It will be recalled that the first step toward the establishment of a school fund was taken by the Continental Congress in adopting the ordinance of May 20, 1785. This ordinance provided that section 16 in each township should be reserved for the maintenance of the public schools within that township. Under the early laws of the state the custody and control of this land were given to the trustees of the respective townships, and among the first acts of the board of county commissioners of Hancock county after the organization of the board was the appointment of trustees for each of these school sections. These trustees, with a few changes in the law from time to time, had power to lease such lands for any term not to exceed three years, taking rents payable in money, property or improvements to be made on the real estate. If directed by a majority of the qualified voters of the township such leases could be made for any term not exceeding ten years. For a longer term a special act of the Legislature was necessary, and such an act was approved January 24, 1828, permitting the trustees of section 16, township 15 north, range 7 east (in Brandywine township), to lease a part of said section to Othniel H. Sweem for a period of twenty years for the purpose of building and operating a mill thereon. The trustees had and exercised all the rights and powers of a landlord in coercing the fulfillment of contracts relating to such lands and preventing waste or damage. By an act approved January 23, 1829, any five freeholders in any township could call a meeting of the voters to determine whether the school section in that township should be sold. A few years later another law was passed providing that at any time when five qualified voters of any congressional township should petition the trustees of such township, setting forth their desire for a sale of such land, said trustees should insert in the notices for the annual election of trustees, the further notice that a balloting would be had to determine whether the land so petitioned for should be sold. At the time of the election each voter favoring the sale of such land wrote on his ballot the word "sale"; if opposed, he wrote the words "no sale." If a majority voted in favor of the sale, the land was sold. In some of the counties of the state this land was managed for many years in accordance with the provisions of these statues, and the income therefrom was used for the maintenance of the schools. In Hancock county, however, these sections were sold soon after the county was organized. The dates of the sales are as follow:

Sections 16, 15, 17, Brandywine - April 5, 1830
Sections 16, 16, 7, Center - July 28, 1830
Sections 16, 15, 8, Blue River - November 15, 1830
Sections 16, 15, 6, Sugar Creek - October 29, 1830 to January 7, 1833
Sections 16, 16, 8, Jackson - July 1, 1831 to March 8, 1833
Sections 16, 17, 7, Green - February 1, 1834 to February 6, 1837
Sections 16, 17, 8, Brown - November 21, 1835
Sections 16, 17, 6, Vernon - November 16,1841 to December 17,1850
Sections 16, 16, 6, Buck Creek - January 2, 1845 to November 28,1849

The most of the school land in Hancock county sold at one dollar and twenty-five cents per acre, although a few tracts brought from three dollars to five dollars per acre.


Before the office of county auditor was created the county school commissioners sold school lands, loaned and accounted for the school funds, and distributed the proceeds thereof to the various school corporations. In Hancock county the school commissioners sold practically all o0f the school sections before the first county auditor was elected. The duties of the county school commissioners were at first shared and finally taken over entirely by the county auditor. The men who filled the office of school commissioner from 1830 to 1852 were: Meredith Gosney, John Justice, William Johnson, Asa Gooding, James D. Henry, Morris Pierson, John Avery, J. Etter, J. Tharp, Orlando Crane.


Until 1859, with a few minor changes, the business of each township was managed by a board of three trustees. At the first election in each township one trustee was elected for one year, another for two years, and a third for three years. Afterward one trustee was elected at each annual election for a term of three years. The board appointed one of its members clerk, who was ex-officio president of the board. It was his duty to call meetings, to keep a record of the proceedings of each meeting, to record and plat the school districts, and to do such other things as the trustees should order him to do. Another member was appointed treasurer. It was his duty to receive all rents, profits, interest, etc., belonging to his township, to pay out the same according to orders of the board; to keep accurate accounts of his receipts and expenditures and to make reports to the board of the financial condition of the township when required by the board to do so.

Each board also divided its township into school districts as circumstances required. In fact, the school districts as we now know them, were, for the most part, laid out by these township boards. They caused the districts to be organized, and when established caused a notice to be given of the first general meeting for the election of district trustees. They reported to the county school commissioner, and later to the county auditor, the enumeration of all children between the ages of five and twenty-one years, resident within the township. They divided semi-annually the school funds received into the township treasury, among the districts within the township.


All school districts that had been organized prior to 1843 were recognized and confirmed as such by a statute of that year. Each when organized became a body corporate by the name of "School District No. --, of Township No. --, in Range No.--, in the County of ---, in the State of Indiana." The districts as laid out, and as numbered under this act of 1843, are still generally known by such numbers in Hancock county.

The business of each district, with some minor changes again, was transacted by three trustees, also elected for a term of three years. In case of a tie the election was settled by lot in the presence of the inspector. The district trustees took their certificates of election from the hand of the township clerk. This board appointed one member clerk and another treasurer. They met when any district business required and gave notice of all elections and meetings of the voters of the district. Whenever there was a meeting of voters of the district one of the trustees presided, the clerk, if present, otherwise the treasurer. In the absence of both the third member of the board presided. The person presiding kept a record of the proceedings and votes of the meetings and entered them on the record book of the district. The general powers and duties of the trustees are set out in the following paragraph of the statute:

"The trustees shall make all contracts, purchases, payments and sales necessary to carry out the vote of the district, for the procuring of any site for a school house, building, hiring, repairing, or furnished the same, of disposing thereof, or for the keeping of any school therein; and in the absence of instructions by a district meeting may contract with a teacher, to be paid in whole or in part out of public funds, or by persons sending in due proportion, or according to their private subscriptions."

They also kept a record of all voters in the district and of the number of children in each family between five and twenty-one years of age, and had the right to determine what branches should be taught in their district school, provided they were such as were generally taught.


The law provided for a general meeting of the voters of each district to be held on the first Saturday of October of each year. Special meetings could be called at any time. To be entitled to vote at these meetings one had to be a resident of the district and also either a freeholder, or a householder with children of school age. At these meetings district trustees were elected or vacancies filled. The people also had the right to designate the site for a school house; to direct the building, hiring or purchase of a school house or site for the same, and to fix the sum to be expended therefore, or for the furniture or library therefore, and for the keeping of the same in repair. They also had the right to direct the sale of any school house or the site thereof, or of any property, real or personal, belonging to the district. They could determine the length of the school term and the manner in which the teacher should be paid, and could also direct what part of their distributive share of the school funds should be applied to the purchase of a site for a school house or for the building thereof. The school sites in Hancock county were not very expensive in those days and it was a very common practice for a donation, usually of a half acre, to made by someone for school purposes. Many of the school sites are still held by the townships by virtue of these deeds. In order to expedite the construction of school houses an act of 1843 provided that the inhabitants of each district should have the power of assessing a "labor tax," or of determining the amount of work to be done by each able-bodied white male resident of the district between the ages of twenty-one and fifty years toward building a school house, not to exceed two days work for each; or they could determine the amount of money to be paid as a tax instead of performing such labor. By the act of 1843 the tax for school purposes was limited to twenty-five cents on the hundred dollars.

From the earliest days of the county the people of the districts exercised their rights under the law. The hardy pioneers, clad in homespun, repaired to the little log school house with its puncheon floor, oiled-paper windows, huge fireplace and rough hewn seats, and there deliberated upon their local affairs. If one of the district trustees was present he presided. In the absence of all members of the district board some other person opened the meeting. Matters considered were settled by vote. The decision was reported to the district trustees who made it a part of their official record. Not the least among the matters settled each fall was the question as to who should teach the district school during the coming term. The selection of the teacher by the district meeting finally came to be the established custom in many localities of the county. In fact it prevailed in some communities for many years after the present township trustee law was passed in 1859. In 1864, for instance, the following bit of record was entered on his books by Lemuel Hackleman, trustee of Blue River township:

April 22, 1864.

"Samuel B. Hill, director for district No. 1, Blue River township, Hancock county, Indiana, reports verbally that the citizens of said district have unanimously consented to employ Margaret Brown to teach a school in said district the fourteen days due said district; said Margaret Brown shall receive one dollar and ten and one-half cents per day the balance of the time a compensation of fifteen dollars per month; therefore we ask the trustee to employ said Margaret Brown and we wish half the public money applied.

Samuel B. Hill,

Following the above entry appears the contract of the trustee with Miss Brown as teacher.

As late as 1882 the county board of education of Hancock county considered the advisability of permitting the people of the districts to select the teachers for their schools. In the minutes of the May meeting of the board in 1882 appears the following: "The question of allowing school meetings to select teachers was discussed at some length by the board. It was generally conceded that the better and safer plan was for the trustees to select and employ the teacher."

In many localities, however, the teachers were "elected" at the district meetings until about 1890. In other localities the selection was left to the township trustees.

The first schools of the county were subscription schools. During the days of the subscription school it was the custom for a teacher to canvass the district and secure as many signatures and as large an enrollment on his "paper" as possible. When a teacher had secured the subscription of the people of the district, the district trustees employed him in case public money was also to be used in defraying the expenses of the school. In this instance the district determined by petition what was in other localities settled by district meeting.


First, the district trustees of each school district took the enumeration of the children within their district between the ages of five and twenty-one years and reported the same to the township clerk. The township clerk then made a report for his entire township, first to the school commissioner, and after 1841 to the county auditor. The county auditor then apportioned the school funds to the different townships on the basis of the enumeration. When the amount due each township had been determined the township trustees ordered the county auditor to pay the same to the township treasurer. The township treasurer then apportioned this amount to the different districts of his township upon the basis of their enumeration. The sum due any district was paid to the district treasurer upon the order of the township clerk, granted upon the order of the district trustees, certified by their clerk, directing the treasurer to draw the same.

The township and district records of Hancock county previous to 1859 have nearly all been lost. In one of these old trustees’ records, however, we find receipts like the following:

March 4, 1839

Received of James D. Henry, School Commissioner of Hancock County, one hundred and fifty dollars and six and one-fourth cents for Township 15, Range 8 East, (Blue River) by me.
Allen, T. T. "

In this record we also find the first steps taken toward getting a share of the school fund, and also some of the orders made by the district trustees directing the township treasurer to pay to the district treasurer the money due the district. The following are taken from the township record kept by Adam Allen, township treasurer:

"State of Indiana, Hancock County:

Personally appeared before me, A. Allen, treasurer Congressional Township 15, in Range 8, in the County of Hancock and Rush, Samuel Brown, Treasurer of School District No. 3 in said Township, who says on oath that there is in said district a school house of convenient size with sufficient light and that it is finished so as to render the teacher and pupils comfortable.

(Signed) Samuel Brown

Affirmed and subscribed before me this 26th day of February, 1839
A. Allen,
Treasurer of T. 15, R.8"

Following is an order for money on the township treasurer, to be applied toward finishing a school house:

":We, Elihu Coffin, Samuel Brown, James Hazlett, trustees of School District N. 2 Township N.15 N. of R. 8E, in the district of lands at Indianapolis, in the county of Rush and Hancock do hereby order and direct the sum of thirty dollars for the use of finishing the School House in said district and wish the township treasurer to pay the money to Samuel Brown, district treasurer. Given under our hands this February 28, 1839.

Elihu Coffin
Samuel Brown
James Hazlett"

Below are two orders for money to be applied toward paying the teachers:

"State of Indiana, Hancock County, March 16, 1839
We the undersigned trustees of school district N. 8 in Township 15, Range 8, East in said County, do order and direct that our proportion thirty-nine dollars of said Township shall be applied for the purpose of paying our school teacher James McAdams for the term of three months past, for which we wish the Township Treasurer for that purpose to pay the above named sum over to our district treasurer, Isaac Adams.

Isaac Adams
Caleb Holding
Lewis T. Adams"

"We, David Smith, John Hunter, and Harrison James, Citizens of School District, No 4 in Township 15, Range 8 East of Lands sold at Indianapolis in the County of Hancock, have employed a teacher to teach our children in said district school for the term of three months as a private school and we wish the Township Treasurer to pay us our portion of the school funds in his hands this March the 8th, 1841.

David Smith
John Hunter
Harrison James


The state Constitution of 1816 made provision for the establishment of a public school system from the primary grades to the state university. The early statues of the state provided for the establishment of a seminary in each county. The fund used for building such a school was derived from moneys paid as an equivalent by persons exempt from militia duty, which was divided by the state among the counties equally, and of all fines assessed for any breach of the penal law, which fines were applied in the counties where assessed. The county commissioners at once after the organization of their board in 1828, appointed Meredith Gosney trustee of the seminary fund of Hancock county for a term of three years. In 1829 Benjamin Spillman was appointed as such trustee "in the room of Meredith Gosney, resigned." In 1832 Edward B. Chittenden was appointed. These men and their successors in office collected the fees assessed, etc., and kept the same on interest until September 5, 1842, when the report of A. M. Pattison, W. M. Johnson and J. Mathers, trustees of the seminary, shows that they had on hands bonds and notes and moneys amounting in all to one thousand and forty-three dollars and seventeen cents. This was sufficient to begin the construction of a building.

On January 8, 1842, Morris Pierson and his wife, Elizabeth, conveyed to the trustees of the seminary a plot of ground twelve rods square, "to be appropriated to the exclusive use of a county seminary to be thereon erected." This ground was located just south of the corner of South Pennsylvania and South streets. The seminary building erected thereon stood on ground now occupied by South Pennsylvania street, just north of the railroad.

On August 23, 1843, the trustees entered into a contract with Cornwall Meek, "for the construction of the walls and roofing, and enclosing of a seminary building on a lot adjoining the town of Greenfield in said county-the size of the building to be thirty by forty feet-and the contractor to complete the work by the fifteenth day of November, A. D. 1842.

In consideration of which the said trustees are to pay to the said Cornwall Meek as a full consideration for said contract the sum of six dollars and fifty cents per thousand for the brick work, to be measured in the wall-and six hundred and seventy-five dollars for the carpenter work, and lumber-payments to be made as follows:-The sum of one thousand and sixteen dollars and five cents cash obligations to be paid so soon as the said Cornwall Meek files with the said trustees a bond for the faithful performance of said contract-and the remaining balance to be paid to the said Meek as soon as the same shall be collected by said Trustees."

John Elder drew the plans and specifications for the building, for which he received twelve dollars.

The following notice taken from a September issue of the Greenfield Spectator, 1848, gives a good idea of the schools, its curriculum, etc.:


"The undersigned will commence his Second Term of School in the above building, on Monday, the 24th day of September, 1848, assisted by Miss M. Walls.

Rates of Tuition:
For Spelling, Reading, and Writing $2.00
For Geography and Arithmetic, with the above branches 2.50
For Grammar, with the above branches, and any of the
   primary branches of an English education
For any of the higher branches, including Philosophy,
   Astronomy, Botany, Chemistry, Geometry, Plane
   And Spherical Trigonometry, Algebra, Surveying,
   Navigation and Latin

P. Lawyer"

The following paragraph taken from the same issue of the Spectator also indicates some of the difficulties that were encountered by the profession under the old system:


The undersigned takes this method of informing those who are indebted to him for tuition for last quarter to call and settle with him before the beginning of the next.

P. Lawyer"

Another teacher in the seminary was William T. Hatch, who taught until 1850. He was followed by John Wilson, H. R. Morley and James L. Mason, who taught successively until 1854. Though the building was erected by the county, it was before the days of the free school system, and parents paid tuition for their children who attended just the same as those who sent to the subscription schools in the districts.

From December, 1854, until June, 1855, the seminary building was used as a court house. At the June term, in 1855, the county commissioners ordered the county auditor and treasurer to proceed to sell the property known as the county seminary in accordance with the provision of an act approved June 12, 1852.

After the county had disposed of its interest in the property of the seminary, another school was established and conducted in the same building for several years which was attended by students from all parts of the county and from surrounding counties. This was the school known as


In the issue of the American Patriot of February 28, 1855, notice was given that the first term of the Greenfield Academy would commence at the Methodist church on March 12, 1855. The school year was divided into three terms of fourteen weeks each, with tuition as follows: Collegiate studies, $7.50; academic, $5.00; primary, $3.00. A. D. Cunningham was named as principal. John Herod had taught in the new school on North street during the same winter. Another school under the same was started in December, 1857, by the Rev. David Monfort, a Presbyterian minister.

The following paragraphs, taken from its catalogue issued in 1860, gives a good idea of its work:

"Course of Study

The course of study recently introduced, embraces in the Scientific Department, all the branches of Mathematics, Natural Science, Philosophy, History and English Literature, usually taught in colleges; and in the Classical Department all that is required to prepare the student for entering the Junior Class in the best colleges of the West.

Location, Facilities, and Health

Greenfield Academy is located at Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana, twenty miles east of Indianapolis, on the Indiana Central Railway. It is a pleasant and retired village, where the student is under the best social influence and free from the temptations and vices of more populous towns. Good boarding can be had at private homes form $2.00 to $2.50 per week.


The government of the Academy will be maintained, as far as possible, by an affectionate appeal to reason, common sense, and the higher moral feelings, rather than by stern command or excessive punishment. The government is mild, yet firm, encouraging the timorous and checking the wayward.


The labors of each day are commenced by reading the Word of God, with brief explanations and practical applications and invoking the Divine blessing and direction. All pupils are required to attend these exercises.

There are three churches in Greenfield: The Christian, the Methodist and the Presbyterian. The student is left to his own choice as to which of these he will attend.

