John T. Black
Navarro County, Texas


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John Thomas Black
Oct 21, 1877 - Jan 30, 1959

Tehuacana Rites Conducted Sunday For John T. Black

A large number of Blooming Grove citizens were present at the Tehuacana Methodist Church at 2 p.m. Sunday to attend funeral services for John Thomas Black, former superintendent of schools here. Those of this community, and others where he had lived and taught, were saddened Friday when word was received that he had been killed in a tractor mishap. Mr. and Mrs. Black had retired to their home in their native Tehuacana. He was 71.

Mr. Black was crushed by the tractor as it overturned, pinning him beneath. He was attempting to pull a stalled moving van which had delivered household effects of a daughter and son-in-law to the Black residence.

Conducting the service was Rev. Ted Spencer, native son and student under Mr. Black, who now lives at Corsicana. Rev. Spencer told an overflow assemblage that Mr. Black had left his mark on each of the communities in which he had lived.

"He made each community better and the people in each community better," the minister said.

Dr. D.L. McCree, Corsicana Methodist district superintendent, read scripture and directed prayer. Dr. Maggart B. Howell, superintendent of the Waxahachie district of Methodism and former Blooming Grove pastor, led the closing prayer.

Mr. Black headed the local school district for 13 years, beginning in July of 1942 and retiring July 1, 1955. His untiring work with young people in various ways and in several communities was widely known and admired. At one time he was president of Tehuacana's Westminster College.

At the time of his death, Mr. Black continued to be a member of the Blooming Grove Lions Club and the local Masonic Lodge. Fellow lodge members conducted graveside services.

Surviving are his wife, two daughters, Mrs. L. L. Dorsett, Dallas; Mrs. Roger Ennis, Pasadena; a son, J. P. Black, Wortham; a brother, Clarence Black, El Paso; three sisters, Mrs. Zona Thompson, Lake Creek; Mrs. Joe Milburn and Mrs. Ellie Rowell, both of Mexia; eight grandchildren, one great grandchild and other relatives.

Notes:

  • Unknown newspaper and date

  • Submitted by Karen Rost

  • From the collection of the Blooming Grove Historical Society

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In Memory

The community that shares more than one-seventh of a man's life, when it is an existence such as that recorded by John Black, is indeed fortunate. Considering the fact that citizens of this entire area benefited from 13 of Mr. Black's most mature and productive years, the proportionment would seem doubly generous.

John Black was a rare individual-uncompromising with hate, prejudice, idleness, resentment and all like things that make life meaningless.

John Black respected and cherished others. He was intensely interested in their spiritual development and well being. John Black was attentive to the tedious task of administrator to a school district, but he was more preoccupied with what a young person stored in his heart and mind as he walked from a commencement platform.

John Black did not fail his students...until his death he did not desert his older associates, his church, his community. Indeed, John Black was rare among men. Rare to the extent that no transformation, no matter how tragic or final, could remove his ennobling influence from among those who knew him.

The beauty of John Black was mirrored in his countenance, vitalized in his actions, and is etched in the minds of numbers unknown.

Notes:

  • Unknown newspaper - February 6, 1959
    Submitted by Karen Rost
    From the collection of the Blooming Grove Historical Society
    h/o Verona Elizabeth (Pierce) Black - s/o William Edward Black and Ida Amanda (Best) Black

 

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VETERAN BLOOMING GROVE SCHOOL ADMINISTRATOR GETS SURPRISE TRIBUTE WEDNESDAY
By Bonnie Wright Binford - Daily Sun Staff

John T. Black of Blooming Grove, retiring after 38 years of service to the public schools of three Texas communities, was a surprised and honored guest Wednesday evening, when Navarro County school Administrators staged a program tribute in the Frost school gymnasium. Approximately 175 were present.

A bright patina of humour covered the deep sentiment and affection which marked the program, staged after the pattern of Ralph Edwards' show, "This Is Your Life," with Joe Parks, principal of James Bowie school and president of the county organization, acting as master of ceremonies.

