by Barbara J. Wood
Return to "Talk"

SCHOOLS

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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.
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Calaveras School

Calaveras (Spanish for "skulls") is at the junction of U.S. Highway 181 and Farm Road 3444, eight miles northwest of Floresville in northwestern Wilson County.

It was originally in Bexar County and was called Wright when it was established in the early 1860s. A boundary change put the site in Wilson County in 1869, and the name was changed when a post office was granted in 1882. The population was twenty in 1885, when B. Johnson was postmaster and mail was brought by horse from San Antonio. The San Antonio and Aransas Pass Railway reached the area in 1886. By 1892 the town had a hotel, three brickyards, a saloon, a barber shop, a bakery, two general stores, a meat market, and a reported 250 residents.

A Calaveras school was in operation by 1896, when it had an enrollment of sixty-three. The town reached a peak population of 369 in 1900. In 1925 the post office was closed, and the station was reduced to a flag stop.

 In 1947 Calaveras had one business and a population of 100. Since that time the population has remained steady, and in 2000 Calaveras still had 100 residents.
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COURTESY / Texas State Historical Association
PHOTO COURTESY /Wilson County Historical Society
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Floresville Tigers were once the Kangaroos

DID YOU KNOW .... the roaring Floresville Tigers were once the jumping Kangaroos???

Elaine H. Kolodziej in 2013 wrote that
Cotton Beam, owner of Shorty's Café in Falls City, thought folks might be interested in seeing a picture of an early Floresville football team. He could not remember who gave it to him "a long time ago," but it bears the logo for Farmers Insurance Group on one sleeve. He thought that people might want to see what the 1926 Floresville football team looked like.

Indeed, the photograph on the T-shirt shows striped uniforms. Preliminary research shows that football was organized in Floresville in 1914. The games were played on a dirt field behind the "peanut scales," which is now Lubianski's. According to "What's Cookin', FHS," the original school colors were black with yellow stripes, and they were known as the Floresville Kangaroos.

The book also said that by 1926, the colors had changed to maroon and gold and the Tiger mascot had been adopted. The photograph, however, appears to be that of the Floresville Kangaroos, although it is dated 1926. It was apparently taken the year that they changed their name to the Tigers.

During those years, pep rallies were held in the old Pershing Theatre, 1012 C St., which was the original building of the Wilson County News complex. Interestingly, when the football squad acquired "new togs, shoes, and gear," in 1921, the players would take their shoes to the Vela Saddle Shop to have cleats added. (The Vela Saddle Shop, located next to the Pershing Theatre, is now the main office of the Wilson County News.)

The T-shirt and a copy of the book "What's Cookin', FHS" are on display in the newspaper's lobby.
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COURTESY / Wilson County News

DUNBAR SCHOOL

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 old elementary school

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Where was this picture taken in Wilson County Texas? Kimberly Hineman  writes, "This is the Floresville old elementary school. The classrooms numbered 1-6 are behind the person taking the picture. Straight ahead across the playground is the cafeteria. To the left is the concrete  slab used for PE. On the right (white building) we have the music building and the nurse's office. The portable I believe was Life Skills. The difference from when I taught there is the music building. It was torn down and the Foriester center was built. I taught in the portables for a couple of years before the new building was built right there. "
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La Vernia, Texas

An article from the 1995 La Vernia High School yearbook describing generations attending the same school.
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Minnie Washington Yates

Minnie Washington Yates ..... Founded in 1884 in Seguin, Guadalupe College was a Baptist school for African American students.

One of the college's graduates was Minnie Washington Yates, the daughter of formerly enslaved parents. She and her husband, R. C. Yates, settled in the town of Poth on about 100 acres of land. They moved a schoolhouse onto their property in 1916, creating the Mount Moriah Baptist Church and Community School. Minnie and a college classmate, Myrtle Everage, were the teachers for the one-room school.

A Texas historical marker recognizing the legacy of Minnie Yates, to be located in Poth, was approved by the THC in February.

📷: Guadalupe College, Seguin, circa 1900s; courtesy DeGolyer Library, SMU, Lawrence T. Jones III Texas Photographs

COURTESY/ Texas History and Frontier Genealogy
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Wilson County: Minnie (Washington) Yates

Yates (1878-1970) was an African American educator who studied at Guadalupe College in Seguin. On her 100 acres, she moved a former schoolhouse to be home to Mt. Moriah Baptist Church and a school for African Americans. This application received a letter of support from State Sen. Judith Zaffirini. Marker location: Poth, 156 County Road 226 Submitted by: Jesse Brown, Krystal Foundation, Carmel, Indiana

COURTESY/ PreservationTexas.org