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A History of Nederland Education and the Nederland Independent School District

By W. T. Block

Part 1: Nederland Schools from 1898 Until 1950

The founding of Nederland, Texas was a joint effort by the Kansas City Southern Railroad and its land subsidiary, Port Arthur Land Company. The two companies planned in 1897 to found a Dutch colony in Mid-Jefferson County and to call it Nederland. In furtherance of that end, they sent three Port Arthur Dutchmen, Albert Kuipers, G. W. J. Kilsdonk, and B. J. Dijksma as their land agents in Holland to promote land sales, and to accompany the first contingents of immigrants to their new home in Nederland. In 1897 the land company built the 3-story, 33-room Orange Hotel to accommodate the newly-arrived settlers until they could build their own homes. And due to the influx of Dutch-speaking children, a school was planned from the beginning to help the newcomers overcome the language barrier. 1

By April, 1898, many Dutch immigrants had already arrived, and some had already completed their homes. In May, 1898, education did not lag far behind for B. J. Dijksma reported in a Dutch newspaper that “plans are afoot to establish a school and engage a teacher...”2

A one-room building was constructed behind the hotel, and a sixteen-year-old Beaumont girl, Lillie White, was engaged to teach the students,  who spoke only Dutch, and Klaas Koelemay was to act as interpreter.3 Anna Koelemay Cooley wrote in her memoirs: “...In 1898 my father Klaas Koelemay taught them English in association with a Beaumont woman...”4 Although the teaching of English was prerequisite to their learning process, other disciplines such as reading, writing, and arithmetic were not neglected. Some of the children attending that first school included Joe and Dirk Elings, Johanna Ballast, Martin and Lawrence Koelemay, and Elisabeth, Anna, Julius and Willem Westerterp.5

The school building behind the Orange Hotel was destroyed by the 1900 hurricane. In the meantime, some early Anglo families, including the Cookes, Butlers, Gibsons, Spencers, and Bursons, had also moved to Nederland. In 1900 John Berthold Cooke, Sr. took the first Nederland school census, and after the hurricane of Sept. 8, 1900, Cooke and Frank Butler went door to door, soliciting funds to build a new school.6 After the hurricane, school was conducted temporarily in the Dutch Reformed Church building at 1003 Boston, but in 1902 a new, 2-room school on the southwest corner of the intersection of Chicago and 10th streets was completed.7

The first trustees of the new school of 1902 were Frank Butler, R. P. Forrister, and W. T. Block (my father). There were only two teachers at first, Miss Lizzie Waterston, who was principal, and a Miss Neild, who taught Spanish. Later when a school room was added to the Dutch Reformed Church building, Edith Cooke and Mrs. Paul Wagner were added to either the substitute or permanent faculty. In 1903 there were only 32 students enrolled, of whom 28 were of Anglo parentage.8

There are at least 3 surviving photos of that early 1902 school and its student body, and in each of them the enrollment varied between 50 and 100 students, although the exact years of the photos are unknown. Alice Thompson (Gentry) was a member of that 1903 enrollment, and a part of her memoirs follow:

“...The school was at present-day 10th and Chicago Streets. The student body increased, and they soon needed more room; they soon added a room onto the church. I have a diploma that I completed the Nederland Common School. We also had a dramatic society, which put on plays; one of the plays was named “Pocahontas.” We also studied reading, writing, Latin and Spanish. There were three open saloons (Freeman, Peek, and Steiner) near the depot, and I remember how much I hated to walk in front of them. Once there were two sisters who taught in the school, and one of them was the one who taught Spanish. Her name was Miss Neild, and she taught with Lizzie Waterston, the principal...”9

Among some of the students who attended that 10th Street school between 1902 and 1906 are as follows: Alice, Cora, and Susan Thompson; Aifke, Anke, Anna, and Gerka Bruinsma; May and John Staffen; Marion, Henry, and Lampien Kolb; Lloyd, Lamont, and Lerna Hubbard; Patty and Oma Freeman; Fred and Rosa Nelson; Bertie Peek, Agnes and Luisa Spurlock; Arthur, Ellen, and Horace Cooper; Harold and Margaret Cooke; ?? Barfield, Louie and Clyde Spencer; Vernon Butler (who was killed in World War I), Frank Collins, Clarence Kenney, Myrtle Coffey, Lola Murrel, Julius Westerterp, Marion Wagner, Lawrence Koelemay, Willie Jackson, Hazel Lloyd, and Bennett Kutcher.

Student body in 1903

Student body in 1903. Pupils included Marion Kolb, Louie Spencer, Lloyd W. Hubbard, Harold G. Cooke, Vernon Butler, Frank Collins, John Staffen, Henry Kolb, Clarence Keeney, Arthur Cooper, Ellen Cooper, Oma Freeman, Rosa Nelson, Myrtle Coffey, Lola Murrel, Alice Thompson, Julius Westerterp, Horace E. Cooper, Lamont A. Hubbard, Martin Wagner, Lawrence Koelemay, Willie Jackson, Clyde Spencer, Bennett Kutchner, Fred Nelson, Margaret Cooke, Pattie Freeman, May Staffen, Hazel Lloyd, Lerna Hubbard, Luisa Spurlock, Lumpien Kolb and Gerrit Jansonius. Lizzie Waterston was the teacher. F. A. Butler, R. P. Forrester and W. T. Block, Sr. were the school trustees.

In 1907-1908 Verna Gibson founded and ran the first kindergarten in the dining room of the old abandoned Orange Hotel. Mrs. Alice Thompson (Gentry) taught there as a substitute teacher whenever Miss Gibson was not present. Her family, the W. S. Gibsons, arrived in Nederland before 1900, and they belonged to the Methodist Church in Port Neches before there was a church in Nederland.11 In 1908 there was an increase of 50 students in the Nederland public school enrollment.12

There are other references to the early Nederland schools. In Apr. 1905, the county school superintendent, M. L. Moody, visited the Nederland schools, and a few days later the students were entertained by a ventriloquist.13 A month later, Miss Waterston, the principal, and Mrs. Wagner took the school students on a picnic at the rice field pumping plant, where the former Unocal refinery docks are located on the Neches River.14

In May, 1907, there were commencement exercises for the students. The Misses Verna Gibson and Jo Lou Kaye graduated, and their diplomas were awarded by Rev. B. C. Anderson, the Methodist pastor. Following graduation, both of the Nederland teachers, the Misses Lula and Mary Neal, left for Fort Worth. It should be pointed out that these were only common school diplomas, equal perhaps to junior high school. The first high school diplomas were not awarded until 1917, one time only, and not again until 1923. The 1917 and even the 1923 graduates were lacking accreditation for college entry unless they passed remedial courses or examinations. During many of those years, many Nederland students, among them Christina Doornbos (Stappers) and Woodard “Tex” Ritter, the cowboy movie star, had to ride to school in either South Park or Port Arthur, traveling aboard the interurban trolley, in order to graduate from high school.15

Another photo of 1910 (page 61, Nederland Centennial History) was taken with teacher Gala Howard on the porch of the Dutch Reformed Church. Student photographs included Matilda Langham, Myrtle Burnfin, Ray Butler, Cora Thompson, Beulah Roy, Anka Bruinsma, Birdie Peek, Myra Cooke, May Burnfin, Elbert Ingwersen, Agnes Spurlock, Mary Kelly, Ellie Carmichael, and Eola Langham.

