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A 116 Year History



In 1976, Julie Thomas Cottle, then business manager of the Moran Independent School District, wrote an article on the history of the Moran School.  The article was written shortly before construction ended on the present Moran High School building.  I have reprinted much of the article below.  However, since the article was written almost 25 years ago, I have taken the liberty of updating it.  Much of the historical information I have added comes from the research of noted Moran historian, Audrey Brooks.  Mrs. Cottle's actual words will appear in quotation marks.  


In 1883, the town that would eventually be known as Moran was founded by George W. "Swope" Hull and Mary Devier Hull, a husband and wife from Virginia.  The new town was named Hulltown in honor of Mr. and Mrs. Hull, who became the first merchants of the town.  More families settled there and built their homes, farms and ranches were developed, and prospective businessmen stepped off the train to establish new businesseses there. The townspeople soon decided that, as with any new town, a school was needed to educate their children.  A schoolmaster was therefore hired and the Hulltown Schoolhouse was constructed on property now located just off TX State Highway 6 on the east side of Moran.  One of the first teachers was a Professor Jackson.  This same schoolhouse still stands as a converted garage belonging to Mrs. Elma Huskey of Moran."  

In 1890, Hulltown's name was changed to Hicks.  During this period, "the old one-room schoolhouse building was sold, moved, and a new two-room white framed building was erected near the site of the first building." The teacher during this period was Miss Mamie Scarborough.  In 1892, the town's name was changed one last time to Moran in honor of a Texas-Central Railroad magnate.  "In 1898, a north wing was added to the two-room schoolhouse building and Miss Ollie Clarke of Albany was teacher."  Miss Clarke taught at the Moran School for several years and in 1909, she became the first female superintendent of Shackelford County, serving as the Moran Public School superintendent until 1910.  A few of the teachers at the school along with Miss Clarke during this period were Misses Nannie Adamson, Derah Plummer, and Lula Grace.       


"On April 4, 1908 an election was called to decide if the residents of Moran and surrounding areas wanted ‘to incorporate for free school purposes only’.  Seventy-seven votes were cast with forty-five for and 32 against. M. D. Bray was presiding officer; G. E. Waters, judge; R. H. Cole and S. R. Plummer, clerks. The election also called for a board of trustees for the school district. A total of eighty-one votes were cast in the trustee election. M. D. Bray received 52 votes; A.J. Thomas, 51 votes; G. E. Waters, 49 votes; J. A. Hayward, 49 votes; Jim Cottle, 43 votes; W. F. Chaney, 31 votes; and S. A. Dosser, 41 votes.  The first board of the Moran Independent School District was made of these seven men.  Only men continued to serve on the board until 1973, when Mrs. Eleanora Bankston became the first woman ever to serve as a boardmember.  The first school district in 1908 emcompassed sixteen square miles with Moran being the center of the district.  Today the district covers 208 square miles and extends into three counties, Shackelford, Stephens, and Callahan."

"In 1912, the district voted to build Moran's first brick two-story school building on a hill in the western part of town."   Some of the superintendents who served at Moran during this period were B. C. Chrisman, a Mr. Key, Mr. Holbrook (later a state senator from Eastland County), Buck Walker, a Mr. Miller, J. A. Wohlford (later Shackelford County attorney), a Mr. Brown, and a Mr. Tanner.  Teachers during this period included Lula Holbrook (sister of Sen. Holbrook), Effie Martin, Maggie Montgomery, Beatrice Dowdy, Daisy Wilson, Maggie Willis, Belle Fite, Ruth Cauley, Clint Walker, and Ella Wild.  "In the minute books of October 1919, Superintendent E. M. Davis reported to the Board that 298 pupils attended school daily for the month of September 15th thru October 10th for all 10 grades.  Three boys and five girls were in the 10th grade, which was the senior class.  In November the enrollment was up to 354 and in December it was 371.  April 2, 1919 minutes named the school board members as Jim Cottle, president; R. Y. Black, secretary; R. A. Elliot; F. R. Hubbard; J. M. Watts; E. N. Ferguson; and W. D. Lummus.  Others named in the minute books over the years include J. H. McGaughey, Yates Clayton, Cole Jackson, L. L. Walker, Grover and Virgil Morris, Morris and Ralph Snyder, David and Sam Parrish, Sam Diller, Carroll Loudder, Morris Cottle, E. E. Hudman, Bert Brooks, E. L. Neel, A. J. Taylor, W. W. Knight, E. S. Chism, A. L. Black, W. C. Williams, B. L. and C. B. Chaney, Bill English, Jewell Ellis, Garland Shelton, Frank Midkiff, Roy McCoy, Warlick and Bert Jones, James Cottle, Ford Green, Ben McKelvain, Alfred Agnew, Clovis McCollum, Kenneth Hudson, Alvice Parrish, James Johnson, Robert Tonne, Eleanora Bankston, Bob Branham, Wayne Taggart, Lucion Brooks, Ross Montgomery, Larry Hudson, Tommy Brooks, Sam Snyder, Julie Cottle, Barney Tabor, Alice Branham, Brawner Reed, and many, many others.


