BLUE RIDGE SCHOOLS
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.
The Levi Angel Family
In 1879 Levi Angel was employed as the first teacher in the Blue Ridge
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.
about the Angel family is from
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
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.
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
"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
"I attended school at Blue Ridge from 1885 until
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.
BLUE RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL, ABT. 1910
In 1911 Blue Ridge High School
(No. 22) had nine grades.
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.
First and Second
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
BLUE RIDGE SCHOOL, 6th & 7th GRADES, 1929
BLUE RIDGE HIGH SCHOOL --1928 OR
BLUE RIDGE BASKETBALL TEAM, 1929
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.