Goodwill School District -
Later Birdston School District
Navarro County, Texas


HOME


Birdston School Index || Birdston Community
 
Goodwill School District - Later Birdston School District - Colored
Researched by Verna Bonner
Originally published in "The Navarro County Scroll", Vol. XXI 1988
Reprinted with permission of the Navarro County Historical Society

Education for the Black children of Birdston Valley didn't become an effective reality until the 1880's.  By the year 1867, the Birdston area white children were attending classes mainly supported by subscriptions.

By the year of 1884, a major reorganization and enlargement of Navarro County schools was in progress.  This was the direct result of major changes in State Education laws.  The Birdston School District was reorganized by the Navarro County Commissioners at this time.

Community traditions states that a school of sorts was conducted on an irregular basis in the mid 1880's to the early 1890's when more formal organization and operations existed.  It is said that the classes were conducted in the church building until the two story lodge and school was erected about 1907.  As the Goodwill Baptist Church was organized prior to 1884, this information concurs with other documented data.

Goodwill School was a district of its' own in the 1891 / 1892 Navarro County Scholastic records.  It was listed as District #78.  The school district had a total allocated fund of $102.79, and paid $60.00 of that to Mary Anderson for teaching services.

By the 1896 / 1897 school year, Goodwill was part of the Birdston School District #35.   From analysis of those records, it is evident that the school was in session from October, 1896, to May, 1897.  The budget amounted to $217.77.  A Mr. G. G. Lacy was the instructor and Mr. B. F. Thomas conducted the census.  It is interesting to note that included in these reports were several letters regarding G. G. Lacy.  One note states that Mr. Lacy was boarding with I. Collins.  Another note certified that Mr. Lacy was entitled to wages and is signed by Birdston School Trustees, B. J. Thomas and J. W. Ewins.

Detailed examinations of Navarro County Superintendent's School Records provide a look at the trustees and teachers for the following years:

1900 - 1901

Trustees:  Gus Fowler, J.W. Ewing, Bob Boldon
Teachers: W.B. Fuller
Census Taker: D.C. Kelly

 

1901 - 1902

Trustees: Gus Fowler, J.W. Ewing, Bob Boldon
Teachers: C.B. Fuller

1902 - 1903

Trustees: Lewis Cooper, M.B. Brinkley, John Thomas
Teachers: Tennie Austin

1903 - 1904

Trustees: Joe Ewing, Bob Boldon
Teachers: R.R. Lanier

1904 - 1905

Trustees: Joe Ewing, Bob Boldon, Bob Ervell
Teacher: T.E. Davis

1908 - 1909

Trustees: None Listed
Teacher: J.M.E. Kinnon

1910 - 1911

Trustees: None Listed
Teacher: J.M.E. Kinnon

By the year of 1928, student population began to shrink and soon many schools were consolidated.  This was the case with the Birdston and Midway School Districts.   On July 31, 1928, patrons of Birdston Common School District #35 petitioned the Navarro County School District Trustees to permit annexation to Streetman ISD in Freestone County.  The action was approved by the Trustees with the stipulation that Streetman ISD purchase a bus for transporting the students.  The white students from the district were transported to Streetman; however, the Black students continued to attend their local, separate schools at Tea Color, Cade, and Birdston Valley.  Upon reviewing various years of scholastic data, it was discovered that the Black students were from time to time transferred and shuffled in location to have sufficient student population in one spot for teaching purposes.  This practice, along with severe financial conditions contributed to very poor attendance by students.

The "winds of change" were rampant again in 1946.  At this time the Black schools of Streetman ISD were classified as only progressing to the 8th grade.   In October of 1946 the Freestone County Board of Education voted to close the Tea Color and Hawthorn Valley (Birdston Valley) Schools, which,  at that time, were each one teacher schools.  The pupils would be transported to the Streetman city school where instructors would be employed to teach ten grades.  The Birdston Valley (Goodwill School) was no more!

This arrangement remained stable until 1948 when more changes in education laws brought mass annexation efforts across the State of Texas.  Streetman was among the smaller districts to be annexed by a larger one, the Fairfield Independent School District.   After annexation in 1948, the Streetman Black students continued to attend the local school.  For the school year of 1950 - 51 all former Streetman students were bused to Fairfield.  This continues to be the prevailing situation at the present time (1985).


Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright March, 2009
Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox