Talk of Wilson County TX Historic Towns

by Barbara J. Wood
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SCHOOLS

DILWORTH RANCH SCHOOL
... Did ya know......The community school of Denhawken is actually called Dilworth Ranch School? Their mascot was the Dragons and the school in the early 1900's turned out more tennis players than any other school in Texas. They had two tennis courts and ruled the HS tournaments back then. The Denhawken Dragons ruled the courts.You can see the rements of the tennis courts in this pic. Interesting point about the school...it still has the original chalk boards installed in 1908. Kids still write on it while "visiting". Poth is host of the Dilworth Plaza. (Courtesy of Wilson County Historian Mark Cameron)
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Kasper School children
... in a vintage Wilson County Texas photograph, sad to say, without a date or names. The children seem to be pleased in having their photo taken for future generations to see. The straw hats on the boys explains the chores they more likely were responsible for farming families.
[Richard Wauson is the teacher]
Ehler's School
Twenty- years ago Harry Ehlers  jotted down information from his daddy & Arthur Ehlers as he drove them around doing family research.
 
3 June '98
I picked up Dad and Arthur Ehlers and we drove to Hallettsville Tx to see if we could find additional genealogy information at the Lavaca Court House, City Library or any other source. I also hoped in talking to both to capture some of their memories.
 
At the Lavaca court house we managed to find marriage records (copies from the ledgers) of Gustov, Alfred, Edwin and Henry Ehlers.  The ledger showed Edmund Ehlers instead of Edwin.  When Arthur asked to have it corrected they found the original marriage certificate and gave the original to him...beautiful script writing on the certificate....It was correct with Edwin...we laughed and said it was good to see he was in fact legal.
 
We also found the death certificate of Gustov Ehlers showing his Mother as Amelia May.  In talking to Arthur he indicated that her German maiden name was Mal...the tombstone at the Shiner cemetery giver her name as Amalia May.  Other records at the courthouse showe her name as Ernestine Ehlers and Christine Ehlers....based on all I found I have to believe her name was Amalia Ernestine Mal when she married Heinrich Clarence Ehlers.
 
Next we went to the Hallettsville City Library where we found quite by accident a possible lead on Heinrich Ehlers. Arthur had taken care of Gustov before he died in 1946.  Gustov said his father Heinrich never talked of where he came from. his mother or father or anything about his family.  We found a ship log from the Bark Neptune which landed in Galveston TX on 13 June 1850 from Germany with a Heinrich Ehlerz age 25.  The last name shows a "z" vs "s" but with the German / English translation...the proximity of the z to the s on the typewriter....and the fact is shows his age as 25 which matches the cemetery records....just might be the start of the Ehlers clan as we know it.
 
Next we went to the Shiner cemetery where he showed me the plot of his Mother's parents...Christian Friedrich Oltmanns and Barbara Elise Oltmanns.  We looked at the plot of Heinrich's daughter Ida Ehlers who married a William Fehler and her three children who all died of typhoid fever within 18 days of each other...Bernhardt (2 Nov 1888-30 Dec 1904); Alma (6 Mar 1891-31 Dec 1904) and Ida (16 Aug 1886-16 Jan 1905).  Arthur related the story of Heinrich's third daughter, whose name he could not remember, who got married in 1900 and was on her honeymoon in Galveston TX when the hurricane of 1900 hit and destroyed the town and killed some 6000 people...her body was never found as far as he knew.  He did not know a lot about the other three Heinrich children Ben, William and Bertha.
 
We then went to the Shiner Brewery for a cold beer and some pictures behind the bar prompted some stories of Luis Ehlers...better know as Cigar Ehlers...not related.  The lady at the bar said Luis grew his own tobacco and made cigars in a small factory which the city has moved and renovated.  A second story by Arthur was of the Kaster Wire Company and still operating in Shiner.  He indicated Gustov Ehlers and Mr. Kaster were in Gustov's barn on a cold winter day and needed something to put corn shucks in as they worked. They decided to make a wire basket (Scotty has one) and came up with a method to bend and wrist the wire to form these 2-3 bushel wire baskets.  Gustov did not pursue but Kaster did and the factory is still in Shiner today and according to Dad they make mostly grocery shopping carts today.
 
Next we went to Wolton Museum in Shiner because Arthur said Gustov's old ox cart wooden yoke was there....donated by his son Henry.  We found a wooden yoke at the museum but the curator did not know the source thereof...Arthur asked him to call someone to confirm its source (I took 2 pictures).  Arthur said Gustov started a freight business out of Shiner hauling by ox cart goods from Indianola Tx to Austin Tx.  His first trip took several months as he was hauling salt and the weight and wet weather and "boggs" in Lavaca county cause him to unload...carry....move the care and reload several times.  He then went to hauling tobacco...lighter and more money in this freight.  Not sure how long he did this business but per Dad and Arthur one has to watch very close to see an ox cart "move".
 
The reason Indianola was a Spanish Port...the start of the Chihuahua Trail which ran through Goliad and Helena and San Antonio into Mexico...because it was a natural deep-water port.  I gathered this Chihuahua Trail was the same used by the Polish who came to Galveston and then to Indianola and then by Mexican ox cart to San Antonio and then back to Panna Maria and the same used by Santa Anna on his way to the Alamo and then on to his final defeat at Goliad.  Per Dad and Arthur the port was destroyed...deep-water portion...by some hurricane prior to the one of 1942.
 
We stopped by Panna Maria on the way back and I talked to Louie about the Manka history. He indicated that there was only one Manka who came to Panna Maria during the settlement in the 1850s and it was in fact Frank Manka.  He thought that Frank Jr. was born in Prussia and that John was born here but the 1880 census I have showed differently – both born in Prussia and their age likewise supports this.  He thought there was a girl born to Frank Sr. also but could not remember her name.  Both Frank and John each had 10 kids (5 girls & 5 boys each I think).  He did not know much about Emanuel and Frances other than they also had 10 kids and that Frances was a Bonk before marring Esparza.  He gave me the names of as many Mankas as he could remember but said since he worked so much back then he did not know or get to meet to many relatives.
 
Arthur related another story of how Gustov around 1900 along with his brother-in-law....both married Tauch girls...after their fields were planted took off on horse back looking for new land.  As an aside he thought Gustov was not born in Shiner but in nearby High Hill TX in Austin County Tx.  His brother-in-law was a Schoots (?) I think.  They went from Harlingen in the valley up to Panhandle of Texas and decided on the land outside of Falls City.  They like the open plains at the time with wild grass up to the mid section of the horses.  He bought some 610 acres from a land  broker out of new Braunfels Tx....part of the old Menchaca Ranch.  Per Dad and Arthur the Menchaca Ranch was an original Spanish Land Grant...this was before the Mexico Independence and or course the Texas Independence in 1836....Arthur thought he paid around $12.00 per acre for the land.  The old Alfred Ehlers house (plus corn crib) was built around 1903 by Gustov for Mrs. Bielefeld and her son and daughter (originally a Tauch girl).  (See a side story at the end)  In 1910 when Alfred and Meta Goesch got married they moved into the house and farmed the place.  When Edwin and Mary Oltmanns got married in 1915 Alfred and Edwin split the farm along now Ehlers Lane.  Arthur said they took the value of the land and the house and corn crib and based on that Alfred got 250 acres and Edwin got 354.2 acres.  A few later Edwin sold 60 acres to a Mexican family...Graza's?
 
Arthur said his father started out as a engine mechanic (around 17 years old) doing water wells and water well drilling for a company which worked south Texas.
 
Arthur and Dad talked of the Ehlers School District #38...originally a one room school built around 1910.  Arthur said Gustov donated the 2 acres site but Dad thought he donated one acre and sold the second.  The community built the school so there were no loans and it was part of the Ehlers School District located in Wilson county.  It was expanded to 2 rooms around 1922 and went to the 7th grade per Arthur and the 8th per Dad....Dad said he has his diploma showing he graduated from the 8th grade of Ehlers school.  After the 7th/8th grade one went to Poth to finish the 11th grade and graduate from the local High School and then one could go to the county school....Floresville in Wilson County or Karnes City in Karnes County.  The school was closed during WWII...around 1944 they think...and then moved to the Falls City Campus around 1960.  Dad and Arthur tell of a plan in the 1930s by Poth to annex the Ehlers school district into the Porth district secretly for tax purposes.  Sidney Nieschwietz got wind of the plan and got a petition together and went to Austin on the day Poth presented it and was able to stop it and have it become part of the Falls City school district....they were not sure how this worked since it was part of Wilson County and moved to Karnes County.  They had two teachers who were paid by the State and supplemented by the community through a very small tax base.  The road to Ehlers school was widened in 1935 and it took some 4 acres from his 250 acre farm down to 246 acres.
 
When Alfred died the farm was divided 82 acres each to Marvin, Lillian and Elvira....Gus and Walter received farms owned by Alfred near Orange Grove TX.  Elvira gave her 82 acres to Gus (he got the homestead) and Marvin...41 acres each so Dad has 123 acres.  There was a problem with the homestead and Dad's land so he gave Gus 2 acres and thus Dad has 121 acres and Gus has 43 acres and Hunter Andrews has 82 acres for a total of 246 acres.  Arthur and Dad said there was an old cart trail through the Ehlers farm which went to San Antonio, Tx.
 
I asked Arthur how the Germans and Mexicans got along back then and he said, "We were both poor and trying to make a living and there was never any thought of race."
Arthur told a story of how the railroad in the 1880s was being built from San Antonio to Port Aransas and how a son of a Mr. Butler of Karnes City was killed in Helena the then county seat of Karnes County.  According to some history I've read the people of Helena would not grant free right of way nor pay the price asked by the railroad to have the rail through their town but Karnes City would.  According to Arthur after his son's death Mr. Butler by whatever means he got the railroad to change course...he said between Floresville and Poth at the "curve" the reason the railroad turns sharply to the right is because of Mr. Butler....it was to go straight down the now dirt road to Helena.  Interesting side note is in talking to Claire Chestnutt the reason Prosper Nieschwietz and Irene Moczygemba moved from Panna Maria to Falls City to open their store was because of the railroad.
 
Mrs. Bielefeld was originally married to a Mr. Bell who did not get along with the three Tauch brothers.  One day he made some comments about them and word got back to them and they went over and shot him in the doorway to his house. The murder was never solved but reportedly everyone knew who did it.  She then married Mr. Bielefeld with the two Bell children and moved to the Ehlers farm.  The daughter married a Mr. Erdmann and they had one son.  One day Mr. Erdmann shot the son in the back with a shotgun as he ate breakfast and his wife (Bell daughter) as she ran from the house.  He drug her back inside and sat her at the table then shot himself with the shotgun.  They are buried in the Miller Cemetery which is some 5 miles east of the Hobson Tx Cemetery.
Harry Ehlers
 
(Courtesy of Wilson County Texas Historian, Mark Cameron. Mark is as well a TWCTHT writer/researcher staff member )
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Pep Squad organized
PEP SQUAD ORGANIZED..... at Stockdale High School in early 1930's.  Vivian Luker clipped the article from the newspaper and placed it in her scrapbook.  Laura Swiess says," This is from my mother's scrapbook.  The high school organized a pep squad.  The date is sometime in the early 1930s.  She graduated from high school in 1935."
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Marcelina Wilson County Texas School
Marcelina Wilson County Texas School picture circa 1910.  Miss Sadie Dennis was the teacher. Contributor Patty Flora Sitchler's grandmother, Jettie Lou Cale Tipton is in the picture - anyone else recognize a relative?
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1934 Stockdale Senior Class
...  this almost 90 year old newspaper clipping was found by Laura Swiess  in her mother's (Vivian Luker) belongings. Laura says, " Since my mother graduated in 1935 and this clipping was in her book, I believe it is the 1934 class.  It has Edith Smith who was born in 1916 and mother was born in 1917." Thank you Laura for sharing this great vintage photo!
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1995 yearbook photo – La Vernia HS students
A photo that speaks of history repeating itself for several generations is a 1995 yearbook photo of La Vernia High School students. It is with pride & uniqueness when an elementary student tells his teacher ," My grandma, Mama and Uncle went to school here". It becomes a family tradition.
 
DESCENDANTS OF La VERNIA HIGH SCHOOL STUDENTS FROM 50 YEARS AGO. (1945)
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FLORESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 1940
..... Graduating Class. Picture taken from Floresville Chronicle Journal May 24, 1940.
The newspaper was saved by Doris Tipton one of the 26 proud graduates. Doris is in the middle row, second from right.
 
 COURTESY/ Patty Flora Sitchler    Doris Tipton Flora is Patty's mama.
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Dilworth Ranch (Denhawken)
... Denhawken is located in Wilson County Texas fourteen miles east of Floresville at the junction of State Highway 119 and Farm to Market Road 1347.   The students are smiling proudly for the photographer in front of the old Dilworth School house (Denhawken). COURTESY/ Terry Dibrell
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FLORESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 1940
FLORESVILLE HIGH SCHOOL 1940..... graduating class Valedictorian and Salutatorian. Muriel Reese had the honors of earning Valedictorian and Robert Mitchell earned Salutatorian.
 
 (Patty Flora Sitchler's mama , Doris Tipton, is a graduate.  She has had this newspaper since May 24, 1940 packed away.  Mrs. Flora passed away at age 97. ) More articles to come ..... Thanks Patty!
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Stockdale Brahma Club
Laura Swiess  shares a newspaper article about the 1929-1930 Stockdale High Brahma club.
 
Kimberly Hineman shares the information below the picture, "The above picture represents 43 of the 54 members of the Stockdale bremer club. The membership of the club being composed of the Letterman in all branches of Athletics dating from the school year 1928 no 1929 through 1930. This club was organized in May 1930 at the annual athletic banquet with Manuel teague as President Johnny Lang vice president Emma pathareesecretary and ivalee mcmean's treasurer.
 
Stockdale high School Athletics are strictly on an eligibility basis and in association with the interscholastic League. An athletic association is the leading organization behind Athletics with an athletic council as the executive power to carry out the athletic program. Thus relieving the coach of some of the duties. The council now is composed of w. E. Driscoll president AE Hoke secretary treasurer and oj Weber tw Sutherland John e. Wheeler Jamie Hicks William King members. The picture reading from left to right shows the following members of the club: front row: Thelma Allen, Ina Smith, Bernice fathery, Mary Beulah Ellison, Jewel Sutherland, Sierra mcmeans, Vita wright, Lily Bell heathcock, Polly Martin, Madeline mcravite.
 
Second row: superintendent we e Driscoll, e. M. Boots, Wilma McBride, Audrey young, Emma patherree, Mrs WR Driscoll, Francis Denmark, Ruth Denning, Irene McGee, a. E. Hoke, Marshall Jordan.
Third row: Roland Reed, John wheeler Jr, brownie bird and Wilson parks. Fourth row: shockers Ellison, Jim bird, Lloyd luker, Carl Reese, Lester Lester #s, Manuel teague, buster Martin,.
 
Fifth row: Walter Sutherland, Lester Stout, Kenneth kidwell, Elton Homan, Herbert Sutherland. Top row: Pat Stout, Ted Aiken, Howard low Ware, Lowell Denning, Winston laurenz, Clarence Roberts. Those 11 members not in the picture are: HH Kilgore, Elise carrier Loki, Iva Lee, Annie Abrams, Dolores Abrams, Winifred Chandler, Walton click, Clayton hathcock, Johnny Lang, Woodrow bird, Cornelius McGee. Are given letters and awarded in football, basketball, track and tennis. Sport will not earn an award. Girls earn letters in volleyball and tennis .... "
Teacherages in Wilson County
What are the only two known remaining Teacherages in Wilson County? The only known two teacherages are in the Fairview area. Teacherages are what we would consider the common day parsonages, where teachers were offered residence for their teacher offerings. 
 
Neshyba House...was once a teacherage. It was the teacherage of Rabbit Hill School on the current Ray Dairy Farm. 
 
Fairview School had a teacherage on the Hernandez land across the road from the school. The very first school was on the Hernandez land before 1890 but burned to the ground and a subsequent school was built across the road. 
 
Both of these schools and associated teacherages have a deep history in the area they served. 
 
If there are more teacheages still remaining in Wilson County, this author, Mark Cameron, would certainly enjoy knowing about them.  
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Info & Request made by Wilson County Historian, Mark Cameron
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FLORESVILLE TEXAS.... High School 1953

FLORESVILLE TEXAS.... High School 1953 .... look closely at the building ... there is something there unexplainable .... do you see it? The old high school was built well before the rise of the Nazi regime. The architects designed the swastika into the high school as meaning to be "good fortune" and "well-being" to the students. However, the symbol being related to the Nazi regime lead to the demolition of the building. (Photo courtesy of Mark Cameron)

1975 La Vernia High School seniors

Mary Carol Meyer Mathews came across a May 1975 "Wilson County News & Shopper" featuring the 1975 La Vernia High School Seniors. It's interesting to read names of businesses that shared congratulatory wishes ... most no longer exist.
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Stockdale High School 1907

Stockdale, Wilson County, Texas .... 1907 Stockdale High School ...

Early Wilson County Texas Schools

Prior to the consolidation of rural schools into larger municipal school districts in the 1950's and 1960's, local communities sponsored their own rural community schools. These rural community schools were usually one or two room wooden school buildings built by the local community in which it was to serve. According to local historical records, in 1867 Wilson County had 3 schools and by 1900 had 63 public schools. The numbers grew from there. All in all, the total number of community schools totaled more than 130 within the county over time. Some schools just shut down or were moved to create another school or they were merged into other schools. Schools had to be within walking or horseback distance for the children to get to. According to state law that distance between schools had to be no more than 3 miles apart. This caused a growth spurt of schools within the county in the early 1900's. Many of these schools, which are a rich part of Wilson County's history, have disappeared. Amazingly, some do remain standing.
 
Land on which these schools were built was privately owned and donated for use, as schools, by the landowners, and often named after the landowner. The old school buildings, no longer in use due to municipal consolidation, were abandoned or torn down. 
 
Many of these community schools were the schoolhouse for both Anglo and African American students. Other schools were completely segregated. With emancipation, a large population of African freedmen dispersed throughout the area creating small communities called Colonies. These Colonies were established during the 1870s and 1880s as freedmen acquired enough money to purchase land and build houses. These freedmen also built churches and schools do support their local communities. Wilson County has 8 freedmen Colonies and include: Cruse (Crew's) Colony, Doisedo Colony, Floresville Colony (Dunbar), Grass Pond Colony, Hay's Colony, Montgomery Colony, Nockenut Colony, and Steven's Colony (Listed as Stevenson Colony in 1903-04 Wilson County school census). 
 
The consolidation of the county community schools was mandated by the passing of the Gilmer-Aikin Law in 1949. The statute made Texas public schools more efficient and better funded in order to provide better educational opportunities for Texas children. The effects of the statute were evident immediately, as 4,500 school districts were consolidated into 2,900 more efficient administrative units. State equalization funding supplemented local taxes. Further, higher salaries attracted teachers to the classroom and encouraged the study of education among prospective teachers. School staffs were augmented by education specialists. State funding became dependent on attendance, thus providing an incentive to increase attendance.  This was the beginning of the end for rural community schools. 
 
Land over the years has been bought and sold, and plowed. Some of the communities or small towns failed and disappeared. Traces of many of these schools cannot be found other than old newspaper articles and old maps. Photographs and information on many of these schools is almost non-existent, other than through stories and tales of local residents. Only the names of some of these rural community schools survive, through old documents and stories, and sadly, some may be gone from memory forever. 
 
To the fullest extent possible, extensive research was conducted to ensure as many of the rural community schools would be documented for future generations. In this research, we list the rural community schools known, provide as close a location as possible, and if available, provide photos, information, or tales, for each. No specific time period is emphasized. Schools ranging from the settling of Texas in the early 1800's to the consolidation in the 1950's and 1960's, are documented here (less the municipal schools of Sacred Heart, Floresville, Poth, LaVernia, and Stockdale. Each of these municipal school districts are still in use and have their own individual stories).
 
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COURTESY/ Historian Mark Cameron
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Floresville School building

Mark Cameron  adds, "The location of this building was where the playground for the elementary school was. This area is now part of the courthouse annex property. This building was not as big as you may think because the lower floor was a basement with showers. A larger building with an auditorium was built across the street and is the one most people that went to Floresville, call the Intermediate School building."

A brief history of the La Vernia schools


La Vernia News, September 04, 2019
By La Vernia Historical Association


As a new school year gets into full swing, the La Vernia Historical Association gives us a glimpse into public education through the years in our community.

In 1853, our community was originally named Post Oak. In 1859, the U.S. Post Office discovered that a town already had that name, so it was changed to Lavernia. The spelling is traditionally accepted as Lavernia, LaVernia, or La Vernia. In 1860, Wilson County was established.

The early settlers of La Vernia were very well educated. According to local historians Allen and Regina Kosub, a school referred to as the Cibolo School existed near La Vernia in the 1850s. Also in the 1850s, the original Concrete School was built, but it was not in La Vernia. It was two miles north of La Vernia on F.M. 775 in the area of Concrete Cemetery, across from what is now the Ross and Mary Scull Circle N Dairy. The area was referred to first as Bethesda and later, Concrete. In 1858, an old concrete building on the site was used as a school and meeting hall for the Baptists, Methodists, and Presbyterians, as stated in the Deed Records of Guadalupe County. Around 1867, the original Concrete School building burned down. It was rebuilt some time later in a nearby location and was in use until the 1950s, according to Bobby Brietzke, who attended the school.

