Randolph County- Green Township
As of 2022, I count one remaining schoolhouse in Green Township.
Green Township’s earliest schoolhouse was probably the one established at Fairview as early as the winter of 1837-1838 (Tucker, 1882), though others came to accompany it. These earliest schools were basic structures, simply built and generally measuring no larger than twenty by twenty feet. Walls of notched logs slathered with mud or clay rose above simple, puncheon floors to an eight foot, peaked roof covered in shake shingles. A wide fireplace that terminated in a chimney made of mud held together by a simple framework of sticks was frequently located across the wall opposite the school’s entryway, while narrow “windows” made by cutting out a length of log five or six feet up each flanking wall provided natural illumination to the interior of the structure (Kemper, 1908).
Early schools were so simple largely due to a lack of money- Green Township has always been relatively rural, and, beyond Fairview, has never had a thriving center of economy to support a tax base. As first established, each schoolhouse was funded predominantly by subscription, a sort of tuition paid to the school’s proprietor that also covered a salary for the teacher (Helm, 1881). Generally, these revenues were insufficient to finance a township’s schools for more than two or three months at a time. Sometimes, classes were taught months in advance leaving teachers waiting for their wages.
The era of subscription schoolhouses ended in theory in 1851, when the state of Indiana ratified a new constitution that provided for the basics of a township-based, common educational system (Natali, 2007). The School Law of 1852 expanded upon the new constitution, authorizing a schoolhouse fund and an official statewide Superintendent of Public Instruction, as well as a “general and uniform system of common schools, wherein tuition shall be with out charge, and equally open to all (Indiana, 1851).” Once funds were finally available, officials began converting the existing log schools into frame ones, simultaneously improving courses of study, hiring teachers that were more qualified, and erecting new buildings when possible.
One of the first efforts made to modernize the school system with new funding was acquiring land for a new schoolhouse at Fairview, and a lot just west of the town’s Methodist Episcopal Church was acquired for that purpose in 1856 (Hinshaw, 2008). Four years later, it appears as though a brick schoolhouse at District 2 -2.5 miles East of Fairview- was erected (Randolph, 2022).
By 1874, Green Township was home to six more schoolhouses, including District 1 at Emmettsville; District 4, known as Braden; District 5, commonly called Jarnigan’s (HInshaw); District 6, Booher; District 7, called McProud; and District 8, called McCracken (Hinshaw).
Several changes occurred over the next few decades. For one, the District 5 school was moved a mile and a half away and locals began to refer to the new structure as the Gantz or DeVoss school (Hinshaw). A new District 7 school was built around 1887, followed by a new Braden school the next year. At some point between 1882 and 1895 the Booher and McCracken schoolhouses swapped districts, becoming Districts 8 and 6, respectively (Hinshaw). The new District 8 school was later known as the McCamish or Ford school (Hinshaw).
In 1892, the four-year-old Braden schoolhouse was consumed by fire, though it was rebuilt after several months (School, 1892). The Emmetsville school was also destroyed -this time by a storm- the next year, though it was rebuilt later that summer (School, 1893). After the previous structure had been damaged in yet another conflagration in 1887, a new District 5 school was constructed in 1895 (Hinshaw).
The consolidation of Green Township’s schools began in 1909, when the township’s southernmost schoolhouse, District 6, was shuttered. The following year, a large, consolidated school to serve all of Green Township’s students was erected at what’s now the corner of West County Road 800-North and Indiana State Road 1, near what had once been the site of a small community by the name of Steubenville just south of the Mississinewa River (Greene, 1959). The opening of the Greene Township School led to the closure of Districts 1, 5, 7, and 8 in 1910, and the remaining Districts -2, 3, and 4- the following year (Hinshaw).
It appears as though residents of Green Township were not entirely happy with the consolidation, however, as the patrons of the Districts 2 and 6 filed unsuccessful lawsuits to prevent their schoolhouses from being closed (Hinshaw). Nevertheless, by 1915, all of Green Township’s surplus schoolhouses had been sold to private parties, including the Fairview schoolhouse to the town’s Methodist Episcopal Church (Hinshaw).
