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Pioneer Educators




Matagorda County


Historic Matagorda County
Volume I, pp. 637 - 653, 1986



Submitted by David Holubec

Eudora Moore

Carmen Stone Anderson

Carmen Jeanette Stone was born on October 30, 1904, to William Charles and Blanche (Finch) Stone on a farm two miles west of Bigfoot in Frio County, Texas. After trading the Frio County farm for one in eastern Matagorda County, the family moved to Bay City in 1927. Carmen lived in Bay City until her death on April 29, 1973.

Carmen Stone married Ira T. Anderson, a Bay City resident, on August 20, 1930. Ira Anderson was a respected businessman and a descendant of a pioneer Travis County family. His grandfather, Thomas Anderson, emigrated to Travis County from Front Royal, Warren County, Virginia, in 1859 and built Anderson's Mill, a gristmill (situated about 18 miles northwest of Austin) which was converted to a gunpowder mill during the Civil War. The approximate site is noted by a Texas historical marker. Ira's father Ed Anderson was active in Republican politics in Texas and
was elected treasurer of Travis County in 1888 and was the nominee for commissioner of the General Land Office in 1894. Ira Anderson died on October 30, 1940. Ira and Carmen Anderson had one child, a son, Ira T. Anderson, Jr., a lawyer who resides in Houston, Texas.

Carmen Anderson received her early education in Bigfoot and graduated as salutatorian from Devine High School in 1922. She studied one year at the University of Texas at Austin. The next two years she taught school in Bigfoot while continuing her studies at Austin during the summers. In 1925 she attended the University of Texas one additional year. She then taught two years in the high school at Big Wells in Dimmit County and five years in the elementary school in Bay City. From 1933 to 1945, subsequent to her marriage and the birth of her son in 1936, she did not teach, but resumed her duties again in 1945 as a first grade teacher in the Bay City schools, where she taught until her retirement in 1967. Carmen Anderson received a bachelor of arts (BA) degree from the University of Texas at Austin in 1950 and a master of education (MEd) degree from the University of Houston in 1954. She was a demanding but dedicated and caring teacher devoted to her profession, her church, and her family.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Edith Armstrong


Edith A. Armstrong was born in Fairfield, Nebraska, July 8,1897. She moved to Bay City with her parents in 1910 and attended Bay City schools. She received her BA in elementary education from Southwest Texas Teacher's College in 1930 and her master of arts (MA) degree in 1953. She was an organizer in the field of special education and was a charter member of the Matagorda County Council for Retarded Children. The Edith Armstrong Center for Trainable Mentally Retarded Children is named in her honor.


Edith Armstrong was a member and faithful worker of the First Christian Church in Bay City. She considered the church her only family. It was her love of this family that motivated her work in the community in which she lived. In her service to God and her family, Edith worked with the United Fund, the United Community House, the Sheltered Workshop, the

Church Women United, the Economic Action Committee of Matagorda County, the Elementary PTA, Bay Villa Nursing Home, the Matagorda County Council for Retarded Children, and the Texas Association [or Retarded Children, to which she was awarded life membership.


In 1965 she retired as teacher for retarded children. In 1968 she was awarded the Outstanding Lady Citizen Award for the year of 1967.


Edith Armstrong was seriously injured, February 4, 1970, in a two-car collision. She died January 2, 1974, willing her body to medical science.


Vivian Harrison Wier


Edith A. Armstrong

Edith A. Armstrong, 76, a resident of Bay City, passed away January 2 at the Matagorda House. Miss Armstrong was a pioneer in the field of special education. The Edith A. Armstrong Opportunity Center was named in her honor. She had been a resident of Bay City since December of 1909. Serves are pending at Taylor Brothers Funeral Home. In lieu of flowers, contributions may be made to the Matagorda County Council for Retarded Children, P. O. Box 1305, Bay City. Taylor Brothers Funeral Home in charge of arrangements.

January 3, 1974


Frank J. Balusek and Lilly M. Balusek


Frank Joseph Balusek was born July 5, 1907, in Guadalupe, Victoria County, Texas. He was the son of Frank F. and Frances (Schiller) Balusek. Frank F. had emigrated with his parents from Czechoslovakia in 1896, settling in Nelsonville, Austin County, Texas.


After graduating from high school and after attending Victoria Junior College, Victoria, Texas, for one year, Frank J. received a teachers certificate. In 1925 Frank Balusek started teaching in Placedo, Texas, and little did he realize that teaching the third and fourth grades in Placedo was the beginning of 45 years of teaching.


On August 15, 1930, Frank J. Balnsek married Lilly Mae Couch from Victoria County. Lilly Mae was born March 13, 1905, in Victoria County. They both taught school, and during the summer they entered Southwest Texas Teacher College working toward their bachelor of science (BS) degrees. In addition to teaching at Placedo, Frank taught at Collegeport and Cedar Lane. He received his BS in 1936 and a permanent teachers certificate. He taught at Old Gulf from 1936 until the school closed. He said, "E. J. Meyers and I closed the Gulf School down and both came to Bay City to teach." In 1938 Frank Balusek started teaching science and history in the Bay City High School. He continued to work toward higher education. On August 29, 1939, he received his MEd from the University of Texas.


Frank Balusek entered the air corps, April 2, 1944. He and his family were stationed in Venice, Florida. World War II drew to a close, and Corporal Balusek received his honorable discharge September 20, 1945. Frank Balusek taught at Kennedy, Texas, for part of 1945 and in Mathis High School from 1945 to 1946. In 1946 he and his family returned to Bay City where he was elementary principal from 1946 to 1958. He received his master of letters degree from the University of Houston in 1952. While in the Bay City lSD, he served the district as a teacher, secondary principal, elementary principal, curriculum director, and administration assistant superintendent. He gave 30 of his 45 years of teaching to Bay City. Frank Balusek retired June 15, 1972.


Frank Balusek is past president of the Rotary Club; past president of District 4, Teachers Elementary Principals Association; member of Salvation Army; City Recreation Board; and First Baptist Church where he served as an active deacon and treasurer.


Lilly Mae (Couch) Balusek was a teacher in this area for 29 years. She received her BS from Southwest Texas Teachers College, San Marcos, Texas. She taught in Port Lavaca, Old Gulf, Cedar Lane, Van Vleck, and seventh grade language and arts in Bay City. She taught 29 years, 16 of them in Bay City. Due to ill health, Lilly was forced to give up her teaching profession in March, 1968.


Frank J. and Lillie Balusek were blessed with a daughter, Frances. She married Ira Rose, Jr., in 1966. They have a daughter, Katherine Lynn. Frances and Ira are teachers in the Tidehaven and Sweeny schools.


Lilly Mae Balusek died July 31,1984, and was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park, Van Vleck. Frank Balusek is a resident of Bay Villa Nursing Home, Bay City. He is very proud that the four teachers in his immediate family have taught a total of 114 years with most of the years being in Matagorda County.


Frank J. Balusek's life is an open book. He has made scrapbooks of his college life, teaching career, military service, community activities, and family. He is well acquainted with these large notebooks in his room and can go to a certain shelf, pick up a special notebook and relive a particular time of life dear to his heart.


Vivian Harrison Wier


[Mr. Balusek died March 21, 1990 and was buried at Roselawn Memorial Park in Van Vleck.]                                    Photo courtesy of Faye Cunningham



Arthur M. Boone


Arthur M. Boone's teaching career began in Cedar Lake Elementary School in east Matagorda County in 1930. He was the head teacher in that school until November, 1942.


Over the next several years, Boone worked as a vocational teacher in Linden, Cass County, Texas; served in the armed forces; worked in San Francisco; and returned to Matagorda County in 1947. He was employed as an instructor for veterans in the Matagorda County Vocational School until 1955; then he went to Wharton County Junior College and worked as veteran vocational teacher until 1958.


In 1960 he began teaching at Tidehaven, and he taught until 1965 when he lost his position due to integration. He worked a year in Houston and then became principal of Mary Bethune Elementary School in Bellville. He remained there until 1971, when he returned to teach one more year at Tidehaven before his retirement in 1972.


