Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998 Page: 8
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Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal
to have initiated some type of disturbance in Hartnett's school to demonstrate their
displeasure with her. Williams and the other trustees had promised to build a house to
accommodate a teacher before April 1, but threatened to renege if Hartnett were retained.
Harris supported their petition, and expected that if Hartnett were not removed, "there will
be trouble among them." When Joseph B. Kiddoo visited Columbus in January 1867, he
promised the trustees that Hartnett would be removed. D. T. Allen, the superintendent of
schools, also visited the town, and concurred in the decision. Hartnett informed Allen that
she intended to resign on April 1 in any case."
In the early part of 1867, Harris reported that the La Grange freedmen were
making strong efforts in the promotion of education. They had formed a school association
and had nearly completed a schoolhouse, which only lacked window sashes and seats.
Harris had asked for bids on the items. The lot on which the building had been erected was
presented by Faison and Ligon, although much trouble ensued due to the manner in which
it was first deeded. Harris had it re-deeded to seven freedmen as trustees of the school
association, and it now stood clear of debt and with a full title. Local citizens had contributed
a sizeable amount of the building funds, which thus far had amounted to $450 specie. The
lot was yet to be fenced.12
By the third week in 1867, the Columbus freedmen were in a state of excitement
over an impending school. They had already collected 75 pounds of nails and some fifteen
or twenty dollars toward a new church/school building. Harris had visited their services to
take a subscription for the structure. When Kiddoo came to Columbus in January 1867, he
made three promises to local blacks: he would assist in rebuilding their church, he would
establish a free school, and he would procure a stove. For their part, the freedmen had to
raise $100. It took them only four days to collect the required amount, which they deposited
with Harris. The stove had to be purchased in Galveston and sent to Columbus by the
railroad. Kiddoo promised them a 40-by-60 foot building."3
11 Velva Burrell Papers, Mss. 26, Box 1 (Nesbitt Memorial Library Archives, Columbus); Enon M.
Harris to Edwin M. Wheelock, February 15, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72, p. 41; Harris to Joel T. Kirkman,
March 10, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72, p. 59; Harris to Kirkman, March 23, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72,
p. 64; Benjamin F. Williams to Harris, March 25, 1867, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 30; Endorsement, Harris,
March 25, Field Records, vol. 71, 1867, p. 31; Harris to Kirkman, March 27, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72,
pp. 66-67; Kirkman to Harris, March 22, 1867, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 36, all in BRFAL, RG 105, National
12 Enon M. Harris to Joel T. Kirkman, May 1, 1867, Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received, H-
223; Harris to Kirkman, May 31, 1867, Field Records, vol. 73, pp. 90-91; Harris to Kirkman, June 4, 1867,
Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received, H-234, all in BRFAL, RG 105, National Archives.
13 Enon M. Harris to Edwin M. Wheelock, February 15, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72, p. 41; Harris
to Joel T. Kirkman, May 1, 1867, Assistant Commissioner, Letters Received, H-223; Harris to Kirkman, May
31, 1867, Field Records, vol. 73, pp. 90-91; Harris to Kirkman, June 4, 1867, Assistant Commissioner, Letters
Received, H-234; Harris to Wheelock, January 21, 1867, Field Records, vol. 72, p. 31; Wheelock to Harris,
January 23, 1867, Field Records, vol. 71, p. 8, all in BRFAL, RG 105, National Archives.
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Nesbitt Memorial Library. Nesbitt Memorial Library Journal, Volume 8, Number 1, January, 1998, periodical, January 1998; Columbus, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth151402/m1/8/?q=nesbitt%20memorial%20library%20journal: accessed July 23, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Nesbitt Memorial Library.