Cornelia Graves was the only teacher and principal at Bethelda school, the first “colored” school in Stephenville, Texas. In 1907, the Erath County, Texas woman built the small school of less than 12 students, which sat near College Hill road. She taught there for nearly 20 years.

Graves was born in 1875 to a family of eight children. A graduate of Prairie View A&M University, she left Dallas and moved to Stephenville where she taught at Bethelda Colored School until 1926. She also served as the local church Sunday School superintendent. After moving to Amarillo, her husband fell sick with tuberculosis and they left the city. Although the pioneer teacher was no longer at Bethelda, the city named their new school on Floral Street after Mrs. Graves in 1951.


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