With 140 students recorded in the Jan. 1912 school census, the earlier school facilities on Tenth Street were overcrowded and vastly outdated, and Nederland patrons decided to build a brick school building on land donated by Mr. Bluitt Langham. The location was a square block in the 500 block between 12th and 13th Streets, which is currently the playground for Langham school students. Mr. Langham owned a sugar mill across the street from that location. The new, 2-story school was to contain 8 classrooms and an auditorium.16

Apparently only sketchy information survives for the years between 1911 and 1918. Carrie Goodwin wrote in her memoirs that she was a substitute teacher in 1915, and one of her students was Gardette Burnfin.17 Mrs. Anna Marie Peterson McLain noted that her family moved to Nederland in 1917. “...I remember E. W. Jackson, the 1923 superintendent. My teacher was Alberta Poage; later also her sister Margaret Poage, who married W. O. Haizlip. Another teacher was Lois McIlheny, who married lawyer (later Judge) W. T. McNeill...”18

In Sept., 1911, the county school board graded Nederland, Dist. 7 as a “high school, 2nd class, grades 1-9 inclusive.”19 A newspaper reported in May, 1912, that:  “...School will close May 24 (1912). Commencement exercise will be held at the school house on Thursday, May 23rd. A very nice program is being prepared by the teachers and students; the program will begin at 800 PM...”20

Some of the earliest and most significant information about Nederland schools appeared in “The School Review of Jefferson County, Texas for 1921.” As of that year the Nederland schools enrolled 256 students, all of Caucasian descent. In 1920 the school was reorganized to become the Nederland Independent School District.  At that time the school district contained 17 square miles of land, with a population of 1,500; and it had a taxable value of $3,250,000. An election petition was presented to the county judge; the election was held on Jan. 17, 1920, and it passed by a vote of 44 to 2.21

During the first school board election following the founding of the school district, Dr. J. H. Haizlip was elected president; M. W. Oakley, vice president; and John M. Scott, secretary and school superintendent. Other elected board members included M. G. Block, C. T. Ingwersen, W. F. Goodwin, and H. E. Wagner.22

Earlier in 1917, Nederland High School graduated its first class of three students, but obviously the Nederland school lacked the accreditation needed for college entrance.  In fact, the Port Neches school senior class of 1923 still lacked accreditation, and those who entered college had to undergo remedial schooling for sufficient credits to enter. The three graduates of 1917 included Gerka Bruinsma, Leeman Victor, and Margie Gibson. In that year their high school diplomas were signed by D. J. Rienstra, school board president; M. G. Block, board member, and E. T. Dimger (?-illegible), principal.23

The Langham School faculty in 1921 included John M. Scott, superintendent; and 8 teachers, namely, Adelia Richardson, Lucille Ritter (sister of movie star Tex Ritter), Virginia McCowan, Viva Bell, Louise Linn, Mable Jones, Maude Dickenson,  and Emma Masterson.24

Old Langham in 1920's

Old Langham in 1920's

The salaries of the Nederland teachers varied, perhaps according to their teaching experience. The school superintendent earned an annual stipend of $2,400. Four teachers were paid between $100 and $125 monthly and 3 teachers were each paid $90 monthly.25 During the most recent school board meeting in 1921, the faculty was increased to 9 teachers, and the minimum salary for teachers was increased to $110 monthly.26

During the Interscholastic League meeting held at South Park on April 1-2, 1921, Juanita Goodwin of Nederland placed second in declamation for high school junior girls, and Theresa Kaper won second place for the high school senior girls. Earnest Dohmann won third place for high school senior boys, whereas John Kaper won second place for high school junior boys. Lottie Louise Cromwell placed in junior girls spelling. Woodward Ritter (later to become the movie star) placed first from South Park High in senior boy’s declamation, but he lived in Nederland.27 In 1920 Paul McNeill placed in declamation, and he and Francis Wagner won the 50-yard dash.28

The Nederland boys and girls basketball teams participated in 6 games each against Port Neches, Port Arthur, and South Park.29 Although Langham School had basketball, track and volley ball, football was not introduced until 1925. By 1921 all county schools were subject to periodic checkups by the Jefferson County school nurse, and such checkups often included eyes, ears, teeth, fingernails, tonsils, etc. Immunization for each student was usually limited only to small pox vaccinations.30

Between 1912 and 1920 the 10th and 11th grades were added to the curriculum, but the exact dates are not readily available. About 1922 the core courses for freshmen were English, Ancient History, Algebra, and either Physiology or Geography. Sophomore studies were English, Modern History, Algebra, and Latin. Junior year studies included English, American History, Plain Geometry, and Latin. Senior class studies included English, Civics, with electives in Economics, Plain Trigonometry, Commercial Arithmetic, French, Spanish, and Basketball.31

Old Nederland High in 1920's

Old Nederland High in 1920's

Lowell C. Morgan recalled in his memoirs that he had played on Nederland’s first football team in 1925.32 Adam Winters recalled in his memoirs that he started to school in Nederland in 1920. “...In 1924 they built the new high school. A Miss Kennedy taught me History; Mrs. Cora B. Linson taught me English. Mr. Greer was the superintendent, and Mr. Adams was principal in ca. 1925-1926. C. O. Wilson came from Port Neches in 1925, and he taught me math and coached sports. Mr. Pietzsch became superintendent in Ca. 1927-1928. My classmates were Stan Hardy, Katherine Goodwin, Elizabeth Ingwersen, Hardy Johnson, Dena DeVries, William Doornbos, John May, Glenn Spencer, and Ruby Snellgrave...”33

As of 1923, Langham School already had two temporary classrooms in back of the school, because the presence of 256 students was overwhelming in the least. At that time the school board held an election to build a 3-story brick school with about 40 classrooms, auditorium, gym, study hall, library, woodshop, rest rooms, offices, etc. The first bond election was for only $100,000. Before construction could begin, it was determined that the first amount was insufficient, and a second bond election to raise $30,000 more also passed. The school was opened on Sept., 8, 1924, and it was estimated that between 500 and 600 students would be enrolled in both schools, because the opening of the Pure Oil refinery in 1923 had almost doubled Nederland’s population. Two elementary grades, 2 junior high grades, and 4 senior high school grades were moved into the new building, and R. V. Greer was hired to be the new building’s first principal.

On March 17, 1928, the Nederland school district issued another $75,000 in bonds “for the purpose of adding to the high school building. The additions to the high school consisted of two wings to the old building with a gymnasium to the rear of the auditorium....The two wings added a floor space for twelve new class rooms...” Also $7,000 were left over from the building, which were used to purchase lockers, typewriters, lab equipment, etc. 34

In her memoirs Mrs. Annie Marie McLain described her employment with the Nederland school district tax office, as follows:  “...I worked 15 years in the school tax office with Mrs. Norene Barras and Johnny Bourque, the latter being the tax assessor...” The first tax office was in a wooden building about 40 feet square, and was located in the 500 block of 12th Street on the original Langham School property. Bourque was badly crippled in both legs, walked on crutches, and he was unable to take the large tax volumes out of the vault. When the present tax office was located in the present administration building during the 1950s, the old tax building was moved onto school property near the windmill, and was used thereafter as a storage building (although it has since been demolished).35

Also some of the earliest Nederland school superintendents and their approximate years of service included John M. Scott, 1919-1921; E. W. Jackson, 1922-1924; R. V. Greer, 1925-1926; L. R. Pietzsch, 1926-1935; C. O. Wilson, 1936-1946; and C. A. Matthews, 1946-1958.36

During an interview with Albert H. Rienstra, age 92, on Dec. 8, 2004, Mr. Rienstra wanted to point out the legacy of his parents with Nederland education. During an age around 1920-1925, when even high school educations were an exception, and college degrees were rare in Nederland, six of seven of his parents’ children earned college degrees. His father Douwe (Dan) J. Rienstra served as president of the Nederland school board around 1917-1918. He also served about 15 years on the Jefferson County School Board. Albert’s oldest sister Anna graduated in the first class of 1923. After graduation from college, she began teaching first grade at Langham School in 1927, and she retired with about 48 years of service Ca. 1975.

