The earliest residents of Matagorda County made education of their children a priority. School was held early in the settlement of most of the communities--usually under less than acceptable circumstances and with few materials. During the 1800s private schools were the primary avenues for educating Matagorda County youth. Many plantation owners employed private tutors for their children. Prior to the Civil War, educating black students was against the law, but post-war, schools for black children formed in most communities. Public education for all students became more organized in the late 1800s. The 1894 and 1895 school censuses found at http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/school_census_1894.htm enumerated all of the pupils, black and white, who were being educated in public schools.
With the dawn of
the 20th century, land development around the county
caused the founding of additional public school Districts.
across the bay from Palacios, had a college planned as part of its
founding. The Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts was opened on
September 20, 1909. It was founded by William H. Travis with help
from his brother, Rev. Murry A. Travis. The plan was for the
students to work their way through school. Approximately 80 students
studied English, science, education, religion, history and music. In
the afternoons, the girls worked in the kitchen and laundry while
the boys planted farms and acres of fruit trees for non-resident
land owners. The GCU closed after the 1915 school year when the
population of Collegeport began to wane.
college, the Bay City Business College, had a completely different
focus than Palacios College and the Gulf Coast University of
The Bay City
Business College has an excellent faculty and gives thorough courses
at moderate rates of tuition and the most liberal terms that we know
of. The college is now taking out a new charter under the laws of
Texas. Local capital has bought out the Chicago interests that
controlled it at first, and now the college will be better than
The charter for
the Bay City Business College was filed August 30, 1910. It was
formed for the purpose of maintaining and conducting a college for
teaching and instruction in all business branches. The first
directors were R. M. Gannon, Henry Rugeley, John Sloan, John W.
Gaines and M. Thompson. The amount of the capital stock was $500
which was divided into fifty shares of ten dollars each.
addition to the founders were: J. Sutherland, F. Huebner, B. E.
Norvell, N. M. Vogelsang, William Cash, R. L. Perry, T. J. Poole, G.
M. Magill, W. S. Holman, C. A. Erickson and V. L. LeTulle.
It is believed
that the college was located in the Hamilton building and an
advertisement stated “Bay City Business College is the only
permanent business college in the Mid-Coast section.” The college
was still operating in 1913, but it is unknown how long it was open.
school, the Palacios Preparatory School, opened in 1910 in Palacios.
The founder was Martha Pearl Dickson McGuire and the school was
conducted in a building behind the family home on East Bay. Their
house was also used for music instruction. The school offered
courses in cultural arts as well as academics. The students
performed twice a year in public programs and as many as sixty
students were enrolled. The school closed in 1918 when the McGuire
family moved to Palestine, Texas. The McGuire home, which has a
Texas Historical Marker, has been renovated and serves as a bed and
The Baptist Young Peoples’ Union encampment in Palacios sponsored an unconventional school for high school students during the summers called Camp Palomar. Students from other states as well as Mexico attended the first session.
For additional information on Matagorda County schools visit http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/school_history.htm and Historic Matagorda County, Volume I.
Before a school building was erected, school was taught in private homes, with the students sitting on boxes or on anything they could find. In 1911 a schoolhouse was built some sixty yards from the present FM 1095. A teacherage was built also at the entrance to the road which leads to the cemetery. In 1926-27, two teachers taught 29 pupils in nine grades. The building was reported to be a modern two-room structure, well equipped with fenced grounds. The school was used until it was consolidated with the Tidehaven ISD. The building was sold to Frank Kacer, who moved it to the Hawley Cemetery Road for use as a barn.
In 1917, Ashwood was School District No. 3. It had a one-room schoolhouse in which four grades were taught.
In 1926-27, an African-American school, also in District #3, operated for seven months. There were seven grades and twenty-five pupils.
After Bay City’s
founding in 1894, a school teacher named M. J. Stephenson rented a
small room and undertook to conduct the first school, but after
about two months effort, he gave it up. There have been many
buildings erected during the existence of the district. A. G.
Hilliard Tenie Holmes, Linnie Roberts, John H. Cherry and H. J.
McAllister were outstanding educators in the district and were
honored by having schools named for them. The Pierce family donated
the property for the Mary Withers Pierce Elementary School. In the
1920s, the Mexican-American students were educated in a frame
building near the site of the Emanuel Baptist Church on Avenue G.
Hundreds of teachers, administrators, support staff and school board
members have invested their lives in the education of Bay City’s
children. Thousands of pupils were educated in the Bay City ISD and
their successful lives are the real tribute to the district.
Bay City Schools
The Bernard school was in District #6 in 1926-27. There were 25 pupils in seven grades who attended school for an eight-month term. During that time period the building and equipment was considered to be in fair condition.
Early classes were taught on the
first floor of the Masonic Lodge. Orpha Reid Brown (1881-1980) and
her husband, Herbert L. Brown (1883-1964) were both teachers who
moved from Kansas to Texas. In 1909 they visited the Aikin family
in Blessing and decided to settle in the young town. Orpha received
a Texas county teaching certificate and taught school at the
Blessing Masonic Lodge building. She taught all grades,
approximately 70 students, for $60 per month. She and H. L. also
taught at Prairie Center, Midfield and Wadsworth.
A two-story red brick building was
erected by 1913. The brick building, still in use in 2013, was
erected in the 1930s and served first as a high school. When
Blessing was consolidated with Tidehaven ISD, the secondary students
began attending school at El Maton. The Blessing building was then
used as an elementary school for grades PK –5.
Blessing had the first of the three Rosenwald Schools built in the county to educate black students. It was a two-teacher type school built in 1920-21 and the total building cost was $3300. The Rosenwald project provided $800 to start the project and the black residents provided $150. The additional $2350 funds were provided by public donations and the school district.
Bouldin was an African-American school and was operating as early as 1894 with eight students enrolled. It was in District 3 in 1926-27 and was near Van Vleck. It had six grades, 47 pupils and operated seven months.
community was organized in 1905, with a scholastic enrollment of
thirty-five. Plotner and Stoddard donated the one-room schoolhouse
which was situated south of the Buckeye townsite.
In March, 1913, an election was held for issuing of bonds for a new schoolhouse. Five acres north of the Buckeye townsite were selected for the site of the new school. The first floor of the two-story building was used for classes and the second floor for church, community, and social activities. In later years, Buckeye School District No. 14 was incorporated into the Markham Independent School District. The schoolhouse was sold to the Markham Methodist Church in 1939, and the lumber from the building was used to enlarge the church.
School was being held at Bucks Bayou as early as 1894 with an enrollment of nine students. The community had a schoolhouse by September 3, 1898 due to the efforts of Henry Tobeck who had school-age children.
In 1926-27, the black school at Cedar Lake had a “modern” three-room building. The three teachers conducted an eight-month term for 108 pupils.
During the 1926-27 school year, the Cedar Lane school had an eight-month term with three teachers and 43 pupils in 10 grades. The modern building had excellent equipment including an Acme moving picture machine and science laboratory. A Home-Lite plant provided electric lights.
The Chalmers schools were in District #5 in 1926-27. The African-American students met in a wooden building with poor equipment. There was one teacher who taught 18 pupils in five grades for seven months. There was a one-room, well equipped and furnished building for the white students, but by 1926-27, the seven students in six grades were transferred to Bay City for education.
In 1910 the
first schoolteacher, Omar Crabill, was paid by the patrons and
taught classes in Corporon’s barn. The first county school was held
in a house built by a Mr. Foulks before he was ready to occupy it.
