A schoolgirl's drawing of the school in the Peach Belt Community and the store to the east. 

.....School District 1 was formed in April of 1847 and the first classes held in James Wadsworth's house.  A school house was built in the Peach Belt Community site in 1867.  In about 1890 a knitting factory was built at the crossroads and made knitted articles. the machinery was run by steam engine. Brick veneer siding was added to the school starting in 1898. In that same year Mr. LaDick established a Cider Mill. By 1900 the building that housed the store and the Peach Belt post office was located just east of the school..  A worn path led from the school house to the back of the store and old time students remember that the first kid to the store with a bucket of water would be rewarded with a stick of penny candy.  In the winter there was a similar reward for carrying fire wood.  "When  recess came there would be a real stampede," recalls a former student. The West County Community Map shows the school as Ganges Township Dist No.1 Fr and the post office as Peach Belt P.O.. "Fr" means fractional where the school receives operation funds from other townships as fractionally assessed.. The school building now has a modern one word name of "PEACHBELT".

The current know place to buy peaches locally is:
Gold Coast Farms, Inc.
6331 120th Ave. Fennville, MI 49408
email: gldcstfarms@yahoo.com

The Origin of Peaches
.....China is widely held to be the native home of peaches.  This is supported by the fact that there is a wide range of wild peach types in the country side.  The peach was brought to the Mediterranean area from Iran (formerly called Persia), the source or scientific name for the peach is "Prunus persica".  The peach was known in Greece by 300 B.C. and by the Romans shortly after 100 A.D.

.....Early peaches were propagated by seed, the easiest way to transport the peach plant.  Budded trees (so-called inoculated trees) became available in America around the time of the American Revolution.

from: http://www.michiganpeach.org/

.....Harrison Hutchins planted three seedling peach trees on his farm in the spring of 1838.

.....The First School between Allegan and Singapore was taught in the first shack built by Levi Loomis on his land in Ganges, 1842 (from Recollections of the Pioneers of Western Allegan County, by Henry Hudson Hutchins)  Mrs. Lyman Loomis was the teacher.  The next term was held in a log house owned by David Hutchins, back on the hill at the east end of the crossway at north line of Section 1, Fred Lyman, teacher.  The following year school was held at the same place; Abe Gidley, teacher.

.....In 1845 a school house was built on the James Wadsworth place, on section 2, Ganges.  It stood on top of the hill, south side of the town line road, west of the present location of the school house in district No. 1.  I have not learned who taught the first term there.  As a matter of history, as well as a to settle a controversy as to what became of this first school house, I will produce here a letter from Mrs. Sarah Knox Grover, dated April 20, 1922:

....."The little unpainted frame school house in district No. 1 township of Ganges where I was a teacher, was burned to the ground late in February, 1861. Disastrous to the school, for there was no room available for school, and for me, for I was paid in the 'wild cat' bills which were the circulating medium at that time, when they might be good one day and good for nothing the next." (Levi Loomis had quite an experience with these bills).

....."There were three boys about 16 years old who kindly relieved me of the duty of building the morning fire, and that unlucky morning, when I had plodded over more than a mile through the snow, I found the house in flames.  Below are the names of all the pupils that I recall, and Henry Mead is the only one living, I think; James,   Eugene Alfreda,   Alzeda, and Azella Billings,   Sarah Jane and Henry Cowles,   Addie Sophia and Jay Smeed,   Delos and Nellis Fuller,   Abbie and Alicia Baragar,   Tommy Braman,   Judson Loveridge,   James Henderson, and three temporary ones whose names I cannot recall."  ( I well remember the time the Billings school house burned.  I was in the eighth year, and it was the first time I learned that a building could burn. -- H.)

.....There was another school house built on the same site right away, and this was used until the school year of 1867.  On September 22, 1866 the old house, wood frame and privy was sold for $32.25.

.....In that same time, It was voted to purchase one acre of land of James. W. Billings for the sum of $40, situated on the N.W. corner of the N.E. frl., 1/4, Sec.2 town 2 north and range 16 west. It cost over $800 to grade the land, build a fence and build the new school house. John Shaeffer was paid $400 on Nov. 8, 1898 to remove the wood siding and place the brick veneer.

Memories of  Aino Geraldine Crane Wooton

Memories of  Dixie and Norma Crane Hungerford

U S Crane Page


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