Salem Twp. District 1

White Oak

The Salem Township District 11 schoolhouse, White Oak. Photo taken April 14, 2021. From the author’s collection.

What later became the White Oak schoolhouse got its start in 1833, when James H. Jones donated an abandoned cabin that measured 24×30 feet (Preserving, 1992) for the purpose of housing an early subscription school (Helm, 1881). In response to amendment to the state’s constitution that allowed for the funding of a free, common school system in 1852, the cabin was moved to the Squire McClintock farm about 2/5 north of Jones’ land, weatherboarded, and plastered in 1856 (School, 1933). There it remained, even after 1855 when Jones officially granted Salem Township officials a quarter of an acre for a schoolhouse (Delaware, 1855). 

The first White Oak school was one large room with two doors at its north side, two windows cut into the east and west walls, and a single window facing south. In addition to a window, the south side featured a large, portable blackboard positioned over a foot-tall platform where the teacher stood. Benches were arranged around the side walls (Tuttle, 1933). 

A brick schoolhouse, modern for its time, was built on Jones’ property around 1876 (Tuttle), though it appears as though school was held on that same plot for some years prior (Kingman, 1874). In 1881, A.W. Jones was the teacher there (Helm). 

The White Oak school closed down after the 1918-19 school year. It was the second-longest holdout in Salem Township, surpassed only by the three-room, graded schoolhouse at Cross Roads, District 10. The last teacher at White Oak was Crevia Spangler (Delaware, 1918) and after its closure, the schoolhouse was converted into a home. 

In 1992, Steve Newnam, owner of the old McClintock farm, donated a log building identified as the original White Oak school to the Delaware County Historical Alliance (Alliance, 1992). The historical alliance had plans to dismantle and move the original log schoolhouse to the site of the 1875 Monroe Township District 3, Corinth school as a sort of monument to early education (Alliance). This did not happen, and while the Corinth school still stands in a restored state, whatever happened to the old logs and fixtures from White Oak is, unfortunately, unclear. 


Preserving history. (1992, September 10). The Muncie Star. p. 10.

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.

School Days Recalled by Epic Poem. (1933, August 23). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 5.

Delaware County, Indiana. (1855, August 10). Deed Book 20. p. 350.

Tuttle, W. (1933).“Memories of White Oak School Days.” pamphlet. Scott Printing Company.

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

Delaware County Public Schools. (1918). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1918-1919. Muncie, IN. 

Alliance acquires a second historical schoolhouse. (1992, November 3). The Muncie Star. p. 5A.