Velma Mills was the teacher. The building was a meeting house also
for the United Brethren who had organized a Sunday school. When a
larger structure was needed for both school and church, lumber and
labor were donated by the community members. The church/school was
built north of the Yeamans store on land donated by the Burton D.
Hurd Land Company. May Powers was the first teacher.
The school was
divided in 1913-14 with the north-side students attending the
church/school with Myrtle Benedict as the teacher. The south-side
students went to a new building situated in the center of the
population with Miss Belknap as their teacher.
there were two teachers educating 20 pupils in seven grades. The
building was reported to be a two-room modern structure which was
The district was consolidated in 1932, and the students were transported to Collegeport by bus. Later Collegeport was consolidated with Palacios Independent School District. The school building, originally located on Robbins Slough Road, was moved north to Citrus Grove to a site donated to the community by Jane Savage. The annual Citrus Grove Thanksgiving dinners were held there until 1977. The Citrus Grove Community Association dissolved and sold the property. After use as a community center, the building was purchased and converted to a residence, but much of the schoolhouse character on the outside was retained.
In 1926-27, Clemville had a modern three-room building, well equipped with a small science laboratory, two teacherages, a shed for horses and a basketball court. The three teachers taught 10 grades with 50 pupils. Due to a shortage of funds, the school year was only 125 days, but through the efforts of the P. T. A., enough funds were collected to complete a nine-month term. Clemville eventually consolidated with Markham. In 2013 elementary students are bused to Markham for school and older students attend Tidehaven Junior and High schools.
The first school
in Collegeport was held in a small tent for three months. It had a
dirt floor, one teacher and two pupils. According to the county
superintendent records, the teacher was most likely Miss Velma Mills
who taught in 1909-10. In 1911 a new five-room church was built and
one of the wings was used for a school for two years.
A two-story red
brick schoolhouse was built in 1912-13 just east of the present
location of the Mopac House and library. On June 30, 1923, the
common school districts, known as Collegeport and DeMoss, were
consolidated by a majority vote for high school purposes. The newly
formed district was named “Bay View Consolidated Common School
District Number 26.” Students from Citrus Grove and Simpsonville
were later transferred to Collegeport.
In 1926-27, four teachers taught 87 pupils in ten grades for a 7 ½ month term. One truck transported 30 children each day. In the 1940s secondary students were bused to Blessing and Palacios while elementary continued at the Collegeport School. The Bay View Consolidated District was consolidated with the Palacios ISD in the early 1950s.
Josephine Callaway Milam taught school at the Kelly rice farm (South Texas Nuclear Project area) during the 1925-26 school year. It was named Culver because a Mr. Culver donated the property for the school. Miss Milam taught the five Kelly children and boarded with the family. She rode horseback to Citrus Grove once a week to get her mail. In 1926-27, Culver had a one-room building with an unfinished interior. One teacher taught seven pupils in six grades for six months.
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.
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 Wainner 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.
There was a school building at Dunbar at one point, but was later moved to Prairie Center. The Dunbar area children then attended school at Prairie Center
The current El Maton National Hall building was moved to the 2013 site. It was used as a school for many years in both the previous and current locations.
A school for African-American children was located in District #3 near Van Vleck in 1926-27. It had a seven month term, seven grades and 56 pupils.
The school building is ready for duty. Matagorda County Tribune, October 18, 1912
The black students in the Gainesmore area were in District #8 had no school building. In 1926-27, it was reported that classes were held in the church building with poor equipment. One teacher taught 33 pupils in five grades for an eight-month term.
Texas Gulf Sulphur operations began on Mach 19, 1919 at Gulf. The company built a town on the site for its employees. A modern brick school was built by the independent school district, organized by citizens. It was composed of primary through high school grades and students came from the surrounding areas to attend. Later the younger students attended school in Matagorda and older students from Wadsworth and Matagorda attended the high school at Gulf.
In the September 17, 1897 issue, the Bay City Breeze stated Our school started last Monday with Miss Tenie Hardeman as teacher. We only have enough for three months.
In 1917 the first school at Hasima
was conducted in the home of B. W. Richardson with Belle Bringham as
the first teacher. In 1918, a one-room schoolhouse was erected on
one acre of land donated by McDonald and Company. Miss Eddie
McClendon and a Mrs. Ireland of Houston were the teachers for the
five-month term. In 1919 Vades Underwood came to Hasima to teach,
and in 1921 she married Joseph S. Richardson of Hasima. In 1923 she
took a sabbatical leave to have a child, and Mary Bacon of Pheasant,
Texas, taught that year. Mrs. Vades Richardson returned in 1924 and
taught at Hasima until 1936.
The Hasima school was in District
#6 in 1926-27. There was a “neat, modern, well-equipped building.”
There were five pupils in five grades who attended school for an
Hixie Sewell taught two years, 1936 and 1938, and then the school was closed due to lack of students. The few remaining students attended Bay City and Van Vleck.
The school was a one-room country-type school and was also used for church services. The Illinois Colony School was moved about 1938 to a 620-acre tract of land belonging to the Harrison family.
The Liveoak Community existed prior
to the Civil War and was first known as Grapevine. Jessie Mae Dennis
Edison, the daughter of Elijah Dennis and Emily Alliniece, was born
in 1902 and remembered the small school she attended called
Grapevine. It was established in connection with the early church.
A second school was built later. In 1926-27, Live Oak had one teacher who taught 55 students in six grades. The county superintendent’s report for that year reported the school had a “progressive teacher” who was also doing some excellent industrial work with the students. The school building was later moved to Van Vleck when the schools were incorporated in the 1930s.
A school existed in 1915-16 known as the Lower Carancahua School. The closing program and grammar school graduation was held on March 31, 1916. The graduates were: Ida Theresa Hansen, Myrtle Isabel Falls, Nellie Marie Slaikeu, Robert L. Falls and Roy E. W. Lindquist. Other students who participated in the program were: Lillian Jensen, Francke Hansen, Roger Slaikeu, Anna Hansen and Esther Jensen.
Lukefahr was an agricultural
community located on Bucks Bayou Road which centered around the
school. The earliest mention of a school at Lukefahr was in a 1914
issue of the Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer. The
school was named for Casper Lukefahr who, in 1917, donated one acre
for the schoolhouse which was also used as a meeting place and
church. In 1917, Lukefahr was a part of District #1. In 1921 it
became a part of District #6 and had seven grades.
In 1926-27, Superintendent Claire
F. Pollard reported the Lukefahr School had seven grades with 16
pupils and a school year of eight months. The school building was
described as neat, modern, with two rooms and well-equipped.
The 1944 school census still listed students attending the Lukefahr School. The building was renovated as a residence when no longer used for education and is still standing in 2013, although in disrepair.
The first school in Markham was a two-story wooden building. The bell which is displayed in the school yard in 2013, was taken from atop the old school. The building was replaced in 1935 by the brick structure which had subsequent additions.
One of the first structures erected
in the young town of Matagorda was a log schoolhouse with a dirt
floor. Josiah P. Wilbarger was the first teacher and was assisted by
Private schools were the primary
means of educating Matagorda children until after the Civil War. Ira
Ingram, who died on September 22, 1837, planned to leave $75,000 to
the inhabitants of Matagorda County to establish a school fund, but
the disposition of the money is unknown.
A public school building was
erected on the corner of Cedar and Lewis in 1888 and continued to
serve the higher grades after a duplicate wing had been added in
1909. From 1904-1908, a one-room school building near the Odd
Fellows Hall housed the primary grades. Rooms in the Baptist church
were also used for the primary classes.
The next seventy years were to see
many changes in the Matagorda school system. December of 1914 saw
the completion of a two-story brick and concrete school building
constructed on the public square at the intersection of Wightman and
Market Streets. Bertha Funk, Bertha Lloyd, O. L. Bateman and Lula
Belle Salley were some of the early teachers in that building.
