The remains of Bleak Hall Plantation on Edisto Island

My occasional trips to South Carolina’s Lowcountry are invigorating. They let me examine some really old places! Around central Indiana, the earliest cemeteries date to about 1839. while the oldest schoolhouses and churches date from the years following the Civil War. Much of what Edisto Island offers stands in direct contrast to that, and the Bleak Hall Plantation is a perfect example. It dates to 1749!

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Anderson Township’s Smoky Row schoolhouse in Madison County

Anderson Township’s District 8 Schoolhouse -known as the Brown or Smoky Row school- was a two-room schoolhouse that held classes for two grades in each room1. It was named Brown either due to its location on what later became Brown Street in Anderson or as a reference to the family that gave the thoroughfare its name. The Smoky Row moniker came from an early resident walking to town one chilly morning. Noting the chimneys warming the area’s houses, he described the scene as a “smoky row”. The name stuck2.

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Hamilton Township’s District 10 schoolhouse in Delaware County

Milton Hamilton deeded a portion of his land on Riggin Road to the Hamilton and Center School Townships in 18971. Soon after, officials built a schoolhouse there, which became known as Hamilton Township’s District 10 school2. It’s unclear as to whether or not the schoolhouse had a common name.

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Adams Township’s Ovid schoolhouse in Madison County

The Adams Township community of New Columbus was named by Abraham Adams when he laid the town out in 1834. Unfortunately, the moniker he chose was the same as a community that already existed in Bartholomew County. When the post office was established three years later it was called Ovid1. Today, signs at the community’s edge call it “New Columbus or Ovid.”

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Washington Township’s Carmin schoolhouse in Delaware County

It wasn’t unusual for old schoolhouses to be relocated over the years. Washington Township’s District 7 building in Delaware County certainly was! In 1874, the building was located on the west side of Gaston-Matthews Pike about half a mile north of West County Road 1000-North on the land of Samuel S. Carmine1.

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Green Acres in Blackford County

I’m drawn to places where people once congregated. For me, abandoned areas that once bustled with people evoke a sense of solitude and reflection. They also serve as historic artifacts that compel me to learn more about the past! That interest is what forms the majority of my writing, and it’s what drew me to Green Acres in southwestern Blackford County. At first glance, only a small, stone, marker differentiates it from hundreds of other farms in the area.

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Brown Township’s Willow Branch schoolhouse in Hancock County

Brown Township’s District 9 schoolhouse sat at the northeast corner of East County Road 650-North and North Thomas Road on land owned by M.J. Thomas in 18751. The original schoolhouse was commonly known as Spiceland, and it counted Dr. J.G. Stuart of Fortville and Indiana State Representative Montgomery Marsh among its earliest students2. W.J. Thomas taught there in 18823.

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