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TXGenWeb - NOLAN COUNTY, TEXAS - Genealogy

"The Lone Star State"



Please send "Schools" information & photographs to:  Billie Nichols Bennett


Newman High School - Sweetwater, TX



Thesis by: OLIN ZEE "O.Z." PORTER

Olin Zee “O.Z.” Porter was born in Mansfield in Tarrant County, Texas, on November 23, 1902. By 1904, the family had moved to “the Divide” near Dora in Nolan County. On reaching school age, he attended Dora School in a building which also served as a Baptist Church, mostly served by students from Simmons College in Abilene (now Hardin Simmons University).

After his father died in 1921, O. Z. went to live with his sister, Myrtle Burrus, and her family so that he could complete his high school education at Gillespie School in Knox County, where he graduated as valedictorian. After working on farms in the area, he went to Simmons College for two years, and then taught at Gillespie School. He attended college in the summers and finished his Bachelor’s degree at the University of Texas.

After teaching and serving as superintendent at various schools in and around Nolan County, he took a job as Superintendent of the Blackwell Schools in 1946. While working there, he completed requirements for his M.A. degree by going to Simmons (now Hardin-Simmons University) in the summers and taking extension courses. He completed his Master’s thesis in August of 1949.

The thesis is called “The History of Education in Nolan County, Texas.” It covers the development of schools from the first one in 1880 until 1949. Some of the photos of schools were taken in 1929, but most were taken in 1949, specifically for the Master’s thesis. The prints I have are exactly like those in the bound copy of his thesis.

Submitted by: Nell Porter Copeland
September, 2011

Ada Common #11

Blackwell School Dist.

Divide (new)

Divide Rural  #1   #2   #3

Highland John B. Lewis Phillip Nolan Ward School Roscoe ISD

Valley Creek #10

Weaver Spring  #12

White Flat  #13




If you have any information about these children, please submit them so the names can be entered here.         

Click on the pictures to see a larger view.

Photograph of the Bitter Creek school children, taken about 1908-1910.

Charley Hall Smith is the only child that can be identified. 

Source:  Sharon Smith Jones

Picture of more students in the Bitter Creek School in about 1909-1910.  The boy with the checkmark above his head is Charley Hall Smith.

Source: Sharon Smith Jones








It was formed as a consolidation of schools including Rock Crossing School


1952 Blackwell School Halloween Carnival King & Queen - Submitted by:  Glenda Van Zandt Stroud

L/R: ? Carver, Paula McCoy, Tommy Hipp, Howard Tucker-King, Martha Henson-Queen, Elaine Hyatt, Glneda Van Zandt, Lee Ald????.

UPDATE 03-24-2007: The name of the Carnival Queen was in question.  Glenna Tubb Johnson advises that the name of the Queen was Martha Henson.  She and Glenna were classmates during their high school years.

UPDATE 09-24-2010: The name for the girl standing between the Queen and Glenda Van Zandt is Elaine Hyatt.  Information furnished by; Tommy Hipp



Back Row Standing L-R: Charlene Kemp, Marie Gaston, Mrs. Floyd Craig-Sponsor, Minnie Pearl "Bidjie" Alderman, Jane Alsup
Middle Row Standing L-R: Zelda Caraway, Helen Nabors, Wanda Bryant, Doris Henderson, Juandell Vest
Front Row Kneeling L-R: Eula "Doll" Saunders, Co-Captain; Hulene Raney, Captain; Ouida Faye Polk
Note: This photo is in the 1947 BHS School Yearbook but my aunt had a separate signed copy. The annual also helped me confirm the names for those which I did not know.  Submitted by Glenda Van Zandt Stroud


Blackwell High School Class of 1947

(Back Row l/r) Hulene Raney, Marvalene Hamilton, Wanda Lane Bryant, Kathryn Michaels, Lillie Cook, Wanda Lee Lackey, Patsy Hodges.

(Middle Row l/r) Bobby Dean Spence, Laura Jane Casey, Billye Myrl Corley, Zelda Fay Caraway, Juandell Vest, Eula "Doll" Saunders, Jean Waggoner, Betty Sanderson

(Front Row l/r) Carroll Wilkes, Wilfred Caraway, Joe E. Weddle, John Cecil Lilly, Elvo McIntyre, Lavelle Tucker. 