From 1920 until 1928, Matagorda and
Gulf shared educational responsibilities. Primary classes were
taught in Matagorda and secondary students attended the high school
in Gulf. When the Gulf school was closed, the secondary grades from
Matagorda were transferred to Bay City. The building constructed in
1914 was razed in 1970 and classes were conducted in the fire
station and the Episcopal rectory until January 4, 1971, when the
current brick building was completed.
As the school population grew, primarily due to the construction of the South Texas Nuclear Project, a wing was added to the main building. Elementary students from Matagorda and Selkirk attended the school while secondary students continued to travel to school in Bay City.
In 2008 a new addition was built
which includes a UIL regulation gym with dressing rooms, concession
room, community exercise room and combination cafeteria/auditorium.
The 1894 Matagorda County School
Census enumerated a school for Matagorda’s black children with 32
students enrolled. In 1895 there were 17 students enrolled. A
building was given to the black families of Matagorda c 1904 to be
used for a school for their children. There was one teacher and 26
In 1922 the following students were
enumerated in the school census: Asline Allen, Dan Allen, Jessie
James Allen, Masiah Allen, Vera Mae Allen, Frank Bains, Lena Mae
Bains, Genevier Dunbar, Emmit Fletcher, Frank Godfrey, Beatrice
Green, Dorris Reta Green, Edward Green, Helen Green, Lafette Green,
Mildred Haynes, Dorothy Holt, Stella Holt, Bains Ludington, Samuel
Ludington, Vera Mae Ludington, Willie Maxey, Carrie Moore, Mazie
Moore, Myrtle Patterson, Willie Mae Patterson, Jerrel Pleasant,
Eleanor Mae Powell, Comma Taylor, Troy Houston Taylor, Charlie
Williams, Gussie Williams, Katie Williams and Robert Williams.
In 1937 there were 37 pupils and
one teacher. The last graduating class is thought to have been c
1953. Wilma Holt, a student at the school in the 1930s recalled some
of the teachers were Nellie Elizabeth Guilment Hilliard, Edward
Arthur Baldridge and Alonia Fletcher Keys Welch.
The building was originally located on Cedar Street between Center and Austin and directly in front of St. Peter’s Baptist Church. When no longer used, it was moved to Fisher Street adjacent to the Matagorda Volunteer Fire Department and used for storage. The building was acquired by the Matagorda Historical Society and it was moved to the park in 2009. The Society painted and restored the building and it serves both as a headquarters for the Society and a school museum. The Society is furnishing the schoolhouse with donated items and is gathering documents and pictures relating to the former teachers and students. The building is open to the public on special occasions.
The German settlement (approximately midway between Decrow’s Point and Caney Creek) on the peninsula had a schoolhouse about three miles from the settlement and a Mr. Hale from Illinois was the teacher. He left to join the Union Army at the outbreak of the Civil War and school was suspended until after the war.
The Mount Pilgrim school was located near Cedar Lane in District #6 in 1926-27. A Rosenwald school building had been erected in 1922-23 at a cost of $4750. The two-teacher type school was built with the Nashville Plan: North or South Facing B on a two-acre site. The Rosenwald program provided $700 for the project while the African-American residents of the community donated $250. The remaining $3800 was provided by the public and the school district. In 1926-27, the two teachers were educating 37 pupils in seven grades. As a part of the Rosenwald program, the school also participated in gardening and some industrial work.
The school term of 1908-09 was in a
one-room building in the country about one and one-half miles east
of Midfield. The first school in the town of Midfield was during the
term of 1909-10. Both terms were taught by Knox M. Aiken. The seats
were homemade and the students sat two at each desk.
A nice two-room schoolhouse was
erected in 1911 and the teachers that year were Rosina Montier and
Bertha Harris, both of Bay City. The building was later enlarged to
four classrooms with an auditorium on the second floor. In 1926-27
the building was described as an excellent two-story, five-room
structure that was well equipped and in good repair. There was also
a large playground with some equipment. The school building was
destroyed by fire in 1929 and another building was erected in 1930.
The new Midfield
building was dedicated last Friday evening at a special dedicatory
service. About 300 people were present to inspect the building, to
enjoy the program and the social features of the evening. Number of
friends from surrounding communities joined in the celebration. Mr.
and Mrs. Harry D. Payne and Mr. Schneider from Houston, Mr. and Mrs.
A. N. Evans from Columbus, were among the out-of-town visitors. The
Midfield building is the most attractive rural building in the
county, is equipped with electric lights and gas-steam heat, has
sanitary drinking fountains and fire fighting apparatus. A lovely
little studio piano was furnished by the Goodwin Piano company of
Bay City which bit of equipment made for complete furnishing of this
modern school. The people and the trustees of Midfield are to be
congratulated on the courage and the vision they have shown in
furnishing their district with such a beautiful and comfortable
The program for
the evening follows:
following the program the ladies of Midfield enhanced the pleasures
of the social hour by dispensing delicious punch. The punch bowls
were placed in the two rooms of the building which open by wide
archways directly into the auditorium. The young ladies of the
community presided over the punch tables and no one in that large
room was overlooked in the serving.
Langham has been elected to a place in the Midfield faculty, the
increased number of pupils making another teacher necessary.
Daily Tribune, October 9, 1930
Northern Headquarters, situated to
the east of Markham, became a community of the people who worked for
the Northern Irrigation Company. Northern Headquarters School
District #9 was formed to educate the children of the community.
Children by the names of Stevens, Thompson, Richmond, Rooth,
Loveston, Anderson, Bowers, Saunders, Lonquet, Mehrens, Christensen,
Trousdale and Ulland attended the school. In 1926-27, two teachers
taught 20 pupils in 8 grades. The school was a well equipped
two-room building with a teacherage. The term was 7 1/3 months.
The black children were educated in an inferior rented building with poor equipment. There were 32 pupils in seven grades for a six-month term.
The Ohio Colony school was a one-room country-type building which was also used for church services. Eva Aiken and Mrs. Herman Hood were two of the teachers at the Ohio Colony School. The school building was moved to Pheasant in the early 1920s for use as a school there.
Mrs. J. E. McGuire operated a
private preparatory school and Palacios College provided upper level
education in the early days of Palacios.
The East Bay Schoolhouse was almost
too small when built and by 1912, temporary classrooms were added. A
red brick high school was also constructed.
Palacios school enrollment was 525
in 1934. A new high school building was built in 1936. By 1948,
enrollment was over 900 with 40 students in the African-American
Schools facilities in the 1950s
needed upgrading. In September, 1951, enrollments were:
African-American school—55, East Side--530, West Side
Elementary—90, Junior High—196 and High School—134. The old Red
Brick School was torn down and a new junior high and elementary
school were erected.
Student enrollment had reached 1433 by the beginning of the 1960s. A new senior and junior high was completed.
Pecan City District #16 was situated east of Citrus Grove. In 1926-27 the school was not in operation. The one pupil was transported to Citrus Grove. Beulah Cooper was principal of the school in September, 1936. It was consolidated with Palacios ISD in 1947.
The Peyton’s Creek was an African-American school operating in District #1 in 1926-27. The site on which the building stood was owned by Mr. Wadsworth. There were five grades and 20 pupils with a seven-month term.
Pheasant Switch was a settlement
about six miles north of Palacios on the Southern Pacific Railway.
The Ohio Colony schoolhouse was moved to Pheasant before 1925 and
was also used as a church.
Clara Schley taught school at Pheasant. She caught the morning train in Palacios, got off at Pheasant, taught school, and then caught the return train at 2:00 p.m. A Mrs. Beard from Blessing was one of the teachers during this period. Josephine Callaway Milam also taught school there in 1926-27. She boarded with the Franklin Jackson family for a part of that time. Dr. Hood’s wife taught at Pheasant and rode a horse from her home in Palacios. This school was one of the many eventually consolidated into the Tidehaven ISD.
One of the early schools in the Pledger area, which is in northeastern Matagorda County, was held at the Grove Hill Church for the children of former slaves. The 1894-95 Matagorda County School Census recorded approximately 60 black students compared to eight white students. In 1926-27, the Pledger African-American school had two teachers which taught 82 pupils in eight grades for seven months. They met in a two-room building. The white pupils during that time period met in a three-room brick building. The three teachers taught 39 pupils in ten grades for nine months. Public education was provided for all students during the early 1900s. In 1947 all schools in the Pledger area were consolidated with the Boling School District in Wharton County.
The black school conducted at Poole’s ranch in 1926-27 was in District #8. There was no building and classes began in an old dwelling. The classes were later moved to a roomy barn. One teacher taught an eight-month term and 24 pupils in five grades.
During the year 1912, Common School
District No. 12 was organized between the Tres Palacios River and
Cash’s Creek. The two-room schoolhouse was first situated in the
Dunbar community by the river and near the church and the store. It
was called “The School House.” A. L. Dyer, Lela Driskell and Harley
Lewis were the teachers. In 1914 the building was moved to the
middle of the district (about three miles west) on the prairie,
hence the name, “Prairie Center.” Emma Schadel and Clara Schley were
In 1917 the new three-room school
was completed. These small schools throughout the state of Texas
were known as “Jim Ferguson schools.” Outdoor plumbing consisted of
two nice little white buildings with half-moon blinds covering the
entrance. The boys’ outhouse was to the northeast, while the girls’
was to the southeast. Drinking water was furnished with a hand pump
until in the 1930s when a windmill and overhead tank and a pretty
white fountain with six outlets were installed.
From the time of the new building, teachers included: James Luther, Stella Dyer, Bessie Belnap, Robert Margarum, J. R. Laslie, Jane Ross, Helen Ward, Julie Lee Stapp, Christine Evans, Wilma Thomas, Mae Walker, Mary Aileen Elliiott and Margaret Hill. Margaret Hill Lawson attended first grade at Prairie Center and ten years later taught her first year there, riding horseback during both times. Other teachers included Tina Dickerson, Helen Sanders, Monte Sweeny, Cherry Price, Ann Lane and Ruth Miller.
Box suppers were held as fund
raisers. The holiday programs were a joy to the community. The
building was also used as a voting precinct. The high school age
children attended Collegeport and Palacios schools.
Many men served as trustees. Some
of the first were Elmer Johnson, Charles Viets, T. A. McFarland, S.
J. Hill, Frank Stallard, Stadig, Brown, Anderson, Lee, Harrison,
Powers, Luther Hill, Ramsey Hunt, Laslie and others.
When, in 1945, the doors finally closed for school, the building continued to serve as a community house. In 1955 the property was deeded to the Prairie Center Home Demonstration Club. Sadly, though in a state of disrepair, the building burned c 2007 and the two chimneys are the only reminders of the Prairie Center School.
Riceville was a small settlement near Lake Austin which existed for ten to fifteen years, but by 1922, most of the settlers had left. The families were from Kansas and Oklahoma and were farmers. Matagorda County built a school for the children of the families and in 1926-27 there were only three pupils in three grades with one teacher. The school met for eight months and during that year plans were being made to transfer the students if the attendance did not improve. Mae Werlla taught school in the small building for a short time. A group of Amish families moved to the area about three miles away and opened their own school.
Sargent was named for farmer and rancher George Sargent who settled there in 1844. The Sargent area was known as Kenner or Kenner Prairie in the early days and the schools in 1894 and 1895 were named Kenner. The 1894 school census listed 30 students and in 1895, there were 22. In 1926-27, the school was in District #7 with one teacher and 20 pupils in six grades who attended school for eight months.
There was also an African-American
school in Sargent in 1926-27. The school was described as being
barn-like with no water on the premises. The two teachers taught 55
pupils in seven grades for an eight-month term.
In 1938, Sargent had a white school
with three teachers and 41 pupils and a black school with three
teachers and 185 students.
Little additional information has been recorded about the Sargent schools. The schools in Sargent were consolidated Van Vleck ISD in 1948.
About seven miles south-southwest
of Bay City, a community known as Sexton Community developed in the
early 1800s. The first community school was located across Boggy
just south of the Greenberry Savage ranch house, near the Conrad
Franz home. The school was known as Franz School and was a one-room
building which was also used as for church services. The building
was destroyed by a hurricane and in 1896 Manley Sexton, Jr. deeded
an acre of land for a school. A two-room school was built for the
students who lived several miles around and operated long enough for
two generations of families to attend. The school was the bond that
held the community together and was also used for monthly church
In 1926-27, Sexton was a
one-teacher school with six grades. The building was kept up well
Some of the teachers at the Sexton
school were Jewel Thigpen of Mexia, Florence Moore of Palacios,
Martha Langham Foley, Della Senior Oliver, Erna Harbison Mann,
Beulah Fondon Watkins, and Veronica White Franz.
The Sexton School District was consolidated with the Bay City Independent School District about 1934 and the children were transported to Bay City by bus. In the early 1960s, the Sexton School property reverted to Theresa Franz Sexton, Manley’s widow. She had the school building torn down and used the materials to build her home.
school was located at Cedar Lane and was a Rosenwald school
building. It was a two-teacher type school built in 1922-23 on a two
acre site for $4900. The Rosenwald program provided $700 for the
building and the black residents of the community donated $300. The
remaining $3900 was donated by the public and the school district.
It was later known as the Mabel Kennedy School.
“THE MABEL KENNEDY SCHOOL”
Cedar Lane, Texas. Jan. 10.—Inasmuch as our excellent board of trustees and our most esteemed ex-superintendent, Miss Kennedy, have labored so earnestly to better the conditions of the colored schools of Matagorda County and have succeeded in erecting a beautiful three-room school, have requested the honor of said superintendent to name our school for her. This act having been willingly approved by the president of the board of trustees of district one. I, Willie (Hilliard) Cooper, principal of said school, declare that it shall no more be called Shiloh, but hereafter be known as, “The Mabel Kennedy School.
The Matagorda County Tribune, January 12, 1923
Simpsonville was a railroad station at the site of the intersection of the Buckeye-to-Collegeport railroad and the old Palacios-to-Matagorda county road near present—day Tintop. In 1926-27, Simpsonville had a two-room building, but there were only three students. The students were transported to Palacios. The school funds were low due to delinquent taxes on absentee landowners.
Tres Palacios School
The Tres Palacios School, situated near the early Tidehaven landing on the Tres Palacios Creek, educated ancestors of the children who would eventually attend the Tidehaven ISD at El Maton.
The school was in existence by 1890 when Emily Burrows from Austin, Texas taught there. It was enumerated in the 1895 school census with the following children as students: Sarah Rowles, Maggie Duffy, John Duffy, Tennie Duffy, Henry Duffy, Joseph Pybus, Mae Wheeler, Ben Wheeler and Clara Baxter.
