The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957

THE SOUTHWESTERN HISTORICAL QUARTERLY
VOL. LX OCTOBER, 1956 No. 2
rhe &ducation of oke A. Comax
MAUDE HOUSTON
N 1872, the James Lomaxes lived in a two-room log cabin
two miles out of Meridian, county seat of Bosque County,
Texas. Indians had roamed and attacked in the area only five
years before, and herds of Longhorns passed within sight of the
Lomax front door as they went north on the Chisholm Trail. John
Avery Lomax, future collector of the cowboy songs he heard
on the trail, was starting school-was beginning the process of
learning the three R's in a frontier state.
Years later, in his autobiography, Adventures of a Ballad
Hunter, John said he had no substantial education before going
to the University of Texas, and even there he felt that he had
learned little. He had some grounds for complaint. In his day
"the community school" was all the public schooling provided.
The residents of a community could support the school or not
as they desired, and would provide for it only as much money as
they felt they could spare from more practical pursuits. But some
parents wanted their children to do better than they had. Some
public-spirited teachers were willing to make the best of low pay
and loose discipline. Private schools, both religious and secular,
were active. And the University of Texas, which opened in 1883,
was a great step forward. For many children like John Lomax,
the frontier settlers of Texas provided the basis of a fruitful in-
tellectual career.
There were ten in the Lomax family plus various orphans that
the mother took over the job of raising with apparently inex-
haustible affection. James Lomax had been a tanner and small
farmer in Mississippi; he had come to Texas to farm in a more

Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 60, July 1956 - April, 1957. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101163/. Accessed July 31, 2014.