As the first day of DISD’s school year quickly approaches (Aug. 19, for those keeping track), it’s important to remember the woman our neighborhood’s only school is named after. Margaret Boyle Henderson was born in 1851, the seventh of 11 children born to James and Elizabeth Boyle of County Kilkenny, Ireland. She was a beloved principal known for asking her pupils to memorize the Ten Commandments as a birthday present to her.
Per a 1938 story in the Dallas Morning News, “When she was 4, an older sister brought her to New Orleans for a visit. It was a long one, for before the little Irish girl returned to her home she has been educated, married and become the mother of several children.”
“Her husband was William Douglas Henderson, who for many years was associated with the Texas & Pacific Railroad in Dallas and once was acting Mayor of Oak Cliff. When he became ill, Mrs. Henderson began teaching, first in Galveston, then after 5 years, in Dallas.”
“She kept the Ten Commandments and the Golden Rule prominently displayed in her classrooms, taught by them and lived by them. She retired from her post as principal of the San Jacinto School in 1926, after 39 years of teaching in Dallas.”
“Six years later, Boud Storey suggested to the Board of Education that the school at South Clinton and Melbourne, temporarily called Elmwood, be named for Mrs. Henderson. It has been so designated since, the first school to be named after a living Dallasite.”
“Mrs. Henderson became ill in April 1938. Hundreds of her friends and former students came to her bedside to wish her well, but her 86-year-old body did not have the strength to carry on. She died May 4.”
Margaret B. Henderson is buried at Oak Cliff Cemetery. In response to the anti-immigrant rhetoric coming from the highest levels of government today, and in honor of her fondness for the Golden Rule, check out this wonderful poster by six-year-old Koen for Studio On Fire.
Want to help Margaret B. Henderson students get ready for the school year? Come to the next ENA meeting on Tuesday, August 20 and donate to our school supply drive!