The following is taken from
History of the Gober Public School 1889-1969
By Dr. Mack R. Broiles
Gober, a community located approximately 10 miles Southeast of Bonham was settled on the head water of the Sulphur River. Gober is approximately 150 years old dating back to the time when Texas was a Republic. In 146, the town was fist called Grittersville. It acquired its name because of a stem-powered grist mill that stood on a two acre lot located between the Vernon Sudderth and Paul Hilliard homes.
One of the earliest settlers was Jerry A. Bone. He and his family came to this community in 1845 from Green County, Missouri. Mr. Bone and his wife, Rachel, had 12 sons and one daughter. All of the sons fought in the Civil War.
Another early settler was the R. P. Henderson family in 1845. He was a minister preaching the fospel on Sunday and farming during the week. He held a summer church for all religious denominations. His summer church gave many children and adults an introduction to reading and understanding.
In 1847, the James M. Carpenter Sr. family came to the area and settled on Rock Creek. They came from Alabama i ncovered wagons drawn by owen. It took about 6 months for them to complete the trip. In 1976, there had been a Carpenter living in Gober for the past 128 years. The Carpenter family donated most of the land for the Gober Cemetery. they also donated some of the land for the Gober School.
These early settlers came to stay and settle permanently in this area. They brought a vast amount of knowledge and wanted their children to receive a goo education. They also brought with them many different cultures, but shared the same basic moral values. These native peculiarities and cosmopolitan ideas have combined to produce some strange manners and customs among the people of this county.
Through the years of 1853 to 1895, many settlers continued to come to Fannin County and settled in the Gober area. Some of the names of these early settlers were as follows: Geoge W. Biggerstaff 91853), who raised a family of 13. His brothers and sister, Bill, Benjamin, James, John, and Elizabeth settled nearby in 1854.
O. I. Jackson organized the Church of Christ in 1855. This was one of the first churches organized in Grittersville. James Christian is recorded as the fist Postmaster in 1879.
People continued to travel into the community. Mr. K. C. Henslee was from Alabama and had come to Texas to fight in the war with Mexico. He served as a tax collector and was an active civic leader. Mr. Henslee died from a heat attack in 1861 in the county courthouse. It is said that he had acquired many acres of fertile, black land south of Grittesville for a saddle and a few cents per acre. Carter states land to be $5 o $25 per acre in the Gober area.
Another family who joined the Grittesville community was the Eli and Penelope Woodson family from Missouri. They arrived in 1874 and made many contributions to the community. Joseph M. Nevill (1878), moved into the community from Illinois and for the next 50 yeas worked faithfully and loyally to bette Gober's growth. Fom the Nevill family came respected citizens such as John Nevill, a leading doctor in the county. Joseph Nevill established a cotton gin and was a postmaster.
As time and progress moved along, in the late 1800's the township of Gittersville grew, according to The Texas State Gazette and Business Directory, to a population of 250. In 1885, Jim Eads, Charlie Stafford, and Lijah Peters helped "lay off" the town site and changed the name from Grittersville to Gober in honor of early settlers J. J. and Wisdom Gober. The Gazette also indicated that at this time Gober had two churches, a public school, a drug store, shoe shop, restaurant, syrup mill, wood shop, undertaker, tailor and press shop, butcher shop, saloon, saw mill, several grocery stores, ice company, general mercantile store, and the mail was delivered tri-weekly.
An 1892 map of Fannin County details the original land owners of the paticular sections of land within the county. The map was compiled and drawn by C. W. Presler.
John Lannius moved from Tennessee to Gober in 1894. He and his new wife, Laura McMurray fom Blossom, operated a grocery store in Gober from 1894 to 1897 when they moved to St. Louis so he could attend medical school. In 1901, they returned to Fannin County where he practiced medicine for the remainder of his life.