Arthur M. Boone


Leola Hilliard Boone


Leola Hilliard Boone's first two years of teaching were in Markham Elementary School, while John Scott was superintendent. She taught classes in seven grades.


In 1925 Leola taught under county superintendent Claire Pollard in the Bernard School with co-teacher, Luella Boone. In 1926-28, she taught with Principal Willie Cooper in the Mabel Kennedy School. From 1927 to 1937, Leola Boone taught in the Cedar Lake Elementary School under Superintendent Tom Hale and Principal Pat Ware. She enjoyed those years of teaching at Cedar Lake; living near the school and drinking spring water from the Reverend Henry Woodward's well. She taught her last two years at Cedar Lake with Principal Arthur Boone.


In 1938 Leola taught at Chalmers which was a part of the Bay City ISD. E. O. Hutcheson was superintendent of the Bay City schools, and A. G. Hilliard was principal of Hilliard High School. She taught eight years at Chalmers, and then it was consolidated with Hilliard Elementary.


After Chalmers she began teaching at Van Vleck in the school that was to become Herman High School. Elijah Rudd was the superintendent, and E. R. Stevens served as principal. She taught first and second grade for nine years under principals Stevens and Hal Robbins. In addition to teaching first and second grade, she served as counselor for girls at Herman High School for sixteen years.


Leola Hilliard Boone's teaching career spanned forty-eight years; two years at Markham, eight at Bay City (Chalmers), and thirty-eight years in the Van Vleck schools.


Boone Family



Hiram Brandon


Hiram Brandon was born October 19, 1900, to Thomas D. and Nancy E. Brandon on an East Texas farm at Colfax, Van Zandt County. He was the youngest of ten children.


Hiram Brandon received his public education in Colfax. He graduated from North Texas State Teachers College at Denton, receiving a BS degree. He was also a graduate of the University of Colorado Graduate School, Boulder, Colorado, where he received his MA degree.


Hiram Brandon married Eula Matthews in 1920. There were no children born to this union. Hiram Brandon was principal and taught school in Martinsville, Plano, and Cisco, Texas, before coming to Bay City. He was principal of Bay City High School from 1936 to 1942. He served 18 years in the teaching profession as a high school principal.


Hiram Brandon was a member of the First Baptist Church, Bay City, serving on the deacon council, as Sunday School superintendent, and in other offices of the church. He was a member of the Bay City Lions Club holding all club offices except third vice-president and secretary-treasurer. He held a perfect attendance pin for four consecutive years. He was a delegate to the International Convention in 1947. He served as Zone Chairman in District 2-S-2 and held the office of deputy district governor and district governor of district 2-S-2 for the year 1950-51. Hiram Brandon was on the original planning board for Crippled Children's Camp, Kerrville, Texas. He was a member of the Masonic Lodge and was chairman of the Matagorda County Parole Board.


Hiram Brandon purchased LeTulle Mercantile Company, October I, 1943, which he owned until his death. He opened Brandon Furniture and operated it until ill health forced him to retire.


Hiram Brandon died September 5,1972, after along bout with rheumatoid arthritis. He was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City. Eula Brandon died June 4, 1980, and was buried next to her husband.


Vivian Harrison Wier                               Eula Brandon                         Photo courtesy of Faye Cunningham




Myrle Bell Burton


Myrle Bell was a member of a pioneer Matagorda County family. Graduating from Palacios High School in 1924, she was not only captain of the girls' basketball team, but also the class beauty.


After three years at Baylor University, Myrle transferred to George Peabody University. Peabody was an outstanding teachers' college at the time, and Myrle was determined to prepare herself in the best possible way for her chosen field. She returned to Palacios in 1929, and after several years of teaching, she managed the high school English department and became librarian. She was also the girls' athletic coach and senior sponsor. Quality education was her aim as she carefully prepared students for higher education and life. She often begged or borrowed-but never "stole" books to develop a fully equipped library. She carefully prepared, catalogued, and accessioned all the books.


With the growing demand for a better library program for the entire school, Myrle Bell Burton was selected to coordinate this project. Cheerfully she gave up her beloved classroom and returned to East Texas University, from which she had already obtained her MEd, and was awarded a library science (LS) degree. Wisely she distributed the limited budget to provide books fairly for all the school, but she missed the personal contact with students in the classroom.


As a charter member of Zeta Alpha Chapter of Delta Kappa Gamma, Myrle was treasurer and held other offices and helped build the chapter to a prestigious place. A member of the Order of Eastern Star, she became Worthy Matron.


Following a lengthy illness in 1965, Myrle Burton retired and moved to her sister's home in Greenville where she died in 1969.


Mary B. lngram


Myrle Bell Burton

Funeral services for Myrle Bell Burton were held Tuesday, January 21, at 10AM in the Palacios Funeral Home Chapel with the Rev. Rayford Harris officiating. Interment was in the Palacios Cemetery.

Daughter of the late William E. and Mary A. Wheeler Bell, she was born July 22, 1902, in Houston, Texas. She was a graduate of Palacios High School, received her BS degree from Peabody Teacher’s College, Nashville, Tenn. and her Master’s degree from East Texas State, Commerce, Texas.

A teacher loved and admired by her students, she had devoted 32 years as a teacher or librarian in the Palacios Schools. After suffering a stroke she moved to Greenville, Texas in May 1965 to make her home with her sister, Mrs. J. E. Windel. Early Sunday morning, January 19, she suffered a heart attack and passed away in the Greenville Hospital that afternoon.

She was a member of the First Baptist Church, Order of the Eastern Star and Delta Kappa Gamma.

She is survived by her sister, two nephews, Dr. R. W. Bell of Houston, Jimmy Windel of Lone Star, Texas and one niece, Mrs. Mary Lee Boetcher of Pasadena, Texas.


John Harvey Cherry and Alice Buffington Cherry



Thomas C. Driscoll


Thomas C. Driscoll was one of Bay City High School's favorite teachers and coaches in the 1930s. He was born January 25, 1910, to John M. and Josephine C. Driscoll in Austin, Texas. He graduated from Rice University with a BS.


Tom Driscoll coached at Greenville High School, Bay City High School, and St. Thomas High School, Houston. He married Mary Agnes Luckel and to this union two children were born, Thomas C., Jr. (a Harvard graduate), and Geraldine.


While attending Rice University, Tom was AII-Southwest Conference halfback in 1930, 1931, and 1932. His twin brother, Vic, was a blocking back for the same Rice team.


Driscoll was a representative of Cameron Iron Works and a lifetime member of the Houston Chamber of Commerce .


Thomas C. Driscoll died unexpectedly, December 27, 1961, at the age of 5I in a parking lot of Hermann Hospital, Houston, He was buried in Forest Park Cemetery, Houston.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Victor A. Driscoll


Victor A. Driscoll, twin brother of Thomas C. Driscoll, was also one of Bay City High School's favorite teachers and coaches in the 1930's. He was born January 25,1910, to John M. and Josephine C. Driscoll in Austin, Texas.


Victor Driscoll graduated from Rice University with a BS. He coached at Reagan High School, Houston; Bay City High School, Bay City; and San Jacinto High School, Houston.


Vic married Inez Hardee and to this union two sons were born, Victor A. (an attorney) and Michael Hardee (county attorney for Harris County).


Vic and his twin brother, Tom, were outstanding football players while attending Rice University. Vic was All-Southwestern Conference blocking back in 1930, 1931, and 1932.


Victor A. Driscoll was a Master Mason. He died August 31, 1948, at the age of 38 and was buried in Houston.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Bess Curry Early


Bess Curry Early, a beloved Latin and history teacher of Bay City High School for 36 years, was born in 1890. Her father was a Methodist minister. She received her degree from North Texas State College in Denton.


