Given the “disturbed state” of the south, William King, “did not wish to be entangled with a business that would confine (him) to the country”. So he began teaching the seven children of three related, Irish-Spanish, Planter families inland from Bayou Sara. The schoolhouse was surrounded by “crepe myrtle roses, cape jasmine and several beautiful magnolias”. Within two months a long-standing disagreement between two of the pupils who were cousins resulted in one hitting the other on the head with a porter bottle, almost breaking his skull. The young William told the father of the assailant that he would not tolerate such contact at school and should the boy be found guilty, King himself would thrash him and make him obey. The father “felt annoyed that (King) was going to treat his boy as he was in the habit of treating his slaves when they offended him, so he took his children away.” This left King with two pupils.
But word got around the district of King’s actions and he was approached by a wealthy planter who was also a Senator in the Louisiana Legislature. The man had two sons who had beaten two of their teachers. He wanted King to instruct them.
“The first day the boys came to me I kept them in at night and talked kindly to them. I told them they could review their character by good behavior and applying themselves to their books. I would teach them if they would only apply themselves. They promised amendment and kept their word. They were with me two years and I had not two better boys in the school, they were diligent and obedient. They applied themselves to their books and made good progress. Before I opened the school for all who would choose to come, I had only two scholars; by the end of the year I had forty.”
What stories do you have about “standing your ground” (or not!)?