The Herman Jinks, Rose Helton Smith, and Sam Porter families came to Gober together in the early 1900's from Alabama. Charlie Stafford owned and operated the stone quarry located in Gober. James Gooch, R. L Peters, Robert Reed., C. H. Stafford, and the Pennington brothers were all stone masons at this time. The Bonham News wrote of the excellence of Fannin County stone quarries at Gober: "It is here that the celebrated Fannin County stone quarries are located. Stone from these quarries is now in use in more than 20 counties in the stated. More than 7,000 tons of this stone have been sold in the last three years, going as far south as Waco and east to Marshall." The Bonham County Courthouse, which still stands today, was built with stone from the Gober quarries. The jail also was built with the stone which was hauled to town in wagons.
A complete stone fireplace and mantel from the Gober quarries was exhibited at the Dallas Fair. A railroad was all that Gober needed for transportation of the stone. Although Gober was on the surveyed line of the Denison, Bonham and New Orleans railway, that dream was never realized.
The Gober Cemetery has the earliest markers in Fannin County. It is the burial place of Confederate War soldiers whose markers have become worn and weather by time. The cemetery is also the location of the annual Gober picnics that occurred from 1900-1902's. The cemetery currently hosts a Memorial Day program on the third Sunday in May each year.
In the early years of the town, education became increasingly important to these families. Gradually, as the community grew, there was a need to consolidate the educational efforts. A community school was developed. Prior to the 1880's and 1890's, although the state was supposed to furnish financial aid, when it was not paid, the communities paid for the costs of the school. This aid included the payment of a teacher, allowing money on a per pupil basis. Generally, the procedure was for the County Judge to submit to Austin the names of the children of the community listed by teachers.
The Gober Public School, referred to earlier in The Gazette, was a one-room building used as the town's educational and social center. Both the Baptist Church and the Church of Christ held their worship services in the same building. The Gober School was considered to be a community school. Community schools were used to educate the students in the rural areas, because of the hardships of travel at the time. They were housed in various and sundry ways. Some were in little one-room log houses or in the homes of the teachers. In some instances, land was donated to the community by citizens, and the buildings wee built by the citizens of the communities.
In the late 1880's and early 1890's, a new system of schooling began and the old community regime ended. In December of 1891, Fannin County was divided into 134 districts, which included Gober. At approximately this same time, Mr. J. M. Biggs was elected the fist County Superintendent of Fannin County serving from 1888-1892. The County Superintendent performed the duties which had previously been done by the County Judge. A County School Board was also created. The members of the board were elected to serve for two years, but it was arranged so that only two members would leave the board at the same time. An independent district could be formed when a school had 150 or more pupils, enough grades, and the required number of teachers.
The earliest record for the Gober Public School was in a Gober Public School Catalogue, Session 1901-1902. During that year the principal was A. P. Barrett, and the teachers were Eva Payne and Birdie Barrett. The members of the Board of Trustees were Dr. W. D. Bridges, president; D. B. Blair, secretary; and H. W. Biggerstaff, treasurer. A new three-room school - "Well equipped for school work" was built near the location of the one-room Gober School. Money to build the school came from scholastic enrollment, special tax, and the proceeds from the annual Gober Picnic. Although some money was owed on the building, it was felt that within a short period of time that the indebtedness would be removed and that a nine-month school would be easily maintained. An additional room was added to this building in 1920 when the enrollment had reached approximately 200.
On June 9, 1911, tragedy struck the town of Gober when a raging fire destroyed all of the town buildings on the south side of Main Street. Then in 1924, tragedy again struck the community when a fire destroyed the Gober School Building. Then in 1924, tagedy again struck the community when a fie destroyed the Gober School Building. Trustees serving the Gober Common School District #57 were A. C. Shive, T. H. Milan and Eldridge Myatt. The board of trustees purchased one-half acre of land from J. E. Carpenter and wife, Ada Carpenter, to construct a new school.
The new school was a two-story frame building constructed in approximately the same location as the old school. The new school was heated with lage pot-bellied coal stoves. The athletics program was implemented into the curriculum and the community continued to thrive. The towns people were showing interest in the school, organizing P. T. A. groups and establishing fundraisers such as box suppers, carnivals and plays to benefit extra-curricular school activities.