Folder Provides Guide

A leather folder, lettered in gold, "This Is Your Life, J. T. Black: provided the guide lines for the show. Manuscript had been provided by Mrs. G. E. Ramsey, Blooming Grove teacher, with Mrs. Wanda Gillen acknowledged as typist for the considerable material.

Mr. Parks emceed the gym show in front of the stage curtain, while Mrs. G. E. Ramsey, Blooming Grove teacher, guided the intricate arrangements backstage.

The administrators' group was seated in a section to the emcee's right, while those guests appearing in the show took their places in a section to his left. Still others filled gym bleachers to watch.

Sharing in the occasion were only a part of the "hundreds of teachers" and "thousands of pupils: who have felt the influence of the retiring educator.

As the pattern of the show developed, the audience was informed of both major and minor events in the life of a man who was described as a "builder of (school) buildings and a builder of boys and girls."

Wife Shares Honor

Sharing in the occasion were Mr. Black's wife, who informed the audience that the educator proposed to another girl the same night they were married but alarified the statement by revealing that the proposal was made in a school play; a school girl who missed her target - (a teasing boy) - and bounced an eraser off Mr. Black's noggin; a teacher who tore off the educator's shirt collar while suffering a reprimand from him; and a banker who believed in Mr. Black to the extent of authorizing him to write any necessary checks agains tthe banker without prior notice.

During his career Mr. Black has built school buildings in Tehuacana and Ferris. In Blooming Grove, during his administration, these additions and improvements have been made to the campus; an agriculture shop, remodeled gymnasium, addition to the homemaking cottage, lunch room, bleachers on the athletic field and an all-weather road around the school building.

Background

John T. Black was born near Union High to the Rev. and Mrs. W. E. Black. His father was a Methodist minister.

He attended Westminster Colege at Tehuacana, when it was a Senior Collgege, receiving a BS degree there and later receiving a BS from SMU in 1928 with an MA following in 1930.

He began his career, not as a teacher, but as a book keeper in Greeman's Wholesale Grocery in Mexia. He farmed for a few years and was owner of a grocery store in Tehuacana.

A beautiful student who enrolled in the Tehuacana college in 1906, Verona Pierce of Lake Creek, delta County, was his bride in 1910.

On the eve of entering service, John T. Black saw the conclusion of World War I and made a big decision to enter the teaching profession. He began that career in Tehuacana in 1917.

His 38 years of service in education have been benefits to three communities; Tehuacana, Ferris and Blooming Grove.

Other Educators

Truman Newsome, Supt. of Frost Public Schools, was the first to speak, followed by Bryant Merrell, Supt. of dawson Public School and a former student under Mr. Black when the latter taught at Westminster College, Tehuacana; J. C. Watson, Navarro County Superintendent; Ray Waller, President of Navarro Junior College, and C. M. Darnell and W. A. Haden, Blooming Grove's two principals and Mr. Black's car companions to all meetings of the Navarro County administrators.

Tehuacana

Friends from Tehuacana recalled that John T. Black began his teaching career in a three-room frame schoolhouse, movng when that building burned to the college where space was provided until construction of another school could be effected.

Acknowledged as among his first pupils in Tehuacana was Mrs. Harry Smith, now a member of the Corsicana Public Schools faculty.

It was pointed out that the honored administrator built the present brick building for the community of Tehuacana. Amont those present was Mrs. John Pierson, Tehuacana, described as "one of his favorite teachers" in this building.

Also present to represent Tehuacana were J. R. Hawkins, former Superintendent of groesbeck and now editor of the Goresbeck Journal; Supt. H. O. Whitehurst of the Groesbeck schools, and Miss Ollie Campbell, Blooming Grove teacher.

Ferris

D. H. Moyers' 32 years a school board member and president of the Farmers and Merchants State Bank, helped to tell of the 16 years Mr. Black served as superintendent at Ferris. In that time he worked to bukld a new school and gymnasium.

Mrs. Moyers, wife of the banker, who formerly taught in the Ferris schools; Mrs. Jim Adams, another former school teacher; Miss Drewise Davis who carried with ther the first annual of the Ferris School authorized by Mr. Black and sponsored by Miss Davis; Ralph Evans, an ex-student who now served in the Navarro County Superintendent's office; Mrs. A. R. Evans, Miss Muriel Hamack, were among others representing this period.

