Wickersham/LaFond School
Forest Twp. #6
Contributed by Nute Champman,Jim Hall, Sally Beatty

 				WICKERSHAM SCHOOLLAFOND SCHOOL  Wickersham School is also called LaFond School is in Forest Township, Cheboygan County
(T.34N. � R.1E. Sec. 22 NW �, NE �, NE1/4. It was located on the south side
of Tucker Rd. approximately 3/10ths of a mile west of Centerline Rd. on Tim
Paulus�s farm. This school operated until 1909. In 1909 a new LaFond School was
built on the south east corner of Tucker and Centerline Rd. At its new location it
operated until 1915. It reopened in 1933 and closed for good in 1941. From 1933
till its closing, it was known as the Wickersham School. There is a 2' high
foundation with trees growing up in the middle. TEACHER Mary (Ennes) Lyon 1933-1934 STUDENTS Lyle CampMarlin LaFondEvelyn LietaertLouie LietaertLucille LietaertRita LietaertAnnie MorganBilly MorganDoris OursWalter OursAlice StevensGeorge Stevens, Jr.Frida WickershamCecil WoodsKenneth Woods Compiled and Contributed by Nute Chapman, Sally Beatty, and Jim HallTHE HISTORY OF FOREST TOWNSHIP SCHOOLSLAFOND OR WICKERSHAM - #6 The first site for the LaFond school was on the south side of what is now
called Tucker Road approximately three tenths of a mile west of Centerline Road on a
portion of the Douglas Paulus property, where fruit trees are now planted. In the
early years of this century, there was a road used during the lumbering days that ran
north and south through that area of the township. There is no longer any sign of a
road that had been used. The Dickinson lumber camp would have been to the north of
that sport about one mile, while to the south there had been another lumber camp. The school had been named for the LaFond family who were early settlers in
that area. This was a log school building which was replaced later by a frame
building at another site. In July 1908, Isaac Erratt and Daniel Pollock were asked to look over a
new site for the LaFond school, District number 6 of Forest Township. The new school
house was then built on the south east corner of Tucker and Centerline Road east of
the Roy Wickerham property. Valere Lietaert remembers as a lad of their cows being kept in the old abandoned
schoolhouse across the road from their farm. The newer LaFond school was in service
from 1909 through the school term ending in 1915. The building then remained unused
as a school for many years when most of the early settlers had moved away. The
remaining few stayed on to pursue farming. Their children were transported to the
Tower school. That was no easy task in winter and early spring with horse drawn
sleigh or wagon. By 1933, people had begun to resettle in the area when the
Depression years brought people back to the land from the cities where there was no
jobs to be found. Some of the land was then homesteaded. There were enough families
with children to warrant reopening the school that had been vacant for over twenty
years. During these years, the building had been used for occasional dances, but
no upkeep had taken place or any painting. To make it ready for reopening as a
school, one end of the room was partitioned off with rough sawn boards for create a
place to store wood behind the partition. The school room side of the partition had a
roll-down black board similar to the large black window shade. It was quite a feat to
write on the make shift blackboard and avoid hitting the cracks in the uneven boards
behind it and breaking the chalk. The school by this time in 1933 was called the
Wickersham school since it was near the home of Roy and Lena Wickersham. With reopening, it was lacking most of the necessities. Water had to be
carried in a pail from the Wickersham pump so it was used sparingly. Books had to
gathered from other schools in the township that they could spare. Quite often they
were without covers and pages missing. Teachers wages that year had hit a new low of $25.00 per month. At the
end of the school year, money had come in from a swamp tax refund from the state so
each teacher received $180.00 bonus, making the equivalent of $45.00 per month for the
year in the township. There were no frills to be had during those deep depression times and food
was scarce in many of the lunch pails. An orange would have been an unheard of treat.
But out of these hard times shared by the few children attending school, there was a
special bond of caring and appreciation for things too often overlooked in todays
world of plenty and over indulgence. Christmas and Easter held special memories. With Christmas program, popcorn popped
over the coals in the wood building stove, and boxes of candy and nuts for the
children. At Easter they were able to be in on a real egg hunt when Mr. Wickersham asked if they
might help find a nest of one of his hen turkeys who had hidden it in the woods. They
finally spied the hen with her hidden nest in the brush by a creek nearby. Then of
course they had colored eggs to find in the stumps and hiding places nearer the
school. Happiness was not counted in material things. The school continued to be in used until 1941 when the country schools were
discontinued and students went to Tower and Onaway. The building was purchased by Ray Tucker to be used as a tool shed on his farm. The
school bell was donated to the drive for scrap metal for World War II according to his
widow, Mrs. Edra Wickersham Tucker.

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