This school building served the Gober School District until 1938 when a new brick school was constructed. The building was ton down so that a new building could be constructed. The students, however, attended classes in the Baptist, Methodist, and Christian Chuches an din the Club House which was located east of the Christian Church.
In the 1940 Gober School Annual, the following information was recorded: On January 6, 1938, Supeintendent M. G. Moreland was authoized by the district to proceed in an attempt to secure W. P. A. aid to assist in the construction of the new school. The Gober Independent School District was officially created by an act of the Fannin County School Board on April 28, 1938, at the request of the trustees of Gober Consolidated School District. The consolidated district was composed of the original Gober Common School District, Falls District, Clutter District, Prairie Point District, and Whitely District. On May 2, 1938, an election was held to determine whether the Board of Trustees should be authorized to issue $17,000 in bonds for construction and equipment of a new building. The vote carried by three to one. The assistance of the W. P. A. in building the school was secured in July 1938 and work began in October of the same year.
According to the Gober Yearbook, the new brick school building was completed on December 16, 1939, at a cost of approximately $35,000 with the aid of the W. P. A. The new Gober School was the pride and joy of the community. It contained 11 classrooms, a large study hall, an auditorium with a seating capacity of 300, a library, and a superintendent's office. The school had hardwood floors, celatex ceilings, and plaster walls. It was heated with butane gas.
In 1938-1939, Gober also had a colored school within the district. It was named Elm Flatt. W. A. Carter states in these small colored schools the teachers were usually imported with above average recommendations. The records from Texas Education Agency show sixteen students were enrolled. The Elm Flatt School was located about two miles North of the present day J. T. Woodson farm and East of the Earl Claxton farm. There were no makings for the road to the school. The Elm Flatt School closed during 1942. Gene Brent, one of the present residents of Gober purchased the property after the closure and utilized the lumber in this present day home.
Scholastic enumeration, per capita apportionment, assessed valuation and tax rate 1938-1939:
White - 242 Colored - 16 Total - 258
Net Transfers were 31
Numberr Receiving Per Capita 289
Amount Apportioned at $22.00
Pe Capita $6,358
Assessed Valuation $346,190
Tax ate in Cents Maintenance $0.50
Gober always had a strong academic program and was fortunate to have always been blessed with outstanding teachers. While there are many accomplished former students in different fields, it is ironical that the majority have chosen the field of education as a career. Another note of interest is the number of alumni who returned to teach and work in the Gober School.
The Gober Tattler was the first Gober School Newspaper which was originated and produced by Dorothy Lee Smith, Iris Boiles, and Harold Baker. In 1939-1940, the school annual came into being. The first edition of the annual was published in 1940.
The rural and independent schools in Fannin County had what was called Summer School Sessions. These sessions were implemented into the school calendar to allow the students to help bring in the crops, primarily cotton. The class of 1952 picked cotton to finance their Senior Trip to Florida. According to a Denison Herald article, October 5, 1952, a deal was struck that if a student could not pick when a designated class picking day was held, the students who missed would have to chip in their proportionate share. This method had been used in the past for earning trip money, but this was the longest trip.
Businesses of Gober
In the early 1940's there were several businesses and other buildings located in Gober. On the north side of town was M. B. C. Buie's service station and grocery store, across the road which runs north out of Gober was Mr. J. N. (Newt) Cunningham's General Store which still stocked caskets. On the second floor of M. Cunningham's store was the meeting hall of the Woodmen of the World Lodge. Next, was the Colvin General Store which also housed the Post Office. Last, on the north side was Mr. Eb Green's Blacksmith Shop, Gristmill, and Ice House. These business people bought ads and made contributions of money and goods to help support the Gober School.
