SFA Story: The History of Stephen F. Austin State University

The Founding Years

The most important mass meeting ever held in Nacogdoches

As The Sentinel sees it, this will be the most important mass meeting ever held in Nacogdoches for the reason that it has the most important purpose in view, and every citizen with a spark of loyalty and patriotism will be present. (Daily Sentinel, March 17, 1917)

Editor's Note: The representative from the Nacogdoches district, W. E. Thomason, and the representative from Corpus Christi put the SFA bill back on the House's agenda in 1917. The news of the reintroduction of the legislation for the normals reached Nacogdoches, a mass meeting was scheduled, and the Citizens Committee, under the leadership of Superintendent R. F. Davis, called a mass meeting for March 20 to "discuss measures of a campaign to get it [the Normal]." [JLJ]

Daily Sentinel, March 15, 1917

"East Texas Will Get Normal School

"Legislature Provides for Two New Schools, One of Which Will Be Located in East Texas"

"The measure has already become an appropriation, having passed both houses of the legislature, providing for two new normal schools, one of which will be located in South-west Texas, and one for East Texas, to be located east of the 95th [sic] meridian. One hundred and fifty thousand is set aside for each building and thirty thousand dollars a year for support of each school.

"These schools must be equipped to accommodate not less than four hundred students . . . accessible, located in healthy sections where there is good interest in educational matters and good society. The place securing on of these schools must furnish not less than fifty acres of land, to be approved by the committee, but no other bonus will be accepted."

"Of course, the various towns of East Texas . . .will make a strong effort to capture these schools. Nacogdoches will not be asleep in the meantime."

Daily Sentinel, March 16, 1917

"Nacogdoches Wants It!"

"Nacogdoches . . .people are going after it.

"We have all the elements stipulated . . . together with some advantages not enjoyed by other places . . . . [good school sentiment, railroads, etc.]

"Last, but by no means least, Nacgodches was the pioneer gateway to the state, the early home of Houston, Crockett, Rusk, and other illustrious characters who helped pave the way to the civilization we enjoy, and it is the home of the Stone Fort which is rich with historical interest.

"We can meet every requirement of the school with better measures that any other town that will compete for it -- and we want it.

"With these advantages which we offer to the Normal, the institution would bring blessings in return to the town. It would help us realize our dream as the educational center of East Texas; it would bring . . .people . . .approximately ten thousand dollars new money in the community each month . . .many new homemakers who are hunting the place with the greatest educational advantages . . ..

"We can get the institution if we go after it with sufficient enthusiasm and intelligent effort. Let's get busy."

Daily Sentinel, March 17, 1917

"Mass Meeting Called for Tuesday Night"

"Men, Women and Children who are Interested in Upbuilding Nacogdoches"

" . . .the new normal school will be discussed, and a program worked out for a campaign to capture the institution.

"As The Sentinel sees it, this will be the most important mass meeting ever held in Nacogdoches for the reason that it has the most important purpose in view, and every citizen with a spark of loyalty and patriotism will be present.

"The capture of this school will give us the foundation for a new growth of the most admirable and substantial kind - and we need it.

"This institution can be captured for Nacogdoches without any serious financial burden upon the town - if we can capture it, at all - the only bonus exacted being a suitable tract of land. The only other expense will be the campaign with which to interest the locating committee."

Daily Sentinel, March 21, 1917

"The Mass Meeting Enthusiastic Event"

"Auditorium Was Filled With Enthusiastic Citizens - Much Interest Was Aroused"

"If there was any doubt about Nacogdoches people wanting the Stephen F. Austin Normal, it was dispelled last night when the great crowd gathered at the auditorium of the new school buildings, and with one accord agreed to any and every measure, no matter what sacrifice might result, to go after the institution.

"And the country can here and now sit up and take notice that Nacogdoches is going after it.

" . . .the Nacogdoches Concert Band treated the audience to a few selections of splendid music which was followed with a short address by Leon Stripling, a student of the high school, who made a pretty and timely little talk on the value of grasping opportunities.

"Little Miss Ena Bell Sublett sang an ode written especially for the occasion by Prof. Allison, which charmed the crowd and fired all with a spirit of enthusiasm.

"The object of the meeting was stated by Prof. R. F. Davis, who explained the requirements of the town to capture the institution, and what it would be worth to us. Prof. Davis was followed in time addresses by Hon. Beemon Strong, Judge S. W. Blount, Mr. D. K. Cason, Mayor Matthews, Judge Middlebrook, Mr. Hollis Mast, Hon. June C. Harris, Mr. Jesse Summers and possibly others whose names we failed to note, all imbued with the spirit of the occasion, and offering ideas as to methods of procedure, etc.

"After a full and free discussion, it was finally decided, by vote of the audience, to appoint a steering committee of three citizens who would have entire charge of the service; clothed with power to appoint all the committees they may need and take entire charge of the work, the audience pledging undivided support and cooperation in every demand that this committee may make upon the people, both individually - and - collectively . . . .

Daily Sentinel, March 30, 1917

"New Normal Bills May Meet Death"

"Austin, Texas, March 28. --Before the enactment of so many bills providing for new state normals and other educational institutions, the legislature should have waited until an education survey of the state was made and report made on this subject, is the opinion of Senator E. A. Dechard, Jr., of Robertson County . . ..

"The governor, in this connection, it may be said, has not as yet approved these measures calling for new state normals and junior agricultural and mechanical colleges, and fear is entertained that he may disapprove some of these new normals. A. C. Goeth of Austin and J. S. Kendall, Jr. of Dallas had a conference with the governor, and while the nature of the conference was not disclosed, it is understood they are opposed to these new normals on the ground that there are no immediate needs for such additions to the educational system of the state. Messrs. Goeth and Kendall are members of the state normals in Texas."

April 4, 1917

House Bill 72: SFA Normal School Charter Legislation

Daily Sentinel, April 6, 1917


"In a Vote of 373 Congress Joins the Senate in Upholding the Hands of the President."