yesterday's tennessee

Yesterday's Tennessee


transcribed by Brad Rushing

William Henry Rushing's Autobiograpy, transcribed by me, from a photocopy of a handwritten draft. The next time I am in Houston I will examine the original to ascertain some of the unclear passages and margin notes. William Henry Rushing was my great grandfather, and the first child of John Bateman Rushing and Sarah Stack.

Brad Rushing, July 1999

<<Page 1 is missing. This takes up with Page 2>>

Some improvement had been made in transported in. One and two horse wagons were common, but the ox teams were still used and some farmers continued to use oxen to pull their ploughs, carts and wagons. When we went to church we walked if it were not too far. Our horses were allowed to rest on Sunday. Just a few people kept a saddle horse in order to save the energy of the work horses and mules. Practically all farmers raised their own stock. Grazing was good. Very little feed was necessary. All farmers raised their meat. The woods were still full of game. Deer, wild turkeys and squirrels. The deer and squirrels and coons had to be killed on account of their destroying our corn and peas. Men often hunted them in the night.

The had what they called a fire pan. This was fastened on their heads or on a long pole about five feet in length. By means of this light they could see the eyes of the deer and shoot at them. They seldom missed their mark. On one occasion I remember my father lighted a fine pair of eyes. He fired and when we went up low he had killed one of our neighbor's cows. Of course the cow had broken into our field, but he still had to pay for the cow. We only saw our neighbors once a month when we had preaching. These were great ous homes in the communities. The horses ere fed as well as the people. I have known as many as 40 horse (sic) to be fed in one day. It was considered a breach of etiquette to fail to feed the horses of our visiting friends.

The young people had great times on these occasions. On Saturday evening the mothers had the yards swept, the floors scrubbed and a big part of the Sunday cooking done. The church was only about a mile from our house so we always walked to the church so our horse could get a day of rest. It was in surroundings of this kind that I grew up. Hard labor for six days in a week (it was all I knew). No wonder we appreciated our Sunday.

The background which surrounds a child, I think, has much to do with the future of that child. Those who grew up in this time had much time for contemplation. The long winter evenings were spent around the family fire. There were few books in our home and newspapers came only once a week. As far as amusement was concerned we had none that would be considered amusement today. We knew so little of the outside world. But we did have our muscles developed by physical labor and our minds were filled by the teachings of our parents. Our ideas of right and wrong were well formed. How we craved to get out into the great big world outside our communities.

My earliest recollections are of vast forest, of wolves howling around our house, the scream of panthers that lurked near our cabin to prey upon our pigs and calves. My father worked in the field and the forest and many evening it was after dark when he came home. Often have I stood in the door of our cabin with my mother's skirts wrapped around me for protection from the howling wolves in the surrounding forest. I used to wish that my father could play the violin because I had been told that the pack of wolves would not attack a man if he would play some musical instrument. I shall never forget a picture in one of our old books. An old negro was sitting on a high fence playing his violin while a large pack of hungry wolves were circled around him with their hungry mouths opened.

Sometimes one of our neighbors would come over and sit until bed time. She would tell ghost stories and relate incidents about haunted houses. I would get closer and closer to my mother's chair until finally I found myself in her lap. I would have starved for water before I would have gone to the galery for a drink. My mother and father both worked in the field and I was always carried along to look after my baby sister.

From these facts you can get a good view of the environment of the subject of this narrative. It seems to me as I look back over my early life that these early environments have had much to do in shaping the mould (sic) of my mind. There are moments when I can feel these early impressions, the (st???ness) of the age, the solemn glory of the forest, the grandeur of nature before man had had an opportunity to deface nature's simplicity. The first seven years of my life was passed in this glorious atmosphere.

One morning my father was working in the garden. The raspberries were ripe, the red birds were singing in the trees, the blue jays were chattering in the trees, the mocking birds were filling the air with their melodious song, the black martins were hovering around the martin box, my little blackeyed sister and I were eating the early berries when old Brother McKnight suddenly appeared at the garden gate. After the customary salutation he informed my father that his daughter, Miss Laura, wanted to teach the Shady Grove school. The idea seemed to please my father and after the old gentleman had gone my father told my sister and I that we were to go to school this summer.

This was a new experience to us. Long did we discuss what it would be like. How anxiously we awaited the time. Mother told us what a fine woman Miss Laura was and how we would learn our A. B. C.'s In the meantime father had gone to town and bought two brand new blue back spellers. I shall never forget the most interesting thing to me in the book was the group of pictures in the back of the book. The most exciting one was a man was lying on the ground as if he were dead and a large bear was standing over him as if he would eat him. This worried me until my father informed me that the man was not dead but that he was holding his breath. He said that a bear would not eat a man if he thought the man dead.

