By Dahlia Fae Johnson and Annie Pearl Finley
Source: "Schleicher County, or, Eighty Years of Development in Southwest Texas", pub. 1930
Transcribed by Karen Seeman
Verand - The First School in Schleicher County
The first school to be established in Schleicher County was at Verand, which was the first town in the county and was located on the old Vermont Ranch about five miles north of Eldorado. At one time there were nine or ten houses in Verand but later these were moved to Eldorado. Mr. Judd Nicks, of Eldorado, was one of the pupils to attend this school and he relates that the school house was a small one-room frame building. About ten or twelve pupils attended the school. Mrs. Tool, a daughter of Mr. W. C. Jones of Christoval, was the teacher. Later she married Mr. Hector McKinsey. Mr. Nicks relates that his father lived nut on the ranch while the family lived in Verand and attended the school and in the summer moved out to the ranch. When the people moved away from Verand the school was discontinued, of course.
The Eldorado School grew from a small one-room, one-teacher school. The first school building stood on the site that John Davis' Service Station now stands. This was in 1897 and E. E. Stricklen was the teacher. There were only seven pupils at first but more people moved into Eldorado and by the end of the term, there were about forty pupils. School went on this way until 1901. In 1902 the house was moved and used for a court house and is now used for a residence. In 1902 another house was built about three hundred yards back of present building. C. A. Stone was superintendent and was assisted by Miss Lee Fields. There were about seventy-five pupils enrolled. In 1903 another room was built. Lewis Wardlaw was superintendent, Mrs. A. A. Mahaefery taught with him. People began to move to Eldorado and more pupils entered school. In 1903 another room was built and the old one divided into 2 parts. This called for another teacher and Mrs. May Tisdale filled this place. Mrs. Tisdale was then Miss May McCormick. This building was bought by J. N. Ramsey and H. W. Finley. It was sold in three parts. One part to D. C. Hill, one to "Uncle Dink" Meador, and J. B. Chick another. Mr. Hill's was used as a Hardware store and was destroyed by fire in 1923. Mr. Meador's was used as a barn and was destroyed by fire. Mr. Chick still uses his part as a residence.
THE OPENING OF THE ELDORADO PUBLIC SCHOOL IN 1903
From: The Eldorado Paper, Eldorado, Texas, Friday September 11th, 1903
"According to announcements through catalogue and newspaper, on September 7, the teachers, children, trustees, patrons and visitors assembled early in the morning of the above date, at the beautiful and new School house in Eldorado, to take part in and witness the opening of the public school.
The rooms have been overhauled and cleaned, two new ones added and all newly and comfortably seated and well arranged, it made us all glad that we were living in Schleicher County.
At nine o'clock the school was called to order by professor J. A. Thomas with very appropriate remarks. The children were all seated as near as possible, that they might hear what was said. Mrs. J. A. Thomas was at the instrument and the entire school joined in singing "My Country 'Tis Of Thee." Then Rev. S. J. Drake, of Sonora, was called on and led the school in a fervent prayer. County Superintendent Whitten was called on to make a speech and cheerfully responded with a five or ten minute talk on the opportunities of to-day and the importance of taking advantages of it. O. H. Elder president of School Board of Trustees following with a very appropriate speech, which showed he was interested in School work of Eldorado. Next came Judge Woodruff with one of his elegant talks, which did us all good to listen and which makes us think of the days gone by when we were boys. Then came Superintendent E. E. Stricklen who offered one of the best and most appropriate talks along this line that I have ever heard. If the superintendent put into practice what he preached in his school work he is certainly in my judgment a very fine school teacher.
We then had talks that were very instructive and encouraging from S. M. Brown, Joab Campbell and Dr. H. H. Taylor, after which the entire school sang "There's Sunshine in My Soul Today."
Professor Thomas then thanked us for our presence and proceeded in examinations which resulted in placing the pupils as following: Mrs. Thomas with first grade state certificate teacher of primary department, with thirty-five pupils; Miss Laura Hays of first grade state certificate teacher of the intermediate department, with twenty-five pupils; Professor Thomas with a permanent certificate as principal of the school has in his room twenty five pupils."