Representing Ferris also were Mr. Black's children: Mrs. R. A. Enis of Pasadena, Mrs. L. L. Dorsett of Tyler and J. Pierce Black of Wortham, all graduates of Ferris High School

Blooming Grove

Miss Hammack was credited with introducing John T. Black to the Blooming Grove community. He was elected in 1942 to head the Blooming Grove Public School.

Among those representing this community were three from one family: W. A. Crawford, former school board member who served 23 years and editor of the Blooming Grove Times: Miss Jean Crawford, teacher in the Corsicana High School and a former teacher at Blooming Grove, and Jimmy Crawford, a graduate of BGHS.

Tribute was paid Mr. Black for strengthening the school's financial position. Sharing in the Blooming Grove tribute were Ditt McCormick, president of the school board; Sam Carroll, Mayor of Blooming Grove; R. C. Smith, president of First State BAnk; D. W. Springer, Postmaster and president of the Lions' Club; Judge James Sewell.

Other Tributes

Miss Beatrice Price was spokesman for the Blooming Grove faculty, which also includes Mrs. Lula Westbrook, Mrs. J. U. Page, Mrs. Carl Darnell, Mrs. Betty Allison, Mrs. Hollis Pitts, W. A. Haden, Miss Ollie Campbell, Mrs. Wanda Gillen, Ralph Vinson, Ralph Page, Miss Opel Allmon, Mrs. G. E. Ramsey and Carl Darnell.

Ex-students and graduates who appeared were Mrs. O. D. Lively, Mrs. Don Leach, Harold Tiping, Ted Spencer, now associate pastor of the Englewood Heights Methodist Church, and Miss Therma Ann Neal, teacher in the Corsicana Public Schools.

Members of the Senior Class included Lonnie Almond, Wanda Barham, Cosia Burke, Ray Loren Dunaway, Billie Weing, Tillman Ferrell, Glenda Franklin, Janis French, Margaret Garner, Joe Haden, Hollis Hinkle, J. K. Melton, Lewis Moore, Mary Bess Spencer, Charles Walker and Dean Wooten.

Earl Hollingsworth, school bus driver who "borrowed the bus without permission" to transport BG guests to the program, also was present.

Following the event the BG faculty and seniors entertained with a party in the BG school building for all guests, their escorts and families.

Preceding it, the Navarro County administrators, including a heavy representation from Corsicana, met for a dinner served by the Frost homemaking students and a routine business session with Mr. Parks presiding. A group of girls provided vocal numbers at its close.

Other officers of the county organization are Jake Allen, Barry principal, vice-president, and Mrs. C. D. Pevehouse, Petty's Chapel, secretary-treasurer.

Notes:


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Veteran Teacher Retiring This Year

John T. Black of Blooming Grove, retiring after 38 years of service to the public schools of three Texas communities, was a surprised and honored guest Wednesday evening, (April 15th), when Navarro County School Administrators staged a program tribute in the Frost school gymnasium. Approximately 175 were present.

A bright patina of humour covered the deep sentiment and affection which marked the program, staged after the pattern of Ralph Edwards' show, "This Is Your Life," with Joe Parks, principal of James Bowie School and president of the county organization, acting as master of ceremonies.

A leather folder, lettered in gold, "This Is Your Life, J. T. Black: provided the guide lines for the show. Manuscript had been provided by Mrs. G. E. Ramsey, Blooming Grove teacher.

The above information is from an article in the Corsicana Daily Sun written by Bonnie Wright Binford.

Mr. and Mrs. Black plan to return to Tehuacana at the end of the present school year where they have rebuilt their old homeplace.

Notes:

  • The Coolidge Herald - Friday, April 29, 1955

  • Submitted by Karen Rost

  • From the collection of the Blooming Grove Historical Society

  • Son of William Edward Black (1857-1950) & Ida Amanda (Best) Black (1862-1937)

  • Tehuacana Cemetery, Mexia, Limestone Co., TX


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Edward L. Williams & Barbara Knox