When I compare the first book that came into my hands with the beautiful books of today, with the wonderful colored pictures, I wonder how the boys and girls of my age learned anything. Just the strange, funny characters that could have no possible significance to us. Of course our teachers, at least some of them, had initiative enough to connect A with apple. To me for a long time an A was an apple. B was a bucket and C was a cow and nothing more. I was very dumb. It took one whole three months for me to learn my alphabet so I could say it both ways. Then I had the almost impossible task of learning combinations of letters beginning with ac, ad, af and an. There were about ten pages of these combinations and then a few words were formed such as cat, rat, etc. We were then taught words of two sylables, then three and four sylables and so on until we were able to spell on the book and by heart the most important words in the book. When we had learned many of he words of two syllables we were allowed to have a first reader. McGuffy's was the standard in those days. Writing was not allowed in these early stages of development. I had completed the fourth reader before I was allowed to try to write. Reading and spelling was (sic) the first things that must be mastered. On the last day of school there was a great spelling match and the success of the term (?) was gauged by its results. The most certain way to win renown was to be able "to spell down" every one of the contestants. Each word must be pronounced and then spelled, the speller spelling and pronouncing each syllable separately and finally pronouncing them all together for instance ne-ces-l-ly (?). To fail in any of these particulars was to miss the word.

The course of study consisted of the proverbial three "R"s: Reading, Rithmetic and Riting. We had three month in the summer and sometimes four or five in the winter. This was true in almost all of the rural schools. Every farmer wanted a school near his farm. If he could get ten children together he could have a school and if he could get twenty he could have a public school, that is a school that the state would help pay the teachers.

The first morning I was to go to school was a time filled with joy and fear. Mother filled a new tin bucket with a nice lunch, and sister and I marched off for our first experience in the realms of knowledge. For 54 years this conquest has continued and the end is not yet. So far as my school life in the home community is concerned, there was very little difference. During these years I remember that my mathematics gave me much concern. I enjoyed my geography, history and reading. I read everything in our meager library. My uncle was a teacher once in his early life. He used to write me long letters. In these letters he often spoke of the wonderful opportunity for doing good and at the same time acquiring more knowledge. This appealed to my imagination. Often while working in the field I would build great air castles and picture myself as the teacher of our school.

There was little change in our community. My father was not able to send me to school. My heart yearned for an opportunity to prepare myself for some other work than that of farming. I wanted to go to one of our town schools where I could get better opportunities. My imagination became a raging storm. I could see no chance for me to be anything but a farmer. In this state of mind I was not an obedient son, did many things of which my father did not approve and things that I should not have done so far as that is concerned. But my mind was in such a tumult that I really did not realize what I was doing and so in the fall of 1885 I left home with my father's consent and began picking cotton for a Mr. Sisco who lived at old Linwood Crossing on the Angelina River. I soon learned that it was not such an easy matter to make a fortune in this old world as I had supposed. However I managed to make a few friends and money enough to pay my expense.

In December 1885 Mr. Lem Dickey of this same community offered me a position as helper on his farm. I accepted the offer and hired my horse to a Mr. Taylor. I found that I could not support myself and my horse, so I decided to let the horse work for its upkeep. I had thought my father a hard master but I soon learned that I had been mistaken. I filled my contract with Mr. Dickey. He paid me $12.00 a month and gave me my board and washing. Thus ended my stay from home for the first time.

In the fall of 1886 I returned home more determined than ever to be a teacher. Teachers were receiving at this time from $30 to $50 a month for 6 months in the year. This was much more, of course, than I had made. My father talked the matter over with me. I told my father of my cousin's success over in Shelby County. R. A. Rushing and his brother J. J. Rushing were both teaching at this time. Their work and success inspired me to new efforts and many dreams. My father could not advance me the money I needed but he proposed to give me all I could make with 20 acres of his farm, rent free, and give me my board. I seized the opportunity. Now I had a chance. I had learned by my previous years' experience that I could not save enough money to pay my expense in school for a year. I felt with one years' schooling I could pass the examination and get a certificate. My cousin R. A. Rushing had done it and I felt I was just as capable as he was.

It happened that this was a good crop year. I made 150 bushels of corn and seven bales of cotton. My corn brought me 50¢ a bushel and my cotton 7¢ a pound, on an average.

