There were nine of the Jarrett children, sons and daughters of Dr. A.R. and Mrs. Sallie Davis Jarrett. The father was a country doctor whose practice was, for the most part, among rural people, good substantial people, but a people not too well endowed with this world’s goods. Dr. Jarrett was a kind hearted, easy going sort of man. Like many country doctors, he was not a good collector and did a great deal of practice for which he was never paid. He bought a farm, but his professional services were soon in so much demand that the management of the farm was soon left to the older boys and to such hired help as was available. The Jarrett children soon learned to work for themselves.
Of the nine children, four boys and one girl were born in Georgia. Three girls and one boy were born at Acton, Texas. The oldest boy, Warren, became a successful farmer and businessman. R.P. and A.R., still referred to as Bob and Dude by relatives and old friends, were teachers. The other two boys became druggists. Three of the girls taught for a time. In due course of time each of the four were married and were engaged in the business of rearing a family.
In December 1891, the family moved to Texas, settling in Hood County in the little town of Acton. Acton was one of the earliest and strongest settlements in the territory which later became Hood County. As T.T. Ewell, pioneer lawyer, office holder, and early historian of Hood County, aptly remarks, “The substantial people of this remote settlement early realized the full force of the familiar scriptural injunction about how good and how pleasant it is for brethren to dwell together in unity.” As early as 1855, Presbyterians, Baptists, Methods and Christians united in building a “Union Church.” Each denomination used the building for religious worship one Sunday in each month. This custom was continued for many years.
A little later certain substantial men felt the need for a Masonic lodge in Acton. Again the people of the community united, and the result was the two-story rock building which still stands in a beautiful grove of live oaks between the present Baptist church and the cemetery. This building was erected for the dual purpose of a lodge hall and a school house. It was also used at times for religious worship.
The Baptists, a good many years later, built their own church which was also used by the other denominations until the Methodists built their church about the turn of the century.
The citizens of the community generally contributed to the erection of the Masonic building, but the work was under the direction of the Lodge which had been chartered as Acton Lodge Number 285 in 1866. The lower story of this building served as the school house for Acton until the close of World War One. It was soon found necessary to add a wooden ell to the lower story in order to accommodate the increasing number of pupils who came to school at Acton.
At the time of the coming of the Jarretts, Acton boasted several general stores, a gin, a blacksmith shop, four churches, a good school, and the oldest Masonic lodge in Hood County. The Jarretts soon became a part of the religious and social life of the community.
Many of Dr. Jarrett’s best friends were Masons. In the early months of 1893, he applied for and received the three “blue lodge” degrees. His masonic record as shown below is sufficient proof of his seal and fidelity to the craft. In the latter part of 1903, this family moved again, this time to Oldham County, in northwest Texas. The next year, Dr. Jarrett became a charter member and the first Worshipful Master of Vega Lodge Number 899.
The years spent on the plains were difficult ones for the Jarretts. The country was thinly settled. Water was scarce and hard to get. There were no good schools within reach for the younger children. One year the oldest daughter, Elizabeth, was sent back to Hood County to board with an aunt and to attend a country school. After digging two or three dry wells, Dr. Jarrett concluded to sell out and move back to Hood County.
This final move was made in 1906. They settled this time in Granbury where Dr. Jarrett had many friends. He soon had a good practice which he kept as long as he was able to work. The younger children had the advantage of a good high school. Mrs. Jarrett died in 1939, and Dr. Jarrett died in 1941.
Dr. Jarrett’s Masonic Record:
Acton Lodge No. 285
J.W. 1893; S.W. 1894, 1895; W.M. 1896, 1897, 1898;
S.D. 1900; Sec. 1901, 1902, 1903
Vega Lodge No. 899
Charter Member 1904
Granbury Lodge No. 392
Received all Chapter and Council Degrees in Granbury Chapter No. 139
Chapter Degrees 03/01/1900
All Council Degrees 03/07/190
H.P. 1902, 1903, 1908, 1911
The older Jarrett children received all their elementary and high school education at Acton. All of them, except the two youngest, attended school there for a time. Two of the teachers at Acton in those days were Professor John Jacobs of Cleburne and Professor C.E. Bloss, a young man recently arrived from Ohio. Bloss is said to have been highly educated. He married Miss Dixie Karnes, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. W.A. Karnes, both members of pioneer families of Acton. He taught for many years in Hood and adjoining counties and had quite a reputation as a teacher in this section of the state.
It is sometimes said that the success of a teacher can be measured by the success in later life of the pupils he teaches. Judged by this standard, Professor Bloss was a great success in the case of at least four boys whom he taught at Acton. These were Bob and Dude Jarrett as already mentioned, their younger brother, Clifton, and a young boy from the country named Richard Hall.
Clifton Jarrett became a druggist in Canyon and was known throughout northwest Texas as a successful businessman and civic worker.
Hall rode horseback four miles to go to school to Mr. Bloss. When Bloss moved to Cresson, Richard was sent there and boarded in order to receive further instruction from this great teacher. Richard was afterward the Rev. Dr. W.R. Hall, Mason and Presbyterian minister whose work included pastorates at Cameron, McGregor, McKinney, Corsicana, and perhaps other towns in Texas.
In 1901 Bob and Dude Jarrett took the state examination and each received a first grade teachers certificate. Dude never used his, but Bob taught his first school in 1901-1902 at New Harmony, a one-teacher school about four miles from Acton. About this time the telephone made its advent in Acton. Bob found employment “keeping the switchboard” in the back end of one of the stores.
In October 1902, Bob entered Peabody College in Nashville, Tennessee, and in 1904 received the L.I. degree. Dude accompanied him to Peabody the second year. The next year Bob taught a country school in south Texas. Dude taught two schools, one in Motley County and the other in Oldham County. The next year Bob began his work as a high school teacher in Cisco. Dude returned to Peabody where he received the L.I. degree.
The work of A.R. Jarrett (Dude) includes the following: De Leon 1906-1921; Knox City 1921-1922; Temple, Oklahoma 1922-1923; Rotan 1923-1924; and Temple, Oklahoma 1924-1947. He was superintendent at all these schools, with the possible exception of the first year or two at De Leon. Additional professional and academic education is represented by the B.A. degree from Central Teachers College at Edmond, Oklahoma in 1926 and the M.A. degree from the University of Oklahoma in 1929. Details of his work are unknown to the present writer. But his long tenure at De Leon and Temple, as well as the testimony of many of his former students and co-workers, indicates he was rather successful. He was a good “mixer” and knew practically everyone where he worked. He was regarded by school men generally as a progressive and able school administrator.
In De Leon he married Miss Modena Patterson, a teacher and the daughter of a well to do and progressive farmer of Comanche County. Here, too, he received his masonic work, advancing as he says through the Royal Arch degree. He demitted sometime in the early 1920’s and affiliated with the dame bodies in Temple, Oklahoma where he hopes he is still in good standing.
Since retiring in 1947, he seems to divide his time between Temple, Oklahoma where he has business interests and Fort Collins, Colorado. His letterhead reads, “Alex R. Jarrett, Tax Consultant.”