John Winfred Pope was the oldest of the eight children of W.B. Pope and Elizabeth Shinault Pope. John was born Dec. 8, 1879 in Byhalia, Marshall County, Mississippi. His father, W. B. Pope, was a veterinarian and farmer, and brought the family to McKinney, Texas about 1881. John attended the public schools and continued his education at Southwestern University at Georgetown.
In 1905, Pope became the first Superintendent of Lancaster ISD, which was created by the Texas Legislature March 23 of that year, as the William L. White School was under construction. The brick school was funded with a $15,000 bond election. John’s wife, Carrie Loraine Sanders Pope, joined him as a member of the faculty for the first term.
Professor Pope had already made an impact in the area and participated as a speaker at the large Parks family reunion in Lancaster in 1904. On August 16, 1905, John was a speaker at a Woodmen of the World picnic that drew a crowd of 5,000 to Strain’s Grove.
After serving as Superintendent for two terms, he resigned on July 5, 1907, to serve as private secretary to Congressman Jack Beall of Waxahachie. Returning from Washington, he attended the Law School at the University of Texas – Austin, and later established his law practice in Dallas where he remained for his career. John W. Pope died in Dallas on October 12, 1954 at the age of 74.
John W. Pope (back row, far right) at the William L. White School
-photos and bio contributed by Virgil Pope, Parrish, Florida, grandson