A veteran teacher of 50 years, Bess Early taught in Mansfield, Texas, from 1911 to 1913. From 1913 until 1920, she taught in Caldwell High School and in Wharton from 1920 to 1925. She started in the Bay City school system in 1925 as a substitute teacher. In 1927 she was voted a regular position with the schools.


Cherished by students, ex-students, faculty, administration, and parents alike, Bess Early was one of those teachers who left their mark by going beyond the call of daily teaching duties.


Students and ex-students presented Bess Early with a television set to express their love and appreciation for her. She expressed her thanks with her favorite saying, "Help Me to Rejoice." Bess cared for her sister, Bertie Lou, for many years. She said, "Bertie Lou and I will get worlds of pleasure from the wonderful set."


Bess Early retired from the Bay City school system in 1963. She was a member of the First Methodist Church in Bay City for 44 years and a member of the choir for many years. She was an active member of Eastern Star.


Bess C. Early died December 19, 1967, at the age of 79. She was buried beside her sister, Bertie Lou, in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City.


Vivian Harrison Wier


Bess C. Early
Bay City Teacher Dies in Hospital

Mrs. Bess C. Early a beloved oldtimer of Bay City, passed away Friday, Dec. 19 at age 79 in Matagorda General Hospital. Mrs. Early will be remembered by everyone as "Our Latin Teacher in High School."

She received her degree from North Texas State Teachers College in Denton, Texas and began teaching in Mansfield, Texas in 1911-1913. In 1914-1920 she taught in Caldwell High and in Wharton from 1920-1925.

In September of 1927 she came to teach in Bay City High School. In the 36 years she taught here she became one of the best loved teachers in the school. Upon retirement in May of 1963, the school and students honored her with a party and many gifts.

Mrs. Early was a member of the choir in the Methodist Church and attended services regularly. She was an active Eastern Star member until she became ill.

Surviving Mrs. Early are numerous nieces and a nephew. Many Bay City folk will remember and miss her.

Services were held Sunday, Dec. 21 at the First Methodist Church with the Reverend Conrad Winborn officiating. Interment was at Cedar Vale Cemetery.

The Daily Tribune, December 22, 1969


Bess C. Early

Cedarvale Cemetery

Photo courtesy of Faye Cunningham



Mamie Gusman



Thomas Phillip Hale


Thomas Phillip Hale was born January 3, 1903, in Ector, Fannin County, Texas, to Frank and Maggie (Gault) Hale. He moved with his family to Midfield in 1912, where he went through the tenth grade. After farming one year, Tom completed his high school education at Palacios, graduating in the class of 1923. He attended summer normal in Palacios and received a second grade certificate and taught in Wharton County for the year of 1923-24. During the summer Hale attended college in San Marcos, and he taught in Collegeport during the school terms from 1924 until 1927. During that time, he organized a Boy Scout troop in Collegeport.


On July 5,1925, Tom married Barbara Fulsher, and on August 20, 1927, a son, Thomas Phillip, Jr., was born.


Tom Hale taught and was principal at Wadsworth school and Ashby school. In each place he organized a Boy Scout troop. Hale continued to further his education each summer in San Marcos.


In 1934 Hale became Matagorda County School Superintendent, taking office January I, 1935. Feeling education was very important, he continued to study at the University of Houston where he received his BA and MS degrees. Hale held the office of Matagorda County School Superintendent until his death on August 28, 1969.


Tom Hale formed Boy Scout Troop No. 45 in Bay City. He continued as scoutmaster of this troop until World War II, when he gave it up to teach first aid at nights. He was an active member of Civil Defense and was Home Service chairman of the Red Cross. In 1945 Hale received the Silver Beaver, the highest honor a scout volunteer can receive.


Tom Hale was a member of St. Paul's Methodist Church. He was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City.


Mrs. Thomas Phillip Hale


Thomas P. Hale, Sr.

Thomas P. Hale., 66, a long-time resident of Matagorda County, died early this morning in the Methodist Hospital in Houston. 2:00AM.

He was Matagorda County school superintendent for 34 years. He was also Red Cross home service chairman and assistant director of the Civil Defense of Matagorda County, Texas for many years.

Hale worked with the Matagorda County Boy Scouts for some 30 years and holds a Silver Beaver Award. He was a charter member and treasurer of the Matagorda County Teacher’s Credit Union and a member of the Matagorda County Child Welfare group.

He is survived by his wife, Mrs. Thomas P. Hale, Sr.; a son, Thomas P. Hale, Jr.; four sisters, Mrs. Daisy Newton, Mrs. Ressie Blaylock, Mrs. Louise Seerden, Mrs. Eva Graham, all of Bay City and a half-sister, Mrs. Ethel Higdon of Dallas. He is also survived by two brothers, Rodney Hale and Pete Hale both of Bay City and two granddaughters, Rebecca Hale of Bay City and Tommie Lou Todish of Houston.

Mr. Hale’s body will be at Bay City Funeral Chapel from 4PM today until service time at 2PM, Saturday, August 30. Funeral services will be held at St. Paul’s Methodist Church with Rev. Preston Dumas and the Rev. Milton Johnson officiating. Burial will be in Cedarvale Cemetery. The family suggests memorial contributions be made to the St. Pauls’ Methodist Church Building Fund.

Services are under the direction of Settegast Kopf Funeral Home, 3320 Kirby Drive, Houston.

Pallbearers will be W. P. Porter, Otha Caldwell, Dr. Russell Matthes, George Nelson, Al Hurta and Alfred Kopecky. Honorary pallbearers will be all the Matagorda County School Board and all County officers in the Courthouse.

The Daily Tribune, August 29, 1969, Bay City, Texas


Mary Sherwood Wightman Helm


Mary Sherwood Wightman was the first woman teacher in Matagorda County arriving in January, 1829, with her husband, Elias Wightman, who was also a teacher and surveyor. Elias R. Wightman, a surveyor for Stephen F. Austin, had returned to New York state to bring a group of settlers to Texas to establish the town of Matagorda at the mouth of the Colorado River.


Elias had been Mary Sherwood's teacher in New York. When he returned, she was 18 years old and a beautiful young woman. She was quite taken with the young teacher and surveyor on his return to his native state. After their marriage, Elias and Mary began their long voyage to Texas with other kinsmen and friends from New York. Those pioneers founded the town of Matagorda in 1829.


Mary Sherwood Wightman with Josiah Wilbarger began a school in the town of Matagorda in 1829 for the children that had come with Wightman's party and for Bessy Ross, who was living in Matagorda at the time with her widowed mother, Maria Cummins Ross. Wightman was given land not only in Matagorda but also on the eastern end of Matagorda Peninsula, near the present town of Sargent. Mary and Elias would travel by skiff to Matagorda across Matagorda Bay which was then known as "Manhattan Bay." In 1841 they sold their land and moved to Covington, Kentucky, thinking the change might improve Elias' health, but he died two years after arriving. In 1843 Mary returned to the town of Matagorda for a brief visit.


Several years after Wightman's death, Mary married Meredith Helm, a native of Kentucky, who was one of the founders of Connersville, Indiana. He may have been one of the soldiers at the fort when Mary arrived in Matagorda, since Mary wrote in her memoirs, Scraps of Early Texas History, "one of them was a Kentucky youth, six feet high, named Helm." Mary spent the rest of her life in Connersville, where she died in 1886 at the age of 78.


Mary B. Ingram


Asa Grant Hilliard I


Tenie Holmes


Tenie Holmes was born in Durango, Texas, in 1874. She attended school in Durango from 1883 to 1891. In 1891 she entered Baylor University and attended for two years.


Tenie Holmes began teaching at the age of 16 for the Hawes family at Saluria Pass. She came to Bay City in 1895 with her mother, Virginia Holmes. Her mother established a private school, and both she and her mother taught many children of Bay City pioneer families. "Miss Tenie" began teaching in Bay City public school in 1898. She taught in the first two-room school building on Eighth Street and Avenue E; in 1901 she moved to the new two-story frame building at the corner of Cottonwood and Eighth Streets; and in 1905 to the new Jefferson Davis School on Fourth Street. She taught there until she retired in 1934.