In 1904 Mr. J. A. Thomas, now district attorney, was Superintendent and assisted by Laura Hays and Miss May McCormick. There were about one hundred pupils enrolled. In 1905 another room was added. The teachers this year were Mr. F. J. St. John, and Miss Laura Hays. In 1906 another room was added making five rooms in all. J. B. Smith was superintendent for the next ten years and Miss McCormick taught with him for eight years.
Miss Agnes West, now Mrs. Clifford Womack, was the first child to be born in Schleicher County and entered School at an early age. She graduated from Eldorado School It is also interesting to note that Don McCormick was the first and only child to go to school to the first school building, the second school building and also the third building which was built in 1910. In 1910 a brick building was erected, the cost being about 20,000 dollars. It is also interesting to note that many of the first superintendents made lawyers in later life.
The records between the dates 1910 and 1916 have been destroyed.
C. A. Stone was superintendent in 1916-17. There were 263 pupils enrolled. G. M. Brown was county superintendent.
M. L. Hurst was superintendent during session of 1919-20 and 251 pupils were enrolled. M. L. Hurst was superintendent during term of 1920-21 and 240 pupils were enrolled. $30.00 worth of Books were added to the library that year. The approximate value of the high school library was $525, and lower grades $225. At that time there were 13 affiliated credits. During the session of 1922-23 J. B. Bruton was superintendent.. There were thirteen teachers, three in high school, and ten in the lower grades. There were 331 pupils, fourteen of whom were graduates. There were 46 failures counting those who withdrew. J. B. Bruton was superintendent during the term of 1923-24. There were 13 teachers and 341 pupils. 42 were Mexicans, who were taught in another building north of Eldorado. There were 16 graduates this year.
During session of 1924-25, J. B. Bruton was superintendent. There were 388 pupils enrolled, 12 of whom were Mexicans. There were 10 graduates. During the sessions of 1925-27 A. B. Tyson was superintendent. 326 pupils were enrolled. There were fourteen graduates.
In 1925 the building that was built in 1910 was remodeled and added to. The value of this building is $75,000. It contains fifteen class rooms and a large auditorium. In December of 1929 there were enrolled a total of 392 pupils in all grades and fifteen teachers were employed. There were 110 pupils in high school and 23 credits of affiliation were maintained with the state department of education. R. D. Holt has been superintendent since 1927.
Bailey Consolidated School
The Bailey Ranch School started in 1907. The first teacher being Miss Susie Gibson. The school received its name from the Bob Bailey Ranch, on which it was built. The building was a large one-room building and it served as a church house and school building also. In 1922 it was sold to S. I. Nicks and served as a tenant house.
The Henderson School was a one-room school building, started in 1910. Miss Stella Maddox being first teacher.
In 1920 another School building was built. The Henderson and Bailey Ranch Schools were consolidated. There is a nice frame building of two rooms. Two teachers taught in this building. The first teachers in this building were Misses Violet Davis and Vera Bruton. Mr. and Mrs. Boyd taught in 1920-22. Miss Maggie Williams and Miss Lodice Putman taught during session of 1923-24. Mrs. Cain and Peyton Cain have taught since that time.
Bailey Ranch Mexican School
This school was established in 1926, in order that the Mexican children of that community might get an education. It is a small building located about one third of a mile from the Bailey consolidated School Building. The first teacher was Miss Fay Finley, who taught session of 1926-27-28. The name has not been definitely decided upon yet. but is goes by name of Bailey consolidated No. 2.
The Mayer School
The Mayer School is located about 20 miles East of Eldorado. It was a large two room, two teacher School. It had about 40 pupils. Then people began to leave there and finally but one teacher was needed. In 1923 this building caught fire and was burned down. A new building was built about one and one half miles from the old one. This community was named after Sol Mayer one of the first men to come to this section of Texas.
Eldorado Mexican School
The Eldorado Mexican school was established in 1916. Miss Ida Canova was first teacher. School is still taught in a one room building, built in 1916.
The Vermont school is a small building about eight miles north of Eldorado. It is a one-room, one-teacher school. Miss Pearl Bailey was first teacher of this school. This school was discontinued in 1927. Miss Vera May was teaching at the time.
The Alexander school building is a small one-room building. There is but one teacher teaching this school. It is located about 12 miles north-west of Eldorado and is in the Eldorado independent district. It received its name from Alexander Ranch on which it was built. In 1929 Miss Zadie McAngus was the teacher.
