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Rockwall County Texas

School Histories, Records & Photos

This Page is Gratefully Dedicated to life-long Rockwall County Residents and Teachers
William & Billie Stevenson

If you have any School Histories, Records, Photos, Bios on Teachers, etc.
and would like to share them, contact ME 


One Room Schools Most early schools like the Fannin Street School in the town of Rockwall, were one-room country schools that served grades 1 through 7.

In the early days, there were at least sixty different 1-room country schools operated in Rockwall County, usually one per community in places called Happy Home, McCreary, Friendship, Nadine, Munson, McLendon, Locust Grove, Powell, Union, Brushy, Collins, Newton, Prairie View, Elm Grove, Blackland and Griffith League.

In most 1-room schools all grades and classes were taught by one Teacher. If students wished to continue their education past the seventh grade they had to go into towns like Rockwall, Royse City, McKinney, Terrell and other larger towns. And education was not free. All classes had tuitions that supported the teachers. Compensation came in the way of Salary, Room and Board, and dry goods.

As with other aspects of life in the 19th century, Mother Nature determined when classes were held. If the growing season was a late one, school would not begin in the fall until all crops were harvested and gathered. And in the spring, classes were not held when planting occurred. Every member of the family was needed to work the crops on the farm.

Some early schools in Rockwall in 1855 were the Edelman Kindergarten and the Butler Institute. In 1859 a school was held on the lower floor of the Masonic Lodge Hall and operated there until 1878. It wasn't until 1879 that Rockwall built the first "Free School" in Rockwall. The second was opened in 1885 - see Photo of it below.

Rockwall's Public School - 1912

Wells College
Wells College began operations in 1893 as a private elementary and college preparatory school.
The curriculum was divided between primary and preparatory departments and comprised traditional liberal arts courses such as English, Latin, and Greek, as well as such courses as shorthand and typing. In recruitment advertisements it was touted as a desirable environment for young people because, among other advantages, it was located in a town that had a "conspicuous absence of vices and pernicious influences", and though non-sectarian, the school insisted upon regular Sunday school and church attendance by the students.

The school was established and presided over by John K. Wells, who had served as superintendent of public schools in Rockwall from 1889 until 1892. The college was chartered in 1896 and became known more by the name "Rockwall College".

Wells College graduated some 200 students during its existence. The school's largest enrollment was more than 100 students in a single year. Some students lived in Rockwall and others boarded at the school. As the local public schools improved in quality, however, the college's enrollment declined, until it finally closed in 1912.

Professor John K. Wells was born 22 Nov 1863 in Galloway Co KY, the son of Andrew Jackson Wells and Minerva Keys. He was a graduate of West Kentucky Normal College. He taught in the public and private schools in Kentucky. He married 9 Jun 1887 Miss Iowa Pace and immediately came to Texas.

Wells was hired as a teacher and quickly made his way to the position of superintendent of Rockwall ublic schools before he founded Wells College in 1893. After owning the college for 25 years he retired and was elected Rockwall County Judge and exofficio county Superintendent of Rockwall County. Prof. J.K. Wells died 18 Jul 1942.
Sources: William Franklin Ledlow, History of Protestant Education in Texas (Ph.D. dissertation, University of Texas, 1926). Rockwall County Historical Foundation, Rockwall County History (Dallas: Taylor, 1984). O. L. Steger, Sr., History of Rockwall County (Wolfe City, Texas: Henington, 1969).


Rockwall College Class of 1898
Contributed by Daniel Walton

Class Picture

Willie Emma Pridgen (front row middle)

Willie Pridgen's Diploma

Rockwall High School Class of 1924
Contributed by James Darr

Class Picture


Fate School - Class of 1923
Contributed by Donna McCreary Rodriguez


A Story about one of Rockwall's first Teachers
From "Reminiscences of Fannie Segur Foster"

In July , 1860, a beautiful and accomplished young woman married in Kentucky, a young lawyer, and in October, 1861, Mr. and Mrs. R. D. Coughanour came to Rockwall, Texas. They came overland with a young baby and brought with them, a negro girl whom they were obliged to sell or else lose in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Mrs. Coughanour stayed in Rockwall while her husband went to war, and it was two years before he could obtain a furlough and again see his wife and child. Also, Mrs. Coughanour's father had been killed in the war, and it was two years before the letter containing news of his death reached the family in Texas. During this time Mrs. Coughanour taught school in Rockwall's public schol. She was a graduate of the Elkton, Kentucky college at the age of fifteen and had taught there before she married. At the close of the war, there was no business for a lawyer, and Mr. Coughanour's law library had been stored in Memphis. Mrs. Coughanour's salary was their only income during desperate times foloowing the war.

Mr. Coughanour opened a school in Dallas and taught one year, and then was able to established his law practice. During this period of time Mrs. Coughanour taught with Captain Hanna, another early Rockwall citizen, for a time, and in 1872, moved to Dallas and opened a select school for girls.

Mr. and Mrs. Coughanour owned a whole square in what was then the fashionable residence district of Dallas. Their home faced McKinney avenue and the school, which was the first properly equipped school building in Dallas, was at the corner of Carter and Caruth streets.


Early Superintendents of Rockwall Schools

 YEAR         NAME
1887-1889     Stovall, G H
1889-1892     Wells, J K
1893-1894     Professor Christensen
1894-1907     Professor Altere
1908-1914     Teasley, J W
1914-1915     Dudley, R L
1915-1917     Nowlin, N O
1917-1919     Fortune, J C
1919-1927     Dean, A B C

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This site is part of the TXGenWeb project and maintained by Shirley Cullum.  Content of this site has been gathered from many sources and transcribed records. Therefore, errors may occur. When in doubt as to the accuracy of data contained herein, go to the actual records yourself.  If you find any inaccurate data, please let me know.  The information contained in this website is for your personal use only.  All pages, compilations, transcriptions, graphics, photos and abstracts are protected by copyright law and may not be published in whole or in part without written consent of the author, contributor and/or webmaster.