History of Clay County

Clay County Schools

In the early 20th century Clay County had approximately 90 schools, some quite small and others much larger.  As bus transportation became available, the smaller schools consolidated into the five school districts now serving the Clay County school children:  Bellevue, Burkburnett, Henrietta, Midway, and Petrolia.

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Books about Clay County:

- Christian Cramer Bock, The History of Education of Clay County, Texas, written for Masters Degree Thesis, at Sul Ross State Teachers College, Alpine, TX 79832, Published in 1937.  (Mr. Bock served as Petrolia’s Superintendent from 1924 to 1942.  His daughter, Mrs. McDonald, also, taught at Petrolia.)

- William Charles Taylor, a Petrolia graduate, in 1969 wrote A History of Clay County for his Masters Thesis. Midwestern State University (Wichita Falls, Tex.). - Dept. Of History - Masters Thesis. It was published in 1972 by the University of Texas Press in Austin.

- J. P. Earle, History of Clay County (Henrietta, Texas: Henrietta Independent Press, 1897).

- William Clayton Kimbrough, A History of Clay County (Master of Arts Thesis, Hardin-Simmons University, 1942).

- William Clayton Kimbrough, "The Frontier Background of Clay County," West Texas Historical Association Year Book 18 (1942).

- Nadine Gilman Scott,  Our Germans from Russia, (1997) Download the first 27 pages of Ms. Scott’s book

Timeline for Clay County's Early Years

By Lucille Glasgow

Late '50's, early '60's: most ranchers lived in Montague Co. grazed cattle in Clay Co; suffered heavy losses; included J.B. Earhart; Charlie Wantling, Jim Dumas; E.E. Emerson; Calvin Smith; Harris Forsythe; Perry E. & Levi Wilson; Willis Sparks; Ed Wolffarth; W.T. & Jess Waybourne; Farmers came to grow corn, wheat, oats, vegetables; George Shelton; Tip Mooney; Ben Hubert; Mr. Valentine; Mr. Gouch.

1857: created from Cooke Co; named Clay after Henry Clay, county seat to be Henrietta, the feminine form of Henry, not his wife's name.  Population 107 whites, 2 free Negroes

1860 -Organized, an election of officials; Henrietta had some 10 houses and a general store occupied by some of the absentee ranchers.

1863: Disorganized because of the Civil War and marauding Indians who burned all the buildings.

Clay Co was a good place for deserters, outlaws, and Indians during the war.

Continue reading this Timeline of Clay County at https://www.co.clay.tx.us/timeline

"How Byers Came to Be"

Copy of a speech given by Sam Baker Householder at the 75th Anniversary of the Byers School Reunion, June 23, 1979.

"I thought of giving some of the background of how Byers came to be and how the Byers School came to be - why it was not Boyer, Texas, or Benvanue, or Acers, any of which it could have been. This is also the background of our sister town of Petrolia, which came to be in the same way.

"I do not intend to glorify the Byers Brothers, whose names appear often as involved in these events, because many, many people contributed to making Byers, who have been remembered at previous anniversaries and I hope will be in the future.

"Byers came to be in a way representative of Westward Expansion, a term which people talked and wrote about and used in political speeches and platforms for a hundred and twenty-five years. When I was a boy I was conscious people had come here from somewhere else. Everybody came here, from Kansas like the Ligons, or from Grayson County, like the Hardings, or from Hunt County, like the Shieldses, or from North Carolina, like the Dunns, or from Georgia, like the Hendersons, or from West Virginia, like the Grogans (It was Virginia when they were born there).
Continue reading this article at  https://txgenwebcounties.org/clay/museum/lg_museum_memories_8.html

Explore more Clay County, Texas history at https://genealogytrails.com/tex/panhandle2/clay/history.html

Also, Check out the Clay County Museum Memories, Submitted by Lucille Glasgow and Courtesy of Clay County 1890 Jail Museum - Heritage Center at https://txgenwebcounties.org/clay/museum/lg_museum_memories.html

View Historic Photos of Clay County on the Clay County Museum Web Site at http://claycountyjailmuseum.com/gallery/

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