The first school in Turtle Bay was a one-room building on land donated by James Matthew Harbison. That building was probably erected in 1911. In 1914, Henry Clinton Mozley donated land on Highway 35 for a new and larger school. Turtle Bay had one teacher who taught 28 pupils in seven grades. These statistics included in the 1926-27 county superintendent’s report also noted that there was a well furnished, modern two-room school with an artesian well on the grounds. The Turtle Bay District #13 was consolidated with Palacios ISD and the building was moved to Palacios in 1948 and used as the high school band hall.
Ransom Edison donated land near the present Berean Baptist Church. In 1894-95 the Matagorda County school census listed children from the following families: Scott Glascow, William Green, Sam Norris, Catherine Stanford, Watt Eddison, Joe Sorrell, Rose Gatson, King Vann, Ransom Eddison, Sr., Jack Eddison, Hester Washington and Charles Gatson. The Berean Baptist Church was organized by members of the Shiloh Baptist Church and the church first met in the schoolhouse. The county superintendent reported in 1926-27 that the Van school, in District #8, had one teacher educating 30 pupils in seven grades. The eight-month term was conducted in a “neat” building that was fairly well furnished. The pupils were also taught some gardening and good industrial work.
On March 2, 1928, a bond issue of $35,000 was voted 70-20 to finance the construction of a building started November 22, 1938, and was completed June 20, 1939. Mrs. Phillip Johnson was president of the school board and Mrs. T. L. Rugeley was secretary. Other members were Mrs. L. T Bickham, J. S. Richardson, W. T. Orrell, Vincent L. Holub and Mack Brown. Elijah Rudd was superintendent of schools.
The new modern building housed grades one through nine. The Van Vleck School became a two-year high school in 1938 and a full four-year high school in 1941-42.
In 1948 Van Vleck ISD consolidated with Common School Districts 6, 7, and 8 which were Sargent, Cedar Lane and Lukefahr. The Van Vleck enrollment increased to 350 pupils and 18 teachers. In 1964-65, Van Vleck ISD had 523 white students and 542 black students. The schools desegregated in 1969-70. A new elementary school was completed in 1974-75 and a new high school in 1976. In 1984, the enrollment had reached 1155 pupils.
The first school was a one-room building taught by Beulah Goodall. It was situated just east of the railroad tracks and east of the old cotton gin. From 1914 to 1917 a Catholic school was situated southeast of the town. One teacher, Carrie Cartwell, taught the primary pupils through tenth grade.
In 1912, the Wadsworth community erected a two-story building on a lot donated by the Colonial Land Company which served as a church, recreation hall and Catholic school.
In 1913, the land company donated a block and the school district purchased a block on which a two-story schoolhouse was erected for first grade through high school. There were two large classrooms downstairs and one large room with a stage upstairs. One teacher taught several grades in each room.
In 1926-27, Wadsworth was a three-teacher school with ten grades and 80 pupils which operated for nine months. The two-story building had three classrooms, a library, cloak rooms and a Home-Lite electric plant which provided power. There was a basketball court for the older students and a slide for the younger.
In later years the Wadsworth school was changed to a primary school and secondary students went to high school in Gulf. After the Gulf school closed, secondary students were transferred to Bay City. Later in the 1940s all Wadsworth students were bused to Bay City and the school building and property were sold.
There was a modern one-room building with one teacher, six grades and 14 pupils in 1926-27.
Antone Deadrick, a Frenchman who came to America after the Civil War, moved to Matagorda County and worked on the Grimes Ranch. He donated an acre of land for a church and school and education for the black students in the Wilson Creek area was conducted in the Chief St. Mary’s Baptist Church building which was erected in 1891. Mr. Deadrick made sure the small school had qualified teachers for the children of Wilson Creek. The Wilson Creek school was District #15. A new building was constructed for the 1926-27 school year which lasted eight months. One teacher taught 28 pupils in seven grades.
Special to The News.
Bay City, Tex., Feb. 17.--The commissioners court at this session has fixed the ex-officio salaries of the county offices drawing such salaries as follows: County clerk, $28 per month; county judge, $100 per month; district clerk, $75 per month; county attorney, $50 per month; sheriff, $500 per year; with an allowance of $45 per month for a jailer.
The court also at this session set down for the special session on March 6 the hearing of the petition and the protest relative to the change in the east boundary line of School District No. 12, and for the creation of a new school district separate from No. 17. This last affects the Collegeport and the Citrus Grove communities.
Wadsworth School Opened.
Special to The News.
Bay City, Tex., Feb. 17.--A new school has been opened up at the new settlement about Wadsworth and the trustees are looking for an experiences lady teacher for this school. The opening of this school shows the rapidity with which this section of the county is developing there being enough scholastics among the newcomers to justify a school.
Galveston Daily News, February 18, 1911
Special to The News.
Bay City, Tex., March 6.--The commissioners court is in special session today adjusting some of the school district lines. Collegeport and Citrus Grove, both in the same school district, are petitioning the court to the set apart each to its own district, and this was granted. An order was entered creating a new district about Pheasant Switch, known as No. 21. The district matter, on which there was a protest against change, was postponed indefinitely. The court will meet again on the 20th to hear the matter of laying out the Markham Drainage District.
Galveston Daily News, March 7, 1911
By an act of the legislature the school age has been changed so as to include all children between the ages of seven and twenty-one years. This law is effective after July 1, 1913, and after that date all children between the above ages may attend public schools free of charge.
Palacios Beacon, May 23,
The Bay City public schools upon next Monday, that is the teachers have their institute to get a few new ideas, and prepare for the campaign, under the generalship of Superintendent R. F. Scott. There is a full and well arranged program, which includes papers by many of the teachers, some doctors, and other learned people, interspersed with study periods. It no doubt it will be a profitable session. The faculty is as follows:
R. F. Scott, superintendent
C. E. Miller, history and chemistry
A. A. Aldrich, mathematics and physics
Virginia O'Neal, English
Olga Grote, Latin and German
Mary Lue Carter, domestic economics, assistant in grammar school and school mathematics
T. L. Smith, manual training and arithmetic
Mamie Schaedel, grammar school history and reading
Allie Hazle, physiology and agriculture in the grammar school
Mary H. C. Buell, music, drawing and writing
Elizabeth Gilbert, geography
Cecile Lawrence, English
Tommie Woolsey, fourth grade
Grace Keese, fourth grade
Mamie Gusman, third grade
Lillian Moffet, third grade
Carrie Stewart, second grade
Mrs. Mary C. Scott, second grade
Miss Sutherland, first grade
Tenie Holmes, first grade.
The city scholastics number 999, which at $8 per capita from the state will furnish $7,992, and this will be handsomely supplemented by the city (or district) local maintenance tax of 50c on the $100. While the teachers are at work next week, the pupils will not enter till the following Monday.
Palacios is an independent district, and with Prof. Skinner as Superintendent, with about the same faculty as last year, expects a larger school and no doubt a better one than ever with a scholastic population of 513.
Matagorda, another independent district, has 213 scholastics, which at $8 each from the state and the local tax of 35c, will give them a fair fund for maintenance. Then Matagorda will go into a new brick building which for comfort, light and attractiveness will not be excelled in the county. The new superintendent, Prof. O. L. Bateman from Palacios will be aided by Miss Bertha Funk, Miss Bertha Boyd, Miss Lula Salley, and Miss Calie Gove.
Markham has a new superintendent in Prof. W. F. Pack, recently from East Texas. The new census gives Markham 176 scholastics.
Blessing is one of the leading independent districts, having a $14,000 brick building, and a splendid corps of teachers. The scholastics number about 200 on which they will get $8 each from the state and this supplemented by a local tax of 50c for bonds and maintenance gives them an eight months school. The faculty is as follows: L. D. Midgett principal; Miss Louella Baker, Miss Mollie Belle Moore, and Miss Edna Woodruff. The school library consists of 250 volumes, and whatever the school needs they get.
