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"THE HISTORY OF HOUSTON COUNTY TEXAS"

By:  Armistead Albert Aldrich

(continued)

 

PENNINGTON SCHOOL

 

Another school that was located in what is now the town of Pennington, in Trinity County, Texas, in territory that was originally included in Houston County, was being taught as early as January 7, 1867, as will appear from the following advertisement in the Crockett Sentinel published on March 3. 1868:

    "PENNINGTON MALE AND FEMALE INSTITUTION

"The exercises of this institution will commence Monday, January 13, 1868.

"RATES OF TUITION PER SESSION OF SIX MONTHS

"Orthography, reading and writing, $12.00; English gram. mar, geography and arithmetic, $18.00; philosophy, chemistry, rhetoric, & c. Latin & Greek languages and advanced mathematics. $24.00; music on piano with use of instrument, $36.00; incidental expenses per pupil $1.00. "The above rates payable in specie. Pupils charged from the time of entrance to close of session. No deduction made for the time of entrance to close of session. No deductions made for absence, except in cases of protracted sickness. This insti­tution is located in a healthy section of the country, surrounded by an intelligent population and no pains will be spared by Teachers and Trustees to make this one of the First Institutions of the State. Board can be obtained at reasonable rates. John J. A. Patton, principal; Mrs. M. E. Patton, associate. Pennington, Texas. Jan. 7, 1867."

Mention has been made of the Cochino school, taught by Judge S. M. Thompson. This school was later taught by a daughter of Judge Thompson, Dolly Thompson, who is now Mrs. W. B. Worthington. Later, the community formerly known as Cochino became the site of the present Town of Kennard, and the school has been maintained there ever since.

KENNARD SCHOOL

 

About the year 1898 or 1899, Miss Ernestine Myricks was called to teach the Kennard School. While teaching there she married A. J. McLemore, a son of James McLemore, one of the original patrons of the school taught at Cochino by Judge Thompson. Mrs. Dump McLemore, after the death of her husband, moved to Crockett and taught in the city schools of Crockett. The Kennard School has grown into one of the large outstanding schools of the county. Several adjacent country schools have consolidated with the Kennard school until it has developed into a large educational institution, employing a large number of teachers and is now under the management of Professor Earle Bland.

 

THE HEFLIN SCHOOL

 

About the year 1870 or 1871, a school was taught about two miles Southwest of Crockett by a teacher by the name of Andrew Hassell. He was a brother of our well-known townsman, and former city marshall, Charles Hassell. He was a young, unmarried man when teaching the Heflin school and attracted the attention of Dr. S. F. Tenney, at that time pastor of the First Presbyterian Church of Crockett. Dr. Tenney, taking quite an interest in the young man, persuaded him to study for the ministry, and fortunately, knowing a benevolent friend who wanted to aid a ministerial student, obtained for Mr. Hassell some financial help which enabled him to attend a theological seminary and fit himself for the ministry. He became a very useful and able minister of the Southern Presbyterian Church, and was the father of two sons who also became ministers of the gospel. One of these, J. W. Hassell, commonly known as Woodrow Hassell, spent many years as a missionary in the East, and later came to Texas, and was stationed at McAllen in the Rio Grande Valley. He is still engaged in ministerial work in some other State. The other son was Rev. A. P. Hassell, who has been for many years a missionary in China and is still labor­ing there, and underwent some trying experiences during the war between Japan and China. He is one of the brave missionaries who refused to desert his post, even in the face of great dangers and the risk of his own life.

 

THE OAKLAND SCHOOL

 

It is not certainly known who was the first teacher at the Oakland school, but Miss Bunnie Arrington taught the school for a number of years and some of our best-known citizens were pupils under her teaching. This school is situated about eight miles West from Crockett on the Porter Springs road. Other teachers followed Miss Arrington at this school, but now the old building in which school was taught, no longer exists.