In 1936 she opened a kindergarten where she taught until her death in August, 1952. Miss Tenie was buried beside her mother in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City.


In 1952 a new school was named "Tenie Homes Elementary School" in honor and memory of her long career as a teacher. This gracious little lady, full of humor and with love and affection for all children, taught a total of 55 years, and probably taught members of more families than any other teacher in Bay City.


Mary B. Ingram


Funeral Services Sunday For Miss Tenie Holmes

Funeral services were held Sunday afternoon at 2 o'clock for Miss Tenie Holmes whose 78th birthday would have been August 17th. The services were from the First Baptist Church and interment was in Cedarvale Cemetery.

Pallbearers were Connie Anderson, Laddie Lowe, Frank Lewis, Rowland Rugeley, Dick Bachman, Tom J. Poole.

She is survived by one sister, Mrs. Mary E. Eddleman of Rosebud.

Miss Holmes' death came suddenly Friday afternoon at the Matagorda General Hospital. Although at the hospital for treatment, Miss Holmes was not considered dangerously ill and death came suddenly and unexpectedly.

The gracious lady who had closed but over a half century of teaching, probably had taught members of every old family in the city and many new families as her kindergarten work continued long after she resigned from the public schools. In fact she was actively engaged in this work this year.

She had attended school as a girl in Durango, Texas from 1883 - 1891 and then entered Baylor University for a two year period. When she was sixteen she taught in the Hawes family at Saluria Pass. She taught in Bay City from 1894 through 1924 and she had also taught in many places in the county.

She was a member of the Baptist Church, the O.E.S., and the United Daughters of the Confederacy. While teaching in Bay City she continued her college work during the summer months and attended Baylor University in the summers of 1914, 1916 and 1920.

Miss Holmes had been active in her school work and also in civic affairs and church and club affairs. Her keen interest in everything caused her to ever have a youthful outlook on all problems yet her age and wisdom afforded her a mellow approach to the problems.

The Daily Tribune,
Thursday, August 11, 1952



Ivie Yancy Humber


lvie Lou Yancy was born August 13, 1897, to Benjamin Franklin and Jennie (Brown) Yancy in the community of Campbell, Hunt County, Texas. She came to Bay City with her family at the age of 16. Ivie Lou graduated from the Jefferson Davis School "upstairs" and carne back the following year to teach "downstairs," where she began teaching on a county board certificate. Her first classes were the third and fourth grades. Later she earned her bachelor's and master's degrees at Houston, and did additional professional work in summer schools at SuI Ross and College of Industrial Arts at Denton, Texas. She taught nine years in Pearland and one in Abilene, and the remainder of her thirty-six years of teaching in Bay City, retiring in 1963.


Ivie Humber said, "To look back and realize that you had a tiny place in molding lives of men and women who are now community leaders is a rewarding feeling. Teaching little folks is a great responsibility, young teachers." She expressed her philosophy saying, "Be diligent and firm, but mold gently. Never think failure! Praise much, hold out hope and love much."


lvie Humber loved to paint and tell stories using her artistic skills. She died December 21, 1975, and was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery, Bay City.


Vivian Harrison Wier


Ivy Lou Yancey Humber

Mrs. Ivy Lou Yancey Humber, 78, died Sunday, December 21, 1975 at the bay Villa Nursing Home. Born in Campbell, August 13, 1897, she came to Bay City when she was 16 years old. She was a first grade teacher in Bay City Schools. She was a member of the T.S.T.A., Bay City Classroom Association and a life-time member of the P.T.A.

She is survived by one brother, J.D. Yancey of Dallas and several nieces and nephews. Services will be held Tuesday at 2PM at the Sixth Street Church of Christ with Allen Brown officiating.

Burial will be in Cedarvale Cemetery. The services are under the direction of Dick R. Elkins, Bay City Funeral Home.


E. O. Hutcheson


E. O. Hutcheson, long-time superintendent of the Bay City schools, served during the Great Depression of the 1930's and during World War II. He came to Bay City in 1925 as principal of the Jefferson Davis High School. Receiving his bachelor's degree from North Texas State Normal, Denton; he continued his education at the University of Colorado, Texas A&M, and the University of Arkansas. He became superintendent of the Bay City schools in 1928 and served until his retirement in 1944.


During his years of serving the school system in Bay City, the high school which was later to become Cherry Elementary School was erected. Home economics, business education, vocational agriculture, and the high school band were added to the curriculum. Wooden bleachers and lights were added to the football field, which was situated on property just to the east of the high school (Cherry School).


Hutcheson was born on September 18, 1895, in Springtown, Texas, and was one of eight children, having had five brothers and two sisters. On August25, 1926, he married Virginia Atkins in Nocona, Texas. Virginia Hutcheson was very active in the First Methodist Church in Bay City as well as Eastern Star, Priscilla Club, Chautauqua, Book Review Club and other civic organizations. She died in Weatherford, Texas, in 1985.


After retiring from the school system, the Hutchesons purchased the J. P. Keller Insurance Company, which they later sold to Emma Carleton. They moved to Hillsboro, Texas, and were in the insurance business there before moving to Weatherford where E. O. became a salesman for Compton's Encyclopedia, D. C. Heath & Company, and Bobbs Merrill. He was closely connected with schools throughout Texas in his occupation as a book salesman.


Hutcheson had served in the United States Navy during World War I and saw action in France and Spain. He was at a port in Virginia when the armistice came on November II, 1918.


Ninety-one years old on September 17, 1986, Hutcheson lives in Weatherford, Texas. His mind is keen and alert, and he has many fond memories of former students and teachers of the years when he was a part of the educational system of the Bay City schools.


Mary B. Ingram


E. O. Hutcheson

Funeral services for E. O. Hutcheson, 98, are scheduled for 2PM Monday at the Weatherford Funeral Home chapel in Weatherford.

Mr. Hutcheson died October 2, 1993 at his residence. He came to Bay City in 1925 and served as principal of Jefferson Davis High School. He became superintendent of Bay City schools in 1928 and served until 1944. After retiring from the school system, the Hutchesons purchased the J. P. Keller Insurance Company which they later sold. He served in the U.S. Navy during World War I.

He remained very active until his death.

Arrangements are with Weatherford Funeral Home in Weatherford.

The Daily Tribune, October 3, 1993, Bay City, Texas


John E. Hutchison



Jacob Linn Ladd


With the birth of a new community, a few individuals always stand out and have an important role in the real foundation of a permanent settlement. Bay City, Texas, was no exception. One such person was Jacob Linn Ladd, who with his wife and six children, became a cornerstone of the Bay City community.


One of the basic facts pertaining to the permanency of a community is a sound educational system. Ladd was the founder of such an educational program in Bay City, serving as its very first professor in 1895. He held a master's degree from the University of Missouri and a law degree from a school in Washington, D. C. He served Matagorda County as its first attorney after the county seat was moved from Matagorda to Bay City in 1894. Even when he was involved with the school system, he did law work on the side.


Another contribution Ladd made to the permanency of the community was the revival of the Matagorda County Tribune. His father had owned a newspaper in Missouri which Ladd sold in the mid-1890's. Ladd purchased the Matagorda County Tribune and in 1898 moved its office from Matagorda to Bay City. The roots of stability for the community became more embedded as Ladd's contributions steadily grew.


Ladd was also a religious pioneer and a man of firm convictions and unwavering principles. He was a member of the Methodist church which was then a part of the Matagorda Circuit. Ladd's family added another first to the community when his daughter, Minnie, became the bride of Robert H. Foster. They were the first couple to ever have a church wedding in Bay City. Ladd was very active in the church. He was Sunday School superintendent and was a trustee when the church property was purchased. He participated in the initial planning of the second sanctuary in 1908.


Because of his firm convictions and his religious principles, he became a crusader against open saloons. Drawing on his legal training and using his position as editor and owner of the Daily Tribune, he vigorously fought for prohibition.


