The Scotch Settlement School house was put up in 1861 in the south eastern area of Michigan, around the area which was by then called the Scotch Settlement. Here at the Scotch Settlement, school-going children received basic education in writing, reading, geography, history, arithmetic, as well as lessons in Christian morals and values of hard work. It is in this one-roomed house, where Henry Ford attended school as a junior in 1871, but life in school wasn’t so smooth for him. Ford together with his buddy Edsel Ruddiman used to be mischievous kids, and unfortunately Ford left school with an education of a sixth grader. The school is furnished as a late 19th century one-room school house, like most of other school houses that other millions of American children attended (Greenfield Village Memories, n.d.).
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Henry Ford started schooling here in the one-room schoolhouse in 1871 and later moved it here as part of the Greenfield Village school system. The system operated from 1929-1969. The Scotch Settlement School’s interior was a simple one-room building with a raised teacher’s desk in front of the classroom. During recess time, a fresh pail of water was brought in by all. In the teacher’s desk, there was a wooden blackboard where the student’s were called to recite and do arithmetic problems. A frequent visitor to the area, Frank Stevenson, who spoke to his grandparents and uncle during Henry Ford’s time, noted that for amusement and entertainment, they had spelling “Bees” at school. There was time for storytelling, there were fiddlers and square dances, reciting from the heart of McGuffey’s readers as well as doing old country yarns.
The school records indicate that Henry Ford and his friend Edsel Ruddiman were quiet troublemakers, and one of his teachers, John Chapman, was paid some extra money by the parents to keep the two in line. The school impacted Henry Ford in many ways as it most importantly helped in shaping his future towards hard working virtues. The school hosted only one teacher and children of different ages shared that one-room class. The teacher concentrated much on teaching the students artwork and important virtues required in the society and these teachings helped Ford a lot in his engineering work (Greenfield Village Memories, n.d.).
The education he received from the Scotch Settlement School house gave him the foundation of starting a new motor company and he believed that the common man was important in the society. That is why he built automobiles for the general public and he is credited for massively creating a middle class in the U.S. Moreover, he believed in helping everyone in the society, so as to improve and develop it, and all these characters are attributed to the lessons he received in Scotch Settlement School (Hass, 2011).
It is widely documented that Ford left the school at the age of 15 years old and was to work later in the nearby city of Detroit as a machinist. This is before Henry Ford moved into the automotive career where later he established the Greenfield Village in Dearborn. Kerosene lamps used in the school, large wooden burning stoves and benches like the ones that were used were instrumental in impacting Ford’s later life. He then developed a great interest in steaming and used to jiggle on the kitchen stove as other kids romped outdoors. He used to watch the hot wooden stove as steam lifted to the top of the kettle and rattle the lids of the vegetable pan. Ford’s curiosity increased and he secured a thick earthenware teapot, filled it with water, stuffed its spout with paper and tied down its lid. His parents later noticed that Henry rarely returned from school until twilight. His parents’ inquiry found out that there was a creek in the Scotch Settlement where boys used to lounge and plan great things for boyhood. While other pupils spent their afternoon lounging, Ford and his group busied themselves in building dams across the creek by use of stones. In this way, he showed earlier of what an engineer he was becoming. A story is also told of Henry and his desk mate, John Haggerty, dissecting a watch and when it fell down, they were forced to re-assemble it. Henry, as a result, was getting to know some basic engineering stuff while in school that greatly helped him later to set up the Ford Company. At 17 years, Ford finished his eighth grade and set out for the city of Detroit a year later (Bushnell, n.d).
Therefore, the Scotch Settlement School house brought enormous positive impact on the life of Henry Ford and he in fact went further to purchase the school in 1923 and it became the Greenfield Village. This clearly shows how he wholly adored the school, which shaped his future to become a renowned engineer and the owner of Ford Motors Company (Innovator, Industrialist, Outdoorsman, n.d.).