On the south side of the street, listed east to west, was John Glober's famous Gober Garage, a service station/grocery store operated by Perry and Kate Cowart, a service station/grocery store operated by A. C. and Dean Moore, a general store owned by W. M. Roberts, a cafe operated by Oscar and Eva Colvin, and Ellis Boren's Barber Shop. there were four churches in Gober: Baptist, Church of Christ, Christian, and Methodist. South of the stores and east of the Christian Church was a small "Club House" where the women's clubs met. This building is still standing. In addition, Gober also had two cotton gins.
Gober was a powerful legend in sports. The spirit filled "successes" were achieved through the wins and losses of the Gober Athletic Programs. Until 1930-1931 the boys' and girls' teams were known as the Gober Athlete's Teams. The ex-students tell many boastful tales of the athletic teams. They were backed by the parents, teachers and friends of the Gober Community. Some of the mothers (when funds were low) would make the suits for the teams.
The first basketball program at Gober was started by James Westbrook in the 1920-1921 school term. Some of the players for the boys were Birl Turman, John Glover, Tom Green, Virgil Turner and Joe Newell. Some of the girls were: Una Robinson Broiles, Gertrude Glass, Inez Eads and others.
The first basketball teams to go to the state tournament in Austin were the 1930-1931 and 1931-1932 teams. The teams were coached by M. L. Little and the starting five players both years were: Floyd Burnett, W. C. Eds, Paul Moore, Harry Porter, Wadell Turman, and Clifton Turman. Some of the Plowgirls playing during those years were: Frances Carpenter Hendon, Hattie Wilkes Porte, Mattie Jim Webb Gee, idell Webster Hines, Edith Woodson Conner and Berma Williams Eads.
The Plowboys, mascot of the Gober Schools, originated after the 1930-1931 basketball team beat Paris High School in a District meet, February 1931. Someone called from a Dallas newspaper to the Shive/Glover Garage (Gober had two phones at this time). Joe Green (one of the subs) answered the phone. The caller asked, "What are you boys called in Gober, or what is your mascot?" Joe Green replied, "Why, uh, I don't know;we're just a bunch of ole plowboys." From that time on the Gober mascot became Plowboys and Plowgirls.
Mr. Arvil Green was hired as superintendent and coach for the years 1935-1937. In 1937, he took the Gobe Plowboys to the basketball finals in the state tournament. They compiled an impressive 46-6 record that season. They lost the tournament to Carey, Texas, 28-16 in the final game. We ae told that the scorre was disputed by the Plowboys, who claim it was a six-point margin and reported incorrectly by the newspaper. There were no state classifications of schools, so the best team in the state won the state tournament. The members of that team were: Lindell (Cow) Claxton, Gene (Lefty) Brent, G. W. Todd, Rayburn (Allbutt) Warnell, J. Frank Burkett, Bill Burnett, Tom (Springy) West, Neal (Pokey) Conine, and Glenis (Pig) Claxton.
M. G. Moreland was the supeintendent fom 1937-1944. D. L. (Ed) Conner was coach from 1937-1939. Coach Conner had a great team during his last year of coaching. However, after winning the county tournament, the team was ruled ineligible to compete further because they had an ineligible player. The starting five for that team were: Bennie Colvin, Zealous Trout, Billy Joe Burkett, Glyndell Woodson and Bobby McCullough.
In 1940, the Gober High School enrollment was 107, and the Grade School enrollment was 190, for a total of 297 students. A six-man football team was organized at the Gober school in 1940. The coach was R. G. (Fog) King. The players were Paul Taylor, Glendell Woodson, J. T. McGee, Zealous Trout, Harless Campbell, Bennie Colvin, Bobbie McCullough, Billy Joe Burkett, Elmo Carpenter, Jack Green and W. A. Wigley. It is said this was the best six-man football team Gober eve had. Iris Broiles and Dorothy Lee Smith were the first known cheerleaders of the Gober School.
In 1956-1957, the Plowboys were defeated in Regional Tournament play by Everman 48-47. The players were John David Smith, Mack Broiles, Herman Deary, Charles Don Roberts, Johnny Glover, and Larry Porter. The 1959-1960 Gober Plowgirls basketball team went to Regional Tournament with the following players: Joetta Brent Wallace, Harriet Porter Walton, Brenda Green, Mary Green, Jo-Ann Lockaby, Karen Morris, Linda Porter, Rose Ann Burgess, Helen Kincade, Janis Roberts and Dorothy Green.
