Harrison Twp. District 8


Photo taken July 27, 2021. From the author’s collection.

There appears to be no record of when land was deeded for Harrison Township’s District 8 school. In 1874, the building was shown to straddle to land of David L. Williams and August F. Gaugh a quarter of a mile west of the modern intersection of North Nebo Road and West Royerton Road (Kingman, 1874). Seven years later Helm’s history called it the Buncum school, taught by Walter Gray (1881). That year, fifty students were in regular attendance there (School, 1881).

By 1887, the schoolhouse had been moved to or replaced by the extant structure at the corner of Nebo and Royerton Roads (Griffing, 1887). The unusual common name of the District 8 school is thought to have originated as a reference to Buncombe County, North Carolina, but it’s been referred to by nearly every variation: Buncum, Bunkum, Buncom, and Buncomb (Intermission, 1976). One former student remembered it being called “Buncomb” during its time in operation (Greene, 1977). Today bunkum, or bunk, means nonsense. 

Apparently, the building was abandoned in 1896, which led to the construction of an enlarged, two-story District 6 schoolhouse at Bethel (Denny, 1925). This closure must have been brief, though, since county school directories as early as the first available show it back in operation as of the 1904-05 school year (Delaware, 1904). The schoolhouse finally closed for good after the 1917-18 school year, when Chad Rector of Gaston served as the final teacher (Delaware, 1917). 

In 1922, Emmel Fink -a former District 8 student- and his father bought the abandoned schoolhouse from the township trustee. In order to convert the school into a home they divided it into rooms, altered the windows, and lowered the ceiling from twelve to eight feet. In 1974, Maryann and Jim Shrieve purchased the building (Johnson, 1976). It remains in use as a house today.


Kingman Brothers. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana. Chicago, IL.

School Report. (1881, December 15). The Muncie Morning News. p. 2.

Griffing, B. N. (1887). Mt. Pleasant Township. An atlas of Delaware County, Indiana . map, Philadelphia, PA; Griffing, Gordon, & Company.

Intermission. (1976, February 7). The Muncie Evening Press. p. T-4.

Greene, D. (1977, January 31). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star Press. p. 4.

Denny, L.W. (1925, June 5). New School To Be Real Center. The Muncie Morning Star. p. 12.

Delaware County Public Schools. (1904). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1904-1905. Muncie, IN. 

Delaware County Public Schools. (1917). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1917-1918. Muncie, IN. 

Johnson, B. (1876, January 24). Shrieves ‘taught’ an old schoolhouse to be pretty. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 2.