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In 1878 a group of Blue Ridge citizens met at the home of Marion Andrew Whittenton to organize a school community. This meeting was attended by Henry Jones Carter, J. F. Bullard, George Knoll, Robert Richey, Thomas Wesley, Russell Ficus, Levi Angel, James Monroe Chambliss, Able Koen, and John Hannah Brown. 

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The Levi Angel Family
In 1879 Levi Angel was employed as the first teacher in the Blue Ridge School.
Click picture to see larger view.

The Angel Family:
Back Row:  Cora Alice Angel and  Margaret Elizabeth Angel [daughters of Levi's first wife--Isabella Columbia O'Harrow]

Middle Row:  James Winfred Angel, Levi Angel (father), Beula Olivia Angel, Alice Luella Angel (Brown) Angel [mother of all of the other children], Aubrey Earl Angel.

Infants in front:  Myrtle Roberta Angel, Vera Luella Angel

Levi and Luella had 4 more children after this picture was made:
Eva Violet, Clarice Louise, Eunice Irene, and Levi Morton Angel.

Levi Angel was a son of James and Elizabeth (Ward) Angel.  Alice Luella (Brown) Angel was the daughter of Louis and Mahulda Brown.

Information about the Angel family is from 
Ruth Greenstein.

Levi Angel married his second wife, Miss A. O. Wells on 12/27/1877.  Levi married his third wife, Alice Luella Brown in 1881.  Since these marriages occurred before the last courthouse fire on 02/02/1886 they were recorded on lists in the county clerk's office.

Funds were raised to build a school house. It was decided at this meeting to name the new school Blue Ridge and John Hannah Brown offered a lot for the school. John Brown’s offer was rejected because it did not have a water source. Henry Jones Carter gave a lot where a well could be dug. Lumber was hauled from Waco in 1878 and the one-room building was erected by volunteers during the summer of 1879.

Levi Angel was employed on 26 September, 1879, as the first teacher when Henry Jones Carter, M. A. Whittington, and J. F. Bullard were trustees. Among the first students to attend this school were Silas Allen, Mrs. Ambler Willis, and Mrs. J. G. Northcutt. At one time the Blue Ridge School had over one hundred pupils with only one teacher. Some older students assisted the teacher by "hearing the lessons" of younger students. Other early teachers included Capt. Alfred Hayne Watson, a Mr. Thomas, R. P. Edgar, Joseph Hardy "Joe" Dixon, T. A. Putman, H. A. Allen, T. B. Cooper, and Miss Lizzie Patterson. Una Toland Brown taught school at Blue Ridge for two years before she attended college in Denton and before she married Vance Brown.

Later teachers included Martha Kirkland "Mattie" Boyd (who later became Mrs. John Milner), Herman and Sammie Gault Walton, William Jennings Harris, Dessie Baize Griggs, a Miss Patterson, a Mrs. Anderson, Wilma Faye Henderson (who later married Newton Parrish) , Leone Riley (who later married Joe Poston), Pearl Moore,  Mrs. Geneva Sills Allen, and Len Dalton.  Kathryn Baker was principal at Blue Ridge during World War I.  Kathryne Baker was principal during World War I.

In November, 1951, Ambler Willis wrote about his memories of school at Blue Ridge from 1885 through 1892.

"I am writing this to recall memories of beloved teachers and schoolmates of long ago.

"My first teacher was Prof. R. P. Edgar in 1885-86. Some who were pupils at that time were the Totten boys--Joe, Harvey, George, and Lee; the Jim Bullard children--Aurora, Frank, and Gussie; the Jim Massie children--Essie, Boss, and Mary; the John Carter children--Jim, Isabella, Jack, and Hardy; the Allens--Miss Clemmy, Joe and Silas; the Frank Wallis children--Jim, Jane, and Jule; the Cob Lawhons were George, Edwin, Nettie, and Sallie; the Gordons--Annie, Mattie, Arthur Jay, and Wilfred; the Boss family--Lennie, Alice, and Wayne; the Angel family--Maggie, Alice, and Beulah; Johnnie Sharp Northcutt’s--Annie, Laura, John, Felix, and Ella; the Fickas family--Will, Lizzie, and Effie; the William Bullards--John, Nannie, Frank, and Mary; the Whittentons--Mattie, Lonnie, Michael, Warner, Jimmy, and Lillie Pearl; the Willises--Ambler, Mary, and Alex, better known as "Doc."