Of the common school districts Superintendent T. R. Lewis has consolidated Caney, Riceville, Buck's Bayou, Caney Switch, Cedar Lane, Gainesmore, Buckner Prairie and Sexton, into one district, with school houses at Caney, Buckner Prairie, Buck's Bayou and Gainesmore--better school houses than they would have otherwise been able to have. Much of the cost of these houses has been met out of the maintenance fund from the special tax, which tax can be voted away at any time without any bonds on their homes. The maintenance tax of 25c brings in $4,660.87 this year. These are two colored schools also in prosperous condition.
Common school district No. 2 is the Wadsworth community, with a scholastic population of 135. The 15c tax on bonds will amount to $664.88, and with the 15c tax just voted for maintenance will bring in $412.00.
No 3 is Van Vleck where there is a 3c tax for maintenance and 10c on bonds, bringing in $1666.68.
No. 4 is Pledger where there is no special tax, the school being maintained by the percapita from the state school fund.
No. 5 is Chalmers with a maintenance fund from special tax of $584.24.
Nos. 6, 7, and 8 are Hawkinsville, Sargent and Riceville consolidated with Caney.
No. 9, Northern Irrigation Co. and Clemville, with a special maintenance tax of 25cts, two schools are maintained, one at Clemville and one at the headquarters of the Irrigation Co. The tax amounts to $1,240.63.
No. 11, Midfield, has one of the best school buildings of the common school districts, built by bonds on which they are paying with a tax of 20c and this with the maintenance tax of 30c brings in a total of $2,168.16. Prof. B. B. Brown is the new principal and Mrs. ___ Mims and Miss Maud Marshall are two of the new faculty.
No. 12 is Prairie Centre, where Prof. Dyer has a good school. A special tax brings in $687.31, for maintenance, to add to their prorata of the state fund.
No. 13 is Turtle Bayou, where they have a good building and a tax of 16 cts is paying off the bonds, which with a special tax of 25c brings in $451.17, the most of which is added to the state fund for maintenance.
No. 14 is Buckeye, where another comfortable and attractive building is being paid for by a special tax of 24c for maintenance brings in $2,678.98, the greater portion going to supplement the state fund.
No. 15, Ashby and Simpsonville, have a building bond tax of 5c, and a maintenance tax of 10c, the two bringing in $626.29.
No. 16 is Collegeport pumping plant, which has no special tax, but they get a fair school out of the state apportionment of this year $8 per capita.
No. 17 is Collegeport which has a splendid brick school building for which they have a special bond tax of 25c, and then a special maintenance tax of 25c, the two taxes bringing in a total of $2, 033.20. Prof. J. A. Laslie is the new superintendent.
No. 18 is Citrus Grove, which has a new building being paid for by a tax of 8c, and with the maintenance tax of 35c brings in this year $1,011.82 giving them a good maintenance fund and, as we hear, a good school.
No. 19 is De Moss, south of Collegeport, which has a special tax which brings in $636.98.
No. 20 is the unorganized peninsular, which has no school and no tax.
No. 21 is Pheasant Switch, south of Blessing, which has a special tax bringing this year $799.30.
The total assessment for special taxes in the Common school districts above, (not including the independent districts) for this year is $23,075.08.
The Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer,
September 5, 1914
List of Teachers and Assignments
By W. T. Pollard
The Matagorda County Institute is in session in Bay City. One hundred and three teachers have enrolled for the five-day session. Visiting teachers who have attended many meetings of the kind, say that they have never before known an institute in which such serious and sincere interest was manifested. This is largely due to the unusually high classes of teachers assembled here, but partly to the preparation made beforehand. The program containing detailed references to various books, was mailed out to the teachers a month before the institute convened. The adopted text book was also mailed to each teacher in the high school and the elementary sections, so that every one had the means of preparation before the opening of the convention.
Miss Euttery? of Houston has also contributed largely to the intense interest of the occasion, through her practical and inspiring section meetings. She is fully equipped for her work and is thoroughly practical in the application of the principles of primary teaching to the actual work of the teachers in the lower grades. All members of her section are delighted with the help they re receiving.
One of the remarkable features of the institute is the untiring efforts of the various superintendents, to accomplish the organization of their teachers, and to plan with them for co-operative action in attacking the problems of the upcoming season. There is a ready and a willing response to every call on the part or the teachers.
The harmony and the helpful attitude of the independent districts, toward the teachers of the country schools, is encouraging and promises a spirit of mutual helpfulness among the schools of the entire county. We are realizing that Matagorda County must not have 25 systems of public school, but one system, all of which must work co-operatively for the attainment of one common end.
Most of the schools will open Sept. 10. Let every parent plan to start the children on the first day. Each pupil has a right to an even start with all the rest.
The county library received the sum of $28.75 as the results of the two nights' benefit donated by Mr. Miller, manager of the Grand, last Monday night and Tuesday night. This was a generous gift for which the children of the county will be grateful.
Everybody is looking
forward to the P. T. A. reception at Hamilton Hall Thursday night.
Examinations will be
held at the court house next Friday and Saturday. Some applicants
will be building to higher grades wile others will take exams for
original certificates under the new law.
The following is a list of the teachers enrolled in the institute:
Teachers in Palacios Independent District
Miss Linnie Wolf,
Miss Victoria Elder, first grade
Miss Lorena Ifland, second grade
Miss Irene Batchelder, third grade
Miss Eunice Traylor, fourth grade
Miss Vera Sanders, Mexican children, first, second and third grades
Miss Claire Partain, fifth grade
Mrs. John D. Bouden, sixth grade
Mrs. W. C. Gray, seventh grade
Mr. Harley Lewis, Latin and Science
Miss Nora Hayes, Spanish and History
Miss Rachel Thompkins, Home Economics
Mr. W. A. Smith, Mathematic and Bookkeeping
Blessing Independent District.
Mr. Ralph Newsom, superintendent
Miss Laura Sutton, principal
Miss Mary Luder, sixth and seventh grades
Mr. A. L. Dyer, fourth and fifth grades
Miss America Judkins, primary
Miss Dulcie Mallard.
Markham Independent District.
Mr. John Scott, superintendent
Miss Mariam Day
Miss Mary Lois Bullock
Common School Districts.
Sexton--Miss Audrey Thompson
Wadsworth Ranch--Miss Daisy Hale
Wadsworth--Mr. V. L. Sandlin, Miss Eva Berg, Miss Irma Pentecost
Van Vleck--Mrs. Claire F. Pollard, Miss Lura Hudson, Miss Faye Hudson
Ashwood--Miss Lilly Feuerbacher
Pledger--Miss Eva Nelson, Miss Velma Cunningham, Miss Vina Lee Barnett
Hasima--Miss Mary C. Bacon
Lukefahr--Miss Hattie Patterson
Bernard--Miss Lucille Allen
Sargent--Miss Marguerite Krause
Cedar Lane--Mr. M. F. Manley, Miss May Stevens.
Riceville--Miss Bessie Senour.
Clemville---Miss Blanche Kirk, Miss Ione Ricks, Miss Ivy Savage
Great Northern--Mr. Guy Wynn, Miss Len Maxwell
Midfield--Mr. C. P. Jones, Mrs. C. P. Jones, Miss Clara Schley, Miss Helen Ward
Turtle Bay--Miss Lillian Herman
Buckeye---Miss Shirley Harding.
El Maton--Mr. Alden Phillips.
Macek--Mr. Ervin Wolfe.
Ashby--Miss Maude Mangum, Mrs. Era Griffitts Trousdale
Citrus Grove--Miss Thelma Batchelder.
