And Now You Know: OC Schools and teachers in 1909

Published 8:25 am Saturday, August 25, 2018

By Mike Louviere

Schools in Orange county are vastly different than they were over 100 years ago. Now there are five independent school districts in the county with thousands of students. It was not always that way. There was a time when schools outside of Orange proper were one room schools with one or two teachers.

The Orange Leader reported on the start of the school year, 1909, by printing a report from the schools. The schools that did not report enrollment at least gave the names of the teachers.

In Orange, the high school building had grades one through seven plus the high school. In 1909, the total enrollment of the school was 171 boys and 221 girls for a total at the school of 392 students. Of this total there were 18 boys and 50 girls in the high school grades.

The “Colored School” reported that they had one building for grades one through seven with a high school included. Their enrollment was 123 boys and 142 girls for a total of 265 students.

Anderson was the third school in Orange. It encompassed grades one through six with 166 boys and 129 girls. Anderson’s total of students was 295.

West Orange School had Miss Allie Bland as principal and Miss Elizabeth Gilbert as assistant principal. West Orange had a total enrollment of 97 students.

The county schools reported that they were ready to start classes and reported the faculty of each school.

Cove School had Miss Frances Key as principal with Miss May McKinley as assistant principal.

At McLewis, Miss Rosa White was principal and Miss Annie Cole was assistant principal. The Leader noted that “Miss White was one of the best teachers in Orange schools last year and McLewis was to be commended in securing her at an advance in salary.

Lemonville school had “Miss Viva Wingate of Orange who will do an excellent job for the Lemonville School.”

Miss Vera Cardiff who “taught so successfully last year is again in charge at Gum Grove. “

“Miss Susie Howell of Orange was recently elected and has entered upon her duties at Adrain.”

Little Cypress reported that “Miss Edna Quinn who did excellent work last year at Adrain last year has been secured for Little Cypress this year.”

The Leader reported that “the Texla school opened this morning with Miss Henrietta Hall in charge.”

Miss Ethel Taylor was the teacher at Hobson.

Miss Loes Doentry was the new teacher at Bland School

Williamson reported that Miss Thompson was the teacher.

Prairie View had Miss May Butler as teacher.

Miss Maud Abel was the teacher at Granger School.

The report from Duncan Woods was that “this school will not be opened until about the first of October. Miss Emma Smith of Orange will be the teacher.”

The report on schools closed with the note that “Terry and Bonner have not been heard from.”

The school situation in the early 20th Century was vastly different from today’s schools. Teachers were required to be unmarried young ladies. They had to adhere to a strict dress code and often had housing furnished by the school that they required to live in. For the most part, these young ladies had no social life. They were held to a strict standard and were expected to teach their classes for the day and then go home and stay until the next day’s classes started. It was several years before males became teachers and were hired in Orange.

The one room schools were absorbed into the school districts that formed over the years until the districts in Orange reformed and merged into the five districts that are in Orange County today. A far cry from the 19 schools of 1909.

“And now you know”