 

PORTER SPRINGS SCHOOL

 

A school has been maintained at Porter Springs from very early times. The first teacher of that school is not known, but among the early teachers was the widow of John H. Potts, Mrs. Graves, who later married Captain T. J. Pridgen, and who died while making her home in the Porter Springs community. Her husband, Captain T. J. Pridgen, was for many years justice of the peace at Porter Springs. One of the outstanding teachers of the Porter Springs school was Professor Thompson, a highly educated man and an able teacher, and his reputation as a teacher was very high, and he will long be remembered by the older citizens of the Porter Springs community. He died while engaged in his work as teacher of that school. During the time of the above named teachers, the building in which the school was constructed was a simple wooden building, but now a splendid brick building has been erected there and a high grade school is being conducted by a succession of able teachers. This school is one of the best in the county.

 

OLD CORINTH SCHOOL

 

This school was situated near what is known now as the Center Hill Community near Kennard, composed largely of Ike Morgan, Julian, Maples, Harrison and West families. In ]857 this school was taught by Miss Dollie Thompson, now Mrs. W. B. Worthington, who made trips back and forth from her school to her home on horseback. Either her father or brother would ride horseback to the school, leading another horse for her to ride on her return journey. On one occasion a heavy downpour of rain compelled her and her pupils to remain in the school building for the entire night. Mr. Dan Morgan, an old timer, now dead, remained at the schoolhouse also, as protector. Old Corinth has now disappeared and was succeeded by the Center Hill School, and that in turn was consolidated with the Kennard school.

 

JONES SCHOOL HOUSE

 

This school was originally taught in a one-room, log schoolhouse, about ten miles northeast of Crockett on the old Rusk road. The school building was situated directly across the road from the home of Jim Monroe, a son of Col. A. T. Monroe. This school was first taught by John Ed Smith, who later resided in Crockett and then moved to Groveton. About 1875 or 1876 this school was taught by John Howard for several years. He later moved to Crockett and became cashier of the G. W. Roberts Bank, and in 1877 married a Crockett lady, and a few days afterwards absconded to Canada or elsewhere, with the funds of the bank. This school was later taught by Miss Mollie Moore, a member of a well-known Crockett family. A number of years ago the site of the schoolhouse was changed and now there stands a substantial school building and equipment known as the Jones School House, about nine miles northeast of Crockett, where a successful school has been maintained for many years.

 

AUGUSTA SCHOOL

 

We have no record of the earliest school taught at Augusta but in the Crockett Printer of November 14, 1860, it is shown that W. M. Waddell taught a school, at Augusta and had the following advertisements in the Crockett Printer:

"AUGUSTA MALE AND FEMALE ACADEMY

"This second session of this academy will commence on the first Monday of October, 1860. Under the supervision of Mr. and Mrs. Waddell.

"Rates of Tuition:

"Orthography, Reading, Writing, Primary Geography, Higher Arithmetic, English, Grammar, History, Chemistry,

                Philosophy, Composition, Etc. $30.00.

"Higher branches Latin and French, $40.00.

"Incidental expenses, $50.00.

"Students will be charged from the time of entrance until the close of the session, and no deduction except in cases of protracted sickness.

"Board can be had in the town and in families in the vicinity -the principal will take some twelve students as boarders, if applications be made early. At the end of the first five months a vacation of four weeks will be given. To parents and guardians who wish the advantage of a retired locality, and who are de. sirous of securing to their children the advantages of a sound; moral discipline and practical education, Augusta affords many advantages.

"W. M. WADDELL, Principal.

"Argus please copy."

It is not known that school was taught at Augusta during the Civil War, but probably some effort was made to carry on a school there during that period. Sometime after the Civil War, the Rev. Kilpatrick was superintendent of the school at Augusta. He was the grandfather of our recently nominated State senator, Honorable Clem Fain, and Mr. Fain's mother attended school at Augusta when her father taught there. Dr. W. C. Miller taught school at Augusta for a number of years and built up one of the best schools in Houston County there. He numbered among his students some who became prominent in Houston County and elsewhere in Texas.