School opened at Chireno on the 15th of September and I had to hire most of my cotton pickers. I had to pay 50¢ a hundred to my pickers and there was some expense in getting my cotton gissed (?) and marketed. The most important thing was that I had money enough, by selling my horse and saddle, to pay my expenses for one year. My training had been inferior and had I been fully aware of the trials and hardships, humiliation and embarrassments before me, my heart might have failed - and today I might have been a farmer instead of just an ordinary school teacher. I am sure that I would be better off financially if I had stayed on our farm than I am today.

September the 15, 1887, my father carried me to Chireno. I was to board with Mrs. Roberts, the mother of J. J. Roberts who had been my teacher at Old Cross Roads. He was to give me my board for one term of school for my horse. Chireno was then about the same size as it is today, but they had one of the best schools in the country. Prof. J. E. Matthews was the teacher. I do not think I have ever known a man that has had more influence on my life than this man. Perhaps it was because he came into my life at this particular time. But he had the same influence on other lives as he had on mine.

I shall never forget my first week at Prof. Matthew's school. I was larger physically than I have ever been since. My weight was 160 pounds. To my sorrow I found that I was no further advanced than some of the ten year old children. The largest number of my classmates were of this age and to my sorrow they knew more about books than I did. I would miss the questions and most of them could answer the questions meant for me. I had a suspicion that the Prof. was making the questions easy for me to encourage me. By the end of my first week I saw my condition but instead of giving up an writing father to come after me, I was more determined than ever to accomplish what I had started out to do. It took hard study for me to keep up at first. I had a hard time after supper every evening to keep awake. Often I have left my room an raced up and down the street to get myself awake. Several times each night I have done the same thing. Had I lived in this time I'm sure some of the neighbors would have thought me training for the mile race. There were many very interesting happening during the year but it would make this story too long if I were to relate them.

By the end of this year I had been promoted from the small pupils classes and placed in a kind of teachers' training class. Many of the young men and women were preparing themselves for teachers. In June of this same year I went to Nacogdoches and took my first teachers' examination. Prof. McCloud held the examination and graded all of the papers. There were about ten applicants. Late Saturday evening he called us in and gave out certificates. The County Judge issued the certificate on the recommendation of the Board of Examiners. Never in my life have I had such a glorious feeling. I hurried home to show my certificate to my family. It was what was called a third grade certificate in those days, but the important thing to me was that I could now teach. How little we dream of the responsibilities that our small successes often bring us. The joy of possession for the time outweighs everything else. But soon I found that I was not satisfied. I must get a school. This was a hard problem. Finally one of our friends in the Pisgah Corn (?), where a new school house had been built offered me the school at the handsome salary of $20 a month. This was promptly accepted. Mr. Tom Blankshear offered to let me board at his house for $5 a month. This offer was also gladly accepted. I was now ready for my first real experience as a teacher.

My course in education consisted of the reading of Page's Theory and Practice of Teaching. From what I had learned from this book I felt myself fully competent to grapple with and win under any circumstances that might arise in the school room. How ignorant we are many times when we think ourselves wise.

The time set for my school to open was June 15th. On this Monday morning my father and myself were up early for he must get me to my school by 7 o'clock. Pisgah was about eight miles from our home. My father and I had to leave home by 5 o'clock. It took two hours for us to reach my school. We arrived on time. No children were on the ground. My father was in a hurry to get back home for at best he must miss half a day's work.

The school house was in a forest. The birds and squirrels were the only living things about me. My heart was full of hopes and fears. Little did I know of what awaited me. I was looking into a book world where ideal conditions prevail. I did not then know that human nature as a whole is not ideal. That many times our best laid plans must be changed in a moment and other plans made. This was the big surprise waiting for me in the next few hours. How much pleasure would be lost many times if we were permitted to see too far ahead.

In order that you may understand some of the things that I had to do, it will be necessary for me to tell you some of the difficulties that we early teachers had to meet. In the first place the school house was constructed for a church as well as a school house. The only seats we had were long benches about 14 feet long. One row on each side of the building. There was an aisle down the middle of the building. At the end of the building was a kind of stand that was called a pulpit and a teacher's desk or stand. There were no chairs of any kinds. No place for writing or other conveniences. The children sat on these long benches.

About 8 o'clock my students began to arrive. They stood around in small groups composed of the various families. They all seemed to be strangers to each other. When I thought most of them had arrived I came to the door and called them in. They looked scared and I know I was in the same state of mind. What I was to do with them was the question. I knew that I could not handle the 25 without some kind of program. There were no black board, no crayon and no place for a program to be placed so all could see it. So I thought the best thing to do would be to find out what kind of books they had. I decided to begin with the readers. I found some of them had one kind of a reader, others another. I soon found very few of them had any books alike.