Mr. Rienstra began first grade in Nederland in 1919 and he graduated in 1930. He also attended South Park Junior College and graduated from Texas University with a BBA degree in 1935. He recalled that some of his favorite Nederland teachers included Ms. Ingwersen, Frances Earle, C. A. Matthews, Mrs. Cora B. Linson, and C. O. Wilson. He recalled several of his classmates, including Christine Haizlip and Brooks Oakley.

Rienstra recalled as well that since he was red-headed when he entered first grade, he became the butt of many jokes and name-calling, and as a result a fist fight or two as well. He also recalled an instance around 1930 when Congressman Martin Dies Sr. gave a graduation address. Some younger boys that Rienstra labeled “the dirty dozen” started a fire in a rest room, burning paper in metal trash cans, etc., which resulted in no more damage than smoke in the hallways. The perpetrators were rounded up and dealt with harshly by school authorities, but were not arrested.37

During a similar interview with Alice Ruth Nagle Bodemuller on Dec. 8, 2004, she recalled that she had started to school in 1921 and graduated in 1931. Both she and Mr. Rienstra still have their high school annuals (1930, 1931) as well as excellent graduation photographs in their possession. All but two years of Mrs. Bodemuller’s school years were in Nederland.

She recalled some of her favorite teachers as Ms. McVicker, her first basketball coach; Ms. Newberry, who taught her in 6th grade; and Marjorie Newsom, her home economics teacher. She played basketball for many years, and on one occasion she played against Babe Didrickson, who advanced to the Olympics and as a professional athlete in golf and other fields. Mrs. Bodemuller’s other basketball coaches included J. A. Floyd, who was also junior high principal; and Ms. Floy Pinkerton, girls’ athletic coach.

Mrs. Bodemuller also recalled several schoolmates, including May Doornbos, Helena Doornbos, Rosemary Barnett, Lawrence Ratcliff, Anna Belle Price and Wellington Gibson. She recalled school picnics at Village Creek, when Mrs. L. R. Pietzsch was the chaperone. She recalled when students built a bonfire and roasted wieners outside in a ditch. Suddenly a hot dog bun hit her on the head, thrown at her by her high school sweetheart and future husband, Boots Bodemuller.

She recalled too a high school play under Ms. Cynthia Press when Edna Dohmann was to ride across stage as Lady Godiva. She had to read a poem during the play about the English (Anglo-Saxon?) invasion of England. Mrs. Bodemuller acted as secretary, trainer, prompter, etc., helping the student thespians to memorize, rehearse, and recite their parts. She received special congratulations and recognition from her English teacher, Mrs. Linson, for her role in the play.38

Among other students of the early 1920s, coach and Superintendent E. W. Jackson trained one of the early Nederland basketball teams in 1923. His players included Marvin Wagner, Pete Doornbos, Harold Morgan, Earl Kitchen, Paul McNeill, Gardette Burnfin, and Allison Creswell. Photographs of this team appear in two different publications.39

Another early school photograph depicts the 1922 Langham school faculty on a lunch break. The teachers shown in photo include Christina Doornbos (Stappers), Lucille Ritter, Alberta Poage, Isabelle Meyers, Lois McIlheny, Lois Bishop, Octavia Boozer, and Marian Windle.40

Another surviving photograph is of the 1923 graduation class. They appeared as-front row- Octavia Boozer, teacher; Ruth DeLong, Anna Rienstra, Maryon Oakley Margaret Block, and Gertrude Conn, teacher. Back row included Alberta Poage, teacher; Pete Doornbos, Supt. E. W. Jackson, Paul McNeill, and Miriam Windle, principal. The 1923 Port Neches class lacked accreditation for college entrance, but the status of the 1923 Nederland graduation class has not been located.41

During the tenure of Superintendent R. V. Greer, C. O. Wilson left his position as principal at Port Neches, and came to Nederland in 1925 as coach and math teacher; within a year he was promoted to principal, soon after L. R. Pietzsch became superintendent. Following the resignation of L. R. Pietzsch in 1936, Wilson was promoted to superintendent by a unanimous vote of the school board.

Many firsts or changes took effect during C. O. Wilson’s tenure at Nederland schools. First he organized the first Nederland football squad in 1925. He obtained cyclone fencing, lighting, and bleachers for the stadium at 220 So. 12th. Following the New London school explosion, he brought C. R. Sory to Nederland as band director. He also obtained a new band house, new instruments and uniforms, and the band increased from 24 to 43 students.

Under Wilson, Nederland acquired 32 ˝ “affiliated units” and was soon accredited by the Southern Association of Secondary Schools and Colleges. Wilson also brought fulltime home economics and woodshop programs to Nederland, He also instituted new commercial and science disciplines; he also brought the first fulltime librarian to Nederland, and organized the alumni association. When I. B. Griffith arrived as coach, Nederland defeated Port Neches in 1936 for the first time. After serving throughout the World War II years, Mr. Wilson contracted multiple sclerosis in 1945, which forced his retirement and replacement by Mr. C. A. Matthews.42

The 1928 Nederland High School annual, The Pilot, was certainly one of the first published by the school in glossy hardback for graduating seniors. The faculty of that year included C. O. Wilson (principal, coach, mathematics); R. E. Hilliard (science); Mary M. Kennedy (history); Ruby Patricia Kerr (Latin, Spanish); Hugh D. Keeling (commercial); Willie McVicker (Wildcat girls’ basketball coach, home economics); Cora B. Linson (English); and Nettye Mae McNeill (music).

In 1928 the number of graduates increased from 6 in 1923 to 14 in 1928. They included Hardy Johnson, Ronald Keeney, John May, Marie Rienstra (d/o George Rienstra), Ruby Beatrice Snellgroes, Elizabeth Wilson, Adam Davis Winters, Mary Francis Coffman, Marguerite Cromwell, Ellen DeLong, Dena DeVries, William Doornbos, Kathryn Goodwin, and Sterling Hardy.

By 1928, there were already a variety of extracurricular activities, campus clubs, etc., in which students participated. These included the Literary Society, Girls Glee Club, Business Club, Science Club, Spanish Club, Music and Art Club, Curtain Club, as well as sports. Other activities included the Halloween Spooks Convention, during which the short play, “Which Witch?” was presented; also the operetta, “College Days,” presented by the senior class; as well as Interscholastic League. Although there was no mention of a senior prom, there seemed to be other delightful activities for the senior class, i.e.: picnics, parties in party dresses, Kathryn Goodwin’s dinner party, a “delightful, old-fashioned dinner” in the Ingwerson home, hosted by Marguerite Cromwell and Elizabeth Wilson, and topped off by a matinee party at the new Jefferson Theater in Beaumont. The highlight of the seniors’ social season was a dinner-dance aboard the pleasure boat S. M. Bidwell, with Captain Carlyle Plummer at the wheel.

