The History of Genesee County, MI
Chapter I
A New Regime

Online Edition by Holice, Deb & Clayton



With the exception of the brief Whig ascendancy under Governor Woodbridge, the state was continuously under control of Democratic power until 1854. In that year, at Jackson, was formed the first state organization of the Republican party in the United States, which elected as governor of Michigan Kinsley S. Bingham, re-elected him in 1856, and maintained an ascendancy unbroken for twenty-eight years. In 1860 the Republicans elected as governor, Anson Blair, the "war governor," whose statue stands today in front of the capital in Lansing, a witness to the love and respect of the people.

During the quarter of a century of statehood prior to the Civil War, Michigan made substantial advance in education. The schools at the time Michigan became a state were very primitive. There were no professional teachers. The best to be had were promising sons, or daughters, who took what the people could afford, "boarded around," and kept the children busy with "three R's" in a log shanty. Of school conveniences as we know them, there were few or none. Two names stand out at the beginning of the new regime of statehood destined o be long remembered in the educational history of Michigan. Isaac E. Crary and John D. Pierce. The former was member of the constitutional convention of 1855; the latter was the first superintendent of public instruction under the new constitution. These men were neighbors in Marshall, and had often discussed together the subject of state education. Pierce was a graduate of Brown, who, in 1831, had been sent out to the West by the Congregationalists as a hoe missionary. Through Crary, who had great influences with Governor mason, he now became superintendent of public instruction, to whose charge was given the whole subject of state education and the management of a million acres of land transferred by congress to the state as trustee of the sixteenth section in every township in Michigan. In response to a request from the Legislature, pierce reported a system of common school and university education which in its essential forms the foundation of the educational system in operation in Michigan today.


History of Genesee County, Michigan, Her People, Industries and Institutions
by Edwin O. Wood, LL.D, President Michigan Historical Commission, 1916

Transcribed by Holice B. Young

HTML by Deb

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