Class of 1941
Dawson High School
Dawson, Navarro County, Texas


Dawson School Index || City of Dawson

Dawson High School
Navarro Co. Texas

The 1930 Dawson, Texas First Grade Class picture presented the 1941 Dawson High School Graduating Class. Forty-one students were pictured and there were several absent that day. Mrs. Mae Agee from Mount Pleasant, Texas was the teacher, but she was, apparently, too tired to stand for the class picture. Imagine....fifty first grade pupils for a single teacher.

1930 was the first year that Texas schools permitted six year olds to enter First Grade and Mrs. Agee's pupils included all seven year olds who would have begun First Grade on the old system, all six year olds under the new pupils who had not been promoted to the second grade the year before, most of whom were eight before September 1, 1930, and some who became nine soon after that date. Derral Moore and William Lynn Matthews (born Feb. 1923) were placed in the Second Grade soon after the picture was made.

Two pupils, brothers whose names are not remembered, offer a faint smile for the picture. The other pupils have grim expressions. The Stock Market had crashed the previous Fall and the grim looks may have been the result of pupils readying for The Great Depression, problems of growing up in Dawson, participating in World War II, and finding a place in the outside world.

Mrs. Mae Agee was a tall, stately lady who dressed nicely, always had her hair arranged properly, drove a four door 1928 Chevrolet, loved children, and must have been well organized to keep fifty pupils occupied each day from eight am to two-thirty pm. Class began each day with a pledge to the Flag of the United States, the singing of "My Country Tis of Thee," and recitation of "The Lord's Prayer." Pupils memorized and learned to write the alphabet, learned to count and write numbers, were introduced to social skills, taught to respect our elders and government officials. and made to realize that discipline was an important virtue in life.

The logistics of having fifty children needing a drink of water or having to go to the school toilets must have been a full time job in itself. Toilets were low wooden structures located to the rear and on each side of the three story school building....girls on the east, boys on the west. The carpenters who built the structures had sawn holes of various sizes into the wood seat...small, medium, large. There were no doors, but a wooden fence in front gave a degree of privacy. High school age boys used the area for smoking cigarettes and kept a close watch for Mr. Head or Mr. Herring through knot-holes in the boards.

Once, probably my first or second day at school, my Mother had dressed me in short pants buttoned to my shirt. The buttons were, apparently, easy to undo, but I was experiencing difficulty re-attaching the two garments. Someone must have informed Mrs. Agee that Tubby Matthews was in the toilet, crying and unable to button his pants up. She came to the rescue in Motherly fashion. I always wore overalls after buttons.

J. Manley Head was principal, wore spats, had a mustache, slicked his hair in place, and sang "Old Man River." He became aware that some pupils were not being provided with milk at home. V T Matthews had a dairy and could supply milk to school children, but funds were not available. Mr. Head organized a "Milk at School" Fund operetta with real costumes that utilized local talent. Mr. Head, of course, sang the male lead role, and Mrs. Robert Hill sang the lead female role. I was dressed in a Robin Red Breast costume with wings, etc. and stood by Mrs. Hill as she sang "The Finale"...

"Robin Red Breast, we two alone, will build a love nest all of our own. And then our dreams will all come true, for Robin Red Breast...I...Love...You."

There must have been some hugging and kissing as the production came to an end and that gave me the idea to carry the idea to the First Grade. Mary Louise Lowrimore was the cutest little girl in the class and sat across the aisle from me. I stood up, crossed the aisle, and gave Mary Louise her first kiss...outside of family...and returned to my seat. She must have liked it for she didn't slap me. Or...she may have been surprised and shocked! Later, after Mrs. Agee had reported the incident to my Mother, I was informed that little boys did not kiss their cousins. Mary Louise was off limits from then on.

Audrey Lancaster, my giggling cousin and my best buddy, and I were staying after school one day to rehearse for something. Mrs. Agee kept "Study Hall" after the First Grade was dismissed at two-thirty and had seated Audrey and me near the front of the huge room on the third floor. We occupied the time by drawing pictures of each other on our Indian Chief tablets. Back and forth the pictures went across the aisle. I was in awe of the principal and of Mr. Herring, the superintendent. I had just completed drawing a really scary picture of Audrey and noticed someone peering over my shoulder. It was Mr. Herring. I was so frightened that I completely lost control of my bladder. Mr. Herring complimented me on the drawing, smiled, and went on his way as I sat there in soaked overalls.