Jacob Linn Ladd also was active in the civic affairs of the community of Bay City. The Bay City Lodge No. 81, I00F was organized the first part of January, 1903, and the charter filed April 23, 1903. J. L. Ladd was listed among the charter members.


The rice industry became so important to the area, that in 1901 the first Rice Festival was held in Bay City. Bay City, a town of little under 1,000 residents; entertained over 5,000 from surrounding areas. The orchestra was brought from Houston to play for the grand ball. The committee for that festival included: D. P. Moore, I. Marks, Henry Rugeley, V. L. LeTulle, G. M. Magill, J. L. Ladd, and William E. Austin, all of Bay City. Therefore, J. L. Ladd recorded another "first" in the heritage he was to leave to the Bay City community.


Somewhere around 1910, Jacob Linn sold the Daily Tribune to W. C. Wright. At his farewell ceremony, Ladd was presented a gold handled walking cane as a remembrance of Bay City. Ladd moved to Florida, where he resided until his death at the age of 70.


In the Bay City community, Jacob Linn Ladd was a leader in education, law, publishing, religion, and reform. He established many "firsts" in civic and social affairs. Professor Ladd was a unique person and truly the cornerstone of Bay City, Texas.


Denise Willis, McAllister Junior Historian

Mary B. Ingram



Thomas Harwood Lewis and Daisy Bryan Lewis


Thomas Harwood Lewis, youngest of seven children, was born to Everett Lewis and Josephine Strickland Lewis, January 14, 1875, in Gonzales, Texas. His father was a state district judge. Thomas H. Lewis attended public school in Gonzales and graduated from the University of Texas Law School in 1904, where his brother, Yancey, was first dean of law. Thomas H. taught school in Gonzales before and after he received his law degree. He married Daisy Anise Bryan in 1904.


Thomas and Daisy Lewis came to Bay City in 1909 where Thomas practiced law. He was county attorney for Matagorda County for several terms in the 1920's and one or two terms in the 1930's. He was elected county judge of Matagorda County in 1938 and served until 1946. He again served as county judge from 1948 until his retirement in 1954. Thomas was the first school superintendent to serve Matagorda County.


Thomas and Daisy Lewis were the parents of four children: Dr. Everett Bryan Lewis, born 1910, married Kathleen Laura Peck, has five daughters and lives in Houston; Robert LeVerte Lewis, born 1914,died 1917, buried in the family cemetery at Peach Point, Brazoria County; Terese Octavia Lewis, born 1916, married Alvah Chester Learned (who died in 1980 and was buried in the family cemetery), has one son and one daughter and makes her home in Houston and Jones Creek, Texas; and Thomas Edward Lewis, born 1917, married Mary Haynes, has two sons and. two daughters, makes his home in Dickinson and Leakey, Texas.


Thomas Lewis was a member of the First Baptist Church in Bay City. He died in 1962 at the age of 87 and was buried in the family cemetery in Peach Point, Brazoria County.


Daisy Anise Bryan was born January 1, 1878, to James Perry and Octavia LeVerte (Brown) Bryan at Perry's Landing, Brazoria County. James Bryan was born in 1841 and died in 1920. Octavia Bryan was born in 1842 and died in 1929. Both James and Octavia were buried in the family cemetery at Peach Point.


Daisy attended public school at Quintana, Brazoria County. She graduated from the University of Texas, where she met her husband-to-be, Thomas H. Lewis. They were married 57 years. "Miss Daisy," as Daisy Lewis was affectionately known, was related to many of the early Texas pioneer families. She was a great great granddaughter of Moses Austin. Her great grandmother, Emily Margaret Brown Austin (1788- 1822) was a sister to Stephen Fuller Austin.


Daisy B. Lewis was an active and faithful member of First Presbyterian Church in Bay City. She was president of the Federated Church Women, helped organize the Salvation Army in Matagorda County, organized a young ladies Bible class, and taught Sunday School for many years. Her chief aims were to make someone happy and aid anyone in need as far as it was within her power. With powerful persuasiveness and a wide circle of influential friends, she overcame apparently insurmountable obstacles which stood in the way of her helping others. Hospital doors opened, donations were freely given, and civic groups assisted in her projects.


Miss Daisy actively campaigned for those causes she supported to build a hospital and against those she felt wrong the building of the City Hall across from the swimming pool, where Liberty Park is now situated. She campaigned with strong enough points to win her causes.


Daisy Anise Bryan died January 16, 1961. She was buried in the family cemetery at Peach Point in Brazoria County.

Terese Lewis Learned  & Vivian Harrison Wier


Daisy Bryan Lewis

Family graveside services were to be held at Peach Point Cemetery at 3PM today for Mrs. Daisy Bryan Lewis, 83, who died Monday night in a Houston hospital.

The Rev. Kenneth Bock, pastor of the Gulf Prairie Church was to officiate and memorial services will be held at the First Presbyterian Church in Bay City at a date to be announced by Dr. A. T. Dyal, at the request of her family.

“Miss Daisy,” as she was familiarly known to many people throughout Texas, was related to practically all of the early Texas pioneer families and an early Texas “Who’s Who” is just a little short of being her family tree.

She properly claimed an alienable right to be among the foremost of the Daughters of the Republic of Texas. In fact, the family cemetery at Peachy Point in Brazoria County is where Stephen F. Austin was originally buried.

It has been said that no one in Bay City or Matagorda County gave more freely of time, money, and understanding to those in need than did “Miss Daisy.”

Always active in church and civic affairs, no task was too onerous, no distance too great if she could relieve the suffering, the poverty, the stricken, the needy and the forgotten. She gave of her aid as far as was in her power, regardless of color or creed.

In her active years, she was a friend of all in need, and the many calls on her, at all hours of the day and night, took its toll finally in the sapping of her own strength. She had been ill for more than a year.

Mrs. Clara Mae Cochran, who knew “Miss Daisy” well, today said: “Friends will remember her with loving memory of her generosity, her rugged individual personality, her innate cheerfulness, her ready wit and her fine Christianity, and that her influence for good will live on.

Daisy Bryan Lewis was a woman whose value to her community cannot be measured. Everyone who came in contact with her recognized her energy, personality and love for humanity.”

Surviving are her husband, Judge Thomas H. Lewis; one daughter, Mrs. Terese Learned, Freeport; two sons, Dr. Everett B. Lewis, Houston; Thomas Edward Lewis, Dickinson; 11 grandchildren and one great grandchild.

The Daily Tribune, January 17, 1961, Bay City, Texas

‘Judge’ T. H. Lewis Expires; Memorial Rites Wednesday

Memorial funeral services for ”Judge” Thomas Harwood Lewis, 87, widely known member of a Texas pioneer family and resident of Matagorda County for more than one-half century, will be held at 4 p. m. Wednesday in the Bay City First Baptist Church. Rev. Ferman Weedon will officiate.

Mr. Lewis died Saturday night in Matagorda General Hospital following a lengthy illness. Private family graveside services were held Sunday at Peach Point, near Freeport, where the family cemetery is located. Taylor Brothers Funeral Home was in charge of arrangements.

Survivors include two sons, Dr. Everett B. Lewis of Houston, Thomas Edward Lewis of Dickinson, one daughter, Mrs. Therese Learned of Freeport; 11 grandchildren and one great-grandchild.

“Judge” Lewis, as he was familiarly known in Bay City, served Matagorda County as County Judge for four terms and was noted for his top administrative record. He had the distinction of being the first County Superintendent for Matagorda County, was the first chairman of the Public Library board, and is due much credit for the building of the first Bay City Public Library. (Other members of this first board included Mrs. Hallie Bryan Perry, Mrs. Ed Kilbride, Miss Florence Bouldin, Mrs. F. H. Jones, Judge W. C. Carpenter and P. G. Huston).

Born in Gonzales, he had a background of extensive legal training. His father was Judge Everett Lewis who was District Judge of Gonzales, Colorado, Comal, Wilson and Lavaca Counties for many years. An elder brother, Yancey Lewis, was a federal judge of the Indian Territory before that area was made a part of Oklahoma, and later was dean of the law department of the University of Texas.

