“Discipline” in a Rural Texas School, 1900

Early Massey Family household circa 1980s

G.M.C. Massey (standing, middle left) with family, East Texas circa 1890s

My grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, started teaching in 1900, when he was 20. In his memoirs written 60 years later, he described this early teaching experience that earned him a reputation as a disciplinarian.

I had occasion to punish the older boy for an offense that did not amount to too much, And the boy had guessed that it was coming, and he came in, he had his knife run up his sleeve, And I knew that he must have made his brags about what he was going to do from the way that the boys looked when the trouble began.

As soon as they all got seated I began the investigation as to who was guilty And he got up at once and said that he was the guilty party, and wanted to know what I was going to do about it? And at once he announced that he was going to cut my guts out and string them all over the benches, and he brandished his knife to make sure that I would understand what he meant.

It might have frustrated me if it had not taken me unaware; But before I had time to think it over, I had made my way back near him and when I got close enough to jump the rest of the way; I just jumped and hit him with all my weight right in his forehead, and his knife went against the door and he went to the floor and his head went back under the bench, and I picked up his right foot, and pulled it up to my hip and went to work on his legs and back and any other part of him that was turned right to strike. And when I let him up he was bleeding and otherwise messed up. So I told one of the grown boys to go out with him to the spring and help him to clean himself up so that he would be presentable, and to see that he came back to the house with him. And they came back. But I was sure that was not the last that I was going to hear of that.

As soon as I had reached my boarding place the oldest girl of the house told her Parents about it, and the man said that is not all that we will hear of that. But one of the grown young men that was going to school went with me to town, And as soon as we got there this man in question drove in, in an awful hurry, and jumped out and went into the Saloon and as soon as we could get off we drove back to my boarding place, and as we drove up to the gate, This man drove up right beside and jumped out and began to curse me out of my buggy, and told me that he was going to whip me with that buggy whip till he was sure that I was in as bad shape as his boy was in, and of course I did not get out for I was not going to take a whipping off of him; and I argued with him till the man that I was boarding with came out with his shot gun in his hands and told the Fellow to leave or else, And he left but as he left, he said that he would meet me at the school house the next morning and that he was going to stay all day and he would see to it that everything went off right throughout the days to come.

The next morning I went to school and one of my trustees went along with his double-barreled shotgun. And when we got there: there were no other persons present. So we waited to see if any one would turn up at all.

Well every body that had ever come was there, and when this man in question drove up; He had his winchester across his lap; And as he stopped I had my trustee’s shotgun on the man, and told him to put his hands high, and to hold them high; And he did; and I told the trustee to go and get his gun, and he did. Then I told the man in question to go home and make it in double quick time and for him to keep away from there as long as the school lasted. And he stayed away; But of course He prosecuted me for the thrashing that I gave the Boy; But the boy was 17 and I was 20 and there were very few pounds difference in our weight. I was tried and when the evidence was all in and the Jury got the case; They did not quibble over the verdict. Just in a very few minutes they came in with a verdict of not guilty.

But that did not stop the trouble for me for about four years later, I was teaching the Central high School in that same district, and his next boy in size and age was in my school and the trouble was on again.

Upon the first provocation I asked the boy to do something, and he refused to do it, and as I started to go to him He told me to not touch him that his dad said and I did not wait to hear any more till I got him out of his seat and I gave him something to go home and talk about. But his dad did not come to see me at school But he gave me plenty misery watching him in town and after dark I was very watchful for I found him snooping around my place after I had come back from town one night, and I had him covered before He knew that I was back home.

On one occasion, as I stepped out of the bank; he throwed his pistol in my face and told me to reach high, and as I raised my hands I caught his gun and twisted it out of his hand, and called the Constable; and he carried him to Quitman and put him in jail.

And then at another time a little later, he was shadowing me there in town on a Saturday evening; and I was trying to avoid him and not let him know that I knew that he was trying to get up with me. And I went into the drug store, and I went in behind the prescription case and I saw him come in there too, and as he did not think that I was in there he went out at the side door, and as soon as he went out I ran to the door just as he dodged behind the corner of the drug store; So I hurried around the drug store the other way and when I got around to the back of the drug store, He was peeping and watching for me to come the way that he had gone to that corner. And I yelled to him to drop it, and he did, and I said for him to step off there 10 steps and he did, and I picked up his gun and marched him off to the constable and sent him another trip to the jail.

This was my last trouble with him personally. But I was always on the lookout for him till a few years later. I picked up the daily paper at Dr. Pucket’s one morning and noticed that he and his oldest boy had gotten drunk up in Oklahoma and was put in the Calaboose, and they had gotten it on fire and they burned to death.

So, after this information, I was relieved of the suspense that I had been under for the past several years, But was in serious doubts as to their Eternal Existence. As to where? And I have never heard anything of the rest of the family.

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About bullersbackporch

I am a native Austinite, a high-tech Luddite, lover of music, movies and stories and a born trainer-explainer.
This entry was posted in Buller, Family, G.M.C. Massey, Memoirs and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

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