Washington Twp. District 9
In 1874, Washington Township’s District 9 schoolhouse was listed at the southeast corner of Wheeling Pike and the Shideler Free Pike, today known as West County Road 900-North (Kingman, 1874), in the thick of what was later the community of Stockport (Stodghill, 1990). As late as 1973, an old, frame store that was later converted into a dwelling (Greene, 1973) stood on the site of the school. It’s unclear if this was the same structure as the old schoolhouse, but nothing but the building’s foundation is visible today.
In 1881, Helm listed that building as the Hard-Scrabble schoolhouse, with Ira Compton as its teacher (Helm, 1881). The phrase “hard scrabble” is a reference to a piece of poorly-tillable soil or something that involves a lot of work but doesn’t pay off enough to have made the work worth it.
That’s an interesting sentiment since, for much of its existence Washington Township was nothing but a big swamp. An early name of the town of Gaston just two miles west was “Snagtown,” after a man caught his pants on a tree that had been cut knee-high to build a road across the muck (Slabaugh, 1997). Helm’s history indicates that an early version of today’s US-35 -originally a crude government highway- was little more than “a guide to the proper course than a road” during the wet season (1881). Perhaps these conditions led to the naming of the school. Both the Shideler Free Pike and the Wheeling Pike it sat on were prominent thoroughfares in its day.
In 1885, Calvin Moomaw granted a portion of his land adjacent to Joseph Hinton’s farm to the Washington school Township for use as a schoolhouse (Delaware, 1885). Its proximity to the land of Hinton -a later booster of Stockport- and a family cemetery known as Hinton probably provided the school’s common name (Delaware, 2021). The extant schoolhouse was built in 1887 and many of the trees that surround it still today were planted that year during an Arbor Day celebration (Greene, 1947).
The Delaware County assessor indicates that the schoolhouse was built in 1865, but it likely dates to much later after Moomaw deeded the land to the township. The extant structure features a T-shaped floorplan that incorporated a brief entry hall flanked by two cloakrooms that doesn’t seem to have been common until the 1890s.
Along with the District 8: Thompson/Shady Grove and District 11: Maynard schoolhouses, the District 9 Hard-Scrabble/Hinton schoolhouse closed after the 1905-06 school year in order to consolidate into Gaston (Kemper, 1908). Carl Hedgeland was the final teacher (Delaware, 1905). Today, it appears as though the schoolhouse is abandoned.
Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.
Stodghill, D. (1990, May 23). In the Press of things. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 2.
Greene, D. (1973, May 23). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
Helm, T. B. (1881). Mount Pleasant Township. In History of Delaware County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers (pp. 268–269). book, Kingman Brothers.
Slabaugh, S. (1997, November 17)> Trail might help struggling Delaware County town. The Muncie Star Press. p. 7.
Delaware County, Indiana. (1885 July 22). Deed Book 55. p. 381.
Greene, D. (1947, June 17). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
Delaware County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2021). Parcel ID: 0236301001000. Delaware County, Indiana Assessor. map, Muncie, IN.
Kemper, G. W. H. (1908). Education in Delaware County. In A Twentieth Century History of Delaware County, Indiana, Volume 1 (Vol. 1, p. 252). book, Lewis Publishing Company.
Delaware County Public Schools. (1905). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1905-1906. Muncie, IN.