In 1870, a "Lavernia Male and Female Academy" was mentioned in the San Antonio Herald and probably referred to the Brahan Masonic Lodge in La Vernia, where classes were often held on the first floor.

In later years, there were several small schools in the La Vernia area, such as New Hope, Elm Creek, Pleasant Hill, Sutherland Springs, and Wannamaker. As these small schools closed, many of their students then attended school in La Vernia.

In the 1920s, there were two wooden school buildings located on River Street in La Vernia. One was a single-story building for grades 1 and 2. The other was a two-story building for grades 3 thru 11.

The story of the La Vernia schools continued as the Great Depression was beginning in 1929.

The late E.O. "Junior" Koepp, in a conversation with La Vernia Heritage Museum Director Susan Duelm Richter, spoke of how his father, E.O. Koepp Sr., strongly urged the La Vernia community to hold a bond election and build a new school. The Great Depression had just begun. This bond issue was in the amount of $30,000 and split the community dramatically. Business owners reportedly lost income when customers disagreed with their support of the new school plans. Nevertheless, the bond issue for $30,000 passed, and in 1930 the first brick building for the La Vernia Public School was built. The school was described in a San Antonio Express morning edition article of January 25, 1931, as a "brick and hollow tile construction, all modern, with eight rooms and auditorium, indoor toilets and electric lights. J. C. Driskill is superintendent of the school, which has six teachers."

Junior Koepp further stated that the architect for the La Vernia School building was the same one who had designed both the Stockdale School and the Koepp Chevrolet building that was located at that time on Chihuahua Street in La Vernia.

n a 1937 booklet published in Wilson County titled The Combine Directory of Wilson County, Texas (pages 19–23), it states that the "Lavernia School is a nice brick building. The faculty numbers 10 teachers."

La Vernia's very own local legend, Elsie Witte Ferry, the popular cashier at Witte's Restaurant, was among the first students to attend the brand-new La Vernia school when it was completed in 1931. She graduated in 1942. An enlarged photo of the building from that first year with all the students standing in front of it, including Elsie Witte Ferry as a young student, is on display at the La Vernia Heritage Museum, along with much more information about the schools.

Today, this brick-and-tile school building, constructed in 1930, is still in use by the La Vernia Independent School District. It is located on the La Vernia Junior High campus across from the historic Brahan Masonic Lodge on D.L. Vest Street. The school is one of the few remaining historical structures in La Vernia today.

Polish School Censuses – Pulaski and St. Anna

"While doing research in the Wilson County Courthouse recently, we came across these records of Polish school censuses and thought you might be interested.  The year of the record is noted in the caption.  The schools are Pulaski and St.Anna.  Let us know if you find an ancestor!" from Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation.   COURTESY/ Brandon Darr administrator History of Kosciusko, Texas FB page. ( Elaine Mazurek Stephens adds that these records were located by the La Vernia Historical Association, in Wilson County School Census records held at the Wilson County Courthouse, on August 25,2022, then posted on Father Leopold Moczygemba Foundation.  The quotations are those of the LVHA.)

Denhawken

The blackland area in eastern Wilson County, known in earlier days as the Dilworth Ranch, was eagerly being purchased by foreign immigrants at the turn of the 19th century. Although this land at the time was covered with natural forage of brush, cactus, and mesquite, settlers were sending letters back to their homelands telling of the beauty and promise of the land. Most of the new comers were from mid-European countries, many being of German descent.
 
The Denhawken Community received its' name from portions of sur names of three families who were among the first settlers of the area. Three letters from each of the names of Denmark (Den), Hawk (haw), and Steenken (ken) made up the name of the community that was formed in the early 1900's (mostly thought to be 1904).
 
The area inhabited by those who came for the purpose of farming and agricultural operations. It took knowledge and skills to farm this rich heavy dark soil. In those early years the community was heavily populated. The bustling new community had three stores, two gins, a blacksmith shop, a Lutheran church, a public school, and a beer joint. Among the names of owners of the general country store were Johnson, Bonner, and Hawk. The blacksmith shop was owned and operated by Bennie Linnstaeder. Eggermeyer, Bonner, Poth, and Roberson were names of owners of the gins.
 
Most of the Denhawken children worked in the fields at times and nearly all picked cotton. From reading articles of the past regarding cotton gins, it stated that at one time Denhawken was known for having more cotton ginned in the area than was being ginned in the entire state of Texas!
 
The school in Denhawken was built somewhere between 1900 and 1908. It was named Dilworth Ranch as the land was donated by a Mr. Dilworth from a portion of his ranch. The mascot for the school was the "Dragon." Many speak of their schools as a one or two room school, but Dilworth Ranch had five large rooms in addition to a library and a study area, typing room, book room, Superintendent's office and a kitchen area. 

The first teacher was Lela Hawk Culpepper. In later years the school had many teachers, some who also served as coaches. The Dilworth Ranch Dragons were known throughout the county for the High School girls volleyball 
teams, the boys baseball teams, and the great tennis players both in Jr. High and High School. The school had both sand and concrete tennis courts and it was rumored that first graders went to school with a dictionary in one hand and 
a tennis racket in the other.
 
The school building also served as the place for church worship services for many years. On January 1, 1908, the St. John's Evangelical Lutheran Church was formed with the pastor being Reverend Julius Schroeder. In the early years, all services were conducted in German, the native language of the members. After several years, both German and English services were held. A church building was erected by its' members in 1939 and has always had services every Sunday. Currently the church has approximately 120 members and is being served by Dr. Norman Beck, the Poelman professor of Theology at Texas Lutheran University.
 
The school building also served as the dance hall for the community. Dances were held at least once a month. Among the bands that provided the music were Adolph Hofner and the Texas playboys, The Texas Top Hands and locamusicians such as the Weldon Freeman and family band and the Kosciusko Playboys. There were always large crowds and the families would bring their children and at break time the children were allowed to run and slide on the slick dance floors.
 
The beer joint was owned by Henry Peters and operated by King Jackson and Joe Hawk. It closed and ironically was moved away in 1948 - one day before Mr. Peters passed away. A portion of his farm was given by Wilhelm Peters for a cemetery. The Denhawken Cemetery was established around 1906/1907.
 
Denhawken was always a very friendly, close-knit community. 
Many 42 (dominoe) parties were held there, with all politicians coming out when they were running for offices.Original settlers who came to make their homes there were the Hawks, Steenkens, Stahls, Peters, Wehmeyers, Bohmans, Oltmanns, Lambecks, and Hassmanns. All of the above mentioned or their descendants still own properties in the community and are very proud to call Denhawken home.
 
Written by Ella May Calloway for the Wilson County Sesquicentennial 1860-2010 book.

STEVEN'S  SCHOOL

The following information is from an interview between Mark Cameron and JC Hierholzer on 8-17-16. Photos are property of the JC Hierholzer collection. 
 
Steven's school was formed from two nearby schools. Webbville school was moved first to the intersection of Hwy 97 and FM 2505. A year later Darilek School was moved from FM 3161 to the same location to finalize the completion of Steven' School. (See maps for school's locations)
 
When the Steven's School was shut down due to the Gilmer-Akins Act of 1949, the Darilek building was moved to Poth and the Webbville building was moved to the Perry Dairy in Pleasanton.
 
