KATY (Covering Katy News) – When Hanna Stockdick walked across the stage to accept her diploma from Katy High School this year, she was upholding a legacy of education that has been in her family for more than 100 years. She, along with her sister Hailey in 2018, is a fifth-generation graduate.
The Stockdick family story began when Adam Henry Stockdick came to the Katy area in 1895. He had a wife and six children in Iowa but was struggling to support his large family as a teacher. He saw an opportunity in Katy and was determined to take advantage of it. He left his family in Iowa, planning to bring them to Texas as soon as he was established.
“At that time there wasn’t anything here yet,” said Rosanne Stockdick Lopez, Hanna Stockdick’s great-aunt and president of the Katy Heritage Society. “The name of the area was still Cane Island because of the cane that grew along the banks of Buffalo Bayou, and there was a stage-coach trail about a quarter of a mile from where actual Katy is now.”
Adam Stockdick got a job as a “landman” for a railroad company. His job was to write newspaper articles and send them to northern states to convince people to come to Texas.
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“When the railroad decided to come through Katy the distinction was made that Katy would make a good stop because there was water here,” said Lopez. “The railroads learned early that if they followed the stage-coach stops that was a good way for the railroad.”
Shortly after Adam Stockdick arrived, as he was trying to buy land and get some lumber to build a home for his family, a rider came to town and told him his wife was very sick in Iowa and he needed to go to his family. She died before he could get there, and his six children were living with several different families.
“It was rough from the get-go, but he had good faith that Katy was the place to be, so he took his children to a relative’s house and left them there because there still wasn’t anything here yet,” said Lopez. “There were no women, no one to look out for children while he was here in Katy. They pretty much camped out under the stars.”
According to Lopez, there were no women in Katy until 1896.
He was finally able to bring his five sons to Texas in 1896, but it was still considered too dangerous for a little girl, so his daughter stayed in Iowa. She would end up staying in Iowa until she was 10 years old.
“That was the year Katy got its name and they got a designated post as a post office and the train tracks were finally laid through the area so people could get to Katy through the train,” said Lopez.
The youngest of his sons died in 1899 of what was suspected to be a mosquito-borne fever, but the four other boys grew up in Katy and were educated before Katy Independent School District existed.
“There were a total of nine country schools eventually built and all of those schools were usually on someone’s land because the state did not buy any of the lands for the schools; all they would do is give you a stipend to pay a teacher and buy a few books,” said Lopez. Many times the schools were named after the landowner.
In 1905 Adam Stockdick’s son, Hanna’s great-great–grandfather, helped his dad get a school built, which was named South Mayde School, named after Mayde Creek. In 1915 the Stockdick School was built. In all, there were nine country schools in the area.
At that time, the only roads into town were the roads the farmers built, and the road built by the Stockdick family was ultimately named Stockdick School Road.
Katy ISD was formed in 1919 but wasn’t fully operational until around 1930.
“The South Mayde School and the Stockdick School continued to operate until 1931, so you can see it took many years to raise funds to get a school built that was large enough to house the students and get the buses and the money to pay bus drivers to get the children into town.”
Although Adam Stockdick was a landman for the railroad and farmed, he was at heart an educator and passed along his passion for education to his family.
“In KISD alone members of the Stockdick family have been teachers or school board members or administrators for a total of 253 years of service in KISD (as of 2014),” said Lopez.
There have been 56 KISD high school graduates in the Stockdick family, with a combined 641 years in Katy schools.
“KISD has always had an exemplary education system, but it was birthed in the county schools that also graduated some very intelligent people and saw that the children in the area got the best education possible at that time,” said Lopez.
Hanna’s father, Clint Stockdick, knew that he wanted to continue the tradition of Katy High School graduates early on.
“Right after I got married I lived on Mason Road for a short while, but when it came time to start having kids I knew we had to get back to town,” said Clint Stockdick.
Clint Stockdick is a 1990 graduate of Katy High School. His father graduated in 1966, his grandmother graduated in 1940 and his grandfather graduated in 1934. Hanna’s great-great-grandmother, Ruth Monigold Peck, graduated in 1913.
Clint Stockdick says both of his daughters want to continue the tradition and plan to raise their families in Katy.
“They think it’s cool,” he said.