Inducements to Teachers

Special pains are taken with young ladies and gentlemen who are desirous of qualifying themselves for teaching.

Since the Academy was established, about twenty-five of the pupils have engaged in teaching in this and the adjoining states, and so far as we are informed they have been successful.

Musical Department

We would especially invite attention to the Musical Department which is under the care of Miss Fannie Martin, an able and experienced teacher, where great facilities will be afforded to young ladies for the development of musical talent, which will meet the highest demand of the age."

The academy maintained three departments. The subjects taught in each department, with the tuition per term of fourteen weeks, were as follows:

Primary Department
Spelling, Reading to the fourth book, first part Arithmetic and
    Primary Geography
Middle Department
Mental and Practical Arithmetic, Geography, English, Grammar,
    History, Penmanship, Composition and Declamation
Classical Department
Latin, Greek, Algebra, Geometry, Surveying, Bookkeeping,
    Natural Philosophy, Mental Philosophy, Moral
    Science, Rhetoric, Logic, Physiology, Botany, Chemistry,
    Geology, Astronomy, etc.
Number of pupils in Classical Department 34
Number of pupils in Middle Department 74
Number of pupils in Primary Department 138
    Total during the year 246

Board of Directors

R. E. Barnett, M. D., president; Hon. R. A. Riley, secretary; George Walker, treasurer.

Board of Instructors

J. H. Stevenson, A. B. and J. R. Hall, Joint Principals and Teachers of Classical Department; J. R. Silver, Teacher in Middle Department; Miss Mazie P. Hall and Miss Sarah Stevenson, Teachers in Middle and Primary Departments; Miss Narcie V. Lochwood and Miss Fannie Martin, Teachers in Musical Department.

On the student list appear the names of Hamilton J. Dunbar, Bell Reed, Henry Snow, Isaac R. Davis, Flora T. Howard, Thomas H. Offutt, Willie M. Pierson, Richard Warrum, Bell Boyd, Emma Lineback, California Offutt, Willie Swope, Sarah Osborn, Edwin Howard, Oscar M. Barnett, Nannie Foley, Berrysills Johnston, J. E. Earles, Mary E. Longmaker, A. V. B. Sample, Warsaw Barnett, John Davis, Almond Keiffer, Soprhonia Ogg, James Riley, Noah Bixler, George W. Carr, Jerry Martin, Melvina Ryan, Lizzie Welling, Pet Guyman, William H. Duncan, Wilson Chandler, Jehu Heavenridge, W. H. H. Judkins, C. G. Offutt, Asa E. Sample, James R. Boyd, Inez L. Guinn, Cerena Martin, Fannie Pierson, Levi Thayer, Josephine Boyd, Eliza J. Hammell, John Mitchell, Mary C. Swope, William Wood, Cindie Gebhart, William Pratt, Sue Foley, Elizabeth M. Galbreath, John A. Guyman.


It is rather interesting to observe that when Hancock county was carved out of the wilderness, the act providing for its organization contained the following section:

"The agent who shall be appointed to superintend the sale of lots at the county seat of the county of Hancock shall reserve ten per cent, out of the proceeds thereof, and out of all donations to said county, and pay the same over to such person or persons as many be appointed by law for the use of the library of said county, which he or his successors shall pay over at such time and in such manner as shall be directed by law."

This section gave a source of revenue for building up a library in the county. From time to time report was made of this money to the county commissioners. At first the county agent had charge of the fund, but later trustees of the county library were appointed by the board. Among the first trustees were Lewis Tyner, Harry Pierson, Lot Edwards, Benjamin Spellman, John Sweens, John S. Ogg and John Foster. At the March term, 1833, Joshua Meek and Leonard Bardwell were appointed trustees in the place of Ogg and Roster, resigned, "to serve until their successors are elected and qualified." In 1843 Otho Gapen was appointed. Books were purchased by these trustees from time to time, and a librarian was appointed to care for the books. Gradually, however, they disappeared and were lost. The United States census report of 1850 shows one public library in the county with two hundred volumes. But the following report of W. R. West, librarian, made in December, 1851, with the accompanying entry on the commissioners’ record, constitutes about the last chapter on the county library:

"To the Honorable Board of Commissioners of Hancock county:
I would respectfully make the following report as librarian of Hancock county, - first, on examination of the library, after I accepted the appointment of librarian, I found it consisted of the scattered fragments of books saved from the fire at the time the library was burned and those remaining being only parts of works and even them so injured by fire that they are nearly entirely valueless, and a part of those that escaped the fire were scattered and it was impossible to collect them And finding the library in this impoverished condition, I did not deem it my duty to attempt to keep the remaining fragments together, and consequently they have passed from my control and possession, and I am willing to restore to the county the value of the books I received as librarian and herewith tender my resignation as librarian of Hancock county.

W. R. West, Librarian"

"And now comes into open court William R. West and produces to the court the treasurer’s receipt for the sum of twenty dollars, the amount referred to in the above report, which is accepted by the court, and said William R. West having tendered his resignation, is hereby discharged from further action as such librarian."

People who remember this library say that at one time it contained quite a collection of books. Many of them dealt with historical and biographical subjects, but it also contained story books and fiction. The library trustees made rules and regulations for the use of the books. Every inhabitant of the county giving satisfactory evidence for the safe keeping and return of the books was entitled to use them.


As a part of the general school law of the state, enacted in 1852, provision was made for the establishment of what became known as "township libraries." A state tax of one-fourth mill on each dollar was assessed, also a poll tax of twenty-five cents, the moneys raised thereby to be applied exclusively to the purchase of township school libraries. The books were bought by the state board of education and then distributed by the state board among the several counties of the state. When distributed the books became the property of the townships receiving them.

In 1854 these books reached Hancock county. Three boxes were required to hold one complete library, and for purposes of identification the boxes were marked, "A," "B" and "C." At the December meeting, in 1854, of the board of county commissioners they made a distribution of the libraries among the various corporations, as follows:

"To Center Township and the town of Greenfield, one full school library jointly.

"To Brandywine and Blue River Townships, one full school library jointly; Brandywine Township to take Box ‘A,’ and Blue River, Box ‘B"; Box ‘C" to be divided equally between them and to change every six months."

A similar division and arrangement was made for Brown and Green townships; Sugar Creek, Buck Creek and Vernon were given two full libraries, and Jackson one full library.

There were in the collection some very valuable books. Whether they were as generally read as had been anticipated is rather questionable. At the September meeting, in 1874, of the county board of education, the topic, "How can we make the township libraries more useful?" was thoroughly discussed by the county superintendent of schools and the township trustees. The record of that meeting recites that "it was found that these libraries, which contained many excellent books for teachers, pupils, patrons, and other fond of good reading, are not doing the good for which they were designed. Many libraries are but little read. It was thought that more attention should be given to the manner and place of keeping them. Trustees were advised to observe the school law, which says: ‘Trustees at the commencement of each school term, at each school house in their respective townships, shall cause a notice to be posted up stating where the library is kept, and inviting the free use of the books thereof by the persons of their respective townships..’ "

Science, biography, history, fiction - in fact, something on almost any subject, was included in the libraries. They were substantial leather-bound volumes, bearing on the outside of the back the imprint, "Indiana Township Library." There are still a number of these books in some of the townships; in others they have all been lost.


In 1888 the Young People’s Reading Circle Board was organized for the state. This board recommended its first list of books for the children of the state in that year. A number of these books were put into the schools during the term of 1888-1889. Additions have been made from year to year until now there is hardly a district school in the county without its case well filled with choice books.


The question as to whether the public schools of Indiana should be maintained entirely by taxation, with tuition free to all, has been submitted in one form or another to the voters of the state on three different occasions. In 1848 the people were asked to state their preference by ballot, as between free, state-supported schools on the one hand and private or denominational schools on the other. In this election there were 1,489 votes cast in Hancock county, as follows: Six hundred and sixteen for free school, eight hundred and seventy-three against a free school system. Although a majority of the votes in Hancock county were cast against the free schools, the measure was carried in the state as a whole. In 1849 a specific law, broad in its scope, covering the entire matter of school administration, was submitted to the will of the people. In this election the majority of the votes of Hancock county were cast against the proposed law. It should be observed, however, that the law submitted in 1849 presented numerous questions on all phases of school administration which may have been objectionable, and that the matters presented in the two elections were quite different. The fact that Hancock county voted against both measures does not necessarily mean that her people were not progressive.

On August 6, 1849, the question of a constitutional convention was submitted to the votes of the people. In this election 1,473 votes were cast in Hancock county: 1,033 for the convention, 394 against it. In 1852 our present state Constitution, making provision for a free school system, with tuition free to all, was submitted to the voters of the state. In this election Hancock county cast 1,434 votes, 1,358 for the constitution and only 76 against it.


The first qualification of a teacher to be considered and inquired into was his disciplinary power, which meant his ability to wield the birch and hold his own against the larger boys of the school. If he could do this the first and greatest point was settled in his favor.

Under the law the district trustees had the power to direct what subjects should be taught in their school. As a matter of fact, however, it was more often determined by what a teacher was able to teach. Reading, writing and arithmetic contained the fundamentals, and the school that procured a teacher who knew arithmetic to the "rule of three," and whose disciplinary powers were up to the standard, was ready to take a forward step. If a teacher knew a little history or geography, or perhaps grammar, those subjects were added to the curriculum for the term. The subjects that the teacher did not know were, of course, omitted. Later on, in the fifties and early sixties, grammar, geography and history were frequently added and even such subjects as algebra, trigonometry, natural philosophy and chemistry appear upon the teachers’ reports. That some of these higher subjects were intensely interesting and helpful is beyond question.

Following is a report made by a teacher in the county at the close of a three-months term in 1854, giving the names of his pupils, their ages and the subjects taken by each:

Thomas Moore, 13 - Orthography, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.
Elias S. Marsh, 7 - Orthography, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.
Eliza J. John, 10 - Orthography, Reading.
Martha R. Iliff, 9 - Orthography, Reading.
Rebecca J. Hendricks, 7 - Orthography, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.
Lucinda A. Cannon, 8 - Orthography, Reading.
Mary Jane Cannon, 7 - Orthography
Margaret E. Marsh, 7 - Orthography, Reading.
Nathan Catt, 11 - Orthography, Reading, Arithmetic.
Benjamin Catt, 9 - Orthography.
Silas Moore, 8 - Orthography, Reading.
Eli Catt, 7 - Orthography.
Martha Elsbury, 11 - Orthography, Reading, Arithmetic.
Margaret Elsbury, 4 - Orthography.
Calvin Elsbury, 9 - Orthography.
William A. Sleeth, 11 - Orthography, Reading.
James M. Sleeth, 7 - Orthography, Reading.
Eliza C. Sleet, 9 - Orthography, Reading.
Sarah J. Marsh, 6 - Orthography.
Margaret Heavenridge, 14 - Orthography, Reading, Arithmetic.
John Heavenridge, 9 - Orthography
Christopher C. Marsh, 9 - Orthography, Reading.
Aaron A. Sleeth, 13 - Orthography, Reading.
Margaret John, 14 - Orthography, Reading, Writing.
Margaret McLaughlin, 11 - Orthography, Reading.
Louisa J. Cartwright, 10 - Orthography, Reading, Arithmetic.
Mary E. Moore, 3 - Orthography.
John B. Anderson, 10 - Orthography, Reading.
Cynthia A. Sebastian, 19 - Orthography, Reading.
Sarah E. John, 16 - Orthography, Reading.
Joseph L. Cartwright, 9 - Orthography.
Hannah M. Cannon, 4 - Orthography.
James M. Price, 8 - Orthography, Reading.
Mary Price, 6 - Orthography.
Mary Heavenridge, 3, - Orthography
Mary Jane Marsh, 13, - Orthography, Reading.
Lucretia Galbreath, 6 - Orthography.
Elizabeth Galbreath, 15 - Orthography, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic.
George W. New, 10 - Orthography.
John Price, 6 - Orthography.
Sarah E. New, 10 - Orthography.
Caroline Phillips, 13 - Orthography, Reading, Writing.

It will be observed from the report that in this school the younger pupils studied nothing but orthography. Those a little older also studied reading, while those farthest advanced took the full curriculum, reading, writing and arithmetic. Between the lines of that report also appear the teacher’s limitations. Following is a report of another teacher made at the close of a three-months term in the same year:

Mary C. Rawls, 15 - Grammar, Arithmetic, Geography, Physiology.
Maranda W. Rawls, 14, - Grammar, Arithmetic, Geography, Reading, Spelling, Writing.
Tabitha J. Rawls, 8 - Reading Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic.
Mary Brown, 8 - Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic.
Mary J. Bundy, 9 - Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic.
Rugh A. Bundy, 7 - Reading, Spelling, Arithmetic.
Emily Brown, 12, - Reading, Writing, Spelling, Arithmetic.
Selah Brown, 8 - Reading, Writing, Spelling.
Elmina Coffin, 8 - Reading, Writing, Spelling.
Emily Coffin, 5 - Spelling.
Sarah A. Myers, 10 - Reading, Writing, Spelling.
Eliza Bundy, 5 - Spelling.
Sarah E. New, 10 - Spelling.
Delphina C. Davis, 15 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography.
Matilda Newby, 11 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Spelling.
Joseph O. Binford, 11 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Geography, Spelling.
James L. Binford, 8 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Spelling.
Micajah Butler, 8 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Spelling.
Oliver Brown, 10 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Spelling.
Milton C. Brown, 11 - Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Spelling.
Eli Galbreath, 8 - Spelling.
George W. New, 6 - Spelling.
Albert Binford, 5 - Spelling.
Sylvester E. Hamilton, 8 - Spelling.

Even a casual comparison of the two reports will most likely disclose a difference in the wealth of what was offered to the above schools.

Still another report, made in March, 1855, at the close of a three-months term, shows that the following branches were taught: Spelling, reading, writing, arithmetic, English grammar, philosophy, algebra and geometry. The report also shows the number of pupils taking the different subjects, as follows: Spelling, 59; reading, 56; writing, 50; physiology, 6; arithmetic, 51; English grammar, 14; philosophy, 7; algebra, 5; geometry, 3.

If one may judge from the report alone, the pupils of this school had cause to be congratulated for having a teacher who was able to offer them something worth while and to lead them into richer fields of learning. The above reports also form a concrete illustration of the fact that the curriculum of any school was determined by what the teacher was able to teach. The same truth is even more forcibly illustrated by an enumeration of the subjects taught and text books used in the schools of the county before the Civil War. At the close of each term of school during those years the teacher reported among other things the subjects taught and the text books used. An examination of a number of these reports shows that in the district schools of Hancock county prior to the Civil War, different teachers taught some or other of the following subjects, and that all of the text books enumerated below were at some time used:

Spellers - McGuffey’s, Webster’s, Murray’s
Readers - McGuffey’s, Bronson’s Elocution, Murray’s, Indiana Series.
Writing - Spencerian.
Arithmetic - Ray, Ray and Talbot, Davis, Ray and Stoddard, Stoddard.
Geography - Mitchell, Smith, Olney, Patton, Smith and Montieth, Cotton.
History - Hume’s History of England.
Physiology - Cutter, Taylor.
Grammar - Brown, Pinne’s, Green, Smith, Kirkam.
Philosophy - Omstead, Parker.
Algebra - Ray, Davies.
Geometry - Davies.
Trigonometry and Conic Sections - Legendre, Davies, Lewis.
Surveying - Lewis.
Chemistry - Youngman.
Geology - Hitchcock.
Physical Geography - Fisk.
Astronomy - Mattison.
Botany - Woods.

Although a number of these advanced subjects as they were taught in the district schools would no doubt have failed to stand the present day test, they undoubtedly evoked great enthusiasm and were the life of the school for the young men and women then in attendance.

Some of these very early schools of the county, too, were conducted as "loud schools," or schools in which each pupil studied his lesson aloud. Oscar F. Meek, deceased, late of this county, used to grow eloquent in relating his experiences as a pupil in the "loud school." Jared Meek and John Harden Scott, octogenarians, the latter of whom is still with us, were also pupils in these schools. Although very few now among us have ever attended, or heard, the "loud school," we are yet many who learned our geography in songs, and who can still hear distinctly in memory’s ear the measures of:

"Maine, Augusta, on the Kennebec River,
Maine, Augusta, etc., etc., etc.,

The capitals of the states were learned in songs in some of the schools of the county as late as 1885.


The first teachers in the county depended for their remuneration upon subscription lists. The term of school was usually about twelve or thirteen weeks in length, and the teacher received from one dollar and fifty cents to two dollars per pupil for the term. The teacher frequently appended to this contract the condition, that if a child missed any days, the parents might send another child for the number of days missed, without extra charge. This enabled the teacher to collect for full time. Either cash, or anything convertible into cash, was taken in payment for services. This was the time, too, when teachers "boarded round" among the patrons of the schools as part compensation. Later, however, when more money was raised by taxation and school fund money became available, the teachers were paid in cash. During the decade preceding the Civil War teachers were paid on an average of about fifteen dollars per month. During the Civil War period teachers’ salaries rose to a little more than one dollar per day. Ladies received from fifteen to thirty cents less than the men. The following contract, made when he was nineteen years of age by our highly respected and honored fellow citizen, lately deceased, is typical of the teachers’ contracts of that time:

"Blue River Township, Hancock Co., Ind.

