Harrison Township’s Africa schoolhouse in Delaware County

A District 11 schoolhouse doesn’t appear on an 1874 plat map of Delaware County’s Harrison Township, though a township school of unknown district is west of the present-day intersection of North County Road 700-West  and West County Road 300-N1. In 1881, the District 11 school was known as the Africa schoolhouse, with W.P. Barnett as the teacher2

Photo taken April 10, 2021.

The following year, William Antrim granted the Harrison Township Trustee a portion of his land to erect a new schoolhouse3. A new, brick building -located about three-quarters of a mile west of the schoolhouse visible on the 1874 map- was occupied during the winter of 1883, and dedicated the following March4

Just how the schoolhouse got its peculiar name is unknown, though there was also an Africa schoolhouse in Wells County’s Liberty Township5 and one in Kosciusko County’s Turkey Creek Township. The school in Kosciusko County received its name due to its remote location: traveling to attend classes there was such a trek that the students might as well have been voyaging to Africa6. Harrison Township has no incorporated communities, so the District 11 school may have gotten its common name for a similar reason. 

In its later years, the District 11 school was known as the Fairview schoolhouse7. Gilbert Carpenter of Yorktown served as the final teacher before the school closed in 1924 after Harrison Township’s new consolidated school opened8. In 2021, the expanded structure was in use as a barn. 

Sources Cited
1 Kingman, A.L. (1874). Map of Delaware County, Indiana : from recent & original surveys, made expressly for this map, drawn, compiled and published by A.L. Kingman and assistants. map, Chicago, IL; A.L. Kingman.
2 Helm, T. B. (1881). Mount Pleasant Township. In History of Delaware County, Indiana: With Illustrations and Biographical Sketches of Some of Its Prominent Men and Pioneers. book, Kingman Brothers.
3 Delaware County, Indiana. (1882, November 21). Deed Book 54. p. 440.
4 Our County Schools and Matters of Interest Concerning Them. (1884, March 20). The Muncie Morning News. p. 3.
5 Will Build New Schools. (1910, February 11). The Muncie Morning Star. p. 2.
6 Spurgeon, W. (1988, August 9). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 6.
7 Greene, D. (1952, March 26). Seen and Heard in Our Neighborhood. The Muncie Star. p. 6.
8 Delaware County Public Schools. (1923). School directory, Delaware County public schools, Delaware County, Indiana 1923-1924. Muncie, IN. 

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