As soon as the first settlement of any
frontier country is formed, one of the first thoughts of the people is for the
education of their children. From the very beginning, pioneer Texans showed an
interest in education. Over a long period, Texas lagged in the public school
standards, a situation attributable to the thinly populated region with
relatively scant resources. Only in recent years has the increasing density of
population of Texas and greater tax resources made possible a first rate school
Except for the efforts of the early
Spanish padres who, along with spiritual instruction, tried to teach the Indians
to read and write, the earliest step toward founding an educational system in
Texas was the writing of the Constitution of the state of Coahuila, Texas adopted
in 1827. This accomplished little or nothing. Texas colonists met in convention
at San Felipe in 1832 and petitioned the Mexican government for a grant of land
to be used in the creation of a school fund. Still nothing was effected. Only a
few private schools served the educational needs of Texas at the time of the
The Texas Declaration of Independence
pointed out the lack of a public school system and provision was made for such a
system in the Constitution of the Republic of Texas.
A small beginning was made during the
administration of the first president, Sam Houston, but the first direct step
was taken when Mirabeau B. Lamar became president in 1838. The Texas Congress
appropriated four leagues of land for each county and 50 leagues for a
university from the public domain.
The State Constitution in 1845 provided
for the establishment of the public free schools and instituted a permanent
school fund for public education by setting apart one tenth of the annual
revenue from taxation.
However, it may be said that the actual
foundation of the present school program was not laid until 1854, the beginning
of Gov. E. M. Pease’s administration. When Texas was admitted to the Union in
1845, $10 million was paid the state by the United States government for certain
public lands. Of this, $2 million and each alternate section of land from the
public domain were added to the permanent fund. From this date there was a
steady growth of the public school system of Texas.
By an act of the Second Texas Congress,
Robertson County was created on Dec. 4, 1837. It included all of the territory
between the Brazos and the Trinity Rivers north of the old San Antonio Road to
the cross timbers. Among others, it included Navarro County. Franklin was
designated as the seat of justice on Jan. 26, 1839.
William Henderson, a surveyor, was in
the Battle Creek fight, of May 19, 1836. He managed to survive and later settled
in Corsicana. In 1860 he gave the following information: "In 1838, the
settlements between the Brazos and the Trinity Rivers were Franklin and
Parker’s Fort. All beyond was a vast wilderness occupied by hostile Indians of
a doubtful character."
On Jan. 29, 1844, Gen. Sam Houston made
a colony contract with Charles Fenton Mercer and associates covering Navarro
County. Slowly settlers began to come into this region. Capt. R. Fouty arrived
in October 1845. Mr. Fouty said that about 20 families had preceded him. He
lived near Richland Station.
Dr. George W. Hill, reputed to be the
first settler in the county, established his residence at an Indian spring in
the western part of the county in the year 1838. In October 1844, Ethan Melton
and others settled at Dresden. Col. George M. Hogan with his brother William
Hogan came to Chatfield in 1846.
M. Winkler came in 1847, he found
only one family living at the site of the present city of Corsicana. It was that
of the Rev. Hampton McKinney who had built a tavern "where both man and
beast could find comfortable quarters, a well-prepared table, and courteous
attention." He did not tolerate rough characters, and guests were firmly
directed to preserve the manners of gentlemen. This greatly influenced the
quality and character of the early settlers in Corsicana.
From Col. William Croft we have the
statement that in 1850 Corsicana was a flourishing little place of about 300
The early settlers of Navarro County
found no provision made for educating their children other than what they could
produce themselves. Some tutors were brought in from the old states, and from
time to time enterprising individuals would get a sufficient number of pupils to
agree to attend school to afford a teacher.
According to Mrs. C.M. Winkler, Mrs.
Anderson of Richland (Pisgah
Ridge) was one of the first if not the first to
open a school in Navarro County. The most noted early schools, however, were in
Soon after the Civil
War, a prominent
attorney, William Croft, wrote in the Corsicana "Observer" as follows:
"Several towns besides Corsicana have grown up in different parts of the
county affording every facility to the settler as well as good society and the
advantages of an education. Some of them handsomely situated. They are
Chatfield, Wadeville, Mount Pisgah, Dresden and Spring Hill. All of them contain
stores, shops and schools."
One of the earliest settlers in Navarro
County was Asa Chambers whose store became the center of a settlement on Pisgah
Ridge. In this location were some of the first and best citizens, also, for many
years, some very rough citizens. With the coming of the railroad, this community
was slightly by-passed and the nearby community of Richland was established. The
development of rich farms, excellent homes, and good schools has characterized
this early settlement.