Article of agreement this day made and entered into between John H. Binford, a School teacher of the one part, and James P. New, Trustee of the other part. Witnesseth, that the said John H. Binford agrees to teach school in District No. 4 in Blue River Township, Hancock County, Indiana, for the sum of one dollar and 15-100 per day. Said school to commence on the 1st day of January, 1864, and continue for forty-eight days. And for said services properly rendered said James P. New, Trustee of said Township, agrees to pay the full amount of wages due said teacher as ascertained by this Article of Agreement.
Witness our hands this November 26, 1863.
James P. New, Trustee
John H. Binford, Teacher."

Experienced teachers with established reputations were paid a little more than the above amount per day. A few contracts can be found showing that district teachers, and practically all of the schools in the county were district schools at that time, received as much as one dollar and sixty-five cents per day. Even at that time, however, some people of the county began to realize that the schools could never be lifted to a very high state of efficiency unless the teachers were better paid. It is interesting to find among the old records of Blue River township the following letter addressed to the township trustee in which expression is given to this fact:

"7th March, 1864

Friend Lemuel Hackleman, Trustee:
We have a glimmering prospect of hiring a teacher for our winter school at about $50.00 per mo. And we think our neighborhood demands such a teacher and I wish to know whether thee would approve our action at the price mentioned. We have not been extravagant heretofore and for my own part I believe a great deal depends upon improving the class of teachers for our common schools. Please give an answer through the bearer. Also about how many days we will be entitled to.
Samuel B. Hill"

The record, however, fails to show that the trustee entered into such a contract with any teacher.

The compensation of the teachers became a little better after the Civil War. A report made by the county examiner in 1865 shows that men were paid on an average of about one dollar and seventy-five cents per day, and ladies about one dollar and fifty cents per day. A report made by Superintendent John H. Binford, in 1873, shows the average daily wages of men were two dollars and thirty-five cents per day, and of ladies, one dollar and sixty-five cents. At the September meeting of the county board of education the following resolution was adopted for the payment of teachers:
"Resolved, that for the present school years we will pay all teachers in our employ, except those engaged in graded schools, according to the following equitable plan, viz: Two cents per day multiplied by the general average of the license, added to two and one-half cents per day multiplied by the average attendance of the school." But at the May meeting of the county board of education, in 1878, the following resolution relative to teachers’ wages was adopted: "Resolved, that we are not in favor of paying teachers more than one dollar and seventy-five cents per day for the fall and winter term of 1879."

In the last decade of the century just past, beginning teachers were usually paid one dollar and seventy-five cents per day, and the older and experienced teachers were paid from two dollars and twenty-five cents to two dollars and fifty cents in the districts, and the principals of small town schools from two dollars and fifty cents to three dollars per day. When the township high schools were organized the teachers were at first usually paid three dollars to three dollars and twenty-five cents per day. From 1903 to 1907 the salaries of high school teachers rose to an average to four dollars and four dollars and fifty cents per day. During the next three or four years nearly all the principalships were raised to five dollars per day, and during the lat year or two the principalships of Westland, Charlottesville, Wilkinson, McCordsville and New Palestine have been paying six dollars per day. Grade teachers, since the passage of the teachers’ wage law of 1907, have generally received such compensation as they were entitled to by virtue of their licenses.


The first school house erected in the county was built in Blue River township in 1823. In 1824 a building was erected on the present site of Greenfield, and from 1830 to 1836 houses were erected in Jackson, Sugar Creek, Green and Brown. Buck Creek and Vernon townships, now among our banner townships for fertility of soil and natural wealth, were at that time swampy and were not populated as early and as rapidly as some of the other townships, and consequently their schools were not established until a little later. Many of the first buildings were small log houses, not to exceed twenty feet square, though many were built later about twenty-six feet by thirty feet. They were covered with clapboards and had oiled-paper windows. A huge fireplace was built at one side or one end of the building which enabled the children to keep warm on the side next to the fire. All had puncheon floors; that is, floors made of slabs or logs split or hewn instead of being sawed. The seats were made of split saplings or mill slabs from twelve to fifteen feet in length. Usually seats were placed on either side and extended back from the fireplace. Another was placed across the front of the fireplace. To the rear of these seats a table, possibly three feet wide and twelve or fifteen feet long, extended across the room, and on either side of the table were placed split pole or mill slab seats, each of the length of the table. At this table or desk the children faced each other and were enabled to work with some degree of comfort. Those occupying the other seats had to hold their slates and books on their laps. Frequently, and in fact very commonly, another desk was made along one or two sides of the house by driving pegs into the logs and laying a wide board on them. This was called the "writing desk." In some of the very early school houses there were no blackboards at all. In others a wide board was hung on pegs driven into the logs. In many buildings there were two additional pegs driven into the wall near or over the teacher’s desk. Across them might have been seen a bundle of sticks several feet in length. The teachers of those days believed that there was great virtue in their presence in the school room.

Of course, the "furniture" and the rooms were not arranged alike in all schools, but the room and equipment above described are rather typical of that very early day. The log schools were retained until about the time of the Civil War or a little later, when they were replaced by frame buildings

In the latter eighties and during the nineties those frame buildings were replaced by the one-room brick schools of which a number are still standing. In the towns larger buildings were constructed, and during the last few years the best types of sanitary buildings have been constructed for the consolidated and grade schools. For many years none of the old frame buildings have been in use anywhere in the county except in Brandywine township. There practically all of them are still retained.


When the first settlers built their cabins in the wilderness of Hancock county, from 1818 to 1835, and even later, actual conditions imposed upon them other duties than the perfecting of school organizations. Teachers, men and women, fresh from the colleges, found more lucrative and more desirable fields for the practice of their profession than in the wilderness. Hence the first teachers of the county were generally such persons as were able to read, write and cipher a little, and who for the time had nothing else to do.

Under the first laws of the state the circuit courts appointed three persons to examine the teachers of the respective counties. At the February term, 1842, of the Hancock circuit court, for instance, the following entry was made:

"The Judge, the Associate Judges being present, appoints Thomas D. Walpole, Morris Pierson, and Anderson M.----,examiners of school teachers in Hancock County."

At the March term, 1850, a similar entry was made, by which Reuben A. Riley, Meredith Gosney and William E. Hatfield were appointed.

The first step taken toward an improvement of these conditions was the passage of a law providing for the appointment of "three suitable persons in each township as examiners of common school teachers, who shall continue in office until others are appointed in their place. Such examiners shall examine such persons as may apply for the purpose, and certify what branches they are qualified to teach. No teacher shall be employed unless he is a person of good moral character, nor shall any teacher be paid as a teacher of a district school without having procured a certificate of qualification as provided in the nest preceding section."

This law was enacted in 1843. At the December term, 1845, the board of commissioners appointed the following school examiners for the county: Buck Creek, Barzillia G. Jay, John Collins; Harrison, Isaac Barrett, William H. Curry; Center, Harry Pierson, D. M. C. Lane; Vernon, William Caldwell, Elias McCord; Union, George Pherson, William Shaffer; Green, Andrew Hatfield, George Henry; Brown, Mr. Reeves, William Denwiddie; Blue Rover, Orlando Crane, George Hatfield; Brandywine, Hiram Comstock, Eleazer Snodgrass; Sugar Creek, Sameul Valentine, George Leechman; Jones, Charles Atherton, H. H. Hall; Jackson, Robert McCorkhill, James P. Foley.

In 1853 provision was made for a county examiner. By virtue of an act approved March 5, 1855, provision was made for the appointment by the board of county commissioners of at least one and not more than three school examiners for each county whose terms were to expire on the first Monday of March of each year. The county examiner examined all teachers and licensed them "for any time not to exceed two years, at the discretion of the examiner." The license had to specify the branches the applicant was able to teach, and the examiner was entitled to a fee of fifty cents in advance from every person taking the examination. Every applicant had to have a knowledge of orthography, reading, writing, arithmetic, geography and English grammar.

On March 6, 1865, an act was approved providing for a general system of common schools and matter properly connected therewith, etc., which gave the county examiner many of the powers and duties now exercised by the county superintendent of schools. Among other things this act contained the following provison: "Said school examiners shall examine all applicant for license as teachers of the common schools of the state, by a series of written or printed questions, requiring answers in writing, if he wishes to do so, and in addition to the said questions and answers in writing, questions may be asked and answered orally." Examinations were held each month in the year. "For each person examined he shall be entitled to a fee of one dollar, which fee shall constitute the only compensation he shall receive for services rendered in examining teachers."

Under the township examiners the examinations generally consisted merely of conversations with the applicants and inquires touching the extent of their knowledge, etc. Even under the first county examiners the examinations were principally oral and could hardly be said to involve a test of fitness at all. Many stories are still told by the teachers of those days of the examinations they took following the wagon while the examiner gathered corn, etc.

The men who served the county as county examiners were: James Rutherford, from June, 1853, to March, 1856; Reuben A. Riley, March, 1836, to March, 1857; James L. Mason, March, 1857, to March, 1859; William R. Hough, James L. Mason and David Vanlaningham, March, 1859, to March, 1860; James McKean, A. V. B. Sample and William R. Hough, March, 1860, to March, 1861; Jonathan Tague, Asa Sample and George W. Stanley, March, 1861, to June, 1861; William S. Fries, June, 1861, to June, 1864; Mansfield C. Foley, June, 1864, to June, 1868; A. V. B. Sample, June 1868, to June, 1871; James A. New, June, 1871, to June, 1873.

During the regime of the county examiners the following notice appeared for a number of years in every issue of the Hancock Democrat, beginning in the early sixties:


I will examine teachers at the Masonic Hall (late at the School House) in Greenfield on the first Saturday of each month and at no other times. All examinations will be public, commencing punctually at 10 a.m. of each day. Applicants must be present at the commencement, or they will not be examined for one month.

In addition to the ordinary branches, teachers are expected to pass an examination in Physiology and History of the United States.

When not personally acquainted with the examiner, applicants must produce the testimonial of good moral character.

Licenses will be revoked on proof being made to the examiner of incompetency, immorality, cruelty or general neglect of the school."

(Signed by)
William S. Fries, M. C. Foley, A. V. B. Sample, et al,
County Examiners."

In 1873 an amendment to the act of March 6, 1865, was approved, by which the county superintendent’s office and the county board of education were created. This amendment gave to the county superintendent the general supervision of the schools of the county and lodged in him the power of final determination of all local questions pertaining to the schools. Under this act and the acts amendatory thereof, the following men have been elected to the office of county superintendent of schools of Hancock county: John H. Binford, 1873; William P. Smith, 1875; Aaron Pope, 1879; Robert A. Smith, 1881; Will H. Glascock, 1885; Quitman Jackson, 1889; Lee O. Harris, 1897; George J. Richman, 1903; Frank Larrabee, 1907; George J. Richman, 1911.

It was fortunate for the county that a man of Mr. Binford’s organizing ability was elected as the first county superintendent of schools. He organized in every department, possibly to a fault. There were regular dates for township institutes, other for joint or combined township institutes, and still others for regular meeting of all the teachers in the county. Thoughs so much organization grew burdensome to the teachers, it introduced order and system into the educational work of the county, which has not been lost to this day. In time many features of the organization were abandoned, but the teaching profession has always retained organizations in smaller units as well as in the county as a whole. It would be difficult to say now to just what degree the educational standing of the county during the past years has been due to Mr. Binford’s vigorous and aggressive methods.

Of the men mentioned above, Aaron Pope died while in office. He had endeared himself to his co-workers, and today there stands at a short distance to the southwest of the mound in Park cemetery at Greenfield a white marble shaft with the following inscription:

To the Memory of
Born September 16, 1844
Died July 21, 1881
This monument is erected by the teachers
of Hancock County as a tribute or re-
pect for him as a man, and of honor to
him as a faithful and efficient worker
in the schools over which he presided as
County Superintendent from March,
1879, until the time of his death.

After leaving the county superintendent’s office, Superintendent Glascock became deputy state superintendent of public instruction. Later he became superintendent of the State Institution for the Blind at Indianapolis. At the time of his death he was superintendent of the city schools at Bloomington, Ind., and was also an instructor at Indiana University, at Bloomington.

Capt. Lee O. Harris, poet and prose writer, was appreciated by the people of this county while he lived, and since his death they have not ceased to honor his memory. He took great interest in establishing and perfecting the organization of our high schools, and deserves to be known as the father of the township high school system of Hancock county.


The county board of education has always been composed of the county superintendent, ex-officio chairman; the township trustees and the presidents of the school boards of incorporated cities and towns. The first board of education of Hancock county under the new law met on September 1 and 2, 1873. In fulfillment of the purpose for which it was organized, it made a number of rules and regulations for the schools of the county, some of which certainly "blazed" the way for things we have today. Among those of special interest to teachers are the following:

"All teachers in the public schools shall be at their respective school rooms at least twenty minutes before the time of commencing school. They shall not permit loud and boisterous talking in the school room, running over the floor, and climbing over the desks, and other unnecessary noise before school and during recess.

"Teachers shall prohibit communication during study hours and exercise due diligence in preserving the school buildings, furniture, apparatus, etc., in a neat and respectable condition.

"Every teacher shall make fires, sweep and scrub the school room in which he is employed to teach, or have the same done at his own expense, except in buildings where a janitor is employed by the trustee or trustees.

"The study of primary arithmetic may be begun when the pupil has finished the third reader; primary grammar when the pupil has read one term in the fourth reader; United States history when the pupil has finished the fourth reader; and physiology when the pupil has read one term in the fifth reader.

"No public school shall be taught on Saturday more than one day during a term, except in connection with the township or county institutes.

"In no school shall any teacher conduct two classes of the same grade in two different text books on the same subject.

(Signed)     John H. Binford, President
A. H. Barrett, Secretary"

During these early years of the board’s organization the record shows that they considered and discussed such matters as an equitable plan for payment of teachers; the wants of the school, such as the proper seating of the houses, more and better blackboard room, outline maps, charts, dictionaries, globes, ash buckets, shovels, pokers, necessary rear building, etc. The adoption of text books was also made by the county board until the passage of the state text book law in 1889. In 1874, the following text books were unanimously adopted: Montieth’s geographies, two books; Harvey’s grammar, Barnes’ history and Steel’s physiology. In 1876 the American Educational readers, Ray’s arithmetics and McGuffey’s spellers were adopted. In 1877 Ridpath’s history and Harper’s geographies were added to the list. These books, with a few changes, continued to be used in the county until the state adoption was made in 1889.

The selection of text books was a matter that gave the board more or less concern for many years. People of the county felt the burden of frequent changes and protested against them. The county papers during those years had occasion to publish many letters from "patrons of the schools," in which the "patrons" expressed their views on the text book question. Various organizations from time to time also adopted resolutions touching upon changes of text books. One series of such resolutions, adopted by the Hancock county council of the "Patrons of Husbandry, or "Grangers," on April 4, 1874, is offered herewith:

"’Whereas, it is stipulated by the law of the state that the township trustees and trustees of incorporated cities and towns, may or shall establish a series of text books to be used in the common schools, and

"Whereas, an entire change of said books would involve a very heavy additional expenditure of money upon an already almost intolerably taxed people, at a time when it seems to us that economy and reform should be the watchword of everybody, individually and collectively, in public as well as private life, and

"Whereas, there seems to be no necessity for a change, as the school districts are already very satisfactorily and uniformly supplied with a series of books that seems to us in the main to be unsurpassed in quality or price, and

"Whereas, we represent directly in common council the Patrons of Husbandry of at least one thousand and five hundred adults, and we believe almost the entire population of Hancock county, and we know of none asking, demanding, or pressing a change except book publishers, amateur agents and speculators, and

"Whereas, an order for a change would perhaps be respected by a portion of our people and disregarded by others, if for no other reasons, because of financial inability to comply with such order, and as there is no power in law by which a change can be enforced, the difficulty that should be avoided would, in our opinion be greatly increased, instead of diminished; therefore.

"Resolved, that in accordance with the foregoing, we respectfully though earnestly, memorialize said board of trustees, and request that they make no further change upon this subject."

As a matter of fact book agents were active and publishing houses vied with each other in securing the adoption of their books by county boards of education.

On several occasions the board also ordered the county superintendent to prepare a course of study for the county. These manuals also included statisticial matter, lists of teachers, etc. The earlier ones are lost, but in 1884 Superintendent R. A. Smith prepared a manual of about thirty pages for the county. In 1886 Superintendent Will H. Glascock prepared one of forty pages, and in 1889 another of about forty-five pages. In 1890 Superintendent Quitman Jackson issued a "Manual of the Public Schools of Hancock County" of forty-two pages. Since that time the state course of study has been made full and complete, and no other manuals have been issued.

During the several years just prior to 1900 high school classes were formed and the organization of the township high schools was begun. The state high school course had not been very fully developed nor had a state adoption of high school text books been made. This necessitated further action of the board during these years in preparing a county high school course of study and in adopting high school text books. In 1898 the board organized the schools on a three-year basis with uniform text books, examinations and promotions. From time to time the county superintendent was ordered to prepare a manual for this purpose. Uniformity was maintained in the county in these matters, so that, if necessary, students could go from one school to another without additional expense or loss of time. The completest of these manuals was a small booklet of thirteen pages issued on May 1, 1906. The following tabulated statement taken from the manual shows in a general way the scope of the work included in this three-year high school course:


Years First Term
I Algebra English Phy. Geog. History
  A I   A A
  Second Term
  Algebra Latin Phy. Geog. History
  B A   B B
II First Term
  Algebra English History or Physics Latin
  Second Term
  Algebra English History or Physics Latin
III First Term
  Geometry English History or Physics Latin
    IIIA C A D
  Second Term
  Geometry English History or Physics Latin

The following excerpts from the pamphlet will also show the thought of the board in making the course:

The foregoing courses have been arranged with a view toward intensive rather than extensive study.

