DescriptionJohn S. Chisum and George W. Wright "Female School" Subscription Signed. One page, 8.5" x 14", Paris, Texas, October 1852. The future prominent Texas cattleman John Chisum and noted Texas politician George Wright sign this contract as subscribers to Miss A. J. Wright's school in Lamar County. The contract reads in part,
"Miss A. J. Wright hereby proposes to teach a Female School at the House known as Graham's School House in the Suburbs of the town of Paris, for the Term of five months, commencing on the first Monday in October 1853. At the following prices, to wit. For Orthography, Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic $1.50 per month for each Pupil. For Geography, Grammar, History, Natural and Mental Philosophy, Astronomy and Botany $2.00 per month. For Chymistry [sic], Rhetoric, Logic, Mythology, Physiology, and Composition $2.57 per month."
The contract stipulates that Miss Wright "proposes to teach five days in each week, and at least seven hours in each day and pledges herself to spare no exertion on her part to promote the interests, and advancement of those who may be committed to her care. And for disobedience, and insufferable conduct in any Young Lady over the age of Fourteen years, Expulsion from School will be the punishment."
In the lower margin are the signatures of three other subscribers besides Chisum and Wright (C. Chisum [possibly Claiborne Chisum, the father of John], Mrs. Brackeen, and Jacob Lock). Beside each signer's name is the number of students subscribed by that signer. In all, eight young female "Schollars" were enrolled. Interestingly, Chisum never married, yet he subscribes one student to the school. (Records indicate that he purchased a slave girl named Jensie in 1858 and possibly fathered children with her many years after signing this contract.)
In the mid-nineteenth century, colorful John Chisum (1824-1884) helped shape the Texas cattle business, first becoming active as a cattle dealer about the time he signed this contract. At the start of the Civil War eight years later, he owned several slaves and 5,000 head of cattle. His wealth increased during the Civil War, but in the 1870s, he moved to New Mexico and got involved with Billy the Kid in the Lincoln County War. George Wright (1809-1877), a veteran of the Texas Revolution, was an early settler in Lamar County. He established a store and became active in state politics. This document is toned with minor foxing.
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