Years later, 1943, I stood with another member of that First Grade, Claude L Holt, when he married Audrey in Fort Worth. Claude L. left the next day to return to his Army duty station.

Travis Tekell and I would swing together on the playground in a shortened swing that we called our "Little Hot Chocolate Car." Travis died in 1939 from some illness. It was on that set that Felix "Teedum" Lawrence was headed head first...a daring thing...down the metal slide. A piece of metal had come loose and caught Teedum in the chin and caused an ugly, bloody gash. Teedum, later, apparently was a victim of polio that left
one leg shortened. He never married and died in Fort Worth.

Several in the picture, Jimmy Graham, Lorraine McGregor, Douglas Berry, Dewey Baker, and I represented Dawson Grammar School at the 1937 County Meet held at the State Orphans Home in Corsicana and won 2nd Place in Math. Hoyt Harris was math teacher and Principal.

My family moved from Dawson in 1939, but I stayed in touch with many of those who were in that First Grade. Audrey Lancaster and Lorraine McGregor went to nursing school in Fort Worth. Derrel and Joyce Lynn Moore moved to Brownwood, Texas. Duward Burns and J W Reedy moved away. Magdalene Milligan became a beauty consultant at Neiman-Marcus in Dallas, married , and move to Georgia.

Most of the boys were in service in World War II. Joe Jr. Freeland and Duward Burns were killed in Europe when ther planes were shot down. Jimmy Graham became an Army First Sergeant in Europe. Others served at Anzio, the Battle of the Bulge, Normandy, Iwo Jima, aboard ships at sea and on planes in the air.

W T Berry, Billy Ruth Lawrence, and I were with the Marines during the invasion of The Marshall Islands and Saipan in The Marianas. W T was wounded on The Marshalls, I was wounded on Saipan, Billy Ruth was wounded at Iwo Jima. Billy Ruth and I met in Maui, Hawaii after the Marshall invasion and over several 2 oz bottles of medicinal brandy I confessed that I had been frightened and inquired if he had the same experience. He replied, "Hell yea...never been so scared in all of my life." I was comforted.

Bubba Pitts and Tedum Lawrence became accountants. Douglas Ray Berry was with a large corporation in Pennsylvania and died there. Jimmy Graham returned from service, never married, worked in Dallas, and died early in Dawson. Hugh Louis Womack retired from the Air Force and lives in Waco. Weldon "Puddin" Wells came home, became a pharmacist, owned drug stores in San Angelo. Claude L Holt had a career with a chemical company near Houston. J Olin Lawler became a Baptist preacher. David Allard had a career with the railroad. William Lynn Matthews retired from the Army and died in an automobile accident. J R Hoge was in the Navy, (we spent Christmas Day 1942 together in San Diego), came home after the war, became a policeman in Waco, died early. Billy Ruth Lawrence had a teaching career with the Irving, Texas schools.

Sixty-nine years have passed since that First Grade Class began in Dawson. Their lives were influenced by teachers.....Eula Lockwood, Miss Mixon, Bertha Guggolz from Brownwood, Gaston T Gooch, Hoyt Harris, H C Filgo, Coach Granthan, Coach Nichols, Lola Bills Head, and others. They would not have been ashamed of the accomplishment of their students whose combined lives would make quite a story.

in the Class Picture 1930

Zola Grubbs ...H C Pitts ...Magdalene Milligan
J Olin Lawler ....Charles.... Lynch Bufford Davis
Felix Lawrence... R B Hardy ....Derral Moore
Jimmy Graham... Lorraine McGregor... Douglas Ray Berry
Duward Burns... Audrey Lancaster ...Joe Bruce Martin
Mary Louise Lowrimore ...J W Reedy ....Carl W Matthews Jr.
Joe Freeland Jr. ...Joyce Lynn Moore .....Douglas Bankston
Dorothy Bankston... Hugh Louis Womack ...Claude L Holt
Billy Ruth Lawrence ....Travis Tekell ....David Allard
Ike Fralik ....Wm Lynn Matthews ....J R Hoge
Joe Garner Jr. ....W T Berry.... GeorgiaKendrick
Dewey Baker..... Seven Unknowns


Weldon Earl Wells ...Earl Douglas Graves... Dorothy Matthews
See Also:
Dawson Class of 1941

Carl W Matthews
1130 Madlynne Dr

Cedar Hill TX  75104


Navarro County TXGenWeb
Copyright February, 2020
Edward L. Williams