The work in rhetoric has been designed to provide for all the drill possible in sentence, paragraph and theme writing; to give a knowledge of the principles underlying composition and literary work, and to give the pupil a basis for the study and appreciation of the mechanical side of an author’s work as well as of his ideals.

The courses in literature have been arranged with two objects in view: to give the pupil a close acquaintance with a few American authors, and to enable him to make an intensive study of two forms of literature, the novel and drama.

The suggestions for the study of the novel and drama have been appended simply for the sake of uniformity of work as far as uniformity is desirable.

Plan for Study of Novels
    1. The story- plot, action, etc.
      1. Does the plot have structure?
      2. Are there many incidents?
      3. The chief incidents.
    2. Characters
      1. Who are the principal characters?
        Groups of characters?
      2. How portrayed? Author describe them?
        Others talk about them? By their actions?
    3. Setting, background, or place.
      Much description?
    4. What is the author/s conception of life?
      1. Hopeful or depressing?
      2. Does he look at many characters superficially or study a
        few deeply?
    5. Purpose of the novel.
      Is the story worth while? Why?
Plan for the Study of Play
  1. The story
    1. The incidents with reference to arrangements.
      Which belong to introduction, which to climax, which to
    2. Why have these incidents been selected rather than others?
  2. Characters
    1. Who are the chief characters?
    2. What is the principle by which the characters are formed into
    3. Do the characters act according to their nature?
    4. Is the end of each character justified by actions in the play?
  3. What use is made of conversation and descriptive passages?
  4. As far as can be judged, does the dramatist punish evil and reward
    good? Does he have faith in man, and does he leave a hopeful or
    depressing view of life?
  5. Is the theme of the play real and universally true? Does it apply to us?
  6. What is the essential difference between comedy and tragedy?
    Show in the play before you how, if tragedy, it might have become
    Comedy, and if comedy, it might have become tragedy.


Twelve recitations will be required to carry out the present course of study without combining classes and alternating subjects. Wherever this can be done physics will be put in the third year and mediaeval and modern history in the second year. If the teaching force of a school should not be sufficient for twelve recitations daily then the second and third years should combine their work in physics and mediaeval and modern history, taking those subjects in alternate years. Physics will be taken up in the autumns of the even years, ’06,’08, etc.; mediaeval and modern history in the autumns of the odd years, ’07,’09, etc.

As the course is now arranged there should be no other combinations.



The school year is divided into two terms or units. In order to be entitled to a diploma the student must be able to present passing grades in each subject for each unit of work as indicated by the course. If a student’s work is not up to the standard required in any subject such additional work shall be required of his as will justify the principal of the high school in giving him a passing grade.


Each student shall be required to keep a laboratory note-book in which he illustrates and explains all experiments that he performs or that may be performed before the class. Each pupil shall be able to present such a laboratory note-book before he is entitled to a diploma.


Each pupil shall prepare a thesis upon some subject related to the work he has gone over.

High school examinations will be held at the end of each term. Teachers will be notified as to the dates of these examinations. Each member of the above named committee will prepare lists of questions for each examination on the subjects assigned to him, and send the same to the county superintendent three weeks before the dates of the examination.


Algebra - Wells, D. C. Heath & Company
Plane Geometry - Wells, D. C. Heath & Company
Latin - Bennett’s Foundations, Allyn & Bacon
Caesar - Kelsey’s, Allyn & Bacon
Ancient History - Myers, Ginn & Company
Mediaeval and Modern History - Myers, Ginn & Company
Physical Geography - Dryer’s, American Book Company
Principles of Rhetoric - Spalding, D. C. Heath & Company
Physics - Hoadley, American Book Company
English References - Newcomer’s American Literature, Moody & Lovetts’
    First View of English Literature

Since the passage of the law in 1907 the high schools of the county have been organized in conformity with the state high school course of study.


There were likely few, if any, general teachers’ meeting in the county prior to 1860. In February, 1861, a notice was inserted in the Hancock Democrat, calling a meeting of all the teachers of the county at one p.m., February 16, 1861, at Forest Academy, three and one-half miles northeast of Greenfield, for the purpose of organizing a teachers’ association. The notice recited that the teachers would be addressed by Professor G. W. Hoss, of Northwestern Christian University, and that in the evening J. H. Stevenson, principal of Greenfield Academy, would address the association.

The weather on that day was inclement and the roads were almost impassable, yet a number of teachers were present. J. H. Stevenson was elected president of the meeting, and M. V. Chapman, secretary. During the afternoon the teachers adopted the following:


"Article 1. This association shall be known as the Hancock County Teachers’ Institute.

"Article 2. Its object shall be, first, the improvement of its members in knowledge of the branches common to the profession; secondly, in modes of teaching.

"Article 3. The officers shall be a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary and treasurer, who shall be elected annually by ballot. These officers taken as a body, shall constitute an executive committee.

"Article 4. Any teacher or other friend of education may become a member of this institute by signing the constitution and paying fifty cents into the treasury."

After the adoption of this constitution the following officers were elected for the ensuing year: President, J. H. Stevenson; vice-presidents, Martin V. Chapman and William T. Pratt; secretary, Richard Frost; treasurer, J. E. Earls.

When the organization had been completed the hour was growing late, and George Lipscomb, a teacher present, moved the association that the organization of classes be deferred until after another preliminary meeting. This motion was carried. After a long discussion it was determined to hold another preliminary meeting at the Masonic Hall at Greenfield on March 30, and a strong effort was made to have a full attendance of the teachers at the second preliminary meeting. Quite a long argumentative appeal was made to the teachers through the local papers, setting forth the necessity and the advantages of such an organization. Their efforts were attended with a fair measure of success. Over forty names were enrolled at the meeting and the Masonic Hall was filled with visitors. Professor Hoss delivered his lecture on "Parents and Teachers," and among the local people, James L. Mason, W. R. Hough, Parr and Stevenson, made short addresses. Before the adjournment quite a contest arose as to the place of holding the next meeting. The "Forest Academy" people had no hope of getting the meeting, so they united with the eastern teachers in an effort to have the meeting held at Cleveland. Many teachers of course wanted to have the meeting held at Greenfield. They were led by Stevenson, Bond and Silver. The eastern teachers were led by Welling and Chapman. It was finally decided to hold the meeting at Greenfield on August 12, 1861. The vote stood, Greenfield, 21; Cleveland, 19, as reported by Richard Frost, secretary.

In the meantime the county was stirred with the excitement of the Civil War, and it became necessary for the teachers to make some changes in their arrangements. In July, 1861, the following notice appeared in the local paper:

"Session of the Hancock County Teachers’ Institute, which was to have been held in Greenfield, has been changed to Cleveland. Owing to unavoidable circumstances, many influential teachers have been called away to the battlefield from this place and vicinity - those upon whom much depended for its success; hence its removal.

"It will commence Monday, August 12, 1861, at the M. E. Church.

"It will be opened by a lecture by Prof. Miles J. Fletcher, Superintendent of Public Instruction of the State."

In the above notice, likely, we have the only reference to a depletion in the ranks of the teachers on account of enlistments in the army. In this connection, though it was perhaps an extraordinary instance even for that time, the following humorous incident is taken from the issue of the Hancock Democrat of September 11, 1861, as illustrative of what was likely to transpire during those days:


"William Dunlap, a school teacher of Jackson township, went off very suddenly with the disease on Monday of last week. He opened his school as usual on the morning of that day, took the fever about 10 o’clock a.m., boarded the cars at 12 m., and before night was a soldier in the War for the Union, armed and equipped. Bully for Hancock!"

But to resume. The institute at Cleveland was reported a success. Notwithstanding the excitement of the times, many teachers were present and great interest was manifested. The session continued for one week. Classes were organized in elocution, with Prof. E. M. Butler in charge. Physiology was taught by Dr. A. B. Bundy, of Cleveland, and rhetoric and composition by Professor Hoss.

On motion of Professor Smith, of Indianapolis, the following resolution was adopted at this meeting: "That we, as teachers, approve the introduction of music into our common schools as an agreeable and harmonizing agent in discipline and mental culture."

Many visitors were in attendance during the week, and before the institute closed, they adopted the following resolution, offered by Mr. Bedgood:

"Resolved, that we as citizens of Cleveland and vicinity, having been happily, intellectually and beneficially entertained by the sessions of the Teachers’ Institute in our village, we vote to the professors, teachers, and members our cordial thanks."

"After a social reunion on Friday evening, on which occasion a number of toasts were read and responded to, the session adjourned, all delighted with having spent a pleasant and profitable week at the Institute.

M. V. Chapman, President
Richard Frost, Secretary."

From the report of this meeting it is evident that a good spirit prevailed. Certainly the institute was not without its feature of entertainment, and, if we judge rightly, elocution and gymnastics must have been happily combined in Professor Butler. Immediately after the close of this institute the following notice was published in the Hancock Democrat:

"Mr. Editor: Please announce that Mr. Butler will repeat the exercises in Gymnastics, in Masonic Hall, on Friday night next, which he exhibited with so much applause at the Teachers’ Institute.

"I think Mr. Butler will highly entertain anyone who will favor him with an audience, as I had the pleasure of witnessing his exercises at the Institute. It will be free to all."

On Saturday, October 12, 1861, a one-day session was held by the teachers of the county at the Masonic Hall at Greenfield. This meeting was known as the "Teachers’ Association: and was "appointed by the institute."

The following was the order of the exercises on that day:

Open, 9:30 A.M.
Recitations commence, 10:00.
Written Arithmetic, 10:45, J. E. Earls, teacher.
Discussion of same, 11:00.
Orthography, 11:45, Miss Mattie Rawles, teacher.
Discussion of same, 12:00.
English Grammar, 2:15, D. S. Welling, teacher.
Discussion of same, 2:30.
Primary Reading, 3:15, E. M. Butler, teacher.
Discussion of same, 3:30.
Miscellaneous Business, 4:00.

On Saturday evening, December 28, 1861, the teachers of the county gave an entertainment at the Masonic Hall at Greenfield. It was given for the purpose of arousing interest in the teaching profession and of elevating the profession in the county. The entertainment was advertised as a "Teachers’ Exhibition" and among those taking part in it were: A. E. Sample, John Bousloy, Eli Butler, George L. Lipscomb, Richard Frost, Henry Snow, Melissa Bond, Leonidas Milburne, A. V. B. Sample, James Shap, Dr. Butler, Bell Mathers, George West, M. V. Chapman, Samuel Wales, L. O. Harris, J. E. Earles, E. M. Lucinda, Joseph Hunt, J. M. Alley, William Pilkington, Pelatiah Bond, W. H. Judkins, George Galss. We have no report on this entertainment.

On Monday , August 11, 1862, the second regular session of the Hancock County Teachers’ Institute convened at the Masonic Hall and continued for two weeks. Classes were organized and recitations conducted daily in the subjects given below: Elocution, E. M. Butler, teacher; English grammar, H. Mendenhall, teacher; intellectual arithmetic, M. Collier, teacher; natural philosophy, William Fries, teacher; physiology; geography; vocal music, William Morgan, teacher; object lessons, G. W., Hoss, teacher; gymnastics, Hunt and Butler, teachers.

The following text books were used during this institute: Readers, McGuffey’s sixth; music, Golden Wreath; written arithmetic, Ray; intellectual arithmetic, Stoddard; physiology, Cutler; rhetoric, Quackenbos.

E. M. Butler was president of this institute and A. V. B. Sample, secretary.

Though the first general session of the Hancock County Teachers’ Institute was very enthusiastic, the organization seemed to have difficulty in holding the attendance of the teachers. After the meeting in August, 1862, reports of the institute are very meager and the organization seems to have been abandoned after a year or two.

On December 3, 1864, a number of teachers met at the Masonic Hall at Greenfield for the purpose of effecting another organization. James Williamson was elected chairman of this meeting and George L. Lipscomb, secretary. At this meeting the following resolution was adopted:

"Resolved, first, that a school be established at this place to be known as the Hancock County Normal Institute.

"Resolved, second, that the officers of the institute shall consist of a president, two vice-presidents, a secretary and a treasurer. These officers shall constitute a board of managers and teachers, and shall take charge of such classes as may be organized."

Following the adoption of these resolutions the following officers were elected: President, M. C. Foley (then county examiner); vice-presidents, A. J. Johnson and G. L. Lipscomb; secretary, James Williamson; treasurer, Richard Frost.

The institute was to meet at the Masonic Temple at Greenfield once every two weeks on Saturday at 10 a.m., and was to adjourn at 4: p.m. Arrangements were made for conducting classes in the following subjects: English grammar, James Williamson, teacher; mental arithmetic, George Lipscomb, teacher; written arithmetic, M. C. Foley, teacher; spelling, Richard Frost, teacher.

Arguments were again presented through the county papers showing the necessity of raising the standard of teaching and urging the teachers to attend. The following statement taken from the Hancock Democrat, gives a good idea of the spirit of the teachers in making the effort:

"We call your attention to the secretary’s report of the organization of a normal institute for the purpose of drilling and perfecting teachers in their profession, and the advancement of the cause of education throughout our county, and ask your hearty cooperation with us in the good work. This is not merely an experiment, but a bona fide institution, thoroughly organized and entered upon with determination to succeed. The benefits to our educational interests arising from it are many and various. Among the principal, aside from the drilling of the teaches, is that it will tend to establish a uniform system of teaching throughout the county, which all teachers must acknowledge would in itself be an ample reward for the exertion. The nucleus is formed, and if teachers and the friends of education will gather about it and lend us their assistance, the educational interest of Hancock county will received an impetus that will overcome all the difficulties we have formerly labored under."

An effort was also made to conduct an "educational column: in the Hancock Democrat, beginning with January, 1865. The first article, a full column, appeared "On the Improper Use of Language," and another on "The Responsibility of the Teacher."

After a few weeks, however, no more articles appeared. "The Hancock County Normal Institute" seems to have met about the same fate as its predecessor, the "Hancock County Teachers’ Institute." There were teachers in the county who were earnest in their efforts to raise the standard of their profession, but the difficulty lay in interesting the profession generally.

In 1865 a law was passed making provision for holding county institutes under the supervision of the county examiners. In 1873 another law was passed creating the county superintendent’s office and giving the county superintendent of schools and the county board of education greater powers in the administration of the school work. Following the enactment of these laws the following resolution touching upon teachers’ meetings was adopted by the county board of education of Hancock county at their December meeting, 1873:

"The county superintendent is hereby authorized to hold a county institute at Greenfield on the fourth Saturday of each month having five Saturdays, for the interest, benefit, and professional improvement of the teachers of the county. Such institutes shall begin at 10 a.m. and close at 4 p.m. and each teacher of the county shall attend the full session of each institute or suffer the same penalties therefore as prescribed in section for non-attendance at township institutes." (Author’s note: The penalty was to "forfeit one day’s wages for each day’s absence therefrom and fifty cents for each hour or fraction thereof.")

In the above resolutions the teachers’ meetings are designated as "institutes." But the meetings above contemplated were in addition to the township institutes and the county institutes as we know them today. The record indicates that at least two general teachers’ meetings of the county were held for several years. At some time before 1880, however, these meetings were combined into one, and a one-day session was held on the Saturday before Christmas, or during the holidays.

Among the teachers who were active in the profession for several years or more in the early seventies and during the decade or two following, should be mentioned: Lee O. Harris, George W. Puterbaugh, Henry Wright, William M. Coffield, Ella Bottsford, Vania Gates, Scott Mints, Alpheus Reynolds, A. V. B. Sample, Will T. Walker, Maggie Brown, Mary E. Dille, Sarah J. Wilson, Florence C. Taylor, W. H. Glascock, Ida Geary, Jennie A. Buchel., Vard Finnell, Joshua Barrett, J. W. McCord, Anna Harris, J. S. Jackson, C. M. Curry, E. E. Stoner, J. H. White, Moses Bates, W. B. Bottsford, Anna Chittendon, Mattie A. Sparks, William A. Wood, Morgan Caraway, John Thomas, Kate R. Geary, Mattie J. Binford, Duncan McDougall, E. C. Martindale, A. N. Rhue, Angie H. Parker, Henry B. White, George Caraway, Walter S. Smith, Ezra Eaton, Ira Collins, Worth Trittipo, S. C. Staley, Clara Bottsford, W. H. Craig, Harvey Barrett, N. B. Brandenburg, W. H. Simms, Maggie Buchel, Mary Lynch, Robert Hurley, Victor Lineback, J. W. Smith, C. A. Ogle, Lulu Dove, Rena M. Wilson, William M. Lewis, James K. Allen, Isaac Hunt, W. P. Smith, R. A. Smith, Dugald McDougall, R. H. Archey, William Elsbury, James L. Foley, Alllie Creviston, W. W. Harvey. W. J. Thomas, J. F. Reed, Quitman Jackson, Addie Wright, John W. Jones, Porter Copeland, Aaron Pope, Will F. Handy, Edwin Bacon, Lizzie Gilchrist, Clara Fries, S. S. Eastes, R. Warrum, J. P. Julian. J. L. Smith, Jennie Willis, James Goble, J. W. Stout, Edward H. Tiffany, George S. Wilson, Philander Scudder, Charles J. Richman, Emma Hill, Allen S. Bottsford, Fannie Fish, May McDougall, Sallie Cotton, A. E. Lewis, Frank Morgan, W. C. Atherton, John Brooks, Anna Woerner, John W. Winslow, Logan Glascock, Flora Love, M. O. Mints, O. P. Eastes, Ada Anderson, Laura Dance, Cicero Reeves, Arthur L. Foley, Clay Vanlaningham, Edwin Braddock, William Whitaker, Kate Applegate, Lucy Hill, B. F. Eubank, Ellsworth Eastes, Kate Armstrong, Asa L. Sample, John W. Scott, J. D. Dennis. E. W. Felt, S. C. Staley, Laura Pope, Thomas J. Wilson, Alice Corey, Emma Parnell, Fassett A. Cotton, I. N. Hunt. J. A. Everson, Ada Mitchell, James M. Bussell, J. V. Martin, George C. Burnett, E. B. Thomas, Charles R. Reeves, Edwin Keller.