Ohio Colony--Miss Vera Tanner.
Simpsonville--Mr. Everett Roberts.
Culver--Miss Thelma Mangum.
Bay View Consolidated, Collegeport--Mr. R. E. Coffin, Miss Merle Wainner, Miss Marjorie Berger, Miss Beulah Price
Bay City Independent District
Mr. W. E. Moreland,
Miss Tenie Holmes first grade (a)
Miss Beryl Bell, first grade (b)
Miss Manie Vest, second grade (a)
Miss Pearl Love, second grade (b)
Miss Mamie Gusman, third grade (a)
Miss Marie Kennedy, third grade (b)
Miss Valera Sweeney, fourth grade (a)
Miss Edith Armstrong, fourth grade (b)
Miss Claribel Carrington, fifth grade (a)
Miss Onella Morrison, fifth grade (b)
Mrs. R. M. Wynne, sixth grade (a)
Miss Alma Ashby, sixth grade (b)
Mr. E. G. Horger, seventh grade (a)
Miss Vida Monroe, seventh grade (b)
Mr. James Luther, Science
Mrs. C. S. Eidman, Mathematics
Miss Juanita Davis, History
Miss Elsie Kothman, English
Miss Eunice Justice, Latin
Miss Louella Keye Morgan, Spanish
Buck's Bayou School--Miss Gussie Lee McLendon
Matagorda Independent District
Mr. Guy T. McBride,
Miss Bernice Baird, principal Gulf
Miss Mary C. Marrs
Miss Ida Yeager
Miss Ellie Watson
Miss Nona Laws
Miss Marjorie Dickinson
Miss Thelma Moore
Miss Nettie F. Fly
Mr. R. E. Rogers
Mr. H. Engleking, principal Matagorda
Miss A. Matilda Moseley
Miss Bertha Funk
Miss Lucille Pannill
Miss Lila Thornhill
Several celebrities have visited the institute this week. Among those present were Mr. Roy Redicheck, from the university, representing the Interscholastic League; Mr. Clark of the State Department of Education; Dr. Gates Thomas, representing S. W. Teachers' College and
Rev. Frank A. Rhea of Gulf.
Every teacher is looking eagerly forward to the trip to Gulf next Saturday. Those who have spent several years in this county and who know the hospitality of Gulf people, are especially anxious to have the weather clear up for the occasion.
Tribune, September 7, 1923
schools of the county will be open September 9. It is very pleasing
to this office that the trustees in general over the county are
showing an active interest in making necessary repairs on the
buildings, in cleaning up the grounds and in making the buildings
sanitary. Clemville and Northern Headquarters buildings are shining
in new coats of paint from roof peak to foundations.
Wadsworth Ranch building is spic and span in its new whiteness.
Simpsonville is painting the inside of the building, revarnishing desks and clearing the grounds.
Prairie Center will transport her seventh grade and the high school pupils to Palacios.
Supt. Claire F.
Pollard, Monday, September 6, will find all schools in the county in
session with an enrollment of around 1,800 children in the rural
schools and 2,800 in the independent district schools.
just completing a new out-room building for the negro children of
that district, a neat attractive house of which the negro patrons
are very proud.
extensive repairs on her building this summer to the improvement of
the whole town. The two-story brick building near the bay presents a
commanding appearance and really seems to have lifted its head and
straightened its shoulders and to have beckoned to the young folks:
“Come, let’s reason together.” The new drinking fountain and other
sanitary arrangements on the grounds are particularly noticeable.
The trustees of
a large majority of the districts have been faithful and careful
during the summer to make note of needed repairs and most buildings
are in good shape.
The pupils of Sargent felt a renewed thrill of pleasure as they reentered their comfortable building which was completed late last fall.
accomplishment of the county educationally is the new school
building at Midfield which has just been completed. The building
will be dedicated Friday evening, October 3, Rev. Terry Wilson
delivers the dedicating address. The full program will be found
elsewhere in this issue. The schoolhouse is constructed of hollow
concrete tile, a one-story building containing four class rooms and
an auditorium. The rooms are heated by gas-steam plant, and are well
lighted throughout by electricity. The people of Midfield are to be
congratulated on their lovely comfortable building of which Harry D.
Payne, the architect, is justly proud.
Mr. P. Michna,
Roy Wilkerson and Charles Byars constitute the school board in this
district, they have worked tirelessly and harmoniously with Mr.
Payne and with the contractor, A. N. Evans, to get the building
ready for fall occupancy.
of Turtle Bay, Citrus Grove, Simpsonville and Prairie Center,
formerly one-teacher schools have each elected two teachers for the
1930-31 term. A school has been opened at Chalmers, Miss Eleanor
Chapman is the teacher.
Mrs. Patricia Gossett, county health nurse, spent Monday in the Pledger schools and gave a physical examination to 47 children.
The lovely picture when complete was presented to the school.
installed an electric pump and a sanitary drinking system on the
school grounds, and now has her building furnished with electric
Let the good
work go on.
October 2, 1930
The rapid sweep
and movement of things in the rural schools this fall remind us of
nothing so much as the rapidly opening flowers on our sunlit
prairies. The eagerness of most of the children, remind one of the
golden beauty of these same flowers because of the promise of
development for the eager minds when guided by the ordered
enthusiasm of the teachers. It is my observation that the feet of
children no longer go unwilling to school.
School has come
to mean the eve of opportunity and as such to be sought and to be
Citrus Grove schools opened Monday, October 6, the last of the rural
schools to open.
schools have elected extra teachers this year: Citrus Grove,
Simpsonville, Prairie Center and Turtle Bay. Wadsworth school bus is
overloaded, one of the Van Vleck buses reports an average of 35
hauled last month. The bus in Cedar Lane has a maximum of 23 from
box supper of last Friday was a successful and happy occasion, both
socially and financially.
October 9, 1930
The people of
Matagorda county are quite active in school matters, four elections
having been ordered by the commissioners court at a special session
yesterday for as many school districts. The dates on which the
elections are set by County Judge Holman are the same, May 12th.
In Collegeport the people will vote on a bond issue of $12,000 for a school building. Dr. W. P. Knaughton was appointed presiding judge.
In the Citrus
Grove district an election was ordered on a maintenance tax to
supplement the present school fund. O. W. Erickson is the presiding
Bonds will be
voted upon at Van Vleck for the erection of a new school building.
T. M. Gregory was appointed presiding judge.
created district at Pheasant, five miles south of Blessing, will
vote a maintenance tax to supplement the state school fund. C. C.
Williamson was appointed presiding judge.
April 14, 1911
scholastics number 999, which at $8 per capita from the state will
furnish $7,992, and this will be handsomely supplemented by the city
(or district) local maintenance tax of 50c on the $100. While the
teachers are at work next week, the pupils will not enter till the
Palacios is an independent district, and with Prof. Skinner as Superintendent, with about the same faculty as last year, expects a larger school and no doubt a better one than ever, with a scholastic population of 513.
another independent district, has 213 scholastics, which at $8 each
from the state and the local tax of 35c, will give them a fair fund
for maintenance. Then Matagorda will go into a new brick building in
November, a building which for comfort, light and attractiveness
will not be excelled in the county. The new superintendent, Prof. O.
L. Bateman from Palacios will be aided by Miss Bertha Funk, Miss
Bertha Boyd, Miss Lula Salley and Miss Calie Gove.
Markham has a
new superintendent in Prof. W. F. Pack, recently from East Texas.
The new census gives Markham 176 scholastics.
