Lafayette Township’s earliest schoolhouse was the first District 7: Meade school, built in 1840 on what was later called the Patrick Ryan farm. John Pennisten taught classes at the building1, which was nothing more than a log cabin with a wide fireplace on one side2.
In 1844, the Florida United Methodist Church was established as a Sunday school in a log cabin in the area3. It’s unclear whether the congregation used the schoolhouse for their purposes, but they probably did since such arrangements were common at the time.
In response to state legislature that provided for the operation of a free public school system, a frame schoolhouse was built near the site of the log cabin around 18574. It was the first free school in Lafayette Township.
The present school was erected around 18745. Unlike the majority of Lafayette Township schoolhouses that closed in 1932 when the six-room Leach School absorbed them all6, it appears as though the Meade schoolhouse was shuttered earlier, sometime before 1923. A roster of the township’s schools from that year did not list it as active7.
Upon its closure, the students of the Meade Schoolhouse were likely sent to the nearby four-room Jefferson School or the second Mount Hope School, which both opened in 1906 in what later became North Anderson. Both schools served students of North Anderson and Lafayette Township until 1939 when North Anderson Elementary School was constructed.
The old Meade schoolhouse outlasted all of its successors. Mt. Hope was demolished in 1949, and Jefferson was torn down sometime between 1998 and 20038. Today, the District 7: Meade schoolhouse is one of eight still standing in Lafayette Township and is used as a home.
1 Forkner, J. & Dyson, B. (1897). Historical Sketches and Reminiscences of Madison County, Indiana. book. Anderson, IN.
2 Jackson, S.T. (2009, November 14). In History: Township schools set by districts. The Anderson Herald Bulletin. WEb. Retrieved December 13, 2021.
3 Union Of Two Methodist Churches Set This Spring (1969, February 28). The Anderson Daily Bulletin. p. 3.
4 (See footnote 2).
5 (See footnote 2).
6 Leach School to be Dedicated Next Tuesday (1932, August 19). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
7 Teachers for Lafayette Township Schools (1923, September 8). The Alexandria Times-Tribune. p. 1.
8 Google. (2003, July 12). [Google Maps Jefferson school former location]]. Retrieved December 13, 2021, from Google Earth Pro.