I had as many classes as I had students. One student had a book on veterinary surgery. His father told me that was good reading and he wanted his son to learn that profession. One girl had a copy of Davie's Advanced Arithmetic. By the close of that day I was convinced that for some reason Mr. Page had left out of his Theory and Practice of Teaching the very things that I most needed. I found that I must construct a theory of my own. By the close of my first term at Pisgah I had managed to get my patrons to buy most of the books their children needed.

My first case of discipline occurred after I had been teaching about three weeks. In this community lived a man that was dreaded by most of the citizens. He was large man and was always in trouble. He had a brother in my school who had the same proclivities. One evening on the way home he had a fight. On investigation I found he was entirely to blame so I gave him a first class thrashing. That evening when I got home my friends with whom I was staying informed me that this big brother was likely to try to give me a beating. That night I thought up a lot of brave talk for this brother in case he should try to punish me. In my mind I had won a great victory. The next morning I was at the school house early. I heard a horse galloping and in a few minutes I saw it was the big brother. He carried a shot gun. Where my speech went I do not know. I felt sick. I'm sure there was no blood in my cheeks. My knees were beating a tune, my voice almost left me. By this time he was at my side and laughingly said "I'm glad you thrashed that boy - do it again if he needs it" and rode on. I'm not sure that I ever spoke to him, but talk about loads. One was rolled off my shoulders. I have had many rounds with parents and relatives in my life but nothing has ever given me such a scare before or since.

I again taught in this community during the fall and winter. School did not commence until the middle of October so I again went to Chireno to better prepare myself for my work. Miss Bertha Kirkley was one of my teachers. Later she accepted work in the Sam Houston Normal Institute and was teaching History there when I entered that institution some time later.

My school closed at Pisgah the first of March. Mr. Frank Marshall a friend of mine was teaching at Melrose and had asked me to come there when my school was out. So I decided to go. I spent the Spring under his instruction. He and his wife were both going to Hunstville the next year. I had long wanted to attend this institution but my funds were low and I had to find another school. The Pisgah school was offered to me but the pay was too small. I felt I ought to have more than $25 a month. While I was considering this proposition the Trustees of Mount Mariah Community came to see me and offered me $40.00 a month for three months during that summer. That was just what I wanted so I accepted their proposition. I had to meet the same proposition in regard to books in this community. I had good luck in getting my patrons to buy books that were alike so I could have better classification. This term was very successful. People seemed to be satisfied with my work and so closed my third term of school.

My good friends F.P. Marshall and wife were going to attend the Sam Houston Normal Institute during the year 1889 - 90. I made my plans to attend myself. In those days the Representative of our district in the legislature was Hon. A. D. Hamilton of Hemphill. He had the authority to appoint one student to this school. I met him at Melrose and secured his promise to appoint me to this position. It was customary to have a competitive examination but as no one but me came I received the appointment. This appointment paid $50 which added to my $90 saved from school that summer was all that I had to pay every bit of my expense. You may be sure that I was not a society light.

In September 1889 my father put my old iron covered trunk in the wagon and carried me to Nacogdoches where I met Mr. and Mrs. Marshall. Our train came I on time and we pulled out. My father purchased my ticket. I had never bought one and did not know just how to proceed in such a case. We changed cars at Corrigan and went over by way of Trinity where we boarded the Southern Pacific.

At the noted city of Phelps which place was crowded with other students we took the famous Huntsville Airline, a tap road of the Southern Pacific. I suffered much uneasiness here for fear I never would see that trunk of mine again. After about 2 hours delay we were on our way to the famous old city. There were so many trunks on that train. I was afraid I never would be able to get mine so jumped off the train and ran back to the baggage coach and stood there for a long time watching for that famous trunk that contained my extra trousers and a spare shirt. Soon I was on my way to Mrs. McGowan's where I was to make my home for the year. My room mate was a man by the name of Woolsey. In the opposite room was a W.K. O'Banion and John Hill. We were a quiet group for we knew what we were there for. Mrs. McGowan was a real mother to us. I was anxious for Monday to come so I might begin my ...

