Fortville School before 1909

Jackson Union School 1909-1910

Jackson Union School before it was torn down.

Cook's School - 1913

Cushman's School - 1921

One-Room School Numbers and Names

  • School No. 2 - (no name)
  • School No. 3 - Jackson Union
  • School No. 4 - Denney's
  • School No. 5 - Cook's
  • School No. 6 - Duzan's
  • School No. 7 - Cushman's
  • School No. 8 - Woodbury

History of One-Room Schoolhouses

According to Binford’s book entitled History of Hancock County Indiana, the first schools in Vernon Township were subscription, or pay schools, taught by traveling schoolmasters.  These schoolmasters usually taught by the term, or quarter, and took up room and board with one of the local residents.  Sometimes the schools were taught by a local resident.

The first schoolhouses were merely pole cabins.  There were only three: one on “Robbs’s farm”, which was half a mile south of McCordsville; one was two miles east of McCordsville; and the other was located in Fortville.  No special school tax was in place at that time, and there was only a small interest income from the congressional township school fund.  This meant that the school houses had to be built by the residents of the area.  The residents also needed to provide the wood to heat the school.  When a vote was called for on a “free school system” (a state-wide system that would make tuition free and open to all) in 1849, those of Vernon Township voted ‘no’ because they liked the old system.

In 1859, a trustee was appointed named Perry J. Brinegar.  Levi Thomas was elected in 1861 and 1865.  G. W. Stanley was elected in 1863. Andrew Hagen was appointed in 1866, Stokes Jackson in 1876, and Samuel Arnett in 1880.

By 1882, nine public schoolhouses were in the township.  Seven were framed buildings and two were brick.  The names of the schools and instructors in 1882 were as follows:

School Number – Name – Instructors

Dist. No. 1 – McCordsville – J.W. Smith, Jessie S. Jackson, Frank O. Forts, Ella Thompson
Dist. No. 2 – (no name) – Worth Trittipo
Dist. No. 3 – Jackson Union – Ed Crumbaugh
Dist. No. 4 – Denney’s – Frank Smith
Dist. No. 5 – Cook’s – Lawrence Durack
Dist. No. 6 – Duzan’s – Quitman Jackson
Dist. No. 7 – Cushman’s – C. Vanlaningham
Dist. No. 8 – Woodbury – J.W. McCord
Dist. No. / – Fortville – M. Caraway, A. E. Cummins, Anna Chittenden, Alice Cory

By 1916, according to George Richman in his History of Hancock County, all of the one-room schoolhouses had been abandoned except for Cook’s and Denney’s.  All of the other students went to either the McCordsville or Fortville schools.


  • History of Hancock County, Indiana.  J.H. Binford. King & Binford, Publishers, Greenfield: IN, 1882.
  • History of Hancock County, Indiana, Its People, Industries and Institutions. George J. Richman. B. L.., Federal Publishing Co., Indianapolis: IN, 1916.

Old Fortville School Gradebooks - A Small Note

The following student lists were made possible by a kind and generous patron donation of old Fortville School gradebooks from1881-1887.

The last two school years have at least 4 teachers with their own group of students. The students' names sometimes overlap within the same year. One might presume that a student was either promoted or demoted according to his or her learning ability.

The spelling of a student's name might change within the school year, as well. Sometimes nicknames were used later on, or the teacher might have spelled the name wrong in the beginning of the year.

Student List from Old Fortville School

1886-1887Fortville School50.66 KBDownload
1885-1886Fortville School53.31 KBDownload
1884-1885Fortville School41.85 KBDownload
1883-1884Fortville School42.28 KBDownload
1882-1883Fortville School29.00 KBDownload
1881-1882Fortville School33.16 KBDownload