The 1928 football team included Francis Wagner, Horace LeMeur, Brooks Oakley, J. B. Samfod, S. Hardy, John Bodemuller, Bill Doornbos, Guy Van Cleve, L. Hardy, U. B. Morgan, Mayo Premeaux, Elmore Creswell, Hardy Johnson, Robert Hanchett, and John May. The lady Wildcat basketball team under Coach McVicker included M. Rienstra, May Doornbos, Ellen Lee, Louise Massey, Eliz. Wilson, Carrie L. Townsend, M. Cromwell, Dena DeVries, Nellie Rauwerda, Lena Wooten, Ruby Snellgroes, Esther Dohmann, and Hazel Block.42a

Several new faculty members came on board in 1929. They included Francis Campbell (coach, science); Frances Earle (history); J. A. Floyd (economics); Virginia Imig (music); Clark A. Mathews (woodshop, mechanical drawing); Marjorie Newsom (home economics); Cynthia Press (Spanish, stenography; and Estelle Wood (English, history).

Also in 1929, the graduating class mushroomed from 14 to 30 members. They included Ruby Baker, W. A. Barnes, Hazel Block, John Bodemuller, Johnny Bourque, Bradley Brandin, James Campbell, Elmore Creswell, Margaret Davis, Lloyd Derouen, Esther Dohmann, Lory Fontenot, Helen Gibson, Frank Griffin, John Clark Griffin, Robert Hanchett, Gladys Hayes, Ras Johnson, Ellen Lee, Horace LeMeur, Corinne Meredith, Edith Lee Meredith, U. B. Morgan, Harry Newton, Westley Paulus, Juanita Pessarra, Pattie Peveto, Louis Pietzsch, Nellie Rauwerda, Ceyril Reynolds, J. B. Samford, Frank Shannon, Carrie Lou Townsend, Francis Wagner, and Lena Wooten.

In 1929, Nederland scored twice as many points as its nearest rival in interscholastic competition, winning 5 silver cups, with first places going to Bradley Brandin, Sidney Pietzsch, Wilda Lisle, Pattie Peveto, Adelaide Cooper, Nellie Belle Johnson, James Koelemay, Marie Rienstra, Mary Louise Perryman, James Morgan and Eleanor Hackworth. Also presented was the senior class play, “High Flyers.” The seniors also enjoyed a Senior Day off, various parties, and a Junior-Senior Banquet.

On Oct. 19, 1928, Nederland savored its first victory over the Port Neches football team. Nederland players of that year included C. Gibson, R. Bodemuller, T. Smith, J. Hardy, Bill Doornbos, Davis, Baker, R. Hanchett, C. Reynolds, H. Lemeur, U. B. Morgan, C. Morgan, L. Hardy, G. Spencer, L. Derouen, E. Creswell, R. Johnson, J. Samford, and W. Weigmann.42b

The Nederland School Board of 1928-1930 included R. L. Vernor, president; C. D. Wagner, L. C. Sherman, Lawrence Koelemay, J. C. Griffin, W. K. McCauley, and P. DeLong. Vernor was superintendent of Pure Oil refinery; C. D. Wagner was a well-known realtor and early rice planter; and L. C. Sherman was an early contractor. Koelemay owned a feed store; McCauley was a realtor and retail lumber dealer; and DeLong owned an auto agency and repair business.43

Perhaps the Great Depression, followed closely by World War II, was to fashion a Nederland senior and junior high school faculty of visible permanence, albeit with an occasional addition or loss. And although the writer can not by any means speak for everyone, it was a faculty that, if not entirely beloved, was at least highly respected. They included C. O. Wilson (math, principal, superintendent after 1936), Cynthia Press (Spanish), C. A. Mathews (manual training, principal), Marjorie Newson (home economics), Mrs. Cora B. Linson (English), Frances Earle (history), H. D. Keeling (commercial), and Edson Mae Johnson (librarian) all arrived during the latter 1920s, and nearly all of them remained until the end of World War II. Other teachers who were employed as of 1930, but who may not have remained long included Estelle Wood (biology, English), J. C. Traylor (science, coach), Edythe Maricle (public speaking), and Virginia Imig (music). Even in 2004, many old-timers remember Frances Earle with a special affinity.44

By the middle 1930s, other faculty members were added, to include Johnny Konecny (coach, science), Ida May Bernhard (mathematics), Elizabeth Quine (English), Floy Pinkerton (girls’ physical education), and I. B. Griffith (coach and boys’ physical education).45

During the 1920s, the building of Pure Oil refinery, and especially Nederland’s growth as a bedroom community, doubled the population and added significantly to the enrollment of the Nederland schools, which by 1930 numbered more than 600. Hence, the senior graduating class increased from 6 graduates in 1923 to 30 in 1929 and 27 graduates in 1930. The 1930 graduates included Grace Hannah, Lynn Hardy, Walter Howell, Louise Hughes, George Ingram, Wilda Lisle, Louise Massey, Cecil Morgan, Daphna Morgan, Elna Morgan, Brooks Oakley, Annie Marie Peterson, Albert Riensta, Opal Smith, Jessie M. Trotti, Alvin Barr, Lerlyne Black, Mecom Carter, Erlyne Cromwell, Inez Davis, Harry Doornbos, Thomas Fletcher, Laverna Franke, Charles W. Gibson, Caroline Giebelstein, Harry Giebelstein, and Christine Haizlip. Harry Doornbos was killed in the navy during World War II, and as of 1904, Albert Rienstra may be the only 1930 graduate still alive.46

It is indeed regrettable that the author cannot examine each graduating class, which will result in a lot of names being omitted, and for that he apologizes. At least three Pilot annuals were not published during World War II, and even if all were available, the length of this treatise would become tedious and unmanageable.

Pardon me, but the Nederland High School was exhibiting a tinge of gender discrimination in 1930, for when I look at the high school band photograph, I have to ask: “Where are the girls?” The band members included Maloy Mills, Doyle Dubose, Paul Stehle, Sidney Pietzsch, Joe Monso, Rowland Dumesnel, Fred Chamberlain, Oscar Ware, Alvin Ware, Thomas Langham, Leonard Manning, Leon Ware, Wilbur Griffin, J. C. Kelly, Joe Hollis, Verlon McGee, Oliver Chamberlain, Fergus Decuir, and Bandmaster Johnnie Franks. C. P. Wiedeman was the band director.47

The 1930 Nederland football squad included George Ingram, Joe Monso, Clement Jennis, Mayo Premeaux, Harry Davis, Judson Hardy, Houston Leatherwood, Goodwin Griffin, Floyd Todd, Ray Oakley, Willie Lester; Lynn Hardy, captain; Robert Bodemuller, Brooks Oakley, Adam Bellard, Harry Giebelstein, Thomas Fletcher, Harry Doornbos, Mecom Carter, Theo Smith, Walter Howell, Cecil Morgan, Charles Gibson, Carlton Lester, Sanford Kelly, William Weigmann, and Coach John Traylor.48

The 1930 boys’ basketball team included the following players: Harry Giebelstein, Walter Howell, Theo Smith, George Ingram, Lawrence Foster, Charles Gibson, Joe Monso, Lynn Hardy, Judson Hardy, Mecom Carter, Robert Bodemuller, Cecil Morgan, A. P. Mills, Goodwin Griffin, and Floyd Todd. The 1930 girls’ basketball team included Coach J. A. Floyd, Jessie Mae Trotti, Barbara Smith, Anna Beth Price, Dorothy Mae Hanshaw, Erlyne Cromwell, Ruby Marrison, May Doornbo, Louis Massey; Alice Ruth Nagel, captain; Anita Wiegmann, Eloise Johnson, and Edna Dohmann.49

