Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse
The earliest known school in the area was opened by Joseph W. Dunman (1824-1903), son of early settler Joseph Dunman. The school was called Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse, and was used as a polling place by the local citizens. The school was located on the Atascocita Road, just north of the present-day location of River Pines Elementary School. Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse was a privately-owned school. Students at the school were children of wealthier families in the area who could afford to pay for their children to be taught reading, math and classic literature. At the time, Texas had an ineffective public education system, and most children in Texas did not receive an education.
A school community was organized in the Humble-area, on the east side of the railroad tracks, in 1883. A school community is an early type of school district. It had a 3-member school board, and typically operated just one school. The Humble-area district was called the Dunman School Community. Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse was the only school in the school community, and it reported a population of 13 students in 1883.
In 1884, Texas passed the Common School Law, which provided for a system of county schools to be established across the state. All of Harris County was divided into county school districts, each with at least one school and a local school board. The law mandated separate schools for white students and colored students. It also mandated the teaching of writing, reading in English, penmanship, arithmetic, English grammar, modern geography, composition, and other subjects. The law established a taxation system to pay for the public schools, thereby providing a free education to all students living in each district (although there were still racial issues). The Common School Law of 1884 was the beginning of the current education system still in use in Texas.
In the Humble-area, the east side of the railroad tracks was established as Harris County Common School District No. 28 (Dunman's School District). The district boundary was similar to today's boundary for Humble ISD. Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse was the only school in District No. 28. By 1886, the district had also opened Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse No. 2 for colored students.
In 1888, District No. 28 was split into two parts: the northern portion remained as District No. 28, while the southern portion became District 35.
Joe Dunman's Schoolhouse ended up in District No. 35. At that time, District No. 35 changed the name of the school to the Dunman's Prairie School.