Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 39
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LeFors' story, set in the Texas Panhandle
and Oklahoma, begins with the
Civil War and ends in the early twentieth
century. LeFors wasn't a particularly famous
man, but he was associated with
Billy the Kid, Charles Goodnight, and
Texas Ranger Captain C. W. Arrington.
LeFors begins, "Finally, after repeated
requests from my daughter, Mrs. J. H.
Robinson, I have undertaken to write
some of the events and experances of life,
and a brief History of our family as far as I
know it from reading the old family
records, and hearing it talked of by older
members of our family." After ten years
writing the manuscript was completed in
1941, when LeFors was eighty-one years
old. Peterson has kept editorial corrections
to a minimum, retaining most of
LeFors' phonetic spelling while correcting
run-on sentences and adding paragraph
breaks. The end product is easily readable
but retains a healthy sense of LeFors' own
Peterson was able to check a great deal
of LeFors' account through independent
sources. The tale was not the fanciful
memory of a man at the end of his life,
but is well corroborated. LeFors got his
facts straight, and in doing so he has left a
valuable and interesting document of
Ringing the Children In: Texas Country
Schools. Thad Sitton and Milam C.
Rowold. College Station: Texas A&M
University Press, 1987. 241 pages, blackand-white
Well into this century, education in
Texas was based on rural, common school
districts. Many districts had a singleroom
school with a single teacher. Between
the 1920s and the 1960s common
districts were replaced by independent
and rural consolidated districts. The
model was the factory, according to the
authors, "striving for large-scale productive
efficiency and standardization of
Sitton, an oral historian, and Rowold,
a professor of education, sought out for
mer teachers and students to document
an insider's view of the common school
system. The common schools were very
nearly the opposite of the modern educational
system. It was totally decentralized
and administered by the members of the
local community. In Caldwell County
alone, there were Polish districts, where
the school board had to direct the teacher
through an interpreter; bilingual German-English
schools; and plantation
schools for the students of Mexican tenant
farmers, "which taught students . . .
to write their name and add and subtract
a little bit, and baseball."
Although most common school districts
had many problems, ranging from
poor materials to limited funds, they were
by and large effective. Sitton and Rowold
suggest that many of the successes of
common schools are relevant to the problems
of modem school systems.
Texas wouldn't be the same without history.
For over 35 years expressions of Texas heritage have been preserved through .
the help of the Texas Historical Foundation. Documentaries like Independence,
a dramatic recreation of the Constitutional Convention at Washington on the
Brazos and publications such as Historic Texas, a Photographic Portrait, bring to
life Texas' rich history. In addition, we support architectural restoration, cultural
preservation, and archaeological investigation.
There's so much that needs to be done. All over the state of Texas worthy
projects await our attention. Every town has its own story, from The Strand
in Galveston to The Mission Trail in El Paso. And THF can help preserve wh.c
is so uniquely ours by collaborating with local historical associations and state
For as little as $25 you or your business can participate in our efforts. With I
this tax deductible donation you will receive our quarterly magazine Heritage.
With a donation of $100 or more you will also receive Texas Monthly's Guidebook
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For more information write Texas Historical Foundation, P.O. Box 12243, Austin,
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Texas Historical Foundation. Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987, periodical, Summer 1987; Austin, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth45437/m1/39/: accessed January 23, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.