Jacksonville History 1934
Jacksonville's earliest educational center was the Jacksonville Collegiate Institute. In 1882, Professor J. M. Fendley advertised the Jacksonville Male and Female Academy in the same building: "Board in the best families. Young men and ladies who desire an education that will fit them for the practical part of life or prepare them to enter any of the higher colleges and universities will do well to attend this school".
In November, 1885, W. H. Lovelady and other trustees of the Jacksonville Institute, a school conducted in the old Collegiate Institute building, sold its property and added the proceeds to the fund raised by Jacksonville citizens for a new public school. A two-story frame building was erected on the site of the present East Side School. In 1890 it was destroyed by a storm. Financial difficulties and disagreement concerning the proper site for a new building left the town without a public school until the first brick building was erected on the corner of East Rusk and Austin streets in 1892, now the Beall Apartments. In 1893 school opened with one hundred and sixty students.
To provide a school during the above crisis John H. Bolton, W. A. Brown, J. A. Templeton and others incorporated the Jacksonville Educational Association, which established the Sunset Institute on the present site of the M. P. Alexander home. In 1894 the association graciously donated the property as a part of the bonus offered for the selection of Jacksonville as the new site for the Methodist school at Kilgore, now Lon Morris College. The building was later torn down.
In 1895 Jacksonville voted a school tax and ten years later became an independent school district. J. W. Shipman, G. L. Newton, John C. Box, M. H. Fite, E. H. Goodridge and R. E. Troutman were the first trustees. The present school plant, consisting of five brick and stone buildings, was built between 1910 and 1925, the East Side School being the first unit and the high school the last. The current enrollment is 2,016, of whom 1,476 are white and 540 negroes. In 1913, under the superintendency of B. J. Albritton, the Jacksonville high school attained first class rank. Four years later it became a fully accredited four-year Class A high school. Larue Cox is the present superintendent.
The first Jacksonville newspaper was the Texas Intelligencer, published by A. R. McCallom and J. IL Mason. In 1881, John H. Hutchinson established the Cherokee Argonaut. Three years later the Jacksonville Intelligencer appeared, with R. H. Small as editor. Begun as a "six-column folio," extensive patronage by Jacksonville merchants necessitated enlargement before its first birthday. In 1886 it was sold to T. M. McClure. Later C. L. Finlay became his partner. In 1888-89 the Boomer was published by J. A. Padon.
The Jacksonville Banner, now the Cherokee County Banner, succeeded the Boomer. The Banner was first published by O. W. Dodson and J. E. McFarland. For some ten years after Dodson's death, in 1890, McFarland continued its publication. About 1900 he sold out but soon repurchased the plant. In 1913 he again sold half interest to B. F. Davis, the firm McFarland & Davis being the present publishers.