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DeMoss News

Plat showing Palacios, Collegeport, Bay Park, DeMoss and Orchard

DeMoss Ladies
Taken from a scrapbook donated by Fay Smith Soli, daughter of Lizzie Will Morris Smith.


Just before the turn of the century, there was a settlement about four miles south of Collegeport, just to the east of Oyster Lake Road, called Swedish Settlement. In the same area was a settlement called DeMoss.


The area grew when former Governor B. C. Jester had several homes built in DeMoss ad brought in cotton farmers from the Corsicana area. Surnames of some of the families who lived in the area were Adams, Scofield, Armstrong and Rylander.


Times were not easy for the settlers. During a sleet storm, Adams left his family to go to Palacios for supplies. The storm was so severe that he was not able to return for some time; the family subsisted on rabbits and chickens. They would see a small hole in the ice where the chickens' breath had warmed the ice enough to melt it, and so, found chickens to cook.

Most of the settlers raised cotton. After several years of crop failures and after charbon (anthrax) hit their cattle in 1914, most of the settlers left. Rylander left in 1914, taking with him those animals which had survived. Other settlers were too poor to leave, so they stayed in the area. A few years after the cotton farmers moved out, the E. W. Turner Irrigation Company moved rice farmers into the area around the early 1920's.


The DeMoss School derived its name from the DeMoss Survey situated about four miles southeast of Collegeport. The school was on the south side of the second crossroad, about a quarter of a mile west of the George Wainner Blacksmith Shop, a mile or so south of the Franzen home. The one-room school accommodated the farm children in need of an education, so it was not built until the pioneer families' children were of school age. The school opened in 1914 and closed in 1922, when it consolidated with the Collegeport school.

The first teacher was a Mr. Rogers, who with his wife and baby lived in a tent placed next to the school. The Collegeport New Era reported that the Rogers family often spent weekends with Mrs. Rogers' relatives in Palacios. When a wet norther blew in, the trustees let the Rogers move into the schoolhouse, using their tent to separate living quarters from the classroom.

Other teachers who taught in DeMoss were: Jessie Merck, Pearl Love (who played the organ in the school where church services were held on Sunday afternoons), Mariam Glasser, Mary Lindamood, Clara Schley, Janie Yates, Ruth Braden and Ora Luce.


Among the trustees were Gust Franzen, Louis Walter and Henry Rolen. Dorothy Franzen and her sister, Mamie, and brothers, Arnold and Clifford, walked from their home south about one-and-a-half miles along a dirt road to the school. Some other pupils who attended DeMoss School were: Louise Walter, Emma Hammerbeck, and the Bieri, Hurtmore, Sundstrum, Heemer and Wainer children.


From the beginning, the farm families gathered at the school for Christmas programs. Some of the men would go to the Colorado River bottom and cut huge trees on which wax candles were placed as part of the Christmas tree decorations. Box suppers were held to raise money for school playground equipment and the like. At the closing of school in May, the farmers and ranchers gathered at the school for a covered-dish dinner and games.


A year or two before DeMoss consolidated with Collegeport in 1923, another room was added to the school building. In the 1930's Simpsonville, Citrus Grove and Pecan City also consolidated with the Collegeport School District.


Dorothy Merck


Historic Matagorda County, Volume I, pages 334-335

DeMoss residents gathering at the schoolhouse

Left - Gust Franzen holding Gustave, Jr., Ellen Franzen holding Ellen, Mamie in front of Ellen
Far right - Arnold and Clifford Franzen     Middle in white dress and dark tights, Dorothy Franzen
Photo courtesy of Franzen family



By Rosalie Nelson Ellis

The De Moss school was just south of Collegeport. It's told that the school was a one room building and the teacher, his wife and child lived in a tent by the building. The first winter it was so cold, the school board consented to let them set up their tent in one corner of the building to get out of the cold. The tent gave the wife and child privacy. De Moss took care of the children living on farms south of Collegeport. The high school students went to Collegeport or lived with a family in Bay City and went to school. In due time when a school bus could make the route, De Moss was consolidated with Collegeport.

[The De Moss school building was moved to the Collegeport School grounds.]

Palacios ISD 75th Anniversary 1906 - 1981, Palacios Beacon Supplement



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Apr. 28, 2007
Apr. 28, 2007