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Sunday, December 12, 2021

Kerrville's Tivy Class of 1914 -- in their own words

The Tivy High School Class of 1914.
Click on either image to enlarge.

As much as I love old Kerr County photographs, I have a particular fondness for other historical items – especially printed ephemera like newspapers and local booklets which help tell the story of our community.
Among the treasures recently given to me by my friends Sandy and Jon Wolfmueller was an old school newspaper, “The Tivy High School Record,” dated May 29, 1914. The masthead reads “Vol 1., No. 8 … Graduation Number.”
The pages measure 8 x 12 inches; the newspaper has 4 pages total, a single sheet folded in half.
The news items cover the graduation week ceremonies, from the ‘Baccalaureate Sermon,’ to the senior class play, ‘A Rustic Romeo.’
In 1914, students graduated from Tivy after completing the 10th grade, and that year Tivy graduated 20 students. That was a big improvement from the class of 1895, when three graduated; no more graduated until 1898, when another three graduated. The names of all the graduates from 1895 until 1914 are listed in this little newspaper, taking up just over 1 column. The class of 1914 was not the largest class in the school’s history, but it was second, losing out to the class of 1913, which had 21 graduates.
I recognize three of the names among the graduates of 1914: Gussie Mae Brown, whose grandfather, Joshua Brown, founded Kerrville; Harry Dietert, who was a gifted engineer in the automobile industry; and Howard Butt, who later lent his initials to a grocery company, H-E-B.
The editorial masthead lists Gerald Walther as the Editor in Chief, with three assistant editors: Howard Butt, Walter Saenger, and Louis Comparette.
Gerald Walther also came from an interesting family. His father, George Walther, opened a Sunshine Library on Water Street. That library wasn’t part of local government, and it wasn’t built by a non-profit corporation. It was built by a married couple, George and Geraldena Walther, who ran the library as part of their business, and who advocated for a public library for our community for many decades. Gerald trained as a pharmacist and worked on Water Street; he died fairly young.
Walter Saenger, I believe, became the manager of the Kerrville Chamber of Commerce, back when its offices were in the 100 block of Earl Garrett, in the old fire station; today the site is a parking lot. He had a habit of visiting every business in the downtown area before 10 a.m., and few knew the pulse of the community better than he.
Tivy High School, 1914
Louis Comparette’s father, D. H. Comparette, started the first telephone company in Kerrville.
Another of the 1914 graduates, Annie Mae Morriss, wrote history articles for this newspaper in the 1950s. She went to the University of Texas, and later taught at Kerrville’s Scofield School. She was considered an expert on local history.
Oscar Strackbein was the youngest graduate that year, completing Tivy at the age of 13. He also went to the University of Texas, and pursued a life in economics and government policy. He was a Fellow in the Royal Economic Society of London, England, and made quite a name for himself. His papers can be found in the Eisenhower Presidential Library.
Several of the women in the class of 1914 stayed in Kerrville. Lucille Williamson married Gober Gibson, who was Kerrville’s postmaster for many years. Winona Moore, daughter of Tom Moore, ranched with her husband, Henry Priour, on the Divide. I remember their daughter, Marie Priour Hurt, who was a columnist for this newspaper.
The superintendent of the Kerrville schools in 1914 was Alvin Dilley. One of his notable accomplishments was the introduction of the game of football to Tivy students a few years earlier.
Elsewhere I found this story about Alvin Dilley and the Tivy class of 1914:
“For a long time, we were ashamed to tell this, but we were the class who played ‘hookey,’ with the exception of Oscar Strackbein, and went to Lake Side Park for the day. Most of the ninth graders went along. We went swimming and had lots of fun. We felt differently the next day when Professor Dilley called us on the carpet and expelled, so he said, all of us. The ninth graders did not suffer this punishment, as we were supposed to have led them into it.
“We were to be out of school for 10 days and then were to stay in after school and at recess to make up the lost time. He got as tired of this as we did and, after a week, relented and said perhaps we were not so bad after all.”
I noticed one other small bit of information in the “Tivy High School Record” of May 29, 1914. “Earl Garrett, Tivy ’12, did all the typewriting on the first seven numbers of The Record and was one of the prime factors in making this newspaper a success.” Earl Garrett would later serve in World War I in the Army; after he died in battle, our community renamed one of its downtown streets in his honor.
Until next week, all the best.

Joe Herring Jr. is a Kerrville native who enjoys discovering items from Kerr County’s past. If you have something you’d care to share with him, it would make him happy. This column originally appeared in the Kerrville Daily Times December 11, 2021

My coffee-table history books on Kerr County make great Christmas gifts.  Free shipping. Click here for more information. Each book filled with over 100 historic photos.


  1. I noticed Doyle Grinstead was listed, and wonder if he was perhaps Eugene Doyle Grinstead, and being the 3rd child of J. E. Grinstead? Many thanks as always for the posts you share to all!

  2. I believe you're correct -- Doyle was J E Grinstead's son.

  3. My mother Ruby Lord was born in Kerrville on Oct 25, 1914.Her dad, Hodge Lord and wife Sally, raised sons George, Richard (Dick) and daughters Tommy, Leotta. Nothing notible but they were a farming family.


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