The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953 Page: 7
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The Freedmen's Bureau in Texas
in the interior about 350 miles above the coast with a small
The report of John W. Alvord, inspector of schools and
finances for the bureau, completed the picture at the close of
the year 1865. Alvord did not visit Texas but reported on Jan-
uary 1, 1866, that there were ten day and six night schools in
Texas. There were ten teachers and 1,041 students. He said that
arrangements had been made for thirty teachers; that the schools
were self-sustaining; and that other schools would be established
as soon as textbooks could be obtained.16
Lieutenant E. M. Wheelock, of the United States Colored
Troops, as the bureau's educational director for Texas, set about
the task of establishing schools for freedmen.'7 This was a most
difficult task in view of the traditions such procedure violated
and in view of the skeptical and antagonistic attitude of the
press. In the face of this opposition and with the encouragement
of General Gregory, who was pathetically ignorant of the true
situation, Wheelock proceeded to the discharge of his respon-
In September of 1865 a colored school, unknown in Texas
prior to the break-up, was established at Galveston. The outward
success of this school was almost instantaneous and was quickly
followed by others so that on January 31, 1866, Wheelock re-
ported that there were twelve day schools and fourteen night
schools in operation in Texas under supervision of fourteen
teachers with 1,691 pupils enrolled. The schools were self-sus-
taining through voluntary contributions and a small tuition
charge of $1.50 per pupil. Wheelock reported that the teachers
were "effective and competent, the scholars orderly, studious,
lsStrong to Howard, January 1, 1866 (MS., in Bureau of Refugees .., National
Archives). Howard reported as others had that thousands of slaves from other
states formed a steady stream through the interior, heading towards Louisiana.
They followed the Old San Antonio Road from Bastrop on the Colorado River
through Caldwell, Madison, Crockett, and then northeast to the Sabine River.
16J. W. Alvord to Howard, January 1, 1866 (MS., in Bureau of Refugees ...,
National Archives) .
17The bureau assumed full responsibility for general supervision and superin-
tendence of schools, the examination and appointment of teachers, for payment of
their transportation, rents, and fuel. Repairs of school buildings and the armed
protection of the school and the teacher were likewise responsibilities of the bureau.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 56, July 1952 - April, 1953, periodical, 1953; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101145/m1/25/?rotate=90: accessed May 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.