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White Deer Land Museum

116 S. Cuyler

Pampa, TX 79065


Grandview School began in 1925

Real Audio by Eloise Lane


B.R. Nuckols, former Gray County Superintendent of Schools, wrote that Grandview Common School District #17, Carney CSD #19 and Prather CSD #20 were consolidated in 1925 to form Grandview CSD #17.

Another source names the consolidating schools as Wakefield (XVII), Steed (XIX) and Grand Valley (XX).

In 1927 the Grandview CSD #17 was classified by the Gray County Board of Education  as an elementary and high school, but it reverted to elementary status in 1947. Beginning in the fall of 1973, Grandview and Hopkins were consolidated to form Grandview-Hopkins Independent School District.

From Pampa, the Grandview-Hopkins building is 15 miles south on SH 70; then  two miles west and one-half mile north on FM 293.

Among the early landowners in the Grandview area were the Furneaux Brothers (Joseph H., William C. and John L.) of Dallas. Of the 65 sections they and J.B. Wilson bought from the Groom Ranch in the early 1900s, about 15 sections were in Gray County. For a time "Bud" and A.J. Babcock lived in the Furneaux house on Section 102 of Block B2. Shortly before WW II, the Furneaux Brothers sold their acreage in Gray County. Some of the new owners were Guy Andis, Eddie and Holly Gray, Wagner, Carroll and Osborne.

In 1910 John (Jack) Stephens came from England to the Panhandle with the encouragement of his cousin, Tommy Cocks, who owned land near Alanreed. Stephens worked as a farm hand until he saved enough money to buy his own land from the White Deer Land Company for $12 to $15 an acre. At the time of purchase, he could ride his horse 15 miles in any direction without seeing a fence. He was known as the "crazy Englishman on the gray horse."

On a visit to England after WW I, Stephens married Dorothy Bice, a childhood friend, and the couple returned to Gray County in 1918. They lived from seeing wheat and row crop farming done with teams of mules and simple equipment to seeing huge machines with air-conditioned cabs and stereo --- from dry "pray for rain" farming to irrigation assisted production.

The Stephens' always kept in close touch with their English relatives and were known never to miss having their afternoon tea. Their three children, Patricia (Peggy), Jack, Jr., and Barbara May, attended school at Grandview.

Both the paternal and maternal grandparents of Donald Lee Ritter came to Gray County in 1915. Ritter has lived most of his life in the "home place" which his parents built in 1930 when he was about two years old. The house in two miles south and one mile east of Grandview-Hopkins School.

Ritter has been engaged in farming and ranching since 1944 when he rented the "Deep Lake" William Jackson Estate place while he was a sophomore in high school.  He has served on the Grandview School Board and the Gray County Hospital Board.

Ritter and his wife, the former Juandell Cruse, have three children. Like their father, the children attended Grandview School and now grandchildren of Donald and Juandell Ritter are pupils at Grandview-Hopkins.

In 1915 Reuben Isaac Davis, a widower with three children, came from a farm near Ringwood, Oklahoma. He bought land ten and one-half miles south and two miles west of Pampa. The next year he loaded his furniture, farm equipment and livestock on railroad cars for shipment to Pampa. He built a three-room shack for his children and his sister and her husband, Eve and Dode Couts.

The Davis children walked or rode horseback to a school called Grand Valley, which was about two miles from their home. Later when they attended Grandview, which was about five miles from their home, they rode the school bus, a converted truck.

In 1918 Davis married Katie Mae Elder of Pond Creek, Oklahoma. In 1919 a three legged windmill was built, and the family no longer had to haul water for two miles, using a sled pulled by two horses.

John Reuben Davis, son of R.I. Davis, was the only person ever to receive a high school diploma from Grandview School. On August 1, 1926, he married Julia Kuykendall, daughter of Calvin and Minnie Kuykendall. The Kuykendalls moved to the Grandview community soon after they came to Pampa in 1924.

Opal Davis, daughter of R.I. Davis, married Willard Benjamin Franklin in 1934.  Her twin sister, Fae Davis, married Autry Holmes.

Darrel Davis, son of John R. and Julia Davis, lives on the family farm on Section 164 of Block B2.

In 1916 James M. McCracken first came from Indian Territory to farm in Gray County. In 1925 he and his wife, the former Elsie M. Detrick, moved permanently to a farm 18 miles south and two miles west of Pampa in the Grandview community.

J.M. McCracken served on the Grandview School Board for a number of years. In 1955 he was elected County Commissioner of Precinct 3 by write-in votes and had served nine years at the time of his death in June, 1964.

