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Texas | Columns | Lone Star Diary

Remembering Lavaca County's old Grieve School

by Murray Montgomery
Murray Montgomery
I have always been of the opinion that old newspapers are the most important sources for historical research and provide a true window to the past. Historians spend many hours in libraries going through files of microfilm and, if they are fortunate, they may have access to the yellowing pages of aged newspapers.

Not long ago, I was going through files from the Lavaca County Tribune; doing some of my routine searches for anything that I believe would be of interest to the readers of this column. During this bit of research, I came across an old article about the Grieve School which was located in the Novohrad community here in Lavaca County.
Novohrad, Lavaca County TX Grieve School
Grieve School
Courtesy Friench Simpson Memorial Library, Hallettsville, Texas

According to The Handbook of Texas Online, there were two schools in Novohrad as early as 1882. One school was for Bohemian children and the Grieve School was for German children. I did not find any details on the Grieve School except that at some point it was consolidated with the school at Praha, located in Fayette County. The other school at Novohrad eventually consolidated with the Moulton school district sometime during the 1950s and for the most part, the town ceased to exist.

The following article appeared in a 1933 issue of the Lavaca County Tribune and gives some interesting information about the Grieve School at that time. So far, I have not found any data as to how much longer the school survived. The story below has not been edited and is featured as when first published.


The Tribune, Jan. 31, 1933
The Grieve School was established at the same time that the Novohrad School began. This was in 1882. The Bohemians established the Novohrad School and the Germans started the Grieve School as a result of some rivalry between the Germans and the Bohemians of this community.

The school was named for Mr. Henry Grieve because he permitted the school to be located in the southwest corner of his pasture.

Mr. E.O. Meitzen was the first teacher of the school. He was followed by Mr. F.J. Pesek, and Mr. Pesek was followed by Mr. Alois Morkovsky. At one time the school was known as the Pesek School, because of some error.

The school trustees were very obliging to teachers during this age. On one occasion, the teacher employed had but an elementary certificate issued by Fayette County, and was not eligible to teach the Grieve School which was located in Lavaca County. So the trustees, not to be outdone by this fact, moved the school house from the southwest corner of the Grieve pasture to the northeast corner of the same, in order to place the school in Fayette County so that a favorite teacher would be eligible to teach it.

This was in 1892. The building was placed just six inches over the line in Fayette County. Then in 1907, a severe storm blew the building completely back into Lavaca County where it has stood ever since

At this time the school had two sets of trustees (one from Fayette County and one from Lavaca County). The Lavaca County trustees were: F.J. Pesek, John Foitek, and John Zapalac. The Fayette County trustees were: John Migl, Joe Hajek, and Charles Nesrsta.

Citizens promoting the earliest school in the Grieve community were: Messrs. Grieve, Fojtik, Pesek, and Hildebrand.

Land owners of the Grieve School District are: H.B. Grieve 274.66 acres; Mrs. F.J. Pesek, 167 acres; John Fojtik, Sr., 222 acres; Chas. Zapalac, 100 acres; Adolph Zapalac, 80 acres; John Kristinek, 120 acres; Joe Kristinek, 120 acres; Chas. Kristinek, 100 acres; F.J. Okruhlik, 40 acres; F.H. Pesek, 41 acres; F. Janek, 107 acres.

A list of the Grieve school trustees and teachers follows:
Teachers from 1882 to 1933 were: E.O. Meitzen, F.J. Pesek, Wm. Eilers, A. Morkovsky, E.H. Gillar, J.W. Stevens, Gussie Franta, Mary Olsovsky, Marie Mozisek, John Krhovjak, Frances Klimitchek, George Kocian, Jim Parma, John Robinson, Margaret Seger, Edward E. Darilek, Alberta Hull, and Ben Kocian. Trustees from 1882 to 1933 were: John Zapalac, John Fojtik, F.J. Pesek, H.B. Grieve, John Kristinek, John Muska, Willie Grieve, and Jim J. Kocian.


Murray Montgomery July 27, 2012 column
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