Morton School

Completed in January 1924, the Morton School was the first school in the town of Morton. Rupert H. McCasland, brother of Minnie Veal School teacher, Ila McCasland, was hired as the first teacher for the school.

Classes began in January with seven students enrolled and the school year ended with a total of thirty-three students, including Ruby, Austin, and Jiggs Penney; Weldon and Katheryn Mathews; Lois Spickard; Ralph, Bessie and Don Yeary; Eva and Lonora Jackson; Asa, Opal, and Thurman Smith; and C. F. Winder, the only student in the tenth grade.

The school was equipped with double desks and a jacketed coal-burning heater. McCasland, known as "Mr. Rupert", was elected the first Cochran County Clerk on May 6, 1924. McCasland compelted the school year before assuming the full time duties as County Clerk and Wilson "Prof" Angley was hired as the new teacher in the fall of 1924. Angley's teaching certificate was the first recorded in the county.

The first school bus, a simple open truck, began operation in 1925. Seats were later added to the truck bed, and on cold days students would bring quilts from home. The first basketball game was also played in 1925. The game was played outdoors on a dirt floor with the boundaries and lines marked in chalk. The Morton team competed against teams from Whiteface and Bledsoe in county championships. The Morton teams dominated the county championships during the 1920s and 30s. The county championships were abandoned in the 1940s as schools were grouped into districts. It was also during the 40's that tennis program at Morton schools was dropped; it would make a comeback in 1969.

In 1926 a group of eighth and ninth graders consisting of Olen Cooper, Floyd Miller, Ruth Miller, Ray Lytle, Hugh Lytle, and Hazel Lackey, under the guidance of Vesta Huggins, voted on school colors, black and gold; and chose the Indian as the school mascot.

By 1927 a large red brick building, complete with auditorium, was completed and a year later a gymnasium was added.

In 1925 Bull Camp, Minnie Veal and Morton schools consolidated, forming the Morton Independent School District and by the 1926 fall term, the Morton Independent School District had five teachers.
A high school building went up in 1941 and in 1942 an elementary school was built one block south and west of the other schools. The elementary building burned down in 1946, forcing students to attend class in other buildings around town, including churches. The first grade class was housed in the Masonic Lodge during this time, which had no bathroom facilities, so the teacher would walk the students across the street to the courthouse. By fall barracks were moved to town to serve as classrooms. A new building was built where the elementary stood and the high school was moved into it and the elementary took over the old high school building. For a few years the superintendent's office remained at the old high school building before eventually being relocated to the new high school. In 1949 the basketball gym was erected.

Football competition began in the early 1930's.

The softball competition was dropped sometime between 1940 and 1950. Six classrooms were added to the elementary building in 1951. In 1956, under superintendent John Barnes, a cafeteria, more elementary classrooms, a principal's office, and an administrative building were completed. Until then the old barracks were used as a cafeteria and band hall.

A new high school building, complete with a band hall, a small p.e. gym, industrial arts, vocational, and agriculture classrooms was completed in 1964 and the Junior High, which at the time consisted of 7th and 8th grades, moved to the old high school building.

In 1970 the golf program at Morton schools was put it place. The program did not stablize until 1980's. 1976 through 1982 turned out to be problematic for Morton ISD; involving law suits, two failed bond elections, and being placed on probation by the Texas Education Agency for continued use of buildings erected in 1926 and 1927 that had been deemed unsafe by the agency. During this time frame volleyball and boxing competitions were dropped from the athletics program. In 1978 an administration office, field house, weight room, warehouse, bus barn, and maintenance building were constructed with available funds. A regulation track was added in 1980. In 1983 more classrooms were added to the elementary, along with a gym and a library, and the buildings from 1926 and 1927 were demolished.

School Colors: Black and Gold
School Mascot: Indians/Maidens
School Song: Morton High School Alma Mater
Sources: Texas' Last Frontier: A New History of Cochran County by Elvis E. Fleming and David J. Murrah, 2001;
Cochran County Legacy, Cochran County HIstorical Commission, 1985/86