(Courtesy of Wilson County Texas Historian & TWCTHT Staff Researcher, Mark Cameron)

DENHAWKEN TEXAS SCHOOL

The first schooling for the children of newly established Denhawken Texas where first held in a resident's farm house. Later, the community established a school in 1908. Originally the school was called Dilworth Ranch and the mascot was "The Dragon". This two-room school house was soon enlarged for the increase of students. When the school was enlarged they also added a kitchen so the children could eat at school, rather than walk home. The staff included was Mrs. Stahl principal, three school teachers and a cook Anita Lambeck. One teacher was named Obara Hogla. 
 
Dilworth School was well known for turning out some of the best tennis players. Behind the school are the original tennis courts that is today overgrown and hard to find but residents say that it was made out of cement and was large enough for one to two games at a time.
 
In 1954, the school was joined with the Stockdale Independent School District. The school is still standing today and is owned by the Denhawken Community Club.
[Courtesy of Historian writer, Mark Cameron]
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Pulaski School, Kosciusko, Texas

Located outside Falls City in Wilson County..... reader Cheryl Schwartz Hoffman shares photos she made in 2019 driving around.

The photos ARE of Pulaski School after is was relocated from the creek location and moved to where St Peter School was. Pulaski merged 3 schools together at the site of St Peter....St Peter, Menchaca, and Pulaski.

What happened to all the rural community schools that once populated the countryside in Wilson County?

Prior to the consolidation of rural schools into larger municipal school districts in the 1950's and 1960's, local communities sponsored their own rural community schools. These rural community schools were usually one or two room wooden school buildings built by the local community in which it was to serve. According to local historical records, in 1867 Wilson County had 3 schools and by 1900 had 63 public schools. The number of rural schools grew from there. All in all, the total number of community schools totaled more than 130 within the county from the mid 1800s to the 1960s. Some schools just shut down or were moved to create another school or they were merged into other schools. According to school census records of 1910, the largest of all the rural schools was Fairview with a student population of 625. 
 
Schools had to be within walking or horseback distance for the children to get to. According to state law that distance between schools had to be no more than 3 miles apart. This caused a growth spurt of schools within the county in the early 1900's. Many of these schools, which are a rich part of Wilson County's history, have disappeared. Amazingly, some do remain standing.
 
Land on which these schools were built was privately owned and donated for use, as schools, by the landowners, and often named after the landowner. The old school buildings, no longer in use due to municipal consolidation, were abandoned or torn down. 
 
Many of these community schools were the schoolhouse for both Anglo and African American students. Other schools were completely segregated. With emancipation, a large population of African freedmen dispersed throughout the area creating small communities called Colonies. These Colonies were established during the 1870s and 1880s as freedmen acquired enough money to purchase land and build houses. These freedmen also built churches and schools do support their local communities. Wilson County has 8 freedmen Colonies and include: Cruse (Crew's) Colony, Doisedo Colony, Floresville Colony (Dunbar), Grass Pond Colony, Hay's Colony, Montgomery Colony, Nockenut Colony, and Steven's Colony (Listed as Stevenson Colony in 1903-04 Wilson County school census). 
 
The consolidation of the county community schools was mandated by the passing of the Gilmer-Aikin Law in 1949. The statute made Texas public schools more efficient and better funded in order to provide better educational opportunities for Texas children. The effects of the statute were evident immediately, as 4,500 school districts were consolidated into 2,900 more efficient administrative units. State equalization funding supplemented local taxes. Further, higher salaries attracted teachers to the classroom and encouraged the study of education among prospective teachers. School staffs were augmented by education specialists. State funding became dependent on attendance, thus providing an incentive to increase attendance.  This was the beginning of the end for rural community schools. 
 
 Land over the years has been bought and sold, and plowed. Some of the communities or small towns failed and disappeared. Traces of many of these schools cannot be found other than old newspaper articles and old maps. Photographs and information on many of these schools is almost non-existent, other than through stories and tales of local residents. Only the names of some of these rural community schools survive, through old documents and stories, and sadly, some may be gone from memory forever.
 
[Courtesy of Historian writer Mark Cameron]
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Stockdale, Texas School House

STOCKDALE TEXAS SCHOOL HOUSE .... the photo was taken prior to 1923 in Stockdale, Wilson County, Texas. TWCTHT is interested in locating the area where the school was built as well as details about the school. (This priceless photo COURTESY/ Liz Wheeler Lester )
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Stockdale High School

Stockdale High School, Wilson County Texas...... Postcard undated......  Jana Wells adds, "The older brick high school (that's still there) was built in 1931.  So the school in the picture was used prior to 1934.)  COURTESY/  Texas School History  posted by Dan Whatly.
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Floresville Texas High School Class of 1953

The Floresville High School class of 1953 celebrates their 50th reunion in Seguin Sept. 27, 2003. Attending were (back, from left) James Cochran, Johnny Dunn, Willie Ramirez, Manuel Brister, William Fox, Leon Curtis, Walter Luttrell, Joe Gomez, Carl Eschenburg, (front) Ada (Robles) Sandoval, Feliz (Arriola) George, Sarita Jimenez, Eloy Villa, Berta Jean (Blake) Pilgrim, Esther (Musquez) Barlow-Elliot, Alice (Castro) Estrada, and Mary (Solis) Sutton. (Courtesy photo)
 
 
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COURTESY / Wilson County News, October 22, 2003
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Remembering the good old days

October 17, 2012
Wilson County News
By Eloy Villa
 
On Sept. 20, nine members of the Floresville High School class of 1953 and their spouses held a reunion at Jack’s Café in Floresville. The class of 1953 originally numbered 41 graduates, but only half that number are alive today.

Class members and spouses in attendance included Ada (Robles) Sandoval, John and Melba Dunn, Sarita Jimenez, and Willie and Katy Ramirez, all of Floresville, Berta Jean (Blake) and Dick Pilgrim of Seguin, Leona (Risley) and Joe Whitson of Alice, Felicita (Arriola) and Robert George and Manuel Brister of San Antonio, and Eloy and Jewell Villa of Williamsburg, Va.

Floresville was quite different in 1953. The high school was located on Third Street in what is now considered the “historic” district. In 1953 we knew the area as downtown. Frank Vela’s saddle shop was located in the building now occupied by the Wilson County News. And down the street the Floresville Chronicle-Journal, established in 1877, was the town’s newspaper and Sam Fore Jr. was the owner/publisher. The Chronicle-Journal offices contained a wealth of information about the history of Floresville. Across the street from Vela’s saddle shop was I. D. Flores Drugstore in what is now the Trail Rider’s Steakhouse. Lieberman’s Dry Goods was located next door to Flores’s drugstore. The Wilson County Courthouse was a functioning courthouse and it included county offices. The building next to the courthouse served as the home of the Wilson County sheriff and it also included the jail. The Arcadia Theater was a major source of entertainment for the citizens of Floresville.

In 1953 the high school had approximately 245 students and the gymnasium was very new. The graduation ceremony for the class of 1953 was held in the gymnasium. The senior prom was also held in the gymnasium.

The football team was undefeated and were District 28-A champions, outscoring their opponents 395-63 that season. Two members of the class of 1953 attending the reunion, John Dunn and Willie Ramirez, were on the All-District and the State Honorable Mention squads. On the track squad, John Dunn received second-place honors in the high jump at Regionals and qualified for the State meet. Carl Eschenburg, now deceased, was a former mayor of Floresville.

