Pre-Katy ISD (1919)
The Original Schools
In 1901, the original Katy town school was rebuilt after being demolished by the hurricane that devastated Galveston. Because of the booming economy and growing population, in 1909 a brick two-story school, serving grades one through 10, was built at Sixth Street and Avenue A. It was a modern building with steam heat, electricity and indoor plumbing. Students who lived in the country came to school by horse and buggy or horseback. To accommodate the horses, there was a barn beside the school. At noon, the children would have to feed their horses as well as themselves. With an hour for lunch, those living in town would walk home. Others could either buy a hot lunch for 5 cents from the school's cafeteria or bring a sack lunch.
To educate their children, early settlers opened eleven one-room schoolhouses from 1895 to 1914. The first of these was on the J. C. Hennessey property south of town in Fort Bend County. When it opened in 1895, trustees for the Hennessey School were S. Briscoe, J. C. Hennessey, and Mr. Glick. They hired Judge Castles as the first teacher. Other teachers at the school were Mr. Wilson, Mr. Gammage, Mr. Barton, Nellie Jane Breedlove Janes, Katie McJinkins, and Myrtle Leonard. (Weinmann, 1953)
In 1896, a 'Negro School' was opened south of town near Cane Island Creek. The school was open in this location for over twenty years, with Mr. H. A. Smiley, Annie L. Gleed, Pearl Read, Lola Huff, Lavina Vaughns, Thelma Neal, Nellie Byrd, and Ida J. Mayo as teachers. (CITE 5) That same year, brothers Milton and Robert Beckendorff, and Henry Cobb wanted to build a school for children north of Katy. Cobb's land was in the Addicks School District so the men had to negotiate with Addicks to divide that district in order to build a school there. Addicks agreed to the division. Construction of the Cobb School wasn't finished until late 1896, the first classes were held the following year. The Beckendorff brothers and Henry Cobb were the first trustees. They hired Mrs. W. McCumber as the first teacher. Other teachers were May Harris, Katie McJinkins, Norma Burns, Angela Brolono, Minnie Bowers, and Miss Skelton. (Weinmann, 1953) The Cobb School building became the meeting place for Saturday night Literary Club meetings, which were very popular and well attended. (Rylander, 1991)
The rural schools were well attended, but the growing town of Katy needed a school. A new district had to be acquired and the Katy Common School District (CSD) was formed in 1898. The trustees were E. M. Morton, G. W. Shapley, and J. C. Collins. The city constructed a 32-foot-square one-room school for all grade levels on 6th Street (6th St. is now known as George Bush Drive) that opened the following-year. The trustees were Arthur Van Duyan, Dr. L. R. Shreve, W. H. Weller, C. L. Baird and J. Marshal Janes. Mrs. Lyman Evans was hired as the first teacher. Later teachers included Edna Janes, May Harris, Charlotte Love, Minnie Bowers, Lena Russell, Miss Hogan, and Mr. Chambers. (Weinmann, 1953)
By 1900, Katy had a population of over 300 people. The great gulf storm that decimated Galveston on September 8th and 9th of that year blew across the open prairie unchecked. Most of the buildings in Katy were damaged and many were destroyed. Among those destroyed was the Katy school house.
