Guadalupe College: Minnie Washington Yates
The early pioneers of Texas were an eclectic mixture of rascals, refugees, and regular folk looking for a future. Most were hard workers who clawed a life from the dust of the Lone Star state. While history remembers luminaries like David Crockett and Sam Houston, Minnie Yates and Myrtle Everage were lesser lights who similarly made Texas a better place.
Minnie and Myrtle were classmates at Guadalupe College in Seguin, which was formally known as the College of the Guadalupe Baptist Association. The institution was founded in 1884, with the expressed purpose of encouraging more Blacks in Texas to train as teachers and religious leaders. They offered a four-year Bachelor of Arts degree that was recognized by the Texas State Board of Education, and at one time, had over 400 students enrolled.
While the background of Myrtle Everage is obscure, Minnie Washington Yates was born to formerly enslaved parents in 1878. After graduating from Guadalupe College, Minnie married R. C. Yates, and moved to 100 acres of land on the outskirts of Poth, seven miles southeast of Floresville in Wilson County.
Due to her love of God and strong commitment to education, Minnie relocated an old schoolhouse onto their property in 1916, and named it Mount Moriah Baptist Church and Community School. Minnie asked Myrtle to join her as administrators and teachers of the one-room school with the focus of educating African American children. At her death in 1932, Minnie left a stellar legacy of Christianity for her own children.
R. C. and Minnie had 11 children with Tillie Eugenia Yates as their eighth child. Tillie, whose nickname was “Dot,” was born in 1919. As a youngster, Dot accepted Christ as her Savior and began a life of service through local churches. At different times, Dot served as the church clerk, a member of the usher board, sang in the choir, and held various positions in the Sunday School.
Mainly, Dot was known as one who worshipped God. It was common knowledge that if Dot was not at home, she was probably at church. Everyone knew her voice as she sang and gave praise to the Lord. As a true off-spring of her mother Minnie, Dot was an extravagant lover of God.
When Dot died at the age of 99 in 2018, she also left an amazing example of Christian living to her six children, 13 grandchildren, 26 great-grandchildren, 27 great-great grandchildren and numerous nieces, and nephews.
This family marvelously fulfilled Psalm 145:4 (ESV), “One generation shall commend Your works to another, and shall declare Your mighty acts.” As it says in Genesis 22:18 (ESV), “And in your offspring shall all the nations of the earth be blessed, because you have obeyed My voice.”
May we all share the glories of God with our own future generations.