From 1960-1969 Gober sports continued hard and fast. Even with fewer student enrollment, academics, Interscholastic League, and extra-curricular activities remained highly competitive in comparison with larger schools.
Factors signaling Gober's decline was when the demand for cotton diminished and the effects of Wold War II. Gober was a cotton town and the decline was unavoidable. The scale down was gradual, and by 1969 few cotton fields were in existence in the Gober area. The second factor was fewer and fewer job opportunities. The young men and women had to go to surrounding cities for employment; and many were forced to relocate, therefore decreasing enrollment in the Gober School system.
As families decreased in size, the number of students attending Gober schools became less. This fact, in combination with a State increase in requirements for the number of students a district must have in order to remain an independent district, the Gober School closed its doors in 1969. The Gober Rural High School #706 consolidated with the Bonham School District. The last class to graduate from Gober High School consisted of the following class members: Glenda Coffey, Fickey Fox, Billy Hilliard, Linda Hilliard, Janie Peppy and Ray Roberts. Noel Burnett was the last supeintendent of the Gobert School System. President of the Gober School Board at the time of consolidation was Jack Green, Secretary to the Board was Glennis Claxton, and Tax Assessor was Henry Joe Fletcher.
An election was called on May 6, 1969, by Judge Choice Moore to consolidate Gober Rural High School with Bonham I.S.D. #903. A petition was signed by 20 or more qualified voters in the two districts to call the election. Both districts carried a majority vote and the Gober District was consolidated with Bonham I.S.D. The consolidation became effective on September 1, 1969. The 1969-1970 Gober School term began with the Bonham I.S.D. Joe Campbell, Gober ex-student, was the receiving superintendent. Zealous Wayne Trout, Gober ex-student, was the assistant superintendent. The teachers and students were welcomed into the Bonham Independent School District.
On Thursday, September 13, 1973, the modern Gober School Building was destroyed by fire. After this event occurred, the Gober Community Improvement Club renovated the old agriculture building into a community center that is still used for community activities.
The many trophies, new and old, (more than 100) were on display in the brick school building that was destroyed by fire on this Thursday morning. Along with the trophies, all of the school equipment and other memorabilia of the school and the community were destroyed.
The most recent Gober School Reunion was held in June 1995. There were 257 former students, administrators, and teachers along with their families who attended the reunion. It is noted through the research of the Gober School that many of the students returning are descendants of the "grass roots" people of many years ago. One can truthfully say that the educational interest of yesterday, today, and tomorrow still remains deeply bonded with Gober's educational heritage -- an educational interest that prepared students to meet the needs of today and the challenges of the future. Our heats will always be filled by the spirit of these wonderful memories.
