My grandfather, G.M.C. Massey, was proud of his 19th century rural education even before he became a teacher. I have posted numerous other entries about both his schooling and his days as a schoolteacher.
Editor’s note: He erroneously attributes a famous quote from Davey Crockett to Henry Clay. Rather than correct factual errors in these memoirs, however, I simply try to point them out in my notes.
I remember very well in the Spring of 1900, I was in the Graduating class of the Ivanhoe high school there at Pleasant Grove, near Winnsboro, Wood Co., Texas And our Congressman for the Third Congressional District, Offered a Large gold Medal to the one of our Graduating Class that delivered the best Oration.
And the contestant had the liberty to pick his own Subject; but the best Oration was to be judged by a set of judges to be selected by the School Board. Well there were Six that entered the contest that stayed in there and tried to win; But I can not name but one of the contestants Beside myself, And that Was J.F. graves, Our Penmanship Teacher who was working his way through the School. Yes I remember too that Will Corley and Walter Corley were in the contes5t. And I do not remember what was the Subject that any one except myself Had.
My subject was “American Progress” And I had gathered my information from the history, and that was more the early history Of the colonies that was settled here in America. And I took the information that most all of the Colonies, that were planted here were for the purpose of Freedom, Some were for Religious Freedom from some tyrannical rule and some were for taxation without representation; any way it seemed that every one of the colonies had something in common and then when England proposed to tax the colonist for the tea that they drank, it seemed to rouse up such opposition to the Mother countries; Then the people met in a meeting called the Boston tea party. And that ended up with going out to the ship that contained the tea, and throwing the tea overboard, And that went from bad to worse.
And eventually the Colonies met in defiance to the rule of the Mother countries. And on the Fourth of July the Colonies declared their Independence of the sovereign mother countries, and they began to prepare for the worst, And they heard such statements as Patrick Henry’s “Give me liberty or give me death.” And other statements as the one that Henry Clay’s “be sure that you are right, Then go ahead.”
All this added up to a Rebellion of the combined colonist against the tyranny of the mother countries. And they chose George Washington as commander of the combined forces that all of the colonies could raise, And to that was added al the help that came from the European Sympathizers; For when we think of such men as marquis De Lafayette, A French man that came over here and Offered his help, and brought a lot of help from his countrymen. And it was a long hard fought war, But Right will prevail. We do not always see it but GOD fights on the side of right. And we had better be sure we are right then as Henry Clay said, “Go Ahead.”
Then as American Progress was the subject, We had to start from there. Then the Thirteen colonies came together in an assembly trying to work out a plan of one government for all of the colonies, and after several days of fruitless efforts, one fine morning Benjamin Franklin Suggested that they open up every daily session with prayer for divine guidance; and from there they made Progress. There were complete success; and from that we have the constitution of the United States With all of the Bill of Rights. With the amendments all this gives us a government that surpasses every other government in this whole wide world. But it began from the word, “GO,” and it has been going ever since.
It has grown from the original 13 states to 48, and we are faced with the fact that we may have 50 soon. The way that the States has meted out to the people has caused the nation to be exalted Above every other nation, And has caused many other nations to change their form of government to SIMILAR FORMS.
As a great writer once said, “It was thrown out against stormy skies, And in defiance to tyrants. An would be LORDS over GOD’S Heritage. And it seemed for a time doomed to Destruction, But GOD’S Heritage, And asylum For the blessed of the LORD was fought for not only by the Gear men of the day (like Patrick Henry, and Henry Clay) but it seemed that the battle was not the People’s Battle, but it was the LORD’S as the saying goes, “RIGHT WILL PREVAIL.”
So our form of government now stands without A peer. And if we take it’s Start under consideration, as we have: You can see the hand of GOD in it’s PROGRESS.
Now we have discussed this theme from the standpoint of U.S. But the subject: “American Progress” is broader in it’s scope; But the same as far as the American Progress is concerned. For with all the other American Nations: Those that have patterned after the U.S. government has prevailed If they were not lead otherwise by some Men that was motivated by a selfish desire More than a national Justification.