A history of Placid

Placid became a town after the Frisco railroad was built in 1903. J.F. Gault is considered the founder, and he and Mrs. Gault gave the land for the school, cemetery and the Baptist church. The town map, complete with a town square, named streets and numbeed blocks and lots, is dated June 19, 1906. The names of Placid and Gaultville were considered and the former was chosen. It never was as big as some of the surrounding towns, perhaps because there is no permanent water supply. Mrs. Walter Moore said their family moved to Placid in 1907. Among other people living there then were the Joe Vick family, some people named Bell and W.V. Day. The J.W. Haywood family moved there in 1908. The first school was in a one-room frame building near the new Baptist church. The first teacher has always been referred to as ‘Professor’ Robbins. A.C. Haywood and Beatrice Moore Cox are among those who attended school in that building. The red brick building was finished in time to be used in 1911. It had three large classrooms on the first floor and a full second-story auditorium. Bessie Haywood Penn remembers that a Mr. and Mrs. Erdman lived in the third classroom at one time, and Erdman taught manual training. Mrs. Erdman taught domestic science in addition to other studies. There were never more than two teachers until 1922 when a third was added. The school participated in Interscholastic League literary and athletic events. Students played basketball, volleyball, baseball and tennis on outdoor courts. There was 4-H club work and privately taught piano lessons. Mary Jo Gault received the last high school diploma ever issued in 1929. In 1930 the high school pupils were bused to Rochelle, and in 1939 the schools were completely consolidated. The Baptist church was first to be organized in 1908 in the old school building. Later, there was a Church of the Nazarene, a Church of Christ, and a United Pentecostal church. Each had weekly Sunday school or Bible study, and a preacher perhaps once a month, and people attended each other’s services. At the Nazarene church, quilts were often spread in the back of the building, and babies and small children were put down for naps. Some of the older women wore black dresses and bonnets and white aprons to church. There have been several stores in Placid. J.R. Cawyer built one which was run by George Parker. Other merchants have included J.B. Gault, Tom Ivy, Mrs. L. Yates, Grady Yates, George Veazey and Mrs. Marie Bartlett. There were perhaps others. The post office has usually been combined with general store, but Margaret Squires Jordan operated it for a number of years in her home. It is now a branch of the Rochelle Post Office. Other businesses included filling stations, a blacksmith shop, a garage, a cafe and a barbershop. Cotton was the primary cash crop at Placid. Naturally the financial condition of farmers varied with the market, the weather, the boll weevils or even the rabbits. About 1919 the rabbit population was so great that the men and boys organized a ‘rabbit drive’ and with guns, dogs and much yelling and beating of bushes, attempted to drive the rabbits to a certain specified place near the Corn Creek school building for extermination. Nat Gault managed a cotton gin south of Placid about 1914, and later there was one in Placid run by Amos Haynes. The gin tank is still used by some residents as a partial water supply. Entertainment at Placid was mostly local except for occasional traveling tent movies. There were parties where the guests played ring games with a local bachelor, Jim Squires, doing the singing. Those who enjoyed gospel songs met on Sunday nights in homes. There were school entertainments and home talent plays and boxing matches. Community Christmas trees are remembered with nostalgia. Baseball could have been called the town sport for adults as well as school-age players. The town square was sometimes used for a baseball field for Saturday and Sunday afternoon games with teams from neighboring towns. It also had tennis courts at one time. Through the years, the town of Placid has lived up to its name quite well. There may have been minor unpleasant incidents, but there have been no neighborhood feuds, no local gunmen and no serious vandalism or thievery. As Mrs. Walter Moore said, ‘The best thing about Placid was that the people were so nice, really friendly and cared about each other.’

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