MATAGORDA COUNTY SCHOOLS
 


Matagorda County Education
 

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.
 

Matagorda County Schools – 1904
AA – African-American
 

DISTRICT

SCHOOL

PUPILS

Independent

Bay City

462

#1

Matagorda

120

#2

Matagorda AA

22

#4

Van Vleck White

48

#5

Van Vleck AA

18

#6

Demings Bridge White

57

#7

Mt. Pilgrim AA

50

#8

Van AA

34

#9

Shiloh AA

76

#10

Matthew AA

36

#11

Duncan AA

35

#12

Cedar Lake, AA

54

#13

Free System AA

75

#14

Warren Bridge AA

28

#15

O'Connell AA

26

#16

Thompson AA

64

#17

Live Oak AA

29

#18

Linville AA

23

#19

Sexton White

18

#20

Cooper AA

41

#21

Grove Hill AA

84

#22

Logan White

13

#23

Wilson Creek AA

26

#24

Ashby White

33

#25

Caney White

22

#26

Palacios White

31

#27

Tres Palacios White

12

#28

Holt AA

28

#29

Boggy White

28

#31

Cash's Creek

17

#34

Bucks Bayou White

54

#36

Jamison AA

15


In addition to public schools, there were three colleges in the county. Palacios College opened on September 12, 1905 in temporary quarters at the Hotel Palacios. Its founder was William H. Travis. During the summer months, the facilities were used for summer normals which educated public school teachers. The school had a classroom building, a girls’ dorm and a boys’ dorm. The college opened as Palacios Baptist Academy in 1912. The school suffered a setback with the onset of WWI when many students left to join the army. Indebtedness of around $40,000 also contributed to the decision to close the school in the summer of 1917. The property was operated as a Baptist home for aged ministers between 1918 and 1921. Excessive operating costs forced the closure of the home and by 1928 the property had been sold. The frame buildings were moved to the Baptist Young Peoples’ Union Encampment. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/palacios_bapt_academy.htm
 

Collegeport, 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. http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/cp_gcuia.htm
 

The third college, the Bay City Business College, had a completely different focus than Palacios College and the Gulf Coast University of Industrial Arts.
 

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 ever.
The Collegeport Chronicle, August 4, 1910
 

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.
 

Stockholders in 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.
 

A private 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 breakfast.
 

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.


Independent and Rural School Districts

For additional information on Matagorda County schools visit http://www.rootsweb.ancestry.com/~txmatago/school_history.htm and Historic Matagorda County, Volume I.


Ashby

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.


Ashwood

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.


Bay City

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

1895

Avenues C & D
8th & 9th Streets

Two-room frame

“First” school

1901

Cottonwood & 8th St.

Two-story frame with 8 rooms

“Second” school

1905

Avenue L & 4th St.

Two-story brick school

Jefferson Davis School

1948

LeTulle St.

One-story brick

[A. G.] Hilliard School

1949

Sycamore St.

Two-story brick

Bay City High School

1949

Cottonwood & 8th St.

 

BCHS renamed Bay City Junior High School

1953

Fourth St.

One-story brick

Mary Withers Pierce Elementary

1953

Fifth St.

One-story brick

Tenie Holmes Elementary

1962

Whitson St.

One-story brick

Linnie Roberts Elementary

1962

16th St.

One-story brick

Bay City Junior High

1962

Cottonwood & 8th St.

 

BCJH renamed John H. Cherry Elementary

1969

Hiram Brandon Dr.

Two-story brick

H. J. McAllister Junior High

1986

Cottonwood & 8th St.

One-story brick replaced old two-story brick

John H. Cherry Elementary

2002

7th Street

Two-story brick

Bay City High School

 

Bernard

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.


Blessing

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

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.


Buckeye

A school 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.


Bucks Bayou

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.


Cedar Lake

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.


Cedar Lane

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.


Chalmers

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.


Citrus Grove

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.
 

In 1926-27, there were two teachers educating 20 pupils in seven grades. The building was reported to be a two-room modern structure which was well equipped.
 

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.


Clemville

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.


Collegeport

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.


Culver

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.


DeMoss

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

The first teacher was a Mr. Rogers, who with his wife and baby lived in a tent placed next to the school. The Collegeport New Era reported that the Rogers family often spent weekends with Mrs. Rogers' relatives in Palacios. When a wet norther blew in, the trustees let the Rogers move into the schoolhouse, using their tent to separate living quarters from the classroom.
 