Mr. Lewis was a graduate of both the academic and the law schools at the University of Texas. He taught school two years in the Gonzales high school and later was superintendent of his home school for four years, teaching Latin and Mathematics.

Coming to Bay City to practice law in 1910, he was appointed County school superintendent at that time, in the year that population and valuations in Matagorda County had reached a point where the county judge could no longer act as ex-officio school superintendent.

Taking the position to widen his acquaintance, he devoted his time to institution a house building program among the patrons for raising funds for a circulating library for schools.

“Judge” Lewis will be remembered in Bay City and Matagorda County as County Judge, as County Attorney, as school board trustees, and as an outstanding citizen. His family tree and that of his late wife, Mrs. Daisy Bryan Lewis, reads almost like a Texas “Who’s Who.”

Just this past year he was awarded a plaque by the local Masonic lodge for 50 years of membership. His picture is in the lodge hall s one of the Worshipful Masters who have served throughout the years.

[born 1875 – died February 11, 1962]

The Bay City Tribune, February 12, 1962

Eleanor Harrison Louderback


Pearl Love


Pearl Love was a pioneer teacher in Matagorda County. She taught 44 years in the county, 38 of them in the Bay City school system.


Pearl Love was born August 7,1891, in Nebraska, to Joseph Madison and Eda (Thompson) Love. When she was two years old, her mother died. Pearl's maternal grandparents helped rear her.


When Pearl was about five years old, her father and maternal grandparents and their families left Nebraska in a covered wagon for Jennings, Louisiana. The trip took several weeks. Upon arriving in Jennings, Joseph Love met Arvilla M. Bennett. Not until they moved from Jennings to Crowley, Louisiana, did Joseph realize Arvilla would make a good mother for Pearl. After they were married, Joseph M. and Arvilla (Bennett) Love left Crowley, Louisiana, for Eagle Lake, Texas. In 1900 the Love family came to Bay City. Pearl was ten years old and in the fourth grade. She started attending the school of Tenie Holmes and her mother, Virginia Holmes. The following year she entered the Jefferson Davis Elementary School. Later the family moved near Ashby, and Pearl attended the Ashby school. She recalls Jim Lewis and Tyne Pickel being in her class. Pearl also remembers her mother taking her to school on horseback. Her  mother rode side-saddle and she straddled the horse in back of her mother. Her mother took her on Monday, and Pearl would stay with family and friends until Friday afternoon when her mother returned for her. The Love family moved from Ashby to Palacios where Pearl finished the ninth grade. That was the highest grade the Palacios school offered.


After Pearl graduated, she went to work at the post office in Palacios, although she knew in her heart that she wanted to teach. Her family needed her to work to help the family through some trying times. As soon as Pearl could, she went to a normal school in Palacios. Upon receiving her teachers certificate, at the age of 23, she started teaching at the Northern Headquarters School in 1914 for $50 a month. She stayed with the A. M. Anderson family. At that time A. M. Anderson was in charge of the ranch, and he lived in the big house. "Miss Pearl" taught at Northern Headquarters for two years. She then taught two years at the DeMoss school, followed by one year at the Matagorda school before returning to Northern Headquarters for another year. Miss Pearl taught six years in the county schools before taking a position with the Bay City school system in 1920.


On August 7, 1924, Miss Pearl earned a Teachers Permanent Certificate from the Department of Education, State of Texas, by taking a state examination in 18 subjects. That encouraged her to obtain higher education.


Pearl Love and her dear friend, Valeria Sweeny, entered Southwest Texas Teachers College in San Marcos each summer to work toward their degrees. Pearl received her BS degree August 24, 1938. She taught the fourth grade in the Jefferson Davis School for many years. When the Tenie Holmes Elementary School opened, Pearl Love taught the second and third grades until she retired in 1958.


Joseph M. Love was born July 4, 1864, and died February 5, 1945. Arvilla (Bennett) Love was born May 27, 1861, and died July 17, 1940. Both Joseph and Arvilla were buried in the Palacios Cemetery. Pearl Love is a member of the First Christian Church in Bay City.


At this writing (1985) Pearl Love is 94 years of age, of sound mind, and lives alone.


Vivian Harrison Wier


Retired County Teacher Love Succumbs at 96

Retired teacher Pearl Love, who taught many a young scholar during her 38-year tenure in the Bay City ISD, died Sunday. She was 96.

Love was estimated to have taught some 1,200 students since she began teaching in Bay City elementary schools in 1920, according to a December 24, 1958, Daily Tribune article about her retirement.

The superintendent at the time- John H. Cherry - said of Love, “She has been untiring in her efforts and as her principal and superintendent… I appreciate her as a person and as a teacher.”

Love moved with her family to Matagorda County in 1900 and began teaching in 1914. She earned her bachelor’s degree from Southwest Texas Teacher College in San Marcus and taught six years in county schools, including Matagorda and the defunct Demoss and Northern schools prior to her stint in Bay City.

Pearl Love

Funeral Services for Pearl Love, 96, of Bay City were scheduled for 2PM today at Taylor Brothers Funeral Home with the Rev. John M. Richardson officiating. Burial was in Palacios Cemetery.

Miss Love was born April 7, 1891, in Bloomfield, Neb., to Joseph Madison and Edna Thomas Love and died September 13, 1987, at Matagorda General Hospital, Bay City.

She moved with her family to Matagorda County in 1900 where she received her education in the early schools of the county. In 1924 she earned a Teachers Permanent Certificate from the Department of Education, State of Texas, and later in 1938, a Bachelor of Science degree from Southwest Texas Teachers College. She devoted her life to the teaching profession.

She was a member of First Christian Church, Bay City.

Her parents preceded her in death, but she is survived by a host of former students whose lives she influenced and enriched.

Pallbearers included Ladell Sump, David Nance, Jim Spoonemore, Glen Sedam, Jess Fallis and J. Craig Ashcraft.

Arrangements are with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home, Bay City.

The Daily Tribune, September 14, 1987, Bay City, Texas


Eudora Moore



Elbert Jefferson Myers


Elbert Jefferson Myers was born on a farm near Mansfield, Tarrant County, on January 12, 1902. He was the first of seven children born to William Baxter and Delelah Fay Myers. His father was a native Texan of Irish stock and his mother came to Texas from Tennessee in a covered wagon when she was 13. Elbert Myers was not able to attend school regularly because he had to help on the farm. He graduated as the top honor student from Mansfield High School in 1922. He entered North Texas Agricultural College at Arlington during 1922-24, where he earned an associate science (AS) degree. He began his long teaching career in 1924 at Gertie School, a small two-room country school near Mansfield.


In 1925 E. J. Myers earned a football scholarship to Rice University where he earned his BA degree in 1927. While attending Rice, Myers tutored other students, picked up and delivered dorm laundry, and even sold his blood to blood banks to help pay his educational expenses.


E. J. Myers married Viola Foster in Tarrant County on August 17, 1927. They soon moved to Gulf, Texas. E. J. Myers taught and coached at Gulf High School from 1927 to 1937. During their stay in Gulf, E J. and Viola Myers were blessed with two children, Robert Alvin, born July 7, 1928, and Doris Jean, born August 6, 1932. While teaching at Gulf, Myers continued his education during the summers of 1927-38. He attended the University of Texas earning a MA  degree, master of science (MS) degree, and in 1936 a master of education and physical education degree.


In 1938 Myers joined the Bay City school system where he served as math teacher, assistant coach, and head coach.


In 1944 Myers left Bay City to become principal of Wharton High School, a position he held for five years. While living in Wharton, Myers' son, Alvin, married Ethel Thornton on July 3, 1948. They have three children and four grandchildren. They operate a design business in Huntsville, Texas. In 1949 Coach Myers returned to Bay City High School as principal, holding that position for ten years. In 1959 he resigned as principal and signed a contract to teach mathematics at Bay City High School. In appreciation for Myers' ten years service as principal, the faculty and student body presented him with a 16-foot boat and trailer. Myers' favorite sport was fishing. He believed in teaching five days a week, fishing every Saturday, and going to church every Sunday.