Early Monday morning we went to the College Building. At this time there was but one building, the old Austin College building. Just in front of it was a new building that was not complete. We were lined up and registration was begun. I was placed in the C. Class, the lowest class that was taught. The course was about the same as is now given to our third year high school, but it was enough for me. There were only three classes at that time A. B. C., each of which was divided. There were two C classes, 6 B's and 3 A's. Shortly after school started I was placed in the B6 class. Some of the members of the class were Drew Davis of San Augustine County, E.L. Angier of Huntsville and Annie Baker of Houston, Zoe Baldwin also of Huntsville. Miss Baldwin was the daughter of Dr. Joseph Baldwin, the then President of the institute. H.F. Estille was a young man and the teacher of Latin, and the young woman who later was his wife, Miss Lulu Sexton, was the teacher of American History. Joe Pritchet was the head of the Mathematics Department, Dr. Carr Pritchett taught Education and did some work in the Math Department. Some other teachers that will never be forgotten were Prof.s Coleman, Halley and Miss McCoy. Miss McCoy was especially remembered by most of us because she was so hard boiled. No student of those days could forget her as the teacher of drawing. One teacher that had great influence on me was Miss Eliott, teacher of English. Through the influence of her teaching I learned to love the subject of English

At the end of this year I received a first grade certificate which placed me in the ranks of our best teachers of that time. On arriving at home I was elected to teach our community school for the summer. The term lasted three months. At the end of this term I was offered a years' contract but in the meantime my friends Prof. G.M. Hale and John Stripling offered me a position in the Red Oak school, a new school that they were building up. This school was seven miles from Nacogdoches on the Lin (?) Flat road.

We had a large attendance and many students came from surrounding communities and counties. Prof.s Hale and Stripling gained so much influence from their work in this community that Garrison, a growing young town offered them work. A new school had been built and the citizens felt that these men could build a great school for them. They were not disappointed. The Garrison school soon became the most popular school in the county and also in that part of the state.

Good schools were uncommon in those days. The high school of today was unknown. We had schools that were something like our high schools, but they were known as Academics. These institutions were poorly equipped. Many of them offered degrees, but these degrees carried very little influence. Men who held degrees from standard colleges were very few. We had preparatory school where students went to get ready for college. Then in order to enter any of these colleges it was necessary to take an entrance examination. Such a thing as an affiliated school was not known. Many small towns had what was designated as a college. Nacogdoches, Patroon, Jasper, Huntsville, San Augustine, Pennington, Trinity County and many other places had institutions of this kind. Most of them were sponsored by some church.

It was about this time that the office of State Superintendent of Public Instruction was created. Prof. J.M. Carlisle was the first man to hold this position. The school affairs of each county was managed by the County Judges, who were called Ex Officio Superintendents of Schools. The people did not think it necessary to increase their tax burdens by raising funds necessary to pay such a county official.

In these days we had teachers institutes but teachers received no pay for attending. Not only this but they had to lose the day or hire a substitute which was a hard thing to do. I have often gone on horseback to these meetings through sleet, snow or storms. The good of our schools was uppermost in our minds. The discussions would not have been so interesting to a modern audience of teachers but to us they were just as important. One of the questions was the grading of our school, uniform textbooks, school supervision, proper classification, school libraries, etc. Sounds very modern does it not? Under the head of supervision came the question of County Superintendent. We were generally sold on this question. Some of the teachers though even opposed the proposition. They believed it would be too expensive and further they did not want any one meddling with their schools. The question was discussed at every meeting of our institute. Finally committed were appointed to take the matter before the Commissioner's Court. They had power to appoint a County Superintendent if they could be made to see that it was necessary. That was our job.

I was teaching at Red Oak at this time. It was during this summer, 1893, that I was elected to a position in the Nacogdoches University. During my last years as a student in the institution, 1895, I did some teaching in the high school department of that institution. At that time the college took care of the public school. My office was that of first assistant or principal. Dr. W.P. Arnold was President of the Institution. I taught there from 1895-1897.

In 1897, I was elected supt (?) or principal of the Joaquin school in Shelby County. I assumed my duties there in October of 1897. I remained there from 1897 to 1899. In 1899 I resigned my position and went back to Sam Houston Normal Institute. At the end of this session I received my diploma which granted me a life time certificate.

I now felt that my professional career was established and that it was time for me to get married. I was now 31 years old. Now comes the lost (?) romance.

When I went to Shelby County I met through the courtesy of my life long friend M.B. Brown, Miss Nannie Bryan who was a teacher and who had been a student of Brown's in the Tenaha High School. Of all the young women whom I had ever met this young woman was the most charming. We met at institutes and it was not long before I became a constant visitor to Tenaha. Our attachment grew and in September of 1899 I proposed marriage. She did not accept at once. She put me off from time to time but finally, a few months before I was to leave for Huntsville she accepted my proposal. To say I was happy would not half way express it.

