Fannin County, Texas

From the Bonham Daily Favorite, May 10, 1924

Bonham Schools Have Interesting History

Public Schools Organized in 1891.  Early Struggle Was Hard One

The history of the Bonham Public Schools, which were organized in 1891, is very interesting indeed.  There were some schools in Bonham prior to 1891, but they were "pay schools", which only the people who were able to pay the fees were allowed to attend.  It was quite a natural consequence, then that there was a clash between the rich and the poor, for the poor were denied the privileges of an education, since they could not pay the necessary tuition fees.  The poor insisted that a free system of education be arranged; and to satisfy this demand, free schools were organized in Bonham in 1891.  The buildings used at that time, five in number, were already old.  Two of them were on the west side of town where the Duncan school now stands.  the first of these was a wooden building, which was called the Lyceum building, while the second was a brick building, known as Fannin College.

On the east side of town was another building on the site where the Bailey Inglish school now stands. This was known as the Masonic Building, since it was donated by the Masons, but only girls were allowed to attend this school.  Since this was the only school on the east side, the boys in East Bonham were forced to attend the schools in West Bonham.  Similar difficulties confronted the girls.  This was not at all satisfactory to the patrons, and, as a result, a quarrel ensued.  R. B. Semple, an influential man at that time, finally took the matter to the Supreme Court of Texas, where the question was settled, and boys were permitted to attend this school thereafter.

Two other buildings, one a private residence, used by the pupils in South Bonham, and the other an old wooden affair in Locksboro for the negroes, were also used during the early school history of Bonham.

The old buildings were used until 1903; but they had received such rough treatment at the hands of the pupils that it was hard to do effective work in them.  The matter was then submitted to the public, and in June [text missing] high school, too, and the other $5,000 was used to build three-fourths of the present Bailey Inglish school.

Then, in 1910 an additional $10,000 worth of bonds were voted to complete the Bailey Inglish school, to equip science laboratories, and to install manual training and domestic science in the high school.

In June, 1913, $76,000 worth of bonds were voted for the erection of the present high school, and in August, 1914, $10,000 more was raised by a bond issue to equip "Bonhi" as it is today.

When the Russell Heights section began to be settled up, the people asked that the negro school be moved from Locksboro.  Their request was granted, and the material from the old Lyceum building, which was torn down when the present Duncan school was built, was used to erect a school for negroes in East End. - Bonhi Weekly

Read more about the Bonham public schools:

Historical Marker:  Bonham High School Gymnasium and Auditorium

Historical marker: Booker T. Washington School, Bonham

‚ÄčThe Bonham High School yearbooks beginning in 1910 are at the Texas A&M University Commerce Northwest Texas Digital Collections project, provided by Bonham Public Library.

Bonham Schools