At the May meeting, 1886, the county board resolved "that the township institutes be dismissed in the month of December in townships where the teachers agree to attend the county association." About 1895 the association began holding two-day sessions annually on Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The work was usually given in large part by the teachers themselves and touched all phases of the problems presented to the teaching profession. In 1908 the plan of a one-day session was again adopted, and since 1909 the teachers have convened annually in general session on the second Saturday of November.

Among those whose faces have been familiar in the county meetings of the teachers for several years or more during the last quarter of a century, and who are no longer engaged in the profession, or have gone elsewhere, are: O. J. Coffin, Etta Barrett, A. CD. Van Duyn, Leona Wilson, Lawrence Wood, Date Glover, Alice Meek, J. W. Jay, John Hervey, Harvey Apple, H. L. Thomas, W. A. Service, J. E. Radcliffe, John Larrabee, Jeremiah S. Bates, James Furgason, Maggie Addison, Charles L. Collingwood, Charles C. Collier, W. G. Bridges, Clarence Luse, Cora Weber, Eunice Barrett, Alvah N. Reeves, Estella Boyce, Isaac H. Day, John F. Wiggins, Millie McCord, W. H. Larrabee, Minnie M. Grist, Leora Jessup, O. W. Kuhn, Nida Card, Albert Frost, John T. Wilson, Barclay O. White, Rhoda Reeves, Neva Romey, Milo Gibbs, Kizzie Staley, Luella Eastes, Anna Ostermeyer, J. F. McCord, S. B. Prater, William A. Meyers, Eliza Everson, Inez Martin, O. F. Boyce, Walter H. Wellborn, W. H. Alger, Gilderoy Winslow, Ozrow Kemerly, G. C. D’Camp, Marshall T. Hittle, Will Leamon, J. Q. McGrail, Pearl Green, W. B. Stookey, Elwood Morris, Kate D. Wilson, Lizzie Baldwin, Nancy V. Cook, Merritt Wood, Clarence Dunbar, Bert Cohee, O. L. Morrow, Edward Eikman, Bessie Z. Jackson, George B. Thomas, George H. Trees, Estella Ham, Hugh Souder, Maude Bradley, Frank McClarnon, Carlin Griffey, Edgar Hope, Arthur Boone, John T. Johnston, Gertrude Murphy, George W. Kennedy, Leonard Cook, Myrtle Garriott, Harvey Rhue, Harvey Power, Samuel S. Cory, Eva Pusey, Mabelle Ham, Chester B. Murphy, Adolph Schreiber, Maude Thomas, Virginia Morton, Lillian New, Maud Jackson, Mabel Smith, Belle Schramm, LaVaughn Evans, Mary Sample, Allen Eastes, Raymond Wilson, O. S. Julian, Minnie Staley, Ethel Smock, John T. Rash, Jennie Pope, J. M. Pogue, Audrey Binford, Charles E. Cook, Will E. Curtis, Rhoda Coffield, Stella Newhouse, Clara Armiger, Sallie Bolander, Gertrude Larimore, Minnie Houck, Ether Clift, Robert F. Reeves, Charles H. Wright, Ethel Harlan, Horace Martindale, Herman Ehlert, Chalmer Schlosser, Martha Wiggins, W. C. Goble, Frances L. Petit, Ethel Akeman, Edward Slaughter, J. Henry Perry, Pearl Stant, Jennie Jackson, Clarence Trees, C. May Heller, Horatio Davis, Claudia Teel, Pearl Collyer, Mildred Trittipo, Hanna M. Test, Martha Stockinger, Roscoe Thomas, Albert Reep, Catherine Pusey, Verna Walker, Bess Hittle, Abbie Henby, Margaret Black, Elmer Bussell, Clara Hagans, John A. Coffin, Tamma White, Alpha Green, Nellie Larrabee, C. M. Cannaday, Viola Ham, Anna H. Randall, Mack Crider, James O. Davis, Effie L. Alford, Pet Roland, Carrie Jackson, Shady Wilson, Elsie Hudelson, Myrtle Binford, Nettie Bates, Earl R. Gibbs, W. R. Neff, Maggie Martin, Hettie Hunt, Tillie Craig, Harriett White, Earl Binford, Hugh Johnson, John H. Whitely, Sara White, O. W. Jackson, Henry Hammer, Frank L. Marsh, Lee Justice, Hattie Silvey, Venice Curry, L. L. Lydy, Kate Morton, Ora Staley, Alta Trittipo, Maude Iliff, Laura Black, James Snodgrass, Stella Z. Miles, Nelle Martin, Mabel Felt, Edith Weber, Mary Binford, Nelle Reed, Nannie Hagans, Marion Bottsford, Lester Foster.


Following logically the earlier efforts that had been made in the county to raise the standard of the teaching profession, county normal schools were organized annually for a series of years. The first one was organized in Greenfield in 1875 by Ex-County Superintendent John H. Binford. In 1876 normal schools were organized at Greenfield, McCordsville, and Charlottesville. The school at McCordsville was conducted by W. H. Motsinger, principal of the public schools at that place. County Superintendent Smith conducted the one at Charlottesville, assisted by R. A. Smith and J. Worth Smith. The following notice, published in the county papers, gives a good idea of the school:


"I will conduct a Normal Institute at Charlottesville, Hancock County, Indiana, beginning July 17, 1876, and continuing seven weeks. The Course will comprise a rapid review of the Common Branches together with such other instruction as is necessarily involved in the science of teaching.

"A Model School will probably be conducted in connection with the Institute.

"The best teaching talent will be secured.

"For Circulars, address,

"W. P. Smith, Co. Supt.,
"Greenfield, Ind."

The enrollment at this school consisted of forty-eight students in the normal department, and forty-one pupils in the model school. Among the students who attended were: Mrs. Florence Taylor Larimore, Mrs. Belle Craft McCraw, Mr.---Campbell, J. K. Allen, Mary Ross Allen, Miss Overman, Mary Morrow.

The following advertising literature gives facts concerning the normal conducted by Mr. Binford in 1876:

"Instructors - John H. Binford, B. S., principal Greenfield graded schools; Prof. W. A. Yohn, of Valparaiso Normal School; Mattie Binford, A. B., Earlham College; Kate R. Geary, formerly of Greenfield schools.

"Lecturers - Hon. James A. Smart, state superintendent; Prof. George W. Hoss, of Indiana University; Prof. D. Eckley Hunter, of Bloomington, Indiana.

"’A Model School, under the immediate instruction of Miss Kate R. Geary, will be one of the many commendable features of the school Here teachers will first learn by observation, then by practice, under the eye of the critic teacher.

"The Course of Study will embrace a thorough review of the common branches: the science of pedagogics, and beginning and advanced review classes in the higher branches to suit the wishes of advanced pupils.

"Tuition - Per term, $5.00; in the Model School, $2.00 to $3.00."

These excerpts from the advertisements of the county normals give a good idea of the schools. They were continued in this county until 1880. Others were held in 1887, 1888, 1891 and 1896.

Among the instructors at these normals who are well remembered in the county are: Perry Smith, Walter Smith, R. A. Smith, Quitman Jackson, W. H. Sims, J. W. Jay, E. D. Allen, E. M. Blanchard, W. H. Glascock, J. Worth Smith, Dr. L. B. Griffin, W. H. Motsinger, Mrs. Leon O. Bailey, J. V. Martin, W. H. Craig, W. A. Wood, George S. Wilson, A. H. Reynolds, H. D. Barrett, Olmie C. Steele.

That these normals did efficient service for the upbuilding of the teaching profession in Hancock county is evident from the following list of persons who enrolled at some one or other of the sessions: William C. Atherton, Amanda Kinnick, Iduna Smith Barrett, Jennie Snodgrass Major, Fred Lipscombe, Walter Orr, Cynthia Fries Peacock, Mary McDougal, Anna Snodgrass Neier, Riley Luse, W. H. Sherry, Ada Mitchell Fort, Sadie Elsbury Warrum, Vania Gates, Mattie Black Gipe, Ida Geary, J. F. Reed, John S. Frost, Alice Creviston Glascock, Bertha Scott Hunt, Victoria Lineback White, Jasper McCray, Jennie Buchel Hogle, Julia Fields, Howard Barrett, Harvey Barrett, Anna Harris Randall, W. A. Wood, Clara Bottsford, Will Reeves, W. E. Walker, N. B. Brandenburg, M. O. Mints, R. A. Roberts, Mary Goble, Iola Coffin Bragg, Flora Catt Thomas, George Grimes, James Goble, George S. Wilson, Berry White, Ida Cook Curry, Rhoda Goble, Agnes Jordan, Millie McCord, W. H. Craig, O. S. Coffin, E. W. Felt, Mellie Thomas Lowry, Mrs. Cassie Veach Barrett, F. O. Fort, Frank Larrabee, Will Barrett, Henrietta Gates, Laura Pope Reed, Charles Reed, W. H. Glascock, Victoria Wilson Morford, Pharaba Wolfe, Roscoe Anderson, Maggie Buchel Ashcraft, Elva Thornberry, Mark Catt, Joshua Barrett, Agnes McDonald Hamilton, Emma Parnell, Ella Bottsford, Mabel Bottsford Cooper, Edith Lamb, W. J. Walker, Mary Lynch, Robert Hurley, Maud America Everett, W. M. Coffield, Ella Bogue, Irene Wilson Stoner, Eugene Lewis, Christine Gilchrist, Thomas Wilson, Manie Chandler Burke, George Burnett, Isaac Hunt, Kate Bussell, J. W. Jones, Rosa Grass Quick, W. H. Handy, Mattie Thomas Felt, Fanny Denton.


At least two attempts have been made to procure the location of higher institutions of learning within the county. The first effort made was to procure the location of the


At the time the question of the location of the state agricultural college was before the people, James L. Mason represented Hancock county in the state Senate. He introduced a bill into the senate in 1867, providing that this school be located in this county. Efforts were being made by a number of counties to secure this institution, but it seems that Mr. Mason had sufficient support in the Legislature to give the people of the county some hope of getting it. At that time our board of county commissioners offered to donate $100,000 toward the establishment of the school in case it should be located within Hancock county. The matter remained undecided for the next two years, when on February 6, 1869, our board of county commissioners met in special session to consider further what this county should do. After deliberating upon various propositions and hearing representative citizens of the county, action was taken by the board and the following order entered upon their record:

"The board of county commissioners of Hancock county, in the state of Indiana, propose, offer and bind said board of county commissioners of said county, and their successors in office, to pay to the state of Indiana, on condition that the proper authorities of said state will locate and erect the contemplated agricultural college of said state in the vicinity of Greenfield in said county, the sum of $100,000 in cash, by the first day of June, 1869, or for that purpose they will pay to the state of Indiana the sum of $125,000 in cash in three equal annual installments, the first installment on the first day of June, 1870, $41,666 2-3; second installment, June 1, 1871, $41.666 2-3; third installment, June 1, 1872, $41.666 2-3.

"And the state of Indiana by her proper authorities shall have the option of the acceptance of either of the above propositions. And when so selected and accepted by the said state the accepted proposition shall be binding on said county of Hancock.

William New,
James Tyner,

The location of the college still remained undecided through the summer of 1869. In November of 1869, however, Mr. Purdue, of Lafayette, made an offer that was unequalled anywhere else in the state, and procured the school for his county. This decision was announced to the people of Hancock county by the Hancock Democrat with this finishing touch:

"A Mr. Purdue of Lafayette, offered one hundred thousand dollars of his own money, in addition to the offer of the county, for the location of the agricultural college at the Battle Ground. His condition is that it shall be called ‘Purdue Agricultural College.’ This is a most munificent offer, buy why should the Legislature favor the rich against the poor?"

During the winter of 1880-81 a movement was begun to establish at Greenfield a normal known as the


An association was organized and incorporated under the laws of the state to promote the project. The incorporators were S. S. Boots, Nelson Bradley, Morgan Chandler, Noble Warrum, William New, Philadner H. Boyd, Israel P. Poulson, Henry L. Moore, Ephraim Marsh and T. E. Glidden. In the fall of 1881 the incorporators each subscribed one thousand dollars, on condition that ten thousand dollars additional be subscribed. The following resolution was adopted relative thereto:

"Be it resolved, that when ten thousand dollars shall be donated to the ‘Indiana Normal School,’ we will proceed without delay to erect suitable building in or near the city of Greenfield, to accommodate all the students that may attend said school, and will thereafter maintain and operate the same."

John W. Jones, an attorney of the Hancock bar, was the moving spirit in this project. He published a number of articles in the county papers urging the expediency and advantages of establishing such a school in this county. On February 15, 1882, the incorporators asked Mr. Jones to set a date for a general discussion of the matter, at which the citizens could attend and become acquainted with the probable results of such a school. Such a meeting was held February 27, 1882, at the court house. A number of speeches were made at this meeting and much more interest was taken than at any previous time. A resolution was adopted unanimously favoring the purchase of a tract of land by the city, to be turned over to the incorporators. A number of petitions were circulated among citizens asking the city council to order an election at an early day to take the sense of the voters on the question. In the issue of the Hancock Democrat of March 2, 1882, appeared the following:

"Our people are becoming stirred up on this subject. The public importance of the school is so apparent and the opportunity now at hand is so favorable and the fear that if this enterprise does not now succeed it will never be offered again, are each combining to stir up the energy of our citizens."

The effort, however, did not succeed. Subscriptions to the necessary fund were not forthcoming, and the movement was soon abandoned entirely.


The act of March 6, 1865, also made provision for holding county and township teachers’ institutes, and for appropriating fifty dollars annually of the county funds to help defray the expenses of the county institute. In Hancock county the first institute was held in the fall of 1865, at Greenfield. There were but a few teachers present. Instruction was given in orthography, reading, arithmetic and English grammar. In 1866 no institute was held. In the county examiner’s record, under the topic of "Teachers’ Institutes," appears the following note: "Failure. County commissioners would make no provision as other counties and as the law provides."

The first full report of a county teachers’ institute held in Hancock county was made by James. A. New, county examiner, in 1871. The report is as follows:

  1. Number of teachers’ institutes held within the year, one.
  2. Where held, Greenfield, Hancock County, Indiana.
  3. Number attending- males, 92; females, 25; total, 117.
  4. Branches taught, orthography, oral grammar, grammar, writing, geography and map drawing.
  5. Number of evening lectures, two.
  6. Money drawn from treasury, $50.
  7. Total cost of institute, $35.
  8. Number of township institutes held, one.
  9. Number of townships sustaining teachers’ associations, one.

James A. New, Examiner,
Greenfield, Indiana

There were difficulties to be overcome in those days, as disclosed by the following entry made in the county examiner’s record on August 17, 1871:

"The following is a list of the names of persons who have paid the requisite fee, and become regular members of the institute, and who shall and will receive the advantages derived from being members of same to be given by examiner and trustees.

Names Residence
John Thomas  
James McKean  
James E. Johnson Philadelphia, Indiana
William A. Wood Philadelphia, Indiana
John M. New Westland, Indiana
Harper F. Sullivan Westland, Indiana
William S. Fries Greenfield, Indiana
Henry Wright Mt. Comfort, Indiana
William A. Dunn Philadelphia, Indiana
Benjamin F. Marsh Westland, Indiana
Theodore Winn Greenfield, Indiana
Morgan Caraway Westland, Indiana
Isaac N. Hunt Westland, Indiana
James K. Allen Cleveland, Indiana
George W. Puterbaugh Greenfield, Indiana
Lee O. Harris Greenfield, Indiana"

That some of the teachers were interested in better supervision and a more effective organization of the schools of the county is evident by the adoption of the following resolution at this institute:

"Resolved, That it is the opinion of the members of this institute that there should be a county superintendent of public schools in every county, whose duties, in addition to those at present performed by the examiner, shall be to devote his entire time during the continuance of said schools to visiting and superintending the same. And further: That said superintendent should in all cases be a professional teacher. Therefore, we the teachers of Hancock county do earnestly commend this measure to the consideration of our state Legislature.