During my absence there was constant correspondence. Just as soon as I received my diploma I hurried back to Shelby County and to Tenaha - and in a few days we were married. This I consider the most important event in my whole life. Our honeymoon consisted of a trip to Joaquin. It was a shame but true that I was flat broke, had no money and could get none. My cousin, R.A. Rushing, with whom I had lived ever since I came to Shelby County gave me some relief in the way of credit. It was to his house that I brought my wife. He and his wife were my best friends.

During the summer I again taught the Joaquin school. My wife assisted me. During this summer, Mr. A.E. Day and I were elected to teach the Center High School, he being Superintendent and I principal. When our school was out at Joaquin wife and I moved to Center. This was in the year 1900.

The school at Center was in a run down condition. Discipline had been poor. It was the task of Mr. Day and myself to put the school in good condition. Both of us had many friends in Shelby County. I had considerable influence in Nacogdoches County. Now we must do our best to make good. We did much advertising in the newspapers, sent out our catalogues to our former students and friends in adjoining counties and as a result had on our opening day the largest school Center had ever known. In fact there was no school in our section that was larger. The town was full of boarding students.

I worked five years in this school. It was at this time that the idea of affiliating schools with the University of Texas became important. Of course Center High School must not be behind other schools of the state so we began preparation for obtaining affiliation. We were successful in getting 10 credits. This was an important achievement for us.

The question of a County Superintendent was the next goal of the teachers of the county. We spoke at every voting box of the county but did not get our proposition popular enough for a vote at the general election. Out next move was to get the County Commissioners interested. This move was successful and Mr. A.E. Day was appointed to the office. This left me in charge of the school. Day gave part of his time to the Center school and part to the County Superintendent's office. All the work for both offices was too much for him and when the regular election came Frank Whiteside was persuaded to make the race for this office and was elected.

John Bryan Rushing was born November 12, 1902.

In the summer of 1905 I was elected Superintendent of San Augustine School which position I accepted and moved to San Augustine sometime in August. I rented the Pat Smith place. This was a good place for it was near my friends R.H. and O.L. Hall.

San Augustine had a hard name s(?) as schools were concerned. One teacher had been whipped by one of the patrons and the man before me missed it by a scrap. I did not mean to have the experience of either of them. School finance was in bad shape. The board of trustees gave me $1000 a year. This was all the public money they had. Money to pay teachers had to be raised by private subscription. This was done in a short time and I was soon able to offer positions to teachers. The most important teacher to be employed of course was a principal. I tried hard to get my old friend C.L. Beason to take the place but was not able to offer him enough money. I got a letter about this time from B.W.M. Martin who had just completed the course at Sam Houston Normal Institute. We contracted with him. Miss Carrie Bock, Miss Annie Hazel, Fern Short were among the teachers for the first year.

I shall never forget my first visit to the school grounds. The weeds were so high around the building that you could just see the tops of the windows. On the grounds were two buildings, one known as the old Weslian College and the other as the new building. There were not one in ten window panes in the windows of both buildings. All kinds of vulgarity was scribbled on the walls. The seats, what few there were, were wrecks, and no money to buy more. What I was to do was a puzzle to me. But where there is a will there is a way.

About all I had was a will to do. I went to work with a will. I talked school, wrote in the county papers about school until my patrons began to feel as I did about it. By the time school was open in September I had everything in very good shape. Many out of town students were present. My good friend Rev. G.L. Crockett consented to conduct the opening program with a scripture reading and prayer. Many leading citizens were present. The school spirit was good both among teachers and students as well as parents. I was fortunate to live and teach so that I did not have any trouble with the many factions that existed in the town. For many years there had been bitter feeling among some of our leading citizens. Many of the prominent families had been entangled in these feuds and many lives had been lost on its account. But brighter days were in store for the old town and its citizens. Whiskey had been put out. Just one attempt was made to put it back after I went there, but it was unsuccessful. With the departure of the saloon causes for the flare-up of the old feuds was less. People seemed glad to be relieved of that burden. One reason we were able to accomplish so much was that we had such men as Capt. E.D. Downs, O.L. Hall, R.H. Hall and many other who stood for good government and Christian citizenship. No town, county, state or nation can rise above the majority of its citizens ideals. People have what the majority want whether they like it or not. Eleven of the most pleasant years of my life were spent in this city.