As previously stated, this first
resident of Navarro County was reputed to be Dr. George W. Hill who located at
Spring Hill about 1838. This community was mentioned in the early records as the
place where the first rawhide building was constructed for use as both church
and school. This was in 1850 and the first teacher was Mr. Finch.
Dawson, who fought in the Battle
of San Jacinto, moved near Spring Hill in 1848, and the town of Dawson was later
built on his land. The present town of Dawson was established with the coming of
the railroad in 1881. The earliest teacher in this town was Mr. Westmoreland,
but the first organized public school was under the direction of Professor E.J.L.
Wyrick who was a popular teacher.
William Ritchie located in 1843 about
two miles from the grave of the Battle Creek victims. In this same year, Ethan
Melton married Dr. Hill’s sister and built a log house several miles north of
Spring Hill. This soon became a distributing place for mail and later was known
as Dresden. In March 1847, three acres of land were acquired for church, school
and burying purposes. Dresden took an early lead in education. In 1872, Dresden
built the two-story Dresden College in which J. B. Jones and E. J. L. Wyrick were
very successful. An early leader in education was B. F. Carroll who came in 1851.
In the year 1845, William
brother of Ethan Melton, made a settlement some 10 miles north of Dresden. This
community was known as Cryer Creek and was of considerable importance until the
coming of the railroad and the establishment of the nearby town of Barry.
Barry was originally about one mile
south of the present location, moving north to the railroad when it came in
1881. The first school building was 20 by 40 feet, and Frank Folk, T.A. Thornell,
and Jim Watson were among the early teachers.
Col. Robert W. Porter received land for
his services in the Texas Revolution. He located on the western trade route
crossing the Trinity River. A surveyor friend, John H. Reagan, laid out streets
in 1848. This town of Taos or Porter’s Bluff was for some years one of the
most important towns in Navarro County. A flood in 1866 and the coming of the
railroad in 1871 caused the town to fade away.
Here it should be noted that the H
&T C railway began in Houston in 1866 and was completed into Corsicana in
1871. The Cotton Belt Railroad was built through the county 10 years later.
These lines of transportation brought in a large county population and new train
stops were established which in turn led to the creation of new towns. This in
some instances caused nearby communities to move to the railroad and the earlier
settlements eventually disappeared.
Soon after the founding of Taos, an old
trader named Chatfield located at a spring several miles to the west. The Hodge
brothers were among the early settlers. Excellent subscription schools were
conducted there for a number of years. One of the prominent teachers about 1854
was John Ballew who later taught at Raleigh and subsequently became District
Clerk in Corsicana. Later on, the Rev. William H. Stokes with Miss Mary
Stenhauer as assistant taught a boarding school at Chatfield Point.
Near Taos and to the south was Bazette
Crossing on the Trinity River, which derived its name from the man who operated
the ferry. A settlement grew up a few miles west of the crossing and soon a
church and school were needed. An old-fashioned log rolling was held and a
building was erected which served both needs. It is often known as Prairie
Point. Two of the early teachers were Mr. Hook and Mr. Flowers.
Wadeville was one of the first towns in
Navarro County. Records indicate that it was quite a settlement by 1850. It was
located a few miles southeast of Kerens and received its name when a post office
was established at the store of Mack Wade in 1866. Col. E. H. Root located there
in 1851. Mrs. S. P. Day was one of the first educators and Capt. A.J. Fowler was
one of the instructors. Other teachers were J. W. Hornbeak, J. A. Melear, and a
Mr. Bishop. One of the leading citizens was Marion Martin who settled here in
1853. The coming of the railroad to Kerens caused most of the business to be
transferred to the new location.
In 1850, Hugh and Washington Ingram
settled a few miles southeast of Wadeville at the community known as
Rural Shade. Soon other families joined them. School conditions were similar to those
in other early towns. In 1879, a new school building was needed, and one of the
contributors to the building was Uncle Phil Ware who donated his services as a
fiddle player at dances so that the customary charge could be used in the
building project. Col. Floyd was the teacher.
With the coming of the railroad in 1881,
the town of Kerens was laid out near Wadeville and Rural Shade. While Kerens is
of more recent origin, the citizens there have always maintained a great
interest in their schools and high standards of instruction were soon developed.
These have been continuously maintained.