In 1953 Myers' daughter, Doris Jean, received a BS in education from the University of Texas. She married Bob Barker on December 29, 1953. They have two children and one grandchild. Doris Jean earned her MEd in elementary education from the University of Houston in 1976. She substituted and taught third grade in Sweeny schools until 1985, when she retired due to poor health. Bob Barker retired from Phillips Petroleum Company in 1985.


Coach Myers taught mathematics and history at Bay City High School from 1959 until 1967. The 1967 homecoming was dedicated to him. Myers taught math until Thanksgiving, 1967. He died of cancer a month later on December 22, 1967. He was buried in Roselawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Van Vleck. E. J. Myers was a member of the Lions Club. He was a Mason, a Shriner, a deacon of First Baptist Church, a Sunday School teacher, and the instructor of all the adult Sunday Schoolteachers. The Sunday School class he taught still bears his name.


Viola Myers resided in Bay City until her death at Matagorda House on January 12, 1982. She was buried next to her husband in Roselawn Memorial Park. In 1971 a new field house was built for the "Fighting Black Cats" and was named in honor of Coach Myers as a memorial to him.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Della Docia Senour Oliver


Della Docia Senour was born on November 8, 1904, to Charles and Minnie Lee Senour. The family was living in Wadsworth in 1920, but later moved to Bay City.


Della's teaching career began in 1924 in a rural school in Dripping Springs, Texas. Della married Frank Oliver in 1928. From that union two children were born: Gayle Senour, who died in 1956 at the age of 26; and Barbara, who married Norwood Burris. After moving to Bay City, Della who had only a public school education (San Marcos Academy) obtained another teaching position in the Lukefahr rural school. She taught grades one through eight. By enrolling in college during the summer months, she was able to later teach in Bay City. Della taught sixth grade English and reading at Jefferson Davis, until the new junior high was built.


In 1943 Della earned her first degree, a BS in Kingsville, Texas, and a masters from the University of Houston, in 1955.


Della retired in 1967 after 40 years of teaching. She died on October 1, 1973, and she was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery.


Barbara Oliver Burris


Della S. Oliver

Mrs. Della S. Oliver, 69, a resident of Bay City, passed away October 1, 1973 at Matagorda General Hospital. Mrs. Oliver was a former teacher in Bay City Independent School District, having retired in 1968. She taught a total of 37 years with 25 years spent in Bay City.

Survivors include: daughter, Mrs. Norwood Burris of Wharton; sister, Mrs. Audrell White of Bay City; four grandchildren. Funeral services will be held October 3 at Taylor Brothers Funeral Chapel at 3PM with Rev. James Thompson officiating. Interment will be at the Cedarvale Cemetery with pallbearers being Wade Ashcraft, Jerry Bodenburg, Gordon Shaffer, Wayne Frieda, Frank Balusek and Matt Ottis. Arrangements with Taylor Brothers Funeral Home.

The Daily Tribune, October 2, 1973, Bay City, Texas


Claire Ford Pollard


One of Matagorda County's pioneer teachers was Addie Claire Ford Pollard. Her grandfather was a Methodist minister. She was born in 1874 in Jasper; Newton County, Texas, and died in 1960 in Matagorda County at the age of 86.


Claire Pollard began her teaching career in Amelia, which was near Beaumont, before she ever attended college. She graduated from Sam Houston College in 1892. She taught school for 60 years at Orange, Alpine, Iowa Park, Wichita Falls, Mercerville, Bay City, Dallas, Manor, Cameron, Pearsall, Del Rio, and Gonzales.


She organized the first Mother's Club, the forerunner of PTA, and began county graduation exercises and pageants, In 1924 she wrote and directed an impressive pageant depicting the history of Matagorda County, which was performed by students and adults at Palacios that year.


She was a life-long member of the Methodist church. During World War II, she went back to Huntsville~50 years after receiving her first degree and took a course in aviation and served as Chief of Civil Defense (Womens's War). Claire Pollard was a past president of the Matagorda County Federation of Women's Clubs. After her husband's death in 1924, she became Matagorda County Superintendent of Schools and served three terms.


A strong believer in educational opportunities for the talented, Claire Pollard opened her home to young people from outlying districts who wished to attend school. This was at a time when roads and transportation were poor.


She was teaching at Wadsworth at the time of her illness in 1951, and she died in 1960.


Katherine Pollard Carter & Mary B. Ingram


William T. Pollard

William T. Pollard served as Bay City's first superintendent of schools from 1905 until 1908. Before his tenure as superintendent, the title of superintendent was not used; instead the term "professor." Born in 1867 at Bowie, Texas, he received his degree from Sam Houston College in 1892.


While superintendent of the Bay City schools, Pollard published school directories with information about the school system. In one, all of the library book collection was included for the year 1907-08. In 1908 he resigned from the Bay City schools to operate a broom factory. Pollard was the first to grow broom corn in this area.


For 33 years Pollard served in Texas public schools. He taught at Orange, Alpine, Iowa Park, Wichita Falls, Mercerville, Bay City, Dallas, Manor, Cameron, Pearsall, Del Rio, and Gonzales.


Pollard was an active member in the Methodist church. He became Matagorda County School Superintendent in 1922 and served until his death in 1924.


His wife, Claire, worked along with him in all his school projects. After his death, Claire Pollard gave pecan trees to be planted on the courthouse square in his memory. The beautiful pecan trees, planted in 1924, surround the courthouse today and are a tribute and fitting memorial to these two pioneer educators.


Katherine Pollard Carter & Mary B. Ingram



Linnie McHenry Roberts


Carrie Yeager Rudd
(October 8, 1910 - April 29, 2010)

Funeral services for Carrie Yeager Rudd, 99 years old of Van Vleck, will be held 4:00 PM Monday, May 3, 2010 at the First United Methodist Church of Van Vleck. Reverend Charles Weber, a former minister at Van Vleck First United Methodist Church, will officiate. Interment will be in Roselawn Memorial Park. Visitation will be 5:00 PM to 6:00 PM Sunday, May 2, 2010 at Taylor Bros. Funeral Home.

Mrs. Rudd was born October 8, 1910, in Kurten, Texas to John P. Yeager and Mary Pasler Yeager. She died Thursday morning, April 29, 2010, at Matagorda Regional Medical Center. A long time resident of Van Vleck, she was an active member of Van Vleck First United Methodist Church, teaching Sunday School, and holding different positions in the church and membership in the United Methodist women’s Society. Carrie was a retired schoolteacher with 41 years of service to her profession, most of those years as a first grade teacher. She taught in Ellinger, Van Vleck, and Sweeny, Texas. Some of the professional organizations she was a member were: the Matagorda County Teachers Association, Texas State Teachers Association, and Matagorda County Retired Teachers Association.

Her husband, Elijah Rudd who died in 1985, her parents, and her three younger siblings preceded Carrie in death: one sister, Janie Moore and two brothers, George Yeager and Victor Yeager. She leaves behind special friends who took care of seeing all her needs were met and/or friends who visited with her.

Pallbearers are Eugene Bickham, Blake Bolton, Coby Bolton, Truitt Farris, Fred Holub, John Keys, Gerald Lewis, and Sam Trevino. Honorary pallbearers are Odell Brown, Eddie Jecmenek, and Jerry Peter. In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to the Van Vleck First United Methodist Church or Houston Hospice-El Campo if desired.

Published in Victoria Advocate on May 1, 2010

Elijah Rudd
June 24, 1902 - June 27, 1985


Photo courtesy of Faye Cunningham


Bessie Byler Senour


Bess Senour was born April 20, 1902, in Dripping Springs, Blanco County, Texas, to Charles and Minnie Lee Senour. Her family moved to Wadsworth in Matagorda County in 1920 so that her father could farm rice. The family consisted of Bess; Della, who married Frank Oliver; Willie Francis; and Fay, who married Audrell White. While living in Wadsworth a tragedy occurred, 13-year-old Willie died suddenly of appendicitis. Grief stricken, the family decided to relocate in Bay City.


In 1921 Bess was given a teaching position having only public schooling from San Marcos Academy and a promise to obtain a degree at a later time. She received a BS in education August 25, 1937, from A&I in Kingsville, Texas, and a MA on May 22,1950, from Stephen F. Austin in Nacogdoches, Texas. Bess Senour began her teaching career in 1921 in Jefferson Davis School teaching the third and fourth grades. At a later time, she relocated in Tenie Holmes School where she taught fourth grade until her retirement. She was awarded a lifetime membership in PTA in April, 1957.


Bess was a Methodist by faith. In 1965 she retired from teaching after 44 years of service. Her death came November 26, 1970, and she was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery.


Barbara Oliver Burris



Henry W. Shaw


In May, 1838, the Matagorda Bulletin published notice that Henry W. Shaw would open the Matagorda Academy in a building belonging to Colonel J. W. E. Wallace on Cedar Street in Matagorda. Tuition for reading, spelling, and writing was $15; the higher English branches, $20; Latin and Greek, $215 [25?]. The Reverend Caleb S. Ives and his wife, Katherine D., took charge of the Matagorda Academy in 1839 and conducted it for eight years. The Reverend Ives offered, at a very high fee, courses in elementary subjects such as spelling, reading, writing, and geography. For higher courses such as art, literature, mathematics, and science, he received as high as $9 a course.


Mary B. lngram



M. J. Stephenson


On September 18, 1894, Bay City, Texas, was established. A school teacher, M. J. Stephenson, rented a small room in 1895 and undertook to conduct a school, but gave up after two months. In 1900 Professor M. J. Stephenson was teaching in Liberty County.


Mary B. Ingram



Elonza R. Stevens


Elonza R. Stephens began his teaching career at Weed Elementary School in Lavaca County where he remained one year. After leaving Weed, he taught at Ashwood for six years; then at Van Vleck for twenty-five years. He ended his teaching career with five years at Oakhurst.


In 1942 Stevens was inducted into the United States Army and served 26 months.


While teaching at Van Vleck, Stevens was instrumental in building a new high school, complete with a gymnasium. This was the first gymnasium for black students in the county.


Stevens received his bachelor's and master's degrees from Prairie View A&M University. In December, 1942, he married Erma Boone who was also a teacher. In July, 1967, he began work with the A. C. E. in Matagorda County as a coordinator.


Stevens closing remarks in regard to his teaching, "I have tried to serve humanity as well as I could."


Elonza R. Stevens



Erma Lee Boone Stevens


Erma Lee Boone Stevens began teaching in Bouldin School in Matagorda County in 193 I. The school burned, and the next year she taught at Ashwood with her husband, E. R. Stevens.


Stevens taught at Gainesmore, Cedar Lane, and Mable Kennedy Schools over the next six years and then began teaching in Van Vleck.


In 1954 she began working with the El Campo ISD and taught there eighteen years. In 1971 she began teaching in the Bay City lSD, and she taught there until her retirement in 1977.


Erma Lee Boone Stevens



Valeria Vera Sweeny


Valeria Sweeny was born September 24, 1895, to Frank and Arie D. Sweeny in East Columbia, Brazoria County, Texas. She was one of six children. While a small child she moved with her family from East Columbia to West Columbia. When she was ten years old and in the fourth grade, she moved with her family to Bay City. There she attended Jefferson Davis Elementary School, and she graduated from Jefferson Davis High School.


Valeria entered a normal school in Bay City where she earned a teachers certificate. She taught at Lukefahr Elementary School and, later, Chalmers Elementary School. In 1921 Valeria Sweeney began teaching the fourth grade in the Jefferson Davis Elementary School, a position she held for many years.


When Valeria was born her parents did not give her a middle name. This was something she wanted and felt she could do something about. After she started her teaching career, she legally added Vera as her middle name. From that time on she was Valeria Vera Sweeny.


The first year Valeria taught the fourth grade she met Pearl Love, the other fourth grade teacher. Little did she realize they would become life-long friends. They each lived with their parents, helping them to keep their homes intact. In the summer Valeria and Pearl entered Southwest Texas Teachers College, San Marcos, rooming together and working toward a degree. Valeria received her BS degree August 19, 1936.


Valeria taught in the Bay City school system 39 years. She taught fourth grade at Jefferson Davis school most of those years. When the Bay City Junior High School was opened, Valeria was transferred to teach seventh grade math. She stayed at Bay City Junior High until her retirement in 1959.


Valeria Vera Sweeny was a member of the First Methodist Church in Bay City. She died October 27, 1982, and was buried in the Columbia Cemetery in West Columbia.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Linnie Wolf



Josiah Wilbarger


The first teacher in Matagorda County was Josiah Pugh Wilbarger, son of John and Ann (Pugh) Wilbarger. He was horn on September 10, 1801, in Bourbon County, Kentucky. In 1823 he moved to Pike County, Missouri, where he married Margaret Baker in September, 1827. They left for Texas and arrived at Matagorda on December 26, 1827. He taught school for a year in Matagorda and was there when Mary Sherwood Wightman, teacher and wife of Elias Wightman, arrived in January, 1829. She was the first woman to teach school in Matagorda.


Josiah was the eldest of eight children and was of "Dutch" background. His father, John, very much desired that his sons be educated in English rather than the German language. Three of the sons, Josiah, Mathias, and John Wesley, went to school in Frankfort, Kentucky. There Josiah was taught to survey and mold bullets.


Very little is known of that year of teaching in the Matagorda area other than it was probably under the most difficult conditions as at that time these early settlers not only had to provide shelter and food to exist but also had to be on a constant vigil of staying on friendly terms with the Karankawa Indians.


Josiah and his family moved on farther up the Colorado and by 1830 were in La Grange where he taught school and did surveying. He died at his home near Bastrop on April 11, 1845, survived by his wife and five children.


Joe Tom Davis, Legendary Texians

Mary B. Ingram



Joel Williams, Sr.


Virginia Giesler Wynne

One of the most beloved and respected math teachers to ever teach in the Bay City High School was Virginia Giesler Wynne. She was born February 12, 1879, in Kimball, Texas, to David Alexander and Catherine (Edwards) Giesler.


Virginia Giesler attended public schools in Temple, Texas. She graduated from Sam Houston Normal School, Huntsville, Texas, with a permanent teachers certificate in 1897.


Virginia Giesler married Robert Montgomery Wynne in 1902 and moved to Bay City where they established the Bay City Grocery Company with G. B. Harris co-owner. This was the first wholesale house in Bay City. They not only sold groceries, but also feed, gas lights, electric fans, and many other items. Robert and Virginia Wynne were the parents of three sons, Robert, David, and Milton. They had a daughter, Virginia Page, born 1908, died 1909, who was buried in Cedarvale Cemetery.


Virginia Wynne began teaching in the Bay City High School in 1920. She taught mathematics, algebra I, algebra II, plane geometry, and solid geometry for 30 years--never being late to class and only missing three days of school during the entire time.


Robert Montgomery Wynne died in 1934. He was buried beside his daughter in Cedarvale Cemetery. Virginia Wynne retired from teaching in 1950. In 1954 KIOX made her an Orchid for the Day recipient. She was an active and faithful member of the First Presbyterian Church, Bay City, and only missed attending because of health reasons.


When Virginia Wynne's health failed and she could no longer live alone, she moved to Port Arthur to be near her youngest son, Milton. She died July 23,1959, in Port Arthur. She was buried next to her husband and baby daughter in the Cedarvale Cemetery. Mrs. Wynne's three sons presented the First Presbyterian Church with a sterling silver tea service in memory of their beloved mother.


Vivian Harrison Wier



Copyright 2013 - Present by Carol Sue Gibbs
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Sep. 17, 2013
Sep. 18, 2013