Abbie Linam

December 2, 1902 - March 30, 1990
Role: Teacher
Maiden name: Walton

Abbie was born in Lockhart, Texas and raised in Victoria County. Her family had lived in Victoria County since before the Texas Revolution of 1836. She wanted to teach so she put herself through Sul Ross, a university in West Texas, washing dishes, grading papers, and working in the registrar’s office. Abbie eventually taught at the little school on the Power Ranch in Refugio County near the San Antonio River. She remembers a smart Mexican child, Leandro Paredes. She remarked to Jim Power that they ought to find a way to educate him better. Jim Power replied “Leave that Mexican just like he is. We want him to learn to brand and throw a cow, and that’s all. He’s too smart now”. That didn’t sit well with Abbie; but, she was not in a position to change the thinking. Her school building was made of tin because of the prairie fires. Inside there were four rows of benches with no backs, no blackboards, no crayons, no eraser. All the children took care of their own books that were obtained from the Texas depository. She taught first through sixth grade. There wasn’t anyone in seventh grade. Many couldn’t speak English when they came, but Abbie had them speaking in two months. She told them ghost stories that had been told to her by the black women in Abbie’s life. Her ranch school revolved around cow working. Whenever the cowboys were working cattle the school children would finish their lessons early so they could go watch. Abbie developed a real appreciation for how hard the cowboys worked but “don’t let anybody tell you they didn’t have fun. They did have fun, I know what I’m talking about”. Abbie taught school for fifty years.

Introduction to Abbie Linam

Louise S. O'Connor
Voice of Abbie Linam
Abbie - The little school was just about the size of this room. And it had the porches, Louise, it had a porch all the way around and it seems to me like the whole thing was tin, made out of this old corrugated tin. They might have had tin in order to, on account of those prairie fires they used to have, 'cause I know the old hotel and the store and that school house too and I well remember the hotel because when it did rain or anything like that couldn't sleep at night or anything when it battered down.

Louise: What year was this?

Abbie - 1925. The inside of that building had about four rows of benches, old handmade benches, no backs, no place to put their books. They put their books underneath the desk. Boy each one took care of their books I'll tell you that. I had to get me my own, uh, I got me a chair. There was no teacher's chair there was a desk. And that desk was just a little table with a drawer or two in it. But that was nothing unusual for the times, at that time some of the schools were like that.