has always been my opinion that old newspapers make the best sources when researching
the past; and I’ve spent quite a bit of time going through many aged issues, both
in bound books and on microfilm.
Recently, I came across this article
describing the history of the old Brown School near Hallettsville.
People who were raised in Lavaca County, Texas, are probably familiar with the
old school and I decided to reprint this article, which appeared in The Tribune
on Jan. 10, 1933, in hopes that it would stir some memories and perhaps more information
would come forth.
I have been unable to find any information as to when
Brown School closed. Some of the locals in Hallettsville
said it was probably sometime in the 1940s. However, there is no historical marker
where the old school used to stand – the place is overgrown with brush and weeds.
This piece was written by T.H. Leslie and was called “The Brown Public School
partially viewed historically.” The original article appears below and has only
been slightly edited.
The Tribune, Jan. 10, 1933
– Forty-six years ago, the first Brown School building was located at its present
site [in 1933]. This was one-half mile northeast of St. Mary’s Parish and about
three miles northwest of Hallettsville,
It was built in the fall of 1886 on an acre of land given by
Benjamin Brown. The school was named for Mr. Brown because of this donation.
lumber for this building was hauled from the nearest lumber mill which was then
in Flatonia. The school was a one-room
building and was very scantily furnished. Long rough lumber benches served as
seats. Blackboards were unknown. Pupils used an unsanitary slate. Water was carried
a long distance from neighboring farms.
Among the first teachers were:
Mrs. Emma Stacey, Mr. Chandler, Jim Donnelly, Ned Tarkington, Frank Slavik, Jeffie
Dufner, Alice and Laura Lee. The first trustees were Wm. Koch, Joe Pesek, and
August Aflbach. They were said to have served long and faithfully.
school terms were from three to five months in length. Subjects taught were the
three “R’s” and spelling. Only a second class elementary certificate was required
by the teacher.
In the fall of 1906, the present [in 1933] two-room building
was erected. It was furnished with comfortable seats, and a well dug on the grounds.
During this same year Mr. Charles Pagel gave another acre of land to the school
campus. The course of study was enlarged and the standards of teachers were also
Some of the trustees of that period were: Ed. Bucek, Joe Dufner,
August Afflebach, Bud and Fr. Brown, John Till, Frank Holub, and Jim Dufner. Teachers
of this time were: Agnes and Callie Koniakovsky, W. Holbert, Vallie Strunk, Sybl
Chapman, Josephine Thatcher, Nina Willis, Edith Hajek, and Dixie Bright.
Some students who attended this school were: Carl Dufner, physician and surgeon
of Hallettsville; Mary
Kubala, and Bertha Janak, trained nurses; Mary Lelia, Anna Mae, Ima, and Helen
Pagel; Ruby Dufner, Jeffy Dufner, dentist in San
Antonio; and George Bohuslav, teacher; Lydia Dufner, and Mae Dufner.
1920, Brown School has made many improvements. Better desks, a library, maps,
a victrola, modern blackboards, and a sanitary drinking fountain are among those
The course of study now includes the ninth grade of
work, the grounds have been improved, and much playground equipment has been supplied.
The following teachers have taught Brown School since 1920: Mrs. E.J. McKinney,
Inez Timm, Helen and Lelia Pagel, Annie Timm, Magnolia Nachlinger, J.G. Konvicka,
Mrs. Gussie Franta and Miss Emilie Darilek.
Trustees of this period were:
Adolph Bohuslav, Joe Schulte, Henry Holub, Emil Koch, J.C. Kite, and Frank Haas.
During the last two years Brown School was twice winner in the Lavaca
County Rural School Fair, at Sweethome. The school won second place during 1930,
and first place during 1931.
Teachers from 1886 to 1933: Mrs. Emma
Stacey, Mr. Chandler, Jim Donnelly, Ned Tarkington, Alice Lee, Ruby Lay, Sadie
Rogers, Laura Lee, F.J. Slavik, Ima Dockery, Jeffie Dufner, Rosa Smith, Agnes
Koniakovsky, Willie Halbert, Teresa Kavanaugh, Callie Koniakovsky. Miss V. Strunk
(Valley), Sybl Chapman, Mill J. Thatcher, Nina Willis, Gussie Matula, Edith Hajek,
Dixie Bright, Mrs. E.J. McKinney, Inez Timm, Helen Pagel, Annie Timm, Magnolia
Nachlinger, John G. Konvicka, Gussie Franta, and Emily Darilek.
25, 2011 column
Schoolhouses | Columns |