About 1840, the Beasley family settled
about eight miles northeast of Corsicana. The small log schoolhouse located
there was known as Post Oak School. In 1891, the community was large enough to
have a post office and the name Roane was selected. One of the first teachers
was Professor Flint who was followed by Professor Johnson. The names of other
early teachers were Ellison, Huggins and Homer Carroll.
That section of the county about 10
miles north of Corsicana and about six miles west of Chatfield is a high rolling
prairie. It was the borderline territory between the woodland and the prairie
Indians. It was in the 1860s before people began to take up land in this
location. At about this time, Chatfield and
Porter’s Bluff were important
places. By 1872 a dozen families lived within this section. They traveled by
wagon or on horseback to Corsicana to do their trading. In 1872 the railroad
came and the place was given the name of Rice in honor of one of the railroad
officials who in turn gave land for a church and a cemetery. In 1875, 10
citizens gave money to erect a building to serve as a church on Sunday and as a
school on weekdays. The first instructor was Dr. J. A. Ward, a minister of the
Cumberland Presbyterian Church. He was a scholarly gentleman with an M.A.
degree. Later, when the school grew larger, Mrs. Ward was the able assistant.
Charles Lockhart settled at Kelm some 10
miles northwest of Corsicana about 1854. About the same time homes were
established at King Willow several miles to the east. No school was created, but
the people brought in private instructors. When the railroad came, a station was
placed between the communities and all churches and schools were moved to this
new town of Emhouse.
Shortly after the Civil
families established a community north of Dresden, later named Blooming Grove.
With the coming of the railroad in 1881, this town grew to be one of the largest
in the county. It has always maintained up-to-date schools.
J.A. Tullos settled at Cross Roads in
1868, and Col. Jones in 1869. Others soon came and a building was erected which
served both as a church and a school. Later it was moved and was known as
McCord. Tom Smith was an early teacher and subsequently the county school
superintendent. When the new railroad came near by in 1881, the community became
known as Frost. In 1888, Col. Henry Jones, a large landowner, helped establish
the Henry Jones School. Miss Frankie Long was the first teacher.
When Capt. J. A. Harrison moved to Texas,
he built a home about 10 miles west of Corsicana and called it Belle
there were a number of families nearby. Capt. Harrison aided in building a log
schoolhouse with benches of split logs. E. C. Lee was one of the first teachers.
Later, a better building was erected and Gov. W. H. Murray of Oklahoma was the
teacher. When the railroad came, town lots were laid out and the site was called
Purdon. The first school under the new name was a seed house and was taught by
Miss Blanche Maddox.
In the early 1850s, a log schoolhouse
was built slightly south of the present town of Eureka. At first it was known as
Dunn’s Schoolhouse, but when a post office was secured it was known as Eureka.
Isaac Bird is listed as the teacher.
For many years more than 30 additional
communities have been established in Navarro County. The educational history of
these places has been very much the same as many just related. These have
maintained the same high interest in church and school which has manifested
itself in the superior citizenship, which these communities have developed and
These additional communities are: Angus,
Black Hills, Brushie Prairie,
Birdston, Brown’s Valley, Buffalo, Cade,
Corbet, Cook’s Schoolhouse, Drane, Eldorado,
Emmett, Farmer, Hester,
Mildred, Navarro, Neil’s Valley,
Petty’s Chapel, Pinkston,
Grove, Retreat, Rodney,
Elmo, Tupelo, Whites Chapel, Winkler.
The first Texas Legislature created
Navarro County from a part of Robertson County in 1846. Hampton McKinney came to
the Dresden community that year and about a year later established his residence
near the site of the present county courthouse (in
Corsicana). The following
year, 1848, the Second Texas Legislature gave the name of Corsicana to the
county seat and it was located at the place of the McKinney Tavern. Soon
thereafter, a log courthouse was built which was to be used as a school when
court was not in session. The first teacher was Mr. Mack Elliott who had taught
the previous year at Pisgah Ridge. Professor Laffoon followed him.
About 1849 or 1850, an academy building
was erected of cedar logs on the corner of Jefferson Street (now Third Avenue)
and Church Street (now 15th). Professor Robb taught in the academy in
the lower story as the upper portion was used as a Masonic Hall. In 1850, Capt.
William Peck and his wife from Tennessee opened a school. Soon their fame spread
abroad and pupils came from distant points until the enrollment exceeded 200.
