Valley View

Valley View, off Farm Road 1649, eight miles east of Gilmer in eastern Upshur County, was first settled about 1880. A local school opened before 1895, and in 1897 it had an enrollment of twenty-eight Black students. The Valley View community consisted of several African American families that were one or two generations removed from slavery. They were mostly farmers or owned farm-related businesses. Oral tradition holds that most families owned several hundred acres of land, and the Henry Williams family owned more than a thousand acres. Close knit and self-sufficient, the families lived off the land through agriculture and hunting and promoted the educational welfare of their children.

In the 1920s the school had evolved into a two-teacher facility named the Sand Hill School and was a Rosenwald school built in 1922. A Professor Willis served as principal. Thomas Jefferson Downs, a math professor at Bishop College, was recruited as principal of Sand Hill School in 1927. Downs spearheaded the effort to obtain a Rosenwald grant and matching community funds to build a new six-room school, the Upshur County Training School in 1929–30. Residents raised money through penny sales, baked sales, meat sales from livestock, and the sales from their crops. A vocational shop to facilitate vocational/industrial training was constructed in 1930–31, and a teachers home that housed Downs and his wife, along with several female teachers, was built in 1931–32.

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Paulette Downs Wellington | © TSHA

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Adapted from the official Handbook of Texas, a state encyclopedia developed by Texas State Historical Association (TSHA). It is an authoritative source of trusted historical records.

Belongs to

Valley View is part of or belongs to the following places:

Currently Exists


Place type

Valley View is classified as a Town


Latitude: 32.73402610
Longitude: -94.82243400

Has Post Office


Is Incorporated


Population Count, 2009