Blessing is one
of the leading independent districts, having a $14,000 brick
building, and a splendid corps of teachers. The scholastics number
about 200 on which they will get about $8 each from the state and
this supplemented by a local tax of 50c for bonds and maintenance
gives them an eight months school. The faculty is as follows: L. D.
Midgett, principal; Miss Louella Baker, Miss Mollie Belle Moore, and
Miss Edna Woodruff. The school library consists of 250 volumes, and
whatever the school needs they get.
Of the common
school districts Superintendent T. R. Lewis has consolidated Caney,
Riceville, Buck’s Bayou, Caney Switch, Cedar Lane, Gainesmore,
Buckner Prairie and Sexton, into one district, with school houses at
Caney, Buckner Prairie, Buck’s Bayou and Gainesmore—better school
houses than they would have otherwise been able to have. Much of the
cost of these houses has been met out of the maintenance fund from
the special tax, which tax can be voted away at any time without any
bonds on their homes The maintenance tax of 25c brings in $4660.87
this year. There are two colored schools also in prosperous
district No. 2 is the Wadsworth community with a scholastic
population of 135. The 15c tax on bonds will account to $664.88, and
with the 15c tax just voted for maintenance will bring in $412.00.
No 3 is Van
Vleck where there is a 3c tax for maintenance and 10c on bonds,
bringing in $1066.68.
No. 4 is Pledger
where there is no special tax, the school being maintained by the
per capita from the state school fund.
No 5 is Chalmers
with a maintenance fund from special tax of $524.24.
Nos. 6, 7 and 8
are Hawkinsville, Sargent and Riceville consolidated with Caney.
No. 9, Northern
Irrigation Co. and Clemville, with a special maintenance tax of
25cts, two schools are maintained, one at Clemville and one at the
headquarters of the Irrigation Co. The tax amounts to $1,249.63.
No. 11, Midfield
has one of the best school buildings of the common school districts
built by bonds on which they are paying with a tax of 20c and this
with the maintenance tax of 30c bring in a total of $2,468.16. Prof.
B. B. Brown is the new principal and Mrs. ___ Mims and Miss Maud
Marshall are two of the new faculty.
No. 12 is
Prairie Center, where Prof. Dyer has a good school. A special tax
brings in $687.31, for maintenance, to add to their pro rata of the
No. 13 is Turtle
Bayou, where they have a good building and a tax of 16 cts is paying
off the bonds, which with a special tax of 25c brings in $451.17,
the most of which is added to the state fund for maintenance.
No. 14 is
Buckeye, where another comfortable and attractive building is being
paid for by a special tax of 16c, and with another tax of 24c for
maintenance brings in $2,678.08, the greatest portion going to
supplement the state fund.
No. 15, Ashby
and Simpsonville, have a building bond tax of 5c, and a maintenance
tax of 10c, the two bringing in $626.29.
No. 16 is
Collegeport pumping plant, which has no special tax, but they get a
fair school out of the state apportionment of this year $8 per
No 17 is
Collegeport, which has a splendid new brick school building for
which they have a special bond tax of 25c, and then a special
maintenance tax of 25c, the two taxes bringing in a total of
$2,033.20. Prof. J. A. Laslie is the new superintendent.
No. 18 is Citrus
Grove, which has a new building being paid for by a tax of 8c, and
with the maintenance 35c, bringing in this year $1,011.82 giving
them a good maintenance fund and, as we hear, a good school.
No. 19 is
DeMoss, south of Collegeport, which has a special tax which brings
No. 20 is the unorganized peninsular, which has no school and no tax.
No. 21 is
Pheasant Switch, south of Blessing, which has a special tax bringing
this year $799.30.
The total of the assessment for special taxes in the Common school districts above, (not including the independent districts) for this year is $23,675.68.
population of Matagorda county is 3389 according to a report just
issued by the State Department of Education, and the total
apportionment at $6.81 per capita is $23,215.05 for the 1912-13
term. 2245 of our school children are whites and 1147 are negroes.
The total number of school children over seven and under seventeen
years of age in Texas is 1,017,133, and 812,896 are whites and
204,237 are colored. The males number 515,603 and the females
521,530. The total apportionments are $6,967,361 for the State.
It is customary
to multiply the scholastic population by five, in order to ascertain
the true population of the county, and on this bases Matagorda
county has a population of 16,945 an increase of 3351 over the
Federal Census of 1910.
population of Matagorda county is shown in the following table:
students have successfully passed the County Seventh Grade
examinations and will receive their diplomas at the County
graduation exercises on the evening of May 9th at the
High School Auditorium; Beatrice Elder, Pledger School; Eloise
Hodge, Pledger School; Joe Allen Cedar Lane School.; Edith Creel,
Hasima School; Gladys Ulland, Great Northern School; Beulah Fonden,
Sexton School; Flora Brown, Bernard School; Manford Foster, Ashby
School; Ethel Legg Ashby School; Irving Williams, Ashby School.
examination is to be held at the end of the nine months schools when
a much larger number is expected to be added.
A good program
including an address by the Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce and
a six reel picture will be rendered, and we hope to have a large
number of interested friends of the schools in attendance. Don’t
forget the date and the place—May 19, 8:00 p. m. at the High School
May 18, 1923
school term of 1925-25 there were 1,194,655 school children enrolled
in the public schools of the state, including both independent and
common school districts.
County’s record, for 1924-25, common school districts, is, as
We have 42 rural
schools in the county with 68 teachers. Out of a total enrollment
for the county of approximately 3700 children, 1600 were enrolled in
the rural schools. We have $79,260. Invested in school houses, we
paid for schooling our children, whites and negroes, last year,
$58,092.43. We have four trucks conveying children—free
transportation. The total in equipment, including a circulating
library supported by individual schools, $23,136, making a grand
total of $160,488.43 invested in the rural schools of the county.
Administration expenses bring the total up to $163,668.43. Figures
are of interest only to compute some automobile figures recently.
When we saw the license plates for the automobiles of the county
being conveyed to the tax collector’s office, 61 boxes, 75 plates to
a box, according to those figures, on a conservative estimate, more
than one million dollars invested in automobiles in Matagorda
County. More than $300,000 of automobile taxes paid. “Comparisons
are odorous,” but say! Really are we paying at an exorbitant figure
for our schools, for training our future citizens? Are we?
Pledger being situated on the S. P. road, we visited the white school there, between trains. She boasts a modern three-room brick building situated on a broad, smooth campus that stretches to the banks of Caney Creek. It is a beautiful location, the building is attractive, the faculty, Mrs. Herman, Misses Vina Lee and Jimmie Barnett, are conscientious and painstaking in their work. We visited all three rooms, inspected the note book work and tried to give an inspirational talk to the pupils. We regret to find the attendance in the upper grades so small. Several of Pledger’s bright pupils of last year are attending college. We hope they will maintain the same good standards they had in the home school.
Most of the
rural schools have completed their mid-term tests. Among the reports
sent to the office were some interesting spelling tests. The
following list of names shows those pupils who made 100 per cent in
spelling and legible writing.
(All pupils from third grade to eighth, inclusive, took the same tests.)
Alice Daniels [Dannels], sixth grade; Fern Powers, fifth grade; Theo Daniels [Dannels], seventh grade; Gertrude Nicholson, seventh grade.
fifth grade; Dorothy Melbourn, sixth grade; Willis Michna, eighth
grade; Selma Fink, sixth grade.
Daisy Bullington, seventh grade; Dayton Lee Parker, seventh grade; Lula Mae Hill, fifth grade.
Matagorda County Tribune,
January 22, 1926
Copyright 2007 -
Present by Bay City Newspapers, Inc.
May 2, 2007
May 2, 2007