Heritage, Volume 5, Number 2, Summer 1987 Page: 43
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Upon reaching the 2,000 acres
surveyed, subdivided, and sold
to them sight unseen, they discovered
it was situated in the
sloughs of Caney Bottom. The
"fertile" sand fields, what little
there were, had not produced
even a healthy crop of bullnettles
The train was delayed and the lumber
ruined when an incessant rain came.
John Hart deeded an acre of land to the
trust of the county judge, and on it a
school was built in the fall of 1901.
Classes began with Alta Hart, daughter of
Roland Alexander, as the teacher.
"Miss Alta was a beautiful woman,"
reminisces Winford Morris. "I can remember
her mother bringing her little
baby to the school-house, where she
would let it nurse. I hadn't never seen a
teacher nurse a baby at school before, and
that was different."
The Hoosiers brought a touch of culture
to the area. For more than a century,
every generation of the Alexander family
had been educators. Both the the Alexander
girls had been "formally-educated"
in Indianapolis and Kokomo, and this
was no time to break tradition, especially
since there was no school in the area.
The books were brought from Indiana
and grades one through seven were taught
to more than forty students. One student,
an adult, studied there so that he could
attend normal school at Commerce.
Destined to failure, the Indiana Settlement
would meet with death, famine,
and financial problems. Joseph Alexander's
bride gave birth to a child, then she
became ill with tuberculosis. They returned
to Kokomo, where she died.
Joseph's thirteen-year-old sister, Chloe,
was next to die with the disease. His father
Roland died from pneumonia, and
Alta died with tuberculosis. In 1911, his
The Alexander farm (ca. 1879) showing Mrs.
Dovie Alexander and her flock of White Leghorn
chickens. The pyramid contraption was a coop in
which to hold fryers before taking them to
mother Arminnie died of an unknown
cause, leaving Joseph and Hazel as the
surviving members of that family. Hazel
had moved to Como to teach school and
John Hart had sold the mill in 1902
and with his wife returned to Russiaville,
Indiana, to face his creditors.
Joseph Alexander had the determination
of his mother. He held a sale, making
enough to pay off the family debt, then
bought out the heirs of his sisters Alta
and Hazel in the heavily indebted homeplace.
He then returned to Kokomo, only
to discover his heart was in Texas. He returned
to the farm, which much later
would be inundated by the waters of the
Lake Fork Reservoir.
The land once owned by the Hoosiers
has been solemnly buried beneath the
water, while small portions form a shoreline,
where lots are being sold at $10,000
and more and $125,000 homes are being
Little Indiana has not been forgotten.
The six years of school, the traumas suffered,
and the memories of both have
been a legend in this locale. Lest it
be forgotten, Friends of Little Indiana
School paid tribute to classmates in 1981.
Six students were living: Bertha, Mattie,
and Stella Gilbreath and Jettie, Nora,
and Winford Morris. The school suc
cumbed when the state treasury could not
fund the vouchers.
During the years of educating children,
Little Indiana's one-teacher school had
been served by five teachers: Alta Hart,
Hazel Alexander, Harcie Bullock,
William McCreight, and Ola McCreight.
Mrs. Ola McCreight is the widow of Mr.
Sid White, and at the age of ninety-five
lives with remarkable memories of the Indiana
On March 24, 1984, the Wood County
Historical Society and Friends of Little
Indiana paid tribute to the pioneering
families of that town. Celebrating the occasion
at the site of the school, where
only three oak trees remain of those
which had shaded the playground, the
Quitman High School Band played
"Wabash Cannonball," "The Eyes of
Texas," and "The Star-Spangled Banner,"
while the flags of Indiana and Texas and
Old Glory unfurled in the breeze. The
former students were honored guests,
each receiving a certificate of their attendance.
Red roses were presented to "Miss
Ola" in honor of her teaching career, and
to Mrs. Ruth Hart King, daughter of Alta
Hart, the sole surviving pioneer of 1899
Jack Alexander, a descendant of Joseph Alexander,
is a member of the Wood County Historical
Commission, a free-lance writer, and a local
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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/m1/43/: accessed May 27, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Texas Historical Foundation.