"Resolved, that while we feel thankful to those citizens of Greenfield and vicinity who have been present at our institute, and have felt encouraged thereby to continue our labors in the educational work, we cannot but deplore the lack of interest shown by our township trustees and many teachers of the county, as manifested by their absence throughout the entire week. This we mention more in sorrow than in anger, and still hope for better times and more energetic men.

"Resolved, that we, the members of this institute, believe that our school law should be so changed or modified as to make the drawing of the public money by each county contingent upon an additional amount to be raised by a tax within said county for the purpose of continuing our public schools for a period of at least six (6) months.

"Resolved, that we consider the principles contained in the foregoing resolutions of vital importance to our county; that a committee of three be appointed by the president of this association to wait upon the representatives from this county and the senator for the counties of Hancock and Henry immediately after the election and call their attention to these, our wishes, and earnestly solicit them to work for this end in their official capacity.

George W. Puterbaugh,
William A. Wood,
Lee O. Harris,
     Committee on Resolutions."

The first county institute conducted by a county superintendent of schools was held September 29 to October 3, 1873. Superintendent John H. Binford reported eight-six males and thirty-five females present: "The eight common branches, orals, composition, science of government, theory and practice, etc., etc.," were presented. The cost of the institute was sixty dollars. At the bottom of the report is the following note: "The number reported includes many that were not teachers-there was an average of actual teachers of about thirty. The institute was a decided success."

During that year there were ninety-nine teachers in the county, so that only about one-third of them were in actual attendance at the institute.

During the next ten or fifteen years the work of the county institutes was directed toward a discussion of the subject matter of the common branches. Possibly it was because the opportunities for qualifying were limited as compared with today, and that necessity demanded that the teachers concern themselves with what to teach, rather than with how to teach it. During the eighties and nineties, however, and with the increase in the number of colleges and universities, the instructors who came to our county institute took up question of method, psychology, etc., and the greater emphasis was placed on how subjects ought to be presented. During the last decade the inspirational feature of the county institute has been perhaps even unduly emphasized. With the passage of the vocational law of 1913 the attention of our institute has again been directed to the question of what to teach in these new lines.

The attendance at the Hancock county institute has remained about the same a s reported by Superintendent Binford in 1873. The cost of conducting it, however, has increased greatly. Able institute instructors are paid on an average of one hundred and twenty-five dollars per week, and the total expenses of conducting our institutes for several years have been respectively: 1889, $141.00; 1890, $158.00; 1892, $165.00; 1894, $181.00; 1898, $200.00; 1902, $227.00; 1905, $249.77; 1909, $290.00; 1910,. 291.00; 1913; 242.25; 1914, $268.14 To defray these expenses, one hundred dollars is drawn from the county treasury. An institute fee of one dollar is collected from each teacher during the county institute, and an examination fee of fifty cents is collected from each applicant taking the examination for teacher’s license, all of which is put into the institute fund.

Township institutes have been held in each township on one Saturday in each month during school terms since the passage of the act of 1873. In 1872 James A. New, county examiner, reported one township as sustaining a teachers’ institute or association. In 1873 Superintendent John H. Binford reported: "Township institutes held within the year, none." At the September meeting of the county board of education, in 1873, however, the following resolutions were adopted:

"Resolved, that we will employ no teacher who does not attend the teachers’ institute appointed by the county superintendent, and that we will to the full extent exact the penalty prescribed by the law for non-attendance on the same.

"There shall be organized in the county by the county superintendent three combined township institutes for the months of October and March, each of which shall hold one session during each of said months. The first shall be composed of Blue River, Jackson and Brown townships, and shall meet on the first Saturday of October and March at the public school house in Cleveland, unless otherwise ordered by the county superintendent. The second shall be composed of Brandywine, Center and Green townships, and shall meet at the school house in Greenfield on the second Saturday of October and March. The third shall be composed of Sugar Creek, Buck Creek and Vernon townships, and shall meet on the third Saturday of October and March at Mt. Comfort, unless otherwise ordered by the county superintendent."

At the September meeting of the board in 1875, the month of November was substituted for the month of October, and the institute for the western tier of townships was abolished. At the September meeting, 1880, the joint institutes were "deemed impracticable since the teachers are not willing to attend the same." The attendance of the teachers at the township institutes received a great stimulus in the passage of the act of 1889, providing that teachers be paid for attendance at these institutes.


With the increase of teachers’ salaries came also longer terms of school. A report of the county superintendent made in 1875 shows the average length of the school term as follows: Blue River, 142 days; Brown, 80 days; Center, 78 days; Jackson, 110 days; Brandywine, 86 days; Buck Creek, 123 days; Green, 88 days; Vernon, 100 days; Charlottesville, 100 days; Fortville, 83 days; Greenfield, 90 days.

During the next decade the townships practically all began maintaining a six-months term. Within the last ten years another month has been added, while our high schools and some of our township schools now are beginning to maintain an eight-months term.


The records of the enumeration of school children during the early years of the county’s history are incomplete and many of them have been lost. The United States census report shows that in 1840 seven common schools were conducted in the county with an attendance of one hundred and fifty-six pupils. In 1850 an attendance of two thousand, four hundred and thirteen pupils was reported. The enumeration taken in 1866 shows that there were in the county the following number of children between the ages of six and twenty-one years: Males, 2,621; females, 2,471; total, 5,092. The number of children kept increasing for a number of years, and then began to decrease, as shown by the following table:

Years    Enumeration Enrollment in
For the year
Average Daily
For the year
1866 5,092 4,324 --
1873 5,310 4,438 2,652
1876 5,600 4,287 --
1882 5,581 -- --
1884 5,660 -- --
1886 5,742 -- --
1887 5,745 -- --
1889 5,857 -- --
1890 5,857 4,653 3,510
1892 6,118 4,730 3,599
1893 6,348 4,693 3,458
1894 6,401 4,726 3,634
1895 6,353 4,908 3,585
1896 5,950 4,838 3,582
1897 6,064 4,775 3,791
1898 6,162 4,741 3,906
1899 5,931 4,753 3,689
1902 5,949 4,688 3,679
1903 5,849 4,534 3,629
1914 4,671 3,793 3,266

Without giving the table for all the years, the enumeration of school children of the county has decreased at the rate of about one hundred pupils per year during the last eleven years. According to enumeration reports there are fewer children between the ages of six and twenty-one years in the county now by about forr hundred than there were at the close of the Civil War. The number reached its maximum in 1894. The highest average daily attendance, however, was reached in the schools in the school year, 189708. It will be observed that the enrollment in the schools in 1872-3 was only about one hundred less than in 1903, yet the average daily attendance of that year is almost a thousand less. This is, no doubt, accounted for by the fact that in 1873 a large number of the young people attended school for a short time during the winter term, but were absent on "good days for work," and withdrew early in the spring. This gave the schools a large enrollment, but a low average daily attendance.

The great decline in the enumeration of school children is also having a marked effect on the county’s distributive share of the school funds drawn from the state. For instance, the state school tax levy for 1914 was thirteen and six-tenths cents on every one hundred dollars of taxable property. During the year thirty-two thousand, one hundred and ninety-two dollars and thirty cents was collected in taxes and interest on school funds, and paid over to the state treasurer. But when the state funds were again apportioned among the counties, on the basis of their enumeration, Hancock county received only $19,571.49, or $12,620.81 less than was collected by this county and paid into the state treasury. The figures above illustrate what occurs from year to year in the collection of the state school taxes.


In 1865 the county examiner reported eighty-seven district schools in Hancock county, but he reported no graded schools at all in the townships. In 1873, and again in 1876, eighty-nine districts were reported. During more recent years the number of district schools having only one teacher was reported as follows: 1892, 87; 1893, 85; 1896, 84; 1897,81; 1900,67; 1902,66; 1903,63; 1906,63; 1907,61; 1908,52; 1909,49; 1911, 47; 1912, 41; 1913, 38; 1914, 37; 1915,32.

With the abandonment of district schools from year to year, the children have been transferred to larger centers, where they have the advantage of better gradation, etc. This movement has also made possible and expedient the organization of township high schools. Several high schools, including those in Blue River, Brown, Green, Jackson and Vernon townships were organized, or at least classes had taken up high school subjects by 1895. All the remaining townships except Brandywine had high school classes started not later than 1900. The organization of these schools was well begun by the time that County Superintendent Lee O. Harris took his office in 1897. At that time Hancock county still had practically all her district schools, but it will be observed that by the end of his administration, in 1903, eighteen districts had been abandoned. The pupils from these districts were attending the consolidated schools. Since that time almost one-half of the remaining districts have been abandoned. Blue River township had all her pupils in the consolidated school at Westland during the school year of 1914-15, under the trusteeship of Obed J. Coffin. During the school year of 1914-15 the various school corporations expended $7,325.00 for the transportation of pupils to the consolidated schools. The school houses in which our children now attended may be grouped as follows: Stone, 1; brick, 66; frame, 8; total, 75.


Mention has been made of the fact that in 1865 an "Educational Column" was conducted for a time in the Hancock Democrat by the Hancock County Normal Institute. In 1876 County Superintendent W. P. Smith again conducted such a "column." Articles were contributed by Mr. Smith and also by the teachers of the county. The first article to appear was offered by Lee O. Harris on "Composition." Another article of some length was contributed by A. V. B. Sample on "Duties of Parents." Other articles under the captions, "Force of Habit," "Description of School Room,"
"Cultivation of the mind," and "Words," appeared from time to time for several years. In addition to such articles personal mention was made of the work and doings of teachers. In fact, a sort of an "exchange" was maintained in these columns, to which the teachers felt free to contribute, and which reflects a general cooperative spirit in the profession.

About the same time, or rather in 1875, knotty problems in arithmetic began to appear, for which solutions were asked. Teachers vied with each other in their efforts to solve these problems and publish their solutions in the local paper. Frequently different solutions giving different results were published, which gave rise to interesting arguments running from week to week on the solutions offered. Following is a problem which may probably be called typical, selected at random from those offered:

"Three boys start to sell oranges; one has ten, one has thirty and the other fifty; they want to sell them at the same price and all received the same amount of money. At what price must they sell and how much did each receive.?"

During the winter of 1870-71, N. W. Fitzgerald, principal of the Greenfield school, adopted a plan of encouraging attendance, good behavior, industry, etc., in the Greenfield schools by establishing "honor rolls." The "honor roll" was made up at the end of each week. Pupils who had been neither absent nor tardy, who had been "perfect" in recitations, and who had a grade in deportment of not less than, say ninety-five per cent, had their names placed on this "roll." At the end of each week the "honor roll" was published in the local papers. During the winter a few teachers in the county adopted the same plan and published the "honor rolls" of their schools. In a year or two this custom became very common, and "honor rolls" from schools in all parts of the county were published. This practice was continued in the county pretty generally for about sixteen years.

In the spring of 1871, W. P. Smith, later county superintendent of schools, finished a term at the Pleasant Hill school in Brandywine township. The term had been successful, relationships had evidently been cordial and agreeable, and in the issue of the Hancock Democrat of March 30 of that year he made the following public acknowledgment:

"Many thanks to the friends and patrons of the school for the prompt and cheerful cooperation they have rendered me during the term, and for the many ‘good things’ they provided for us and our visitors on closing day.

"To the Scholars: You will please accept my thanks for strict obedience to the rules of school, punctuality in attendance, promptness in recitation and close application to study; and now that school is out let me ask you not to lay aside your books entirely, but spend your leisure moments in reviewing the lessons you have recited at school that you may be able to begin your studies at the next term where you left off this.

"With best whished for your future success in life, I bid you adieu, as your teacher for the present.

W. P. Smith"

To this letter was also appended the "honor roll" of this school" Reuben Bentley, Joseph Kelm, James Parnell, Abijah Kemmerly, Henry C. Marsh, John J. Roberts, William Kennedy, Willie H. Marsh, Andrew J. Smith, James H. Smith, Newton Rhue, Charles P. Duncan, Mary E. C. Kelm, Emma Parnell, Iduna May Smith, Ella Griggsby, Emanuel Smith, Henry McKinney, Dard Roberts, Laura Parnell, Malinda E. Smith, May J. Smith, Rebecca Stump, Isaac T. Winn, James J. Duncan, James Roberts, Harriett Parnell, Sarah A. Smith, Inez E. Smith.

This was the beginning of a series of such acknowledgments which often appeared at the close of schools during the seventies and eighties. They were not always in exactly the same tone, as will be seen from the following, which came from the teacher of district No. 10 in Vernon township in the spring of 1872:

"I would say to the scholars, the most of you have treated me well, and haver not cause me any troubvle. Hoping you will retain these few instructions I have given you until a good old age, you have my best wishes through life.

"To the patrons of the school: I am sorry to say you have done but little in word or deed to encourage me in my work, but I trust you will do better in the future.

J. H. Scotton, Teacher."

Sometimes the acknowledgment also included a narrative of the "last day," like the following from district No. 2 in Green township, in March, 1876:

"The day set in very inclement, but nevertheless, scholars, patrons and friends came marching in with turkeys, chickens, pies, cakes and everything that would tempt the palate.

"The morning program was as follows: A complete review of the analysis of the alphabet, advanced reading, written spelling and manuscript history. After these exercises we had two tables spread across the house with everything nice to satisfy the appetite.

"The afternoon program consisted of concert reading, Grammar, Geography, Arithmetic, and closed by remarks from patrons and teacher. The scholars have been industrious, obedient and kind. I will return my thanks through you paper for the kindness and hospitality, both by patrons and pupils, shown me while teaching in their district.

J. Benson, Teacher."

Local pride was also reflected:

"School No. 9, near Willow Branch, P.O., closed March 15, 1876, with a general turnout of patrons, pupils and visitors. The forenoon exercises consisted of, first, recitations in primary spelling and reading, after which the time until noon was spent with arithmetic classes. Noon now at hand, we dismissed for dinner. We set two tables, each twelve feet long, which were covered with edibles of all kinds.

"I will say in conclusion that we have had a very pleasant time this winter. This being my third term at this place, and very likely the last, I can say that I consider it a credit to any teacher to occupy old Spiceland school house No. 9, Brown township.

" I now return my thanks to patrons and pupils for their kindness toward me as their teacher, and may they ever be found moving forward in the interest of an education.

James L. Smith, Teacher."

In the spring of 1876 the teacher of Benevolence school in Center township made the following statement in the local paper:

"Pupils reported as most industrious and consequently most successful: Alice Goble, John Handy, Phebe Price, Ella Kinsey, James Heffernan, Ollie Wiggins, Mollie Trees, Eddie Gray, Rufus Temple, and George Wiggins.

"I can safely say for all that more practical pupils cannot be found anywhere. No cases of tardiness in the school during the term.

"The patrons of the district have my sincere thanks for the dinner furnished on this occasion.

Theodore Winn, Teacher."

Many other acknowledgments could be added to the foregoing, but they illustrate the types of public acknowledgments that appeared in the columns of our local papers during those years.

But expressions of good will did not all come from the teacher alone. On several occasions the pupils also had something to say, and some of their doings at least found their way into the local papers. We offer the following from the pupils of "Sparks school," district No. 1, in Brown township, at the close of their school, in March, 1876:

"Resolved, that we return our earnest thanks to our well esteemed teacher for the general hospitality he has shown us during his two terms of school.

"Resolved, that we return our thanks to our teacher for discharging his duty among us pupils without showing any partiality.

"Resolved, that we return our thanks to our esteemed teacher, A. J. Larue, for the information he has imparted to us as pupils since he came to our school.

"Resolved, that we are under many obligations to our teacher for raising us up from the degrading name which the pupils were under in our district, caused by unruly pupils, and elevating us upon a level with other districts in the township and county.

"Resolved, that we recommend our teacher to any class of scholars that he may chance to meet in the future.

"Resolved, that a copy of these resolutions be presented to the teacher’s father, John R. Larue.

"Resolved, that we request William Marsh, trustee of Brown township, to send a copy of these resolutions to the Hancock Democrat for publication.

"Resolved, that if our teacher thinks these resolutions worthy, we request him to present a copy of them to the county paper in which he resides.

"Resolved, that we return our thanks to our teacher for giving his consent to return at our next term of school and assist us in advancing our education."

"Signed by scholars, Obee H. Garrett, James B. McDaniel, John H. Smith, Samuel N. Hunt, Charles Riggs, Levi L. Keesling, William Smith, Bay Cook, Lilly Cook, Mary A. Cook, Cimmie Cook, Hattie Giles, Florence Cook, Tidy Cook, Henry H. Garrett, Joseph McDaniel, Joel A. Cook, Sanford Dudley, Cora Leiber, Eilnore Cook, William J. Dudley, Daniel M. Smith, Laura Cook, Mary A. McDaniel, Emma J. McDaniel, Nancy Cook, Fannie Broomfield, Della Cook, Isaac L. Garriott, John R. Keesling, James Broomfield, Charles McDaniel, Levi McDaniel, William R. Riggs, Mattie Cook, Luvina A. Garrett, Missouri Cook, Mary Smith, Annie Giles, Nancy McDaniel, Visy Cook."

On the same occasion the patrons of the above school gave the following signed statement to the Hancock Democrat for publication:

"We, the employers of school District No. 1, return our best wishes and thanks to A. J. Larue for his general hospitality and moral conduct, and for discharging his duty impartially, and for such we recommend him to any and all schools that he may chance to meet in the future.

