Coke County, Texas


Tennyson has been a town with post office facilities since Aug. 20, 1902. The town was first located about a mile southwest of the present location and was known as Juniper. In 1909 it was moved to its present location on the railroad.

School facilities were there as early as 1904. The school was first called County Line and in 1912, the name of the school was changed to Tennyson and school district No. 18 was created, bonds voted and the first school built. This school was destroyed by fire on Thanksgiving Day, 1937 and a new three-room modern brick building erected. The building was dedicated in March, 1938. P. R. Jones, principal, presided at the dedication ceremonies. Members of the school board at that time were J. P. Arrett, C. N. Webb, R. B. Caldwell, Will Palmer, Clarence Derrick and W. T. Brooks.

Board members, asisted by Ben Brooks, former board member, directed the work of building the new school. School had gone on in the interim, using a church and a wooden structure on the school ground as classrooms. This school later consolidated with the Bronte district.

The (Bronte) Enterprise, in April 1924, edited by D. M. West, said that the Tennyson name was given to the community either by Mr. Sam Sayner or Mr. John Sayner, He said that "because of its picturesqueness, it seemed to close akin to the beautiful poetic sentiment of Lord Tennyson that it was given the name it bears after him."

Editor West went on to say in 1924: "Industrially and commercially, the town has four stores, one garage, one blacksmith shop and a cotton gin. J. L. Howell is postmaster and is also engaged in the grocery business, auto accessories and lubricating oil and gasoline. J. A. Ellison is also a merchant, selling drugs, jewelry, dry goods and hardware.

"M. M. Dunn is another merchant. He carries a full line of fresh, clean groceries and also a full line of garden seeds. Mr. Dunn is also establishing hotel facilities at Tennyson.

"Another business man is S. J. Townsend. He is selling dry goods and grocerieAs and is buying the peoples' produce. In December of 1923, the Masonic Lodge of Tennyson was organized in the second story of the building owned by Mr. Townsend.

"D E Little is the blacksmith and garage man for Tennyson."

Tradition has it that in the earliest times, a little girl by the name of Margaret died and her father buried her body away up on the top of the mountain which towers over Tennyson, and from this incident the mountain took its name. It is a fact that in 1942 Sgt. Silver Froman of Chicago, a soldier at Camp Barkley, was killed on the mountain. He and some companions climbed to the summit and sat down on a ledge of rock. The ledge crumbled and fell, crushing him beneath its weight.

The Tennyson post office was established in 1902, with Mrs. W. P. Byrd as postmaster. She served until 1906. The next two postmasters were J. T. Daniels and Joew Howell and the dates of their tenure are not exact; but it is thought Daniels served from 1906 until about 1924, when Mr. Howell took over and was postmaster until October, 1937, when Mrs. Gladys VanZandt was commissioned. She served until March 31, 1943, when Mrs. Tom (Betty) Green took over and is still the postmaster there (as of 1964).

The post office used to be west of the present site, across the railroad but was moved across the highway in the early 30's.

Early Tennyson Residents

The C. Bakers are pioneers of the Tennyson area. The D. E. Sayner family were also early residents in this area. They were married in Nov. 1897 in the home of her parents, Mr. and Mrs. F. C. Ainsworth, in the present Tennyson community. She came to what is now Coke County in the late 1870s with her parents and helped to settle the Tennyson community.

From Historical & Progress Edition of the Bronte Enterprise - (75th Anniversary of Coke Co.) - Sept. 3, 1964. Found in the Vertical Files of the West Texas Collection - Angelo State University, San Angelo, TX. Permission has been granted by The Observer/Enterprise to copy articles for the internet.

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