Mr. Ainslie Turner
Water Valley, TX Rancher 
Courtesy Turner Family 

This charming plantation cottage was known as several things, one of them being the Walnut Schoolhouse District # 25. The school was named for Little Walnut Creek that ran through the ranch of Ainsley Turner, one of the area's early pioneers. Mr. Turner was instrumental in the Walnut School District, serving on the Board of Trustees for a number of years. He deeded a portion of his land to the Coke County Judge in 1911 for the use of a school. Some of his children attended the school. Mr. Turner came to the states with his family, as a child and settled in West TX in 1886. Young Turner recalls, "San Angelo was a still young town and calvarymen would ride out of San Angelo up the North Concho on their way to round up Indian renegades and push them into Indian Territory. " In 1895, Ainslie met a lovely dark eyed lass from Dublin, England, named Susan Chambers. She "stirred many a cowboy's heart, but the handsome Ainslie won her. " They later married in September of 1897. Mr. Turner bought his ranch in Water Valley, TX in 1900 from the current owners ancestor, H. Q. Lyles. 

Little Schoolhouse on the Prairie
The Walnut Schoolhouse was a wooden frame structure, walls constructed of barn siding and beadboard interior. This was a reflection of it's frontier beginnings. The 16 X 30 boxed and stripped structure was used by area ranchers, seeing the need to educate their children. Constructed with heart pine, probably brought in by train or hauled by wagon from San Angelo. Some of the lumber was hauled by train from Westlake , LA. It was an uninsulated wooden framed structure set back in the pasture of a large ranch, a true frontier school. It had many crevices where cold air could enter. It was a rectangle shape with cedar shingles. Later was covered with rubboard siding and composition shingles. It had the typical schoolhouse door flanked by two small windows. Windows also supplied some interior lighting. It had no running water( but had an outhouse), indoor plumbing or electricity and water was hauled by wagon . 


This picture c. 1957 was after the one room schoolhouse was donated to the Water Valley I.S.D. for use as a teacherage. 


Step back in time...


Lady nearly out of photo Mrs. Mays, Maurine Bright?, Helen Mims, Lonnie Mims,?????, Maxine Mays?, Mrs. McWhorter, ?????
Next row: ????? Bright, Beth McWhorter, Jean Hearn, Joe McWhorter
Jean Hearn , Joe McWhorter and Lonnie Mims were not students of Walnut at the time. 


 Lady Ranchers 
Courtesy Turner Family

Classes began with the sound of a schoolmarm ringing the bell and students took their seats at their desks. They probably used McGuffy readers, wrote on slates and ate from tin lunch pails. During recess, they might have played, ante over, tag, baseball , marbles or cowboys and Indians on the sunny buffalo grass covered playground. There were no facilities at this time and water was hauled by wagon. Heat was provided by the use of a woodburning stove which left it's mark on the beautiful oak flooring. Mrs. Gerber, one of the early school teachers boarded at the Bob Mims ranch in Water Valley and rode to school in a horse drawn buggy. Visit our turn of the century one room schoolhouse and take a step back in time, and lend yourself to true nostalgia ...... innocent childhood days filled with laughter, courting sweethearts and stolen kisses...

Marion & Leslie Turner c. 1870 
taken in England
Courtesy Turner Family

History of Ainsley Turner's life-courtesy San Angelo Standard Times
Tom Green County Chronicles of Our Heritage
Vol 1 Ainslie Turner Family
Interview Sue Mims
Compiled by Michelle K. Doss - 2003