"(Signed): Joseph Garrett, Joel Cook, Morris Cochran, J. A. McDaniel, Lorenzo D. Cook, Daniel Hedrick, James C. Smith, Matt F. Cook."

At the close of school in the following spring, 1877, the pupils at Leamon’s Corner, in Jackson township, no doubt felt that their teacher was worthy of as much recognition as might be given to the teacher of any other school. It is interesting to observe that among the pupils who signed the following resolutions are some whose names have long been well known throughout the state of Indiana:

"School closed here last Saturday. We, the pupils, return to our teacher, Miss Mattie Lineback, our sincere thanks for the kind and faithful manner in which she performed her duty.

"Resolved, that we will treasure up the seed which she has sown, and will improve every opportunity that will advance us one step further up the hill of science. (Signed) William H. Glascock, George Burnett, Jennie McCorkle, Louiza Sheets, Cora Felt. Charles Chandler, Eugene Lewis, Emma Becket, Anna Chandler, James Clift, John Felt, Eliza Shipley, Mattie Glascock."

In the spring of 1879 the pupils of the Thomas school in Brandywine township adopted the following as a tribute of respect to Napoleon B. Brandenburg, who was a very popular teacher in the county for a number of years, in Sugar Creek, Brandywine and Center townships:

"Tribute of Respect

"We, the pupils of school district No. 1, Brandywine township, feel it our duty to tender our teacher, N. B. Brandenburg, a series of resolutions of respect for his services rendered as teacher for our benefit, as they now come to a close.

"Resolved, that he has labored diligently and earnestly with us and in our behalf to bestow upon our minds something that will enable us to occupy the positions to which we may be called.

"Resolved, that in performing this work he has not been partial in any respect, but has imparted instruction willingly and in the best possible manner to one and all, everything of a mysterious nature vanishing into ideas with a clearness that moulds upon the mind never to be forgotten.

"Resolved, that we unite in complimenting our teacher for his faithful efforts as a teacher in advancing us in our studies and for his untiring exertions to advancing us in our studies and for his untiring exertions to advance our best interests, and we heartily commend him to those among whom his lot may be cast as a teacher, efficient, capable, and worthy of their respect. Happiness and prosperity go with him. (Signed) Thomas Hope, Julia Fields, Julia Hutchison, Willard Hutchison, Lillie Woods, Lura Thomas, Thomas Wilson, Mary Collyer, George Potts, Ira Davis, Charles Thompson, Lida Potts, Emma Collyer."

The patrons on that occasion adopted the following: "We, the patrons of said school, vouch for the propriety of the above resolutions: (Signed) John Sylvester, A. J. Jeffries, John V. White, A. M. Potts, William Kidwell, Wellington Collyer, B. F. Fry, H. J. Fry, Hiram Thomas, Smith Hutchison, Christopher Fields."

It was during these years, too- the seventies- that the closing day of school came to be a social event in every district. It is still so lovingly referred to as the


The "last day" also received ample space in the columns of our local papers, and the "visitors" shall tell their own stories. We begin with the last day at Carrollton, March 25, 1876:

"We had a school of five months, which could not be beat in the township, and which closed Saturday, March 25. It was taught by Cyrus Boring. Between the hours of nine and ten the parents came pouring in with baskets filled to the brim. They went immediately up to the Grange Hall to prepare a dinner for the school, which was directly and in order. We had two tables, each thirty feet in length. These tables were well filled with as nice looking victuals as my eyes ever beheld. The dinner was composed of boiled ham, baked chicken, fruits, pies and pickles of all descriptions, and nineteen large cakes from three inches to fifteen inches thick. These were covered with icing as white as snow and trimmed with various colors of candies. The tables were covered with small edibles too tedious to mention. After the tables were prepared they all left the hall and went down to the school room, where they had the privilege of listening to splendid music. Then they marched, two and two, up to the hall. The scholars occupied one table, and the parents and visitors the other. Then Mr. Boring called all to order and thanks were returned by John D. Lucas.

"Then the feast commenced, and in a short time our nice victuals all disappeared. Then we returned to the lower room, where we had splendid music from the organ and singing from the scholars for one hour and a half. The school was then called to order by the teacher and a piece was read by James Reed from The Democrat of March 16, prepared by A. V. B. Sample, subject, "Duty of Parents." Then the parents were called on to make a few remarks. Then the small children were called on to speak their pieces, which were very interesting. Then Mr. Renecamp was called upon to make a few remarks, which he did, and they were very appropriate for the occasion. Mr. Boring then got up and talked some fifteen minutes to the scholars and parents. He said he had not been mad during his five months of school. This speaks very well for Mr. Boring. He taught his first school in this place twelve years ago. He had only one scholar this term that came to him then.


William M. Lewis, at present the genial proprietor of the book store, no doubt has many pleasant recollection like the following:

"On Tuesday last (February 20, 1877) Mr. William Lewis closed his fourth school at Brown’s Chapel school house, Jackson township. The day being a fine one, I concluded I would visit the school. Among the more important exercises in the forenoon were advanced grammar and arithmetic. The several classes did their work in a manner that deserved great credit; the rough roads of arithmetic seemed to fade away before them and everything seemed easy for them. At twelve o’clock it seemed that the exercises were stopped, but we were pleasantly mistaken, for it turned out that they were only changed in order to make them more general. In a few minutes the ladies changed the scene into one of the most bounteous displays of good things to eat imaginable. After partaking of a hearty repast the young folks repaired to the play ground, where the bright light of the sun shone on fair young ladies and brave young men present. About one an a half o’clock Mr. Lewis called the crowd together to hear the exercises of the afternoon. The first exercise was a class in elocution, consisting of J. E. Stephens, Henry H. Crider, Lafe Crider, John Slifer and Miss Emma Scott. Among the selections read were "Gone With a Handsomer Man," and "Courting in the Country"; and I must say that the reading was certainly excellent, and the effect produced by some of the reading was very interesting. After the class was dismissed Henry Crider and Miss Scott were recalled and read "Hiawatha’s Wooing" and "The Famine," Mr. Crider reading the former and Miss Scott the latter. They both did splendidly. After the reading was over came declamations, essays, etc., which kept us interested until near four o’clock, when Mr. Lewis made a few remarks which were very interesting, followed by others present. On the whole, I have concluded I spent one of the most pleasant days of my life, and after this I shall visit schools more frequently.


The following from "Nebraska school, " in Center township, also in 1877, is interesting for the clearness with which it sets before us the festivities and exercises of the last day, and because of some of the men whose names appear therein as pupils of this school:

"At twelve o’clock school was dismissed for dinner, which had been prepared by the patrons of the school. Dinner being spread, it was interesting to see the polite and genteel manner in which Miss Mattie Lineback served her guests at the table. One side was reserved for visitors, the other for the pupils, who were marched up in good order. After thanks were returned by our friend, William Brooks, all partook of the dainties which were spread before them and good enough for a king. Dinner being over, we enjoyed ourselves in social chat for an hour, there being some forty of fifty visitors present, besides quite a number of pupils. At the ringing of the bell all took their places to hear the afternoon exercises, which were mostly literary and delivered in good style. I was diverted to see little Jonnie Wiggins, son of our friend, John F. Wiggins, come to the stand to speak. He came so earnest, with eyes sparkling like jewels. There is something noble in that little fellow. He has had the misfortune to lose one of his hands, but he is not without talent. I would say to Mr. Wiggins, give that boy an education and he will make a man of himself. Much credit is due Miss Ettie Felt for the becoming manner in which she acted the part of the old lady, with her cap and spectacles on. By the way, Eugene Lewis is a very good speaker and Billy Glascock a very good journal reader. Everything was done decently and in good order. The last was an essay by Miss Lineback, which was gotten up in good style and read with politeness. I am happy to say that Miss Lineback is an accomplished lady and understands her business. At four o’clock the school closed and I returned home much pleased with what I had seen and heard.

A Visitor."

Though the "eats" were lacking, the program rendered at New Palestine on closing day in 1879 was thoroughly in harmony with the spirit of the times:

"Last Thursday and Friday were spent in oral examinations at the New Palestine graded school and the result is satisfactory to all. Rev. Winchester asked a few questions, to which answers were readily given. The schools of the upper department assembled in the lower room when the literary exercises commenced. Among the many creditable acquittals I will mention a few: "Darius Green and His Flying Machine," by Allie Bottsford, a boy who executive ability is unsurpassed by one of his age. Next a dialogue, "Mrs. Partington’s Tea Party," by Ida Lipscomb, Cora Ulrey, Kate Armstrong and Annie Warner. A declamation entitled, "Old Man of Fifty-three, " by Mary Bottsford, was well done. Two renderings by Henry Warrum, of Nameless Creek, entitled "A Sermon to Ladies" and "Woman’s Sphere," were well delivered. Essays were read by Willie Buchel, John Sharp, Flora Rice, Rosa Warrum, Glennie Hook, Lulu Vansickle, and many others. They also had an excellent paper read by Misses Jennie Buchel and Cora Winchester.

"Mr. Wood having engaged the services of State Superintendent Smart, we had the pleasure of listening to one of his interesting lectures at the M. E. church. The teachers at this place, though they have not as suitable a house and apparatus as others, have given satisfaction as far as I have been able to learn, and deserve credit for their untiring efforts to advance the cause of education. May they as teachers ever be prosperous.

A Well Wisher."

These narratives could be duplicated many, many times from the columns of the local papers during those years and for a decade following.


The spelling school was an institution that dated back almost to the beginning of the schools themselves. It was one of the first forms of entertainment that our schools offered to the communities. Many years before the Civil War schools had their "best spellers." School met school, well knowing that their "best spellers" could spell every word in the old McGuffey spelling book, and that their opponents must go down in defeat or the match must be a draw. Not only did the school have its best speller, but the community had its best speller, and he was relied on, "sent for" if necessary. Where is that community in the county that did not have at least one or more farmers who worked all day and then spelled to the wee hours of the night to uphold the reputation of the district in any match that a challenge might bring forth?

In the earlier days especially, one school challenged another. Often, simply a "spelling school" was announced. When the people had congregated captains were announced who chose the spellers. Then different plans were followed. Sometimes "runners" were chosen; sometime the contest was to see who could "stand the longest"; and sometimes it was determined in favor the side missing the fewest words. Generally the contest was entered for entertainment and to win. But it was not an uncommon thing for some patriotic and enthusiastic citizen to offer a prize to the winning side or the winning school.

It seems that spelling schools began almost with the organization of schools in this county, and continued more or less generally until within a decade or two of the close of the last century. They were conducted not only by the public school as an institution, but by organizations, societies, etc., and were frequently the means of raising funds, just as we now give entertainments, socials and suppers for the same purpose.

One of the most interesting spelling matches in the county was arranged by the ladies of the Greenfield Benevolent Society. The ladies canvassed the city and procured the consent of a number of business men and others to spell. Among them were: W. S. Wood, J. A. New, J. L. Mason, L. W. Gooding, A. Reynolds, G. T. Randall, O. Moon, William Mitchell, Lon Hammel, Mrs. Dr. Martin, Colonel Roberts, War Thomas, J. Ward Walker, I. P. Poulson, George B. Cooley, A. B. Linebeck, J. H. Binford, A. T. Hart, W. Hammel, Kate Geary, Hattie Havens, William J. Matthews, R. A. Riley, Lee O. Harris, H. J. Dunbar, James Walsh, Dr. E. I. Judkins, W. R. Hartpence, J. Rothenberger, W. O. Thomas, Rev. White, Marg. Roland, Emma Swope, A. W. Hough, H. L. Moore, Mrs. H. C. Chapman.

The contest was set for the evening of March 13, 1875, at the court room. By common consent the following appointments were made: J. H. White, master; G. W. Puterbaugh, umpire; J. Ward Walker and William Mitchell, captains.

It was also agreed that the winning side should be awarded three cords of wood and a ham of meat for the benefit of the society. The contest was to determine which side could remain standing the longer. Since so many of the spellers are clearly remembered, it is interesting to observe the order in which they "went down," and the words they misspelled:

1. Lee O. Harris, petrify 17. G. T. Randall, calabash
2. James Walsh, typify 18. Mrs. L. Gooding, maccaboy
3. W. S. Wood, typify 19. L. W. Gooding, hypothenuse
4. I. P. Poulson, typify 20. B. Clayton, idolater
5. Capt. A. L. Ogg, adamant 21. J. Ward Walker, belligerent
6. S. E. Duncan, adamant 22. Theo Winn, consulate
7. Mrs. H. C. Chapman, license 23. Charles Winn, serious
8. Mrs. A. C. Heaton, habitude 24. Riley Cross, aromatic
9. Miss Sarah Walker, pestilent 25. Dr. E. I. Judkins, allegoric
10. Colonel Roberts, impanel 26. Mrs. Brown, panegyric
11. U. Royer, pursuant 27. William Hammel, vicegerent
12. William Mitchell, metallic 28. W. R. Hartpence, decimal
13. Mrs. Gwinn, metallic 29. H. R. Clayton, epilogue
14. Mrs. F. H. Crawford, satirize 30. James E. New, vapory
15. Mrs. W. S. Wood, satirize 31. H. L. Moore, repellent
16. Capt. R. A. Riley, azimuth 32. Rev. C. T. White, seizure

At this point, John H. Binford, who had been chosen by Mr. Walker, was left standing alone, and the honors went to Mr. Walker’s side. The Symphony Glee Club furnished music during the evening, and the receipts netted the Benevolent Society eighteen dollars and ten cents.

Spelling matches similar to this one were held in various parts of the county, in which old and young participated. One other very interesting match was arranged between Greenfield and Knightstown. Each side spent more or less time in practice for the contest, which was held at the court house on the evening of May 14, 1875. Among the contestants from Greenfield and vicinity were: H. J. Dunbar, Mrs. Nellie Brown, Mrs. C. W. Gant, Miss M. E. Dille, L. W. Gooding, John H. White, L. M. Test, I. P. Poulson, Ephraim Marsh, Miss Royer, J. H. Binford, William Hammel, James A. New, D. S. Gooding, G. W. Puterbaugh, Capt. A. L. Ogg, Oscar F. Meek, W. B. Hartpence, E. W. Smith, James Walsh, C. F. White, H. R. Clayton, Mrs. N. P. Howard, Mrs. L. W. Gooding.

This contest was put on a basis that required not only good individual spellers, but good team work, to win. The side which lost the fewest points in misspelling words was to be declared the winner, Unfortunately for our spellers, they misspelled more words than did their opponents, and Knightstown carried off the honors of the match. This occasion, however, was also attended with a good time socially. The Knightstown team came over early in the evening and were entertained by the Greenfield people. Several articles and letters from members of the visiting team appeared in the local papers here afterward expressing appreciations of hospitality and of the good time generally.

Fortunately but one generation has arrived in the county too late to become familiar with the old-time spelling school.


Commencement exercises began to be held in some of the townships in the early eighties. They were not very elaborate, however. As late as 1891 the common school graduates of Sugar Creek township met on commencement evening with a previously arranged program. The graduates were prepared to "speak their pieces," and when the county superintendent arrived a program was arranged. A choir was made up from the young people of the audience, who sang several selections from the regular Sunday school books that were in the church; the children spoke, and this concluded the program.

During the decade following, however, these occasions grew to be much more pretentious. Elaborately embossed invitations began to be issued, orchestras were employed, the rooms decorated, and the parents went to great expense in purchasing apparel for the graduates. Neither parents nor children wished to be outdone, which made it very hard for people who could ill afford to make such outlays. The same thing was true during the first decade of the present century. The county board of education considered these matters at several meetings and recommended greater simplicity and less expense in the matter of dress, etc. During the last few years the parents and graduates have begun to take the same view. At a number of commencements during the last three or four years the boys have been wearing a plain, but neat uniform suit. The girls, too, have adopted a uniform dress, usually a plain white regulation suit with red tie. The classes appear to a very good advantage, the commencement is not expensive, nor so foolish, say many.

During the early history of the township commencements all the graduates recited their own selections. This was continued very generally until four or five years ago, when the common school commencements began to be combined with the high school commencements, for which a professional speaker has been employed.

At the September session, 1889, of the county board of education, Trustee James P. McCord, of Vernon township, moved that the county superintendent be ordered to arrange for a county oratorical contest, and that he select suitable prizes for the same. This motion was carried and the county oratorical contest became a feature of the county institute week at Greenfield until about 1910. At each township commencement the "best speaker" was chosen to represent the township at the contest. The selections spoken at the oratorical, and alos for a time at the township commencement were supposed to be original, and many of them were, but entirely too many of them seemed to be composed under the inspiration of the "Royal Path of Life," "Portraits and Principles," and other books of similar type. There was a great deal of interest in the contest, and sometimes also a great deal of feeling, even among the school officers over a failure of their representative to take the prizes.

For several years, from 1886 to 1889, the county board of education offered prizes to the schools for the best attendance during the term. At the June meeting, 1887, the members of the board expressed themselves as being pleased with the results obtained. For the school year, 1887-8, the prizes consisted of ten dollars each, and diplomas were given to pupils perfect in attendance during the past year. In 1888 Lossing’s "Encyclopedia of United States History" was selected as the prize.