The second year I spent here a new brick building was constructed. The old buildings were moved away. The nice sycamore trees now in the grammar school yard were then just small saplings. I had a hard time protecting them for the first few years. For each succeeding year the school grew. There was never a year that I did not have enough students who paid tuition to pay my entire salary. Students came from Nacogdoches, Sabine and Shelby Counties to our school. Many times I had offers of a raise in salary, but each time I refused because there was still so much to do there. One often feels that a piece of work must be completed before he leaves it. This does not mean of course that I had no battles to fight. I had them but in each case I tried to decide what was right before I acted. The majority seemed to see the matter as I did and continued to support me. I have always been fortunate in this respect. I held this position for eleven years.

In the summer of 1916 I was elected Superintendent of Groveton Public School. I sold out my home, retaining seven acres of land in the city of San Augustine, and moved my family to Groveton. I rented a house from a Mr. Womack. Just across the street from this house lived a member of my Board of Trustees, a Mr. Lum Poe. In this town also lived my good friend Robert Minton. My wife also had a school friend, a Mrs. Hayne Nelms, whom she had known in Terill some years before. We soon felt at home in this city.

We lived here for eight years. I was now only a short distance from Huntsville. Every summer I taught in the Sam Houston College and carried a few courses. In the summer of 1924 I took my B.A. Degree from this college.

During this summer I was elected as Supt. of the Hemphill school and moved to this place where I have lived ever since. until 1937 or 13 years.

Mr. Norm Kenner (?) had been Supt. of the school and was very popular with all the patrons and children, but he was leaving the school business for other work. So this gave me a good start. One amusing incident occurred in connection with my election. Mr. Henry Nixon, chairman of the board, asked me if I remembered giving him a whipping when I taught at Joaquin in 1897. Of course I did not, but it was a coincidence in my teaching career. I had paddled so many little boys I could not remember this one.

Whether it was deserved or not I had the reputation of being a school builder. I was determined that I would try to justify that reputation. So I began to cast around for teachers. Miss Tennie Minton and Miss Mable Bright had been teachers under Mr. Kenner and were popular in the community so I gave them places, the same they has under Mr. Kenner. Mr. Harry Brewton was given the High School principal position. There was much work to do. At this time Temple Lumber Co. had a large sawmill here. They had a school for small children. Our first job was to try to consolidate East Mayfield, the name of the lumber company's community with the Hemphill Ind. School Dist. We accomplished this and were able to get the cooperation of the official of this community.

At this time it was very important that all high schools be approved by the University of Texas so students could enter the University or any first class college without having to tae an entrance examination. This object we proposed to accomplish. So we made application for the Hemphill High School. In the early spring of the following year the examiner visited our school and gave us the necessary credits for full affiliation. This gave us much more influence with the communities in the county. They wanted to send their high school students to us so they could enter college without examination. This fact helped us in another way. It brought the Co. Supt. and his teachers to us for advice. This also caused me to visit the county schools which enabled me to meet the citizens and get their confidence.

The hardest thing that we had to meet was bad roads. Through the Commissioners Court with the cooperation of the State Highway we were able to get most of the roads repaired. Many of the communities put on school busses. At this time the State Department of Education offered to pay part of the transportation cost if the committees would pay the remainder. In order for me to get these propositions approved it was necessary for me to take the president of my Board of Trustees to Austin with me. We made several trips and were successful.

<<Page 35 is missing>>

We went over the plans, prices, etc. He was to make further investigations and notify me. Julia, Nannie and myself then went to Tenaha for a short visit. While at Tenaha we had a call from Mr. Jones asking that we come to Lufkin at once. We left Tenaha for Lufkin at once. Had a short conference with Mr. Jones after which we closed the deal. Nannie and Julia went back to Livingston and I stayed at Lufkin. I secured a room and board at the Cook Hotel. Finally Nannie and Julia came to Lufkin. We all stayed at the hotel until we could get a house which we soon did. It was located on Hoskins Street. We only lived at this place about two weeks. We found a place at 621 Kiln Ave. On Oct. 27, 1941 we moved to this place. We lived here until Oct. 31, 1947.

On August 13, 1941 I paid Mr. McNeu $1800 for the groceries and produce. I later found that the meat counter had a balance due on it. So I had to finish the payments and the meat box or call (?). When I got the business cleared I found that I had spent about $4000.00.

We lived at Lufkin from Aug. 13th 1941 to Nov. 1, 1947. J.P. Jones and I continued the business for this period. The business prospered. I really made more clear money that I had ever made before. I was happy in Lufkin. I made many friends. Jones and I got along fine, but occasionally he would have a spell of the blues, but he was honest and a hard worker. So I could overlook bad (?) spells.

