Memories of former schools located in Switzerland County

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Remembrances of Switzerland County’s one-room schoolhouses is the focus of the upcoming “Schooldays” exhibit currently being researched as staff and volunteers explore this fascinating bit of the county’s history.

A booklet compiled by Charles B. Noble who served as the superintendent of Switzerland County Schools from 1933 to 1957 is a wealth of information. In 1933 there were 32 one-room schools, 3 two-room schools and 1 three-room school, with a total of 41 teachers. They are as follows:

Cotton Township: Harmony – Isabel T. Coleman; East Enterprise – Susan E. Orem; Allensville – Pauline Hyde; Fairview – Warren Elsrod; Picketts Corner – Willetta Washmuth; Greenwood – Woodson Porter; West Union – Elijah H. Wiley.

Craig Township: Five Points – Ruth Osborne; Shilo – Ernest Lock; Halls Branch – Russell C. Smith; Bridge – Mary Ellen Roeder; Spring Branch – Landon Curry; River View – Eva Lena Carnine and Hazel Boggs; Malcomson – Doris Kern; Long Run – Mary Shaw; Lost Fork – Ethol Brindley; Vineyard – Edna T. Storie.

Jefferson Township: Mt. Hope – Nettie Morgan; Phillips – Carrie Leatherbury; Center Square – Theo Bakes; Jacksonville – Raymond Cole; Plum Creek – Lorraine Weales; Mt. Sterling – Elmo Shadday and Wilma Pickett; Pleasant View – Ellogene Griffith; Markland – Marie Bosaw.

Pleasant Township: Drewry – Wilena Culbertson; Bennington – Edith B. Stewart; Harrison – H. Ross Jackson; Lindley – D. Dorcas Orem; Waterloo – Elgin Crandell; Thornhill – Jeanette Storie; St. Marys – Cora G. Stout; Moorefield – Baisel L. Gullion and Elsie Smith.

York Township: Florence – Loomis Wilson, Willard Bosaw and Charlotte Benedict; Markland – Lillard Parker; Fairmount – Cimma Scudder.

A listing of teachers and one-room schools for Posey Township was found in the subject files at the museum, as Patriot-Posey was a separate school district at that time. The following is from 1900:

Independence – Anna Manford; Concord – Lutha Walker; Searcy – M.K. Huston; Palmetto – George Murdock; Goose Creek – Omer Williamson; North Branch – Deda North; Sycamore – Daisy North; Antioch – William Bungor; Quercus Grove – Fanny White and D. C. Cunningham; Burnt – Henry W. Beckman; Hamton – Lizzie North.

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Depending on enrollment and the condition of buildings, there was annual change in teacher placement and schools closed and reopened. Mr. Noble’s report reflects the following:

1935-1936: West Union closed.

1936-1937: West Union operational again.

1937-1938: Lost Fork closed.

1939-1940: Bridge and Spring Branch closed.

1940-1941: Picketts Corner and Drewry closed.

1941-1942: West Union, Thornhill and Markland in York closed.

1941-1942: Picketts again operating.

1942-1943: Center Square School now operating under its own name.

1943-1944: Lindley closed.

1944-1945: Malcomson closed.

1945-1946: Halls Branch closed.

1947-1948: Greenwood and Waterloo closed.

March 1948: Allensville School destroyed by a tornado, Greenwood reopened.

1948-1949: Because of the deplorable condition of the Florence School building, the York Township pupils were sent to Quercus Grove.

August 1st, 1948: Jefferson Township and Craig Township were consolidated and the new corporation became Jefferson-Craig Consolidated School Corporation.

1949-1950: Vineyard School building cracked open and the school was closed. Malcomson was reopened. New four-room metal building at Florence was in service at the beginning of the school year and the York Township pupils were placed there.

January 1st, 1950: New six-room Cotton Township metal building at Allensville opened.

December 1950: the Malcomson School burned and school was conducted in a tenant house. Early in 1953, the Indiana Supreme Court ruled in favor of building the new Jefferson-Craig School.

March 1954: River View School burned

1954-1955: New Jefferson-Craig School is now in operation with 12 teachers and Mr. Edward Furnish as principal.

1956-1957: Pleasant Township now has three rooms of its new building completed and in use.

1934-1935: Switzerland County had 880 elementary children, Patriot-Posey had 257 elementary pupils, Vevay had 167 elementary pupils. In high school, Patriot-Posey had 98 and Vevay 240, a total of 1,642 school children in the county.

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The “Schooldays” exhibit is scheduled to open on August 6th. We would like to add a personal touch with stories and anecdotes from county residents who attended one-room schools. Write them down and drop them off at the Switzerland County Historical Museum at 210 East Market Street open daily from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., send them to P.O. Box 201, Vevay or email them to swcomuseums@embarqmail.com. For further information call 427-3560. We’re looking forward to hearing from you!

Martha Bladen