Randolph County- Wayne Township

As of 2022, I count four remaining schoolhouses in Wayne Township.

District 5: Salem/Gullet
District 6: Shockney
District 7: Jericho/Compromise
District 12: Bartonia

Historic Overview

The first school in Wayne Township was likely taught by Mariam Hill in the Jericho Friends Meetinghouse in 1822 or 1823. Another early school was built in 1848 near Robert Murphy’s property, a log cabin with no windows (Tucker, 1882). A third early schoolhouse near the present-day site of Harrisville appears to have been taught by John Picket around 1839 in a cabin erected on the land of Absalom Ingle (Hinshaw, 2008). A fourth schoolhouse, originally supporting students from District 2, was built near Greenville Creek northeast of Bartonia around 1847 (Hinshaw).

Other primitive schools undoubtedly followed, and 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). This lighting arrangement was assuredly the case at the log school near Robert Murphy’s property (Tucker).

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.

The benefits of this arrangement seem to have trickled down to Wayne Township by 1855, when a new schoolhouse was built to the north of Harrisville (Historical, 1886). In 1861, a schoolhouse for District 5 was purchased near the community of Salem, and Wayne Township built a District 7 school south of the Jericho Friends Meetinghouse three years later (Hinshaw). By 1865, Wayne Township was home to nine schools (Warner, 1865). The District 8 school was moved north the following year (Hinshaw).

New schoolhouses were established and constructed in Districts 11 in 12 during 1881, and by the following year, Wayne Township supported twelve schoolhouses. As was typical, they were mostly known by both District number and a common name that often credited the original landowner or specified the school’s location. District 1 was known only by its number, though District 2 was called Coats or Coddington. District 3 was Harrisville given its location near that community, and the District 4 school was called Woodbury or Hayesville due to settlement it served. The District 5 schoolhouse served the village of Salem on land originally donated by the Gullet family, and it was known by both names. 

A mile west of Salem, District 6 was called Shockney, and further west yet, District 7 was known as Jericho based on its proximity to the meetinghouse there. District 8 was known only by number, but District 9 was first called Chenoweth before being known as Harter. Districts 10 and 11 appear to have had no colloquial name, but District 12 -established at Bartonia- was named after that village (Hinshaw).

In 1883, a new District 9 school was built on what’s now the southwest corner of East County Road 250-South and Indiana State Road 227 (Hinshaw). The next year, a a brick structure for District 6 was built at the corner of South County Road 650-East and East County Road 100-South, just west of Boundary Pike (Hinshaw). A new, two-room school at Harrisville was built three years later and was a landmark, designed by Hampton Getting of Union City to feature a fifty-two foot tower (Harrisville, 1887). In 1889, Wayne Township officials moved to erect a new schoolhouse for District 7 at the corner of what’s now East County Road 100-South and South County Road 500-East. The decision was met with outspoken opposition by the Friends congregation, and to appease both parties, the new District 7 schoolhouse was built halfway between both points, gaining the common name “Compromise” in the process. 

Despite the building boom, the footprint of Wayne Township’s schoolhouses began to retract in 1904, when the students of the District 11 schoolhouse were sent to District 9. District 1 closed five years later, sending its pupils to an expanded or reconstructed school at District 10 (Hinshaw). The District 6 school was next to be shuttered: it closed in 1910. 

A consolidated, two-story Wayne Township School was built at a cost of $23,000  (Stump, 1991) just northeast of the District 6 school in 1913 (School, 1913) and the old schoolhouse was retained for use as a janitor’s residence. The construction of the new, larger, school ended the tenure of the schoolhouses of Districts 5, 7, and 9 in 1912, while the District 12 schoolhouse at Bartonia closed the following year. That year, a fire decimated the schoolhouse at District 4, but a frame replacement was hastily erected that served students for two more years before they were sent to continue their education at Wayne in 1914. The District 8 schoolhouse also closed down that year. 

In 1917, another consolidated school -Wilson- was built on what was then called the Union City-Winchester Pike. Designed by C.E. Losch of Union City, the school was intended to serve the students of Districts 1, 2, 3, 4, and 10 (Wilson, 1944) . Students living north of the pike went to Wilson through the eighth grade, and students of Wayne Township living south of the road attended Wayne while those in Union City proper attended school there (Stump, 1991). This led to the closure of District 2 in 1916 and District 10 the following year. Wayne Township’s last holdout, the District 3: Harrisville  school, was shuttered in 1918 or 1919- the exact date is unclear (Hinshaw).

Wilson served grades 1-8 for twenty-one years and was unique amongst its peers in that it featured a gymnasium. Nevertheless, the school closed in 1939 once attendance there fell below seventy pupils (Wilson, 1944). Four years later, the school was leased to the Teaford and Danches company, a dehydrator of eggs (Winchester, 1943).

In 1955, Wayne Township attempted to consolidate with the schools of White River Township to form a district called Randolph Central, but the effort failed, as had movements for the combination of Wayne Township’s schools with those of Union City (Randolph, 1955). Another attempt at consolidation in September of 1956 failed as well (Hinshaw), but the Wayne Township school closed during the 1957-58 school year in order to send its high school students to classes at Union City (Public, 2022). The old consolidated high school was used to raise chickens for several years prior to its eventual demolition (Stump). 

1962 brought a successful remonstrance to officially combine the schools of Wayne and Jackson Townships with those of Union City to form a new district called Randolph Eastern (Four, 1961). These days, no schools operate in Wayne Township, and only four of its twelve schoolhouses remain standing: The District 1 school burned in 1915, and the District 8 school was torn down in 1918 (Hinshaw). The landmark District 3 schoolhouse at Harrisville was demolished in 1920 and its bricks were used to build a house just north of town. The fates of the rest of Wayne Township’s schoolhouses are unknown, but a marker imprinted into a boulder denotes the site of the old Wayne Township High School, just northeast of the old District 6: Shockney schoolhouse.

The abandoned Harter/Chenoweth schoolhouse, District 9, blew over in a storm over the past several years and was subsequently demolished.

Today, the students of Wayne Township attend classes at the K-12 campus of North Side Elementary and Union City Junior-Senior High School in that community. 


Tucker, E. (1882). History of Randolph County, Indiana. book. Chicago, IL; A.L. Kingman.

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.

Historical Sketch of Schools Taught Forty Years Ago (1886, July 7). The Winchester Herald.

Warner, C.S (1865). 1865 Wall-Map of Randolph County. C.A.O. McClellan & C.S. Warner. Waterloo, Indiana. map.

Harrisville History (1887, November 16). The Winchester Herald. 

Stump, T. (1991). Remembering Wayne High School in Randolph County. From the Pages of History. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from https://rchsmuseum.blogspot.com/2018/06/remembering-wayne-high-school-in.html. 

School To Be Dedicated (1913, January 3). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 6.

Wilson School Property For Sale Saturday (1944, July 22). The Union City Times-Gazette. p. 2.

Stump, T. (1991). Remembering Wayne High School in Randolph County. From the Pages of History. Retrieved March 6, 2022, from https://rchsmuseum.blogspot.com/2018/06/remembering-wayne-high-school-in.html. 

Wilson School Teachers Named, With Trustees (1944, July 24). The Union City Times-Gazette. p. 6.

Winchester News (1943, August 31). The Richmond Palladium-Item and Sun-Telegram. p. 5.

Randolph County School Merger Defeated Again (1955, May 18). The Muncie Star. p. 1.

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.

Four-Unit Setup OK’d for Randolph (1961, October 6). The Muncie Star. p. 26.