I know we are in the New Year and Christmas is past (oh, except for the cards I haven’t sent yet), but this is a neat story, I think. My grandfather was a schoolteacher. In 1925 he was teaching in Newburg, Texas, just south of Comanche. If you don’t know where Comanche is, it is halfway between Brownwood and Stephenville. Halfway between Fort Worth and Abilene and south a good ways.
Papa Hallford was born in Newburg and so was his mother and so was his daughter, my mother. That is where my big family reunion is in the summer. There is a school building and a church there by the cemetery.
In the Christmas Eve edition of the Comanche Chief, they had a neat story in their Museum Musings column. I haven’t asked for permission to reprint this article as I firmly believe it is easier to get forgiveness than permission.
By Missy Jones
With the time getting so close to Christmas, it is impossible not to let my mind go back to some of my childhood memories, and the best of them all was for Christmas.
Having been a volunteer at the museum since probably 1995, I noticed for the first time recently a framed picture hanging on the south wall in the Newburg room.
This is a framed Christmas card â€œPresented by teacher Arla Hallford to pupils at Newburg School on December 25, 1925.â€ Donated by Oliver (Ollie) Gandy to Comanche Co. Museum 8-18-1992.
This is a colored Christmas card, about 3 x 5 inches. It is colored in the earlier style, showing people bringing home a Christmas tree through the snow. Below the tree scene is this Christmas message: â€œWith your teacherâ€™s best wishes for the most joyous Christmas and the happiest New Year you have ever had.â€
On the right of this colored picture is the writing on the card:Â Presented to Oliver Gandy, Grade 6, School: NewBurg, by: Arla Hallford, teacher, date: 12/24/1925. There is an oval picture of Ollie Gandy, from a later time. To the right is a poem entitled:
â€œA CHRISTMAS GREETINGâ€
To all my children dear, each one
What shall I give at Christmas time of
Gold and Silver have I none
But I can give a simple rhyme
That tells of hope and faith and love.
1. My hope â€“ what is my hope for you as swiftly pass the year of life â€¦
2. My faith â€“ that each will act the part that best befits a man or maid â€¦
3. My love â€“ how can I tell my love
Dear foster-children of my own?
Fannie Morton BowdenÂ Copyright 1921
On the center right of the picture is a list entitled: â€œMy Schoolmatesâ€
Chester Brown, Otha Gober, Bevlie VanCleave, Bob Burton, Arlis McCurdy, Aubie Love, Iris Johnson, Naomi Johnson, Ruby Shaver, Myrtle Moore, Mable Cunningham, Sidney Burton, Burton Hicks, Jim Lake, Vernon Love, Gerald Davis, Sarah E. Burton, Aubrey Shaver, Oliver Robertson, Lucille Cunningham, DeAlva Harris and Jay Kirkham.
These signatures are all written with a fountain pen, black ink, and not the same pen. You can tell from the size of the nibs that each person was using their own pen.
I knew Ollie Gandy well. I remember him as a very good roper, a ranch man and interested in history. He brought this to the museum, framed, 67 years after he had received it, and I am writing this 84 years after he received.
Merry Christmas to everyone. Please, put on your memory cap and let your thought go back to your childhood and Christmas. Enjoy!
I like thinking of my grandfather as a 26-year-old schoolteacher in charge of all these kids. He had a toddler and baby at home himself. He went on to be a teacher and the superintendent at the Grosvenor schools (north of Brownwood) for about 10 years and then on to Jermyn and Jacksboro. He left teaching to work for the State Welfare Agency in the 1940s in Quanah and Amarillo.
I did a little bit of genealogy tonight and found that Ollie died in 1993 in Comanche. His teacher outlived him. My grandfather died in 2000, having lived in 3 different centuries.
What makes the card extra interesting to me is the list of all the students in the Newburg School at the time. I will have to research them further because I know many are relatives. I personally knew Lucille and Mable Cunningham. They each just died in the last few years and were my grandfather’s first cousins. They were wonderful women. Ruby Shaver was a great-aunt of mine, too, but I didn’t know her.
Reading this article makes me ready to jump into the car and make the short trip to Comanche to go see this in the Newburg room.