Green Township has always been sparsely populated, aside from the handful of people living in the residential community of Fairview and the mostly-extinct settlements of Emmettsville, Steubenville, and Brinckley. As a result, the Green Township High School, which became accredited in 1911 (Gives, 1911), was always one of the smallest rural consolidated schools in East-Central Indiana. In 1954, the school boasted a population of just 168 students- an average of fourteen per grade. That year, a project to consolidate the institution with schools at Desoto, which had 282 students; Albany, with 454 students; and Niles Township, which had 191 students but no school of its own; in Delaware County was floated and, ultimately, rejected (Junk, 1954).
The following year, a plan to combine the schools of Farmland, Parker City, Green Township, and Stoney Creek Township under the name of the Lee Driver Consolidated School Corporation also failed (Hinshaw), but an effort to merge the school districts of Green, Monroe, and Stony Creek townships under the name of the Monroe Central Consolidated School Corporation passed in 1956 (Plan, 1956). Despite the consolidation, each school operated normally for the first year, as the merger was not completed in time to make other arrangements.
From 1910 to 1958, the Green Township school graduated 450 students, less than ten per year, on average (Greene, 1970). In 1959, the school transferred its high school students to Parker City along with a fire escape that would no longer be used (72-Cent, 1958). The Green Township school continued to serve students from grades 1-6 until the the start of the 1961 school term (Public, 2018). Two years later, a new Monroe Central High School was erected on Indiana State Road 32 between Parker City and Farmland (John, 1963).
The Green Township Consolidated School lingered for eight years after its closure before succumbing to the wrecking ball in 1969. The house that sits on its former site was constructed using bricks from the former school (Boggs, 2016). The Parker City school building that absorbed the students of Green Township was closed in 1983 (Haney, 1983).
Today, students from Green Township attend Monroe Central Elementary School and Monroe Central Junior-Senior High Schools, both in Monroe Township. Of Green Township’s eight one-room schoolhouses, only the District 2: Boots school remains.
Tucker, E. (1882). History of Randolph County, Indiana. book. Chicago, IL; A.L. Kingman.
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.
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.
Natali, B. L. (2007). The Impact of Caleb Mills on the Hoosier Education Debate: An Edition of Two Unpublished Addresses (thesis). University Graduate School, Indianapolis.
Indiana Constitution. (1851), art. 8, sec. 1.
Hinshaw, G. (2008). A History of Education in Randolph County, Indiana. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
Randolph County Office of Information & GIS Services. (2022). Parcel ID: 68-06-02-400-012.000-003. Randolph County, Indiana Assessor. map, Winchester, IN.
School Notes (1892, January 13). The Winchester Journal.
School Notes (1893, September 27). The Winchester Journal.
Greene, D. (1959, March 5) Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
Gives The Same Standing (1911, March 18). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 6.
Junk, B. (1954, October 2). Opposing Opinions Expressed on Three-School Consolidation. The Muncie Evening Press. p. 14.
Plan Survey to Determine School Site (1956, August 31). The Muncie Star. p. 16.
Greene, D. (1970, April 22) Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 4.
72-Cent Tax Rate Increase Set for Monroe District. (1958, August 6). The Muncie Star Press. p. 2.
Public Education in Randolph County, Indiana. 2018. Sharing history for 68 years in Randolph County, Indiana. Randolph County Historical Society and Museum. Retrieved February 13, 2022, from https://rchsmuseum.org/schools.
John Wright Will Head New School (1963, June 12). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 22.
Boggs, P. (2016, June 29). The house that is on the site of the old Green Township was built using bricks salvaged when the old. [Post comment]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/106992726009900/search/?q=green
Haney, N. (1983, October 19). Monroe Central Board Sets Dates to Sell Items From Vacant Schools. The Muncie Star. p. 2.