• History

  • Carpenter Middle School was established 1978. It was named for Captain R.W. Carpenter, a prominent settler in the Plano area.

    R.W. Carpenter was a sixth generation descendant of Christopher Zimmerman (translated Carpenter), a German Protestant, who fled his homeland because of religious persecution and who eventually settled in Virginia in 1717. R.W. Carpenter was the son of Joel and Mary Snyder Carpenter and was born in Kentucky in 1832. In 1851, at age nineteen, he married Elizabeth (Lizzie) Mathews, the beautiful daughter of William B. Mathews and Catherine Potoff Schrader Mathews. Shortly afterward, R.W.'s father died, leaving him $900. R.W. undertook a scouting trip to Texas and purchased a half section of land northeast of Plano for 50 cents an acre and a 30 acre timber tract for $3 an acre.

    He then returned to bring his young bride to live in a neighbor's spare cabin while their one-room cabin was built that winter.

    The couple had eight children: William Joel, Gipson Edgar, John Henry, Jefferson Davis, Benjamin Owen, Edward Albert, and Mary Catherine, who died at a young age.

    They also took into their home three of the orphaned sons of Lanson Clark. Richard Clark High School is named for one of these sons.

    Elizabeth Carpenter died in 1882. R.W. then married Nellie Tipton. Together they had a son and named him Gano. R.W. Carpenter died in 1898 as the result of an accident with a runaway horse. He is buried in Bethany Cemetery between his wives.

    At the onset of the Civil War, R.W. organized a troop of cavalry and was elected captain, a title he was to bear the rest of his life. He served under General R.W. Gano until the surrender, which found him in Indian Territory.

    Captain Carpenter, C.S. Haggard, and Captain Bush were among the Collin County men who loaned money to help establish Add-Ran College, which is now known as Texas Christian University.

    During her life, Lizzie Carpenter kept a journal which gave detailed discriptions of early Plano life.

    Carpenter Middle School is located on land formerly farmed by R.W.'s son, Gip Carpenter.

    Excerpts taken from Plano, Texas: The Early Years by Friends of the Plano Public Library, et al., Wolfe City, Texas: Henington Publishing Company, 1985.

  • R.W Carpenter