Floresville was a great place to live in 1953. And even though most of us have moved to other places, it is still a great place to visit. It always feels good to come back and remember the good old days.
Eloy Villa is a graduate of Floresville High School and a proud member of the class of 1953.
 
Eloy Villa  a graduate of Floresville High School and a proud member of the class of 1953.

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Photo Caption: Members of the Floresville High School class of 1953 and their spouses celebrate at Jack's Café.

[Even though most of us have moved to other places, it is still a great place to visit. It always feels good to come back and remember the good old days.]

Floresville Tigers Bi-District game 1946

This newspaper is part of the collection entitled: The Refugio County Newspaper Collection and was provided by the Dennis M. O'Connor Public Library to The Portal to Texas History.
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La Vernia High School 1930

Loretta-Kuehler Doege  recently came across this old photo of the La Vernia Texas High School built in 1930. {Thanks Loretta for sharing with TWCTHT}

Sutherland Springs School Site

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Alledo School

ALLEDO SCHOOL ... Undated photograph of children in front of school house. Pictured in photo are left to right: Top Row; Clara Kinsey, Verna Teague, Gussie Cox, Emma Kinsey 2nd Row; Unknown, Unknown, Unknown, Alfonso Grassel, Garvey Odom, Bryan Teague, Euclid Peavey 3rd Row: Edith Teague, Unknown, Bessie Cox, Etwell Peavy 4th Row; Arthur Smith, Unknown, Raymond Peavy, Vincent Grassell 
(Courtesy of Portal to Texas History)

Floresville High School Graduation Program 1935

FLORESVILLE TEXAS ... "Graduation Program"  of Floresville High School May 19, 1935. Marvin Bradfield Oxford was Valedictorian and Selma Schroeder was honored as being Salutatorian. (Courtesy of Laura Swiess who found the program in her Mother's scrapbook. Cloma Luker was her Mother's first cousin)

Rabbit Hill School

One way of preserving a piece of history is by interviewing and recording the conversation. It is memorable to gain knowledge of a person's experiences through their conversation in a relaxed atmosphere.  Following is a transcribed taped interview about Rabbit Hill School with Jewel Westerman to Roy and Anna Jane Swift.
(Courtesy of Wilson County Historian Mark Cameron)
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Memories of Walter Ulbricht – Poth High School

There were only six students in the graduating class of 1938-39. Walter Ulbricht was one of the six and is the only person still living.
 
I spoke to him on the phone last week. Mr. Ulbricht has fond memories of Poth High School. They moved into a new building 72 years ago. It was December 1938. The new building was across the street from the two-story building that held all the grades, students from grades 1-11. The upstairs had the auditorium where they held plays, programs, and graduation ceremonies. It was in the very same auditorium where I graduated in 1949. Many people who are still around remember that old building.
 
The WPA started building the new high school in 1937. It was erected and equipped at an approximate cost of $18,000; so stated the Floresville Chronicle-Journal in a front-page story in May 1939.
 
Poth High School had 46 students that year. They put out the very first yearbook for the Poth High Pirates in the spring of 1939, called The Log.
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COURTESY /Lois Wauson who was a columnist/journalist for Wilson County News. 
 
(PHOTO COURTESY/Wilson County Historical Commission Archives - Sandra Puryear Smith )

SCHOOLS OF WILSON COUNTY TEXAS

.... compiled by Shirley Grammer  for the "Wilson County Sesquicentennial 1860 - 2010". [Open each page to see readable image]
 
Mark Cameron states that there are many more schools of Wilson County than this list. I have documented 130 from 1850-1965. Many I can not find the location of due to their age and the loss of documents in the courthouse fire. Arkansas and Beaumont are just two examples. NO documents or records of either of these schools locations other than school census records.

Kasper School and Community History

... Kasper School opened in 1930, when Joseph Kasper gave a building on his farm for a school. It was located on the northwest corner of what are now FM 541 and FM2505. Back then they were narrow dirt roads, muddy when it rained, and hot and sandy when it did not.One of the first teachers at the school was a Miss Brannen who boarded with the Stoeltje family. 
 
One of Joseph Kasper's grandchildren says he remembers seeing the building when he was young. The school was held in a building like a barn near a creek on the Kasper farm.
 
Before 1930, the children who lived in that area of Wilson County had to go to school at the Dewees, Borrego, Darilek or Three Oaks. 
 
Gene Maekle says his father Leslie Maeckle went to school at Dewees, before Kasper School opened. It was a long ways to school and before there were automobiles they had to walk or use buggies or horses to go to school. And Dewees wasn't built until a couple years before, as was Three Oaks, so if they went to school at all before that, the children had to go to Borrego, both opening in the mid-1920's or even Green School or Picosa School at least 10 miles away, both opening around 1915.
 
A few years later the Kasper family sold the farm to the Martin family and it became known as the "Martin Place". Mr. Martin didn't want the school on his property, so that was when a new school was built about ¼ mile west on 541. It was a nice big L-shaped school with three rooms. Two of the larger rooms had a folding wall between so that the doors could open to be made into one large room. 
 
There was also a nice home built by the school for the principal or teacher, which was called the "teacherage". For many years the school had one of the few telephones in the community. The teacher who lived next to the school would go all over the community to relay phone messages 
like deaths in the family.
 
Election days were also an important event at Kasper School. Whether it was county, state or national elections, it was the time when all the men gathered at the school not only to vote, but later that night to socialize and wait to hear who won the races all over the county, state or nation. "waiting for the returns to come in", is what everyone said. 
 
At school recess, games like Dare Base, Annie Over, Wolf Over the River, baseball, and volleyball on the hard packed earth. The smaller children played games like jacks, marbles, and 
hopscotch.
 
At Christmas time Santa Claus came after the school program of the Christmas season for many families. The schoolhouse was packed that night and was the social event of the Christmas season. During the Depression when Santa came to the school at Christmas, they were the only gifts some children received.
 
Since that area had no community hall, church or grocery store, the there were dances held at the Kasper School. A small band played and the folding doors opened up into one big dance floor, and cornmeal put down to make it easy to dance. The farmers and ranchers came from all over the community; mothers, daddies, grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles, dancing the night away. The kids played outside, and then later went to sleep on quilts under the benches along the sides of the room. 
 
The school had an underground cistern, which always seemed to have water in it. The children drew the water up in buckets and poured it into big water cooler on the back porch near the cistern, where the children had their tin cups hanging above it. There was no electricity until 1943, when the REA came through. The boys and girls outhouses were in the back of the property. 
 
The school had a baseball team with boys and girls and they played other schools in that part of the county. 
 
Up until 1947, the school had 12 grades and three teachers. Then the school was consolidated with Poth High School and the 10th, 11th, and 12th grades went by bus into Poth. That left 1st through 9th grade. 
 
In 1948 Richard Wauson became the principal and he and his wife Lessie with their small son Richard Jr, moved into the teacherage by the school. Blondell Dunn became a teacher at Kasper later on and Richard and Blondell taught there until the school closed in 1955 and all the children went by bus to Poth.
 
