Danforth JH Namesake
Susie B Danforth
Susie B. Danforth Middle School, which opened in 1985 (grades 5-8), was originally part of the Jack C. Hays Consolidated School District. In September 1986, the middle school became the main campus for grades 5 through 12 when the community of Wimberley deconsolidated and formed its own school district. After the opening of the Adelia Scudder Primary School in February 1988, the students of Wimberley attended three grade level campuses. Danforth remained a 7 – 12 campus until August 25,1997 when the new Wimberley High School opened on Carney Lane. To help alleviate the growing elementary school population, sixth grade moved to the Danforth Campus. In 2009, Danforth Junior High School was renovated to include a new library, an enlarged computer lab, two classrooms, renovations to the existing gymnasium, a newly designed second gym, and centralized administrative offices.
Susie Sophia Brooks was born May 9, 1876, on her family ranch located about a mile northwest of Jacob’s Well. She initially attended Jacob’s Well School. Around the age of thirteen Susie’s family moved to Kyle where she attended school. Returning home to the Lone Mountain area, Susie and her family settled by the headwaters of Lone Mountain Creek. Susie went to Jacob’s Well School for a year then stayed with her aunt and uncle, in order to attend school in Wimberley. A year later, Susie moved to San Marcos to start McGee’s School of Business. Deciding not to pursue a business career, Susie instead finished all her high school credits and took the certification exam to become a teacher.
Susie’s first teaching position was at Bluff Springs. The pay was $29 a month with the school term lasting four months. Additional four month school terms followed at two other one room school houses in Hays County. Receiving a scholarship from the Hays County judge, Susie attended San Marcos Normal School and earned a first grade teaching certificate. Since teaching jobs were scare, Susie traveled to Oklahoma to teach school, staying with her brother and family. Returning home to Texas, Susie taught three years at a one room school near San Marcos.
On December 27, 1908, Susie Brooks married William Caleb Danforth. The couple settled for a short time in Oklahoma to farm before returning to Wimberley around 1914. Susie taught for a year at the school in Jacob’s Well before becoming principal at the school in Wimberley for a year. The following next three years were spent teaching school in Jacob’s Well.
In 1919, the Danforth family returned to farm in Oklahoma. Susie taught at Grimes School and was principal at Sunny Point School. The family moved to Carter, Oklahoma where Susie taught 7th grade for two years. Returning to Texas, Susie taught school in Wayside and Hunter while working to obtain her B.A. degree in Education from San Marcos Normal School. Farming and teaching assignments took the Danforth family to Milam, Guadalupe and Caldwell Counties. Graduating with a college degree (1932) and their three daughters grown, Susie and William moved back to Wimberley in 1934. Susie returned to teaching in the Wimberley School in the fall of 1934.
April 6, 1938 saw the passing of William Danforth. Susie’s three daughters graduated from college in August of 1938. Before the start of the 1938 school year, Susie was told by the Wimberley School Board “that at age 63 she was too old to teach school and a younger teacher would take her teaching position”. After a year’s absence, Susie returned to teaching for two years at a school in Caldwell County. In early June 1942, Susie returned to Wimberley taking a position as a telephone operator. After three months, the Wimberley School Board asked Susie to become principal of the Wimberley School. Over the next three years, Susie served as principal helping to guide the school and community through the war years. In the spring of 1947, Susie Brooks Danforth formally retired from teaching.
Susie Brooks Danforth was a pioneer in education for the Wimberley Valley since the late1890’s. Her philosophy in education was based on the Three R’s “Reading, Riting, and Rithmetic”, corporal punishment, attentive students and outdoor living. Miss Susie truly dedicated her life to education and the students of Wimberley setting the standard for excellence those many years ago which continue today.
Susie Sophia Brooks Danforth passed away on March 9, 1979 at the age of 102. She is buried beside her husband in the Wimberley Cemetery.
Written and Researched by Beth Grayson, WISD
Danforth, S. B. (1976) One Hundred Years in Wimberley. San Felipe Press, Austin, Texas.
Delgade, B. (1986 August 21) Wimberley ISD Braces For First Day. Austin American Statesman, Page 1.
Shott, R. (1987 September 17) Danforth Campus Dedication Recalls Long-time Teacher. Austin American Statesman. Page 10.