Other teachers who taught in DeMoss were: Jessie Merck, Pearl Love (who played the organ in the school where church services were held on Sunday afternoons), Mariam Glasser, Mary Lindamood, Clara Schley, Janie Yates, Ruth Braden and Ora Luce.
 

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


Dunbar

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


El Maton

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.


Free System

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.


Gainesmore

Gainesmore Improving

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.


Gulf

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.


Hardeman

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.


Hasima

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 eight-month term.
 

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.


Illinois Colony

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.


Live Oak

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.


Lower Carancahua School

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

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.


Markham

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.


Black students attended classes in a school building situated at Avenue D and Tenth Street and later at the Jefferson School in El Maton until desegregation in 1965. In 1930 the Markham High School was organized. The consolidation of Clemville, Northern Headquarters, Buckeye and Markham schools took place in 1935. Students from the Danevang (Wharton County) area also attended classes in Markham for a short period. The school buildings in Buckeye and Northern Headquarters were moved and placed behind the Markham School. The Tidehaven consolidation in 1950 included the Markham School District and the students have attended high school at the Tidehaven campus since then. Since 1965, students have attended junior high at the Tidehaven intermediate campus.


Matagorda

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 Mary Wightman.
 

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 pupils.
 

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.


Matagorda Peninsula

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.


Mount Pilgrim

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.


Midfield

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 building.
 

The program for the evening follows:
Orchestra Music—Mr. Ellis, Miss Pinchin.
Song—America the Beautiful.
Introduction of faculty and of persons concerned in building.
Address—County superintendent.
Vocal Solo—A Warrior Bold—Terry Wilson.
Presentation of Building—Architect Harry D. Payne.
Acceptance—President school board, P. Waichma.
P. T. A. announcement—Mrs. Harriet Aikens.
Piano solo—Evening, Mrs. W. K. Keller
Dedicatory address and prayer—Rev. Terry Wilson.
 

Immediately 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.
 

Miss Constance 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

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.


Ohio Colony

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.


Palacios

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 school.
 

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

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.


Peyton’s Creek

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

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.


Pledger

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.


Poole’s Ranch

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.


Prairie Center

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 the faculty.
 

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

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

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.


Sexton School Community #19

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 services.
 

In 1926-27, Sexton was a one-teacher school with six grades. The building was kept up well and well-equipped.
 

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.


Shiloh

The Shiloh 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

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.

Turtle Bay

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.

Van [Vann]

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.

Van Vleck

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 Rud 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.

Wadsworth

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.

Wadsworth Ranch

There was a modern one-room building with one teacher, six grades and 14 pupils in 1926-27.

Wilson Creek

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.


School Age Changed

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, 1913
 


OPENING OF THE COUNTY'S SCHOOLS

Matagorda County's School Begin Opening and Teacher and Pupil Get to Work.
Something of Their Resources.

 

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
 


SCHOOLS GENERALLY WILL OPEN MONDAY

List of Teachers and Assignments

 

By W. T. Pollard

County Superintendent

 

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.

All schools having children needed in gathering cotton should set the beginning of their compulsory attendance period, for Nov. 1 and so notify the attendance officer.

 

The following is a list of the teachers enrolled in the institute:

 

Teachers in Palacios Independent District

Miss Linnie Wolf, superintendent.
 

Primary Department--

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

 

Intermediate--

Miss Claire Partain, fifth grade

Mrs. John D. Bouden, sixth grade

Mrs. W. C. Gray, seventh grade

 

High School--

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

 

Matagorda County 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, superintendent.
 

Primary Department--

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)

 

Intermediate--

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)

 

High School--

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, superintendent
 

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.

 

Matagorda County Tribune, September 7, 1923
 


School Opening
 

Most white 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.


Bernard building has been repaired and is now being painted.

 

Simpsonville is painting the inside of the building, revarnishing desks and clearing the grounds.


Cedar Lane is building some play ground apparatus; we commend Mr. Shannon and the trustees. Perhaps no school in the county has a more beautiful location than has Cedar Lane.


Chalmers will, as usual, transport all pupils to Bay City.


Midfield has the opportunity to light her building in electricity, provided she can figure a way to do so.


Turtle Bay plans to have a building clean inside and outside when school opens.

