Black Creek Township’s Old Schools

A couple weeks back I posted a photo of Grove School, Black Creek’s School no. 8. The other day, while looking through the 1978 Mercer County History, edited by Joyce Alig, I ran across an article about all nine schools that were in Black Creek Township years ago. The article was written by the late Florence Gause, a local genealogist who lived in Black Creek Township. Additional information about School no. 3 was written by Edith Adams.  

Like most townships, there were 9 schools in Black Creek Township. Numbering of the schools started in the northeast part of the township, went west, then south, east, south, and back west, ending at Wildcat School.

Black Creek Township, 1900 map showing the 9 schools.

I knew some of the people Florence mentions. And remember, this was written in 1978 and some things have changed since then.

“Early School History Black Creek Township,” by Florence Gause:

School no. 1, King School: named for one of the first settlers in the township and had also been used by the United Brethern for their meeting house. It sat on the east side of the road with a small cemetery called Zimmerman on the west side. It was one of the first schools to be closed and its few pupils were bused to Center. The building has long been torn down.

School no. 2, Winkler School: still standing as a storage shed near the Zion church. Its early log cabin had been replaced with a larger frame building that was in turn moved and served as a meeting place for a time of the Pleasant Gove members who later built Zion and was also used as the dwelling of the Frank Stetler family. Just before the school closed its pupils were bused to Center.

School no. 3, Lower Duck Creek/Brandt/Dellinger School: …located 1 mile south of the Van Wert-Mercer County line, and 1 ½ miles east of the Indiana-Ohio state line, at Short and Winkler Roads. Louis Brandt granted land for the school and a red schoolhouse was built in 1893. The name was changed to Dellinger School in the early 1900s. The school closed in 1929 and the students went to Willshire. This was the only one of the Black Creek schools to still hold a reunion as late as 1978. [written by Edith Adams]

School no. 4, Duck Creek School: …one of the earliest schools in the township and also the center of several community activities. It served as a hall for Grange number 402. (which caused no little amount of controversy because it was also used as a meetinghouse for a religious sect that did not believe in secret organizations). Its last building of brick is still being used as a machine shed.

School no. 5, Center/Central School: …was one of the last to close when the school hacks [buses] began hauling the country children into Rockford and to Willshire. It is the only one of the nine still in public use. It was started about 1859, built with a stove in the center. Once it caught fire and had to be rebuilt and then the furnace type stove was put in a corner. It was rebuilt in 1885 with the brick house being in 1894. Among its list of teachers were Nelson Bricker, Lee and James Addy, Doc Kennel, John Ray, Lewis and Albert Johnson, Sam Vining, N.L. Hinton LeRoy Pifer, Clark Sipe, Edith Dudgeon (Bowen), Edna Winkler, Lottie Morrison, Esther Morrow, with Carlotta Smith (Gilbert) being the last for the term 1938-39.

School no. 6, Manley School: …in Section 14 on Erastus-Durbin Road, at the end of Manley Road. The first was a log building, later a frame school was built but it caught fire and burned when the stove door was open and sparks spit out. The third was brick and had vestibules. Boys still sat on one side and girls on the other as most schools did. For several years, off and on, it was used for church services and other social activities, including box socials.

School no. 7, Robinson School: …on 707 at Erastus Durbin Road. Lillian Martz Carr started there in 1904 and years later her sons also attended. Some of its teachers were Mable Wolf, Mary Coil, Ned Place, and Buress McBride. In the winter the children would go into the woods to a patch of ice and play shinny (hockey) and the teacher would give a five-minute whistle for them to get back.

School no. 8, Grove School: …near the corner of 707 and Wabash Road. It had a natural spring for drinking water and was very near Black Creek ditch, for skating during winter. It has been torn down and there’s nothing there today except memories for some Gauses, Homer Carr, Vernon Counterman, Kettenrings, Roebucks, and a few of their children.

School no. 9, Wildcat School: …located at Wildcat corner, where the [oil] pipe and equipment were stored on one side, and on another was the only two-room school of the township. Lee Kuhn and Leo Baker are but two who graduated from Wildcat… [1]

Wild Cat School, Mercer County, Ohio. c1897-8.

I learned that Edith Bowen, who was my 5th grade teacher at Parkway (at Willshire), taught at a one-room school, Center School.

The old Black Creek school information, particularly information about Wildcat School no.9, is of interest to me since I grew up on Wildcat corner. A couple of my aunts as well as my Grandpa Miller and his siblings attended Wildcat School. I did not know that Wildcat had two rooms and I always thought of it as a one-room school.

1925 Wildcat School, Mercer County, Ohio.

[1] Joyce L. Alig, editor, Mercer County, Ohio History 1978, published by The Mercer County Historical Society, Inc. (printed Dallas, Texas: Taylor Publishing Co, 1980), 211.



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    • John Vining on March 17, 2021 at 8:43 pm
    • Reply

    Hi Karen! My dad went to the Lower Duck Creek/Brandt/Dellinger School (It was Dellinger when he went there). It closed when he was a 6th grader and he went to Willshire for grades 7 through 12. The steps to the old Dellinger school were still there when I was growing up just down the road, and Dad told me that is where he went to grade school. That school did hold reunions as late as 1978 (I believe they held them until the early 1980s). Dad was chairman of the alumni committee for a while and I think he might have been the last one. I went with him to a couple of the reunions when I was young: I remember going to one at Center School and one at Ruby Dudgeon’s Log Cabin Museum.

    1. Great to hear from you, John, and thank you for that interesting information. I wonder how many people attended those reunions? The one at Ruby’s Log Cabin would have been fun. It is sad that these old schoolhouses and the people who attended them are nearly all gone. Thanks for writing!

    • Mary Read on March 18, 2021 at 8:03 am
    • Reply

    Hi would like to receive more information about chat and other items in that area

    1. Thanks for writing. I try to write about information I learn about this area that might be of interest to people.

    • Leola on April 18, 2023 at 5:09 am
    • Reply

    Hello, I just came across this ,so very interesting. The name Bienz caught my attention. For I am a Bienz. Father Clarence Walter Bienz from Willshire. Mother was Ruby Mildred Wilkins ,Her father was Carl & Leola from little town East Of Schumm .Abaneka ,Clarence ,parents were Abebrum,& Hyla Bienz, lived on rt 49 South of Willshire.

    1. Some of the names you mention sound familiar although I don’t believe I knew any of them. However, I went to school with your sister Alice and I knew Kermit’s daughter Louise and her children Linda & Rhonda. I believe there is a Duff connection in there, too, and I went to school with Linda D, too. Alice, Rhonda, Linda D, and I were in the same class. Small world! There were some Bienz-Schumm marriages and my research sometimes gets into the Bienz family. Great to hear from you. Thank you for writing!

    2. I just remembered that I know Paul Leasor, too.

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