and school a’ la Oberlin in the central part of Michigan.  Professor Ingersoll resigned from the Oberlin faculty to aid his brother and easily persuaded Shipherd to sponsor the enterprise.  Dr. Isaac Jennings, Oberlin’s medical reformer, also participated in the planning for this manual labor, missionary school near the present Lansing, which was to be called the Grand River Seminary.  In June of 1836, Shipherd issued an announcement of the new institution, together with a plea for financial aid.  This appeal, written in the wilderness on a bark table “in an Indian wigwam on the banks of the Cedar River” constitutes his manifesto:

“To the Brethren and Sisters of Eastern Churches.

“Beloved in Jesus – I address you from the Great West, on a subject and under circumstances as interesting as this Valley is extensive. . .

“Three years ago I was among you on an agency in behalf of the Oberlin Collegiate Institute (then prospective) hoping thereby, under God, to do much to supply his plenteous harvest with effective laborers.  Now I am in the center of Michigan, seeking a location for Oberlin second; not because I or my Oberlin associates have occasion to forsake Oberlin first, but because the place is too strait for us, and there remaineth beyond us much land to be possessed in the name of the Lord; and because the Oberlin mode of possessing it has succeeded by the Lord beyond a parallel . . .

“Therefore, beloved, I am here, with a dear member of our faculty, and a hundred brethren of this state, sent of God, we trust, to find the place where we will continue His previous Oberlin work.”

President Jackson’s famous “Specie Circular” requiring payment in gold for Government lands spoiled many a promising land speculation scheme, but few as unselfish as this one.  Shipherd wrote to his brother:  “Gen’l Jackson’s ‘Golden Order’ about specie payment for land cramps me in my new enterprise – cramps Oberlin and nearly all in business.”  After the financial collapse of 1837 his New York backers were unable to pay their subscriptions.  In May, 1839, failure was acknowledged in a circular sent to all subscribers and signed by E. P. Ingersoll, Jennings and Shipherd.  In the meantime, Shipherd had been promoting a similar enterprise in Indiana.

In March, 1837, the founding of another Unit in the system of pious mission colleges was announced.  This was the Lagrange Collegiate Institute of which Shipherd wrote to the editor of the New York Evangelist:  “I am happy to inform those who pray the  Lord of the harvest to send laborers into it that another Oberlin . . . is rising in Lagrange county, Indiana.”  He continued:  “The hope of our republic, of our American Zion and of the world, degraded in ignorance and sin, is Christian education.”  The grand design appears in a later sentence:  “Literary institutions must rise as the forests fall; and the seeds of Christian science must be scattered upon the fallow ground of prairies and plains as they are broken up.  Enlightened minds see clearly that much delay will be irretrievable ruin.”  The Lagrange institute was to follow closely the Oberlin pattern.  “To meet the demands of physiological law, and the indigence of promising youth,” manual labor was to be required.  It was to partake, too, of Oberlin’s reform character.  “This institution will allow free discussion, and openly sustain the great moral enterprises of the day – such as revivals, temperance in all things, the strict observance of the Sabbath, moral reform, Christian union, human rights under whatever color or circumstances.”  Shipherd expected that it would receive its students partly from the overflow from Oberlin.  Nothing more is known of this project, but it is suspected that it, too, died of financial malnutrition.

In 1842-43, Shipherd preached in Buffalo and in Strongville, Ohio, but in the latter year he turned again to Michigan.  In November, 1843, he went to that state to take care of Oberlin’s interests in certain lands and to make a preliminary survey for a new colony and school.*

In the execution of this commission from the authorities of Oberlin, Shiphered made his way toward the Grand River location of the property through the site of the present village of Olivet.  He spent the night at a settler’s cabin in a small clearing near the hilltop now occupied by the College.  The next morning, setting out again on his journey toward Charlotte, he lost his way and was startled to find himself three times drawn back to the forest-covered hilltop.  With a perfect faith in the guidance of God, he said to himself:  “The hand of the Lord is in this.  Is not this green hilltop the chosen mount of consecration – the very spot whereupon He would have me rear the holy altar of Learning and Religion?  Surely God hath directed my stumbling steps!”

Returning to Oberlin, full again of the desire to carry out his dream of founding a Christian community, he vigorously set about getting a colony ready for his enterprise.  Among those who gave him most encouragement were Mr. William Hosford, Mr. Carlo Reed, and to these were added the families of Wilson C. Edsell, Hiram Pease, George Andrews and Phineas Pease.  Four young men, Albertus L. Green, Phineas Hagar, Joseph Bancroft and Chauncey Cady were quick to catch the spirit of the project.  Together with Reuben Hatch and Oramel Hosford, recent graduates from Oberlin College, plans for the migration were laid.  Three young women, Julia Edsell, Alice Green and Abby Carter who were living in the families of Mr. Edsell and Shipherd were added to the company when it made ready to start its journey into the wilderness of Michigan.

On February 13, 1844, an advance party consisting of Andrus, Hagar, Bancroft and two hired men left Oberlin with ox-teams, cattle, sheep and colts, and were followed the next day by the main colony.  The tedious journey was made from Oberlin through the Black Swamp region on the Maumee River northward.  Passing through Marshall on their way, the people laughed at the old man who had gone off into the woods to start a college.  On Saturday, February 24, 1844, the party reached the site that had been chosen.  Five settlers awaited them; Parley Shumway, Captain J. W. Hickok, Isaac Hogle, N. L. Curtis and Hiram Burroughs.  Mr. Shipherd found shelter in the cabin of Mr. And Mrs. Newton Curtis, and it was in their home that the new institution had its formal beginnings.

It is related of Mrs. Shipherd that, when she had mounted to the highest point on the hill and had taken a survey of the region, she turned to her husband and said:  “Your village, Mr. Shipherd, looks better on paper than in reality.”

But the colonists set to work making homes for themselves.  Some managed to live in abandoned log cabins and some were taken into the already full houses of the earlier settlers, who were delighted at their coming.  They cleared away trees and planted crops.  They built a saw mill and a grist mill. 

Two months after their arrival Shipherd wrote to Amasa Walker, thanking him for a gift:  “And I thank the Lord that he is thus and otherwise aiding us to do his good work at Olivet.  Our program is slow but I trust safe.  Our prospect of usefulness appears to me to be fair.”  But his weak body was breaking under the strain.  Though, he wrote to Hamilton Hill, he was “happy in confidence that we are doing God’s work,” he recognized that he was “weary and worn and greatly pressed with labors.”  Malaria broke out and spread until there were more sick than well, and John J. Shipherd died at Olivet September 16, 1844.

Should the colonists try to continue or should they give up the enterprise as hopeless?  They would wait until Mr. Reuben Hatch, who was to be the first president of the new college, should arrive and see how he felt about it.  Mr. Reuben Hatch, just out of Oberlin himself, came and found conditions as bad as they had been reported, but he was young and strong, and the reason which had originally led to the undertaking appeared to him as valid as ever.  And so Olivet College, though not legally incorporated, sent out bulletins announcing the opening of its first term.

THE INDENTURE made between Julius Brown of Croton, Tompkins County, New York, and John J. Shipherd in April, 1844, by which Shipherd acquired the land for Olivet College.

It is supposed that it is in the cabin of Mr. And Mrs. Newton L. Curtis that Father Shipherd spent his first few days in Olivet after the migration from Oberlin.  In their house, worship service was held on Sunday, and the formal plans for the College were created. This  picture, taken in 1868, is the gift to the College of Mrs. Edith E. Rowe, their  granddaughter. 

Class of 1863

Three young women, Sophia A. Keyes, Mary N. Barbour, and Sara Benedict, constituted the first class to receive degrees from Olivet College following its incorporation in 1859 as a Collegiate institution. The first four graduating classes were made up only of women since the Civil War had called so many of the men into service.

The Old Chapel

THE FIRST CHAPEL was the upper room of the school building which was erected in 1846.  When that burned in 1851, the chapel was moved to Colonial Hall.  But this soon became too small as the enrollment of students increased, and the following year a one-story frame building was erected for a chapel with a seating capacity of three hundred.  In 1865, it was decided to lengthen this building and raise it two stories with the chapel on the second floor and classrooms on the first.  This place of worship served both the College and the village until the church was completed in 1894, and continued to serve as College chapel until it was removed in 1933 after erection of the Dole Residence Hall for Women.

Old Parsons Hall

PARSONS HALL, the dormitory for men, was completed in 1871.  It housed successive generations of Olivet men until it was destroyed by fire in 1928.  It was the “brick building” which President Morrison said would end all discussion of the possibility of removing the College from the village of Olivet. 


Old Colonial Hall  

OLD COLONIAL HALL was completed in 1849.  In 1888, it was removed to a  position behind Parsons, and the students petitioned that it be used as a gymnasium.  It was enlarged, put on a stone foundation, and served as the center for athletics until 1928 when McKay Gymnasium was erected.


The Old Gymnasium


The Oaks of Olivet

When winter’s sun is shining over hills of snow,

There is one hill above the rest he loves the best, I know,

Where students gay, from peep of day until the sun doth set,

In search of wisdom, work among the Oaks of Olivet.


One and all, singing all, of days when first we met,

All our hearts keep throbbing time to memories lingering yet

 Songs of days when life was young, ne’er can we forget

 The blue by day nor stars by night, o’er the Oaks of Olivet.


When merry springtime comes again to bless the earth,

 Fling book and pen light hearted by, exchanging care for mirth;

 The maple leaves are freshest green, the oak buds softer get,

 The squirrels greet the birds among the Oaks of Olivet.


And when the sun is setting in the golden west,

Then do not mourn the passing of the day, for night is best.

There’s nothing in the whole wide world can make us e’er forget

 The shining of the stars above the Oaks of Olivet.




Rough the Pathway, Steep and Long . . .

Early in December, 1845, Olivet College formally opened with Reuben Hatch as president and teacher of languages, Oramel Hosford as teacher of mathematics, Charles A. Jennison as a third teacher, and nine students.  During the term the number of students was doubled.  The first Commencement exercises were held on June 27.

The first catalogue was published in 1846.  It had been written by President Hatch and printed at his expense though it was issued in the name of the Trustees.  It listed seventy-two students, of whom thirty-nine were “ladies” and thirty-three “gentlemen.”  Tuition for men was ten dollars a year, for women nine dollars.  Fees were one dollar, fuel could be had for the getting, and board was a dollar a week.

Colonial Hall, the first building, was completed in 1849.  This was a three-story building on the campus square opposite where Shipherd Hall now stands.  On the first floor were much-needed classrooms and the two upper floors were living quarters for men.

Application for a collegiate charter for the Olivet Institute had been made to the State Legislature as early as 1845, but that body, intent on protecting the infant University of Michigan, viewed with disfavor attempts to found what might prove competitive institutions.  However, Olivet’s petition was especially objectionable, for it was notorious that the new Institute opposed slavery, permitted manual labor and favored co-education.  It was thirteen years before Olivet was deemed sufficiently respectable to be incorporated.  But on the last day of 1858 the trustees of the Olivet Institute held their last meeting and, after they had resigned as trustees of the Institute, held their first meeting as trustees of Olivet College, for at long last the College had been granted a charter by the State of Michigan.

In 1859 The Rev. M. W. Fairfield was chosen President of the College, and Shipherd Hall was completed.  In this year also a Ladies’ Board was appointed, the original of the present Women’s Auxiliary Board.

Hardly was the College organized when its men were called away to the Civil War.  Its first four graduating classes were made up only of women.  And the College lacked not only students but money.  The situation looked so dark that Professor Morrison, who was Acting President, even proposed to the Board of Trustees that “the whole concern be wound up at the close of the present term.”  Fortunately the proposal after being discussed at three meetings was voted down.

On March 20, 1861, the society which had begun in 1847 as the Olivet Lyceum and three years later changed its name to the Philalethian Society, was reorganized into the Phi Alpha Pi Fraternity.  Its hall was built in 1892.

In 1865 the Preparatory Department was distinguished from the College proper and was only abandoned in 1907.  A revival of work for younger students under the newly organized programs of Hosford and Shipherd Houses was instituted in 1943.

In 1865 the Adelphic Society took its present name.  The group, organized on December 15, 1862, had previously called itself “Clever Fellows.”  It met in various rooms in the College until 1889 when the present hall was built.

The Soronian Society also completed its organization and adopted its present name in 1865.  When the fourth floor was added to Shipherd Hall in 1871 the Board of Trustees gave the Soronians permission to furnish rooms for their meetings there.  But as time went on, their hearts were set on having a house of their own.  In June, 1900, the Board of Trustees voted them a site for their house, and in 1909 Soronian hall was built.

Parsons Hall, a dormitory for men, was completed in 1871.  It housed successive generations of the men of the College until it burned in 1928.  It was replaced in 1929 by Blair Hall.

In the 1870’s Olivet entertained its first resident artist, Col. James Fairman.  In 1937 this custom was revived and a practicing artist has been in residence and a member of the Faculty ever since.

In 1872 President Nathan J. Morrison resigned in order to found Drury College in Springfield, Missouri, of which he was the first president.  The first funds for this new venture were supplied by residents of Olivet, Mr. and Mrs. Samuel Drury, and the college was named in memory of their son.

Mather Hall, the Science Building, was finished in 1885 and named in honor of Roland Mather of Hartford, Connecticut.

At Commencement, 1889, the cornerstone of the library building was laid by Professor Joseph L. Daniels, the man who had carefully and wisely built up the College library and whose untiring efforts were chiefly responsible for fulfilling his dream of having a building to house it.

In 1893, The Rev. Willard G. Sperry became President of the College.  On December 9, Professor Hosford died.  He had retired in 1890 after teaching in the College since 1844 (it is said that he taught the first class ever held here) with the exception of eight years when he was State Superintendent of Public Instruction.

In this year also the cornerstone of the church was laid by President Butterfield.  After the arrival of the colony in 1844 the first church services were held in Father Shipherd’s house.  The first chapel was the upper room of the school building which was erected in 1846.  When that burned in 1851 the chapel was moved to Colonial Hall.  But this soon became too small and the following year a one-story frame building was erected for a chapel with a seating capacity of three hundred.  In 1865 it was decided to lengthen this building and raise it to two stories, which served both College and village until the church was completed in 1894, and continued to serve as College chapel until it was removed in 1933 after the erection of Dole Hall.

In 1907 the Sigma Beta Society was organized.

At its meeting on June 10, 1918, the Board of Trustees voted unanimously “That in view of the conditions created by the present world war, the College be closed for the duration of the war.”  On June 22, the Board met to reconsider the decision of the previous meeting and to discuss a proposition submitted by the Rev. T. H. Wilson and five other members of the College Faculty that they continue the school for a year on a war basis.  The Board voted unanimously to accept the proposition.  The College was operated accordingly during the year 1918-19 and closed at the end of that year.

But the feeling, sponsored largely by George R. Wilson, ’03, and Dr. Ernest B. Allen, that there was a need for the kind of education which Olivet College could give was so strong that the Board of Trustees after several meetings voted to reopen the College and appointed Paul F. Voelker president.  The College reopened in September, 1920, and a considerable number of its former students came back to finish their work and take their degrees at the college which they so loved.

The Kappa Sigma Alpha Fraternity was organized in 1922.  In 1924 it was incorporated and in that year purchased the house which had originally been the home of Professor Daniels.  After that burned in 1928 the fraternity held its meetings in a room on the third floor of Blair Hall until 1931 when it bought its present home, formerly known as the Hance house.

