Fannin County, Texas

Bonham Daily Favorite, April 22, 1924

School Districts to Consolidate

Last Thursday night the people of three school districts near Ladonia, namely: Woods, Providence and Bartley, met at the Woods school house to consider the matter of consolidating the three districts.  There were a number of experienced school men present and addressed the audience.  Among these were Profs. Bledsoe, Hall and Cowling of the East Texas Normal, T. D. Mayo of Ladonia and Supt. Spencer.  The people were much impressed by what they heard.  Accordingly on Saturday representatives from each of the three districts met here in the county superintendent's office and made plans for consolidation.  They secured petitions calling an election for the purpose of voting on the issue.

If the voters favor the move, a new school building will be erected in the center of the district and a first-class school maintained.  Under the present law any two or more districts consolidating now will be given $1000 by the state to aid in the erection of a new and suitable building.

Officers:  Mrs. Wm. Keltzer, Mrs. Joe Wesendorff, Mrs. W. I. Bishop, Mrs. Henry Youree

Local Officers:  Farris Pirtle, Mrs. Ewell Ratton, Mrs. Homer Smith; Greta McKenzie; Alta Thomas; Mrs. H. P. Chaney

Committee Chairman: Mrs. W. C. Turman, Edythe Gant, Ruth Carpenter, Wilson Pirtle, Mrs. Earl Cummings, Mrs. Edgar Todd, Hugh Hilliard, Mrs. I. D. Duncan

Room Mothers:  Mrs. A. N. Todd, Mrs. Homer Smith, Mrs. Frank Hulsey, Mrs. Newt Claxton, Mrs. E. H. Taylor; Mrs. Ewell Ratton, Mrs. Isaac Duncan

This book is lovingly dedicated to Farris Pirtle in appreciation of his unselfish service to the children of this community.

Remembering Bartley-Woods School

Article from the Bonham Daily Favorite by Jacqueline White

Saturday, April 26, 1997, former students, teachers, employees and many friends of Bartley-Woods School (1891-1958) will gather together in remembrance of a very special time in their lives.

After working long and hard many dedicated individuals are looking forward to their 4th Reunion and the dedication of a Texas Historical marker, on the site of their former school. 

The history of the school which served many children in Fannin County from the year 1892 until 1958 is recorded as follows by Betty Odum and Eric Burnett.

Before 1892 all Fannin County rural schools were designated by number.  Three schools were found to from the nucleus for the Bartley-Woods School.  On June 12, 1892 the Fannin County Commissioners Court ordered that elections to be held throughout the county to elect trustees of the various school districts.  Among the schools listed were Woods School #42, Providence School #41 and Bartley School #51.  By the late 1920's with the improvement of the rural road system, small schools serving a limited area were no longer needed.  The result was the consolidation of some of these schools which would produce larger school systems able to offer a wider variety of educational experiences at lower costs.

In 1932 the Fannin County Board of School Trustees ordered the consolidation of Bartley and Woods Schools with the Bartley building designated as the school site.  These records fail to mention the dissolution of the Providence school, but former students and residents of the area have stated that Providence was also consolidated with the other two schools at the time.  In 1938 permission was given to the trustees of the Bartlely-Woods district to sell the Providence School building.  In 1940, the final act of consolidation added the Hail School to the district.

A modern brick building, costing $40,000 was completed in the fall of 1940 with the assistance of the WPA and Hoke Smith as architect.  The new Bartley-Woods school had seven classrooms, a superintendent's office with a telephone, a library and an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300.  The building was of brick veneer with hardwood floors throughout the interior.  Butane gas provided heat for the class rooms.  Out-houses for boys and girls were detached from the building because there was no pressurized water system, sewer or septic systems.  The landscaping was done by Howard Ricketts (one of our bus drivers and custodian) supervised by Fannin County Home Demonstration Agent, Oleta Y. Stubblefield.  A new lunch room was available where students could buy a hot lunch or a student could eat a sack lunch brought from home.  A tool shed that was used by the WPA for storage, was renovated into a two room dwelling for our custodian/bus driver to live in.

