Eleanor Bennett remembers Wolfforth before Frenship

Eleanor BennettWith reminders like Bennett Elementary and Bennett Circle scattered throughout Wolfforth, Eleanor Bennett, wife of the late superintendent Jay Wayland Bennett, still lives in the community she moved to more than 80 years ago. Bennett remembers the Frenship Community before it was Frenship. She remembers when Wolfforth was much smaller.

“Well, when I came here there were three buildings here — a lumber yard, a blacksmith’s shop, and building that had the post office grocery store in it,” she said. “It was an old building close to the railroad track, and there were only about three or four houses.”

When Bennett was 9 years old, she moved with her family from Greenville to a farm two miles north of Wolfforth.

“I felt like I’d come to the end of the world,” she said. “There was no road coming up to the house we moved to. There was an old pasture west of us and no other houses around.”

After attending school in Wolfforth, Bennett graduated from Shallowater High School.  At that time, school in Wolfforth only went to the 10th grade. From there, she attended Texas Tech University to study education. During her third year at Tech, Bennett joined the first faculty at Frenship, where she taught for 44 years.

“I was on the first faculty of Frenship, when it actually became Frenship,” she said. “I’d been to Tech about three years, and you could go teach then without your degree. So I started then, and then finished up my degree by going at night and on Saturdays.”

It was at Frenship that Bennett met her husband. He became the principal while Bennett was teaching.  They married in 1950 after several years of knowing each other, she said. She then waited a few years before completing a master’s in elementary education in 1952.

Jay Wayland Bennett, who died in 1999,  served as superintendent for the Frenship district for more than 20 years. Bennett said her husband’s legacy in the community “means a great deal” to her.”

“I feel like he was well-respected,” she said. “He worked really hard at the job and school. He put in a lot of hours there.”

The couple shared a passion for education, and Bennett said she still enjoys talking to her former students.

“I used to see some when I went to Sunday school and church all the time,” she said.

Bennett said she loves seeing how the community has grown, and still enjoys all the friendly people.

“My favorite part is seeing the community grow and the school particularly,” Bennett said. “I’ve always been interested in it.”

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