Wayside School

On Texas Highway 70 about eight miles north of Pampa — just over the Gray-Roberts county line — there is a small building now known as the “Red School House” and a state historical marker which summarizes the history of Wayside School, District No. 5, Roberts County, Texas. In 1910, School District No. 5 had only three pupils: Goldie Poole, Jewel Poole and Opal Poole, rendered by J. A Poole of Tallahone. School board members were J. A. Poole and W. L. Sims.

Photo of Eloise Lane

Eloise Lane

To construct the red school building, George Montgomery, Homer Taylor Sr. and Earl Talley hauled lumber from the White House Lumber Co. at Pampa in horse-drawn wagons. Each year at Christmas time, these men — and possibly others — went to the Canadian River and cut down a tree which was brought to the school for the pupils to decorate.

When the red school building was first used in 1914, Pearl Crawford was the teacher with salary of $60.00 a month and Juanita Montgomery, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. G. T. Montgomery, was one of the pupils. In 1915-16 and in 1919-20, Juanita Montgomery and Robert Montgomery were pupils. In 1923-24, Minnie Olive Montgomery and Roberta Montgomery were received from District No. 8. In later years, Robert stayed on the Montgomery farm. Juanita married Joe Massengale who had a store at Hoover. Minnie Olive married W. B. Jackson. Roberta, who married Dick Pugh, now owns Roberta’s Flowers at Pampa.

Edna Young, daughter of E. F. and Dulcie Young, also attended Wayside School when it opened in 1914. At Christmas time she married her neighbor, Homer B. Taylor Sr. In 1922 their son, Homer B. Taylor Jr. entered Wayside School, riding horseback the three miles from his home to the school. Homer Jr. gradu- ated from Pampa High School in 1934 and then attended Baylor University and West Texas State University. For a few years he participated in and also announced rodeos in Texas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Kansas and Arkansas. He was a director of the Top O’ Texas Association for five years and announced the rodeo for nine years. While president and director of the Pampa Roping Club, he wrote a column for The Pampa News called “Rope Burns and Saddle Sores.”

Viola Haggard (Mrs. George Ingrum), whose family lived on the Martin farm nine miles north of Pampa, entered Wayside School in 1921 when Willa Embry was the teacher at a salary of $120.00 a month. While traveling the one and one-half mile distance from her home to the school, Viola rode “Trixie,” her Shetland pony, along a path that gypsies used. She had been told that gypsies stole children and were especially fond of little girls with blond hair. Since that was her description, she was apprehensive and sometimes cut across C. L. Thomas’ wheat fields to hide. When Viola’s younger brother, Ernest Burton “Buck,” started to school in 1924, Viola’s pony was exchanged for “Cap,” a larger horse, so that both children could ride. In 1926, Viola and Buck moved with their parents, L. B. “Bush” and Leona (Martin) Haggard, to Pampa.

The 1931-32 school term was 177 days. Grades 1-3 and 4-5 were taught by Ethel Poe Greenway at $120.00 a month. Pupils were Jack Sloan, Herndon Sloan, Freddy Sloan, Clinton Lee Caylor, Bob Caylor, Paul Ash, Dorothea Thomas and Anna Mae Cummings. Transfers to Pampa were Loretta Hogan, Kathaleen Sparks, E. W.Hogan Jr., Robert Hogan, Maxine Gowan, Anna Bell Holloway and Worth Seitz. Fred Sloan Jr., Herndon Sloan and Jack Sloan are listed in the Pampa telephone directory for 2000. Clint Caylor died on July 9, 2000. Bob Caylor lives at St. Louis, Missouri.

The 1932-33 school term was again taught by Miss Greenway with eight boys and one girl as pupils. C. L. Thomas, Fred Sloan and Paul Caylor were school board members. Juanita Montgomery began teaching the school on March 13, 1933 and finished teaching that school term, the last ever at Wayside School.

Bus drivers who transported pupils from Wayside to Pampa between 1935 and 1948 included J. T. “Skeet” Roberts, Paul Caylor, C. M. Broaddus, R. L. Gilpin and Jesse L. Gates. Their salaries ranged from $50.00 to $90.00 a month.

In 1949, construction of Highway 70 made it necessary to move the school building westward. Bills for the move indicate these costs: foundation, $336.30; moving, $100.00; red paint, fence posts, cement, etc., $915.03, while $925.00 was spent for painting, wiring and fencing labor.

Also in 1949, the Gilmer-Aiken school bill required that the dormant Wayside School consolidate and Wayside consolidated with Pampa. This ended the history of District No. 5 — but not the history of the “Red School House.”

(Much of this memento was obtained from a program given by Lorene T. Paris to the Wayside Club at the Red School House in 1974. )

Wayside community Settlers came to this locality in 1876. The county was organized in 1889. Pioneer school District no. 5 Originated by court order in 1890 to serve this area with schools known as Tallahone, Poole, and Wayside, taught usually in homes. In 1914, Frederic Foster of New York City gave this 2-acre school site to the county. The district bought materials, and patrons erected this 28 by 36-foot schoolhouse, painting it red. It soon became the focus for the community — site for elections, church services, and other activities, as well as housing the Wayside school. The trustees in 1914 were James A. Poole, J.m. Story, and Earl Talley. Despite enrollment fluctations caused by droughts, oil booms, and other economic factors, Wayside prided Itself on scholastic excellence. Beginning in 1929, high school students were transferred by bus into Pampa, Wayside district paying their tuition. In 1933-34, all grades were transferred — an arrangement used until 1950, when Wayside consolidated with Pampa. White Deer Land Co., successor to original donor Frederic Foster, then deeded the red schoolhouse for continuing community use to trustees Paul Caylor, R.E. Montgomery, and J.T. Roberts. Current trustees are C.W. Osborne, J.T. Rogers, and Jack Sloan. (1974)

The inscription on the historical marker summarizes the history of Wayside School, District No. 5, Roberts County, Texas. The name “James A. Poole” should read “Jason A, Poole.”

Over 200 Articles, written by Eloise Lane, were published in the Pampa News. These articles may be accessed by clicking on each section below. A list of articles will be revealed that are linked to a page containing the text of the article.

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