Classes were held in the home and boarding house of W. H. Featherston until a new, identical building was completed in 1900. (Adams, 2012)
Another school opened in 1901, this one south of town in Fort Bend County, on the property of E. M. McGinnis. The trustees for the McGinnis School were E. M. McGinnis, J. Sills, and Mr. McCrary. The first teacher was Mrs. Nettie Sheckler. Later teachers were Nora Knoll, Alice Thornhill, and Dahlia McGinnis. (Weinmann, 1953)
In 1904, the Schlipf School opened northwest of town in Waller County. The trustees were C. Schlipf, Wm. G. Weinmann, William Eule, and A. K. Kridner. The first teacher was Rupert Bing. Later teachers were Mr. Davis, Willie Sorsby, Hattie Bowers, Eleanor Watson, Alice McWilliams, Mayme Howell, Willie Mae Sanders, and Lois Armor. (Weinmann, 1953)
The South Mayde School (PHOTO 2) opened in Harris County in 1905, taking in students from the Cobb School and others in the area. Seven more one-room schoolhouses were in the Katy countryside to handle the increased population. Dave Southard, William Pitts, and Harry Bennett were the first trustees. They hired Frankie Peppers as the first teacher. Later teachers were Charlotte Love, May Finley, Katie Ray, Lottie Moore, Mrs. P. L. Wilkinson, Artie Cole, Janice Woods, Ruby Mixon, Velma Thompson, Mrs. Mary Wilkinson, Reba Smith, Cora Husky, Alma Bradbury, Naomi Burks (Frazee), Linnie May Ramsey (Freeman), Dora Mae Pennington (Egger), Joan Ramsey (Herbert), and Emma Friday. (Weinmann, 1953)
Children southeast of town were meeting at the Fort Bend County home of John Sills for classes. Maude Clayton was their teacher. A schoolhouse was built on his property and some students from the McGinnis School began attending the Sills School in 1906. The trustees for this school were John Sills, J. Fonny and McGrary. The first teacher was Willie Ogg. Later teachers were Bula Kelly, Tommy Baggett, Bonnie Candy, Wiliford Coats, Mary Barnwell, Kittie McGinnis and Myrtle Minkwitz. (Weinmann, 1953)
In 1909, growing enrollment in Katy CSD made a new building necessary. The new Katy School building (FIGURES 3,4) was constructed west of the one-room wooden school house. It had large rooms upstairs, four classrooms downstairs and a beautiful bell installed in the tower to call students each morning. 2 High school students moved into the new structure while elementary students remained in the old building. Miss Lena Russell was the principal assisted by Minnie Bowers. Later teachers were Roy Sanders, Willie Mae Sanders, Mr. Stevenson, Mr. Simmons, H. P. Peters, Dr. Quinton, Miss Kogler, and Alice McWilliams. (Weinmann, 1953)
In 1912, J. W. Dishman opened a school on his land in Fort Bend County to relieve the overcrowded Hennessey School. (PHOTO 4) The first trustees were F. E. Hoyt, W. E. Denny, Mr. Martin, and P. A. Poorman. The first teacher was Mrs. Ernest Black and later teachers were were Zora Mims, Clara Morton, Libby Sigler, and J. W. Parton. (Weinmann, 1953)
The Katy CSD organized the Katy Mother's Club in 1913. The group raised money to purchase shrubbery and trees for the school grounds, books for the library, musical instruments and playground equipment. Clothing and lunches were provided for needy children and medical attention was offered by the health committee. This group later became the Parent Teacher Association (PTA). (Wilkinson, 1955)
In 1914, six hundred fifty dollars was obtained from the Harris County school funds to build the Stockdick School three miles east of the Cobb School. The Stockdick School was identical to the South Mayde School. Trustees were A. J. Peek, W. C. Stockdick, M. A. McDonald, H. E. Jordan, P. V. Cook, and E. Stockdick. Edith Steckle was the first teacher. Later teachers included Miss Hines, Webb Miller, Alta Gilpin, Kittie McGinnis, Nina Philips, Ruby Roberts, C. Moore, Volma Thompson, Margaret Moon, Iva Southard, Ada Monigold, Mrs. Carothers, and Amelia Buvinghausen, Mrs. Ivy, and Elsie Thompson. (Weinmann, 1953)
By 1918, transportation had improved enough that children from area farms could get to town to attend school. (Gilbert & Brinegar, 1971)
The Beginning of Katy ISD
Then, in 1919, four of the country schools consolidated with the Katy school to form the Katy Independent School District. At that time, the district only extended about 3-miles east and 3-miles west of the town of Katy, 5-miles south and 2-miles north.
(Disclaimer: Most of the page content written here was copied from the An Application for an Official Texas Historical Marker for Katy Elementary School site by Carol Adams and Christopher Harris with the assistance of Dan Worrall .)