Niles Twp. District 5


Photo taken April 17, 2021. From the author’s collection.

A District 5 school in Niles Township existed as early as 1852, the year a new state constitution that provided for a system of free, common schools took effect. That year, the salaries paid to teachers at Districts 4, 5, and 10 amounted to $127.54 (Helm, 1881). The first District 5 schoolhouse -likely of log construction- was replaced in 1858 after George Huffman granted the township a portion of his farm to build a new schoolhouse (Delaware, 1857). Like most erected during the 1850s, the second building, known as the Huffman school, was probably frame. This building was located at the modern northwest corner of East County Road 1200-North and North County Road 600-East, which did not exist at the time. 

For much of its existence, three-and-a-half miles of 1200-N was known as the Dunkirk and Moore pike after D.B. Moore, who owned a gravel quarry he used to improve many of Niles Township’s earliest roads. Today, Moore’s land is the site of Frank Merry Park; the quarry itself is still visible as the pond there (A Gold Mine, 1901). 

In 1879, Samuel S. Selvey granted the township a section of his land at the southeast corner of the pike and 600-E for a new District 5 schoolhouse (Delaware, 1879). Two years later, Helm reported that Theo Coyert was the teacher there. Despite the change in location, the school appears to have still been known to locals as Huffman.

The District 5 school closed after 1914-15 year, with Jessie Cecil of Albany serving as last teacher (Delaware, 1914). Given its proximity to Dunkirk in Jay County, its students almost certainly sent there to continue their education. Today, as it has been for many years, the old Huffman schoolhouse is now a dwelling


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.

Delaware County, Indiana. (1857 December 30). Deed Book 20. p. 558

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

A Gold Mine In The County. (1901, October 24). The Muncie Evening Times. p. 1.

Delaware County, Indiana. (1879 May 30). Deed Book 44. p. 403.