August 06, 2014 | 10:19 AM
John Greenleaf Whittier's familiar lines of poetry, "Still sits the schoolhouse by the road ... " once applied locally since many one-room schoolhouses dotted the landscape throughout Harrison County.
An appropriate way to cover this topic seems to be a listing of schools, but this proves to be a formidable task since, through the years, many schools opened, closed, burned, relocated or were renamed due to a variety of circumstances.
The following list — by no means a comprehensive listing of all Harrison County schools that ever existed but rather a representative sampling of the one-room schools in 1906 — was compiled by researcher Leonard Lawrence in 1978 and is available at the Fred Porter Griffin Genealogy Center in Corydon. If a neighborhood school or familiar name does not appear, this probably indicates it was not open that particular year, is listed under a different name or was overlooked in the listing. Within each township, each one-room school was assigned a number and name. The Harrison County Superintendent of Schools that year was Dr. Amzi Weaver; he served from 1903 to 1907. Each township also had a township trustee who supervised and evaluated the schools, teachers and students within his jurisdiction. Harrison County had 158 one-room schools at that time. This article provides a listing of names by township, along with the number of schools in each township, for 1906. (If a school was known by two names, both are listed with "or" between them.)
Blue River Township (11) — Armstrong, Engleman, Mulberry, Boston, Wyman, Hati, Brush College, Hancock Chapel, Depauw, Milltown, Stoney Point.
Boone Township (17) — Ludlow, Cotner, Tindall, Steepleton, Center, Clifton, Laconia, Barr, Crosier, Greenbriar, Pleasant View, Swamp College, Rehoboth, Oak Ridge, Byrum, Pindell, Parker Colored School.
Franklin Township (12) — No. 1, Lanesville (lower grades), Washington or Helltown, Laconia Hill, Lanesville (upper grades), Seitz, Walther, Old Corydon Road, No. 9 (between Georgetown and Crandall) No. 10, St. Mary (Catholic), St. John (Lutheran).
Harrison Township (21) — Crosby, Shakerville or LeMay, Nevin, Blair, Davis or Gethsemane, White Top, Brandenburg, Heth or Greelyburg, Pitman or Bickel, Kintner, Getz, Fry, Buskirk, Briles', Hill Grove or Rhoads', Roanoke, Mossler, Lear, Colored, Shuck or Simler, Sam Smith.
Heth Township (15) — Reed, Pitman, Best, Faith, Mauckport, Lopp, Jones, Marsh, Lopp Hollow, Morvin, Pleasant Grove, Watson, McCarty, Amy, Central.
Jackson Township (11) — Byrnville, Greenbriar, New Salisbury, Routh, Crandall, Hursttown, Crayden (Ramsey), No. 8, Dutchtown (on Whiskey Run Road,) Askren, Duncan.
Morgan Township (10) — Snyder Chapel, Flatwoods, Palmyra, Bradford, Harper, Hendrick, Hartman, Sappenfield, Goss, Big Sink.
Posey Township (12) — Bridgeport, Lotticks, Kerr, Maceyville or Seven Springs, Green Briar, McHarry, Cooper, Dietrick, Shuck, Black, Glaze, Cross Roads.
Scott Township (9) — Walnut Valley, Barks, Mauck or Dixie, Cold Friday, Potato Run, Precinct, Mossler, Pleasant Valley, White Cloud.
Spencer Township (13) — Miles, Frenchtown, Summers, Hottel, Moberly, Haas, Fountain, Lang, Troncin, Fairdale, Murr, Hickman, Brushy Valley.
Taylor Township (9) — Willow Springs, Underhill, Macedonia, Moore, Carter, Glenwood, McCauley, Greenwood, Bearwallow.
Washington Township (8) — Wolf, Valley City, Simler, Bennett, New Amsterdam, Redden, Dawson, Vaughn.
Webster (10) — Lind, New Middletown, Fogal, Luther, Vernon, Dogwood, Tranum, Riddle, Zimmerman, Needmore.
Numerous schools bore the names of locales, such as Fairdale, Dixie, Needmore, Valley City, Morvin, Hati, Rehoboth, etc., which echo the names of bygone communities of yesteryear. Many others were named for families who lived in the community or attended the schools. Greenbriar, and its derivatives, seemed to be a popular choice, indicating the wild nature of the environment where many of these township schools were situated.
Most of these schools have disappeared into history, but some still stand neglected or repurposed, and a few, like Tindall and Hottell, have been beautifully restored.
High schools were not included as part of the state educational system until 1907, long after the elementary schools. In 1950, Harrison County still had 10 high schools in operation — Corydon, Depauw, Elizabeth, Laconia, Lanesville, Mauckport, Morgan Township, New Amsterdam, New Middletown and New Salisbury — but consolidations loomed on the horizon.
The following is a brief synopsis of the march toward school corporation mergers in Harrison County since 1950:
July 1, 1953 — Harrison and Webster townships merged to form the Central School Corp.
July 1, 1969 — Morgan Township and North Central schools merged to form North Central Community School Corp.
Aug. 1, 1970 — Central School Corp. merged with Posey, Taylor, Boone, Heth and Washington townships to form the South Harrison Community School Corp.
Sept. 8, 1988 — North Central Community School Corp. changed its name to North Harrison Community School Corp.
July 1, 1991 — The Franklin Township School Corp. became the Lanesville Community School Corp.
Karen Schwartz, president of the Historical Society of Harrison County, serves on the legacy group of the Harrison County Committee for the Indiana Bicentennial. In preparation of Indiana's bicentennial in 2016, she is providing a monthly column — focusing on a person, place or event from Harrison County's history — that gives insight to our history. She said the columns should serve as an introduction and/or summary of a topic but are not intended to include all known facts and information. To suggest a topic, contact Schwartz at 812-736-2373 or 812-738-2828, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org or by regular mail at 5850 Devil's Elbow Road NW, Corydon, IN 47112.