One school activity not previously noted was the 1930 Halloween Carnival and Spooks Convention. Christine Haizlip was the Queen of the Carnival, and she wore a somewhat gaudy, knee-length black dress and a very long black train.50

The 1930 junior class became the 1931 senior graduation class; hence, their names are listed here as well, as follows: Robert Bodemuller, Harry Davis, Eloise Johnson, Tommy Langham, Sidney Pietzsch, Anna Beth Price, Edna Dohmann, Helena Doornbos, Houston Leatherwood, Willie Lester, Dalton Sherer, Barbara Smith, May Doornbos, Orvil Edwards, Ethel Manning, A. P. Mills, Theo Smith, Kirtis Streetman, Lawrence Foster, Alice Franke, Joe Minaldi, Louise Mize, Joe Thorp, Gladys Wagner, Audrey Hamilton, Dorothy Hanshaw, Pearlie Morrison, Ruby Morrison, Oscar Ware, Louise Weber, Judson Hardy, Lena Harrison, Alice Ruth Nagel, Ray Oakley, Anita Wiegmann, and William Wiegmann.51

The 1934 faculty was basically the same, with J. F. Konecny and Floy Pinkerton added to the staff, and the Misses Maricle and Imig were missing. L. R. Pietzsch and C. O. Wilson were still respectively superintendent and high school principal. About 1935 J. A. Floyd was appointed junior high principal. The senior graduating classes of the middle 1930s barely increased, for in 1936 Pure Oil Company laid off 350 employees in a single day, resulting in a local loss of population.

The 1934 senior graduating class of 41 members included as follows: Winnie Belle Reed, Clarence Peterson (killed in World War II), Mary Louise Perryman, Mayo Premeaux, Russell Vernor, George Shannon, Iyone Russell, Marie Rienstra, Bobbie Williamson, Janice Williams, George Vanderweg, Leon Ware, Velma Rae Yentzen, Jackson Wolf, Lillian Wolf, Juanita Gregory, Burrell Frazier, Robert Haizlip, Clarice Clotiaux, Frances Goodwin, Arabelle Adams, Goodwin Griffin, Ashton Daigle, John Goodwin, Rudolph Bodemuller, Wilbur Griffin, Laverna Eaves, Ouida Eldridge, Horace Goodwin, Ruby Harvill, Jewell Hayslette, Joe Hollis, Sanford Kelly, Hester Leatherwood, Mary Francis Konecny, Lawrence Koelemay, Bessie Ruth Keltner, Inez Miia, Verlon McGee, L. T. McBurnette, Evelyn Luke, Rene Mouton, Joe Monzo, and Emily Mae Mize. In the list of class wells, Mary Francis Konecny left to her junior classmate “the ability to catch the next single coach in matrimony.”52

The 1934 junior class and 1935 senior graduates included Marie Boudreaux, Ruth Boyer, Edma Mae Brown, Mabel Collier, Juliet Davis, Louree Dold, Bernice Duhon, Bernis Ener, C. W. Field, Shirley Gibson, Dick Haizlip, A. V. Hamilton, George Jones, J. C. Kelly, John Bunyan Koelemay, Ruth Langham, Leonard Manning, Dorothy Meadows, Iverson Meredith, Olga Miia, Wallace Mize, Thomas Moore, Melba Morgan, Eileen Muckleroy, Leo McBride, Glyndora McCauley, Earl McMahan, Fred Parish, Dennis Peveto, M. J. Pichoff, Edward Sanderson, Judith Sehon, , Loretta Sherer, Jack Streetman, Lesley Sweeney, Garrett Terwey, Wilma Terwey, Evelyn Wagner, and Gordon Wilson.53

In the summer of 1936, Port Neches Coach I. B. Griffith was fired because he asked for a raise; the Nederland School Board immediately hired him, and Coach Konecny returned to the science department. Although the Bulldogs scored 206 points to 72 for the opposition, Nederland lost a “heartbreaker” to Port Neches by a score of 20 to 19. However, the Bulldogs harvested “sweet revenge” in 1937. The 1936 Bulldogs included Zannet Matte, James Willey, Paul Dubose, J. D. Stark, Percy Baker, Jimmy Massey, J. P. Clark, Clifford Broussard, J. W. Roberts, Bill Fuller, Herbert Foster, Walter Perryman, Thomas Harbour, Julian Broussard, R. B. Gregory, Olan Whitmire, Lester Clotiaux, Winfred Gallier, Pat Morrison, Clayton Harvill, Clarence Bourque, Noah Morvant, Ralph Massey, J. W. Hise, George Trotter, Alvin Ware, Paul Billingsley, Fred Arnold, O. S. Johnson, Fred Roach, Laris Broussard, Johnnie Arnold; P. R. Sikes, line coach; and I. B. Griffith, head coach.54

For some reason, the 1937 annual was named The Announcer instead of the usual Pilot, and the writer has often teased that the annual staff must have been on welfare or relief since the entire booklet was completed on an old-fashioned mimeograph machine, with resultant poor quality photos. (Actually there was no such “critter” as “welfare or relief” in 1936, since it was at the height of the Great Depression.) The faculty had hardly changed an iota except that Mr. Pietzsch left as superintendent, and I. B. Griffith became boys physical education and coach.55

The 1937 senior class of 48 graduates included Ethel Adams, Joe Almendro, Johnnie Arnold, Paul Billingsley, W. T. Block, Sylvia Brookner, Lester Clotiaux (killed in World War II), Adele Creighton, Luther Defee, Emma Doornbos, Hazel England, Winfred Gallier, R. B. Gregory (KIA, navy in World War II), Mary Ida Griffin, Maxine Handley, Lorraine Hastings, Rose Mary Hayslette, J. W. Hise, Thomas Housenfluck, Edward Hughes (KIA, World War II), O. S. Johnson, Hollis Jones, Ollie Mae Keltner, Arthur Lee, Roland Lee, Alton Lockler, Anna Mae Manning, Betty Lou Manning, Stanley Marlow, Charles Melling, Milton Mills, Seawillow Morgan, Sam Pace, Oneida Quinn, Melba Rasberry, Mildred Ritchie, Fred Roach, L. D. Sanford, Jack Singleton, Zillah B. Short, Ethel Spencer, Marie Strother, Emma Terwey, Agnes Thorp, George Trotter, Lillian Ware, Olan Whitmire, and Maryon Ruth Yentzen.56

When school began in Sept., 1936, high school enrollment totaled 240 students, an increase of 40 students over the previous year. The building still contained senior and junior high school, plus the fourth and fifth elementary grades. The first three grades were still in the old Langham building, which would be its last year, since the present Langham School was built in 1937. Between 1935 and 1940, some of the Langham elementary faculty included Molly Williams, Helena Doornbos, Gladys Sims, Anna Rienstra, Celeste Kitchen, Louree Dold Hollis, Rosannah DeYoung, Ruth Hansbro, Jewel Smithwick, Margaret Walker Cromwell, and Emma Risinger. And for the first time in 7 years, the Nederland Bulldogs BEAT the Port Neches Indians in 1937!57

The Great Depression, which had gripped Nederland so tenaciously between 1929 and 1940 did not end of itself; it simply merged with World War II until 16 million people were in military uniform; and Nederlanders soon found employment either in shipyards, refineries; or at the new Port Neches rubber plant, which began building in 1942 and employed 10,000 workers. Also, the Pilot annuals after 1937 continued to be soft-cover, and much less expensive products than those turned out around 1930, or after 1946.

