Spiceland Township’s Ogden Schoolhouse in Henry County

The town of Ogden, Indiana, sprung up around alignments of the old Central Railroad and the National Road. Laid out by Hiram Crum during the winter of 1828, the settlement was originally named Middletown in reference to its position roughly halfway between Richmond and Indianapolis. Another Middletown -also in Henry County- had already been platted, so Crum’s town was renamed to honor an engineer who helped construct the National Road through the area. In 1871, a two-story brick schoolhouse was built to serve the roughly 300 people1 who lived there. It became Spiceland Township’s District 4 schoolhouse.

The current building, three rooms of red brick with a slate roof, was erected in 1878. Oliver Steele, Celia Smith, and Clara Jackson taught there during the 1890s. A distant relative of mine, Milton Edwards2, taught there.

The schoolhouse at Ogden served students from grades one through eight. Kids who wanted to extend their studies were set out on their own to go to nearby Knightstown or Spiceland for high school until 1924, when rumors abounded that the school at Ogden had closed. It hadn’t- Hildredth Mausy was the teacher then3.

That year, the school’s patrons filed suit against the township trustee. The suit sought sought to provide proper facilities to teach seventh- and eighth-grade pupils at the Ogden schoolhouse since, apparently, those underclassmen were being being sent to Spiceland regardless of their desire to go to school in Knightstown4. If those suits are correct, the school at Ogden appeared to be used as an elementary -for grades 1-6- by that time.

It looks like the school at Ogden closed shortly afterwards, when all of the District 4 students were sent to Spiceland for good. The building, along with its two-acre grounds, was sold to Ernest Davis five years later on September 5, 1929. A newspaper article advised that the building had been abandoned for some time, but that its value was enhanced by its location on the National Road which, in the eyes of the newspaper, made it an excellent place for “a lunch room filling station, garage, or similar roadside business5.” The paper went on to announce that the old schoolhouse was underlaid by a “stratum” of gravel that could also be valuable to a real estate speculator.

None of that happened: A Mrs. Lucas lived at the school for many years before Thomas Hager remodeled the old school into a dwelling6. He died in 1994 and today, the old schoolhouse -its red brick painted yellow- remains in use as a home.

Sources Cited
1 Pleas, E. (1871). Henry County Past and Present: A Brief History Of The County From 1821 To 1871. Pleas Brothers. book. New Castle.
2 R. Ratcliff & W. Byrket. (1973). “The Schools of Spiceland Township, Henry County, Indiana.” Private printing. book. 
3 Suit To Mandate Trustee (1924, September 26). The Knightstown Banner. p. 1.
4 (See footnote 3).
5 Sold at auction with grounds for $15,30 to Ernest Davis on September 5, 1929. Two acres adjoined High Price For Two Acres (1929, September 6). The Knightstown Banner. p. 8.
6 Hager, E. Knightstown History Stuff. (2014, December 9). This was my cousins home for many years, Thomas Hager , He remodeled it to the state that it is in now. He spent [Comment]. Facebook.

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