At the Commencement, 1928, the cornerstone of the McKay Gymnasium was laid.  Before this, the department of athletics had had to content itself with the old building which had first been Colonial Hall and in 1888 been removed to the present site of the gymnasium.  This the students, upon petition, had been granted permission by the Trustees to turn into a gymnasium provided they could do it without cost to the College.  Somehow they managed to enlarge it, put it upon a stone foundation, and equip it to meet the requirements of the time.

In 1933, Dole Resident Hall for Women, the gift of Andrew R. Dole and Mary Hooker Dole, was opened, and Shipherd Hall was converted into the administration building, with offices for the faculty and classrooms on the second floor.

In 1934, Mr. Joseph Brewer was appointed President of the College and the new educational system based upon the tutorial plan was introduced.

Although Olivet College is technically undenominational and is controlled by an autonomous and self-perpetuating Board of Trustees, it has always been in 1886, it enjoyed the sponsorship of both the Congregational and Presbyterian Churches, but by tradition and actual voting participation in the General Council of Congregational and Christian Churches its basic connections have always been Congregational.  The motto of the College is “Pro Christo et Humanitate.”

The object of the College is set forth in the first catalogue thus:  “We wish to have it distinctly understood that the whole object of this institution is, has been, and we hope ever will be, the education of young men and women, especially such as are not rich in this world’s goods, but heirs of the kingdom – for the glory of God, and the salvation of men.  All things connected with this school in all its arrangements and departments will, so far as in us lies, he made and kept subservient to this supreme end.  Our first great object will be to lead our pupils to Christ and to consecration to His service.  Having no partisan or sectarian interests to subserve, we wish simply to do them good by placing in their hands the means of intellectual, moral, and spiritual improvement and to teach them the Divine art and science of doing good to others.

One by one Strong Towers Arise

Blair Hall, Dole Residence Hall for Women,

Church Tower,

The Library, MacKay Memorial Gymnasium,

Mather Hall, Shipherd Hall

Soronian Hall, Conservatory of Music,

Phi Alpha Pi House,

Adelphic Hall

Sigma Beta House, Kappa Sigma Alpha House


Goals More Glorious Beckon Yet . . .

Excerpts from “A Statement of Aims.  Objectives and Governing Policy for Olivet College” Adopted by the Board of Trustees and the Faculty on April 22, 1944. 

“OLIVET IS A CHRISTIAN COLLEGE of Liberal Arts and Sciences.  By definition, then, it is committed to a policy of the widest freedom of inquiry and investigation and to the boundless implications of the Christian point of view.  It is in terms of this freedom and this point of view that is effectiveness as an educational institution is to be judged.  Its purpose in general is to fit undergraduate students to perform justly, skillfully, and magnanimously all of the offices, both private and public, of peace and war, and so to imbue them with the Christian concept of life that they will be able critically and rationally to arrive at a viable integration of human experience.  For these broad aims, and for the narrower one of preparing students for going on into teaching, graduate work, technical and professional studies or research, a liberal education alone can provide the adequate and necessary basis.  Olivet chooses to state its position in terms of library education and of a Christian college, because it believes that the orientation permits a freedom and scope not possible in a more limited contest, and because its concern is with those basic and fundamental teachings which have enduring value.

“Olivet is a liberal college in the sense that it opens to the student every opportunity for unrestricted study of any field of human knowledge afforded by the curriculum of the college; it is Christian in the sense that it is oriented in the enduring values of the Christian world view, and that it attempts to guide the student to those principles and standards that are understood as a Christian way of life.

*   *   *   *

“At Olivet, in viewpoint and action, the focus is not on subject matter as such.  Olivet attempts rather to focus on the individual student as a reacting organism developing in a conditioning cultural environment which, of course, includes subject matter.  The College’s effort is to help the student, through the tutorial method, to direct his own development toward intellectual, emotional and spiritual maturity.  This it attempts to do by giving him the factual knowledge, technique of learning, general theory of values, and general method of evaluation necessary for understanding and controlling himself and the cultural environment in terms of what is understood as ‘the democratic way of life.’  Maturity or effective adulthood in this democratic way of life involves the free play of intelligence and conscious self-discipline of the individual’s reaction to the ‘facts’ in all areas of living.  It is maturity in this sense which provides an adjustment suitable to cope with the complex and conflicting pattern of our culture in democratic terms.”

*   *   *   * 

*In that aspect of formal education which concerns itself with the transmission of the culture, we have for too long relied on secondary sources, on books and teaching about the culture, and so we have largely lost actual contact with the works and the minds which themselves embody and exemplify where they do not indeed constitute the culture.

Our experiment has served to make possible once more a living, dynamic process of education in which the teacher and the taught can once more engage in a common enterprise, where values are recognized and where mutual respect and human decency can serve as a basis for the relations between them.

 Now, however, the coming of the war, which has sharpened all issues, has forced all of us to reconsider one of the great fundamental and persistent questions of education, “What should we teach and in what order?”  We have learned just how important this question is through the example of the perverted uses to which the Nazis and their conferes have put education . . .  The relation of this question to democracy has become alarmingly clear and teachers are feeling almost desperately their responsibility to find an adequate answer to it.

 But the setting up of a rigid, formalized curriculum is also an evasion of responsibility, for it declares a set of a priori intellectual goals to be more important than the discoverable needs of a dynamic society.  Moreover, it tends to neglect the whole man, the living organism, for a single artificially segregated part of him . . . although such a curriculum represents an effort at an integration of knowledge, nevertheless, because it is artificial, and based on a rigid formula . . . it tends to the error of the specialist, another evasion of responsibility from which our education suffers. 

And it is only the teacher who is himself a partaker of the whole culture, and not merely a part of it, only he who is indeed the true educator, not the administrator nor even the professional “educationist” who can assemble the parts and tell how best and in what order to communicate them to make their integration clear.

 To function adequately and with some assurance of stability, our human values must be established in accordance with and in the direction of the known functional structure of the universe of which we are a part . . . we must develop a clear order of values to guide us educationally, by the application of the best scientific knowledge available to us at the present time, knowledge brought together from all fields and coordinated into a clearly comprehensible whole. 

But also important for this purpose is the question of what methods of critical analysis we teach, both in precept and in our own example . . . the medieval dialectic with its limiting two-valued logic appears to be out of keeping with the modern world of technology and so, not only has no survival value but is actually against survival. 

. . . it is important not only that we teach those things which will serve to make ourselves and our students members of a world community, but also that we organize our own small segment of it so that it appears clearly as an integral part of the world community. 

. . . the small “liberal arts” college of America is in a peculiarly strategic position.  Because of its size the obvious primacy of teaching keeps it from the temptations of research.  Yet while it may not make the advances in scientific knowledge of the basis of which our constant re-valuations must proceed, it is well adapted to apply the knowledge supplied by others.  Being small, its operations are not so complex but that they can be shifted readily and in human rather than mechanical terms.  Thus they should be leading the constant process of experimentation which is so essential for the evolution of our whole educational organism.

*Excerpts from “The Reconstruction of American Education,” an address delivered by Joseph Brewer, M.A. (Oxon.) Hon. LL.D., President, on the Centennial Founders’ Day, 24 February, 1944.






Newly elected President Earl Corey again receives the village keys

from retiring President Hiram Morehouse.


The village officers -- Dr. Phil Quick, health officer, Councilmen Thomas Kerrey, Ralph Vahs, Oliver Shaw,

Assesor J. L. Harter, President Earl Corey, councilmen Eddy Goodrich, Homer Judd, James E. Taylor,

Treasurer Bernice Goodwin, and Clerk Walter Pollard.


With these trucks the village and community have ace high fire protection.

H. Morehouse, Jerry Jewell, driver; Warren Bennett, marshal; and E. Corey


OLIVET VILLAGE in Walton Township, Eaton County, one hundred years ago was just emerging from its primeval state.  The sound of the axe and the saw was heard in the land as the virgin trees began to fall.  From these trees, cabins were being built.  Prior to this period, the “old timers” relate many tales of historic interest in regard to this region. 

Long before the white men came to disturb their peace, the Indians had a village on land nearby, and on the high ridge along Indian Creek their burial ground was located.  Following treaties made with the red men, Governor Cass sent troops who escorted them to reservations west of the Mississippi.  Then it was that this territory was opened for settlement.  A few Indians here and there remained, but the tribes were no more.

It is told how an early settler, finding mounds on his land along the Creek ridge, opened one to ascertain its geological formation, only to discover that it was an Indian grave.  Several braves had been buried in this mound in a sitting posture with their bows and arrows at hand and pottery and food nearby – together with bits of silver and colored glass strung on a thong – their “wampum.”  All traces of these mounds are now gone, but many fine Indian relics have been collected and preserved from this area.

Land records show that the first settler to come into this region was Capt. James Hickok – in 1835.  He located just west of the village.  The next year Parley Shumway and Isaac Hogle came into the same area.  To the north, J. W. Bosworth and N. L. Curtis took up land, while the first farm south of the village was located by Osman Chappel.  To the east Hiram Burroughs took up a large tract along Indian Creek.

In 1844 quite a large group from Oberlin, Ohio, under the leadership of J. J. Shipherd came onto this hilltop.  They were the founders of Olivet College, a record of which is given separately in this book.

Albertus Green, one of the four young men who came at this time, identified himself more with the Village and its affairs of business than in the work of the College.  He erected a logs of private dormitory and study for himself but it served as chapel and recitation room as well as post office during the day.

As was usual in all pioneer settlements, the water power available was the center of the business enterprises.  Here Indian Creek was dammed and in 1846 a sawmill was in operation on its north bank, while on the south side a flour and grist mill was soon after erected.  Just south of the flour mill Albertus Green built and opened a general store.  Four years later E. N. Ely purchased a one-third interest in the Green enterprises and until the death of Mr. Green in 1875 the firm of Green and Ely conducted the major part of the business of the Village.


The Mill from below the dam. The Drug Store -- 1882

Bird's-eye View -- an early pen sketch. The late A. H. Burleson, Physician and Surgeon.

The Old Stile on the South Grade. Street Scene in the '90's

The Village from across the mill pond.


Across the road a wagon, snath, and cradle shop was soon put in operation and next to it a blacksmith shop, which not only put shoes on the horses and oxen but tires on the wagons, and made all the hardware for the buildings – even to nails.

The mill pond extended upstream for over a mile and was considered one of the best fishing waters for miles around.  It is told by “old timers” that many a farmer, while waiting for his feed to be ground, would pick up a pole nearby, step to the edge of the mill pond and catch plenty of fish for his family’s supper.  Even today the fishermen mourn the passing of the mill pond, with its abundance of bluegills, perch, bass, and pike.

In March, 1867, the village was incorporated and the first charter election held.  Its first president was Albertus Green, with George Keyes as recorder.  The area of the village was, or is now, one square mile; the population 500 or thereabouts.

The early records of the council proceedings furnish much of interest to all Olivetians.  One petition to the Council under date of June, 1868, signed by 51 citizens, asks, “that cows with bells on, be restrained from running at large, at night, as it disturbed the sleep of those who were ill, as well as those who had to work.”

Streets were graded; sidewalks of oaken planks were built; trees were planted, and great interest given by all to the development of the village. 

The office of pound master was deemed necessary and important.  His duties seemed to be to keep the cows and chickens, the dogs and ducks, the hogs and horses from disobeying the ordinances or else, into the pound enclosure they went, to be redeemed by their owners after due process of law.

Following the death of Albertus Green, the partnership of Green and Ely was dissolved.  His son, Henry Green, continued the large general store, corner of Mill and East Streets.  When the Ely Block was completed, he added a hardware stock to his already large holdings, in the south side of same.  He had a big business, for those days, usually employing a bookkeeper and five or six clerks.

Mr. E. N. Ely retained his office in the wing of the Green store for 15 years.  Then, in 1890, he built the Ely Block and moved his office into a fine suite of rooms in this building.  Here he conducted his business with the people of the surrounding area for years.  During the latter part of his life, his nephew Allie Green, assisted him and upon Mr. Ely’s death, he continued the affairs of the Ely Estate until he, too, passed on.

For several years after there was no one to handle the real estate business of the town until Earl C. Corey retired from his connection with the Consumers Power Co., came back to his home on Washington Ave. to live, and opened an office on Main St.  This year he is beginning his sixth term as our Village President.

In the little brick building, southeast corner of Mill and East Sts., was Dowler’s tailor shop.  To the right of this was H. Herrick’s shoe store, Martin’s barber shop, and the Pinch grocery.  These old frame buildings burned in 1888.  They were replaced by the three brick buildings now owned by M. D. Burkhead.  In 1891, they were occupied by Herrick’s shoe store, Taggert’s drug store, and the M. A. Hance store.  To the right was Keyes and Son’s bank and the general store owned and operated by Robert and Albert Storr.

Two modern street scenes

Tanglewood School

Pine Lake Resort. The present Kedron Dam

Up the hill on Main Street. The Bell Telephone Automatic Exchange. 


Dr. Asa Warren’s office and home was at the bend of the road.  Just beyond was Shalliar’s market and his hotel.  Across Main St. where Clyde Herrick has a dry goods store, was “Doc” Charlie Mead’s first drug store.  Earl Corey says that as a boy, “he swept out the shavings and put the first pills on the shelves.”

Just north of the present bank, in the middle nineties, Will Green built his grocery store.  He continued in business there until 1927.  It is now the location of the Campbell Store.  On the corner, in 1876, Meads and Sargent built a block of two stores; Meads had a drug store and Sargent a dry goods store in this block.  In time they sold it to Fitz L. Gage.  He also had a dry goods store on the corner until 1927.  The Village purchased the other half of the first floor for a Village Hall.  Over the Village Hall and Green’s store the Masons and the Stars have their Lodge rooms.  Where Gage was, now we have the post office.

In 1901, Doc Charlie Meade, Edw. Parker, Charles Montague and Earl Corey built the five stores northward from the corner.  Two years later Giles Barrus built the two stores west of the corner.  These were built of brick from the brick kilns on Shipherd St. or Pine Lake.  Just this side of the hardware store is the Olivet Optic & Printing Co., owned and operated by John and Blanche Lignian.  Beyond the Ely building is the Ford Garage, built in 1921.  The Old Mill and the Green Stores were torn down recently and these old landmarks are missed by many.

About 1907 Calhoun County began to drain Lee Township’s huge marshes by widening and straightening Indian Creek, the water course from them.  This dredging poured great quantities of water into our mill pond, thus flooding the farms at the head waters.  Eaton County found it necessary to buy the millwright, open the dam and continue the dredging to the Battle Creek River about one and one-half miles north and west of the village.

The drained-out mill pond for over twenty years was a rubbish catch-all and a very unsightly place.  However, in 1930 the Village purchased it and made it into a public playground.  In winter, the village young folk enjoy the skating and in summer softball and other sports are their delight.  In short, Kedron Park is a recreation center for all the village.

Fire is always a menace to any community.  So, very early in the annals of this village, we find that a bucket brigade was organized; over 100 leather buckets were in use and it was quite a sight to see the line of men passing on their buckets of water from the creek or well to put out the fire.  On the return line the larger boys helped.  Soon it was evident that not enough water was available; so over 20 huge cisterns of 300 barrels capacity were built about the town.  These were regularly filled from a tank wagon, drawing water from the mill pond.

As the cabins were replaced with two or three-story buildings, a hand pumper with a hose was added, mounted on wheels and drawn by horses.  It was operated similarly to a railroad section crew’s car, with five men on a side.  The work of pumping was so strenuous that the men were changed every ten minutes.  This hand pumper was replaced by a gasoline engine and about this time a hook and ladder wagon was added to the fire equipment.

The horse-drawn fire engine was so slow in getting to the fires that the gas engine was mounted on a Model T truck with a Warford transmission in 1924-25.  If too many did not want to ride up the hill, all went well.  The hose cart was drawn behind a car to the fire and generally those in charge had the hose all laid by the time the engine arrived.