Compiled by Lois Wauson for the Wilson County Historical Society  6/5/2011

Floresville High School Buildings ... High School #1

According to local historical records, in 1900, Wilson County had 63 public schools. One of the schools at that time was Floresville Public School, which begun as Floresville Academy in 1876. The first recorded graduates of Floresville Academy were in 1898 when three individuals received diplomas. No more graduates were recorded again until 1902, when six students graduated. 
 
Floresville Academy was later renamed Floresville Public School and was used until 1913 for high school and lower grades. The school was located on the North West side of A Street in-between 3rd and 4th Streets.  (Map 2). Map 3 dated 1912  shows the location of Floresville Public School more accurately. The building's back faced A Street and the front of the school faced into the courtyard of the city block. The building was a two-story, six room wooden structure and had several out buildings.  Sometime between 1902 and 1907, a second wood building was built and used until 1913. The second wood structure is the common one people refer to when talking about Floresville Academy or Floresville Public School. The original building for the Floresville Academy is not photo documented. The principal of the Floresville Academy was John Washburn. 
 
According to the Second Annual Catalogue of Floresville Public School, 1896-97, the school offered 10 grades. All grades met in the same building. Students "marched" into class and outside to recess each day to piano music. High school department curriculum consisted of: First Grade-Mental arithmetic, algebra, physiology, civil government, Latin grammar and reading, and debating. Second Grade-Plane geometry, physics, mental and moral science, mental arithmetic, Caesar, debating, and essays. 
 
The school consisted of two five-month sessions. Holidays were Thanksgiving Day, Christmas week, Arbor Day, and San Jacinto Day. Tuition was charged in each department, with the high school department charging $2.50 per month. "To be entitled to a diploma from the school, the student must make a general average of 85% in all the branches, included in High School department, falling not lower than 60% in any one branch."
 
Graduation was held in the Opera House on B Street during those years. The PTA was organized in 1908. The PTA, The Mothers Club, and Floresville High School Alumni Association were active organizations which sponsored various events for the students for many decades.
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("The History of F.H.S" which is where the majority of this article is derived from and written with permission from Connie Turner. Credit for original artwork goes to Shanna Masters, FHS student at that time, for drawing pictures of the schools) (compiled and shared by Wilson County Historian, Mark Cameron)

Remembering the Lodi Wilson County Texas School

By Julia Castro
 
Some time back, a friend, Oralia, asked me to write about the Lodi School. She said, "I went there." I told her that I well remembered when she first started school. We were neighbors on Plum Street. Her mother would be holding her hand, coaxing her. They had to pass by our house — that's how I know. No sooner did her mother get back home, than here comes Oralia, and her mother had to take her back. She eventually got used to school and loved it so much, she became a teacher.
 
I really didn't know that much about the school. I knew where it was, but nobody in our family had gone there. We had lived even closer to it after Henry came back from the Army.
 
Then I realized that there must be records of it at the archives. They did, but they were records from the school itself. What Maurine Liles gave me copies of were newspaper clippings and a deed. She and many, many other dedicated historians have put in thousands of hours researching and putting together the history of Wilson County. The clippings were from the Floresville Chronicle-Journal. They were enough to give me an almost definite date of when the school was built.
 
I will start with the deed to the property. Some statements I will put in my own words, because deeds have such lengthy statements. Others I will quote directly from the document.
 
On Nov. 26, 1886, Juan José De La Zerda and his wife, Felis, "for the sum of Fifty Dollars to us in hand paid by Trustees of Public School No. 1 in School District No. 3 do grant, sell and convey unto W.L. Worshaw, County Judge and his successors ..." It goes on to describe the property in detail. On another page it stated that it was "for benefit of Public Free School forever." Something that threw me off was when the deed stated, "Beginning at a stake from which another stake set for the SE corner of a survey donated by said Juan José de la Zerda to the Reverend Catholic Bishop Pellisee on which survey the Catholic Church of Lodi now stands." Maurine had made a notation that the Catholic church was next to the school.
 
The first newspaper clipping is dated Nov. 28, 1919. Part of the heading reads, "New School Building at Lodi." It uses the word "new" several times, which indicates there was another building there before. It wouldn't have taken the citizens 33 years from the time they acquired the land to the time they built the school. "The erection of this building was made possible by the voting of a special tax by the people being in the district some time ago. Credit was given for this splendid new building to the trustees Jesus and Pedro Toscano and F.L. Robles (I remember him as "Don Chico" Robles). The following confirms that it was not the first school building. "With such an able corps of teachers, the Lodi School should enjoy one of the most successful terms it has ever had."
 
The next clipping announced that on Oct. 8, 1931, a Parent-Teacher Association was organized. Mrs. John de la Zerda was selected as the first president. Another clipping reads that the Lodi School opened the school year with a program on Sept. 14, 1933. S. S. Pacheco (my Tio Santana), as president of the Board of Trustees, gave the opening address and also the benediction.
 
In the spring of 1935, the school added another classroom, bringing it to six classrooms. The year before, a cafeteria had been added to the school, the building painted, and the grounds beautified. There were now 130 students.
 
The school started each school year with a well-attended program. From the Sept. 13, 1935, issue of the Floresville Chronicle-Journal — "A large crowd of patrons and friends of the Lodi School gathered at the Lodi Amusement Hall on Mon. morning Sept. 9 for the opening exercises." The number of students was now 137. The Board of Trustees comprised Secundino Muñoz, president; Vicente Garza, secretary; and Gabriel Treviño, treasurer.
 
The last clipping I have states that Lodi School opened Monday, Sept. 11, 1944. "The Lodi School is one of the largest Common schools of this county, and has a faculty of 7 teachers with an enrollment of 330 children. For the past 3 years the school term has been extended from 8 months to 9 months of teaching. A record of affairs of the school (financial and otherwise) is kept by the board." Would that we had those records now. "The school board is composed of the following: B.A. Jimenez, Juan S. Robles, and Joe J. Palacios."
 
We are blessed in having at least this information. They are only signed "contributed." Maurine also gave me a copy which she had handwritten. Someone at the FISD office informed her that the Lodi School was consolidated with FISD (No. 20) Sept. 1, 1955. It continued operating until it was finally closed in 1962.
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COURTESY / Wilson County News  written by Julia Castro,  
 a retired Head Start teacher and mother of 10, lives in Floresville Texas.Julia wrote this article for her "Apple Pie & Salsa"  newspaper column.
 
Jimmy Fietsam provided the image of the old Lodi School in 1935. FLORESVILLE CHRONICLE-JOURNAL ARCHIVES

Picosa School, Wilson County, Texas

*PICOSA SCHOOL WILSON COUNTY TEXAS .... Lois Wauson says, "I have done a lot of research on the schools of Southwest Wilson County, especially the schools in Camp Ranch. I searched the school census books in Judge Quinney's office and found some interesting facts and history."
 
In the 1915-16-17 School census of Wilson County, there was Picosa School, one of the first schools in the Camp Ranch Community; then it was one of the BIGGEST schools in Wilson County! In 1930 there still was a Picosa School. Asa Fuller, former Wilson County Texas Sheriff, who was 10 and his sister Nell were going there. He later became Sheriff of Wilson County.

Sutherland Springs Black (African American) School

Blacks in Sutherland Springs, of course, had a different school history. Under the Texas Constitution of 1876, educational facilities had to be segregated. In Sutherland Springs, the few Mexican children attended the white school, but blacks had their own place.
 
