My Aunt Susan Pierce Dacus Allen We Called her "Aunt Susie" She was a Nurse and a Poet, and Author of Poetry Book "Prairie Profiles"
The History of Spearman Texas and Hansford County Schools By Susan Pierce Dacus Allen Originally written for the Spearman Reporter Newspaper March 31, 1966 and printed in two installments PRINTED FULL LENGTH BELOW ALSO A PRINTABLE PDF VERSION 8 1/2 x 11 DOWNLOAD COPY TO YOUR COMPUTER OR PRINT YOUR OWN COPY
Two Wilbanks-Pierce Biographies by my Aunt Susan Pierce Dacus, Click Here The Story of Aunt Susan Bowden Wilbanks The Story of Aunt Rhoda Pierce Wilbanks By Susan Pierce Dacus Allen
School in Spearman TX
School in Spearman TX Written by Susie Pierce Dacus
review of the first Spearman school is presented to Spearman
Reporter readers with a genuine love for the people, the school
and the land of Hansford County Texas.
It has to do with the opening of the school, its first
pupils, its triumphs and defeats.
Data is taken from the old school Annual-the Wild Rose.
a banner hung in the study hall of the old wooden high school
building. It represented a victory (second place) in basketball
for the Spearman High School Girls team. They won it at Dalhart
TX in a Tri-State Tournament.
the area is most proud of the present Spearman School system,
its scholastic progress, its athletic prowess just as they were
in the beginning. Congratulations and may the town, the school
and the land continue in its growth and development.
Village of Hansford, the County seat of Hansford County Texas
was cupped like a gem in a signet of hills. It was a beautiful
setting for a town, but the Sante Fe Railway bypassed it in
favor of the flat prairie land east of town. Model-T automobiles
made the drag around the rut filled court house square, carrying
the young fry, while the oldsters on the side lines commented
per usual, �What�s the world coming to?� The Palo Duro
Creek cut across the meadow land west and to the northeast of
the little town. A bridge spanned the creek to connect with the
roads to Texhoma and Guymon, Oklahoma, and local homes on the
�flats�. Townspeople spoke of their neighbors as from �up
the creek, down the creek�. Or from the �north flats or
south flats�. Ochiltree was some twenty-five miles east of
Hansford. Dumas a �wide place in the road� was southwest in
Moore County. Still farther, and across the Canadian River and
then some, Amarillo, nursling of the prairie, was the future
metropolis of the plain.
young Chicago promoter ventured to the plains, and tried to
promote a railroad called the E. O & W. from Dalhart TX, via
Dumas, Lieb (Jarvis), Hansford, and Ochiltree and on to Enid
Oklahoma. After much speculation, money raising and planning the
project failed. Many people lost their money and possibly trust
in future railroad. A few �I Told you So� folk, felt lucky
that they had kept their money in their jeans.
loads of boosters from Hansford and Ochiltree drove to
neighboring towns advertising the proposed venture. One
Panhandle real estate dealer made a famous quote that if
railroad came through �land would eventually sell for as much
as $75 per acre.� A decade later the Santa Fe Railway Company
ran a spur from Shack, Okla., across the country to terminate at
a new town site to be located several miles east of Old Hansford.
The Citizens of the town decided to leave the old for the new
and participated in the lot sale going on at the proposed town
site. Each time they drove out to the new project they ere
reminded of Mr. Weist and his E. O. & W. railroad by the
pine stakes drives along the old right of way he engineered.
name of Spearman was chosen in honor of a Santa Fe official in
Chicago and J.B. Tower, local sign painter (JB Tower married
Rhoda Wilbanks Overton, editor) was chosen to make the new signs
to be placed at teach entrance to the city. The sign was an
Indian warrior in breechcloth and with a feather in his hair. He
held a spear in his hand. The bold letters beneath him read
�Welcome to Spearman�
THE FIRST SPEARMAN SCHOOL
The old three storied wooden structure used as public
school system at Hansford had seen better days. The window panes
were broken, the belfry, with its tolling bell that once gave
out peals of welcome, to reluctant feet, was about the fall
apart. Only two rooms were in use when the movers came to tow
the building to its new home.
School started about a month late in October 1920 to
accommodate the face lifting and innovations made to take care
of the influx of new students. For the first time in several
years, the four rooms on the first floor were utilized. The
second reached by a new stairway, help a study hall, office, and
two recitation rooms, and wonder of wonders-a new laboratory-our
superintendents pride and joy. The IOOF utilized the third
floor. The old wooden rickety stairway on the outside of the
building was torn away as a safety hazard. This was the
stairwell that the pupils often ran up and down to peer into the
large windows By the end of the season progress was made and it
brought notices from the surrounding area and soon students from
adjuring counties were entering to take advantage of new
addition acquired by the hard word of W.A. Clark, Jr,
Ethel Deakin, Mathmatics, Nellie Hard Principal, English,
history; Nannie Holland, Foreign Language, Coach; Mattie __lor,
substitutes; Aline Beck, Almira McComas, lower grades; School
Board: AF Barkley,
President; H James, Sec. Treas; HL Wilbanks, Asessor; Alvino
Richeson and DW Hazlewood, members.