Mention should be made of the used fire engine bought from the Lansing Fire Department.  It was very difficult to start, but when underway, it could travel and throw water.  At a demonstration, downtown, the intake hose was put into the Creek at the bridge and the huge engine threw water to the traffic light.  The Olds Co. is said to have made the first motor-powered fire engine and this was one of the first two built.  After a decade of use, having become obsolete, it was sold to its maker, The Olds Company, for a museum piece.

Today Olivet has two modern fire engines, fully equipped, and a volunteer fire department of well-trained men who answer to the siren’s call to duty.  One engine goes to the country fires nearby in this rural area, while the other is in the engine house ready for a fire in the village.

The first mail came into the village by stage coach from Marshall, by the way of the planked toll-gate road and the junction.  There were no stamps in those days; the postage was paid for by the recipient of the letter, usually 25¢.  It is told by “old timers” when the office was refused by one who had been in charge for some time that he said, “Nix on the post office job.  I’ve lost $20.00 already just charging postage.”

In the records, we found the names of Hickok, Green, and Drury given as early postmasters; then George Keyes had the office in his bank and later it was in “Doc” Charlie Meade’s drug store.  In 1891, F. W. Brownson was made postmaster and the office was changed to a third class one.  Then it was that a separate building was needed and the small brick building on the corner of Mill and East Street was used.  After Mr. Brownson, Earl Corey was the postmaster for four years, and he built the building next to the hardware for a post office.  Then Frank Green came into office and was postmaster for sixteen years, being succeeded by Thomas Maveety who held the position for the next eight years.  Again Frank Green was appointed and three years later, in 1927, moved into the Gage Block where he stayed nine years.  In 1936, George Rundle received the appointment and has had charge of the office since then.  He has one regular assistant, his son, Claude Rundle.  The office is still third class, yet a great deal of business is transacted through its windows every year.

Rural mail delivery was established in 1901 – Weston Sexton was the first carrier.  Where five routes were finally needed in horse and buggy days we now have but two with the automobile.  A. G. Rehfus and Thos. Trainor are the carriers.

Transportation has been quite a problem to Olivet people all through the one hundred years.  The railroad which began to operate about 1869 was out two and one-half miles at Ainger.  It was the first Peninsular Road, then ten years later the Grand Trunk took it over and as such, it continues today.

The “old timers” tell how the farmers came into town and transported all who so desired to the depot for a ride on the first train over the new shining rails.  They charged each one 25¢ as fare.  And when the day was over they one and all gave the fares collected to George Blanchard to establish a bus service between the depot and Olivet.  Blanchard’s “bus” carried passengers and the mail for many years and is well remembered by students of those days as well as by the citizens of the village.  Blanchard also had the only livery in town where a shiny buggy and a sleek horse could be rented for business or pleasure.

In the early 70’s, the firm of Green and Ely saw the need of a railroad which would go through the village; so a company was organized to build and operate such a road.  It was called the Marshall Coldwater Railroad and old records show that it was surveyed as far north as Elm Hall through Hubbardston.  It was laid out through an area that had no railroad and in time it would have filled a long felt need in central Michigan.  While superintending the laying of the bridge timbers, in the Mack district, Albertus Green was fatally injured and died soon after on October 21, 1875.  He was the key man of this enterprise and no one was found to take his place.  The railroad was never completed.

About 1916 or 1917 the main highway through the village was graded and covered with gravel and known as a Michigan Highway.  Later in 1926 this was paved and is now US-27.  Today the Short Way Bus Line goes through our town with service between Fort Wayne and Lansing.

No record of a century of time would be complete without a roster of the physicians who practiced medicine here.  Over 80 years ago, a Dr. Hazen was attending to the common ills of man and while little is known of him, Frank Storr said “that he pulled him through the measles.”  Dr. M. L. Meads was another doctor here as well as Drs. Newland, Dewey, Grant, and Wever.  Drs. Ferguson and Bubb were dentists.  Dr. Asa K. Warren came to Olivet from the U. of M. in 1856 and established an office in the village in 1859.  Dr. Warren was interested in affairs of the village, being seven times president after its incorporation, as well as attending to his professional duties.

A few years later “Doc Charlie Mead” located his office and established a drug store on the corner of Washington Avenue and Main Street.  For many years the post office was in one corner of his drug store.  He was born in the Fordham district and was educated here and received training at Chicago and at the University of Michigan.

In 1895, Dr. Phil Quick graduated from the University of Michigan and came here in August of the same year, with his wife.  Besides his professional work, he served ten years on the School Board and was active in the work of the Church.  He was President of the Olivet Bank for many years and served as director from its opening.  But it was work with the boy Scouts that interested him the most.  The Scout room in the church was constructed largely due to his efforts and it was dedicated to him by his loyal Scouts.  His watermelon parties have been attended by the boys of the town for 40 years.  His work in this area with the Boy Scouts was such that he was made a Beaver Scout and invested with all the honors attached thereunto.

He was active in the Eaton County Medical Society and on the Hayes Green Hospital staff for many years and is one of the oldest physicians in Eaton County in point of active service.

In 1906, Dr. Burleson located in Olivet and until his death in 1940 was active in his profession and interested in village affairs, particularly the Olivet Bank, as officer and director until his death.  For many years he was on the Green Hospital staff and an officer in the Eaton County Medical Society.

Today, besides Dr. Quick, we have Dr. Paul Engle, a graduate of Loyola University, Chicago, in 1933, and Dr. Raymond Wilks, graduate of the University of Michigan Dental School in 1932, who have their offices in the new doctors’ building on South Main Street.  They are both public spirited citizens, interested in the village was well as busy with their professional work.

Our business district of today has changed but little in the last two decades.  Gas stations have been added since the automobile replaced “Old Dobbin,” Ralph Vahs and Elmer Horn on Main Street and Mr. Armstrong and Mrs. Evans on the south side.

But well known to all in this area for over twenty years are The Optic Printers, Campbell and Bartlett groceries, Sours’ Drug Store, Burkhead’s furniture and undertaking, Taylor’s Hardware, Herrick’s Dry Good, Herbert’s College Inn, Hamilton’s Barber Shop, and Jewell’s Garage.

The Ford Garage, Starks and Goodrich, the Farmer’s Grain and Fuel Company, Jack Stroo; Myers’ Barber Shop, Mrs. Stark’s Beauty Shop, and Corey’s Real Estate have been here nearly as long a period, and Norton’s Store and Holdridge’s Restaurant are recent additions to Main Street.

The census lists us as having about 700 for our population, not counting the College students, who are with us a large part of every year.

Olivet has not been the first to leave off the old, nor the last to put on the new, but is conservatively progressive.  Its homes are well kept and landscaped.

All this, together with the great abundance of its many shad trees and its stately campus of virgin oaks are typical of America, The Beautiful.

------ (Mrs. Ned) Jeannette Taylor



Olivet was founded 32 years before the telephone was invested and three years before its creator, Alexander Graham Bell, was born.

Olivet, too, was not far behind in the parade of American communities to make use of what was then regarded as “that new-fangled contraption – the speaking telephone.”  It was in 1883 that Olivet was connected to a single iron long distance line which extended to Battle Creek, Bellevue, Charlotte, and Lansing.  The telephone had been invented only seven years before and was introduced into Michigan at Detroit only five years before Olivet was connected by it with the outside world.

There is meager information on the birth of local exchange service in Olivet but all indications point to the fact that a small switchboard was installed in the community in 1899.  Thirteen individual telephones were connected with the new central office.  From that humble start, the Olivet exchange has grown through the years to 73 telephones just after the turn of the century, to 188 in 1910, and to more than 240 at present.

Among the community’s earliest telephone subscribers were A. H. Covey, F. C. Storr, A. L. Lee, I. Farlin, George Blanchard, Dr. W. S. Sperry, Mrs. A. T. Smith, and J. H. Maynard.

The first telephones were crude compared with modern equipment and service and most people were skeptical of the telephone’s future.  One had to shout into the instrument to be heard at the other end of the line.  Wires were strung from roof tops and trees and a merry tune often accompanied the spoken words of the early-day conversationalists.

Those who had faith in the telephone were soon rewarded as the years brought progressive development of the service.  The old hand-crank telephone gave way to the common batter set whereby the caller contacted the operator merely by lifting the receiver.  Telephone cables came into use to permit rapid expansion of the service.

In the summer of 1939, the Olivet telephone system was changed to dial operation to give the community the same type of service offered in larger cities.  Today, 61 years after the first telephone was introduced into Olivet, any one of the 240 or more telephones here can be connected with more than 26,000,000 others in the United States and millions more in many foreign countries.


List of Village Presidents

Since Incorporation in 1867


A. L. Green M. A. Hance E. E. Long Fritz Reed F. W. Brownson
G. C. Adams A. K. Warrant F. N. Green W. Morgan E. L. Sargent
Karl Keyes M. D. Burkhead O. Hosford W. J. Hickok F. J. Perrine
A. K. Warren C. H. Meade C. E. Murray S. F. Drury B. T. Bremer
M. D. Burkhead E. B. Green H. E. Green A. P. Green F. J. Perrine
A. K. Warren George Bell George Ely Hamilton King W. J. Hickok
Earl Corey E. E. Long J. H. Sours Hiram Morehouse M. Mead
Wm. Hickok Earl Covey

We all are blind until we see

That in the human plan

Nothing is worth the making if

It does not make the man.


Why build these cities glorious

If man unbuilded goes?

In vain we build the world, unless

The builder also grows.

                                              ---- Edwin Markham







James A. Blaisdell Frank H. Foster Arthur J. Skeele
Theodore H. Wilson Frank Fulkerson C. C. Smith
Mark G. Inghram M. H. Hartshorne Thomas W. Nadal


The History of the

First Congregational Church

of Olivet


BELIEVING that God had called them to found a Christian College, as soon as their homes were built, the first settlers of Olivet gathered for prayer.  Most often these meetings were held in Father Shipherd’s cabin.  So these pioneers, of different denominations, early set about to form a church.

Accordingly, on March 20th, 1845, a council consisting of Rev. S. Mason, of Marshall, Rev. W. N. Benedict, of Vermontville, Rev. L. L. Adair, of Dundee, Deacon S. S. Church, of Vermontville, and Rev. L. Smith Hobart, of Union City, gathered in the unfinished house of George Andrus where, “Statements were made by the brethren proposing to be organized into a church, . . . and a confession of Faith and a Covenant were adopted.”  Letters dismissing and recommending seventeen individuals from Congregational and Presbyterian churches were also read.  Rev. W. N. Benedict moved that “we deem it expedient for these persons to be organized into a church with the name of the ‘First Congregational Church of Christ of Olivet’.”  The motion carried.  The Church was constituted with the following exercises:

Introductory prayer by Rev. W. N. Benedict.

Reading of Profession of Faith and Covenant by Rev. L. S. Hobart, Scribe.

Recognition of the Church and Consecrating prayer by Rev. Stephan Mason, Moderator

Benediction by Rev. L. L. Adair

The seventeen charter members were William Hosford, Linda Hosford, W. C. Edsell, Julia Ann Edsell, P. Julia Edsell, Carlo Reed, Sally M. Reed, Adaline Chapin, Samuel Mahan, John Barnes, Mrs. Barnes, Orville Barnes, Mary B. Barnes, Harriet Barnes, George Andrus, Susan Andrus, and Willard Chapin.  Two days later twelve others joined this group.

The first deacons were William Hosford, James Douglass and Carlo Reed.  Rev. Reuben Hatch was the first minister, assisted by Rev. Amos Dresser.  W. C. Edsell was the first clerk.  Those selected to arrange for a pastor, funds and place of worship, were J. B. Barnes, W. C. Edsell and Willard Chapin.

Monthly business meetings were held, when those desiring to unite with the Church presented letters from other churches and gave an account of their religious experience.  A visiting committee was appointed each month, who were to call on the members of the Church and report the state of their religious life and any misconduct.  Absence from communion or Sabbath services, use of profane language or the use of tobacco, were duly reported and action taken to get the erring person to see the evil of his ways.  If his ways were not changed he was liable to be excommunicated.  Differences between church members were brought to the Church for settlement.  Evidently the visiting committee did not always act, for the record states, “Visiting Committee for the past month report a deficiency in the discharge of their duty.”  Sometimes they reported progress in that the brothers and sisters were “growing in grace.”


1845 - 1846  Rev. Reuben Hatch   Rev. Amos Dresser
1847 - 1849 Rev. E. N. Bartlett
1849 - 1850 Rev. E. H. Rice
1850 - 1851 Rev. J. H. Byrd
1852 - 1854 Rev. F. E. Lord
1854 - 1858 Rev. E. N. Bartlett & Prof. O. Hosford
1858 - 1860 Rev. M. Wm. Fairfield
1860 - 1864 Rev. N. J. Morrison
1864 - 1865 Rev. Frank Woodbury
1865 - 1867 Rev. N. J. Morrison
1867 - 1869 Rev. H. O. Ladd
1870 - 1873 Rev. H. Elmer
1873 - 1874 Rev. J. E. Weed & Rev. H. Elmer
1874 - 1875 Rev. D. N. Bordwell
1875 - 1876 Rev. H. M. Goodwin
1876 - 1880 Rev. H. I. Butterfield, with Rev. H. M. Goodwin, assistant
1880 - 1890 Rev. H. I. Butterfield, with H. M. Goodwin, Dr. J. L. Daniels, Prof. Joseph Estabrook, and Rev. J. L. Loba, assistants
1890 - 1891 Rev. A. M. Hills
1891 - 1893 Rev. Clarence T. Brown
1894 - 1895 Rev. W. L. Tinney
1896 - 1903 Rev. James A. Blaisdell
1904 - 1907 Dr. Frank H. Foster
1908 - 1913 Rev. A. J. Skeele
1913 - 1915 Dr. Foster, Dr. Nadal, Dr. Sternberg, Dr. Day, with Rex O. Holman as assistant
1916 - 1918 Rev. Theodore H. Wilson
1919 - 1922 Rev. Frank Fulkerson
1922 - 1929 Dr. C. C. Smith
1930 - 1941 Rev. Mark G. Inghram
1941 - 1942 Rev. M. Holmes Hartshorne, interim pastor
1942 - Dr. Thomas W. Nadal

The Church worshipped in one of the College buildings until 1852, when a house of worship was built on a site given by the College.  This was a one-story, frame structure which by 1865 proved too small; so it was decided to raise the building, add to its length and put a basement under the whole, thus giving recitation rooms and a chapel.  This building many affectionately remember as the “Old Chapel.”                              

In 1853 the Congregational ladies of Clinton presented the Church with a communion service, while this Church, in turn, presented their old service to the Congregational Church of Charlotte.  Also, in this year the Church granted permission to the Methodists to use their house of worship.  A new communion set was presented the Church by the L. B. S. in 1875.  The old set was in turn given to the Kalamo Church.

In 1846 the Church voted a collection to plow the burying ground.  One acre of ground was broken up and fenced with a board fence.  Wm. S. King was the first sexton of the new cemetery.

The Church early manifested an interest in missionary work, subscribing for 100 copies of the missionary papers published by the A. B. C. F. M., and taking up collections for the Home Missionary Society.  In 1876 the Church voted $7.35 to aid Mr. Kisna, a Hindoo student.

In October, 1869, an ecclesiastical society was organized in connection with the Church under the name of “The First Congregational Society of Olivet.”  The purposes of this corporation were stated as the “support of the public worship of God and the promotion of Christian knowledge and charity.”  There were twenty-two signers to the article of association.  A. K. Warren was elected clerk, E. N. Ely treasurer and J. L. Daniels, H. Heydenburk, S. F. Drury, W. P. Esler, L. B. Butler and Osman Chappell trustees.