The 72 graduates in 1941 included Virginia Arnold, Ethel Bartels, Charles Bishop, Dorothy Bonsall, Wallace Boudreaux, Laura Bourque, Alex Broussard, Gloria Mae Caldwell, Edward Campbell, Mary Louise Champagne, Evelyn Chester, Muriel Chester, Harold Collins, John Creswell, Dorris Crisman, Harry Farris, Lillie Mae Findley, Catherine Giebelstein, Gloria Gish, June Rose Gish, Elvina Green, Ray Green, Fred Griffin, Dewey Guilbeaux, Ray Hudson, William Ingram, Johnnie Mae Jefferson, Billie Jean Jordan, Jane Lumpkin, Kenneth MacCammond, Bob McKinley, Hazel Mize, Elizabeth Monks, Alburtha Morrison, Emma Lee Netterville, Evelyn Netterville.

Also, Yvonne Parish, Gerald Perryman, Billie Poss, Imo Jean Puntes, Mary Quebedeaux, Joyce Ratcliffe, Victor Roberts, Peggy Jean Rowland, Gene Rowley, Richard Roy (KIA World War II), Leon Sanford, J. D. Savoy (KIA World War II), Irma Schell, Frank Short, Roland Singleton, Marjorie Stehle, Milton Sticker, Willie Ann Stonecipher, Dorothy Streetman, Kathleen Tansil, Pearl Terry, Clyde Thacker, Lorraine Theriot, Marie Thorp, Alvin Van Marion, Hazel Vaughan, Anna Ruth Vogelvang, Lawrence Walp, Ilma Ware, Ruthie Mae Weeks, Barbara Wendling, Mary Lou Westberry, Juanita Willis, Tom Wills, Maude Evelyn Winn and Emmett Woodward.

Several teachers had been added to the faculty, but the older teachers of the early 1930s remained, for teaching positions were scarce during the depression. The new faculty included Maxine Drury (commercial), Robert Shepard (asst. coach), Robbie Connor (Spanish), C. R. Miller (shop, mechanical drawing), Velma Stoeltje (home economics), and C. R. Sory (band director).

The 1941 boys’ basketball team included P. J. Granger, Arleigh Duff, Robert Goss, Joe Williamson, Alfred Foster, Billy Fields, Edwin Roberts, Billy Clements, Kenneth MacCammond, Victor Roberts and J. E. Barnett. And the high school band had grown to nearly 70 members.58

Beginning Dec. 7, 1941, the United States suffered the Pearl Harbor debacle and was quickly at war with Japan, Germany, and Italy. Nevertheless, Nederland’s educational program continued to progress as best it could, even amid invasion jitters, coastal ships torpedoed, and even blackouts.  And a few new teachers were added, including Wanda Doggett (commercial), Ruth Reed (girls’ physical training), Elmer Brown (assistant coach), Alberta Meetz (dietician), Marjorie Hoffman (Spanish, drama), Jane Marshall (history), and Thurman E. Smith (typing, bookkeeping).

Once more, 72 seniors graduated, as follows: Harold Bailey, J. E. Barnett, Reynell Bernard, Anna Broussard, Harris Broussard, Ben Brown, Betty Brown, Stella Carrington, Wanda Lou Collins, Gloria Concienne, Gerald Crane, Marion Creswell, Horace Crosby, Lorae Crump, Gene Davis, Leona Decuir, Arleigh Duff (who won national fame as a musician), Alfred Foster, Cozie Belle Fowler, O. W. Franke, Mary Cleo Frederick, Wilma Fae Gibson, Albert Giebelstein, Hubert Gore, Lilian Gore, Robert Goss, R. P. Goulas, P. J. Granger, Rayford Guzardo, A. C. Handley, Emogene Hastings, Edward Hemmingway, Leo Hise, Roberta Hughes, Ella Mae Kelly, Bill Keltner.

Also, Hollis Paul Kennedy, Mary Kimler, Dorothy Mae Lee, Joyce Lee, Anna Belle Little, J. D. McGraw, Jesse McNabb, Dorothy Marlow, Jimmy Massey, Angeline Maxey, Sigrid Melling, Mary Miller, Marjorie Morrison, Doris Pousson, Allen Prejean, Terrance Redditt, J. W. Rhyne, Roosevelt Richards, Jimmie Ritter, Edwin Roberts, Waymon Scott, Elmer Smith, Nelson Sonnier, J. T. Tansil, Frank Taylor, Joseph Terracina, Milton Turner, Albert Van Oostrom, Joe Ware, Dorothy Wells, Joe Williamson, David Willis, Dennis Wills, and Evelyn Rhea Wilson.

The 1942 Bulldogs football team included Donald Sanderson, Howland Reich, Jack Perryman, Willard Sinclair, Wesley Weatherly, Harold Sehon, Pete Premeaux, Billy Fields, Allen Ritter, Tommy Vinson, Alfred Foster, Edwin Roberts, Barney Green, Harold McNabb, A C. Handley, Elmer Smith, and J. E. Barnett.

Also, Burton Pousson, Robert Crosson, Stanley Delahoussaye, Wilson Frederick, Lewis Wallace, Robert Goss, Albert Van Oostrom, Frank Taylor, Rynell Bernard, Harris Broussard, Anthony Concienne, Jimmy Massey, Spencer Ritchie, Joe Williamson, and Leo Hise.59

Sadly, the privations of war and other causes resulted in no annuals being published for the remaining war years of 1943, 1944, and 1945. Perhaps it was unfeasible and even considered unpatriotic in the face of wartime shortages, and horrific military defeats and deaths. At any rate, there remains a considerable famine of knowledge in Nederland’s scholastic history, because they do not exist. During World War II, a large ‘medal of honor’ sign or bulletin board with 200 names of Nederland servicemen on it was mounted at the corner of Boston and 13th Street. Most were Nederland graduates, and about 12 were killed during the war.

The 1946 annual reflects many faculty changes that had taken place during the war years; nevertheless such teachers as Frances Earle; C. A. Mathews, who had been promoted to superintendent; and Marjorie Newson were holdovers from 1929. The 20 faculty members included F. Earle (social studies), C. R. Miller (principal); M. Newsom (home ec), J. S. Badgett (band director), Jessie Lee Ross (science), Mrs. Ethel Peterson (English), Edna Holder (commercial), J. Konecny (science, asst. coach) Mrs. Daisy Swanson (librarian), Mrs. Mabel Bradley (commercial), H. L. McRae (coach),, Gladys Estes (English), Allie Bland (mathematic), T. E. Smith (mathematics), Mrs. H. L. McRae (English, history), Mrs. R. G. Boggs (Spanish), Lois Strong (girls’ phys-ed), Mrs. Elizabeth Mann (English) and Verna Mae Abel, dietician.

While the reading of countless names may be tedious and cumbersome, the history of a school is much like that of a church. Whereas the history of a church is of its congregation, not of its sanctuary and steeple, the history of a school is that of its faculty and students, not that of its beautiful buildings and libraries, its sparking band instruments and uniforms, nor of its football clothing and stadium. It is always hoped that the knowledge imparted to each young mind might produce a political leader, an inventor, or great scientist; or if that were not possible, at least it would help each graduate to earn a comfortable living and be an asset to human society.

