University of Texas
Nellie May Bounds

(March 3, 1903–September 4, 1997)



1934 Bounds, Nellie May, M. A. Thesis title, Composition of Damped Vibrations. 1930 and 1940 censuses have Nellie May Bounds in Parker County, TX, teaching in public schools.


Nellie was born in Purdy, Missouri March 3, 1903 to Sterling Jackson (1862-1923) and Joanne Ferguson (1869-1957) Bounds. Sterling and Joanne are seen with some of Nellie's sibliing in the 1899 photo from Purdy, MO. The children are— Front Row: Nannie Bounds 4, Sterling William 6. Second Row: Delmar Jackson 1, Orrin Davis 8, Howell Smith 9. In 1908, the Bounds family moved three miles north of Weatherford, Texas, on the Springtown Highway in Parker County.In 1928, she sailed from Galveston-Havana to New York on the SS Shawnee. Her residence was Weatherford, TX.

Nell earned a master's degree in physics at the University of Texas and taught math and physics for over 50 years. Most of her career was spent at Weatherford High School, broken by brief stints at Hardin-Simmons and Midwestern universities. She also attended North Texas TeachersCollege. She taught for a time at Aledo High School before retiring with 40 years' service in Texas public schools. She then went to Germany and taught 10 more years in schools for U.S. military dependents. Miss Bounds traveled extensively, visiting all parts ofthe world. 

Here is a biography written by Barbara Bounds Selby on March 3, 2010." Today, March 3, 2010, is the  107th birthday of NELL BOUNDS. An incredible woman whose life spanned the 20th Century. She had no children of her own but spent a lifetime teaching children.  She was the 3rd generation of the Ferguson/Bounds family to have the name NELL. She would often say, with a grin that the family also had a mule named “Nell” and wondered what that had to say about her!

“Aunt Nell” was born in Purdy, Missouri, the 7th of 9 children  and was 4 years old when the Bounds family moved by train to Weatherford, TX. bringing all their possessions, cattle, horses, dogs and children to start a “new life” .  Nell’s job on the move was to help with the new baby, 1 year old, Roy David.  The Bounds family gave a part of their new land 3 miles north of Weatherford to build a schoolhouse and helped to hire a teacher. Nell was in the first class! Nell graduated from Weatherford High School at age 16 and set off to the University of Texas with one trunk carrying all her possessions. She graduated with honors, with mathematics as her major and began teaching at age 19. After “saving her money” she moved to New York City and obtained a master’s degree in mathematics from Columbia University in the 1930’s! She was thought to be such a risk-taker to go to New York City alone!


After many years of teaching in Weatherford High School she accepted a position as physics professor at the University Level. Following retirement from the university system she moved to Kaiserslautern, Germany and taught mathematics for the children of US Armed Forces for 15 years.  She was a world traveler having visited every continent except Antarctica. Yet she was never “too busy” to teach us how to play dominoes or bridge and could make the best peanut brittle, apple pies, and chocolate- covered marshmallows that anyone could want.
Aunt Nell had an incredible mind and managed her meager earnings as a teacher in such a way that she never accepted social security, or government assistance in any way and left a sizable estate, which in her will she distributed to her nieces and nephews.

A life-long member of the Presbyterian Church, Aunt Nell died in in Fort Worth, TX, September 4, 1997, at age 94  and is interred in the Bounds family plot in Weatherford, TX."

Survivors: Sister, Nannie Bounds McClung of Weatherford; brothers, Roy (1908–1984, predeceased Nellie) David Bounds of Fort Worth and Stanley Bounds of Wichita, Kan.; and nieces and nephews, Bob McClung of Rowlett, Cecil McClung of Panama City, Fla., William S. McClung of Weatherford, Barbara Selby of Atlanta, Ga., Janet Foster of Weatherford, Maurice Lillard, Inez Berndt, O.D. Bounds, Juanita Daniels and Opal Hinkle, all of Fort Worth, Frank Bounds of California and Nancy Williams of Denver, Colo.




Nellie May Bounds, North Texas State Normal College, 1922, The Yucca Yearbook, 2nd from left , middle row.

Nellie May Bounds, bottom row, right end. Noth Texas State Normal School, Denton, Texas. 1923.

My guess is the Nell has the braids under the door knob on back row.


Nell Bounds, second from left on back row. Weatherford High School, 1920. El Clue de Espanol, Spanish Club.


Weatherford High School, 1946. Nell, top right.

Nell Bounds, Hardin College, Wichita Falls, Texas, 1948