The Church was incorporated June 3, 1898, and assumed all obligations of the Society.

Later, the need for a larger church building led the Church and the Society to plan for a new structure, adequate to the needs of the Church and the College, the two to share in the ownership and use of the building.  The Society elected the following committees:

 Committee on Plans:  Rev. C. T. Brown, chairman, F. L. Reed, H. E. Green, Mrs. Joseph Estabrook and Rev. S. O. Bryant.

Committee for Soliciting Funds:  F. L. Reed, chairman, Prof. Joseph Estabrook, Mrs. H. E. Green, A. P. Green and A. L. Lee.

Building Committee:  Frank N. Green, chairman, M. A. Hance, Robert J. Storr,  Dr. A. K. Warren

At a meeting of the Society in September, 1892, pledges of $8,021.00 were secured toward the $23,700.00 required.  The final cost was approximately $34,000.  Many friends and alumni of the College contributed.  Mr. Roland Mather, of Hartford, Conn. gave the clock, and a bequest from W. B. Palmer provided the bell.

In 1893 the corner stone was laid by President H. I. Butterfield.  On June 10th, 1894, the last service in the old Church was held.  This was a communion service.  At the dedication service on June 20th, 1894, Dr. James Brand, of Oberlin, Ohio, was the guest preacher.

Pews in the old Church had always been rented.  Pews in the new Church were free, with alternate pews reserved for the College students, who “must be in their assigned places when the bell stopped tolling.”

During the early life of the Church the pastors were usually men officially connected with the College.  Beginning with Rev. A. M. Hills, the pastors have been engaged to minister more definitely to the needs of the Church, although most of them have served as teachers of religion in the College and have received part of their salary from the College.  Dr. M. Holmes Hartshorne, interim pastor in 1941-42, was the regular teacher of religion in the College, and served the Church in addition.

Rev. W. L. Tenney was the first pastor in the new Church, serving during the years of 1894 and 1895.  Following the resignation of Mr. Tenney, Dr. James A. Blaisdell was secured as pastor in 1896.  His pastorate was marked by fine co-operation of Village and College and, following a series of revival meetings, many members were added to the Church.  Dr. Blaisdell resigned in 1904 and was succeeded by Dr. F. H. Foster, whose pastorate extended from 1904 to 1907.

On Dr. Foster’s resignation, Rev. Arthur Skeele was secured as pastor.  In 1907 a fire caused an estimated damage to the Church of $1,230.00.  Steps were then taken to connect with the central heating plant of the College.

Mr. Skeele resigned in 1913.  Then followed a period of pulpit supplies.  The Church finances were at low ebb, and the Church voted in 1914 to defer calling a permanent pastor till the Church debt was cleared.  In 1915 Rev. Theodore Halbert Wilson was installed as a permanent pastor.  Mr. Wilson served until 1918 when due to war conditions, the trustees of the College decided to close the College at the end of that year.  Instead, Mr. Wilson was appointed President, and operated the College for a year on a self-supporting basis.  Mr. Wilson continued to conduct church services, but was relieved of pastoral duties.  In 1919 Mr. Wilson resigned both the presidency of the College and the pastorship of the Church.

In August of the same year Rev. Frank Fulkerson, a former chaplain in the army, accepted the pastorate.  The following winter the heating problem became acute due to the closing of the College.  Stoves were placed in the pastor’s study and in Shipherd Hall parlors to accommodate the Christian Endeavor and the Sunday School groups.  The church services were held in the Grange Hall.  The re-opening of the College in 1920 solved the Church’s heating problem.  Mr. Fulkerson, who served three years as pastor, retired to become a resident of the Village.

Dr. Charles Cecil Smith came as pastor in 1923, serving until 1929.  Rev. Mark Gordon Inghram was called as pastor in 1930 and was the first occupant of the new parsonage.  He resigned in 1941, having completed the longest pastorate in the history of the Church.

Dr. T. W. Nadal, present pastor, was invited to come to Olivet in the summer of 1941.  Since he was serving as interim pastor of the Church-in-the-Gardens, Forest Hills, N. Y., he could not come until September, 1942.  The church secured Dr. M. Holmes Hartshorne, professor of Religious education in the College to serve as interim pastor for the year 1941-42.

Today the church as affirmed one of the most successful institutions of the community, centering leadership in a wide area.  There has been marked increase in the church attendance, membership and finances, and it bids fair to become one of the strategic Congregational churches of the State and Middle West.

Throughout the years certain outstanding gifts have come to the Church, among them the pipe organ installed in the Church at the time of its erection.  This was the gift of Dexter M. Ferry, long a trustee of Olivet College, who gave the organ for the use of College and Church.  It was replaced in 1942 by the present organ, the gift of Dexter M. Ferry, Jr., Mrs. Queene Ferry Coonley and Mrs. Blanche Ferry Hooker, in memory of their father, Dexter M. Ferry.  A gift to the College, it was presented formally to the church for “sacred usages of the services of worship in this sanctuary,” in a formal dedication on February 22, 1942.

In 1910, the late Mrs. Sophia Ely, in memory of her husband, E. N. Ely, gave the Church $4,000.00.  The most recent gift to the church was $1,000.00 from the estate of the late Marion Waterson.  The first fund for the parsonage was $800.00, named in the will of the late Fitz L. Reed – the latter growing to $1,000.00.  Dr. F. H. Foster, former pastor, gave the Church his private residence to be used for a parsonage.  This residence was later sold and the proceeds applied in the erection of the present parsonage.



The first constitution of the Ladies’ Benevolent Society was adopted June 10th, 1846.  The preamble reads, “Whereas, the Ladies of Olivet are desirous of contributing their mite for the advancement of God’s Kingdom and the extension of the principles of love as exemplified by our Saviour, and, whereas, for the accomplishment of this purpose, concentrated effort is believe to be the most effectual, we, whose names are undersigned, do hereby agree to form ourselves into a society to be governed by the following constitution.”

The first officers were a president, one directress to have entire charge of sewing, a second directress to have charge of knitting, and a secretary.  In article five we read, “Any female of good moral character may become a member of this society by paying annually the sum of twenty-five cents, or an equivalent.  Students can be admitted by paying twelve and a half cents.  A regular attendance of the members will be expected or payment of an equivalent for their time, except in case of sickness.”

There are minutes of only one meeting before June 9th, 1850.  At that time the officers were President, Mrs. L. Hosford; First Directress, Mrs. Andrews; Second Directress, Mrs. Follet; Secretary, Mrs. Drury.  For several years the society met at the homes of members and spent their time sewing.  In 1851 their missionary efforts began with the sending of a sum of money to Mrs. Fisher, a missionary among the Indians and a barrel of clothing for the “Home.”  In 1850 the first recorded financial report listed receipts as $13.14 with a balance on hand of $.03.  The first recorded fair was on February 10th, 1853, when the Society “received as the avails of their labor $33.32.”  The records show frequent mention of payments in fractions of cents.  “Each lady (in 1857) shall at each meeting pay the sum of 6¼ cents and bring her own work, unless some benevolent object should occupy the time.”

During the years 1858 and 1859 the name of the Society was changed to the Ladies’ Mite Society.  Men were also members, with evening social meetings.  The Mite Society voted at their first meeting “to purchase a melodeon for the use of the Chapel,” and voted also “that any lady attending will be expected to pay not less than three cents, nor any gentlemen less than five cents.”  Other projects for the Church and Chapel, a carpet and a pall.

Beginning with the 1860’s the Society returned to its former name, “Ladies’ Benevolent Society,” but social evenings once a month with men included continued for a long time.  For several years the main projects centered around Ladies’ hall.  Several rooms were furnished in the Dormitory and bedding supplied.

During the war years, 1862-1866, many supplies of food, clothing and vegetables, also $119.31 in cash, were sent to the soldiers.  At the annual meeting of 1863 it was “resolved that the funds and also the energies of the Society be devoted exclusively to the relief of our suffering soldiers.”

At the conclusion of the war, the Society decided “To devote its funds to the furnishing of the new Church” and began meeting “at homes alphabetically.”

The L.B.S. had its ups and downs.  Many times, the minutes read, “Society met.  None of the officers were present”; also “Few meetings this year.  Society unorganized.  Some members were away and had many engagements.”  One annual meeting adjourned without being able to secure any officers, and several times the records state that the “Society reorganized and elected officers.”

In the 1870’s the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, with forty members, raised $365.00 to paint and repair the Church.  Other projects of that decade were helping to pay the salary of a teacher among the Freedmen at Mobile, Miss.,, securing a new carpet and a new street lamp in front of the Church, aiding Kansas refugees and sewing for needy Sunday School pupils.

In 1893 the 44 members voted to raise $1,000.00 for the new Church.  A few months later, the Society voted to give $500.00 more toward the building and $100.00 toward the new carpets.  On July 19th, 1893, the Society met in the present Church building for the first time.

During the eighties and nineties many suppers were served.  These were very popular, especially with the College students.  The women sewed in the afternoon, the business meeting took place at 5 o’clock and this was followed by the supper.  For many years the price charged was ten cents which was later raised to fifteen cents.  In the constitution of that time we read, “The ladies entertaining shall be limited in refreshments to bread or biscuit and butter, to one kind of cake, to one kind of sauce, cold meat with pickles and cheese, if they choose; tea and coffee, one or both.  Anyone violating this by-law will be fined five dollars.”

Soon after 1893 the society directed its efforts to furnishing and quipping the parlors, dining room and kitchen of the new Church.  Two upright pianos and one grand piano were bought, hymnals were rebound and others purchased.  For many years $100.00 a year has been given to missions in addition to two special offerings, and every alternate meeting is given over to missionary topics.  A relief committee for many years has helped care for local needs.

A motion picture machine was purchased in the 1920’s and movies were shown in the Sunday School room for several years as an L.B.S. project.  The present carpet was another project purchased at a cost of one thousand dollars.

In the 1930’s the Society was organized into three circles, named for outstanding women who had served in various groups – No. I, the Fannie Quick Circle, No. II, the Amy Storr Circle, and No. III, the Emma-Jo Circle, names for Mrs. Emma Reynolds and Mrs. Jo Winegar.  These circles meet every month for a social afternoon and to plan activities.  All circles unite on many projects, particularly the Annual Rummage Sale which is the largest money-making event of the year.

In 1941 a bequest netting approximately $8,000.00 was given the Society by Mrs. Flora Bastido, a former Olivet resident.  Plans are being made to refurnish the parlors suitably in memory of Mrs. Bastido.

The present membership of the L.B.S. is 111.  Its regular meetings are held on the third Friday of the month.  Besides furnishing pleasant social occasions, the Ladies’ Benevolent Society strives to promote the best interests of the Church and to be true to its name in maintaining an interest in all benevolent work.  The present officers are:  President, Mrs. Ohlin Walott; Vice-President, Mrs. Thomas Trainor; Secretary, Mrs. Sherman Vedder; Treasurer, Mrs. Julius Lantz.



The Sunday School was evidently considered an essential complement of the Olivet Congregational Church from its beginning, since no separate records of the School have ever been kept.  From the Church records we know the names of the superintendents, the appropriations for the support of the school and a few other facts.  The date of its founding, the first teachers, and the pupils of those far away years are recorded only in the Sunday School librarian’s books for the years 1846, 1853, and 1854.

In June, 1846, Mr. C. M. Cady, the first librarian, was custodian of nearly four hundred books.  In 1883 the Church voted to raise one hundred dollars for more books.  Dr. H. P. Butterfield and Prof. Eugene Loba were the ways and means committee.  A. P. Green, Prof. Loba and Miss Mattie Goodwin were to select the books.  Later Dr. Ernest B. Allen gave a number of books.  Some of the books listed in 1846 were “Election and Perseverance,” “Trial of Witnesses,” “the Harvest and the Reapers,” “Line Upon Line,” and “Annals of the Poor.”

Among the first teachers were W. C. Edsell, A. L. Green, Miss Abby Carter, Miss Mary Barnes, E. M. Cady, and F. Danforth.  Thirty-six “girls” and twenty-eight “boys” were enrolled in the first classes, the boys and girls ranging in age from infants to the aged.

By 1853 the School had grown to forty “girls” and forty-three “boys.”  Miss Dennis taught a class of fifteen young ladies, some of them students in the College.  Some who attended were George W. Keyes, the Benhams, Charles and George Storr, Sophia Keyes, Julia and William Hosford, John Barrows and his wife, Prof. C. O. Brown, Samuel Drury and his son Albert.

Among the early superintendents were Frank and “Allie” Green, Prof. Wilde, who married Ada Goodwin (also a superintendent), Prof. Loba and George Keyes.  In the primary department were Mrs. Frank Brownson, Mrs. Thomas Prosser, Miss Elizabeth Ranney, and Mrs. Adam Raidel.

At present the Church School numbers one hundred ten.  There is an excellent force of teachers and classes for all ages.  The children’s choir is composed of members of the Church School.  In their blue and white chair robes they sign with dignity and sweetness.

The Church School hopes soon to reach every child in the community and to fulfill its mission as a complement to the Olivet Church.


In the summer of 1930, Rev. Mark Inghram led in the movement to reorganize the Girl Scouts in Olivet.  With no trained leader available, Miss Edith Hammond consented to meet with the girls, seven in number, and to study the work along with them.  Interest was keen and proficiency badges were soon earned.  The Mothers’ Committee – which later was turned into the Girl Scout Committee of the Church – was of great help from the outset. 

In 1931, a younger group, called Patrol Number Two, was formed and soon passed their tenderfoot tests.  A county rally was held in the Spring in the College gymnasium.  When summer came, Dr. and Mrs. Phil Quick offered their cottage at Pine Lake for a summer camp. Chaperons that year were Mrs. Thelma Stickle, Laura Marshall, Donna Binkhorst, and Donna Perrine.

In the fall of 1932, Mrs. Ada Ely took charge of the first group.  The second group was led by Charlotte Maynard.  Mrs. Ely trained her girls in craft work.  Miss Maynard’s group studied parliamentary practice, and made splendid progress in all phases of scouting.  The offer of their cottage by Dr. and Mrs. Quick again made possible a summer camping experience, with Charlotte Maynard, Phoebe Sours, Pauline Binkhorst and Betty Hance as leaders.

In 1934, a Brownie Pack was started under the direction of Rebecca Inghram – a member of the first Scout group and a group of ten-year-olds was graduated to the Scouts in the autumn.  The Brownies went to camp at Pine Lake in the summer of 1935.  The Church has each year provided the scout committee and the place of meeting.  Through the assistance of the Kellogg Foundation, Scout groups have at times been sent to organized Scout Camps.

In the fall of 1942, Helen Goodrich, a teacher in our public schools, organized both a Brownie and an Intermediate troop.

Mrs. Paul Engle led the senior scouts during this year and the next.  During the summer Mary Adams took over the scout groups and has continued with them during this last year.  In the summer they worked on a mural illustrating their scout laws and also made some costume jewelry.  During the year, they have had several parties and hikes, and have worked on some plays.  They have earned money by bake sales and popcorn sales.  A library of borrowed books and American Girl Magazines has been started.  The troop has had an encouraging growth and a new troop of Brownie scouts is not being organized. 


The charter for the Olivet Boy Scout Troop, sponsored by the Church, was granted in 1920.  The original Boy Scout Committee consisted of Phil. H. Quick, chairman, Frank C. Storr, Allan C. Fisher and Fred Campbell.  George B. Ely and Doremus Davis served as acting Scout Masters.