As Moran's population grew during the oil and gas boom years of the 1910's and 1920's, the 1912 era two-story brick school building became too small to accomodate the growing number of students enrolling. Therefore, in 1923, the school board consisting of E. L. Neel, president; A. J. Taylor, secretary; E. S. Chism, W. D. Lummus, R. Z. Sullins, C. C. Allen, and W. W. Knight) voted to construct a new high school building. This building was to be larger and even more "modern" than the 1912 building with all the latest conveniences.  The first floor would contain classrooms and offices.  The second floor would contain a large auditorium and a stage.  The new brick two-story building was constructed that year just west of the 1912 building.  The 1912 building's new role now served to house the elementary students.  The new 1923 building would house the high school students independently.  In 1925, Moran High School published its first yearbook, entitled "The Wildcat", which was the school mascot at the time.  By 1930, Moran High School's mascot was changed to "The Bulldog", a mascot it has kept ever since.


"Over the years the school district has acquired the acreage it now covers through the consolidation of the small one-room schools in the surrounding area.  In August 1937, the Common School Districts of Erath and Hart in Callahan County; also in 1937, the Common School District of Eureka in Stephens County; the Common School District of Deep Creek in 1939; and the Common School Districts of Battle Creek and Sedwick in 1942, voted to send their students to school in Moran.  This meant long bus rides for those children over roads that were often muddy or closed by high water crossings, or choked with dust when it didn't rain." By the late 1930's, President Franklin Roosevelt's "New Deal" legislation was getting America out of the Depression.  One of the agencies created by Roosevelt was the Works Progress Administration (or WPA).  This agency was funded by the government to hire workers to improve the infrastructure of the United States.  In 1938 and 1939, WPA workers helped construct the Moran High School Gymnasium and Homemaking Department just east of the 1912 elementary building.  In 1940, WPA workers constructed the now familiar rock fence around the school campus. The gymnasium, with its wooden basketball court and stone walls, is still in use today and is the oldest building on the MHS campus.



By 1958, the 1912 elementary building was showing its age.  The two-story building was no longer a "modern" one like it had been when students first entered it in 1912.  It was now an old building that was beginning to fall apart.  So, after 46 years of use, it was decided to tear down the 1912 high school turned elementary school building and replace it witha new elementary building.  The school board members at this time were:  Alvice Parrish, president; Ralph Snyder, secretary; James Garrett, Jerry Barton, Bill Read, Ben McKelvain, Warlick Jones, Alfred Agnew, and Ford Green. Some of the teachers during this time were Ava Moore, Eleanora Bankston, Elaine Shelton, Brit Pippen, Dale Pippen, Edith Stephens, and Juanita Hagar.  In 1959, Moran elementary students entered the new one-level brick elementary school building, which is still in use today.


In 1976, the same fate that had fallen on the 1912 building in 1959, fell upon the 1923 high school building. After 53 years of use, what was once one of the most modern high school buildings in Texas back in 1923, had now become too costly to maintain with the state's standards.  The building was no longer efficient.  So, with great debate and reluctance, the school board voted to tear the building down and build a new one in its place that would be efficient for the future.  The school board members at this time were:  James Johnson, president; Eleanora Bankston, secretary; Lucion Brooks, Alvice Parrish, Tommy Brooks, Wayne Taggart, and Ross Montgomery.  Some of the teachers who taught during this time were Cindy Boyd, Delnita Jones, Ava Moore, Ruth Brown, Mary Easton, and Vee Yonker.  Moran High School students entered their new $250,000 one-story brick high school building in the fall of 1976 near the same spot students entered the old high school building in 1923.  The 1976 high school building is still in use today.


Since 1976, the school has undergone several more changes.  In 1981, the school board voted to construct a new $81,000 home economics/vocational building directly behind the high school building with a modern kitchen, classrooms, and a living room facility.  When long time Moran home-economics teacher, Ava Moore, announced her retirement in 1988, the home-ec building was officially named the Avelyn Moore Home Economics/Vocational Building in her honor. The old home-economics classroom and living room area in the gymnasium became classrooms.  Later, these two rooms were converted into a weight training room and dressing rooms for athletics.  School board members at this time were Alvice Parrish, president; Ross Montgomery, secretary; Lucion Brooks, Barney Tabor, Larry Hudson, Tommy Brooks, and Wayne Taggart. Some of the teachers who taught during this time were Jerry Jackson, Marilyn Jackson, Rhonda Holson, Ava Moore, Tianay Rabb, Delnita Jones, and Ray Smoot.  In the late 1980's, a new agriculture/vocational building was constructed northwest of the main campus buildings.  By the mid-1990's, a new wing was added to the elementary school building sporting large classrooms and a new bus barn was constructed near the vo-ag building.

In 1994, Moran Independent School District became a state recognized school for Class A.  These rankings are a result of TAAS schievement tests taken by students during the year.  In the following three years that rank had jumped to exemplary for each year.  This is a rare accomplishment for a school.  Only a select few schools in the entire state receive such honors.  After an enrollment decline in the early and mid 1980's, Moran ISD has begun to bounce back in enrollment in recent years.  Technology grants have been obtained and the school is now equipped with a modern computer lab and it now has internet access for students and teachers, paving the way for the school to enter the new century ahead, the school's third.  The school's motto has become "The little school that could, and did".  After 116 years of educating students and five high school buildings later, the Moran School's new motto seems appropriate.    

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