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School Corporal Punishment – Summary of Brandt Rydell’s Talk

Taylor Mayor Brandt Rydell was among the five speakers presenting oral histories at the first “Deep in the Heart of Taylor” story night at Taylor’s Moody Museum, October 13, 2018.

I serve as Vice President of the Taylor Conservation and Heritage Society, and we were seeking options to create more community outreach.  We settled on a walking ghost tour among Taylor’s historic downtown buildings.  I was concerned about uncovering enough stories to fill an hour and a half tour.   My research, however, turned up several hour’s worth of stories.  As an 1800s stationmaster stated: “Taylor was a regular El Dorado of toughs and a hellhole of saloons and gambling houses.”  So that’s our heritage.

Tonight, I’m taking the opportunity to share a story that doesn’t deal with Taylor’s bloody and murderous 1870s episodes, but rather a school incident.  The children of James Trim attended school in Taylor and one day in 1887, his son came home upset because his teacher had whipped him.

This angered James Trim and he wrote a note to the lady that she was a horrible teacher and a horrible person and that if she were a man, he’d come to the school and whip her himself to teach her a lesson.

A couple of nights later, seven armed vigilantes show up on the Trim’s doorstep and invited him out to show him what a whipping was.  He was later dumped on the porch covered with bruises and lacerations.  His wife was handed rail tickets and the family was told to be on the next train and never return.

The family left but James was able to identify many of the people in the party.  Cooperating with local law enforcement, warrants were obtained for the arrest of the vigilantes.  So that’s my feel-good story.

Taylor was a gritty town, however, and our ghost stories aren’t focused on all the sanitized, whitewashed stuff.  We had murdered hookers, murderous hookers, beheadings, floggings and people being blown up – it’s a riot.  Hope you can catch a future tour.


Click here for the transcript of the audio file