Submitted by Glenda Van Zandt Stroud



J.D. Clay, Bernice Ray, J.G. George, Cletis Farley, Walter Estes, Osley George, John N. Reed, J.C. Windham, Ferris Stokes, Marvin Lewallen, Jack Chapman, Elton Estes, Alvin Bates, Ina Fay Ray, Goldie Mae Windham, Ileta Sanders, Alma George, Louise Craig, Mary Louise Everett, Bonnie Bell Windham, Nora Ruth Russell, Rena Ramzel, Gladys Lewallen, Nancy Cochran, Christine Estes, Clarabell Reed, Carrie Rudd Cochran, Leoh Pruit, Monroe Hollowell, Opal Craig, Edna George, Edith Craig, Ethel Chapman, Martha Gaines, Maggie Gaines, Jewell George, Annis Chapman, Jennie V. Lanier and Mabree Craig.  Submitted by: Glenda Van Zandt Stroud


Curtain Separated Classes at Decker School by: Ethel Chapman Duncan

A personal account of Ms. Chapman attendance at the Decker School circa 1914.




Divide School Faculty 1937-38

Man seated in front was Doug Jones, bus driver and janitor.

Picture Submitted by: Nell (Porter) Copeland




Dora was located in the southeast part of Nolan County.  The first school was started in 1877; Tom Roebard taught in a 12x14 building.  Seats were made of split logs with the flat side up and mounted on saw horses.  Records were started in 1895 or 1896.  Some families served by this school: Tom Bloxom, Dunlap, Virgil Jones, Ensminger, Egger, Brownfield, Cook, Brandon, McCoy and others for which records could not be found.  In 1928 Dora was consolidated with Nolan and Brooks to become Divide Consolidate Rural School.  Submitted by:  Glenda Van Zandt Stroud




Highland High School - Submitted by:  Glenda Van Zandt Stroud



Submitted by: J. Michael Jones

Click on the photo above to view a larger picture

Flora Odessa Best, front row, 2nd from left

Hannah Estelle Best, front row, arms crossed

Jesse Simon Best, standing in back row, 4th from left

Source: Linda Noble Murphy

Correspondences below are from J. Michael Jones & Glenda Van Zandt Stroud about the school, town, and people of Hylton.


J. Michael Jones wrote:

The attached photo was labeled on the back as "taken in Hylton 1912"Does anyone in a Nolan County Historical Society concentrate on Hylton?

My family surnames in Nolan Co. are primarily Magness, Holt, Pillion, McLaughlin.

Since the photo was with some family photos I'm sure there must be family in photo. Has anyone found this picture before and identified the people? Was there a school in Hylton in 1912?


Mike Jones - Phoenix, AZ

[email protected]


What a gem you have!

Yes, Hylton had a school in 1912.In fact, the first school, according to The History of Nolan County Texas, by Yeats and Shelton, states that Hylton's first school was built on Fish Creek in 1880-- a building made of split log covered by dirt.

The second school, by 1910, had 3 teachers and 200 students. This building surely looks very much like the Masonic Hall which is still standing and in use: however, it was not built until 1923 according to Y & S's book, but that info might be incorrect, too.. (Y &S also state the Masons first met in the school until the new Masonic Hall was built.)  But I think the school/Masonic Hall may be one in the same. See what you think at the link below. Since this is 1912, this is definitely the second school which was built to replace the log cabin: the school which I remember and is still standing (I think) is not a two story building. The photos of these two places are on the Nolan County Website:
Also, I knew the Magness family (some of whom still live in Blackwell), the Holts (a Mrs. Holt was my teacher at Blackwell), Troy Pillion was on the Blackwell School Board, and the Mc Laughlin is a well-known name. Blackwell and Hylton are within spitting distance on HWY 1170. Our family had lots of friends at Hylton.
I do not recall seeing this photo: perhaps someone out there can identify some of these people.

Thanks for sharing.



The two story Maryneal School was built in 1914 at a cost of $6,000, serving the community until fire destroyed it in 1936.

Submitted by:  Glenda Van Zandt Stroud



Rufus Benjamin Noble told his daughter about this one-room schoolhouse located near Blackwell, TX, called the Rock Crossing School.  If anyone has any information about this school, please send it in so that a more detailed description can be given.

Submitted by:  Linda Noble Murphy


UPDATE:  Rock Crossing School was later consolidated into Blackwell School



Roscoe High School Football Team - Plowboys 1952

Finished the season with 8 wins and 2 losses.  The losses were Merkle and Albany.

Click on the picture for a much larger picture.


