The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966 Page: 32
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Southwestern Historical Quarterly
We learn from gentlemen who have recently been at the Brazos
Agency, that our young friend Z. Ellis Coombs, who has been em-
ployed by the government to teach the young Indian ... is suc-
ceeding beyond the most sanguine expectations with his school.
He has a very large school. None of the dusky urchins could speak
a word of English, but he is rapidly inducting them into the initia-
tory mysteries of the language. They are said to be prompt in at-
tendance, tractable, and obedient.33
The Waco Southern Democrat on November lo, 1858, carried a
letter written to J. O. Shook, editor, by a correspondent who
signed his initials "J. A. M." The gentleman had spent some ten
days in residence on the Brazos Agency and his report revealed
the worthwhile work of the school. In part, he said:
The schoolhouse is opened, and filled too, with happy and willing
students in the children of the wild rovers of the forest. From forty
to fifty Indian boys and girls attend the school, taught by a com-
petent instructor, Coombes. It was truly a matter of astonishment
to me to see little Indians of ten and twelve years reading with
facility in the 2d reader. Extreme care is taken in their instruc-
tion and a watchful guidance exercised over their general conduct;
and they seem to be as willing as most white children to receive
the instruction which, in another generation must make them an
intelligent and respectable race. Is not this something for the phi-
lanthropist to rejoice over? Success to the schoolhouse the nursery
of civilization and virtue.84
The first session of the school at the Brazos Agency had opened
on June 1, 1858, and continued through November, a period of
six months. On November 3o, Coombes made a quarterly report
to Agent Ross on the progress and condition of the school. He
declared that the Caddo and Tawakoni continued to excel all
others in regularity of attendance, in application, and in progress.
The teacher added that he had fifty-four scholars on the roll with
an average daily attendance of forty. There was one student study-
ing Ray's Arithmetic, sixteen studying reading and writing, sev-
enteen studying spelling, and twenty learning the alphabet. One
arithmetic book, two dozen copy books, one and two-thirds dozen
unbound primers, and twenty quills had been issued to the stu-
dents on October 6, 1858. After six months of school it was felt
"Dallas Herald, October 20, 1858.
"'Southern Democrat (Waco), November lo, 1858.
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Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 69, July 1965 - April, 1966, periodical, 1966; Austin, Texas. (https://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth117144/m1/50/: accessed May 26, 2019), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, https://texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas State Historical Association.