     T. H. Stout and wife, Callie Stout, also taught school at Augusta.

John B. Zimmerman, who later became a distinguished lawyer at Bryan, Texas, a partner of Judge Henderson, also taught school at Augusta. He was the son of J. C. Zimmerman, who came to Crockett in an early day and was one of the best bootmakers and shoemakers who ever lived in Crockett.

Some additional teachers of the Augusta School were a Mr. Humphrey and a teacher by the name of Dennis. Vergil Long also taught at Augusta. Some time ago, this school was consolidated with the Glover school, over which Professor Euclid Smith presides as superintendent. No school is now being taught at Augusta.

 

 

 

ALABAMA SCHOOL

 

The following item appearing in the Crockett Printer in its issue of November 14, 1860, has a historic interest, and deserves a place in this chapter:

"ALABAMA SCHOOLHOUSE"

"This academy is located near Alabama, and will commence the fifth session the third Monday in March, 1860, and continue five months on the following terms, viz:  Spelling, Reading, Writing, Arithmetic, Grammar, Geography and Philosophy, $10.00 per scholar.

"No deduction made for absence of scholars except in case of serious and protracted sickness, or at the discretion of the teacher, S. M. Stovall."

    

LOVELADY SCHOOL

 

The town of Lovelady had its beginning when the Hauston & Great Northern Railroad reached that point in 1872. At that time a townsite was laid off and a plan made of the town. The first school taught there was located in a little schoolhouse Southeast of the Station House and according to the best in­formation was taught by Mrs. Sarah J. Elam, afterwards, Sarah J. Holmes, a daughter of Co!. A. T. Monroe. C. H. Barbee, who still resides in Lovelady, was a pupil of Mrs. Elam, when he was only five years of age. He remembers distinctly her san, Roland Elam, who was a pupil at the school at the same time. Since that time there have been a large number of teachers and it will be difficult to name them in the order of their service. After Mrs. Elam, the school was taught by a Mrs. Hannah. Another teacher during the early days was named Watt Patterson. He was a Presbyterian Preacher and taught only one year, and returned to the state from which he came. Thereafter, the school was taught by a Professor Humphreys, who was a peculiar character and was noted for the marvelous stories he could tell of his various experiences, particularly as a hunter. This same Professor Humphreys also taught at the old Read School House on Nevills Prairie. After Professor Humphreys, the school was taught by Virgil Long, who was a son of John Long of Augusta. Another teacher was named Cannon. Another teacher of the school was Professor Christian, an old bachelor, who taught about 1889 or 1890, and taught for five or six years. The school was also taught by Mr. A. J. Rape, who was also a surveyor. One of the ablest teachers that the Lovelady school ever had was Professor Thompson, who was a highly educated man, and an able teacher. He had already taught at Porter Springs and died at Lovelady, while engaged in teaching there.

One of the most eminent teachers that Houston County ever had was Professor F. M. Martin, who began to teach at Lovelady, about the year 1894, and taught for several years. He left his impress on the community and had as his students Judge B. F. Dent, who later became our District Judge and J. F. Mangum, who later became Houston County's School Superin­tendent. Both of these men in turn taught the Lovelady school.

One of the most acceptable teachers and superintendents that Lovelady ever had was Rev. T. N. Mainer, the scion of an old family, who taught the school successfully for fourteen years. He trained many young people who went out from the Lovelady school to become teachers and leaders elsewhere.

Mr. Mainer was succeeded by E. O. Eason, who after teaching a successful school for several years, is now the able superintendent of the Grapeland schools.

The present superintendent of the Lovelady school is Professor F. H. Burton, who also belongs to one of the old Houston County families.

