This year’s version of the Farm Tour will be looking at some of the sites of old Terry County schools that are no longer in existence. There were lots. In an earlier story, we looked at some, and today we are going to take a look at a few more.
Adams School was located in the Wellman vicinity. It was named for Adams families that lived in the Wellman vicinity between 1903 and 1918. There were at least three separate Adams households close to one another near this school. One of these families built a large two story house near the school, but never completed the top story. The Scales family purchased property near the Adams School in 1919, and their children attended the Adams school along with the Adams children. The two story house was later the residence of the Edwards’ family.
The following is the story of the O.D. Edwards unique home that house the Adams School in one room.
The house was built in 1914 by some people named Adams. The lumber was hauled by wagon from Colorado City, Texas. The house was two stories with five rooms and two porches downstairs. It was built Dutch style. The upstairs was never completely finished. The Adams family moved out in 1918. Jack Bryan leased the land for grazing in 1921 and Mr. Lee Lyons was living in the house. A well was dug and and a windmill was erected.
Mr. Lyons had bought some land east of the place and put it into cultivation. After the crop was laid by in 1921, he went back to Oklahoma and married Juanita Goza and brought her to Terry County. Mrs. Lyons was a school teacher and taught in one room of the two story house. This was the beginning of the Hunter School. For a while, the house was home for 14 people and one room was the school.
Mrs. Lyons had five or six pupils when the Edwards family arrived. They were Elma and Rose Baldwin, Raleigh and Wilbur Bryan and one or two others. When the Lyons home was finished, My Lyons set up a tent close to their house and Mrs. Lyons used it as a classroom. The school soon consolidated with the Wellman District and Mrs. Lyons taught school in Wellman for many, many years.
Alexander School was located near Needmore and the Hockley County line. This one-teacher school, built in 1908 had an enrollment of ten to twelve students. The first students were George Smith, who later became County Clerk of Hockley County, his brothers Bob and Pete, Winnie and Scott Walker, Jewel and Clara Bell, and Eddie McFall. Also enrolled were Carl, Eula, and George Alexander, the children of Wallace Alexander for whom the school was named. The first teacher was Mayme Powell, followed by Grace Ellington and Mable McLary. The teachers boarded in the home of Wallace and Naomi Alexander.
Gomez School was located five miles west of Brownfield and served the Gomez community. Gomez was a thriving community until the election to designate a County Seat was won by Brownfield. The school began in 1903. It was highly regarded by the townspeople who used its presence to encourage others to settle in the Gomez area. It was called “The Best School in the West” by the Terry County Voice. The school continued to provide education for another 50 years. Lula Spinks and W.P. Florence were the first teachers.
After the loss of the County Seat Election in 1903, the community began a rapid decline, as many businesses and families moved to Brownfield. A modern school was built in 1929 about a half mile to the north in “New Gomez.” New Gomez, which is actually current Gomez, was established when the Roswell Highway was redirected in the 1920s. Gomez School consolidated with Brownfield ISD in 1941. After the school closed, the Gomez Baptist Church began to meet there. The building burned and the bricks were saved and cleaned and used to build the church that still stands at Gomez.
Groves Chapel was named for the Reverend Nelson Groves and was established as early as 1907. Rev. Groves came to Terry County in 1900 and was an early County Commissioner who helped plan the first Terry County Courthouse. Early settlers of the Groves Chapel area included the Hamiltons, Waltrips and the Bryants. Later arrivals included McBurnett, Telford, Bond and Garner families. The Groves Chapel School was consolidated by a special act of the Legislature in 1919 and became what is now known as Union.
Harmony School was established eight and one-half miles northwest of Brownfield (five miles north of Hwy 82). It began in 1922 when ten students began attending classes in the Cardwell home. In 1923, a common district was organized and a $3,000 bond was voted to build a two room school house. The school was then named Harmony, to reflect the amount of cooperation that existed to make the school a reality.
The first principal of the school was Inez McClenny and the first teacher was Rowena Hulse. In 1925, a bond was voted to add 12 sections of Gomez ISD land to Harmony. Another classroom was added, as well as a four room teacherage. In 1937, there were 98 pupils attending Harmony. Harmony consolidated with Brownfield ISD in 1941. Early settlers of the community were Cardwell, Hobbs, Chisholm, Gracey, Proctor, Stewart and Gracey.
Lahey School was established in 1923. It was located six miles southwest of Brownfield on US Hwy 62. The first settlers of the community were two Bohemian families. These were follwed by the Fulton and Hulse families. Hugh Hulse was instrumental in luring the railroad to the are in 1918. The school district was name for Thomas Lahey, a supporter of the Panhandle and Santa Fe Railway. The Shamburger Lumber Company of Brownfield furnished the lumber for the school.
The first teachers were Mrs. Ivy Savage and Miss Thelma Mangum. The first pupils included Dan Hulse, Virgie Hulse, Berlin Briscoe, Harold Briscoe, Valroe Briscoe, Nina Beth Briscoe, Ruby Holcomb, R. J. Purtell, Kenneth Purtell and Arnold Purtell. The school functioned until the 1950s.
The original Lahey School building was moved a few times and was eventually moved onto the Plains Highway where it remains as the west end of the old Sonny’s Feed Store building.
Midway School was located just slightly north of the Dawson County line and was established in 1912. Teachers were Phyllis Glover, Miss Troy Liles, and Lizzie Dumas. Early families the school served included Eastham, Boyer, Hurt, Coor, and Bishop. The school eventually consolidated with Pride, Fiarview and Lou to form Dawson Schools, in Dawson County.
Tokio School was founded in 1911, while the town of Tokio was founded in 1908. The original town of Tokio was located one mile north of present Tokio. The name of the town was alleged to have been chosen because residents wanted an exotic name, so they chose Tokyo, only spelling it Tokio!
The first school was on the J Cross headquarters, one mile south and one mile west of present day Tokio. The first school was held in a room the ranch house and called the J Cross School. In 1919, the school needed more room, and a building was built at Tokio.
In 1925, with an enrollment of about 125, another building was needed. The last building was built and was a six room red brick structure, which still stands today. Tokio completely consolidated with Brownfield ISD in 1941.
There are many other old schools in Terry County, but not much is known about many of them.
Attend the Terry County Farm Tour on Thursday, September 16 to learn more about the Terry County Schools and the communities they served.