Milam County Historical Commission
Milam County, Texas
Milam County Historical Commission - Milam County, TX
Statue of Ben Milam at Milam County, TX Courthouse
Old Junior High School Building, Rockdale, TX
Milam County Courthouse - Cameron, TX
Preserve America

                              Commemorating the Sharp school
                                    by Clay Coppedge
                          Temple Daily Telegram - August 28, 2006

SHARP - It's possible that not everyone in the Sharp school district was excited about
the first day of school in 1939. The new school building caught fire in August of that
year and burned to the ground. Classes that year were held in the old wooden building.

The present building, the one you see when you drive through the Milam County community
on Farm Road 487, was built the following year.

The class of 1941 was the first to graduate from the fancy new brick building. Ruby
Marie Dowling was one of the graduating class of 29.

'That was the biggest class ever to graduate from Sharp High School,' Mrs. Dowling said
last week. 'From that date until the school closed in 1960, no class ever exceeded that

An informal group of graduates from the Sharp school gather there every year for some
barbecue and memories. This year's gathering will be special. A bench and a plaque
commemorating the school will be officially unveiled at 11 a.m. on Saturday, Sept. 2.

Clyde Hargrove, Class of 1959, grew up and still lives about half a mile from the Sharp
school. He played football and basketball for Sharp High School.

'I was sort of a tall fellow,' he says. 'We were pretty good. We beat some of the
bigger schools around there.'

Coach Mayfield was 'a very disciplined fellow,' Hargrove recalls. 'He worked us hard
but he got some good results.'

If you find the Sharp school, you also find the building that for about 80 years housed
the Sharp General Store. The store was built by Civil War veteran Daniel G. Davis in
1895 and '96.

A historical marker on the front of the now-vacant building notes that Davis and his
descendants operated a store in that building until 1985 and that it was 'the area's
largest mercantile facility and the main outlet for local produce. It offered banking
services, public scales and a place for local citizens to socialize and enjoy water
from a barrel on the porch.'

The building is, the marker concludes,'a fine example of late 19th Century free
standing commercial architecture.'

The community itself was named for long-time Milam County doctor William Franklin
Sharp, who came to Milam County from Kentucky by way of California. Sharp left his home
state for California but made his way to Texas with his father and an uncle when word
of the Civil War reached the Golden State.

The Sharps made it to El Paso where they were captured by Maximillan's soldiers and
held prisoner for several months. By the time the men made their escape from El Paso,
the Civil War was over.

William Sharp made it to Central Texas, liked what he saw and hung his shingle in
Davilla for many years. He also served as a state representative for Milam County in
the 18th Legislature and for Bell, Milam and Robertson counties in the 20th Legislature
of 1887. His portrait hangs in the state capitol in Austin.

Though he was a Davillian, and is buried in the cemetery there, people in Sharp named
their community for him.

The town's history blends seamlessly into the present for the people of Sharp, and the
graduates of the school. Getting the bench and plaque is their way of making sure that
future generations remember that several past generations went to school there and from
there into the wider world beyond Sharp and Milam County.

That first graduating class of 1941 may have little suspected what was in store for
them. By year's end, the country would be involved in World War II. Life would never be
the same again, not in Sharp or anywhere else in the country.

After the war, in 1948, Friendship joined the Sharp school district, which already
included Lilac, Duncan and Oakville. Val Verde joined in 1949 and Tracy in 1950.

Ten years later, Sharp and the other communities consolidated with Rockdale.

On Saturday, though, the old Sharp school will be the one in the spotlight.

All articles from the Temple Daily Telegram are published with the permission of the
Temple Daily Telegram. 
All credit for this article goes to
Clay Coppedge
and the
Temple Daily Telegram