Texas State Technical College - Sweetwater

Texas State Technical College - Sweetwater opened for classes in September 1970 as a division of the Texas State Technical Institute in Waco.  In 1971 the legislature authorized a Texas State Technical Institute in Nolan County with an enrollment of 419 by 1974.  In 1991 the school became the Texas State Technical College-Sweetwater.  The school was located on a sixty-one acre campus between Sweetwater and Roscoe, next to the Sweetwater Municipal Airport.  an Abilene Extension Campus opened in 1985 and a Breckenridge Extension Campus opened in 1990.  The College offered technical and skill development studies and general education pretechnical studies with a faculty of seventy-two and student population of 748.  Clay G. Johnson was president.

Source: Handbook of Texas Online




Cottonwood Creek; consolidated with Ada in 1916, vote was rescinded; consolidated with Sweetwater School District in

Blackland (1920’’s-1943, consolidating with Roscoe School District; located 4 miles NE of Roscoe) County Line
Divide (Begun in 1928, by consolidation of Brooks, Dora, Nolan and Fairy; located in the town of Nolan. In 1985,

       consolidated with Blackwell School District)
Highland (Opened in 1936, created by consolidation of Barnett, Champion, Goode, Maryneal and

      Mesquite Schools. Presently in operation and located 7 miles south of Roscoe)
Sweetwater schools:
      Philip Nolan (1887 to 1990’’s. Formerly called ““East Ward””, building was demolished and replaced with new facility

      named ““Sweetwater Intermediate School””)
      John R. Lewis (1882 to 1966, formerly called ““South Ward””; closed)
      J. P. Cowen (1882 to present, formerly called ““West Ward””)
      Southeast (1956 to present)
      Eastridge (1951 to present)
      Emilio Carranza (1917 to 1964; built for Mexican-American students; closed when integration  into white schools was

      Booker T. Washington (1945 to 1967; built for Black students; high school classes discontinued in 1965, continuing as

              an elementary school until 1967 when it was closed upon integration into the white schools)
      John H. Reagan Jr. High (1929 to present; became Sweetwater Middle School in 1967; new facility built on same

              location in 1979)

      Newman High School (1912-1967; location of the current Sweetwater High School; razed upon completion of new

              building in 1967)
       Sweetwater High School (1967-present; new facility built in 1967 to replace the old Newman High School.)



Name & Local Area

East Ridge School - Sweetwater

Nolan School - Sweetwater

Gowen School - Sweetwater

Reagan Junior High School - Sweetwater

Highland School - Bench Mountain

Southeast School - Sweetwater

Lewis School - Sweetwater






The first teachers to register certificates in Nolan County were John A. Ansley from South Carolina, who was fifty-one years old.  He had taught twelve years and he had a first grade certificate.


Miss Mattie Arnold was nineteen years old.  She had taught two years and had a first grade certificate.  She was from Arkansas.


W. C. Murchant was from Kentucky.  He was twenty-five years old and had taught two years.  He had a second grade certificate.





In 1891, the following schools were listed with information as follows:


No. 1 – Bitter Creek, 49 – School Funds, $235.44 – Trustees, B. J. Eidson, B. Bardwell and J. C.


No. 2 – Sweetwater 179 – School Funds, $862.09 – Trustees, I.D. Farris, B. F. Archer and D. I.


No. 3 – McBurnett School – 24 children – School Funds, $115.32 – Trustees, E. B. McBurnett, S. C.

            Spires and Wm. Lugow

No. 3 – Roscoe – 24 children – School Funds, $115.00 – Trustees same as McBurnett

No. 4 – Silver Creek – 12 children – School Funds $57.66 – Trustees, S. T. Fruit, Wm. Robertson

            and Geo. Willingham

No. 5 – Aiken School – 37 pupils – School Funds $177.78 – Trustees, J. H. McPherson, J. A.

            Shepard and W. T. Stout

No. 6 – Dora School – 38 pupils – School Funds, $182.59 – Trustees, B. Jenkins, Geo. Hines and

           G. W. Hawkins

No. 7 – Fish Creek – 64 pupils – School Funds, $307.52 – Trustees, J. M. Porter, Lem Daugherty and

           Morgan Bagley

No. 7 – North Branch Canyon – 39 pupils – School Funds, $187.39 – Trustees same as Fish Creek

No. 8 – Oak Creek – 22 pupils – School Funds $105.71.


The above-listed schools were the first established schools in Nolan County that were supported by public school funds by public school funds.


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