By volunteer labor a commodious room was equipped in the basement of the Church.  Over the fireplace of this room hangs an oil portrait (done by Miss Mary Adams) of Dr. Phil H. Quick, for years the patron saint of scouting in Olivet.  Dr. Quick has been honored by National Scouting with the presentation of the Beaver badge, awarded only to those who have given at least twenty years to the service of scouting.

William Kellogg was for eighteen years Scout Master of the Olivet Troop.  Upon his leaving for the Service, George Goff served for several months as Assistant Scout Master.

The Church Committee on Scouting at present consists of Walter Scott, chairman, Samuel Robinson, Carl Sorenson, George Campbell and John Ashby.


At the suggestion of Rev. Mark Inghram, thirty men of the Village met at the home of W. M. Sexton on October 19, 1931, and organized the Olivet Men’s Discussion Club.

This club has met regularly on the second and fourth Wednesday evenings of each month from October to May.  Meetings are held at the homes of the various members.  There is no formal membership list, but any man in the Village or community who desires to attend is thereby considered a member.  Mr. Inghram was elected the first president and held the office three years.  He was followed by Earl C. Corey who likewise was retained for three years.  Since then the office has been held for a term of one year by each of the following:  Walter Sprandel, Dr. Raymond H. Wilks, Theral Herrick, Carl Sorenson, E. P. Reynolds and Howard Hoffman.  W. M. Sexton was the first secretary and held the office for two years, followed by E. P. Reynolds, Carl E. Stewart, Ross Hammond, Walter Sprandel, Karl Pope, William Lynch, John Lignian, Percy Hammond and Donald Collins who each served one year.  The present secretary, Dean Hubert, is now completing his second year.

During the thirteen years of its existence the Club had had a fine variety of programs, consisting of addresses and discussions by many prominent persons of the Community and the State.


Children's Choir


In 1839 BENJAMIN THOMAS built the first house in Lee Center.  Alonzo Jewett (now the Sylvester Galusha place) followed and the Wood family held much land.

In 1846 the settlers built a log schoolhouse.  After this burned, school was held in various homes until 1860 when the present schoolhouse was erected.  Through the work of J. F. Walker and John and Ben Carpenter in 1914 the grounds were greatly enlarged and further improvements have been made by the Kellogg Foundation.  School buses convey our children to school in Olivet without cost.  Many of our young people have gone to and graduated from Olivet College.  At the first school reunion, in 1917, over two hundred were present due to Mrs. Herman Winegar and Will Hoyt.

A Methodist Class, formed very early, met first in homes and later in the schoolhouse.  About 1887 Prof. Joseph Estabrook with his horse and phaeton brought out Olivet College students to teach in the Sunday School.  Later the Church was part of the circuit of the Olivet Methodist Church.  The Rev. Mr. Loomis was instrumental in building the church in 1890, funds for which were subscribed at a meeting presided over by Washington Gardner.  That fall twenty-two women organized a Ladies’ Aid, famous for Town Meeting dinners with hot maple sugar.  The male quartette, Sylvester Galusha, Bert Treadwell, and Earl and Stanley Wood, has always responded when called on.  The township maintains its cemetery, purchased in 1852 and added to by a gift from John and Luella Carpenter.

An ancient sawmill at the crossroad was bought by Martin Dedrich who added a blacksmith shop, store, stone mill, and cooper shop.  Apples from hundreds of acres were shipped in those barrels or dried for market.  The roads, now graveled or blacktopped, were graded in summer and shoveled out in winter by the pathmaster system.

During the Civil War, Aunt Beza Spencer walked to Olivet once a week for the mail.  Later, Clark Weddle walked each day to a post office at Partello for the mail which was sorted into pigeon holes in Mr. Dedrich’s store.  The first rural delivery from Olivet in 1901 included Lee Center.

About this time the Treadwell brothers set up a telephone which gradually took in the whole community.  Recently rural electrification and the conversion of swamp lands into muck farms have improved the community.  The debating of this progressive community in Mart Dedrich’s store has earned the “Center” the nickname of the “Independent State of Lee.”



Feeling the need of a place of worship, a group of people of this community met on May 18, 1890, for the purpose of organizing a Sunday School.  This meeting was held in the upper room of a two-story frame building, the lower part of which was a cheese factory.  The  building is still in use as a garage.  Services were held here on Sunday afternoons, ministers of different denominations coming from Charlotte and Olivet, among them being Charles McKenny, who later was President of State Teachers’ College of Ypsilanti. 

In 1904 the present church was built.  In the summer of 1936, due to the paving of highway US-27, the church was moved 500 feet farther west.  At this time a number of changes were made which have added to the usefulness of the building, providing rooms for the junior and senior primary departments as well as a fully equipped kitchen and dining room.  Labor and material for this were donated largely by the people of the community.

Outstanding among the many “red letter days” of the church were the Re-dedication Day on May 2, 1937, and the Fiftieth Anniversary Day on May 19, 1940, when former pastors, members and friends met together for a day of worship and fellowship.

Services were held here every Sunday during the year, the present pastor being the Rev. F. J. VanDyke of Charlotte.  In the Sunday School there are classes for all ages from the cradle roll to the adults, and the high school group also hold Christian Endeavor meetings at the church or in the homes of the members.

This rural church has long been the center of community life, both spiritually and socially, and might well have been one of which Grace Noll Crowell was thinking when she wrote: 

 “White country churches, rising from the sod

Where men, in gratitude for bread to eat,

Have paused and reared their altars to their God.”



  For God so loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever

believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”    ---    JOHN 3:16

THE CHURCH now known as the Ainger Bible Church, Inc., has had a unique history.  It is one of the few remaining country churches maintaining its own pastor and doing a vigorous missionary work.

Until four years ago it was known as the Ainger Methodist Protestant Church.  This denomination came into being because of a county-movement in the Methodist Church.   

The particular protest made by those who finally organized the Methodist Protestant Church was aimed at the feature of the government which was regarded as the real cause of all the dissatisfaction among Methodist; viz., the exclusion of laymen from the councils of the Church, and withholding from them the right of suffrage.

The Methodist Protestant Church was organized in 1830 at Baltimore, Maryland, in St. John’s Church.  It was formed of a group of churches that had protested the Methodist movement and became known as Associated Methodist Churches and two years later as the Methodist Protestant Church.

The Ainger Methodist Protestant Church was organized March, 1884, at the Bradley School, just north of Ainger.  Rev. James Riley, the first pastor of the church, acted as moderator.  The first board was elected:  J. O. Bradley, for a term of five years; P. E. McWethy, for four years; John Thornton, for three years; E. R. Moran, for two years; and Ocean Hellowell, for one year.  It was named the First Methodist Protestant Church.

In 1888 the Church became a part of the West Michigan and North Indiana Conference.

The President of the Conference, Rev. Wm. D. Tompkins, first visited the Church, January 9, 1888.  At this meeting the church property was mortgaged to clear remaining indebtedness.  W. A. Herrington was elected chorister and Elvira Bacon as organist.

The Church has had some twenty pastors until the present time.  They are as follows:  James Riley, C. P. Goodrich, S. Reeves, W. B. Snell, J. A. Moray, S. M. Johnson, L. Dodds, D.D., A. H. McClain, D. M. Weaver, W. R. Sink, A. N. Waldo, H. W. Hulton, R. C. Powell, J. J. Willets, Jay Mann, James H. Riley, G. Gillett, E. H. DuBois, Leo Birch, J. G. Mattingly.

Those who attended in the earlier years tell of the hard times through which the Church passed.  While there were “lean years” it never ceased to function.  There would often be just a handful that would gather around the heating stoves for services.  For a number of years the Church was lighted by means of a huge chandelier with twenty-two kerosene lamps and reflectors.  This was replaced in 1912 by a pressure gasoline lighting system.  Finally, about 1926, this system was replaced with the present electric lights.

In 1921, the interior of the Church was remodeled, providing a kitchen, a balcony, and three classrooms.  A partial basement was dug and a furnace installed.

A controversy began in 1925 over the question of whether the Bible was to be accepted as final and authoritative in matters of faith and doctrine.  Some contended that it was while others were more liberal.  This controversy continued but was not made an issue until the break came.  Finally, the matter of Church Union, which was being discussed, brought a division in the ranks.  At the General Conference of the Methodist Church in 1938 officially the two churches merged.  The Churches of the State of New Jersey declared their independence and for a time functioned as the M. P. Church, but finally, each of them became independent.  All of the churches in Michigan except twelve united.  Only two of the twelve were permitted to retain their buildings, the Ainger Church and the Assyria Church.

The seeming difficulty proved to be a blessing in disguise.  Some people were skeptical as to the outcome of such a movement.

The Church engaged a pastor connected with the Independent Fundamental Churches of America and subsequently the Church became a part of that Fellowship.  A church constitution was written.  The Church reorganized under the name of Ainger Bible Church and incorporated under the laws of the State of Michigan.  It proceeded to operate as a self-sustaining and independent body adopting its own method of finance, i.e., free-will offerings.  The newly organized Church began to move forward in Missionary endeavor with the use of Missionary money.  A closed church in Charlotte was opened and eventually became self-supporting.  As a result a movement began.  The pastor and a member of the church became director and treasurer, respectively, of the new organization.  Under this leadership five other churches have been opened in the State of Michigan.

This last year has been a banner year for the church.  Beside giving more to missions than in any previous year, the Church has purchased two ambulances that have been turned into buses for Sunday School and Summer Bible School use.

Certainly, this proves that the day of country churches is not over; and where the bible is faithfully proclaimed the Lord will provide the necessary means.

*   *   *   *  

The first draft of the following story would have occupied many times the space allowed.  To shorten it, Mrs. William Jackson marked off one fond memory after another and many hard-gained facts were clipped away.  When at last she submitted the abbreviated copy, it was accompanied with this promise, “Some day I’ll write the WHOLE story of these homes and people just for my own satisfaction.”

We believe that she will.  We know that she will gladly answer any inquiry about your home or about the house that your Uncle Jack built.

An Editor’s Report on the State of the Village

TODAY OUR VILLAGE is filled with loveliness.  The breeze blows fresh through the new maple foliage; the lawns are lush and glistening; the shrubs are heavy with blossoms and dew.  On such a morning one easily becomes sentimental about Olivet, its homes, and its people; and the realities of today easily shade into the images and memories of a thousand yesterdays.  So it is, as I stroll up the hill, that I look at the Adams home and see not only Mr. and Mrs. Adams and Mary who live there now, but the faces of Hugh and Kent, away in the service, even as they were in childhood, and Dorothy, a captain’s wife, and her baby, and Betty, a secretary in Battle Creek.  More than that – I see Mr. and Mrs. George Keyes and the home a building nearly ninety years ago and Karl and his wife Minnie – and even their monkey.

As I stroll slowly up the street, I see in place of green lawns and well kept houses, the forests close at hand, the log houses of Father Shipherd, the Reeds, and others of that pioneer band; for the sawmill and the brick yard have not come yet.  I see the maples, that make a pleasant shade over our heads in summer and are so vivid in autumn, as young sprigs; but the great oaks of Olivet on the campus are as large in my vision as they are today.  Though Johnny Appleseed may not have come this way, someone did with a pocket full of seeds for there are great orchards of odd apple trees good for many years to come over east and on the hill.  I can see Carolo Reed and William Hosford laying out the town; and dreamily I move and follow Olivet down through the years.  If, like one of Caesar’s scouts, I report “as seen that which I have not seen,” my mistakes will be corrected in the next Centennial Book; but, to the best of my knowledge, here follow the poor and incomplete chronicles of a peripatetic sentimentalist.

It is the first day of May, 1839, and the first land patents of the town that will be Olivet have been granted by the United States government to Monson Clarke and Simon Holland who “found” the land three years ago.

It is 1844 and I see the town bearing its new name and divided into subdivisions – the Sargent-Meade at the foot of Main Street and extending west; the Green-Ely in the central part of town; Olivet Institute farther up the hill and extending through the swamp lands west; on the crest of the hill the Hosford addition; and farther south and east, the Carlo Reed.  Can you envision with me this wilderness giving place to homes and gardens, this new settlement being stamped with the New England character of the men and women who came to it?

There is much building going on; for at the end of Main Street in an orchard Samuel Drury is building a house which will be moved some day and eventually become the home of E. Krebs.  The first house on the west side of Main Street (lot 1, block 1) is finished and behind it, built stoutly of two-by-fours, indissolubly put together with square, hand-made nails, stands the first jail.  It will be a tool house for Mr. and Mrs. Fay Starks by 1936.  Up the hill, between Main and East Street, Albertus L. Green is building a home for the four Green boys.  Edwin N. Ely rooms with Uncle Albertus.  On the crest of the hill, Prof. Oramel Hosford, with faith in Olivet’s future, is reproducing on spacious grounds a colonial homestead which is destined to remain in his family for 100 years.  His daughters, Elizabeth and Mary; his granddaughters, Marjorie and Helen; and his great-granddaughters, Frances and Marjorie Ann, will have happy memories of this lovely home.  East of the ball park, Carlo Reed has settled, though he owns many lots nearer the center of things.

It is 1846 and Benjamin and Hannah Follett, having come from Connecticut and hearing of Olivet Institute, decide to settle here to educate their children.  In January they have begun the second house on Main Street.  Mr. Follett, being a skillful worker in metals, has added to his front door the town’s pride, its first door bell.  This is the home of Mr. and Mrs. Clyde Herrick and Theral, when on vacation.

It is 1853 and the town has grown.  Carlo’s sons, John and Fitz, have followed their father.  John has built the Allen house and Fitz the house whence in later years “Daddy” Knapp will lead out troupes of college students and his own Gertrude, Tracy, and Josephine to learn the stars through his telescope.  It will be several years later before Fitz Reed has built the big brick house.  Did you, as a child, half-frightened but wholly delighted, sit on his lap as he rode in his sulky behind one of his fiery bays?  Did you think you were helping him drive as you held the lines?  I see a wide yard surrounding the house where Walter Pollard today raises all manner of gay flowers.  A cousin, “Deacon” Paige Reed, is building the house that Mr. and Mrs. Weston Sexton, Ethelyn, and Rexford will own.  On the corner of Main and Green Streets stands the Hamilton King house bought from “Aunt” Mary Ely in 1885 and now owned by the daughters, Helen, Marie, and Cora Lee; but I see Mr. Edwin N. Ely in 1853 bringing his bride, Sophia Barlow, to this house.  George N. Ely has been born here and the new home, the “White-Ely” house, erected before 1860 when Miss Emily May was born.  Everett P. Reynolds and his son James and his wife occupy its two apartments now; but frequent visitors are Robert, Elizabeth, Edward, and “Aunt Julia” Storr.

In the Hosford addition John Barrows has built the Snellgrove house and the Walter Boardwells the Sorenson house, and on Yale Street Arthur Benham’s father has built a house later to become famous through Dr. Hubert Lyman Clark’s blue-racer sandwiches.  It burned some time after Prof. Leavenworth moved away.  Most uniquely this lot is plotted from the south chimney of the Hosford homestead.  What will the 1944 owner, Carl Sorenson, do if Father Time should level it with his scythe!

Down Main Street hill, by 1860 Will Elmer has built the “Allie” Green home.  (Col. And Mrs. Geo. B. Ely (Ada Green) and Mary and Helen will inherit this).  At the foot of the hill Dr. Asa K. Warren has a well kept house and lawn with a thick hedge in place of the usual fence; on East Street, Salem White has come to live and establish a cooper shop (you will know it as the Edson place); and Dr. Charles Mead has built the house on the terrace that Dr. Burleson appropriately will own after Dr. Charley has retired.  On the brow of Washington Avenue above the “grade” stands the house from which William Hickok made his historic sprint to church; and Luman Shepherd at the south end of town has built a new house that was to be the president’s for many years.  On its large acres grow the strawberries that always manage to be ripe for Commencement guests and the grapes which college boys “coon” each fall as an extra-curricular activity.

