A Future Based on History

Written by J. Glenn Hambrick, Ed.D.

Professor Libby served as first superintendent of Carthage ISD

Libby Elementary

In the Fall of 2009, the School Facility Task Force had reviewed all of the school facilities throughout the Carthage Independent School District and recommended to the Board of Trustees that Libby Elementary School, built in 1954, be replaced.  After a number of meetings and months of discussion, the board voted to replace the current elementary school building with a new modern technology and safety oriented facility.

After the decision was made to replace the Libby Elementary school building, the name of the new school became a topic of discussion.  Other than the two pictures that hung in the old elementary building depicting the namesakes, no one really knew who they were or why the school was named after them.  Before a decision could be made on an appropriate name for the new building, research into why it had received its name originally seemed necessary.  Who was Mr. Lendal C. Libby, Sr. and Mrs. C. B. Duke?

Lendal C. Libby, Sr.

lendal libbylendal c libbyLendal C. Libby, Sr. came to Carthage from Marysville, Kansas in 1890.  He organized the first graded school in Panola County.  Using his own money and physical labor he helped build the first facility for the graded school in Carthage.  This school, built in 1890, was a three-story frame building and it was called “Carthage Male and Female Institute.”  Lendal Libby was only 18 years old at the time.  The building housed Carthage schools until 1912.  Evidently, Professor Libby was the head teacher for a time as well as the superintendent.

Mr. Libby also organized the Panola County Male and Female College, the early day equivalent of our modern high schools.  In 1895, the first class ever to graduate from the Carthage High School received their diplomas from Superintendent Libby.  During this period, there were only about 2500 high schools in the United States, one of them was in Carthage.

Carthage Independent School District was established on June 23, 1896.  Professor L. C. Libby was superintendent of schools during the first years of incorporation, from1896 to 1898.  Professor Libby served as the first superintendent of Carthage ISD at the age of 24.

The pioneer educator was not the only member of his family to contribute greatly to the progress of the local school system.  His sister, Mrs. C. B. Duke (formally Mary Alice Libby), was a member of the faculty of the Carthage schools for more than thirty years and shared with her brother the honor of having the school building, Libby Elementary, named after them.

After the research revealed that the elementary school was named for the first superintendent of school for Carthage ISD and that he was so instrumental in establishing and advancing quality schools in Carthage, it was the consensus of the school board to continue to honor Mr. Libby by attaching his name to new school.libby school

Later Years

Mr. Libby left the Carthage school district in 1898 but continued to work in education at several north east Texas schools for many years.  Later in life Mr. Libby moved to Dallas and opened a large grocery store.  He, two of his sons, and then one of his grandsons continued to operate the store until it closed in 1976.  Mr. Libby died in Dallas in 1956.

There is not very much information on Mary Alice Libby, Lendal Libby’s sister.  It is believed that she was a long time school teacher at CISD who stayed in Carthage long after her brother had left.  She was married late in life to Mr. C. B. Duke, who had two previous marriages that ended with the death of his wives.  Mrs. Duke had no children and is buried in Odd Fellows Cemetery in Carthage.

Descendents

Lendal C. Libby, Sr. had four sons, Lendal Libby, Jr. (1901-1995), Travis B. Libby (1907-1996), Alfred H. Libby (1909-1985), and Leroy Libby (1916-1992).  He also has five grandsons.  Lendal Libby, Jr. had twin sons, Travis Lendal Libby (1934-1999) who is deceased, and Alfred Lynn Libby who lives in Fancy Gap, Virginia.  Travis B. Libby had two sons, John Douglas Libby (Doug) who lives in Woodville, Texas, and Charles Thomas Libby (Tommy) who lives in Sugarland, Texas.  Leroy Libby had one son, Larry Libby, who lives in Dallas, Texas.  Brothers Doug and Tommy Libby attended the ground breaking ceremonies last November for the new Libby Elementary building.  All four of the grandsons and many of their children plan to attend the dedication of the new Libby Elementary School in the Fall of 2012.