In 1887, the 12th Texas legislature established the Corsicana State Orphans Home and Asylum to support, educate, and provide care for orphaned and needy children in Texas.
The first group of 54 youngsters arrived in July 1889, and the Home reached its peak enrollment of 890 in 1932, during the depths of the Great Depression. The State Home was a self-contained community with its own school district, farm, laundry, power plant, kitchen, and hospital. In addition to traditional high school academic curriculum, the State Home provided many vocational technical programs. The school district was dissolved in the 1950s and the children began attending Corsicana public schools. The State was assigned to the Texas Youth Commission and presently functions as a juvenile detention
During its long history, the State Home has served thousands of young people who have gone on to enjoy highly successful careers. Perhaps its most notable alumnus is Robert W. Calvert. Born in 1905, Calvert was the second son of a Tennessee sharecropper named Porter Calvert. When Porter Calvert died in 1912, his widow took her four children to join her sister who was living in Corsicana. Unable to care for all the children, she had the oldest three committed to the Corsicana State Home in 1913. Calvert received his education in the State Home school system where he excelled academically. In fact, when the institution needed funding for a new dormitory in 1921, the superintendent took 15-year-old Calvert to Austin to address the state legislature to appeal for the needed funding. The lawmakers responded by appropriating $100,000 for construction of the new facility.
Calvert enrolled at the University of Texas at Austin in 1923 to study law. He recalled the difficulty of adjusting to life outside “the Home.” Everything was controlled by bells at the State Home. A bell rang to get the children up in the morning, and another rang to call them to meals or to chores. At the University, the bell never rang, and he had to learn self motivation and time management without being reminded by the bells.
Following his graduation, Calvert had difficulty finding a job, as the Depression was underway. Eventually he landed a position with a firm in Hillsboro, and soon after launched his political career. He was elected to three terms in the Texas House of Representatives, and served as speaker of the house his final term. He later served as Hill County attorney, and in 1950 he was elected to the Texas State Supreme Court. He served as an associate justice until 1961, when he was named chief justice. He retired in 1972. Calvert died in 1994.
Dr. Tommy Stringer is executive director of the Navarro College Foundation. He may be reached by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Want to “Soundoff” on this column? E-mail: email@example.com
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‘Annie Get Your Gun’ through Sunday at the Palace
It’s the big musical, the one that makes me think of ‘cast of thousands,’ or in our case, dozens at least, and it’s here only for a few short days. ‘Annie Get Your Gun,’ is Irving Berlin’s candy box treasure of a play about Annie Oakley, the sharpshooter in love with a showman.
It’s presented by the Warehouse Living Arts Center but because of its size is on stage at the Palace Theatre. Shows will be at 7:30 p.m. tonight, Friday and Saturday, with a 2 p.m. Sunday matinee.
Short named Farmer of the Year
Agriculture businesses like farming and ranching are the backbone of Navarro County. Many farming families go back several generations.
Since at least 1965, the Corsicana Rotary Club (Wednesday club) has recognized and said “thank you” to the unsung heroes of the soil.
New clinic open
A new medical practice in partnership with Navarro Regional Hospital is now offering comprehensive occupational medicine services.
Purdon man sentenced to 21 years in federal prison for gun violations
Erik Willis, 31 of Purdon, was sentenced this afternoon by U.S. District Judge Jorge A. Solis to serve a total of 258 months in federal prison following his conviction at trial in July 2013 on three felony firearms offenses, announced U.S. Attorney Sarah R. Saldaña of the Northern District of Texas.
Heat Advisory issued for North Texas
• Avoid the Heat. Stay out of the heat and indoors as much as possible. Spend time in an air conditioned space. Only two hours a day in an air-conditioned space can significantly reduce the risk of heat-related illness.
Corsicana’s Red Cross provides valuable assistance
Two weeks ago, when firefighters, oil field emergency crews and county crisis teams responded to a potential gas drilling disaster near Mildred there were also volunteers on the scene, serving cold water and Gatorade.
American Red Cross volunteers respond to a variety of situations, including fires, evacuations, tornadoes, and even bad car wrecks.
Texas Legislature debates road funding
The Texas Legislature has convened to debate new funding for roads and bridges by diverting money from the state's Rainy Day Fund.
Tax rolls reflect closures
The industrial closures that were announced over a year ago have finally come home to roost in the form of lower tax appraisals in Corsicana and Navarro County.
Sheriff attends conference
Navarro County Sheriff Elmer Tanner recently attended the Sheriff’s Association of Texas 135th Annual Training Conference at the American Bank Center in Corpus Christi, July 20-23. Over 1,500 peace officers were in attendance.
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