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Meyersville School History

The community of Meyersville has always placed the education of its children high on its list of priorities. From its very beginning in 1851, St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church served both as a church and school. The pastor taught in German and when one was available, an English teacher also taught. In 1859 the pastor received $10.00 a month and the English teacher received $20.00 a month. The school year was five months long. St. Peter and Paul Catholic Church also had a parochial school taught by two German nuns and one Polish nun.

Meyersville school students got their education in this manner until the year 1889, when the Meyersville Independent German English School was created on its present site when the community bought four acres of land from Mary Hausman for $60. The children attended classes in a one-room building until St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church moved their school building across the road to this site in 1893. The buildings were called the Big School and the Little School. On October 1, 1898, two tracts of land from the estate of Henry Rossner were added to the school property. From 1906 to 1914 there were four grade levels taught in each building. In these very early years games such as Stink Base and Andy Over were played. Transportation to school was on foot, on horseback, or in a buggy.

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During the summer of 1924 a wood frame building that could be divided into rooms was built to take the place of the two buildings. From 1920 to 1929 there were nine grades with approximately 40 students being taught in what was now called the Big Room and the Little Room. Most schools were taught by single women - a married woman was not allowed to teach.

An excerpt from a paper written by W. R. Egg and his pupils on Meyersville in 1923 reads as follows: "The Meyersville people early realized that ignorance is a crime and hence early saw fit that their children would get proper schooling. We have (1923) a two-teacher, nine-grade school. This is quite a bit of work for two teachers, but the Meyersville people will meet a 3-teacher and a new school when the question becomes ripe. ( Later it was added that Meyersville decided to build a new school in the vacation months of 1924.) The school has an ideal playground of 20 acres. Quite a few fatherly old live oaks afford shade and beauty to the grounds. This was plenty of space for all type of athletics. Some school organizations are: Boy's Athletic Club, Literary society, Girl's Indoor Baseball Team, Boy's Baseball Team, both Boy's and Girl's Basketball team and also a Mother's Club. Present (1923) teachers are Egg and Buchhorn."

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In the Thirties there were eight grades being taught still in the one building. Baseball and volleyball equipment was available. Summer vacation was three months long. Here is an excerpt from Miss Millie Schnid Jacob's autobiography: Miss Millie taught here for fifteen years, beginning in 1933 when she was hired for $50.00 a month. A Delco light system provided electric light. Each room had a wood heater. Restrooms were quite a distance from the school. Girls ate around the stove I inclement weather while the boys ate in the basement until they built the dugout. The boys spent recesses, part of dinnertime and before school in the morning to dig out and pile up dirt and put a roof on top of it. They put a fireplace in the side of the dugout and the smoke came out the through an old stovepipe on top of the ground. They roasted homemade sausages and sandwiches in this fine place. Discipline by teachers was backed by parents. That means when you got a whipping at school you got another one when you got home. Three-act plays were given to raise money for library books and were a great success. The old stage curtain is now on display in the museum at the Meyersville Store. The discipline paid off in some very smart children, with Meyersville bringing home the silver loving cup a number of times from the County Meets. These county Meets were a competitive system similar to Interscholastic League with both literary and athletic events and were a greater challenge to schools of the county.

Cleo Paul Wendel lived about tow miles from school over across the 12-mile creek. When he started school in the late 1930's he was picked up in front of his house by Ellis and Corine Haun in a one-seated one-horse buggy. He would have to climb up the spoked wheel to join Norvan Haun on the little box behind the seat. When he was eight Cleo rode his horse Pinto to school in all kinds of weather. He rode with Fred Donald and Doris Diebel on their Shetland pony Spunky; James Henry and Ruby Dreier on their part Shetland pony Danny; and Norvan Haun on his horse. Each of these horses had their own personality and Cleo recalls that Spunky was the wrong name for the Diebels horse because Spunky decided when to go, when to stop, or if to go at all. When frost was on the 12-mile creek bridge, Spunky wouldn't go across no matter how everyone yelled and pushed until he was good and ready.

When these horseback riders reached school, they had to unsaddle their horses, put the saddles under the stage in the basement, and turn the horses out into the pasture. At last recess they had to catch the horses and saddle them up again. The big boys would saddle the smaller children's horses. Sometimes in the summertime, Cleo recalls that he and James Henry, Norvan, and Fred Donald would stop at the creek, tie up their horses and go skinny-dipping.

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In the Forties there were one to three classrooms with about eight or ten students per grade. "Miss Ruth", as we so fondly remember her-now Mrs. Ruth Sager Egg and a valued Meyersville historian, taught the first and second grades in the early 1940's. She recalls there was no cafeteria yet. Teachers had no free periods. Seesaws, baseball and volleyball were the playground equipment. Games such as Kick the Can, Dog and Rabbit, Soccer, Andy Over, Jump Rope, and Dodge Ball were played. There were still the two outhouses, one for the girls and one for the boys.

Some of my (Elizabeth Gohmert Haun) memories include the girl's playhouse up behind the girl's outhouse. This consisted of a clump of huisatches that had natural pathways and clearings that we made into a playhouse. This is where we played during recess and ate our lunches. I also remember playing in the Rhythm Band which was consisted of a tambourine, a triangle, some sticks, a drum, and a Xylophone. Miss Ruth rode her horse from the Sager home to school about 4 miles because of the gas rationing during World War II. Louella Sager and Harlen Nagel were others from her area who rode through the Pete Ruschhaupt pasture and joined with the Schrade, Trautwein, Goebel, and Gohmert children who rode the same way. I was in this group in my first year in 1942. I was so small that my feet didn't reach the stirrups. I had to stick my feet in the straps and got many a blister, because we mostly went barefoot.