For a number of years the business affairs of the Lovelady school district have been successfully managed by a competent board of trustees, who first built a substantial brick school building, and the school now has an attractive and well equipped school plant, and this school has a bright future for the education of the Lovelady community.

One of the things to which the Lovelady school can point with pride is the fact that it was there that Dr. Homer P. Rainey received a part of his education, that sent him on his way to be President of the University of Texas, one of the greatest educa­tional institutions in all the nation.

 

GRAPELAND SCHOOLS

 

The situation in Grapeland is very similar to that in Lovelady. There was no town of Grapeland until the railroad

reached that point during the year 1872. No school had existed at that place until the Railroad Company laid out a town and sold off lots for residence and business purposes. The first school taught there was taught in an old log schoolhouse where the Baptist Church now stands. It was a one-room, one teacher school. As far as information has been obtained N. A. Hickey was one of the earliest teachers of the Grapeland School. He taught in the little schoolhouse above mentioned.

Miss Molly Moore of Crockett also taught the school following Professor Hickey. No record has been furnished as to how long she taught the school.

Professor Waltrip also taught the school for a short time.

       The old log schoolhouse in which the school was conducted up to this time, was located on the west side of the railroad. Later ,a two-story school building was erected on the east side of the railroad, southeast of the railroad station. It was in this new building that Professor A. W. Cain, who married a daughter of Dr. F. C. Woodard, taught for seven or eight years beginning in about 1904. A Mr. Price taught the school later, and about the year 1909 Professor Wade L. Smith was chosen as superintendent, and taught the school for two years, and then was absent for about two years, after which he returned and taught for another two years.

Another teacher of the school was Albert Moore, who later was elected county clerk. He taught the school for about five years.

In more recent times Professor C. V. Reed taught the school several years in the new school building which was erected on the west side of the railroad, and is the present school building. He was succeeded by Professor T. B. Blackstone, who was the immediate predecessor of Supt. E. A. Eason, the present efficient superintendent.

The present High School at Grapeland is one of the best in Houston County. The school reflects the enterprising spirit of the Grapeland people. The Grapeland Independent School District now controls its own school system, and is a strict:, up-to-date school enterprise. It has turned out some of the most prominent and outstanding citizens of Houston County and many have gone abroad, with the inspiration received from this school, to have a large part in the affairs of the State. It is difficult to estimate the influence radiating from this up-to-date school.

CREEK SCHOOL

 

The Creek Community is situated about 15 miles southwest of Crockett, and derived its name from its vicinity to Big Creek, formerly known as Caney Creek. This community has numbered among its citizens quite a number of pioneers, among them being Washington Taylor, commonly known as Uncle Wash; R. H. Furlough, commonly known as Bob Furlough; A. P. Hester, commonly known as Addison Hester; J. W. Goodwin, commonly known as Jim Goodwin; J. W. Thompson, commonly known as Turkey Thompson; Wm. C. Hallmark, commonly known as Uncle Billy Hallmark, and S. B. Hallmark, commonly known as Steve Hallmark. There were others who could be numbered among the pioneers, and whose descendants still live in that community.

According to information received the first school taught at Creek was taught by A. J. Cary, who taught the school in 1885, for one year.

     The next teacher was Hugh Hatton, who taught from 1886 to 1890.

     He was followed by Miss Jennie Bever, who taught the school for three years, beginning in 1890.

Miss Bever was followed by C. G. Lansford, commonly known as Gershom Lansford, who taught the school for two years.

     Lansford was followed by a teacher by the name of Hollis from Midway, who taught the school for two years.

     Mr. Hollis was followed by A. J. Wood, who taught the school one year only, in 1895.

     Mr. Wood was followed by Joe Bob Oliphint, an eminent educator, who taught the school for three years.

Oliphint was followed by C. W. Butler, in his younger day, who has now become quite famous as Dr. C. W. Butler, the owner of Butler's Hospital, who taught the school for one year.