On Sept. 2, 1854, in the "Central
Texan", a Corsicana letter says: "We have two schools which can hardly
be beaten in Texas – a primary school taught by S. H. Kerr and a high school by
R. A. Rakestraw, Esq., an accomplished classical scholar."
Mr. Harris Kerr succeeded the Pecks and
was in turn followed by others, chief of whom was a Cumberland minister known as
Parson Moddrall, a man of pure life, lovely character and a happy faculty of
imparting information. Dr. Moddrall taught a girl’s school in his academy and
Dr. Mollow taught in the boys’ school. When Dr. Moddrall moved away, Dr.
Mollow combined the two schools and was a successful and popular teacher.
Among other teachers in Corsicana in
these years were Mrs. Marilla Dickson and Miss Sallie Duren.
By 1860 conditions had so progressed
that there were at least five good boarding schools in the county. One was
located at Dresden, one at Chatfield and three in Corsicana. One was advertised
"Corsicana Female Institute now
in the first session of the third year, under the superintendence of the Senior
Editor of this paper (The Navarro Express) assisted by Miss Belle Ish in the
Literary and Miss Josephine Tully in the Musical Department.
"Terms of Tuition: Junior Classes
$10.00 per session; Middle Classes, $12.50 per session; Senior Classes $15.00
per session; Latin or French, $5.00 extra; Music with instruments $25.00.
"Each pupil in the literary
department is charged one dollar per session extra, to constitute a contingent
expense fund – Board, lodging, washing, etc., can be had in good families, at
from eight to ten dollars per month."
Right along at this time, classes were
being taught in the different communities; for, from the settlement of the first
colonies, the importance of education was realized. Considering the difficulties
that faced educational efforts at all times, there can be for them now, only
wonder and appreciation.
A military school flourished in the
early days of Corsicana and many of the sons of the early settlers attended.
This educational institution was started by Maj. Henry Bishop, his wife and
brother, and was located at the south end of Church (now 15th )
Street on land donated by Maj. Beaton for the purpose. The school had an
enrollment of around 200 students and was very successful during its day. Maj.
Bishop’s wife died and this brought sorrow to the school’s head, causing him
to sell out his interest and move away from Corsicana whereupon the school
gradually lost some of its prestige and finally suspended operations entirely.
Two sisters were connected with the
early educational life of Corsicana. These were Miss Ellen Ferguson, who later
became the wife of Dr. Mills, and her sister, Miss Sally Ferguson, who
specialized in music. Another one of the early music teachers was Mrs. Ellen
Reid, widow of Nick Reid, a promising young lawyer who unfortunately died before
attaining the pinnacle of success which might have crowned his efforts had he
lived to a more mature age.
Mrs. Emma Townsend came to Corsicana as
a bride in the early 1870s and not only was she interested in teaching both from
text books and by precept, but also was active in everything concerning the
betterment of the community. Her own life was proof of the correctness of her
theories and the virtue of her teaching.
Mrs. L. T. Gulick operated a private
school from 1879 until 1887. She never accepted more than 80 pupils and inspired
these to excel in culture and learning. Her school was noted for its rigorous
discipline. Mrs. Gulick, however, always attained the love and respect of all
her pupils and after a lifetime of usefulness died and was buried in Oakwood
Cemetery in 1927.
Quite an elaborate "female
college" existed in Corsicana in 1880 under the guidance of Professor R.J.
Robert, president. Assisting him was a corps of teachers consisting of Mrs. Anna
Woods, natural sciences; Miss Emma Sims, primary; Professor Schermacher, a
graduate assistant. This college boasted a department of art under the
jurisdiction of Miss Hopkins and a department of chemistry, physiology and
hygiene under the direction of Dr. J. A. Allen who lectured at stated periods on
these subjects. In the Dall (?) News of June 13, 1880, there appeared the
following item in the society sections:
"The Exhibition given by the
Corsicana Female College was a decided success.
"Miss Hershey and her class in
Calisthenics was one of the principal features of the evening. The music, under
the efficient direction of Miss Rooney, was admirably rendered.
"An essay, ‘Knowledge is
Power’, by Miss Ethel Fairfax, was very well given. An essay, ‘The
Fashionable Young Man’, was handled most gracefully by Miss Emma Rakestraw.
"The following young ladies deserve
special mention: Misses Addie Robert, Ora Drane, Hattie Phillips, Maud
McCormick, Lena Drane, May and Lula Johnson."