The first exhibit of the school work of the county was made at the west school building at Greenfield in the spring of 1876. From this exhibit the best work was selected as the county educational exhibit at the Centennial Exposition at Philadelphia. In order to defray the expenses of making the state exhibit at Philadelphia the schools of all the counties made efforts to raise funds. In Hancock county "school exhibitions" and entertainments were held in practically all of the towns and townships. "There will be a school exhibition at Ellis school house, northeast of Greenfield, on Saturday next. The exercises will be varied. Admission, ten cents. Proceeds to go to the Centennial fund." So ran the announcements in the columns of the local papers during the early months of 1876. At Fortville, McCordsville, New Palestine and Greenfield elaborate exhibitions were given, and in some instances repeated. Churches, halls and school houses were utilized, and at several points comparatively large amounts were raised. At the exhibition of the Greenfield pupils at the Masonic Hall over forty-eight dollars was taken in on two evenings, and a total of over seventy-six dollars was raised by the Greenfield schools. At some of the other towns in the county as much as twelve dollars and fifteen dollars was contributed to the fund. This method of raising funds was adopted on the suggestion of the state central committee, who asked the state to contribute twenty-five thousand dollars to assist in erecting suitable buildings, defraying expenses, suggesting that the money be raised by school exhibitions, concerts, etc.

In April, 1882, another exhibit was made at Greenfield. It consisted mostly of manuscripts on the various school subjects, maps, etc. It was estimated that ten thousand pages of manuscript and seven hundred maps were exhibited.

In the fall of 1884 preparations were made for holding another county school exhibit at the close of that term of school. A committee was appointed to devise plans and ways and means for holding the exhibit. They reported as follows:


"We, the committee on school exhibit, appointed by the county superintendent, submit the following report:

Time and Place —The exhibit shall be held on the second Saturday in April in the west school building in Greenfield.

Plan of Work - (a.) Higher grades. County superintendent shall prepare a list of fifteen questions for the fourth and higher grades, ten of which are to be selected and written upon by the pupils. The examination to be held on same day in each school. One-half the work to be done in January, the other half in February.

(b.) Lower Grades. Work of third and lower grades to consist of manuscripts, maps, drawings and such other miscellaneous work as the teacher may see proper.

(c.) General Work. It is understood that the work of any or all grades shall not be confined to the work designated above, but may consist of any work which, in the discretion of the teacher, would add to or show up the work of his school. Such as miscellaneous drawing, paints, outlines, diagrams, work in higher branches, etc.

Rules — 1. All work exhibited in the above classes must be performed by bona fide members of the school and strictly under the discretions and regulations governing monthly examinations of teachers.

2. All manuscript work should be written with pen and ink in books prepared for that purpose, which will be placed in the book stores.

3. The answers should be numbered to correspond with the number of its question and a list of questions should accompany each subject.

4. All work should be completed by the 1st of April and it shall be the duty of each teacher to prepare his work in convenient form and see that it is presented for exhibit.

5. The questions prepared for examinations shall be held by county superintendent and submitted to the teachers just before the examination and not be unsealed until the morning of examination in the presence of his school.

Miscellaneous - Each teacher is requested to contribute ten cents, to be paid to county superintendent, for the purpose of defraying necessary expenses.

J. W. Smith
J. K. Allen
E. W. Felt
W. S. Porter
W. C. Atherton
Ollie Stoner
Mattie Thomas

This exhibit was held as planned in the spring of 1885. A large number of pupils from all parts of the county were in attendance.

During the winter of 1886-7 quite a large number of manuscripts, including maps, etc., was collected in the county and displayed as an educational exhibit at the county fair at Greenfield in 1887. A similar exhibit was made at the county fair in 1888.

The next exhibit was prepared during the winter of 1892-3. The county exhibit was held at Greenfield, from which work was selected for the Columbian Exposition at Chicago in 1893. This work consisted largely of written work, maps, etc., that illustrated the regular work of the schools. A large part of the necessary funds for defraying the expenses of making the school exhibit at the Chicago exposition was also raised by the school children of the state. A "Penny Fund" was originated, into which the school children contributed their pennies to an amount of about five thousand dollars. In the raising of this fund the children and teachers of Hancock county participated.

During the winter of 1903-4 another county exhibit of school work was made at the high school building at Greenfield. This work consisted of examination papers from all grades, including the grades and high schools, compositions and other manuscripts illustrating the daily work of the schools. Ample space was also given to music and drawing. Stenographic reports of recitations, township, town and city histories, collection of Riley picutes, and photographs of the best school houses in the county, formed the features of the exhibit. From the county exhibit a rather large exhibit was selected for the St. Louis Exposition in 1904.

No collection of class room work was submitted to the Panama Exposition at San Francisco, in 1915. A photographic exhibit, consisting of pictures of the oldest type of frame school buildings, the latter type of one-room brick school houses, and some of our best high school buildings, including also inside views of industrial arts and domestic science departments, was submitted as a county exhibit from Hancock county.


During the winter of 1877-78 this matter was presented to the teachers. It likely was not considered seriously by the teachers as a whole, yet several letters were published in the local papers in which individual teachers urged the advisability of effecting such an organization. Several letters were also published in which other teachers advised against taking such steps. The argument advanced for a teachers’ union was practically the same as that advanced for labor unions.

A more definite step in this direction, however, was the organization in 1904 of a chapter in the county of the Order of Pestalozzi. A lodge was instituted at Greenfield during the week of the county institute in September, 1904. Ora Staley, then principal of the Charlottesville school, was elected as the chief officer. The lodge never convened, however, after the evening of its institution, and very few of our teachers ever became familiar with its mysteries or its purpose.


During the winter of 1914-15, while the great European war was raging, the Red Cross Society made an appeal to the school children of America to contribute a penny each for the relief of the suffering children of the war zone. The response everywhere was generous. In Hancock county, especially in those schools were a proper explanation of the matter was made, the children responded gladly. Though not all schools participated, the following contributions amounted to a little over two cents per capita for all the school children of the county:

Blue River Township
Consolidated School $3.92
Brandywine Township
No. 1-Alpha Smith, teacher $3.25
No. 2- Elijah Reeves, teacher 1.10
No. 3-Jesse Boring, teacher 1.00
Warrington, room 3 .45
Shirley schools 2.00
Wilkinson schools 3.54
No. 9-Charles Carlton, teacher .96
Buck Creek Township
No. 4-Esther Luse, teacher $1.00
Mt. Comfort schools 2.50
No. 6-Ward Davis, teacher .50
No. 7-Ethel Snider, teacher 1.00
No. 8-Effie Welling, teacher 1.00
Center Township
No. 1-Gladys Teel, teacher $ .73
No. 3-Hazel Hanes, teacher .75
No. 6-M. Bussell, teacher .64
No. 7- Thelma Bussell, teacher .50
Maxwell schools 2.80
No. 14-Ernest Hiday, teacher .50
No 15-Rosa Garriott,teacher .70
Mohawk schools 1.00
Green Township
No. 1-Dean Baker, teacher $ .50
No. 2-Will Reed, teacher 1.00
Eden schools 2.00
No. 7-Wynema Binford, teacher 1.00
Jackson Township
No 4-Julia McClarnon,teacher $ .83
No 1-Robert Hunt, teacher .54
No. 6-Mary Payne, teacher 1.00
Cleveland schools 1.60
No. 9-Grover VanDuyn, teacher 1.05
Charlottesville schools 5.32
No. 3-Martha Coffin, teacher 1.00
Sugar Creek Township
Philadelphia schools $1.10
No. 3-Julia Herrlich, teacher 2.25
New Palestine schools 3.00
Vernon Township
McCordsville schools $3.85
No. 3-Will McCord, teacher 1.00
No. 5-John Walker, teacher 1.30
Greenfield schools 14.35
Total $72.55

This fund was known as the "Lincoln Fund," in honor of our martyred President, who gave his life in the service of humanity. The money, amounting to over six thousand dollars, from the state of Indiana, was distributed to the destitute children of all the warring nations of Europe.


The first compulsory education law of the state was passed in 1897. It made provision for county truant officers, also for a truant officer for incorporated cities. Since 1899 one truant officer has served the entire county. The officers appointed for the county under the above and succeeding acts are:

Charles Huston - Appointed in 1897, for Greenfield; served four years.
James H. Kimberlin - Appointed in 1897, for Vernon, Buck Creek, Brown and Green townships; served two years.
James Veach - Appointed in 1897, for Jackson, Blue River, Center, Sugar Creek and Brandywine townships; served two years.
Charles Huston - Appointed in 1899, for county; served two years.
George W. Shekell - Appointed in 1901, for county; served three years.
George Hull - Appointed in 1904, for county, served two years.
William Morse - Appointed in 1907, for county, served one year.
F. M. Carpenter - Appointed in 1907, for county; served one year.
William P. Wirick - Appointed in 1909, for county, served seven years.

The most of the work of the truant officer to this time has been among the poor in the cities and towns of the county. Very little need for such an officer has existed in the townships. A few prosecutions have been made from year to year, but his duties have been principally to serve the notices required by law in such cases.


During the winter of 1906-7 steps were taken by the county superintendent of schools to organize a boys’ corn club. In the spring a quart of good high grade seed was offered to each boy and a hundred or more boys entered the contest. The business men offered a number of valuable prizes. Among them were: Thomas & Son, riding cultivator, $25; Spot Cash, suit of clothes, $15; J. Ward Walker, suit of clothing, $15; J. W. Cooper, double-barrel shotgun, pair of skates, game of carom, hand printing press; Hancock Democrat, $15 in cash; Greenfield Republican, magazine or journals, one year’s subscription; W. S. Fried, $5 in cash; George Walker, $5 in cash, Cuyler Studio, one dozen $6 photographs; Service & Rogers, pair of Walk-Over shoes; Greenfield Star store, rain coat; J. G. Heath, $1.25 pocket knife; William M. Lewis book store, $1.25 book.

On the Friday and Saturday following Thanksgiving a corn show was held at the court house at Greenfield. Prof. M. L. Fisher, of Purdue University, scored the corn and on his decision the premiums were awarded. The club was maintained for about four years by County Superintendent Larrabee, in conjunction with the farmers’ institute. There was a general interest in the club among the boys, but it was finally discontinued because of a general lack of interest in the organization by the farmers; institute and the difficulty of financing it.


The legislature of 1913 passed a bill introducing vocational work in the public schools of the state. The McCordsville school at once introduced the work in manual training and domestic science. All the other township schools introduced the work in agriculture and domestic science. The teachers, of course, did not pretend to know much about these subjects, but by far the greater number of them have made a bona fide effort to accomplish something along these lines during the past two years.

For the work in agriculture text books were adopted in both the grades and high schools, and such experimental work was done as was possible. A similar plan was adopted in teaching domestic science. The theories underlying different processes were discussed and the pupils were encouraged to experiment at home. At the opening of the schools in 1914, however, much greater equipment was supplied, especially in the consolidated schools. For most of these schools sufficient equipment was provided to enable the pupils to experiment under the direction of the teacher. During the term of 1914-15 one or more dinners were also served by the domestic science classes in most of the schools on special occasions, and the guests especially were impressed with the importance of the new departure in school work.


There has been organized within the county one Parent-Teachers’ Association. On Tuesday evening, December 1, 1914, the parents and teachers of the Charlottesville schools met at the high school building for the purpose of organizing such an association. The following officers were elected: President, Mrs. Wilbor Wright; secretary, Miss Mina Overman; program committee, Mrs. Albert Luse, Mrs. Anna Niles and Mrs. Cynthia Peacock. Those present at the meeting were: Mrs. Wilbor Wright,l Mrs. Albert Luse, Mrs. Oscar Adkins, Miss Ruth Reeves, Mrs. Roy Lowe, Mrs. Clarence Haskett, Mrs. Percy Bantz, Mr. Lawrence Cox, Miss Katherine Rutledge, Mrs. Cynthia Peacock, Miss Mina Overman, Mr. Walter Orr, Mr. and Mrs. John Walker, and Mrs. And Mrs. Charles Ramsey.

Regular meetings of the association have been held in connection with the Jackson township institute, at the afternoon sessions on the first Saturday of each month.

The subjects that have been considered during the winter are: "Habits, Manners and Morals of the Child," "When and How to Appreciate the Child," "Why Should Our Children be Given Manual Training and Domestic Science When Our Fathers and Mothers Did Not Receive Such Training?" "Confidential Relation of Mother and Son," "Efficiency in the School Room," and "Efficiency in the Home." At these meetings musical numbers have been interspersed, including piano and vocal solos, quartets songs by schools, etc.

Though a mere beginning has been made, both parents and teachers who have participated in the work of the association feel that it has been eminently worth while for a better mutual understanding of the child, and a deeper appreciation by each of the viewpoint of the other.

A similar organization was effected at Wilkinson in 1915-16.

TEACHERS, 1915-16

Following are the names of the teachers now teaching in the county:

Blue River Township

Westland High School - Francis C. Landrus, Hazel C. Binford, Elsa Ropp

Grades - Noble Crider, Arthur D. Gray, Frances Burk, Hilda Coffin

Brandywine Township

No. 1, Georgia Moore; No. 2, Hazel Wood; No. 5, Virgil Duncan; No. 6, Bernice Boone; Carrollton, Orville Pope, Hazel Hanes

Brown Township

No. 1, Floyd Walker; No. 9, Mrs. Maggie Willis

Warrington - O. W. Kuhn, Kate Kennedy, Essie McCray

Shirley - Earl Kuhn, Leonard Bussell, Elijah Reeves, Margaret Reed, Agnes Dovey, Tressa Blakely.

Wilkinson High School - J. P. Amick, W. G. Willis, Helen Beers

Wilkinson Grades - Obe VanDuyn, Kate Reeves, Effie Reed

Buck Creek Township

No.1, Cloyd Boner; No. 4, Frank Leslie; No. 6, Marguerite Plessinger; No 7, Columbus Griffith; No. 8, Ethel Snider; No. 9, Esther Luse

Mt. Comfort High School - Carey E. Munsey, Mrs. Leo C. Mogle

Mt. Comfort Grades - Samuel E. Wallace, Merle Ashcraft

Center Township

No. 3, Rosa Garriott; No. 6, Naomi Tapscott; No. 7, Thelma Bussell; No. 14, Ernest Hiday; No. 15, Marshall Bussell; No. 16, Gladys Teel

Mohawk - Harry Ostermeyer, India Wright

Maxwell High School - A. M. Brown, Oakley Luse

Maxwell Grades - Florence Amick, Hazel Rees, Anna Reeves

Supervisor of music, art and domestic science, Pearl Butler

Green Township

No. 1, Dean Baker; No. 2, Irene McDaniel; No. 4, Sherman Rothermel; No. 7, W. H. Reed

Eden High School - O. W. Jackson, Stella Bussell

Eden Grades - Ernest Warrum, Leora Beagle

Jackson Township

No. 1, Helen Craft; No. 3, Lucile Ging; No. 4, Julia McClarnon; No. 5, Lawrence Cox; No. 6, Earl Powers; No. 9, Grover VanDuyn

Cleveland - R. M. Julian, Alice Glascock

Charlottesville High School - Walter Orr, Ruth Reeves, Marvel Frost

Charlottesville Grades - Merrill Wilson, Mina Overman, Cynthia Peacock

Supervisor of music and art - Lola Beeler

Sugar Creek Township

No. 2, Anna Kimple; No. 3, Julia Herrlich

Philadelphia - Frank S. Boone, Geraldine Conklin

New Palestine High School - W. W. Winn, Caroline Lubbe, Helen L. Self

New Palestine Grades - Glendale Brandenburg, Gertrude Ashcraft, Hazel Mitchell, Margaret Williamson

Vernon Township

No. 4, John Dl. Leslie; No. 5, Frank I. Irvin

McCordsville High School - Leonard Luce, Annalee Shortridge, Ethel Moe

McCordsville Grades - Peter Hinds, John Walker, Nevada Davis, Edna Trittipo


High School - Roy R. Roudebush, Floyd R. Carter, Vera Trittipo, Caroline Crouch, Frances McGregor

Grades - Samuel J. Stokes, J. L. Smith, Ruth Cheney, Glenn Moon, Bertha Helms, Inez Teague, Isa Pollard


Superintendent - Frank Larrabee

High School - Elmer Andres, Lenore McShane, Mora Corcoran, Floyd Garrison, Thomas Harney, Beatrice Hayes, Eloise Henley

Departmental - Lawrence Bridges, Helena Amick, Edith Shelby, Charles Boone

Washington School - Arthur Williamson, Daisy Harlan, Margaret Baldwin, Louise Hill, Edna Butler, Lizzie Harris

Longfellow School - Anna Jackson, Elizabeth Hanes, Kate Martin, Iduna Barrett

Lincoln School - Howard Macy, Hester Yelton, Alma Justice, Nelle Kinsley

East Greenfield School - Elizabeth Curry

Supervisors - Merle Brandenburg, drawing; Hazel Dillon, cooking; Catherine Fern Trees, music; Selma Stephens, sewing; Charles Boone, manual training.

Supervisor of music and art, Marie Hendren

Transcribed from History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions by George J. Richman, B. L., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis, Indiana, 1916. Pages 182-254.

Submitted by Sylvia (Rose) Duda, Laingsburg, MI April 22, 2002.

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Tom & Carolyn Ward / Columbus, Kansas /

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