The Storr subdivision has been added – all the south end of Shipherd Street; for Charles Storr, Sr., has arrived from Cape Town, South Africa, where he erected the first government buildings for his native England.  He is living in a small house at the end of the street, but soon he will build the homestead that you know as Mrs. Ernest R. Latham’s and proceed to build Olivet’s houses and make her bricks.  Next to the Post Office the Dennisons are advertising a few rooms to rent.  There is a new picket fence about the cemetery to match that of the “cottages close by.”  You of 1944 would never guess the age of this first little cottage, for it wears its years jauntily.  Many college boys who belonged to the Honeywell Club will remember this cottage and three of them who kept bachelor’s hall here may be nostalgic when they think of “Elsinore Castle.”  This cottage we know has never left the family since Civil War times when Reuben Haskell bought it.  It was passed on to his son-in-law, Dempster Davis, and then to his granddaughter, Miss Estella Davis, who lives here now.  The hand-hewn lath, the front door, and the basement timbers with the bark still on the logs all indicate that the cottage next door was one of the first houses in town.  In a day when much moving of houses is going on I see part of this house, built by one of the professors who came with Father Shipherd, being moved by Mr. Haskell to this spot to make way for the president’s house which recent generations call the Conservatory of Music.  The W. F. Jacksons will buy it and educate their children in the shadow of the college as their great-grandparents have done.  Then I see Prof. C. O. Brown moving the wing of the same house next door and later Mrs. John Campbell’s grandfather, Mr. Eben French, in army blue sitting in the yard leaning on his cane.  The Frank Perrines, now of Morely , Michigan, will live there many years and sell it in 1944 to the Sherman Vedders.

Olivet has passed its twenty-fifth birthday, and Frank C. Storr at the age of seven has begun his career of carpenter to take up where his father leaves off.  He is holding the chalk line for his father who is building the house where the “Brick-Elys” will live.  This home of Mr. and Mrs. Edwin Ely will be noted for its graciousness and hospitality all its days.  It will be more than thirty years later before the old house just south will be moved to Hilltop farm at Pine Lake to make way for that of the Wood-Elys” where Mrs. Clara Ely has made a home for her daughters Edith, Betty, Georgia, and Dorothy, and many a college girl, and to which Mr. and Mrs. Cecil Longman and Miss Edith Ely have now returned.

Prof. Joseph Estabrook has sold his old home to the “Jap” Davises (so-called because they have been missionaries to Japan and to distinguish them from the “Ran,” “Rebel,” and “Demp” Davises) and is building a new home which he will not live to finish.  Later I see the C. C. Otises and the Joseph Harters living there.

In the next few years I see many new homes springing up.  The Henry Toppings have moved to Olivet to educate Mary, Alice, and Effie and have built on Shipherd Street.  Mr. and Mrs. Henry Walkinshaw I see later buying this property for the same purpose.  Henry Green is remodeling the house Dr. Daniels has left for his new home in the pines.  It is reported that the Daniels and Follett families in the early days in case of forest fires had planned to flee in a wagon drawn by the Folletts’ oxen.  Dr. Goodwin has built on the hilltop.  Mrs. Bintliff and Jettie, the Nadals – Joe, Bob and Ruth – all but Katy Lou – and Mr. and Mrs. Ohlin Walcott with George and Roger I see here in turn as years go by.  Ela Ives is building the Blanch Day house, and Prof. And Mrs. Montgomery are rearing Mary, Jessie, and Harold where Dr. and Mrs. Engle will one day be busy seeing Sarah, Mary, Susan, and Martha through the measles and where Miss Eliza Joyce Smith has delved in her garden.  Farther west I see Mabel, Paul, Edith and Ned Ellis playing in the house you know as the Binkhorsts’ or the Washburnes’, and across the street M. M. Hance is both father and companion to Grace, Fanny, George, and Beatrice.  The old College Conservatory is moving out to the College farm.  You won’t recognize it as Herman Winegar’s blue-shuttered house.

Can you remember the meals “Ma” Mathews cooked for the Pinchbugs, or did Mrs. Frances Ranney feed both your soul and body at the Ranney Club?  Were you taking your pets to shrewd Dr. Townsend these days, or calling him to see a sick cow?  Are you seeing with me a shiny name-plate on a new house on Main Street?  It is Robert J. Storr’s new house and the name-plate came from England as Mrs. Hal C. Storr, its mistress in 1944, will tell you.  A few years later a sign down the street will tell you here is Dr. Phil Quick’s home and office.  I see Mrs. Quick helping Gula entertain her friends.

How enduringly Olivet has built its houses!  How well they camouflage their antiquity!  The two houses Albert Clark built still stand four square to the wind under the shade of the wide-spreading elm which Mr. Clark once carried on his shoulder from the forest 70 years ago.  You remember him and his fiddle and Cora, Bertha, and Roy?  It is the Shoop house close by with the last well in town with windlass and old oaken bucket that is only a ghost.  An old-fashioned garden cultivated with the greenest of thumbs by Mafra Wright Newhall, casement windows and a fireplace added by the Engles, and the John L. Ashbys in 1944 find all the charm of a very old house combined with the comforts of the modern.  So today Mr. and Mrs. Ralph Shilts in the Nathanial Blanchard place; Mrs. Hattie Herrick living where Thomas Prosser wooed Lou Beecher so many years; Mrs. M. D. Burkhead in the Randolph Davis house; the Spanglers where Dr. Minnie, Hattie, and Herbert Mills lived; the Manns in the gay little house where Kitty and Guy Keeney grew up; Dr. and Mrs. Wilks in the Myron Burroughs home; the Elmer Horns in the Mattie Welch house built for Jake Mack who put in the town’s old stone pavement; the Newlands in the Albert Shallier place; the Spillanes in the Henry Heydenburk house; the Trainors where I see in memory Cynthia Gilbert making our beruffled, small-waisted, and passementerie-trimmed Sunday-go-to-meeting dresses; the Akeleys in the Albert Lee house; the Clell Rundles in the Savage home – all find their houses speaking to them of days long past.  There are so many more we could tell you of – the old and those whose history has just begun.  Forgive us if we have not paused at your door; for even the longest summer day must close and with it our reverie.  There is going to be a beautiful sunset tonight – behind the hills beyond our beloved village. 


Do You Remember . . . ?






"The Chamber of Commerce modifies the innate cussedness of the average, selfish, hard-boiled, picayunish, penny-pinching, narrow-gauged human porker, and lifts up his snout; makes him see farther than his home, his business and his personal interest, and sets him rooting for his home community. The town Chamber of Commerce is giving the first lesson in practical Christianity to millions of savages in America. It is not a full baptism, but it helps. A man, no matter how greedy and squint-eyed he may be, cannot work a year upon any moderately important committee of his town's Chamber of Commerce without being a better citizen, a better father, a better husband and a better brother."

---The late William Allen White, Emporia, Kansas, publisher.



lyle herbert, since 1923 proprietor of the College Inn, known to many as Pappy, known to others as Jesse, known to all as a connoisseur of good food, sends greetings to all his friends.  He adds several “Hello’s” from the family – Emily, chief assistant; Marvin at Yale University, his wife Charlotte and their two children; “Little Lyle,” U.S. Navy since 1936, his wife and child; Irene, her husband Don Smith and son Mike; Dick and Patsy, still in school.  In sponsoring this page he stipulates that the balance be devoted to


At press time, April 1st, the following men are serving or have served with the Armed Forces in World War II.  Because of rapid war-time changes no attempt has been made to give ratings or addresses but most of these are available through the church bulletin mailing service list kept up by Miss Estella Davis:

Hugh Adams, Kent Adams, Arthur Andrews, Russell Baas, Milton Backofen, Clifford Bailey, George Bailey, Richard Bailey, Charles Baird, Arthur Ball, Dewey Ball, Richard Barnes, Russell Bennett, Bernard Berkimer, John Berkimer, Owen Berkimer, Charles Betz, Russell Bodell, Fredrick  Borgman, Leon Borgman, John Boyer, James Bradley, Royce Bradley, Kenneth Brangwin, Glen Brown, Maxwell Brown, Jack Bruce, Robert Bruce, Jack Carver, William Cash, William Caughey,  Donald Coats, Verle Cole, Leo Colosky, Tom Cornell, Neil Crampton, Gerald Crittenden, Jesse Dexter, Merle Dewey, Herbert Dodd, Charles Dwight, Hiram Edson, George Ely, Harold Emerson, Donald Eppelheimer, Marven Eppelheimer, Robert Flory, Joseph Getter, Edward Gierzak, Donald Goodnoe, Glenn Gosling, Duane Gray, Harvey Gray, Harlen Grinage, Bernal Hadwin, Ross Hammond, Burdette Harrington, Ronald Hawley, Lyle Herbert, Jr., Stanley Hinkson, Ion Holdridge, Harold Hopkins, Charles Horn, Jack Houghtelling, Howard Huff, Wayne Ingram, Ray Janousek, David Johnston, Leland Johnston, Calvin Kellogg, Gerald Kellogg, William Kellogg, Raymond LaBare, Wayne Lake, Harold Larson, Ben Lewis, jay Lewis, Raymond Libengood, Richard Linsley, George Longman, William Lynch, Dale Mahan, Arthur Mains, John Mains, Jack Mapes, Raymond Mapes, Wallace Mapes, Maynard Martens, Russell Martin, Donald May, Carroll Miller, Donald C. Miller, Donald Miller, Gerald Miller, Merlin Miller, Robert B. Miller, Robert Miller, Russell Miller, James Mills, Lawrence Mills, Hillis Mitchell, Fred Mole, Ben Morales, Louis Morales, George Mott, Alten Murray, Everett Myers, Lester McAmis, Alvin McCaffery, Jasper McKay, Robert Nadal, Dean Nelson, Eugene Newhall, Howard Newsome, Harold Niles, Leo Norton, Kenneth Nulf, Junior Obenour, William Payette, Maurice Perrine, Earl Perry, Howard Perry, Herbert Phillips, Donald Pollard, Kenneth Putney, Bud Raymer, Edward Reynolds, Harry Rolfe, Billy Root, Clare Rundle, Alfred Saunby, Oliver Shaw, Jr., George Sheldon, Stanley Shelton, Ivan Sherwood, Ronald Shilts, Charles Snell, David Snook, David Stage, Lyndon Starks, Richard Stegenga, Vincent Stegenga, Ralph Stickle (Red Cross), Richard Storr, Charles Stults, Dale Sumption, Ben Swift, George Swift, Wendel Swift, Donald Taylor, Carl Thomasson, John Thomasson, Carleton Tyson, Kenneth Tyson, Allen VanDyke, Guy VanNortrick, George Walcott, Roger Walcott, George Walker, Joe Walker, Crosby Washburne, Jr., George Waterson, Joe Water son, Gleason Williams, Charles Wilmore, Clark Wilson, James Willson, Keith Willson, Nelson Wood, Floyd Yoder, Eugene Youngs, Joe Youngs, Robert Young, Roy Youngs, William Youngs, Charles Zanger.


for many years  Olivet had been without a dentist.  In 1932, Mr. Lyle Herbert made some alterations in his building, south of the College Inn and above the store occupied at that time by C. M. Herrick, to make accommodations for Dr. Raymond H. Wilks.  Dr. Wilks was born at Yale, Michigan, and attended high school there.  He also attended Port Huron Junior College, Ypsilanti Normal and the University of Michigan, receiving his D.D.S. degree from that institution in June, 1932.

In the spring of 1933 Mr. Herbert was again asked to make alterations in the same building to accommodate Dr. Paul H. Engle who was beginning his practice in medicine.  Dr. Engle was born in Abilene, Kansas, graduated from Lansing Central High School, took his A. B. degree at Michigan State, and received his M.D. degree from Loyola University, Chicago.

After conducting their practice in this location for several years the doctors purchased from Mr. Fred Carver the lot at 121 South Main Street, on which was situated a two-family frame house.  In 1941 they constructed a one-story brick building on the lot.  The building contains 14 rooms, including a common waiting room, private offices, operating rooms, laboratories, drug room, x-ray room, etc.


TANGLEWOOD SCHOOL, founded by Mr. and Mrs. D. S. Davis, is an educational project there children with some physical or nervous affliction are given an opportunity to develop normal lives.

The school, on M-27, three miles northeast of Olivet, was accredited by the sate in 1932.  It is now recognized by prominent physicians and psychologists for the results obtained and draws pupils from near and far.  The number of pupils is limited to preserve the home atmosphere and a waiting list is maintained.  The school maintains instructors in music, the arts, and academic subjects to develop any special talent of the pupils.

Tanglewood includes a broad farm about the grounds, Wildwood Cottage at Pine Lake for outings, and a winter home in Florida – “Tanglewood by the Sea” – near Ft. Lauderdale.  Each fall the entire school goes by chartered coach to this palm-decked site.


four years ago in January Elmer Horn purchased from Donald Hines the Mobile Gas Station just south of the Storr Bros. Block.  This attractive stations was built by the company several years ago and is separated from the adjoining properties by a hedge of spirea.  Very appropriately the stations is decorated in red, white and blue honoring Charles Horn, who used to assist his father, but is now an army sergeant serving in Italy.  Donald Horn, a junior in high school, is now his father’s assistant.


PERHAPS YOU WERE in Olivet when I was associated with my brother, Frank H. Herrick, in the meat business from 1902 to 1910; or when I purchased the barber shop from Charley Montague in 1910 and continued in that business until 1920; or when I entered the dry goods and men’s furnishings business in the former Storr building in 1920; or when I remodeled the old Blanchard building next to the Olivet State Bank in 1938 where I am continuing in the dry goods and men’s furnishings business under the name of “Herrick’s Community Shoppe.”

Or perhaps you remember my nephews – George, Merle, and Bill Herrick.  Bill can still make the piano smoke with any hot number you might suggest.


in june, 1922, James E. Taylor and William Hoffman came to Olivet and purchased its one hardware store.  Since the completion of the Ely block, this store has housed a hardware.  In succession it has been owned by Henry Green, Miles and Hall, Morgan and Kahelski, Ed Smee, E. H. Steinhoff, and Perry Wolfe.

Mr. and Mrs. Taylor expected to live in Olivet only long enough to educate their children, but having been here twenty-two years, they feel qualified to take out their first papers and become full-fledged Olivetians.

(Ed’s Note – Olivet would lose half its spice without “Ned’s” jokes.)



A Home-Owned Bank for the Home Community

Member – Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation

Michigan Banks Assn.                                                     American Bankers Assn.

the first banking in Olivet in the present memory of  its citizens was done by a George W. Keyes and  Son as a private bank.  This was operated for many years in the building now occupied by the College Inn.

The Olivet State Bank was organized  through the efforts of Bruce N. Keister, April 18, 1916. In  May of  that  year the  Keyes’ building and equipment were purchased from Minnie E. Keyes, manager.

Plans were drawn early in 1921 by Warren S. Holmes Co. and contract for erecting the present building awarded later in that year to the Reniger Construction Company of Lansing.

In October, 1924, President Keister died.  He was succeeded by A. P. Green who also passed away in November of that year. Mr. Green was succeeded by Dr. Phil H. Quick who retired by his request at the beginning of the present year, to be succeeded by Harry E. Shilts, now president.

The stockholders in 1928 increased the capital stock from $20,000 to $25,000. 

During the depression in 1931, the bank was closed temporarily the fore part of August for the best interests of depositors and opened in October of the same year, adding a depositors’ committee composed of John Lignian, Wm. Green, and O. E. Shefveland, the latter being succeeded by Walter P. Pollard.  This committee served through the five-year reorganization period.