James O. McCracken, son of James M. and Elsie, was only six months old when his family moved to the Grandview community. He attended Grandview School and graduated from Pampa High School. After serving in WW II he came home to help his father farm.  He was appointed County Commissioner, Precinct 3, when his father died while in office.  He ran for commissioner in November, 1964, and held that office for 20 years.

James O. and Betty (Bural) McCracken have two children: Larry McCracken and Marsha Harmon.

In 1916 John Antony Baggerman, whose parents had settled southeast of Pampa in 1907, bought Section 173 of Block B2 from the White Deer Land Company for $17.50 an acre. He met Odell Stokes at a dance near Groom, and they were married in the churchyard of the Baptist Church in White Deer on August 14, 1926.

Their first home was a lOxl6 foot shack, but in February, 1927 John started building a  13-room home from plans he had drawn. The large basement was dug by hand with a pick  and shovel and the dirt was hauled off in a wagon.

During the depression years the family raised their own food and sold eggs and cream. Hogs were hauled to town and sold for $2.50 to $3.00 per hundred pounds live weight. Through the years John raised horses to sell and to use on the farm. A black Percheron stallion that weighed approximately 1800 pounds was the sire of many work horses around the country.

In 1944 the first oil well was drilled on the Baggerman farm. When John told Odell that oil was found on their land, she said, "I have never been very bossy, but there's one thing we're not going to do and that's milk a bunch of cows to buy groceries as long as we've got oil coming out of the ground."

The cows were sold and John purchased land with the oil money he received. When his eleven children were grown, he gave each one a half-section of land.

For many years John and Odell helped with the annual Grandview barbecue by donating the beef. They were honored by the Grandview community with a silver tray for their services.

John died in December, 1969, at age 75. In January, 1984, a barbecue and dance were held at the Grandview-Hopkins School in honor of Odell's 75th birthday. She died, at the age of 76, the following February after having lived in the Grandview community for almost 60 years.

Roselle Baggerman Collingsworth, youngest daughter of John and Odell, began to work for the Grandview-Hopkins School in 1984 as the cook for the cafeteria. She also drives the school bus.

In 1916 Joseph and Maude (Oler) Fortenberry moved from Lone Oak in East Texas to Gray County. Their land, 20 miles south of Pampa, was on the northeast corner of SH 70 and FM 2477 which leads to Lake McClellan.

The Fortenberry home, one of the closest to present SH 70, was a convenient place for travelers to stop and have a refreshing drink of water.

One Fortenberry family member, an old English bulldog named "Bob," was not as cordial as the rest of the family. Many times Joe and Maude returned to their home to find a salesman or traveler sitting on the roof of the house or the windmill tower. The visitors would be praying that the occupants of the house would soon return and rescue them from old "Bob."

In 1917 Edwin Gleason Nelson drove a wagon pulled by a four-horse team from Oklahoma to begin farming in the newly developing area south of Pampa. As a graduate of Oklahoma A&M and as an expert with figures, he found employment at the Groom State Bank to earn extra income when he was not breaking sod and building a house that he could call home.

He soon became a respected member of the community, and, on September 18, 1921, he married Ellen Mae Fortenberry, daughter of Joseph W. and Maude Fortenberry. The newlyweds and another local couple, Guy and Maude Andis, were shivareed by the mis- chievous residents of Groom.

As the years went by, Edwin and Ellen Nelson continued farming, but they enjoyed traveling, especially to visit their son Joe and his wife and their three daughters. Joe's family lived at various times in Oklahoma City, Enid and Dallas.

After Ellen died in January, 1974, Edwin invited his granddaughter Jan and her husband, Bill Ragsdale, Jr., and their infant twin sons, Jereme and Joseph, to come to live with him on the farm.

On July 2, 1984, Edwin died as the result of an automobile accident.

Jan Nelson Ragsdale, with her husband and sons, now lives on land that once belonged to both sets of her grandparents. She teaches at Grandview-Hopkins School where her father and her sons received their elementary education. In 1983 Jan, who is a talented artist, completed a three year project: painting a 12xl8 foot mural depicting world, national and county history on  a wall in the White Deer Land Museum.

Probably about 1927, residents of the Grandview community had a picnic which began the tradition of having a  barbecue at the end of each school year. For several years some of the farmers, which probably included L.P. Eakin, father of Paul and Jim, would fatten a calf for the next year's feast. In later years John Baggerman donated the beef for the yearly event.

There are reports that a reunion of those who have lived in the Grandview community prior to consolidation with Hopkins is being planned for August, 1991.

(Stories of families mentioned in this article are in Gray County Heritage.)