Tidbits of Shelby County History
Early Schools of Shelby County
While reading the history of early Shelby County, Texas schools, I noticed that Rawhide school was left out. This school was located equally distant from Logansport, Louisiana, Willow Grove and Burr schools. Burr school was a private school taught in the Burr home by Mrs. Burr. This home was near the Dock Truitt home and the old John Redditt home. My sister, Altonie Walker Taylor, has a vivid memory of Rawhide school from the beginning until its close twelve years later.
She dictates as follows- “I am nearing 57 years of age and blind, but I have a very vivid memory of those early days. Because I can remember the children and young people who attended this school. I can give a fairly accurate list of the organizers of the Rawhide school. Beginning at the S. E. corner near the old Burr school going toward the west, I’ll name the organizers according to where their homes were located. They are J. Latimore, Josh Truitt, Wash Fonville, John Haight, Bill Hooper, C. P. Hooper, R. Rivers, Jim Hooper, Bert Wagstaff, Lon Hooper, Bill Walker, B. J. Bushing, Marion Truitt, and Samuel O. Walker; also, Sam Woods, Lewis Fonville, W. Strickland and E. B. Walker. When the Eagle Mills district was organized these last four were put into that district.
Rawhide School was organized in 1885. A small, boxed room was built on land owned by Samuel O. Walker. The first trustees were Wash Fonville, Bill Walker, and Bert Wagstaff. I do not know how the other Trustees came in, but S. O. Walker, Jim Hooper and E. J. Rushing were trustees during the life of the school.
This school has the unique distinction of providing all its teachers from the young people of its community throughout the duration of the school. It is also very important in the early history of Shelby County education since so many of these pupils have held important places in many places in many fields of life.
During these early days all schools taught four months in the fall and winter and two months in the summer. In1885 the teacher was Harrison Stephens, son of Clarissa Truitt Stephens.
I have no personal reassurance of this, but my aunt, Isobel Sorrell, who lived in our home, attended that year and often talked about it. I started to school in the fall of 1886 at the age of five. The teacher was J. J. Rushing. He also taught in the fall and winter of 1887. Asa Rushing taught two years from 1888-1890. In the fall of 1890 Miss Ella Rushing started teaching and taught through the summer of 1892. These three were the children of E. J. and Cynthia Truitt Rushing. In 1892 the teacher was Miss Etta Fonville, daughter of Wash Fonville and granddaughter of Polly Truitt Garrett. Miss Etta had attended Huntsville normal one year and after teaching one year went back to Huntsville to continue her studies. In 1893 no teacher was available so there was no school that year. My father transferred my sister, Addie Lee and me to Joaquin School. Miss Harlo Colston was our teacher. In 1894, Joe Hooper, son of Jim Hooper, having obtained a certificate, taught one year. In 1896 R. H. Wharton, my mother’s brother, taught one year.
As time went on the scholastic enrollment had increased. Since a bigger and better building was needed, the patrons of the school met in the summer of 1897 and divided the district. The west end organized the Hooper school and built on land owned by Bill Hooper. L. B. Caldwell was the teacher. The East end organized the Jim Truitt School and built on land owned by Marion Truitt.
The first school in the Jim Truitt School was taught by Miss Sallie Garrett in 1897.
The following is a list of the teachers and date of terms. I am also giving some of the trustees that I remember.
1897-1898 Trustee- S. O. Walker, Webb Blackman and Alfred Truitt, Teacher; Miss Sallie Garrett.
1898-1900 Same trustees. Teacher: Mrs. Kila Rushing Cole.
1900-1903 Same trustees. Teacher: Miss Altonie Walker.
My sister, Jessie Walker Kelly, who attended the school, will continue the report of Jim Truitt School. On another paper you will find the record of my Shelby County teaching.
1903-1904 Teacher: R. H. (Henry) Wharton.
1904-1905 Teacher: D. A. (Albert) Newton.
1905-1907 Teacher: D. A. (Matt) McGee.
1907-1909 Teacher: D. R. (Duke) Taylor.
1909-1910 Teachers: D. R. (Duke) Taylor and V. E. Walker
1910-1912 Trustees: I. D. Cook, O. H. Stephens, T. W. Newton.
Teacher: Charles Crocker
1912-1913Tustees: J. F. Cook, L. M. Woods, I. D. Cook.
Teachers: Winter, S. M. (Milton) McGee: Summer, Vesse Walker & R. H. Harris.
1913-1914 Trustees: Bob Newton and others.
Teacher: Willie Savage.
1914-1915 Trustees: Same.
Teacher: Miss Florence Champion.
1915-1916 Trustees: S. E. Walker, W. E. McGee, Bob Newton.
Teacher: Miss Vida Williams.
1916-1917 Teacher: E. R. (Eula) Walker
1917-1918 Teacher: Miss Gene Taylor
1918-1919 Teacher: Miss Alfred
1919-1920 Teachers: Winter, Mrs. Audrey Cole Ellis. Summer, Mrs. Una Taylor
1920-1921Teachers: Miss Anne Taylor and Miss Minnie Swanzy
In 1921, Jim Truitt School coincided with Joaquin Independent School.
Note: My sister, Altonie Walker Taylor states that she personally knew Miss Maggie Windham and that she didn’t teach in our community as you report shows in History of early Shelby County, Texas schools page 19.
This is a copy of my sister’s, Altonie Walker Taylor, Shelby County teaching. It is taken at her dictation, since she is blind and cannot write.
1898-1899 Paxton, L. B. Caldwell, principal, Altonie Walker, Primary.
1899-1900 Peddy School, Altonie Walker, Teacher.
1900-1903 Jim Truitt, Altonie Walker, Teacher.
1903-1906 Jerico, Altonie Walker, Teacher.
1906- 1907 Jackson, Charlie Crocker, Principal, Altonie Walker, Primary.
1907-1908 Myrtlehead, Altonie Walker, Teacher.
1908- Fall Paxton, C. R. Cook, Principal, Stella Watson, Intermediate,
and Altonie Walker, Primary
1909- Spring Silas, J. R. Bruner, principal, Altonie Walker, Primary
1909- Fall Eagle Mill, Altonie Walker, Principal, Mattie Powell, Primary.
Summer of 1910, I attended San Marcs and obtained a Primary certificate and taught first grade in independent schools in other counties.
In 1914, I returned to Shelby County and taught a summer class in O’Rear School.
Written by her sister, Jessie Walker Kelly