The 1898 Plat Map of Daviess County shows Clear Creek School east and slightly north of Carlow in Jackson Township. The school is shown at the northeast corner of 40 acres owned by Samil M. Wise; surrounding landowners include names like Eads, Stover and Richardson.
Research by local historian Wilbur Bush located Clear Creek School as across the road from Clear Creek Christian Church. This school, organized in 1840, is considered the oldest school district in Daviess County. A total of 400 students attended the Clear Creek School since the time that accurate records were kept.
Bush’s research actually reveals two school buildings.
The first school building erected was built one-half mile west of the school in operation in 1840. At their 1940 centennial, the speaker noted the fact that when the school was built there weren’t any modern conveniences, such as electricity and cars. Times had improved and advanced. The school also had to improve and change or the doors would be boarded up.
The first Clear Creek school was across from the Clear Creek Christian Church. It had a door on the south and one on the east. One door was used by the girls and the other by the boys. A walnut puncheon desk, fastened to the wall with pins, extended the entire length of the east wall. Puncheon seats were placed on opposite sides with boys sitting on one side and girls on the other.
A second school was built one-half mile from the first site. It was constructed in frontier fashion of hewn logs and was 18 feet square. In one end of the room there was a fireplace of rock chinked with clay, and in the opposite end there was a small window. This, along with one more window, furnished all the light for the building. A desk made of walnut puncheon fastened on pins driven in the wall was all the equipment with which the room was furnished.
The following year at a regular school board meeting, the board voted to furnish the pupils with seats. The seats were made of split logs into which pins were driven for legs. This type of seat was used until 1911 when more modern seats were purchased by the school board.
In 1857, a levy of $38 was raised for the addition of a floor, a ceiling, weatherboarding for the outside of the structure, and for fencing the grounds with posts and rails.
Each fall prior to the opening of school, the parents and patrons gathered at the school building for a day of “chinking” at which time the foundation was covered again with clay and the cracks between the logs and weatherboarding were daubed with fresh mud.
One time the citizens neglected this duty and the teacher asked each student to help with the chinking of the building with mud. The students removed the backs of their seats and used the boards to punch the mud into the cracks. The building was thoroughly daubed from the ceiling to the floor by 4 p.m.
In later years, the school was destroyed by fire during the Civil War when two men were killed, one hiding in the school and one in the church.
The wet spring in 2019 prompts worries and memories of flood waters of times past, particularly the most significant flooding which occurred in Daviess County in 1909, 1919, 1993, 2017 – and many times between.
Raymond Heldenbrand, Winston, shares this flood photo showing Neil McCrary on the Clear Creek Bridge in 1919. The photo is one of a dozen preserved in a “Snap Shots” album which Raymond discovered among family keepsakes. Several flood scenes identified water expanses looking across the Grand River bottoms. Others identified include Ralph and Neil McCrary.