Cass County

Hughes Springs Schools

Definite information about all of the early schools for Chalybeate (Hughes Springs) is not available. In 1858, Cass County Commissioners Court appointed M. Dees and Allen Cox who were tow of the paying patrons of D. L. Hendricks School No. 2, to collect pro rate shares of payments from other patrons. That school probably served some pupils from Chalybeate.
In 1876, records of the same court show that Mrs. M. L. Herbert was paid forty dollars for teaching the Chalybeate School two months that year. Students were David Driver, Joseph M. Driver, Richard C. Herbert, Henry L Stephens, and Margaret Williams. Patrons were James M. Driver, Young Stevens, R. L. Herbert, H. D. McMillian, W. F. Martin, G. K. Williams.
In 1880, Robert Fletcher and his wife taught the school at Hughes Springs. One hundred students attended and the old Methodist church was used as a school building. It was a long, boxed structure located on the same site as the Methodist church in 1951.

T. B. Price employed in 1889 to teach school at Hughes Springs for a salary of one hundred dollars a month was one of the highest salaried teachers in Cass County at the time.

About 1893 or 1894, the first public schoolhouse was erected on McMillan property fifty yards east of the present city hall. That school was a two-story building of 1 x 12 boards with Narrow strips of lumber to keep out rain, wind, snow. It was roughly finished inside and outside as were many other buildings of that era. Seats were rough benches often hewn from split logs. Parents were expected to furnish seats and books for their children.

Hughes Springs School System was incorporated for free school purposed by an election December 15, 1902 held at Hughes Springs. Seventy-four votes were cast in favor and sixteen against the incorporation.

J. E. Koonce, superintendent; Maud Stewart and Eva Stratton were teachers for the 1898-1899 session of school at Hughes Springs.

The old two story wooden school building was torn down after a few years and replaced by a new brick structure. As population increased, the first brick building was retained for a grade school, and about 300 yards north of it a high school was erected. Those tow buildings served school needs until 1941 when a new high school was constructed, and the original high school was used for grade school. In the meantime, a new elementary school had been built a few yards from the first high school. Both new buildings were needed for increased enrollment from additional families coming to work at the Lone Star Steel Plant near Hughes Springs.

About 1963 the school board ordered construction of a new and larger high school building. It is one of the most modern, spacious attractive buildings in East Texas and staffed with an unusual core of talented teachers.

Miss Lola Dees and Mr. James S. Townley supplied most information about Hughes Springs Schools. Later we found the following article in The Cass County Sun, Tuesday, July 23, 1901:
"The people of Hughes Springs are putting forth their industrial energies in the field of education. They are now having the school building thoroughly repaired for the fall term."

"The Board of Directors have chosen for Principal Prof. Nelson, graduate o Peabody Normal; First and Second Assistants, Miss Emma Frost and Mrs. Carrie Henderson, teachers of fine experience; Music teacher, Miss Nora Ray who is in Dallas fitting herself better for the position. She is a lady of several years experience."

Some of the Hughes Springs school principals and superintendents included: Frank Price, Asberry Shelton, Sam and Henry Abernathy, E. C. Nelson, Whit Campbell, Joe McClung, William Porter, G. P. Parker, R. M. Hanes, Prof. Parker, and C. M. Williamson.

Article found in the vertical files of the Atlanta Public Library. No author was listed.

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