Gibner and Stoney McMurry. Juniors Hazel Lowe and Lena Dacus.
Sophomores: Burgher Pirtle, Winnie Dacus, Della Dacus, Zela
Cross, CL Hazlewood, Grace Pirtle and Lillie Maize. Freshman:
Bernice Burran, Myrtle Ballentine, Viola Hill, Sarah and Art
Cusenbasry, Mae Raney, O Cross, May Faus, Susie Pierce, Irene
Kerr, Paul Maulsby, Warner Davis. Barney Sparks, HA Hartshort,
Grammar School 1920-21 Classes for the first Spearman
term started with the following students as class officers:
President, Juanita Haney; Vice President, Pope Gibner; JB Cooke,
Treasurer, (soon to be our beloved county Sheriff) and Olivette
Minnie martin, Pauline Lowe, Mynle Womble, Gertrude Keim,
Alta Hays (Toots), Opal Cline, Nellie Fullbright� Boys:
Joe Raney, Paul Thompson, Th McMurry, WH Black, Wade
Tackitt. Special Students:
Rufus Raney, Ralls Richardson, Early Ford and Lura Bell
The Spearman High School student body started off the new
term with a Halloween part in the High School Building. The
rooms were decorated with black cats, witches, and goblins made
from gold and black paper. Games were played, but fortune
telling was the most popular amusement of the evening. In
February the Seniors and Sophomores decorated the school rooms
with their class colors, purple, gold and white, and entertained
the Juniors and Freshman.
In March, the Methodist minister�s home was the
scene of a delightful party. Victrola music was enjoyed and
wedding tours on the moonlit lawn were the chief amusements.
Mrs. Z. B. Pirtle, the hostess, served dainty refreshments to a
group of happy young people.
Howard Neilson gained a nickname for the rest of his
life at this party. He was the first of all the boys to arrive,
to find only girls present. Astonished he stammered out �What
is this anyway a chicken party?� He was always called
�Chick� after that.
Miss Hart invited the High School to her ranch home
on the Palo Duro, to a wiener roast. It rained and the road was
muddy, but all reached their destination. A huge bon fire was
built on the creek bank, and hours of happy games were played,
and many roasted franks and marshmallows which were devoured.
Mr. and Mrs.. I.F. Dacus owned and operated the Palo
Duro Hotel at Old Hansford, and moved it to Spearman. They were
the parents of Leo and Henry (Mutt) Dacus and the �Dacus�
girls, Lena, Della, and Winnie.
their home was always open to the young people. More fun
was had in their home than anywhere else, it seemed.
Often Mr. and Mrs.. Dacus permitted the girls to have slumber
parties on the hotel�s third floor. Rows of cots lined the
wall and the girls romped like tomboys if they chose; or told
ghost stories, or danced to the strains of the Victoria, or just
plain had fun! Sometimes amusing incidents occurred, perhaps
otherwise too. But one in particular lingers in memory.
The girls were retiring, laughing noisily and
boisterously. Suddenly the room was still as a tomb. Grace and
Bernice were saying their prayers silently beside their bed.
About the time they got to the �Amen�, Mattie Ruth Berner
raised up in bed and shouted �who�s dead?� No One
answered, and she could not see the girls on the opposite side
of the bed. Sensing something amiss, Mattie quickly lay back in
her bed. Then someone spoke-nothing funny at all but a giggle
rippled the atmosphere and all joined in, and then the fun
started all over again.
Mattie Ruth and Mable were new additions to the High
School from Goetbo, Oklahoma. Mattie made the basketball team.
other school activities were enjoyed in the form of
Clubs and Dramatic Plays. There were the Latin and Spanish clubs
and the Glee Club and the literary Society.
Plays were presented to raise funds for various
replenish the Library for example: it grew from 100 to 650
Volumes, to buy basketball suits and equipment, teacher�s desk
and chairs, and new seats for the study hall.
The Play, �The Kid Betty Wales Girls, and Mr.
Kidd� was presented by the Basket Ball Girls at Spearman, and
at the Leib School House. New
purple and white uniforms were purchased.
Middy blouse and box pleated bloomers that seemed to
contain yards of material in each leg.
White ties dressed them up.
�Aaron Boggs Freshman� was next and a huge
attendance made the show a financial success.