Miss Virginia Moseley taught a private
school which was located on the corner of Fourth Avenue and Thirteenth Street
and which was for years the home of Merit Drane. This school flourished during
the years 1880-1884. In the same house, Mrs. Miller, whose husband was a
physician, conducted a school.
A convent was built and the school
opened in 1880. Students from different parts of the country boarded at the
convent. Day pupils, whose parents lived in town, also attended. Mrs. Noonan
donated the site for the convent. On this site, a church was built in 1896. The
clear, sweet tones of the bell in this church have called its faithful members
to worship from the year in which it was built until the present time. The
convent building was sold to the city a few years ago, and a grade school stands
where the former educational institution flourished. Among the more recent
private schools was one operated by Miss Lucy Carroll who very successfully
conducted a fine private institution through the years and had a class of
students to graduate each term.
A school for boys was taught by S.E.
Gideon in the 1890s and was located on Seventh Avenue. The house was remodeled
into a residence but more recently was replaced by a filling station.
After the Civil War many subscription
schools existed. These received a small sum of money yearly from the state. This
amount allowed a very short free term of school during which time the classes
were over-crowded. For the remainder of the school year, the numbers were
limited to those who could afford to pay tuition. Independent school districts
were first organized in the late 1870s. Taxes were levied for the support of the
schools and bonds issued and sold with which to erect buildings. Navarro County
was one of the first to take advantage of this new law, and the first public
school building in Corsicana was erected in 1881 on the site of the present
(1957) high school. A school for Negroes was constructed about the same time on
the site of the G. W. Jackson School. It is evident that no school census was
taken in order to arrive at the correct number of teachers needed. The records
indicate that only six teachers were elected whereas sufficient pupils attended
school to have kept 10 teachers occupied with their instruction.
The City Council in 1882 elected J.T.
Hand of Brenham as the first superintendent of Corsicana schools. His term was
to be for one year at a salary of $1,500. The teaching staff consisted of Capt.
J.A. Townsend, principal; Miss M.E. Davis, Miss Ida Lawrence, Miss Florence Z.
Bright, Miss Helen Halbert, and Mrs. Ellen Mills. This force was increased
within a few weeks by the addition of Miss Sallie Evans and Mrs. Hal Greer.
Miss Lawrence became the librarian in
the Sam Houston Teachers College at Huntsville. Miss Halbert married Mr. Groce
of Waxahachie, and Miss Davis married and lived in Denton. Miss Sallie Evans
taught continuously in Corsicana until the time of her retirement. In 1923,
grateful pupils of Miss Evans gave her an attractive home as evidence of their
appreciation. She passed away Sept. 22, 1952, at the age of 103 and was buried
in Oakwood Cemetery. Miss Florence Z. Bright taught from 1882 until 1927, at
which time she moved to Beaumont and resided with her brother in that city until
One of the early educators of Corsicana
was Capt. J. A. Townsend who, as mentioned, was principal of the first
independent school. Capt. Townsend came to Corsicana Jan. 20, 1872, from
Owensville. While there, he met and married Miss Emma Davis. He and his wife had
taught private and subscription schools in Corsicana before coming of the
independent school district. His original school, known as Cedar Hall, stood on
the location of the present Westminster Church and was later moved and occupied
in the corner where the telephone building now stands. Capt. Townsend is
remembered as a faithful and conscientious instructor who did much toward the
education of the youth of Corsicana.
Mr. Hand, the first superintendent, was
also extremely well liked by all residents of the community. He had the
reputation of being one of the outstanding men of the time in Texas school
circles. He also was reputed to be a very conservative man, yet he endeavored at
all times to lead in the advancement of education. One of this first
superintendent’s outstanding accomplishments was his ability to guide and
counsel the inexperienced teacher and to take a corps of teachers who were new
in grade school work and under trying conditions operate an efficient school
system. Mr. Hand remained in Corsicana schools five years and then moved to
Dallas, but later returned to Corsicana Schools for a time.
J. M. Carlisle succeeded Mr. Hand as
superintendent. Mr. Charles T. Alexander, then a Mr. Faust, followed Mr.
Carlisle. Mr. Hand then returned to Corsicana. This time, he was succeeded by H.
S. Melear, who was followed by J. W. Cantwell and then by J. E. Blair. The
latter remained in Corsicana for a number of years, leaving a good imprint on
the school system as well as the community. During the administration of Mr.