The year 1946 witnessed a severe drop in graduates from 72 in 1941 and 1942 to 55 in 1946. They are follows: Joyce Beakes, Charles Beard, Billy Beranek, Rudy Berlin, Dorothy Brady, Luther Brown, Johnny Clements, Herbert Coffman, Theresa Concienne, R. X. Cook, Averill Davis, Gloria Davis, Addie Pearl Denton, Marceline Droddy, Robert Eagleson, Lloyd Foust, Lillian Gardner, Marjorie Gardner, Robert Earl Gray, Willie Jane Griffin, Guy Haynes, Sybil Hemmenway, Hugh Allen Hooks, Plas Howard, Joe Milton Hughes, Emma Jeanne Jones, Vernon Kimler, Juanita Keel, Bill Loudon, Gerald McManus, Billy Darrel Moye, Pete Premeaux, Ralph Price, Opal Quarles, Catherine Rauwerda, Howland Reich.

Also, Tom Ross, Janette Sheffield, Don Sibley, Bud Smith, Juanita Smith, Dorothy Spoor, Mildred Sumerow, Jack Sweeney, Wayne Taylor, Jack Thompson, Irving Townsend, Bobby Vinson (All-American West Point player shot down and still missing in Vietnam), Louise Walling, Gloria Weatherly, Jewel Weeks, Nella Mae Westberry, Etta Alice Willis, Billy Joe Wilson, and Daniel Zimmerman.

The 1946 boys’ basketball team included Bobby Vinson, Everett Sanderson, Averill Davis, L. G. Chaddick, Harold Gene Palmer, Tryce Taylor, Walter Davis, Rudy Berlin, Bobby Wooten, Tyrus Sibley, and Irving Townsend.  The 1946 sponsors and maids were as follows: Willie Mae Brousard, Mildred Sumerow, Dorothy Brady, Theresa Concienne, Elaine Sandlin, Jewel Jones, and Joyce Hanchett. The 1946 cheer leaders included Ray Rasberry, Wanda Jo Vinson, Joyce Beakes, and John Willey.60

The 1947 faculty was almost identical with that of the previous year, as follows: C. A. Mathews, superintendent; C. R. Miller, principal; J. L. Badgett (band); Allie Bland (mathematics); Mrs. M. L. Bradley (commercial); Charles Ecles (Spanish); Frances Earle (history); Gladys Estes (English II); Mrs. M. L. Fore (English 3, 4); Baron Gray (coach); Edna Holder (commercial); Martha Bennett (girls’ phys-ed); R. O. Medlin (mathematics); Marjorie Newsom (home ec); Mrs. E. G. Peterson (English 1); Jessie Lee Ross (science); T. E. Smith (mathematics); Mrs. C. C. Swanson (librarian); Fount Wade (science, asst. coach); and Mrs. Beatrice Davis (commercial).

The 1947 graduating class was back up to 68, an increase from 55 in 1946.  The graduates included Ruth Aldredge, Louise Bevil, Alta Gray Block, Goldie Lou Bonsall, Lessie James Broussard, Willie Mae Broussard, Katherine Bryan, Carl Bush, David Bush, Nell Camp, L. G. Chaddick, Howard Clark, Sarah Jane Fox, Curtis Gough, Irene Greer, Robert Harbour, Leon Hastings, Rena Huval, Jane Johnson, Jewel Jones, James Kingston, Nancy Lawrence, Jackie Little, Gene McCartney, Betty Markham, Barbara Matherne, Betty Jo Matte, Mary Sue Merritt, Mary Collins (became nationally known New York model and TV actress Ca. 1950, see Midc. Chronicle, July 25,1990) , Bill Crane, Earline Eagleson, Leroy Farley, Eugene Findley, Charles Ray Fletcher, Harrell Fowler, Marjorie Fowler, William C. Mize, Jim Newberry, Harold Gene Palmer, and O. R. Perdue.

Also, Lettye Layne Peveto, Lois Lee Pregeant, Robert Quinn, Joyce Rackley, Faye Root, Cecil Rose, Donald Sanderson, Everett Sanderson, Joy Elaine Sandlin, Harold Sarles, Elvis Saulters, Jerry Shuart, Beverly Rachel Stewart, Billie Swearingen, Betty Taylor, Trice Edgar Taylor, Charles Tippen, Wanda Jo Vinson, Billy Whitman, and Bobby Whitman.

On Nov. 20, 1946 the Kampus Klub presented the 3-act play “The Lady in Gray.” The Senior Class presented the play “Laughing Gas,” date not stated.

In 1947 the girls’ basketball team players included Joyce Chambers, Shirley Dean, Goldie Bonsall, Earline Eagleson, Inge Jordahn, Beverly Haynes, Delores Babineaux, Rita Faye Melder, Mary Kingston, Dorothy Langham, Bobbie Harris, Ida Mae Langham, Ms. Bennett, Edith Woods, and Betty Miller.

The 1947 Bulldogs football team included James Fultz, Trice Taylor, Elvis Saulters, Howard Clark, Harold Palmer, Leroy Farley, Cecil Rose, Donald Sanderson, O. R. Perdue, Leo Schion, L. C. Choate, Tyrus Sibley, David Bush, Jerry Locke, Robert Harbour, Bobby Wooten, Everett Sanderson, Darrel Monts, William Johnson, Bill Crane, L. G. Chaddick, Lynn Price, Harold Zimmerman, Joe Wayne Dubose, Buddy Davis, and Jimmy Locke.

The boys’ basketball team included Bobby Wooten, Howard Clark, Buddy Davis, Everett Sanderson, Jim Newberry, Robert Harbour, Ollie Ray Fuller, Elvis Saulters, Gene Palmer, Trice Taylor, Joe Wayne Dubose, and L. G. Chaddick. Chaddick and Davis made All-District, each having a scoring record of 156 points. Later, Davis would become an Olympic winner.61

The Nederland Board of Education in 1950 included John McInnis, president; Dr. B. H. Hall, B. A. Ritter, J. V. Radford, Murray Libersat, E. A. Palmer, and W. F. Ricketts. The faculty of that year included C. A. Mathews, superintendent; F. C. Burnett, principal; E. C. Deering, supervisor; also,     Mrs. B. B. Bolton (Spanish, history), Mrs. M. L. Bradley (commercial), Emmett McKenzie (physics). R. O. Medlin (math). Walter Deering (world history), Mrs. Julia Dupuy (nurse), Frances Earle (history), Charles Enloe (band), Marjorie Newsom (home ec), Mrs. A. E. Paradice (bookkeeping), Elbert Pickell (coach), Harry Gerbens (industrial arts). Louise Hogg (dietician), Mrs. R. L. LaBove (choral), L. C. Lowery (asst. coach, math), Mrs. J. D. Presley (girls’ phys-ed), Jessie Ross (science), Mrs. Syd Russell (English), Mrs. A. H. Smith (English, history), Mrs. Daisy Swanson (librarian), J. W. Welch (typing, chemistry), H. S. Whiteside (math), Mrs. H. S. Whiteside (English, speech), and Charles Williams (English). The writer will use this space to recognize the 21-year Nederland teaching career of Frances Earle and Marjorie Newson, each of whom was dearly beloved by the student body.