During these years the school was structured to provide eleven years of education.  By 1940 the state mandated a change and the twelfth grade was added.

The faculty of seven teachers were:  Farris Pirtle, Superintendent, Wilson Pirtle, Hugh M. Hilliard, Mrs. Ruby Chaney, Elizabeth Gant, Alta Thomas and Greta Mae McKenzie.  These teachers were responsible for more than one grade.

With the beginning of Bartley-Woods School in the fall of 1941, attendance was down, but by late October 1941, attendance averaged about 200.  It has been suggested that the rise in attendance was the result of children returning to school after an Autumn spent picking cotton in the fields of Fannin County.  In the 1942-43 school year, the students went to "summer school."  This allowed them t assist in gathering the cotton (main crop) through September.

The first class to graduate from the new Bartley-Woods School was in 1941.  Graduates were Adna Duncan, Ima Mae Butler, Jill Blassingame, Nadene Claxton and Wayne Claxton.  All are still living except Adna Duncan.  Their graduation ceremony was held in the new auditorium with all the students, faculty and parents attending.

Graduates from the last class of Bartley-Woods School included: James Ray Clark, Emma Jean Patterson, Melba Lee Duncan, Betty Lou McCormack and Shirley Jean Smith, 1948.

One of the more memorable events that remain in the minds of many of the students at the new school was the surprise attack on Pearl Harbor by Japanese forces; on Dec. 7, 1941, thus forcing the United States into World War II.  Wilson Pirtle, a teach,er recalls on Dec. 8th, taking a little radio to school, plugging it in, in the auditorium, called an assembly, and listening to President Franklin D. Roosevelt ask Congress to declare war on Japan.

In the school's history, 34 teachers devoted themselves to the education of Bartley-Woods students.  Thirty-one men guided the fortunes of the school as trustees.  Eleven men faithfully served as drivers of the Bartley-Woods buses, seven cafeteria workers served lunches daily to the students, and three librarians served the students faithfully.

Greta Mae McKenzie, Alta Thomas and Roberta Little McRae remained in their position for many years.

For years the school served as a focal point for the entire community.  The students, teachers, parents and community cooperated and worked together and supported each other in order to have a better school.  Some examples were PTA, Box suppers, Halloween carnivals and always a play at the end of the school year.

In the 1950s rural education began to change rapidly.  The most drastic of the changes came with the consolidation of most of the smaller country schools with the larger towns and cities of the area.  Bartley-Woods was closed in 1958.  For the next several years it served as Community Center for residents.  Finally in 1991 the plant and grounds were sold and razed, leaving only the auditorium standing empty  The school may be gone, but many happy memories remain to those who attended this fine school.

Marker Text:

Several rural schools existed in Fannin County in the 1890s, including Bartley School and Woods School.  In 1932 the County School Board consolidated the schools, along with Providence School and formed the Bartley-Woods School.  Three teachers were responsible for not only the consolidation, but for teaching a wide range of subjects.

A new brick building, designed by Architect Hoke Smith, was erected here in 1940 on land acquired by the Bartley-Woods School District.  Constructed with assistance from the Works Progress Administration, the new school building included seven classrooms, a library, cafeteria, and an auditorium with seating for 300 people.  The modern campus served a large area.  By 1941 seven teachers instructed about 300 pupils.  A gymnasium was added to the school in the early 1950s.

The school not only provided quality education for youth, but also community programs that benefited farmers and returning veterans after World War II.  The building also served as a community center for the area for several years.

The County School Board closed the Bartley-Woods School in 1958.  The building was razed in 1991.


From Windom, take FM 1743 south 6.6 miles to FM 1550, then west on FM 1550 approximately .2 miles to right-of-way.

View a wonderful history of the Bartley-Woods School with many photographs.  Bartley-Woods School History, 1892-1958

​See photos of the Woods School on the Fannin County GenWeb site.

Bartley-Woods School