Hood County News – September 23, 1971
Transcribed by Katherine LeMaster Dendy
Although Hood County consists of only 426 square miles, it has had 38 different schools during its history.
Only three school districts, Granbury, Tolar and Lipan, now serve the county.
Of course the first white settlers had no schools until there were enough children in a neighborhood to justify employing a teacher. But, as soon as a neighborhood could find enough students by sending out three or four miles, a log cabin was built in the center of the community and a teacher was hired at the rate of one dollar or $1.50 per scholar per month. Hence, some were without schools two or three years and when they did acquire one, completely untrained teachers were often hired because settlers simply had to hire whomever was available.
The school houses were built of small logs, 14 to 16 feet long, covered with three-foot boards and had dirt floors. The fireplace covered one end of the building and for a window, a log the entire length of the building was cut out. A writing desk was placed under the window. The writing desk was a slab of hewed out wood about six inches thick, 12 to 15 inches wide, running the length of the building. The benches were made of a split-open log. The door shutters were made by nailing boards or rawhide to a frame made the proper size and hung on rawhide hinges. Some houses had puncheon floors, slabs of timber with the face roughly dressed, and many different shaped chimneys. The fireplaces were made of rock and cracks between the rocks were stopped up with mud.
Records are scarce on details of early schools and many are difficult if not impossible, to establish. One old record book of 1876 lists school boards for various schools, but gives no details about establishment.
A record book of 1883 includes petitions for the organization of school communities over the county. Not until several years later did the state require counties to be divided into districts.
The following is an example of one of these petitions:
“Be it known on this 31st day of July, 1883, a petition was filed by W.A. Duke and others in office, praying that a school community be organized at Granbury. The petition has been examined and it is here-by ordered that the signers to said petition are constituted and recognized as Granbury School Community No 18. It is further ordered that the sum of $615.09 be credited on the books of the County Treasurer, for the benefit of said community, to be applied to the maintenance of their Public School.
“It is further ordered that W.A. Duke, A.P. Gordon, and H.E. Hanna be and are hereby appointed Trustees for said community. (Signed) T.J. Duke, County Judge.
* Note: If the money is to be applied in aid of building a public school house, so state.”
Besides the more well-known school communities as Granbury, Temple Hall, Paluxy, Acton, Thorp Spring, Fall Creek, Tolar, Lipan and Marvin Chapel, there were also many more listed.
Crockery Creek was the name of one school. The creek runs into Kickapoo Creek near Lipan and the school was somewhere near. The record shows two schools named Allison. One was supposedly near Kickapoo Creek, the other was a community near Ft. Spunky.
Shady Grove was east of the Brazos River, near what is now Acton. Caulders was a school east of Granbury, thought to have been named for a preacher in the vicinity.
Fosters was a school also known by the name of Martin and later Bethel, according to sources. Post Oak Grove was south of Tolar, near Paluxy.
Arrington, also known as Friendship, was between Granbury and Tolar. Strouds Creek was in the area of Ashbury and Antioch near Tolar. Add Ran School was near Thorp Spring and, like the college there (later Texas Christian University) was named for Addison and Randolph Clark.
Rucker’s Creek School was also called Rocky Point. It was above New Hope School, which was also located on Rucker’s Creek.
Pleasant View, originally Elam [sic] Flat, is said to have been east of what is now Mambrino, near Well’s Cemetery. Rough Creek was later known as Brushy, southeast of Tolar. Mt. Pleasant was west from Brushy, on Squaw Creek. A cemetery is still there.
Powell’s School was in the Tolar area, before Tolar was a named settlement. The Evergreen School may have been what we call Fairview.
Lawler Branch was near that stream of water which runs into the Paluxy. Mt. Ebo and Mt. Zion were schools for negro students. Contrary Creek School was near the Wiggins place, at the turn off of Highway 2425.
The petition record book notes one school with no particular name. It was simply called “a school on Pearl Street.”
The Herring-Hightower School was near the Parker County line and later by an act of the legislature, was a county-line independent school district.
The same record book noted that during the school year of 1882-1883, 46 male teachers were employed and paid a combined monthly total of $906.88. The four female teachers employed in the county received an average monthly total of $180.50 for their work. That meant that an average of $1,094.38 in teacher’s salaries was paid.
Today the state requires a yearly minimum or base pay for each teacher of approximately $6,000.