In 1950 senior class included 90 graduates, as follows: Revis Abshire, Billy Jack Abshire, Juanita Adamson, Bobby Aldredge, May Nell Armstrong, Sadie Ruth Baker, Darold Bartels, Donald Bartels, Johnny Bevil, Melba Ruth Beyer, James Bolton, Davis Bourque, Carolyn Brackin, Thomas Burnaman, A. J. Cessac, Freddy Cessac, Arthur Champagne, Barbara Courts, Jack Childress, Ethel Courts, Billie Ferrel Dalby, Patsy Daughrity, Arlen Daw, Jeanne Deese, Benny Driggers, Betty Lou Dubose, Betty Eagleson, Florence Foster, Mary Fowler, and Martha Bert Fox.

Also, Ruth Frederick, Leonard Frazier, Pat Furth, J. T. Gall, Jimmie Nell Gaugh, Billy Guzardo, Arlene Handley, Jerry Hanks, Shirley Hastings, Belvin Havard, John Haizlip, Joann Henderson, Maxine Jennings, Billy Johnson, Dorothy Langham, Gladys LaPoint, Hazel LaPoint, Julia LeBlanc, Billie Rae Lewis, Richard Longbottom, Elton Luce, Louise McBride, Jack McGaffey, William McGee, Robert Marcontel, Dorothy May, Marion Mericle, Marguerite Miller, Alvin Mott, Keith Norton, George O’Quinn, Darald Premeaux, Bud Rauwerda, Wilma Rauwerda, Clara Lela Redditt, and Joyce Rienstra.

Also, Delores Richardson, Gene Shaw, Arnold Sherer, Bessie Silkwood, Andrew Simmons, Gerald Smith, Patsy Stark, Rebecca Street, Cleo Strickland, Mary Thacker, Samuel Tobey, Jo Ann Tyer, Nelis Van Marion, Bobby Watson, D. C. West, Donnie Whitehead, Bobbie Whitehead, F. A. Wiegmann, Curtis Williams, Damie Whitman, H. C. Youmans, Roberta Greer, and Ray Rasberry.

The many extracurricular groups worthy of mention included the Future Homemakers, Campus Club, Spanish Club, Speech Club, Choral Club, Student Council, Health Council, Press Club, Science Club, and Pep Squad. There were several dramatic plays presented during the year.

The 1949 track team included Richard Longbottom, Walter Robin, Davis Bourque, Revis Abshire, Dal Ray Brown, James Lee, Curtis Williams Bill Sturrock, Bud Rauwerda, D. C. West, and Darald Premeaux.62

This completes a thumbnail sketch of early Nederland education and a brief history of the Nederland Independent School District from 1898 until 1950. Many annuals or Pilot books are not on hand in the school archives, and even if they had been available, the length of this treatise would have become unmanageable if each year had been presented. And the writer truly regrets that he could not mention each graduate’s name from every graduating class. Some Nederland graduates won national acclaim, among them Bobby Vinson, All-American at West Point, who is still missing in action in Vietnam; Arleigh Duff, western singer, whose “You All Come” made top ten of Western music; Buddy Davis, who won an Olympic gold medal; and Mary Collins, of New York model and TV fame. Tex Ritter attended school briefly in Nederland before leaving for Hollywood.

It would be easy to point out in 2004 that the Nederland School District can boast of a high school, 2 middle schools, and 4 elementary school; a large capacity football stadium, an administration building, band houses, libraries, computers, and a dozen other scholastic and administrative aids which are needed to make its cylinders run smoothly. However, as always it is its large faculty and student body, which are worthy of writing about. It is the author’s sincere wish that this scholastic entity will continue to succeed for centuries to come, and always leave as excellent an academic record in the future as it has in the past.

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1 W. T. Block, “Tulip Transplants to East Texas: The Dutch Migration to Nederland, Port Arthur, and Winnie, 1895-1915,” East Texas Historical Journal, XIII, No. 2 (1975), 36-50.

2 Holland, Mich. DeGrondwet, May 24, 1898

3 Midcounty Chronicle, July 22, 1992.

4 Memories of Anna Cooley in “From the Netherlands in Europe to Nederland, Texas.”

5 Histories of the Elings, Koelemay and Westerterp families.

6 History of the John Berthold Cooke, Sr. family.

7 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, 1898-1973, p. 45.

8 Ibid, p. 47.

9 History of the Thompson family.

10 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p.47 and other sources.

11 History of the W. S. Gibson family, Vol. 5, Part A, “Chronicles of the Early Families of Nederland.”

12 Beaumont Enterprise, .May 24, 1908.

13 Beaumont Journal, Apr. 2, 15, 1905.

14 Ibid., May 21, 1905.

15 Beaumont Enterprise, May 26, 1907.

16 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p. 49.

17 Part X, Memoirs of Carrie Goodwin, in “Chronicles of the Early Families of Nederland.”

18 Memoirs of Annie Marie McLean, Vol. 4, Part 5, “Chronicles of the Early Families.”

19 Beaumont Enterprise, Sept. 10, 1911.

20 Ibid., May 19, 1912.

21 School Review of Jefferson County Texas for 1921, pp.14, 50.

22 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p. 50.

23 Ibid., p. 49.

24 “School Review of Jefferson County, Texas for 1921,” p. 49.

25 Ibid., p. 13.

26 Ibid., p. 50.

27 Ibid., p. 101.

28 Ibid., pp. 19-20.

29 Ibid., p. 51.

30 Ibid., “Jefferson County Health Department,” pp. 97-101.

31 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p. 50.

32 Part U, Memoirs of Lowell C. Morgan, in “Chronicles of the Early Families of Nederland.”

33 Part C, Vol. 2, Memoirs of Adam Winters, in “Chronicles of the Early Families etc.”

34 “Nederland New School to be Ready,” Beaumont Enterprise, August 12, 24, 1924; also the 1928 Pilot, p. 16.

35 Memoirs of Annie Marie McLean, Vol. 4, Part 5, “Chronicles of the Early Families etc.”

36 Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p. 54; W. T. Block, “C. O. Wilson: Nederland’s Pioneer Educator,” Midcounty Chronicle, April 17, 2002.

37 Interview, W. T. Block with Albert H. Rienstra, Dec. 8, 2004.

38 Interview, W. T. Block with Mrs. Alice Ruth Bodemuller, Dec. 8, 2004.

39 See Nederland Diamond Jubilee, p. 51; also Nederland Centennial History, p. 121.

40 Nederland Centennial History, p. 64.

41 Ibid.

42 W. T. Block, “C. O. Wilson: Midcounty’s Pioneer Educator,” Midcounty Chronicle, Apr. 17, 2002.

42a The 1928 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

42b The 1929 annual, The Pilot, pages 19-81.

43 The 1930 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

44 Ibid.

45 The 1937 annual, The Announcer, p. 4.

46 See footnote 43.

47 Ibid.

48 Ibid.

49 Ibid

50 Ibid.

51 Ibid.

52 The 1934 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

53 Ibid.

54 The 1937 annual, The Announcer, pages unnumbered.

55 Ibid.

56 Ibid.

57 Ibid; also Nederland Centennial History, pp. 67-69.

58 The 1941 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

59 The 1942 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

60 The 1946 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

61 The 1947 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

62 The 1950 annual, The Pilot, pages unnumbered.

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Copyright © 1998-2024 by W. T. Block. All rights reserved.
Unless otherwise indicated, the material published on this site is copyrighted by William T. Block.
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