In January 1899, local leaders asked the legislature for $5,000 to construct a high school at Sutherland Springs for the black children of Wilson County.
 
Texas had the highest black literacy rate and the greatest number of black high schools in the New South in 1900, but much remained to be done. Black illiteracy was still 38.2 percent, and the state actually had only nineteen black high schools.
 
One of the latter was at Sutherland Springs, and as completed it stood two stories high and provided 2,400 square feet of instructional space. Encased in brick, it was described by one writer as the "handsomest building in our town." The teacher was Bernice McIntyre who was a lodger in the Walter Fields household. The principal was Jesse Wilson, who also allowed his place to be used as a church.
 
The beginning of the twentieth century, racial threats and the decline of local black schools before World War II reflected the hard fact that separate was rarely equal. 
 
The integration of the county schools during the 1950s forced the reassignment of far less than a handful of black children who lived in the shrinking community on Cibolo Creek. 
 
When the white two-room school closed at New Sutherland Springs in 1938 and its pupils joined other white students in the new two-story building at old Sutherland Springs, where five teachers worked under the direction of superintendent W. T. Donaho, there was no similar facility there for black students.While the town officially had an accredited four-year high school for blacks at that time, it appears to have been a building with just one or two rooms.
 
When public education was desegregated in Wilson County in 1955, the black school at Floresville that served that district was closed and its pupils merged with the white students. Of the 84 black students who thereby integrated into the local white schools, only two came from Sutherland Springs.
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COURTESY/ Richard McClasin author of "Sutherland Springs  Texas: Saratoga on the Cibolo"
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Floresville Wilson County Texas Academy

Floresville Wilson County Texas Academy ..... an 1884 vintage photograph compliments Wilson County Historical Society.
 
According to local historical records, in 1900, Wilson County had 63 public schools. One of these was Floresville Public School, which was begun as Floresville Academy in 1880. The first recorded graduates were in 1898 when three individuals received diplomas. No more graduates were recorded again until 1902, when six students graduated. 
 
Tuition was charged in each department, with the high school department charging $2.50 per month. School rules included: (1) Students were not allowed to attend any socials from Monday morning until Friday evening; (2) Students were not allowed to loiter on the streets either in coming or returning from school; (3) Students had to devote a portion of each day to homework; (4) Profane or obscene language was not allowed on school grounds or on roads to or from school.
 
The school was located on the Corpus Christi-San Antonio Highway (now known as Fourth Street or 181 Business Loop). It consisted of a two-story, six room wooden building and several out buildings. Most students walked to school, rode their horses, or came in buggies. Sometime near the turn of the century, a second wood-frame building was constructed and used until 1912. All grades met in the same building. Students "marched" into class and outside to recess each day to piano music. Graduation was held in the Opera House (located on "B" Street) during those years. The PTA was organized in 1908. The PTA, The Mothers Club, and Floresville High School Alumni Association were active organizations, which sponsored various events for the students for many decades.
 
A new library was constructed in 1983. This was the first air-conditioned facility on campus. It had two special education classrooms within the building. In 1989, a building with six new air-conditioned classrooms was added next to the tennis courts. The city changed the name of Trail Street to Tiger Lane, and a school flag was designed."
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Credit for research & writing to Debbie Carter, the Wilson County Historical Society and Connie Turner, 1990.
 
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Dunbar School

Sandra Puryear Smith answered correctly ..... DUNBAR SCHOOL ...  was located in Floresville Texas at 928 6th Street (behind HEB) in Floresville. It was a segregated school. 
 
Did ya know...that after the Civil War and the Emancipation of black slaves, those slaves established Freedom Colonies in Floresville and Wilson County? After the Emancipation of slaves after the Civil War, the slaves started buying land and establishing their own communities to raise and school their children, and to farm their own land. They called these communities Freedom Colonies.  These Freedom Colonies, often called Freedmen Colonies, where common across the south.These Colonies were established during the 1870s and 1880s as freed slaves acquired enough money to purchase land and build houses. These Freedmen also built churches and schools to support their local communities. Wilson County has 8 Freedmen Colonies and include: Cruse (Crew's) Colony, Doisedo Colony, Floresville Colony (Dunbar), Grass Pond Colony, Hay's Colony, Montgomery Colony, Nockenut Colony, and Steven's Colony (Listed as Stevenson Colony in 1903-04 Wilson County school census).  In fact, Texas Freedmen achieved a higher percentage of land ownership than in any other state of the Deep South. (Courtesy of Wilson County Historian Mark Cameron)

Floresville School

FLORESVILLE WILSON COUNTY TEXAS .... Photograph of students in front of school house. The card held by the boy in the middle of the front row says; Floresville, Texas. The boy's name is Haywood McDaniel. The boy who is third from the right in the first row is Charlie Culpepper. The teacher on the top row, far left, is Miss Myrtle Hurley (Mrs. Ed Franklin).
 
This photograph is part of the collection entitled: Rescuing Texas History, 2010 and was provided by the Wilson County Historical Society to The Portal to Texas History.

La Vernia ISD's first school building receives recognition

School district officials and historical association members listen as La Vernia Historical Association President Elaine M. Stephens outlines the history of the original La Vernia ISD school building, now part of the district's junior high campus, during a plaque dedication ceremony Nov. 16. The plaque is a gift from the historical society. A bond issue of $30,000 funded the building, which was "all modern" at the time and included electric lights and indoor toilets.
 
Witnessed by La Vernia Heritage Museum Director Susan Richter, Dr. Hensley Cone, superintendent of the La Vernia Independent School District, assists Elsie (Witte) Ferry Nov. 16 in unveiling a plaque recognizing the 100 Building on the La Vernia Junior High School campus as the first school building constructed by the school district. Located at the corner of Bluebonnet Road and D.L. Vest Street, it was completed in 1930.
 
Plaque dedication special guest Elsie (Witte) Ferry, 95, a lifelong La Vernia resident, singles out her 6-year-old self in the photo from 1930 on the historical plaque, when La Vernia ISD's first school building was completed. Among the "all modern" features of the new school were indoor toilets — which Elsie's family didn't have at home at the time!
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COURTESY / La Vernia News

Marcelina School

Reader Patty Flora Sitchler says, " Well, I'm still going through old pictures and found the Marcelina School picture circa 1910.  Miss Sadie Dennis was the teacher.  My grandmother, Jettie Lou Cale Tipton is in the picture - anyone else recognize a relative?" Patty's great grandparents were G.B. and MaryBelle Cale who are both buried at the Marcelina church.
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Poth, Wilson County, Texas

Where was this school located? Owen Lowak thinking of the old Poth, Wilson County, Texas grammar school recalls, " this  old building of days gone by, exists only in a few photos and the minds of people who as kids graced her halls and rooms. I attended from 1957 to 1960, after which she was taken down and put to rest. A new building was erected in her place, but did not hold the same charm. The wood staircase at each end that squeaked as the children went up and down. Sliding down the fire escape was quite a thrill. At recess, boys playing baseball, girls jumping rope and hopscotch on the dirt playground. All this exists only in the minds of those who attended back in those days. Just My Memories." [Thanks Owen for the photo & Memories ]

Lily Grove

LILY GROVE WILSON COUNTY TEXAS ... is located east of Stockdale on FM 1347 and CR 538.  The school was moved to Stockdale.