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“Dredful Times” -- a poem

Presumed to have been written by student Edna Belle Dean at the Hobbs School, Martins Mill, Van Zandt County, TX. William "Will" Barber is known to have been a teacher at the Hobbs School during the 1890's.

It was on Jan the 20th 1896
Will Barber and his students
Got in an awful fix.
He called us up before him,
The story to relate
For fighting, talking, whispering
And writing on our slate.

He told us what the trustees said
And what he had to do.
We stood up and took our licking
You bet he licked us too.
On friday morning it was bad
I'll tell you what was done
Thirty switches were laid down here
Before Mr. Barber's son.

He ask me if I put these there
You bet I told him no
He turned and asked some other one
They told him it was not so.
He frightened us on monday
And Ira quit the school
For fighting Emmy Stringer
He went off some what cool.

His sisters commenced crying
They were afraid to wait
Because they were afraid they'd be caught
For writing on their slates.
One of these said may I go home
Will said he did not care
The other one sat down on her seat
And there she shed many a tear.

Will said some of us was awful witty
And we all thought it was true
But he struck his switch and stomped his foot
And said that would never do.
He said we told big lies on him
As slick as a mouse's tail
And not a hair did they posess
And you bet a mouse is a whale.

One man came and got his kids
Last friday was the date
Because Will would not whip old Ira
For writing on his slate.
The girls they were all scared to death
The boys were on the bench
And you may bet we got a licking
For writing on our slates.

The school is doing well so far
Up to the present date
And you bet there is no more
Of writing on the slates.
We cannot think of anymore
For fear we will be trait
But I can tell you all right now
There is no more writing on our slates.

Yours As Ever
(illegible name)

 Martins Mill