Sunfield history

Sunfield Begins
Sunfield Township became a reality in February of 1842.  The first school was taught by Mrs. George Andrews in her house in the summer of 1842.  The house was located where the Bob Robinson family lives today.  (He is said to be the next Eaton County Treasurer).

A log shanty school was then built south of the corner on section 34 next to Sebewa Creek.  In 1851 a frame school was built on the northeast corner of section 33 on an acre of land donated by George Andrews.  The subjects taught were reading, spelling, writing, arithmetic, geography and grammar.

In May of 1872 a township meeting was held at George Andrew’s house.  School district # 1 was made up of sections 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33 and 34. The west ½ of 26 and the west ½  of 35.  There were often over 50 students in attendance.  The Bismark School was a leader in the production of school plays in Sunfield  Township.

Most of the people in Bismark were Methodists.  They build their church across from the school house in 1871.  It was a large, lovely church with over 50 members.  It stood for 100 years.

The Bismark post office was opened in 1871 at the Loomis General Store and lasted until 1904 when the store burned down.  A lot of socializing took place at the general store, when people would meet there as they picked up their mail.  The mail was initially delivered once a week by a rider on horseback.

In 1870 the residents of Bismark were happy to learn that a railroad was to run through the area from north to south. The Coldwater and Marshall Railway was to be built.  The name was then changed to the Coldwater and Mackinaw Co.  Right-of-way had been secured from Coldwater to Elm Hall in Gratiot County at that time.  The right-of-way had been graded a greater part of the way, culverts put in, bridges built and ties purchased.  The president of the railroad Albertus Green died in October 1875 and no work has been done since.

The tractor, telephone and automobile revolutionized cultivation, communication and transportation and ended the rural isolation of the small hamlets.  Many people left for the cities.  In 1860, 85% lived on farms.  In 1960, less than 20%.

The only remnants that remain of the once bustling Bismark community are the old school house which is a county historical building and the Methodist church steps across the road.

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