Slaughter School in 1927-1928 (Enlarge photo) (Names)
Slaughter Ward Grammar School was located on Cherry Street next door to
the A.M.E. Church that was on the corner of Cherry & North Hodges Streets.
For many years it provided education to African-American students for
grades one through six.
The school building was a large one-room frame structure with unfinished
wood floors and plenty of windows for light. It had indoor boys' and
girls' lavatories, gas heat and plenty of space for coats in the cloak-
room. There were desks appropriate for students in grades one through
six. I, Theodore Slaughter, enjoyed the first three years of my education
The grammar school opened in 1926 with Miss Claudia I. Williams as the
first teacher of the new school. This was Miss Williams’ first job after
graduating from Paul Quinn College.
In 1932 Miss Williams married and became Claudia I. Slaughter but did
not announce her marriage to the school superintendent right away. During
that time, as I was told, the teacher position was restricted to single
women. The superintendent was certainly made aware that Miss Williams
had become Mrs. Slaughter by the time that I was born in 1936. My father,
Mr. M. B. Slaughter, obtained a provisional teacher’s license and taught
in my mother’s place during the time that she was out on maternity leave.
The school was later dedicated and named Slaughter Ward Grammar School in
the honor of Claudia I. Slaughter. Mrs. Slaughter taught at the Slaughter
Ward Grammar School for seventeen years and had the opportunity of teaching
the children of some of her first students. She moved to Dallas in 1944
and eventually resumed her teaching career there. She retired after more
than forty years of service in the Texas school system. Information and
1927 picture courtesy of Theodore Slaughter.
Following Mrs. Claudia I. Slaughter’s tenure, Mrs. Bertha C. Lyons was the
teacher for many years. She and her husband, Rev. Lyons, had no children
of their own. He was a pastor of a church in Weatherford, Texas, where they
had a home. She rode the Greyhound bus from Weatherford to Ranger every
Sunday night. She rented a room in the home of Sam and Jennie Dunn (just
two doors east from the school) and returned to Weatherford each Friday
after school. Mrs. Lyons died of a heart attack one morning at the school
as the students recited the Lord’s Prayer. As they prayed, they heard a
loud noise. When they raised their heads and opened their eyes at the end
of the prayer, they discovered their teacher prone before them on the un-
stained wooden floor.
After students completed the sixth grade, they could attend Douglas Junior
High, a county school located in Eastland, TX. That school had grades one
through ten (sometime eleven, but never twelve). Students from Ranger were
collected in a nine-seater “carry-all” [the precursor of the SUV] driven by
an RHS student, Doyle Gentry, and for sometimes driven by Superintendent G.B.
Rush himself. Door-to-door service was provided, rain or shine, sleet or snow.
While attending Douglas School, Morris Baker and Barbara Lewis were honored
with State awards. After the Ranger schools were integrated in the late 1950s,
Slaughter School closed. The building is no longer standing. Information
and picture (below) courtesy of Morris Baker (RHS-1957).
Slaughter School in 1946: (vertical line or rows from L-R)
James Woodruff, Lewis Wilson, Mary Ann Wilson, Lee Wilson,
Alberta Woodruff, Luther Woodruff, Margie Baker, Morris
Baker, Francis Woodruff Jr., Barbara Lewis, Mrs Bertha C.
Newspaper article on school dedication in 1926 (pdf)