|A Year of Indiana History - 2016|
When Congress passed the Enabling Act on April 11, 1816, they provided land for the new state to establish a state seminary, or school. The Act also provided for schools at the township level. The Constitutional Convention attendees envisioned a further layer of schools provided at the county level. Thus, they established a system off county seminaries.
The County Seminaries
The legislature began chartering these seminaries in 1825. The funding for the seminaries was to come from conscientious objectors paying fees in lieu of military service and fines exacted from persons that broke penal laws. The funding from these sources was never adequate to the task. According to the law, each township was to elect three trustees, who would choose the school districts. Each male inhabitant over eighteen was required to work one day a week on the construction of the building, or pay a fine of thirty-seven cents for each day they abstained from service.
Shelby County's seminary was chartered in 1831. The county erected a two-story brick building for this school in 1835. The Constitution of 1851 changed this system to the township system and sold all the Seminary buildings in the state in 1852.
A Year of Indiana History - 2016
© Paul Wonning