The Olivet State Bank qualified for insurance in the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation at the beginning of operations of that agency and each customer is insured up to $5000.00.

The building and equipment have been improved from time to time as conditions and growth have warranted such improvements. 

The resources of the bank are now crowding the half million mark, a figure we hope to reach before the end of this year.

The first Board of Directors elected in 1916 were:  B. N. Keister, A. P. Green, G. C. Adams, O. E. Walcott, John Thornton, E. E. Long, M. Shilts.  In 1918, Drs. Phil H. Quick and A. H. Burleson were added to the board and since that time the following men have served:  H. R. Miller, Wm. H. Burnett, Delbert G. Cronk, L. J. Dann, Dr. James King, George C. Tyson, Harry E. Shilts, S. S. Galusha, and Edwin H. Ellis.

The following have served as officers:  Presidents:  Bruce N. Keister, A. P. Green, Phil H. Quick, Harry E. Shilts.  Practically all directors listed have served as Vice-Presidents.  Cashiers:  Ohlin E. Walcott, George C. Tyson.  Assistant Cashiers:  C. E. Murray, Edith Hammond, Bernice Bradley, Paul Willson, Ivan C. Sherwood.

The present Board of Directors and Officers of the Olivet State Bank are:  Directors:  Delbert G. Cronk, Edwin H. Ellis, S. S. Galusha, Harry E. Shilts, George C. Tyson; Officers:  Phil H. Quick, Chairman of Board; Harry E. Shilts, President; Delbert G. Cronk, Vice-President; George C. Tyson, Vice-President; and Cashier; Edith Hammond, Assistant Cashier.



mr. and mrs. arthur e. bartlett  had been known in this community for many years through their store at Brookfield. Thirteen years ago last September they bought the H. R. Miller block, which had been vacant for a year, joined the I. G. A., and established a general grocery business. This is continuing to serve the community in spite of war times.

Editor’s note – Mr. and Mrs. Bartlett and their family, who live above the store, are civic minded and take part also in the social life of the town. Mrs. Bartlett is a member of the Kedronites and of the O.E.S.



pine lake sixty years ago when “Gid” Hitchcock had a small boat livery there used to be the scene of rare camping parties, Sunday School picnics, farmers’ picnics, Fourth of July celebrations, the college Y.M. and Y.W.C.A. breakfast, and the Senior Float.  Since Mr. and Mrs. Linus Cook and sons, Chancey and Archie, bought the resort in 1907, it has become a popular and indispensable part of Olivet.  Besides the home and store, the Cooks have nine cottages, a bath house and dance hall, thirty row boats, nine canoes, a sail boat, two diving platforms, a toboggan, and a fine beach.  In summer fishermen case their flies or worms with good returns and in winter fishing shanties dot the ice.


on the edge of Olivet lies what was the College Farm, the gift of Fitz L. Reed to Olivet College.  Purchased by Herman Winegar in 1923, it is the home of the Winegar Dairy with an attractive New England house and “big, red barn.”  From a milk route of two quarts a day it has grown into a thriving business because Mr. Winegar and his son give the best service possible.  The barn has been rebuilt and a new milk house, a bottler and capper, a pasteurizer, and an ice box and compressor added.  Due to the war, Dobbin has replaced the car and a familiar sigh today is the big horse stopping of his own accord at the homes of satisfied customers.  (These are an editor’s words – not Hermie’s.)


                                                            Photo by Estelle Horn

the   career   of   Mr.  R. E. Norton  is proof of his faith in Olivet. When Mr. Stealy Reopened his stock yards at Ainger  in 1935 he brought Mr. Norton here from Battle Creek as manager. He moved his family to Ainger from their farm in Kalamo township and lived there until 1940 when he bought the H. R. Miller  property on Main Street  next to the Optic office. This house he remodeled into an attractive home and the old barn into a modern dairy barn.  In 1941 he purchased the  Selina Allen property and again modernized the house and beautified the grounds.

Being refused a raise in wages, he decided to build a business of his own and was looking for a suitable farm.  Meantime he bought a half interest in Mr. Goodwin’s livestock business.  About this time Mr. Stealy, realizing Mr. Norton’s value to the community, sold him the stock yards in 1942.  These he has made into one of the best privately owned yards in the state.

Wanting to branch out further, in 1942 Mr. Norton bought the building on the corner of East and Main Streets and later opened a used-furniture store here and, when the business expanded rapidly, rented the Sessions’ garage for more storage space.

In September of 1943 Nr. Norton bought one of the town’s most beautiful sites and oldest landmarks, the Hosford property.  Having recently sold the Allen property to Capt. and Mrs. David O. Farrand of Detroit, the Nortons have moved to this house and are remodeling it over their heads.  The beautiful colonial exterior will be preserved.

Mr. Norton now has his own dairy cattle business at Ainger. His used-furniture and livestock businesses require a fleet of four trucks.  His real estate purchases have added much to the value of property in the town.

(Ed. Note – If the lily has been gilded here, blame us, not Rube.  No sir!  Not Rube.)



in 1921 the kreig Auto Company built a substantial and attractive addition to the business district of Olivet in a roomy brick salesroom and garage.  In 1926 Fay A. Starks and his son-in-law, E. A. Goodrich, bought the business.  This consists of Ford Auto Sales, Ford-Ferguson tractors, the Ferguson line of farm implements, a good wrecker in case of need, and considerate and efficient service in the repair and maintenance of automobiles, farm machinery, and tractors.



the olivet pharmacy was established by Dr. Charles H. Meade, a practicing physician, in the early eighties.  The present owner, John H. Sours, in 1902, bought the J. M. Taggart drug store, and in 1909 he combined this with the Olivet Pharmacy purchased from Dr. Meade and has conducted it in the latter place ever since.

During this time he has also had the Bell Telephone Exchange for twenty years, the express office, and has been local representative of the Western Union for forty-one years.  Mr. Sours is the oldest business man in continuous operation in Olivet.


next to the  “Optic” in a house remarkably well preserved in spite of its years, live Mr. and Mrs. Orval Goodwin.  A big modernized barn on the land adjoining houses Mr. Goodwin’s business, dairy cattle.  The barn has had an interesting history.  It belonged to the Ely estate; was used by “Allie” Green for Shetland ponies and trotting horses and by Royce Blanchard for draft horses.  When burglars looted the post office years ago, they stole one of Mr. Ely’s horses (bar-shod) from the barn and one of Dr. Quick’s (unshod) for the get-away which Mrs. Quick hastened materially by throwing a shoe from an upper story window of the house against the window of the post office. 

As for the business – Mr. Goodwin in two and one-half years has sold 7500 dairy cows.



after  approximately  a  half  century  of serving the citizens of Olivet over the grocery counter, I can assure you of one positive fact:  people must eat to live! My “career” in  groceries began back in the 1890’s  when  I  was employed as a delivery boy and supply clerk, after school, for Henry E. Green, pioneer grocer.  Those were  the  days  of  the  old  cracker barrel, pot-bellied stove, and spittoon, when foods were all  shipped in  bulk – no fancy packages then – and the kerosene can stood Side-by-side with the cheese!  Stores were kept lighted (?) by kerosene lamps, and later by the remarkable pressure gas lights.  Shelving reached almost to the ceiling and it was hard to tell what was on the upper three shelves.

Later jobs were at the B. W. Pinch, Grocer, Bazaar and Meats; Will Lane, General Store and Post Office at Olivet Station; and A. F. Morgan, Grocerman, in the building now occupied by the I.G.A.  In 1909 I bought the store from A. F. Morgan and continued business there for 25 years, assisted by my brother Fred.

Those were the days when the Old Gray Mare earned her oats by patrolling her beat pulling the grocery wagon and Fred into the rural areas; when Frank Green ran the print shop over Burkhead’s Store; days of the old mill pond; the apple drier between the present blacksmith shop and the house occupied by Mr. and Mrs. Wardwell; the cheese factory on the Ainger Road; board walks; when all merchandise arrived in Olivet by rail and was hauled into town by team and dray.

In 1935 my son George entered the business with me, first in the Montague building now occupied by the Olivet café.  Within a year we moved to our present location to better serve the people of Olivet through larger stocks and equipment.  We hope to serve you for the next half century!

Yes, a grocer’s life is at times a bit difficult, but we meet all types of people – rich man, poor man, beggar man, thief – doctor, lawyer, merchant, chief.  People live to eat!



mr. earl c. corey is a life-long resident of Olivet or its vicinity.  He is a man of many interests.  His home and grounds on Washington Avenue’s hilltop are most attractive.  He has an office on Main Street where he deals in real estate, insurance, surety bonds, and brokerage business.  Mr. Corey, after a brief respite and against his wishes, is again village president.  He has served the village as president for many terms.  For years also he was a valuable man with the Consumers Power Company, and was Olivet’s postmaster during the Cleveland administration.

(Ed. Note – Earl did not write this about himself.)


about three miles from Olivet at Ainger, now called Olivet Station, Henry Shepherd of Charlotte built a grist mill in 1887.  Ainger at that time had two stores, about ten houses, a saw mill, the Grand Trunk station and the grist mill.  The first power used was one horse and a sweep.  The mill, after being owned by MacLaren and Van Vliet and L. Z. Long, became a cooperative with Karl Heddon, Ray Baker, Fred Waterson and Charles Bugbee as directors.  In 1937 J. C. Stroo bought the property and business.  Mr. Stroo owns the house built by Mr. Henry Heydenburk which, however, was moved to College Street when the school grounds were enlarged.



ten years years from the day I first opened a beauty shop in Olivet we bought the Bracy house, one of the first in town.  To the front we added a thoroughly modern beauty shop.  After coming from Charlotte in 1926 and moving several times, I had occupied the Corey apartment for eight years.  At first business was slow, but soon I was employing three helpers – Irene Redinger, Dorothy Brown, and my daughter Lucille.

The new shop from its opening on June 2, 1936, went well until I suffered a serious automobile accident in 1938.  Then Leota Galusha Bennett took over for a time.  Now the conditions of war compel me to carry on alone.




KNOWLEDGE   is  like seeds that are sown in the fields of progress . . .  falling upon good ground, they grown, yield-

ing fruit a  hundredfold.  Upon  higher learning  and greater understanding depend the progress and future of America.

guarding and  helping to direct our destiny are our institutions  of  higher  learning. A  pioneer  and  one  who has

shared in our country’s development is Olivet College.

On  this  100th  anniversary,  we  are  reminded  of  the thousands of  men and  women who have prepared themselves here  for  the work of blazing the trail toward ever higher standards of life, liberty and security.

We  join  in  paying  tribute  to  the  village  of Olivet and to a  grand  school  that  bears its name on this, their 100th anniversary.

PUBLISHED by . . .





in 1928, dale myers began a varied and interesting career when he started a barber shop.  For six years he had a beauty shop also.  His love of music prompted the organization of two orchestras, first the “Sleepy Hollow” and later the “Aces of Melody,” which furnishes Hawaiian dinner and dance music.  Through the cooperation of Doctors Engle and Wilks and Messrs. Sorenson, Holdridge and Stickle, he started the Myers Crafts in 1937.  Here he makes wooden signs, letters, name plaques, pins, screens, and other novelties, and repairs furniture.  In 1942, Mr. Myers entered Nash-Kelvinator as a mechanic and “for the duration” has partially closed “Myers Crafts and Barber Shop.”



Mr. and Mrs. Charles armstrong date their arrival in Olivet from the year the banks closed.  They bought the Hart property and built a filling station on the corner of Main Street and south Bellevue Road.  Later they built a new house near the station and sold the older one to Mr. and Mrs. Henry Birch who recently sold to Mr. George Glenn, a retired farmer.  Besides gas and oil the Armstrongs have a full line of groceries and baked goods.  In summer the yard is full of petunias and zinnias and other gay flowers.



MAURICE D. BURKHEAD SUCCEEDED Henry E. Green in the furniture and undertaking business in 1909.  Upon his death in 1935 his son, M. D. Burkhead, Jr., succeeded to the business which he still carries on.  Two years ago he established a second undertaking business in Charlotte.



R. W. DeBaun, Proprietor

for sixty-three years the farm on which the Corey Farm Dairy is situated has been a dairy farm.  The modern farm house and tenant house occupy a sightly location northwest of town.  This farm was originally owned by “Deacon” Paige Reed, but was purchased by Peter Cook in 1880.  Mr. Cook began his dairy business by furnishing milk to Olivet College.  Shortly thereafter a retail route was established.  This milk at that time was ladled with a quart dipper from a large can.  This method is a far cry from the modern plant established by Mr. Earl Corey when he purchased the farm in 1910.  Now a pasteurizer, refrigerator, deep-well plunge, coolers, steamers, and boiler make a thoroughly sanitary and modern plant.

In 1942 the dairy was purchased by Mr. Ray DeBaun who is specializing in Guernsey cattle and the production of quality milk products.  He is ably assisted by Mrs. DeBaun, the twins, Jacqueline and Conrad, and young Richard.



in 1920 the standard oil company purchased land from Byron Underhill at Ainger.  North of the tracks and west of the road storage tanks were erected and bulk service was begun.  Mr. Delbert Stultz was the first agent and was succeeded by Messrs. Clayton Kellogg, Lynn Gifford, Douglas Bruce, Floyd Berrien, and the present agent, Frank Fleming, who ambles his big red truck over an area of 64 square mile.

Mr. Ralph C. Vahs, Jr., is Olivet’s Standard Oil service man operating in a station built by Mr. Ward Smith and owned by Frank Houghtaling.

In recent months these Standard Oil boys, Vahs and Fleming, have become stamp collectors of the first order and we do not mean cancelled stamps either.  But, in spite of this handicap they find time to peddle a great deal of gas and oil.  Ralph mends unmendable tires and fixes unfixable motors and sees no prospect of doing much else for the duration unless he should be called to mount pretty new tires on pretty new rigs for his Uncle Samuel.



AFTER A YEAR IN THE Cozy Corner Café, Mr. and Mrs. Ion Holdridge moved to their present location in 1939 and started the Olivet Café.  Mr. Holdridge also opened up a music studio at this location with several pupils and has played for many entertain-ments.  For a time he headed a musical organization known as the “Musical Kids.”  As training for his business career, Mr. Holdridge graduated from Charlotte High School in 1933 and from the Battle Creek business school in 1934.  He then spent two years in Ann Arbor where he specialized in music.

Last August Mr. Holdridge enlisted in the navy where he is a motor machinist’s mate, first class, assigned to the U.S.S. Tutuila.  In his absence his father and mother operate the Café.



SINCE THE CENTENNIAL BOOK has been issued to commemorate the 100th anniversary of the founding of Olivet College and Olivet Village, it seems appropriate to call attention to another birthday – that of the Olivet Optic.  The Optic was 55 years old this spring on April 13.  It was named after the Oliver Optic magazine for boys and girls published by William Taylor Adams and very popular in the 1860’s.

The Olivet Optic was first issued as a five-column, eight-page weekly paper, devoted to local and Olivet College news.  Mrs. Stella Roe Warner, founder and first publisher, lost her husband soon after coming to Olivet and shortly married F. A. Williams, her foreman.  Mr. Williams became publisher, his name appearing for the first time in the issue of October 12, 1889.  Two or three days later the paper was bought by Frank N. Green whose name appeared as publisher October 19, 1889.  Mr. Green continued as owner and publisher of the Optic for nearly 25 years.

On April 1, 1913, Mr. Green sold the paper to John Lignian and his sister, Miss Blanche Lignian, who came from Battle Creek where they had worked on several daily newspapers.  They are still owners of the Optic.  The Optic has been issued for over 25 years as a six-column, eight-page paper, all printed at home.