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The Fifties brought exciting changes to Meyersville School. 1950 saw the annexation of the New county Line School with Meyersville Common School District #20. The New county Line School was located three miles form Meyersville off what is now FM237 near the DeWitt County-Victoria county Line. It was begun in 1919 on land given by the Dreiers and Wendels. Some of the lumber from the Noll School was use d to build the New County Line School. The Noll School was located on FM 247 about 4.5 miles west of Mission Valley in Victoria County and was built in 1893 with the help of Ben Arnold, Joseph Dentler, Otto Dentler, Joe Preiss, and Fred Diebel.

During the Fifties students enrolled in the first grade at the age of five. One to six children per class were being taught still in the two-room one building school. In July of 1958 blueprints were approved for a new brick facility. The wood frame two-room building was moved across the road to St. John Evangelical Lutheran Church and was used as classrooms until the new facility was completed in 1959. This building now serves as St. John Evangelical Parish House. The new brick facility consisted of an office, four classrooms, a library, indoor restrooms, a cafeteria, and a kitchen. We had our first equipped playground.

Miss Kitty Ruschhaupt's diary had the following information about the Meyersville School history: a Halloween Carnival was held at Meyersville School in 1951. There was a contest held for Meyersville School Royalty for 25 cents a vote. Lennette Ruschhaupt and Randolph Dreier were chosen King and Queen and Talbert Wendel and Faye Marie Dreier were chosen Prince and Princess. Almost $2000 was raised in this contest.

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Arneckeville School was annexed in 1963. Arneckeville School is located 8 miles south of Cuero off FM 236 and the building is now a community center. Golly school had consolidated with Arneckeville in 1946 and this building is also a community center four miles north west of Meyersville. Green DeWitt School had also consolidated with Arneckeville in 1949, so we gained quite a few students.

1967-1977 the first through the eighth grades were taught under the supervision of Leslie Flessner, with 80 to 100 students.

Research by Elizabeth Gohmert Haun

1960 to 1969

When I asked any of my former schoolmates for a memory from this era (60's) they most often included two answers: recess and lunchtime. From some people's recollections, recess had been at on time usually on the big playground. The older students played dog and Rabbit while the younger ones used the swings, seesaw and merry-go-round. Jump rope and the game of Andy over were also favorites.

Eating in the school cafeteria was the norm. Homemade hamburger buns, rolls, and chocolate pudding were memorable favorites. Volleyball for the girls and baseball for the boys were the main lunchtime and P.E. activities for the older students. Volleyball players of those days vividly remember the heavy hand of Leslie Flessner and Calvin Bruns spiking a ball down their throats. School superintendent Kenneth Liesman often joined in the game to teach us the finer points.

Assemblies were held in what was the cafeteria/auditorium and always consisted of the pledge to the flag and singing. There isn't a student of Meyersville during this time period that cannot sing "God Bless America," "My Country 'Tis of Thee" and what these alumni called the Meyersville Alma Mater "Oh, I'm a Hayseed."

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Change seemed inevitable during the late 70's and 80's. In 1977 Mr. Frank Stephenson was hired as principal. However, the next year the state dissolved the position of county superintendent. Thus, Mr. Stephenson became the first principal/superintendent of Meyersville Independent School District. Since then Meyersville School has been growing and changing to keep up with the times. In April 1979 the school board agreed to build a Kindergarten class.

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Around 1983 a band/music program was officially added to the school curriculum. Two years later in 1985 Meyersville School saw several structural changes. The present day fourth and fifth grade classrooms were built, the office was moved from the math room to the wood frame building, and air-conditioning was installed. Students and teachers of that time speak of the air-conditioning much like people speak of the first electricity to their homes.

In 1987 Ms. Laura Whitson took over as the principal/superintendent. In her first year a gymnasium was added. Athletics broadened in the next few years to include basketball and track for the Jr. High students. The band program added a marching band that participates in surrounding area parades and attends U.I.L. competition. There has been a continuance of academic growth here at Meyersville with a larger number of student's participation in the academic competitions that were started in the '80's.

The '90's brought the age of technology with satellite programming, computers, and internet access to help with learning.

It is true that Meyersville School has kept up with the changing times of the world we live in. But from all the former students I interviewed and the students of Meyersville school who approach the new millennium one important factor stands out -- a feeling of closeness, community and family. Everyone always recalls how at Meyersville School all students got along and get along together. It may be because of the physical closeness of classrooms which puts younger and older students into same proximity; it may be the assemblies; maybe the actual family relationships of brothers, sisters, cousin, and neighbors all attending school together. But I think it has to do with a certain set of values that Meyersville itself holds dear. That is the feeling that we are a family, we are proud of ourselves and of each other. Whether we are blood related or not, Meyersville means family. I believe the students of Meyersville School will always hold this feeling of pride and respect for their school and community as a high priority. And therefore, the successes and achievements that Meyersville School has and will encounter will be many.

Mrs. Elizabeth Haun, Mrs. Ruth Egg, and I thank the many people who generously donated of their time and energy to help us put this history together.

By Rhonda Doehrman Goebel

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