Lafayette Township District 7:
Lafayette Township’s earliest schoolhouse was the first District 7: Meade schoolhouse, built in 1840 on what was later called the Patrick Ryan farm. It was taught by John Pennisten (Forkner & Dyson, 1897), and the schoolhouse was a log cabin, typical of its time, with a wide fireplace at one side (Jackson, 2009).
In 1844, the Florida United Methodist Church was established as a Sunday school in a log cabin near what’s now the old District 7 schoolhouse (Union, 1969). It’s unclear whether the congregation actually used the schoolhouse for their purposes, but it’s likely that it was, a common practice at the time.
In response to state legislature that provided for the operation of a free public school system, a frame schoolhouse was built near the site of the log cabin around 1857 (Jackson). It was the first free school in Lafayette Township.
The present school was erected around 1874 (Jackson). Unlike the majority of Lafayette Township schoolhouses that closed in 1932 when the six-room Leach School absorbed them all (Leach, 1932), it appears as though the Meade schoolhouse closed sometime prior to 1923, as a roster of the township’s schools from that year does not list it as active (Teachers, 1923).
Upon its closure, it’s likely that the students of the Meade Schoolhouse were sent to the nearby four-room Jefferson School, built in 1903 on East School Street in what later became North Anderson. That building -along with, for a time, a schoolhouse called Mt. Hope- served the students of Lafayette Township until 1939. It was demolished at some point between 1998 and 2003 (Google, 2003).
Forkner, J. & Dyson, B. (1897). Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana. book. Anderson, IN.
Jackson, S.T. (2009, November 14). In History: Township schools set by districts. The Anderson Herald Bulletin. Retrieved December 13, 2021 from https://www.heraldbulletin.com/community/in-history-township-schools-set-by-districts/article_21819f32-4eef-5e59-992e-3bad0f213a87.html.
Union Of Two Methodist Churches Set This Spring (1969, February 28). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 3.
Leach School to be Dedicated Next Tuesday (1932, August 19). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
Teachers for Lafayette Township Schools (1923, September 8). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
Google. (2003, July 12). [Google Maps Jefferson school former location]]. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from Google Earth Pro.