Several organizations are sponsoring space in this book.  Other groups are most logically treated with their parent organizations – i.e., the Ladies’ Benevolent Society, the Scouts, and the Men’s Discussion Club with the Church; the Women’s Auxiliary Board and the fraternities and sororities with the College.  Still others wish only to be mentioned.  They are:  the Priscilla Club, thirty-two years old, social and neighborly; the Rebekah Lodge and Rebekah Birthday Club; the Olivet Tent Hive of the Maccabees; the Red Cross, the Hospital Guild organized for the benefit of the Hayes-Green-Beach Hospital serving Eaton County; the Women’s Bible Class which meets monthly for social and philanthropic purposes; and the Past President’s Club of the Kedronities.


“a number of ladies and gentlemen met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. George W. Keyes for the purpose of organizing a Bay View Reading Club.”  So read certain minutes of September 18th, 1903.  Mrs. Leela M. Towler was elected president.  There were twenty-four charter members, three of whom were “gentlemen.”  Mrs. Sexton is, at present, the only charter member still in the club.  The men disappeared after three years.  Three people were appointed to suggest names for the club and three names were submitted:  the Friday Club, the Olive Branch, and Kedronties.  The last name was chosen.  A tax of ten cents a member was levied for expenses. 

The programs for several years followed those of the “Bay View Reading Circle” and reflect a world untroubled by war and much more interested in the social, economic, cultural, and legislative aspects of foreign countries than of our own.  The club membership was limited to twenty for several years.  “Dainty” refreshments were always served consisting at times of sweetened popcorn and puffed rice, fudge, nuts and marshmallows, or maple syrup “after which the club adjourned feeling that they had all had a very sweet time.” 

In 1918 the Kedronites instituted an annual guest night.  The first was a cooperative dinner at the home of Mrs. G. C. Adams.  Madame Jarlay’s waxworks, directed by Miss Ethelyn Sexton, furnished the entertainment.  Until last year when war needs prevented, the custom of the guest-night banquet and play continued.  The first play, “Uncle Jimmy,” was given seven times by request. 

Kedronites joined the County Federation of Women’s Clubs in 1914 and the State and District Federations in 1920.  In line with the trend in women’s clubs, Kedronities several years ago stated their purpose to be “education, friendship, and civic betterment.”  The club has been a consistent contributor to the Red Cross, led the silk-stocking drive, helped collect books and magazines for soldiers, and has supplied kit bags.  This year the club contributed fifteen dollars towards the County Nurses’ Scholarship Fund, is sending a girl to the Wolverine Girls’ State in June, and is conducting a prize-essay contest in the high school. 

The membership is now limited to fifty.  The club meets the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month from September to May, inclusive.  A past-presidents’ club is compiling a condensed history of Kedronites.



national grange was organized in the year 1867 in Washington.  The first State Grange was organized in Minnesota in 1869.  Michigan was the twelfth state to organize a State Grange.  The Subordinate Grange was organized in 1874.

It is the oldest and largest farm organization in the world.  It begins in the rural community with a local self-government Subordinate Grange and has county, state, and national organizations.  There are seven degrees in the Grange order:  National, State, County, and four subordinate or local degrees.  The County, or Fifth Degree, symbolizes the Court of Pomona, Goddess of Fruit; the State, or Sixth Degree, symbolizes the Court of Flora, Goddess of Flowers; and the National, or Seventh Degree, symbolizes the Court of Ceres, Goddess of Grain.

The Grange stands for education, sociability, cooperation, legislation, and fraternity.  In the year 1918 the National Grange established legislative headquarters at Washington, D. C.  Rural delivery of mail, oleomargarine legislation, the pure food and drug act, farm loan system, establishment of parcel post system, support of agricultural education for conservation of natural resources are o\some of its outstanding legislative achievements.

Olivet Grange No. 359 was organized in 1874.  A state organizer assembled a group of interested people in the old Methodist church, which stood just north of the J. E. Taylor home.  In records found in 1876 are the names of D. S. Gardner, E. C. Ford, A. M. Hawkins, H. D. Tillotson, Luman Shepherd, John Griffen, Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Bugbee, Mr. and Mrs. Edward Waterson, and Mr. and Mrs. William Hickok.

In 1901 Olivet Grange was reorganized by Charles Moran, a rural mail carrier.  In 1904, A. P. Green, then Worthy Master, appointed William Hickok and Dr. Asa Warren a committee to make negotiations for property on Washington Avenue.  The building now known as Olivet Grange Hall is still owned and used by Grange members.

During the years 1925-1930 an active Juvenile Grange was conducted.  Olivet Grange has one life member, Mrs. A. Krebs, and four silver star members symbolizing twenty-five years in the Grange:  Mrs. A. Krebs, Darius Goodrich, and Mr. and Mrs. Thomas Phillips.  The term “Patrons of Husbandry,” is used when speaking of Grange members.

One of the specific objects of the Grange which has been realized is to develop a better and higher manhood and womanhood among its members.



ten years after the Masonic fraternity was chartered in Olivet, a branch of the Order of the Eastern Star was organized with twenty-two charter members.  Mrs. A. C. Jewett was the first worthy matron and Henry Herrick, the first worthy patron.  The chapter meets in the Masonic hall the third Wednesday of each month.

Olivet Chapter is one of the oldest as well as one of the best known in the state.  Many of its members have held positions in the Grand Chapter of the State and this is the home chapter of the Right Grand Worthy Secretary of the World, Mrs. Minnie E. Keyes.  The local Past-Matrons’ Club of twenty-eight members bears her name.

Both the Masons and the Eastern Stars contribute to the support of the Masonic Home in Alma and the Star Villa for orphaned children at Adrian.  There are 115 active members at present in the Olivet chapter.



the olivet masonic lodge is an active organization of 106 members.  Since its charter was granted in 1870, degrees have been conferred on 427 Brothers.  Its first Worshipful Master was Elim Brant.  Meetings were held in the hall over Henry Herrick’s Shoe Store until 1876 when the Lodge built its home over what is now the Village Hall.  In 1900 Wm. Green offered the lodge a proposition to build what is now its Lodge Rom.  Some of the older members who went through the hardships of building and paying for the first room were not very enthusiastic, but it was finally decided to accept Mr. Green’s offer, provided the room could be enclosed without incurring any expense to the Lodge.  A building committee was appointed consisting of Dr. Charles H. Mead, Karl Keyes, and Earl Corey.  Brothers Keyes and Corey went out and in one day solicited pledges for more than enough to enclose the building, and the Lodge home was completed in 1901.

This Lodge has the rare distinction for one located in a town the size of Olivet of having its home free of debt and also of having conferred the degrees on a United States Minister to Siam.

In 1892 its degree team under Frank W. Brownson as Master was famous all over the State for its degree work.

Brothers of the fraternity have taken prominent positions in Village, College, and Community activities and thus have lived up to the principles of their Masonic fraternity.



the olivet branch of the American Association of University Women was organized in the autumn of 1937 at the suggestion of President Joseph Brewer, who felt that the existence of such an organization might be beneficial to the College.  The Olivet branch is a member of the Michigan division of the A.A.U.W. and of the National Organization.

Since the purpose of the A.A.U.W. is primarily educational, the monthly meetings during each year have been devoted to lectures and discussions on such subjects as literature, science, economics, history, social problems including community problems, international situations, etc., especially as these have had a bearing on our present world.  Attention has also been given to becoming informed about and exerting what influence possible upon important pending legislation.  The Olivet branch has also taken its part in community projects, and has contributed each year to the Fellowship Fund which enables certain qualified women to carry on important research.

The first present of the branch was Dr. Abbie M. Copps, who has been succeeded by Mrs. Muriel E. Smith, Miss Virginia Shull, Miss Flola Shepard, Mrs. Arnold Graeffe (two terms) and Dr. Mary E. Armstrong.



february 3, 1910, emma grange was established with thirty-one charter members, six of whom are still members; and Edison Sherman, its first master.  John F. Wilde, who expects to retire to Olivet soon, established it and named it for his wife.

Everyone for miles around knows that Emma Grange is situated on Townline Road not far from Charlotte or Olivet; for, when a grange makes a better chicken pie than anyone else, the world beats a path to its door every fall.  Each year the men cook and serve an Easter supper with no woman to hinder.  Emma Grange is a center of sociability and education for its ninety members and a large area.



in 1939 the chamber of commerce built its first hopes with blocks, but the promoter of Fox Blox failed to produce.  Now we know that our first misfortune was our good fortune for it left us bound together by a common debt.  In freeing ourselves from that burden we became a closely-knit team which has survived growing pains, and by 1943 our membership had reach twenty-eight.

With some pride we enumerate many civic achievements.  We sponsored summer band concerts and merchants drawings.  We have contributed freely to the Christmas programs at the school.  We sponsored three farmer-merchant banquets.  We sponsored two successful seasons of Bingo games with a double purpose of providing entertainment and raising funds.  We secured a complete Christmas lighting system for the village.  We advertise our village daily by using scenic stationery.  We have provided a “Welcome” banner for festive occasions.  We circulated the petition for the Ainger black top and a similar promotion for the Brookfield Road was underway when war economics delayed it.  We are sending a boy to the 1944 “Boys’ State.”  Always we are investigating ways and means of bringing new business to the village.

Most of our members have a clear vision of the park-that-could-be – a broad, unbroken playing field, lights for night sports and entertainment, permanent seats on the west bank, swings, slides, sand boxes, jungle-bars and horseshoe courts in the shade of the trees on the north and south, a skating lagoon over by the creek where it can be flooded and drained by controlling the dam.  Some even see in this completed program a most fitting memorial to the heroism of our boys who serve with the Armed Forces.  With that vision clearly outlined the Chamber of Commerce has lent moral and financial support to each move directed toward that goal – the covering of the storm sewer that emptied into the old lagoon, the draining of the lagoon, and finally the complete filling of the lagoon and the creation of a skating pond beyond the bounds of the playing field.  We trust that more will rapidly follow.

We are on record as favoring an immediate survey of our sewage disposal needs.  In the event that Federal or State funds are again made available for municipal improvements we feel that a community with a blueprint in hand will be among the first to be considered.  The village council has been advised of our eagerness to help in this projected survey.

And finally we mention the publication of this book.  On this, the One Hundredth Anniversary of our Village, the Chamber of commerce has asked the College, the School, the Village Council, the Business and Civic Organizations to join with us in sponsoring the publication of our community story.  The eager and diligent response has made this a pleasant task.



the managing editor’s report.  In the closing months of last year the publication of this book was projected.  In December the Chamber of Commerce authorized me to investigate the possibilities of securing village-wide support.  We estimated the cost per page on the basis of 1000 copies and asked various groups to sponsor sections with the assurance that from the sales receipts they would be reimbursed in proportion to their sponsorship.  Almost everyone joined in eagerly.  Even an outside organization helped us meet the budget by ordering 300 books for distribution to the libraries of the state.

With financial backing assured, I was asked to proceed with the job.  Groups sponsoring more than four pages were declared major sponsors and each was asked to appoint an editor.  The public school Teachers Club with some outside help sponsored 28 pages and selected Miss Marie Nousainen.  The college, sponsoring 20 pages, chose Dr. Robert Ramsay.  The church, supporting 12 pages, appointed Dr. Thomas Nadal.  The village, with 12 pages, chose Mrs. J. E. Taylor.  These four and the Chamber of Commerce editor were established as the editing committee.  They set up rules by which they would operate and appointed Mrs. John Lignian to handle all funds.

Many assistants helped collect and prepare the material.  Assisting Miss Nousainen were Miss Ruth Gray, Mr. Thomas Kerrey, Mr. James Reynolds, Miss Fern Persons, and Mr. Gordon McAllen.  Helping Dr. Nadal were Mrs. Cora Sexton, Miss Estella Davis, Mrs. Ohlin Walcott, and Mrs. William Jackson.  Mr. Roy Snell and Mr. Joseph Bennett aided Dr. Ramsey.  In preparing the pages required to tie the sections together into a unified book the services of Mrs. Jackson and Mr. Bennett were of inestimable value to the managing editor.  Miss Mary Adams prepared the end-paper design.  Many other unnamed persons played important parts by recalling dates and names, by locating pictures, by offering helpful suggestions.

The task of preparing a book was entirely foreign to your managing editor.  There will be errors found in the text.  In the manner of assembling the book there may be errors in judgment.  However, the spirit of our village story is here even though the facts and form may not be correct in every detail. 

To all those who bore patiently with me in preparing this material I am most grateful.  Of the village which sponsored its publication I am most proud.


Paul H. Engle


The trustees of the Hayes-Green-Beach County Memorial Hospital feel a deep debt of personal and official gratitude for the memory of Frank N. Green, over five decades of Olivet’s best known and most useful citizen, and one of the original Hospital trustees.  Mr. Green was nominated by the Board of Supervisors after the legislative body of our county government had accepted the proffer made by R. Ellen Green in behalf of the late Henry H. Hayes and herself.  Mr. Fitch H. Beach, Charlotte banker and industrialist was a more recent benefactor and because of a substantial gift his name was added to the permanent title of the property.

Frank N. Green was always thinking in terms of helpful accommodation.  Hundreds of times during his long service as postmaster of the village he would take all the mail in the neighborhood where a special delivery letter had to be delivered.  He was particularly thoughtful about the prompt delivery of pension vouchers --- understanding the importance of this letter in many homes.  In the opinion of the writer, outside of Miss Green herself, three men were responsible for brining the Hayes-Green-Beach Hospital into existence.  In the order of their importance Frank N. Green stands first, Hon. G. E. McArthur, another original trustee and present chairman of the board, is second, and Dr. Garner M. Byington, now a top man with the Detroit Department of Health, is third.  The project, minus the effort of any one of this trio could easily have failed.

Throughout his service on the board continuing until his death, Mr. Green was the spokesman for Miss Green, who had an abiding confidence in his understanding, sincerity, and interest in the institution which is now ten years old and already securely rooted into the very fabric of our civic and semi-official life.  Frank Green’s years of kindly and generous service to the hundreds of Olivet students, his neighbors, friends and the public at large, fall clearly within the rich and loft meaning of these well known lines by Mary Howitt, English writer and moralist:

“True delicacy, that most beautiful heart-leaf of humanity, exhibits itself most significantly in little things.”

murl defoe, Secretary

hayes-green-beach hospital board


To . . .






Centrally located in southern Michigan.

Served by two great highways – U.S.-27 and M-78.

The home of Olivet College --- Tutorial plan.

An alert Public School serving a wide community.

An aggressive Congregational Church.

A sound independent bank.

Adequate shopping facilities.

For recreation – two modern gymnasiums.

For fishing, boating, swimming, skating, hunting – more than a dozen lakes within ten miles.

Three golf courses within fifteen minutes’ drive.

A short drive to five theaters.

A dependable and ample village water system.

Served by Consumers Power and Bell Telephone Companies.

Modern and able fire protection.

Many fine home sites available.

Could you ask for anything more?  We suggest you consider making this your home, too.


Signed . . .

the olivet chamber of commerce

Walter Scott, Charles Shaffer, H. R. Morehouse, R. E. Norton, Dr. Thomas Nadal, Stuart Graham, George Rundle, M. D. Burkhead, E. C. Corey, Dr. Robert Ramsay, C. M. Herrick, A. E. Bartlett, J. A. Sours, George Goff, John Lignian, Lyle Herbert, Ralph Vahs, Frank Fleming, Dean Hubert, Joseph Brewer, Donald Collins, J. C. Stroo, Howard Hoffman, George Campbell, Dr. Paul Engle, Dr. R. H. Wilks, George Tyson, E. A. Goodrich.