Dr. Butler was followed by Fred Smith, who taught the school for two terms and at the end of his teaching the school was merged with the Austonio School. It was about this time that the Creek School House was destroyed by fire.

 

AUSTONIO SCHOOL

 

After the Creek School was merged with the school at Austonia, the Ash School was also consolidated with it, and the school had a prosperous outlook from the beginning.

The Austonio Community is located on the Kings Highway, or old San Antonio Road, about 14 miles southwest of Crockett, and was first known by the nickname of "Pearville." The significance of this name is derived from the fact that pears were used by some of the people in either distilling or brewing a kind of intoxicating liquor. The good people of the community, becoming tired of the name, the matter was brought before the Crockett Chamber of Commerce which offered a prize of $10.00 for a new name for the little town. The price was won by Miss Isbell, who lived east of Crockett, and the name was chosen from many proposed names. It is a blend of the two Texas cities, Austin and San Antonio.

The first superintendent of the Austonio School, was J. B. Daniel, a well-known teacher of Houston County, commonly known as Buford Daniel. He is a member of one of the pioneer families of Houston County, and is still engaged in teaching a Houston County school.

Mr. Daniel was followed by Professor G. H. Brooks, who taught the school for eight years and up until the present year.

The present superintendent, who succeeded Professor Brooks is L. J. Lowery. This school has developed into one of the most efficient and outstanding schools of the county, and has accomplished a great work, not only for the Austonio Community, but for Houston County. Its influence has reached out very far in the educational circles of Houston County, and it is destined yet to carry forward a great work, and exercise a fine influence, for years to come.

 

ANTRIM SCHOOL

 

One of the early schools of Houston County was located about 8 or 10 miles northwest of Grapeland, and was first known as the Antrim School. The first teacher of the school of whom we have any information was a man by the name of Rowe. He was followed by Mr. Russell Wilson, the father-in-law of Colonel W. N. Sheridan. He lived for a while in the home of Col. Sheridan and taught the school about the year 1865 or 1866. He was the father of Zach Wilson, who married Mary, the daughter of Thomas P. Collins and died about the year 1869.

The next teacher of the Antrim School was a Dr. Turner. The school at Antrim was taught in a large, one room, log

schoolhouse, about 24 feet square. It had no glass windows, but one log was sawed out to make an opening for a window.

The Antrim School was later moved to a new community known as Pleasant Hill. A little town grew up around Pleasant Hill, consisting of two stores, one blacksmith shop, one saloon and a schoolhouse, which was also used as a church house. Among those who preached there were the Rev. Matt J. Edmiston, the Rev. Barbour and the Rev. Richards, all Presbyterian preachers. Among the old time citizens who supported the Antrim School were John A. Davis, a son of Bradford Davis, Reuben Matthews and John A. Williams. Other prominent citizens of the com­munity were: John McElroy, Jim Grey, J. H. B. Kyle and John Little. B. F. Edens also was a merchant at Pleasant Hill and afterwards moved to Grapeland and became one of the most successful merchants and business men of Grapeland, accumu­lating quite a little fortune. The old Antrim and Pleasant Hill schools deserve a place in Houston County history.

 

WELDON SCHOOL

 

The history of the Weldon School contains much matter of historic interest, but the author has been unable to obtain complete information about this school, as the first school taught in that locality was taught in a very early day. As early as 1880, a school was taught in the old schoolhouse by Rev. John Sul­livan, the schoolhouse then being on the Burton Goodrum Place, near where the dipping vat is now located. Other teach­ers at this old schoolhouse were G. G. Alexander, James Rey­nolds, Miss Nora Goodgoin, and John A. Long. A new school building was later erected nearer the town and was burned. About the year 1930 the present commodious school building was erected and the following Superintendents have conducted the school there: Ben Lawrence, Prof. Forrester, J. P. O'Keefe, Louis Farris, Charles Heath, Clifton Crowson and the present Superintendent is Prof. J. B. Daniels. (1943)

 

 

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