"Prof. Tom Putnam was another Blue Ridge teacher. One of his pupils was a half-brother, Joe Putnam and others were his sons, Alfred and Willie and his daughters, Rowena and Aline. The last time I saw Mr. Putnam was in Mangum, Oklahoma in 1901 and while talking to him, Temple Houston, that brilliant lawyer, son of Gen. Sam Houston came along and Mr. Putnam introduced him to me a an old pupil of his from Hamilton County, Texas. But back to the school.

"Some other pupils who did not go to Mr. Edgar but who were pupils of Mr. Putnam were the Monkas children--Rada, Walter, and Joe; Fayette and Dolly Carter, Carl Gordon, Jim Lee, and the Chambless boys--Jim, Edgar, and Walter; Gould Marlow’s Will, Ora, and Allie; Bertha Brown Hancock’s Will, Walter, and Oscar; Lee Powell, Will Burcham, Ella, Rufus, Will, Carrie, Mollie; Martin, Delia, Lillie and Albert Pannell.

"Another teacher was kind-hearted Joe Dixon, who was opposed to using a switch but had many other kinds of punishment for unruly pupils. I remember one time his having Johnnie Sharp and I sit on a 1x12 board about three feet long set out in the middle of the floor on its edge--Johnnie to face in one direction and I the other and keep the board balanced on edge..

"Another time he punished Elton Kerce, who was a short, fat boy, by having him stand on the end of a high bench and put his arms around Mr. Dixon’s neck. Mr. Dixon stood at the end of the bench and heard a class recite. Elton was a very much distressed little boy hugging Mr. Dixon’s bushy, red whiskers. I don’t remember any new pupils enrolling under Mr. Dixon.

"Somehow, I don’t remember much about Brockman nor Henry Allen’s schools. The only new students were Bell, Henry, and Willie Burks. But Miss Lizzie Fifer--that school I remember better. There were quite a number of new pupils. She brought three with her--Miss Lonie McAdams, Dicy Smith, and Myrtle Fifer. The Rossen girls--Bell and Ellen and their brother, Ed; Roxie and Minnie Pet Parkhill; John, Jenira, Ace, Levy, and Erie Taylor; David, Lady, and May Carter; Jeff, Charlie, and Luther Fergusson; the Grisham family--Will, Lem, Ida, Charlie, Jessie, Emma, and Addie; the Ed Moore family--Walter, Eddie, Tommy and May; Lela, Era, and Annie Foster; and still another family of Moores--Alfred, Lillie, and Sidney.

"I attended school at Blue Ridge from 1885 until 1891."

In 1907 another room was added to the school. The first school building at Blue Ridge was traded for the Blue Ridge Methodist Church which stood at the site later occupied by the two story brick school. By 1907 there were two schools at Blue Ridge. Blue Ridge School No. 22 was located northeast of the Multi-County Water Supply storage tower and west of Blue Ridge Baptist Church. The other school Blue Ridge (No. 8) which closed about 1908 was located about two miles east immediately south of the intersection of CR 404 and 407 on the east bank of a rock quarry. 

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In 1911 Blue Ridge High School (No. 22) had nine grades. 

Blue Ridge School, No. 22

About 1924 or 1925 a two-story red brick school building (No. 22) was built and the old school was remodeled into a teacherage. The new school had four large classrooms and a home economics kitchen on first floor and a 500-seat auditorium on second floor. The school board in 1924-25 included Eugene Perry Stribling, Alonzo Gaston "Lonnie" Whittenton, and F. W. Bullard with J. Frank Jeter, Miss Carrie Briscoe and Miss Lillian Calhoun employed as teachers. 

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First and Second Grade, 1925

By 1936 Blue Ridge School also had an industrial arts shop and a bus driven by Elmo Newsom to transport students from Live Oak School which had consolidated with Blue Ridge.

BLUE RIDGE SCHOOL, 6th & 7th Grades, April, 1928

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Teachers in the ten-grade school in 1936 were Carolyn Williams, who sponsored the Harmonica Band and the Rhythm Band at Blue Ridge, Agnes Smitherman, Norbert Andres, and Ben Rhodes, who was both a teacher and the principal. School board members in 1936 were Luther Winford Gardner, Sr., Alonzo Gaston "Lonnie" Whittenton, and James Clyde Gardner

My first seven years in public school were spent in this two-story building.




People and Places: Gazetteer of Hamilton County, TX
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Copyright © March, 1998
by Elreeta Crain Weathers, B.A., M.Ed.,  
(also Mrs.,  Mom, and Ph. T.)

A Work In Progress