Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas) Page: 28
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Smith Bend and the Coon Creek communi-
ties and is maintained by donations. Several
hundred graves are marked and five are of
Civil War veterans and veterans of wars
fought since 1865. So far, thirty-one veterans
have been buried there.
Droughts and a depression or two have
occurred, but some way people have met the
challenge. In the 1930's a small cheese factory
in Valley Mills bought whole milk from the
farmers, picked up daily by Ed. Byrum. Price
paid was determined by the fat content when
Most farmers raised hogs, chickens, tur-
keys, guineas, and a few ducks. The turkey
crop often provided "Christmas money" for
the households. Good gardens and orchards
provided nutrients for the families' diets.
Wages were meager during the Depression of
the 1930's and laborers in the field received
90 cents a day. Workers with wagon and team
received $1.75 a day, cotton choppers earned
75 cents a day, and a hired hand living with
a family received about $12.50 a month.
In 1926, oats sold as low as 15 cents per
bushel, delivered. J.C. Bonds hauled corn-fed
steers to Waco and sold them for 6 cents a
pound. A bale of cotton brought $25.00.
Many young people who moved to the city
to work until retirement age are returning
"home" to enjoy country living with conven-
ient homes, electricity, air conditioning,
excellent roads, and a convenient distance
from good shopping centers. It is difficult for
youth of the present day to fathom the
hardships endured by their forefathers, who
settled this harsh, yet lush, land west of the
Brazos River in Bosque County.
Hard work, determination and a sense of
humor were necessary to face each new day
in the early days of settlement.
Nearly all communities have a "practical
joker" and Silas McCabe (1881-1977), a
grandson of the elder Sils, was one who
enjoyed playing a prank on someone. It is said
that on a very hot summer day a stranger, in
a wagon, pulled by a team, stopped and asked
Silas directions to reach a certain place. Silas
directed him to a point in a very densely
wooded area close to the Brazos River. He
traveled and traveled but decided that he had
missed the way and had better turn back;
trees were so close together that he had to
take his ax and chop out a good sized area in
which to turn around which was exactly what
Silas knew he would have to do.
by Mrs. M.V. Bonds
Up the road, down the road, across fields
and pastures, even across the Bosque River,
and over the mountains came children to
attend a little one-room school-the one
remembered as Cooper. Some children
walked as far as three miles and crossed a
swinging bridge across the Bosque River.
Located on the Lon Cooper farm five miles
north of Clifton, Cooper School was built in
the early 1900's. In 1910 the first consolida-
tion movement in Bosque County since 1855
took place. This consolidation merged two
Picnic at Cooper School
schools-Cooper District No. 32 and Round
Mountain District No. 31. The enlarged
district took the name of Cooper School,
District No. 32 with bounds combining the
territory of the two old districts. Round
Mountain School had been located three
miles south of Meridian.
The only teachers remembered who taught
in the one-room school were Emma Neale,
Ruth Womack, Veda Belcher, Goldie White,
Wendall Clark, and Emily Turner. Miss
Turner, in 1918, was the last one to teach
In 1919, a two-room schoolhouse was built
by Otto Anderson and Carl Anderson. That
meant that two teachers had to be hired and
families of the community had to provide
room and board in their homes for these
Teachers in the two-room school from 1920
to 1935 included Willie Mae Hornbuckle,
Annie Glass, Wilma Swenson, Mr. and Mrs.
Virgil McClintock, Lois Rea, Edwin Spitzer,
Mary Spitzer, Ora Mae Hill, Georgie Mae
Worley, Willie Mae Howard, Victoria Jeanes,
Mr. and Mrs. Joe Rhodes, Mr. and Mrs.
Melvin Kruse, Keith Appleby, Maidee
Schow, Ruth Townley, Emilie Reet, Madel-
ine Hix, Omer Lee Hix, LaVerne Farmer, and
Bernard Whitney. Miss Farmer and Mr.
Whitney were with the Cooper School when
it was consolidated with Clifton Independent
School in 1935.
The Cooper schoolhouse was moved to the
Clifton School campus and for a while was
used as a place for teaching classes in
Agriculture. It later burned down.
To raise money for some needed items for
the Cooper School, community affairs such
as box suppers and plays were presented and
enjoyed. Persons taking part in the plays
would meet at night to practice, some walking
as far as three miles after dark.
Drinking water had to be carried in buckets
from nearby farm homes to school. Children,
having their teacher's permission to carry
water, would put a long stick through the
handle of the bucket, grasping the ends to
carry it. A water well was later dug and a
windmill or pump and tank was put up. The
big steel tank was to hold water and a
fountain was set up where children would
Children helped the teachers keep the
schoolhouse clean and in order. Children,
working two at a time, took turns in sweeping
floors. Others took erasers outside and beat
them against the building to remove chalk
Baseball (with homemade balls), basket-
ball, and other games were played during
recess time. When recess was over, the
teacher rang a big hand bell as a signal for
children to form a line in front of the door.
At her direction, they would then march into
the building and go to their seats and begin
studying and having class.
One time the children all ran away from
school on April Fools' Day. They left right
after lunch and returned about one hour
before school closing. Not appearing to be
upset, the teacher told her pupils to go inside.
She closed the door, then told them that each
one would be spanked. When she had them
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Bosque County History Book Committee. Bosque County: Land and People (A History of Bosque County, Texas), book, 1985; Dallas, Texas. (texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth91038/m1/44/?q=campbell: accessed April 26, 2018), University of North Texas Libraries, The Portal to Texas History, texashistory.unt.edu; crediting Denton Public Library.