Bryan lived at Houston and Nannie wanted to move there. Very reluctantly I consented to the move. Nannie and Bryan felt that I should retire. I know my health was not up to par. This fact finally decided the matter. I took the matter up with Jones and he proposed to buy me out. He gave me $4000.00 for my interest. During the time this deal was under consideration Bryan phoned me that he had closed a deal for a house and lot on Longpoint Rd. 8742 at this time Nancy and Bill Smith lived just a short distance down this way, on the opposite side, and his father and mother just opposite this place. Jerry Gunn (?) let us have the property for $10,000. We rented this place to Mr. Gunn for $65.00 a month. He was to give us the place no later than Nov. 1st 47. We went back to Lufkin, closed up our business there and renter both of our houses. On November the first all of our goods were loaded on Robt Denuns (?) truck (?) and we left the little home I loved so much.

Bryan then lived on Ardmore Blvd. When we got to Houston we went to his place, stayed a short time, then drove over to Longpoint. Mr. Gunn was moving out. Our van failed to turn on Longpoint Rd. and went up Hempstead Highway several miles, discovered their error and returned. This caused them to be a little late. Everything was unloaded and put in place. Mr. Smith and Bill installed our stove and washing machine. We had dinner at home Nov. 1st 1947. We lived at this place until 1950. Each year I had a good garden. Nannie and Julia put up the vegetables that I raised. I improved the property each year. By 1950 I had the place in good shape, but it kept me busy all the time to do it so we bought a house and lot in Houston heights and moved to it. This place was not so hard to keep up. We lose gift (?). In the meantime we bought a place at 819 East 24th St. in Houston heights, but Julia did not like the place nor did we because we had to go through Julia's room in order to reach our room, so we sold this place to Mr. A.J. Maresh (?). I suppose we are located at 1836 Cortland for the remainder of our journey on this terrestrial sphere. This place is close to stores, the post office and our church, Tem(ple?) Baptist Church. We enjoy living (at) this place.

Subject: Additional Information
Date: Mon, 5 Jul 1999 04:43:09 EDT

Hi David -

This is a line of the family descended from:
William Henry RUSHING
•BIRTH: 10 FEB 1869, NACOGDOCHES CO, TX [S24108]

I have additional information on him, his wife and descendants, with more to come. Some of the information below you have, some you do not. I am including EVERYTHING I currently know for completeness' sake.

William Henry Rushing
Birth: 2/10/1869, Nacogdoches Co., TX
Death: 7/12/1962
Marriage: 6/3/1900

His Wife:
Nancy (Nannie) Kelly Bryan
Birth: 1879

Nancy Kelly Bryan's parents:
Andrew Bacon Bryan (Birth: 1841), Nancy Kelly McClellan

Andrew Bacon Bryan's parents:
Allen Bryan (Place of Birth: Salem, Ala), Sarah Pou (Place of Birth: Salem, Ala)

William Henry Rushing and Nancy Kelly Bryan had one child, a son:
John Bryan Rushing, MD
Birth: 1903, Center, TX
Death: 1994

He married 4 times. The first two times, with children. His wives were:
Vlasta Kopecky
Vlasta Kopecky's parents were:
Joseph Kopecky (Death: July 1914, Taiton, Wharton Co. TX) and Josephine Malinak (Birth: 1862, Hrozenkov, Moravia, Austria-Hungary) They were Married: 4/21/1883, Fayetteville, TX

John Bryan Rushing, MD and Vlasta Kopecky had two children:

Other wives were Marjorie, Margaret, Bonnie Mann

John Bryan Rushing Jr. married:
Mary Elizabeth Mack
Birth: 8/12/1931, Calgary, Alberta Canada
They were married: July 22, 1963 in Houston, TX
Mary Elizabeth Mack's parents were Harry Morton Mack (Birth: 4/9/1880, Mill Village, Nova Scotia, Canada;
Death: 12/19/1969, Calgary, Alberta, Canada), Bessie Johnson Gunn (Birth: 5/9/1892, Brule, Nova Scotia, Canada; Death: 9/8/1962, Calgary, Alberta, Canada). They were married: January 1, 1929 at Parsonage, Calgary, Alberta, Canada.

John Bryan Rushing, Jr and Mary Elizabeth Mack have three children:


Go to Autobiography of John Bateman Rushing
Go to John Bateman Rushing Family (photographs)

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