Kinsearching March 15, 2009




Marleta Childs
P. O. Box 6825
LUBBOCK, TX 79493-6825

Spur, Dickens County, TX

     As we mentioned in the 8 February 2009 "Kinsearching" column, a "tent city" sprang up at the Spur site even before town lots went on sale on 1 November 1909. Realizing the importance of education, families were temporarily residing in tents in order for their children to attend the new school when classes started. The Texas Spur newspaper article, "Trustees Elected, Teacher Employed and school Will begin Monday Nov. 15th" provides an account of the school's origin.

     "About twenty-five citizens of Spur met Wednesday at the school house for the purpose of maiking (sic) efforts and arrangements to begin a school at Spur at once. Oscar JACKSON acted as Chairman of the meeting....A number of those present gave their views, some favoring a subscription school and others a free school, but W. M. BLACKWELL struck the key note to the situation when he stated that he favored electing a committee of trustees to employ a teacher, solicit donations from those who had no children in school and apportion the payment for students according to the amount secured for school purposes in any way. This plan met with approval of all present, and N. A. BAKER, Oscar JACKSON, and W. N. BLACKWELL were nominated and the committee of trustees.

     Professor ST. JOHN, a teacher of experience, was present and put in his application for the school....

     Since the Wednesday night meeting...the committee has employed Professor ST. JOHN and...the term of school will begin Monday, November 15th. The committee of trustees...have been most successful in securing donations and funds from the businessmen (and citizens of Spur and the surrounding country.)"

     Referring to families dwelling in tents, the article states that a number of them "...are not able to pay a large rate of tuition to school their children...." In order for all children to attend, the committee of trustees decided "...the most practical plan as adopted is to solicit donations from everybody, and since people of this country are used to free schools they will not be disappointed at Spur although this school district has not been awarded a dollar of the free school funds of the state...."(12 Nov 1909, p. 1, cols. 4-5)

     A year later, people continued to move to the new town so their children could obtain an education. "W. A. SMITH, of Red Mud, bought lots in Spur and is now having a residence built preparatory to moving his family for the benefit of the Spur School...."(4 Nov 1910, p. 1, c. 2)

     In addition to providing a place to teach students, the school building was sometimes used for other purposes. "Rev. H. M. SMITH of Abilene, will hold services for the Presbyterian people next Sunday at the school house." (4 Nov 1910, p. 1, c. 4)

     Along with the new town's growth of business and educational opportunities came people's interests in entertainment and civic activities. "Mr. and Mrs. LOBEER of Haskell, spent several days in Spur with a view of locating here in the near future. Mr. Lorbeer is a professional band and music teacher and no doubt will secure a large class here to instruct in music." (12 Nov 1909, p. 2, c. 5)

     According to this advertisement, another form of recreation may have eventually become available in the town: "For Sale - Two pool tables in good condition, will sell at a bargain price or will rent house in Spur in which to operate. Write Chas. COX, Rotan, TX, or call at the Spur office for further particulars." (12 Nov 1909, p. 1, c. 5)

     Individuals interested in joining social clubs were soon able to become members of various organizations. For example, "Barney JOHNSTON, deputy council for the Modern Woodmen of America, is here this week, organizing a camp in Spur." (12 Nov 1909, p. 3, c. 4)

(To be continued)

     (Editor's Note: For background information about this series of articles, see Kinsearching column dated 8 February 2009.)

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