Gober School Teachers - 1889 to 1969
1. A. P. Barrett, 1st principal
2. Eva Payne
3. Birdie Barrett
4. Judge G. Rea
5. Gertrude Glass Owens
6. Fleeta Cooper
7. Charlie Tuman
8. Estelle Turman Whitaker
9. Leon Parker Renshaw
10. Rose Carpenter
11. James Westbrook, Coach
12. Maurine Biggestaff Curbow
13. Christene Biggerstaff
14. Una Robinson Broiles
15. M. L. Little. Supt/Coach
16. James E. Thompson, Supt/Coach
17. D.D. "Doc" Dozier, Coach
18. Mrs. M. L. Little
19. Clarence Bowie
20. Loreta Tuman
21. Avis Conine Caldwell
22. Zelda Conine
23. Annie Fae Smith Woodson
24. Mrs. Arvil Green Teach/Coach
25. Lexie Woodson Babers
26. Edith Woodson Conner
27. D. L. Conner, Coach
28. Ellen H. Richards
29. Mr. Graham
30. Aril Green, Supt/Coach
31. Jeffie Hargrove
32. Mamie Broiles
33. Robert G. King, Coach
34. Clarence N. London, Teach/Supt
35. Mauritta Meyer
36. Morris G. Moreland, Supt
37. Rayburn Nash, Prin/Teach/Coach
38. Richard F. Thompson
39. Martha Dee Tidmore Thompson
40. Lloyd Tarver, Coach
41. Lucy Vassar
42. Billie Bennett Bradford
43. Lila Taylor
44. Ella Warnell
45. Ray W. Taylor, Coach
46. Estelle Todd Walker, Teach/Coach
47. Mrs. W. R. Morris
48. Louise Presswood
49. J. L. Bowie, Supt
50. Ruth Bowie
51. Juanita Hargrove
52. Edith Trout
53. Sarah Davis
54. Mary Ruth Thomas
55. Harley Reeves, Coach
56. Jewell Barham
57. Elizabeth Fortner
58. Lila Tadlock
59. Jess Moxley, Supt
60. Celia Hopper
61. Irene Aby
62. Mildred Sharyers
63. Z. W. Trout, Supt/Coach
64. V. R. "Buddy" Smith, Coach
65. Henry Hensley
66. Mrs. G. M. Gregory
67. J. W. Ponder
68. W. A. Bishop, Coach
69. Thomas Bell
70. Jack Routt, Coach
71. Ruth Wigley
72. Joan Weeks
73. Noel Burnett, Teach/Supt
74. Mildred Burnett
75. Bill Roberts, Coach
76. Wilson Robinson
77. Mrs. Wilson Robinson
78. Alice Wade
79. Mrs. Jack Routt
80. J. W. Russell
81. Wilma Bramlett, Coach
82. Joe L. Dodson, Coach
83. Nema Morrris
84. Jack Booher
85. Loyd Press
86. Wayne Roberts, Supt
87. Jerry Smith, Coach
88. Mr. Edlin
89. Edna Van Kirk
90. Joetta Wallace
91. David Goodwin
92. Augie Sanchez
93. Rev. Robert Burgess
94. Joann MacConnell
95. David Adams
96. Lynn Shaver
97. A. L. Garne
98. Velma Tapley
Broiles, Una Mae, diary
Carter, W. W. ; History of Fannin County
Deed Records of Fannin County
Fannin County Survey Map; 1892, Lee Map Company
Gober Public School Catalogue, Session 1901-1902
Gober Yearbook, 1940 and 1950
Hodge, Floy Crandall, History of Fannin County. 1966
Interview with Gene Brent, June 30, 1995
Interview with Floyd Burnett, May 1, 1995
Interview with ex-students, Margaret Fisk and Mary Clements
Interview with Geraldine Trout Green, May 30, 1995
Interview with Sheila Porter Green, June 6, 1995
Interview of Joe Peas, June 6, 1995
Interview with Hattie Wilkes Porter, April 3, 1995
Interview with Dr. Ray Smith, April 16, 1995 and May 2, 1995
Interviews with Vaughn Ray Smith, ex-student/teacher, 1995
Interviews with Zealous Trout, ex-student/superintendent, 1995
Interview with Joetta Brent Wallace, May 26, 1995
Interviews with Annie Faye Woodson, ex-student/teacher; November 1, 1995
Records of Gober Baptist Church
Records of Gober Church of Christ
Texas State Gazette and Business Directory
The town known as Gober was settled in the 1840s, and was first called Grittersville. The town site was platted in 1885 and the town was renamed to honor early settlers. Public education in Gober began in a one-room schoolhouse that also served as a church and social center. In 1924 fire destroyed the school, but it was replaced by a two-story frame structure. A new brick school was erected in 1938-39, and the Gober Independent School District was formed. The school closed in 1969 due to declining enrollment.
Location: At FM 271 & FM 68 in Gober.
See a booklet on the 1901-1902 Gober Schools.
Gober yearbooks are available at the website of the Honey Grove Preservation League (Item 18)