Other schools in the county in 1929 were as follows:
Adams or Rudd school in eastern end of county; Kaffir school in southwestern part of the county; Cliff school in northeast part and Reynolds school in the west end of the county. All of these are one-teacher schools.
SCHLEICHER COUNTY AS TWELVE SCHOOLS
In the common school districts of Schleicher County there are eight schools, all one teacher schools except the Bailey Ranch School which has two teachers. The schools are as follows: Adams, Bailey Ranch, Bailey Ranch Mexican, Cliff, Kaffir, Lofton, Mayer, and Station A on the Humble Pipe line. Some of the teachers in the county are Mrs. Robert Milligan, Adams school; Mr. Peyton Cain and Mrs. Cain, Bailey Ranch; Miss Blanche Newlin, Cliff; Mrs. Ford Oglesby, Kaffir and Miss Ruth DeLong, Station A.
The present enrollment in the common school districts of the county is approximately ninety, as compared with a total of 89 for last school year. The scholastic census taken last March, shows an enumeration of 114 children, all of which are white.
According to the annual report of the ex-officio county superintendent for 1928-29, the average cost per pupil in the common school districts was $99.23. All the schools in the county had nine months term except the Bailey Ranch district and the Mexican school in Eldorado and at Bailey Ranch. In the common school districts the teachers' salaries ranged from $100 to $150 per month.
All of the schools in the county are now in good financial condition and at least one of the schools increases its surplus substantially each year. The county per-capita apportionment for 1929-30 is $6.50. This is derived from the Schleicher County school lands which are located in Raines County. The local tax rate in all the common school districts is 25 cents except in the Bailey Ranch and Cliff districts where the rate is 50 cents.
In the Eldorado Independent school district the scholastic census for 1929-30 shows an enumeration of 490, of which only eight are colored. There are now four schools operated in this district, two of which are one teacher rural schools. The Mexican school in Eldorado has only a six months term and has not yet begun. The enrollment in the Eldorado district for the present term has reached a total of 390 of which over 90 per cent are enrolled in Eldorado and over a hundred of these are in high school. The local tax rate in this district is now $1. The average cost per pupil in 1928-29 based on salary expenditures and average daily attendance was $58.50.
In September of 1929 there was one school in Schleicher County which had claims to being the smallest school in the state. This was the Cliff School which for some time after the beginning of school had only two pupils, but later three others entered.
Teachers of The Eldorado Public Schools 1929-30
R. D. Holt, Superintendent, O. J. Curry, Principal of High School, Mrs. Anetta Bailey, Spanish, Miss Dorothy Bradshaw, Mathematics, Miss Willie Allen, English, Miss Lillian Orsborn, Public Speaking, H. R. Smart, Science, Miss Frances Armstrong, Principal of Grammar School, Mr. Tom Redford, History in Grammar School, Miss Ruth Howell, English in Grammar School, Mrs. Otis Buie, Fifth Grade, Mrs. Payne Robinson, Fourth Grade, Miss Stella Watterson, Third Grade, Mrs. Bennie McClain, Second Grade, Mrs. Una Lee, First Grade, Mrs. H. R. Ashmore, Study Hall, Miss Catherine Hill, Mexican School, Miss Zadie McAngus, Alexander School, Mrs. Mary Davis, Reynolds School.
The First Graduation Class In Eldorado In 1907 four girls and one boy graduated from the Eldorado High School. These were the first to ever graduate from this school They completed the tenth grade.
They were Alvis Bearce, Lula Womack, Pearl Bailey, Minnie Strother and Clifford Womack.
The graduation exercises were held at the Baptist Church. This church has been recently replaced by the new church.
The Reverend Earls spoke to the graduates.
The Eldorado Parent Teachers Association
According to Mrs. D. C. Hill, who was one of the charter members of the Eldorado Parent Teachers Association, this organization was formed in 1913 with Mrs. P. H. McCormick as the first president. At first it was called the Mother's Club but after about three years was changed to the present name and has been in active service ever since. Mrs. Lewis, who now lives in San Angelo, was the second president. The last three presidents of the organization in the order in which they served are Mrs. Robert Milligan, Mrs. Elwood Tisdale and Mrs. Joab Campbell, who holds the office at the present time.
[From "Schleicher County, or, Eighty Years of Development in Southwest Texas", pub. 1930, transcribed by Karen Seeman]
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