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The Country Schools

In the late 1800ís and early 1900ís every settlement, regardless of size, had their own
school house. It might just be a one room building with one teacher. There would be a
school with a church and general store nearby. The children who lived within two or
three miles of the school would walk to school while the ones who lived farther away
would ride a horse to school.

A lot of the students were late starting to school each year. Most of the families were
trying to farm and could not afford to hire help and the children were the only help they
had. Cotton was the big crop here at the time and the children helped in the cotton fields
until all the cotton was picked and carried to the gin. I can remember my parents telling
about not being able to start school until Thanksgiving or after.

There were no lunches furnished at school, everyone carried their own lunch from home.
Dad told about using a syrup bucket as a lunch pail. The old syrup buckets had a metal
bail, or handle, on them and this would slip over the saddle horn to make
it easier to carry your lunch on horseback.

The school would be heated by a wood heater, a few used coal, and one of the older boys
would get the job of seeing that the wood got brought in from the woodpile at the back of
the building. There was no such thing as air conditioning. As the weather warmed in the
spring the windows would be opened to let in a breeze to cool the classroom.

The teachers at that time had to be able to teach everything from the first grade through
the twelfth grade. Some grades might not have any students and some might have five or six.

As more people left the farm and moved to town they phased out all the little country
schools and started bussing everyone to the schools in the larger towns. Some of the
children on these bus routes may ride as far as forty or fifty miles each way and have to
catch the bus by 6:00 AM or before.

There was one community, Bono, that passed a bond election in the late 1930ís to build a
new school. Ten years later most of the people had moved to town where they could find
jobs and they closed the school down. The Cleburne school district took over and
assumed the debt on the building. In the late 1960ís, nearly 20 years after the school
closed, there was a story in the paper about the school district having a note burning
celebration. They had finally paid off the note on the school building at Bono.

Some of these communities had very interestintg names; such as Georges Creek, Rainbow,
Fort Spunky, Buck Creek, Goat Neck, Freeland, Brazos Point and Nemo. We
lived in the Buck Creek community. Some of these names are still listed on maps.

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