Randolph County- Stoney Creek Township
As of 2022, I count two remaining schoolhouses in Stoney Creek Township. It’s possible that a third still stands in some form.
The first school in Stoney Creek Township was conducted by Moses Hodson in 1826 to no more than twenty students. The schoolhouse stood between Joab and John Thornburg’s land (Tucker, 1882), which places it in the area of what’s now South County Road 1100-West between West County Road 300-South and 400-South proximate to the Little White River (Griffing, 1874).
Another early school was located west of the extinct community of Georgetown (Hinshaw, 2008), laid out in 1835 near where today’s West Windsor Road connects with Indiana State Road 32 south of Farmland. It’s likely that the burgh of Windsor -platted in 1832 and Stoney Creek Township’s only extant community- also utilized an early schoolhouse.
Early schools such as these 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.
Early schools in Stoney Creek Township were, nearly as often as not, established by religious societies as well as the township itself, as several early public schools were first put into practice by the Quakers: By 1851, the Poplar Run Friends Meeting operated school in their meetinghouse, and another early schoolhouse was conducted by the Cedar Creek Friends Meeting. By 1865, both operated as public schools (Hinshaw). An additional schoolhouse, known only as School Number 10, existed in the township as early as 1863 (Hinshaw).
Several other schoolhouses, such as the District 5: Huffman school- sprung up in Stoney Creek Township around the same time and, by 1874, the community was home to ten. District 1, near Georgetown, was called Seman’s or White River, while District 2 was known only by its number. District 3 was the schoolhouse at Windsor, and District 4 was the Cedar Creek school first started by the Quakers. District 5 was Hubbard, District 6 was Poplar Run also begun by the Religious Society of Friends, and District 7 was commonly known by three names- Thornburg, Neff, and Winfield Smullen. The District 8 schoolhouse was called Amburn, and the school serving the patrons of District 9 was called Fodrea after the family who first deeded its land. Not much is known about the District 10 school, aside form that it was in existence through at least 1886 (Stoney, 1886).
A two-room schoolhouse just south of Windsor was completed in 1875, followed by a new District 7 school in 1889 following a calamitous fire, a second District 1 school in 1893, and a new building for District 5 in 1895. In 1898, a new District 4 schoolhouse was built on Windsor Road in order to allow Districts 4 and 8 to consolidate. As a result, the Fodrea schoolhouse was renumbered from District 9 to District 8 (Fine, 1916), and the old District 4 building was sold to the Farmer’s Mutual Benefit Association for use as a lodge hall (Hinshaw).
It appears as though the District 2 schoolhouse was shuttered in 1898, likely so its students to attend classes at the two-room structure at Windsor (Biennial, 1899). Beyond its closure and the combination of Districts 4 and 8 the same year, consolidation was slow to come to Stoney Creek Township as its residents were initially quite opposed to the proposition (Fine). Though the date the District 10 schoolhouse closed is unknown, the Hubbard school, District 5, shut down due to lack of attendance in 1914 after a law was passed by the state legislature that compelled a township trustee to shutter a school once its average attendance dropped below seven pupils (Kemper).
The following year brought significant changes to the scholarship of Stoney Creek Township as the District 8: Fodrea school became home to Stoney Creek Township’s first accredited high school. Fifteen pupils attended classes there before a consolidated school could be completed (School, 1915), but by the following year, a brand-new Stoney Creek Consolidated School had been constructed.
The new building -situated across the road and just south of the Fodrea schoolhouse- was erected on a five-acre plot at the center of Stony Creek Township. Designed by Samuel Bartel of Farmland, it featured a 24×56 foot gymnasium in the basement along with a manual training room, home economics room, a cafeteria, and utility rooms. Three 28×24 foot classrooms took up the building’s first story, along with a recitation room and other utility rooms, while the second floor featured a single classroom, a sewing room, and offices for the trustee and principal. Folding doors enabled several classrooms to combine into a 600-person auditorium (Fine). The schoolhouses of Districts 1, 4, and 7 closed in 1916 to send their students to the new structure, and Districts 3 followed suit the year after (Hinshaw).
Randolph County is unique in that its township school districts began to consolidate prior to the passage of a state law that implored smaller districts to do so. Nevertheless, the process was fraught with difficulty for some of its more rural areas: A 1955 attempt to combine Green, Monroe, and Stoney Creek townships into a Lee Driver Consolidated School Corporation failed, but a plan to combine the three townships into a new district called Monroe Central passed the following year (Plan, 1956). Despite the consolidation, each affected school -Stoney Creek, Green, Parker City, and Farmland- operated normally for the first year, as the merger was not completed in time to make other arrangements.
Stoney Creek students in grades 7-12 transferred to Farmland during the fall of 1958, and the consolidated school continued to serve as an elementary until three years later, though it was used for all of Monroe Central’s fifth and sixth graders from 1961-1963 (Public, 2018). That year, the first Monroe Central Junior-Senior High School was dedicated (John, 1963), and the school at Stoney Creek was phased out. The school was demolished, and a house was built atop its basement gymnasium in 1966 (Baxter, 2014).
The old Poplar Run schoolhouse, District 6, was used for farm storage after its closure but was torn down sometime between 1987 and 1990. After the District 1: White River schoolhouse was closed, it was transformed into a residence. The building was incinerated in a fire in January, 1995 (Hinshaw). Three years later, the old two-room school at Windsor -by then a residence as well- was demolished. The District 7 school, known by three different names at different points in its history, was moved after it closed for use as a barn. It was torn down in 2004 (Hinshaw).
The fate of the District 5: Hubbard schoolhouse is uncertain. The township deaccessioned the building in 1917, two years after it closed, and it was supposedly moved three-fourths of a mile south to serve as a residence. The house at that site bears no resemblance to the school as depicted in a 1907 postcard, so it’s likely that the building was dismantled piece-by-piece and reconstructed into the home that sits at the new site today.
In modern times, there are no active schools conducted in Stoney Creek Township. Today, the old District 4: Cedar Creek and District 9: Fodrea schoolhouses remain standing. Both are in use as private homes.
Tucker, E. (1882). History of Randolph County, Indiana. book. Chicago, IL; A.L. Kingman.
Griffing, B. N. (1874). Stony Creek Township. An atlas of Randolph County, Indiana . map, Philadelphia, PA; Griffing, Gordon, & Company.
Hinshaw, G. (2008). A History of Education in Randolph County, Indiana. Retrieved February 13, 2022.
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.
Stoney Creek (1886, September 15). The Winchester Herald.
Fine School Planned (1916, February 3). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 2.
Biennial Report of the State Superintendent of Public Instruction (1899). Indianapolis. p. 45.
School Opens After Two Years of Strife (1915, September 14). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 8.
Plan Survey to Determine School Site (1956, August 31). The Muncie Star. p. 16.
John Wright Will Head New School (1963, June 12). The Muncie Evening Press. p. 22.
Baxter, C. (2014, October 5). when my parents built the house there my dad left the gym just like it was! It was so cool [Post comment]. Facebook. https://www.facebook.com/groups/106992726009900/search/?q=stoney%20creek%20school.