Blair, a bond issue was voted and the expansion of the system made possible,
although the bonds were not sold due to the unsettled financial market following
the World War. They were later well utilized by H. D. Fillers who followed Mr.
Blair as superintendent.
Mr. Fillers became superintendent of
schools in 1922 and retained his position until 1931, at which time he was
appointed superintendent of schools at Wichita Falls. W.H. Norwood took his
place. Mr. Norwood had been high school principal for seven years.
In July 1956, W. H. Norwood (author of
this article) retired, having completed 43 years of service in Texas
schools, 32 of them in Corsicana. During his 25 years (1931-1956) as
superintendent, the local system had changed from 11 to 12 grades and the
curriculum was expanded. The growth of the city made necessary additional
facilities, and a large bond issue was approved. This financed the new James
Bowie Elementary School, the J. W. Fannin Elementary School, a new brick
Homemaking Cottage, a High School Gymnasium, and substantial additions to G.w.
Jackson High School. Improvements at Jackson included a gymnasium, cafeteria,
homemaking laboratories and 10 brick classrooms.
Previously, the city had transferred a
$25,000 Market House bond issue to the schools to provide eight new classrooms
at the junior high school.
By consolidation with nearby districts,
the Corsicana district was increased from three to 76 square miles and school
bus transportation was introduced to serve children from remote distances.
In 1953, the Chamber of Commerce
recognized the services of W.H. Norwood by giving him the Distinguished Service
and Man of the Year award. At his retirement, Supt. Norwood received handsome
gifts from teachers, parents and school board members. Among the gifts was a new
Bel Aire Chevrolet Sedan.
The board elected Mr. R. R. Ashworth of
Kilgore to succeed Mr. Norwood.
It is well to state here that the first
expansion of the public schools in Corsicana was the addition of two classrooms
to the original Collin Street school after it had been built in West Corsicana.
The school building in East Corsicana was called David Crockett. About 1927, a
new one-story brick house was constructed near the old one, which was abandoned.
The new building was designated as David Crockett. With the shifting of the
white population, this school building was converted to a colored school to help
relieve the crowded rooms in the Jackson and Washington Negro schools. The
Stephen F. Austin School (Third Ward) originally had four rooms and for a time
was the high school. The next building erected was at Mineral Hill and is now
the William B. Travis School. It originally had four rooms but was later
demolished, and the present comfortable, modern structure of 14 classrooms was
erected. When the present High school building was constructed in 1923, the old
high school building on Fifth Avenue was used as a Junior High School for
several years. On this campus a new Junior High School unit was built in 1927
facing Fourth Avenue. When eight classrooms were added to the new unit in 1931,
the old building was demolished. In 1927, the Robert E. Lee Elementary School
was built in West Corsicana on a beautiful site known as the highest point
within the city.
G.W. Jackson was elected first principal
of the colored schools in 1882. He held the position for 44 years before
retiring. When the old building was replaced in 1925 with a new, modern
building, it was called G. W. Jackson in his honor.
For many years, the people of Corsicana
had recognized the need for a college to provide advanced educational training
for the young people. This was provided in a countywide election on July 16,
1946 when voters approved a maintenance tax of 10 cents by a majority of three
to one. The U.S. government donated the buildings of Air Activities of Texas
south of Corsicana to the college for classrooms and administration.
Classes began Sept. 16, 1946. The
college had 238 students, 10 faculty members and three administrators.
It was soon apparent that the facilities
were inadequate, and in 1948, the college Board of Trustees purchased a new 47
acre campus acres about three miles west of Corsicana. In 1949, the people of
the county approved a college bond issue for $540,000, together with a tax rate
of 48 cents for both bonds and maintenance. The buildings from the Air
Activities were moved to the new campus and reconstructed around a magnificent
Administration Building. Each year the college has grown, and now, in 1956, 10
years after beginning, there is an enrollment of 526 students with 26 faculty
members and three administrators.
At the first meeting of the newly
elected College Board of Trustees, the name of Navarro Junior College was
selected for the new institution. Mr. Ray L. Waller was elected president and
Mr. Gaston Gooch, dean of students. High tribute should be paid these men for
their energetic and untiring efforts in coping with the many problems incident
to the launching of this new institution. On Feb. 11, 1956, the city was shocked
to learn that Mr. Ray Waller had suddenly passed away with a heart attack. He
was still in his prime years and it was greatly regretted that he could not
continue to enjoy the reward of his labors. The board elected Dr. Ben. W. Jones
to succeed Mr. Waller.