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Small town history

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The 1940 census got me going on the DeLeon trail again.

My grandfather, Albert W. DeLeon, was born in 1896 in Bay City, Texas. Bay City wasn’t much older than he was; it was founded in 1894 with the intent of becoming the seat of Matagorda County, which is right on the Gulf of Mexico.

Read a brief history of Bay City’s founding and it notes that schools were set up in short order, for both whites and blacks. The school for colored students opened in the fall of 1896. Its first teacher was none other than A.A. DeLeon — my great-grandfather. Just months before the birth of his son, my grandfather.

This school that my great-grandfather helped found only went through eighth grade. Students who wished to continue their schooling had to travel as far as Houston and beyond. Big question: Did my grandfather, who I know had two years of college, leave home as young as 14; or did his father educate him through his high school years? He’d been homeschooled as a young child; might it have resumed in his teens? My grandmother referred to her father-in-law as a “professor”; he could well have prepared his son for college.

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