 

Prairie Center will transport her seventh grade and the high school pupils to Palacios.


Wadsworth has just put in a water supply system. The high school truck from Wadsworth to Gulf will be full to capacity this year.


Ashby has made some long-needed repairs on building and grounds.


Van Vleck is trying to solve the problem of transporting a truck load of children form Linville without putting on a new truck.


Hasima, from which community the entire school was transported to Sweeney last year, has decided to school the little folks at home this year and send only the high school students to Sweeney.


Ashwood community deplores the fact that their road is not finished in time for the school opening. Ashwood truck has struggled through the mud for almost eight years and hence the patrons are eager to have that concrete road completed.


Citrus Grove has cleaned up the grounds, made necessary repairs on the building and so that pretty little school house is ready for the pupils.


Pledger is looking forward to the establishment of a Negro high school that will serve the needs of that section and that will be somewhat in keeping with the neat brick building occupied by the white children.


Sargent is keenly disappointed that she has been so hindered in her building program by various delays that she has no new building in which to open school.


There is both opportunity and need for a negro high school in that section.


Daily Tribune
, August 31, 1929
 


County Schools Show Progress
 

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.
 

Clemville is 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.
 

Collegeport made 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.

The outstanding 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.
 

The communities 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.


Wadsworth enjoyed an entertainment Wednesday evening by Rev. Healey, a prestidigitator of ability. Mr. Healey’s exhibition of this character is unusual in that he frankly assures the audience that the tricks purely “fooling them” by quickness of hand. His evening entertainment is amusing highly interesting, clean and wholesome. One of the most interesting features of Wadsworth was the illustration of springtime in the Rockies I colors.
 

The lovely picture when complete was presented to the school.


Collegeport is planning a box supper and a general evening of fun Friday, October 3.
 

Pledger has installed an electric pump and a sanitary drinking system on the school grounds, and now has her building furnished with electric lights.
 

Let the good work go on.
 

Daily Tribune, October 2, 1930
 


Happenings Among the Rural Schools
 

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 entered gladly.
 

Midfield and Citrus Grove schools opened Monday, October 6, the last of the rural schools to open.
 

Four other 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 Matthews community.
 

Collegeport’s box supper of last Friday was a successful and happy occasion, both socially and financially.
 

Daily Tribune, October 9, 1930
 


Active in School Matters
 

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 judge.
 

Bonds will be voted upon at Van Vleck for the erection of a new school building. T. M. Gregory was appointed presiding judge.
 

The newly 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.
 

Matagorda County Tribune, April 14, 1911
 


Opening of the County’s School
Matagorda County’s Schools Begin Opening and Teacher and Pupil Get to Work.
Something of Their Resources


Bay City public schools open 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 double 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 Hazel, 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 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 condition.
 

Common school 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 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 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 capita.
 

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 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 of the assessment for special taxes in the Common school districts above, (not including the independent districts) for this year is $23,675.68.


Matagorda County News and Midcoast Farmer
, September 5, 1914
 


3389 School Children in Matagorda County
 

The scholastic 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.
 

The scholastic population of Matagorda county is shown in the following table:
 

District

White

Colored

Total

Bay City

622

172

814 [794]

Markham

126

33

159

Matagorda

156

36

192

Palacios

421

0

421

Balance of county

917

886

1803


Palacios Beacon, May 2, 1913
 


A Number of Students Pass
 

The following 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.
 

Another 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 Auditorium.
 

Daily Tribune, May 18, 1923
 


Some Interesting Items About Matagorda County Schools
 

During the 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.
 

Matagorda County’s record, for 1924-25, common school districts, is, as follows:
 

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.


Matagorda County Tribune
, November 13, 1925
 


The County Courier

Devoted to the Interests of the Rural Schools
Mrs. Claire F. Pollard – Editor
January 21, 1926
 

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.
 

Prairie Center
(J. R. Laslie, Teacher)

(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.


Midfields
(Mrs. W. O. Clement, Principal)

Mary Nemec, fifth grade; Dorothy Melbourn, sixth grade; Willis Michna, eighth grade; Selma Fink, sixth grade.
 

Citrus Grove
(Miss Irene Batchelder, Principal)

Daisy Bullington, seventh grade; Dayton Lee Parker, seventh grade; Lula Mae Hill, fifth grade.

Matagorda County Tribune, January 22, 1926
 



 

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