Next, �The Girl and the Flying X� was a huge
success. Two townsmen R.T Bucy and L. J. Hillhouse played roles,
and Fred Twyman, manager of the Hazel B. Hurd Stock Co.,
directed the play. Mrs
Twyman played the part of the heroine, and Mr. Twymas the part
of �Sputters.� Hazel
Lowe, Clyde Hazlewood and Lena Dacus were in the cast.
�The Average Man� was presnted to the public with
a cast of Burgher Pirtle, Winnie Dacus, Lena Dacus, Grace Pirtle,
Ruby Little, Guy �Preach� Fuller, Della Dacus, Bernice
Burran, and Paul Maulsby.
The first Spearman high School boys and girls were about as normal as apple pie; they wrote notes, threw spit balls, and amused themselves just like the youths of all time.
Girls Line up for �21 �22: Nannie Holland, coach, Hazel Lowe, captain; Mae
Raney, forward, Grace Pirtle, center. Susie Pierce, side center,
Winnie Dacus, Guard. Lena Dacus, Guard. Pauline Low and Mattie
Hartschorn were subs.
The first basketball game of the season was played on the Perryton Court. The came was a tie. The playoff gave Perryton one winning point, 20-21. Three weeks later they turned the Spearman call; spearman won 4-0. November 14, the college from P.A.M.C. played on the Spearman court. Spearman returned their call to win for the first time on another court. Lost 27-41. January 7, a cold day, outdoor court, Spearman won over Ochiltree 12-6. Jan 21, Spearman lost on the Perryton court 8-6. On Jan 8, Spearman played two games. The 1st in the afternoon with Texhoma, Texas at _____At 20-6. At 7:30 that evening, the fight went on to the swiftest game of the season, a tie for the first half. By the close it yielded a win for the Oklahoman�s. The Texas sports enthusiasts were wild with cheers and boos and a wild roar of applause went to the winners. (I think they admired the opponents� strong skill also.) February 4, the teams of Ochiltree and Perryton came to Spearman; they said, �to teach spearman how to play ball�. Spearman won from Ochiltree and played 50 minutes. They then played Perryton and best them 19 points. It was a happy day for Spearman. The merchants set up asd notice. The teams paraded the street with school colors showing!! February 11, Texhoma Oklahoma, called at Spearman to ____ a score of 16-8, in favor of Spearman. The game was played during a blowing sandstorm. The season closed with Texhoma, Oklahoma, winning a ___ 19-5 over Spearman.
19-22-1923 School term started with more teachers, Flora Dell Huskersan followed Miss Nellie Hart and Miss Mary Lee Nichols as English Teacher. She also taught Spanish. James H. Stark was the new Vocational Agriculture teacher. Miss Evlyne Hinyard taught Commercial Subjects., and Exol Taylor taught domestic art (or Science).
Special students this season were: jewel Lee, Hazel Lowe, Maybele Brown, Eva Cator and Grace Balthrop. Eva Cator took part in Basketball-(the Pirtles had moved) and played in Center with Susie Pierce. At the end of the second term seven and one-half accredited units were attained in the following subjects; two in English; one in Plane Geometry; one in P Geography; one is General Agricultures, and one-half in civics.
At the end of the third year Spearman had an accredited High School, except for languages. College entrance was available. The Dean of West Texas SC (Mr. Shirley) had this writer to take Latin at WTSC again with , if a B average was made the first semester--I made it!!
third term came to a sorry close in the early hours of a
Wednesday morning, may 23, 1923. the old school building burned
in a roaring holocaust like a huge pile of tender. No
lives were lost, and hopes were in everyone's heart that a
bigger and better building to fill the needs of the growing
town, would soon take its place
the boy who made all the kids hold their nose when he entered
the room?? (His feet smelled bad.)
the boy, Eric Dodson, a Junior, who submitted the winning name
of �Lynx� for the Athletic Teams, and how opposing teams
yelled, �here comes the �Lenox� team.
What�s a Lynx?? They soon found out.
how Perryton spit at the players from the balcony in their new
Gymnasium?? They had an indoor court before Spearman.
the pretty blond curls of Myrtle Valentine?
Remember the New Essex automobile Bryan Bumpas drove (his fathers), and the paint pony of Johnny King?/
Remember the dances at Eva Cator�s home?
Remember the Snipe Hunt in the Davis maize field? Mrs. Cator got wind of the hunt, and foiled the foolers by taking the sack holder home with her.
Remember the nice refreshments she served afterward to all the snipe hunters (student body)?
If you can remember these when's, you are �Too Old for the Draft�.Romances blossomed at the new Spearman High, and time marched on. For the first Spearman students, time has not only marched---it has flown!!
The End Susie Pierce Dacus