Mr. and Mrs. J.R. Peace first came to East Bernard in 1915 to assume the duties of superintendent of the East Bernard School, at which time the school was still a common school district. It became an independent School District in 1916. Mr. Peace remained here only one year after which he was elected County School Superintendent of Wharton County and served in that capacity until 1919, then accepted the superintendency of the La Grange School where he remained until 1925. Later he accepted the same position with the Brenham Independent School District and returned to East Bernard in 1926 to make his home.
On his return here he had a hobby of making furniture which later proved successful. In 1940 the United States Government established the National Youth Administration and Lyndon B. Johnson, now the President, was in charge of the Youth Administration. At this time Mr. Johnson was a congressman from the Austin District, came to East Bernard and proper arrangements were made with Mr. Peace to take over his hobby of furniture manufacturing and he was placed in charge of the NYA here. The government agreed to erect a building, now occupied by the National Furniture, Inc. and equipt with necessary machinery for the purpose of teaching boys and girls in furniture and boat building. The project continued in operation until 1945 when the war ended and the NYA was abandoned.
The Federal government turned the property over to the Wharton County Commissioners, who in turn gave it to the East Bernard Independent School District. The property was not used for a number of years and the local school board eventually decided to offer it for sale. Mr. Peace, in the meantime, again accepted the superintendency of the local school. In 1947 the NYA property was sold to the National Furniture Mfg. Co. Inc. for $15,505.00 with J.R. Peace as organizer.
Mr. Peace continued the operation of the National Furniture Mfg. Co. business until 1965 when the property was sold for a consideration of $100,000.00, with a backlog of orders in excess of $2,300,000.00.
Mr. Peace is a graduate of Southwest Texas Teachers College of San Marcos and holds a Bachelor of Science degree. His previous studies were at The University of Texas, George Peabody and the University of Houston. He is listed in the 12th edition of Who’s Who in Commerce and Industry and also listed in Who’s Who in the South and Southwest. For the past nineteen years he has served as secretary of the Board of Trustees of Wharton County College. He and members of his family are members of the Methodist Church. In 1915 he married Miss Lillie Stack. They have three children; John R. Peace, an attorney in San Antonio, William S. Peace of East Bernard and Mrs. Fern Stunz of La Jolla, Calif.. Mr. Peace was one of the organizer of the local Chamber of Commerce and Lions Club and has served as President of the Chamber club.
In 1962 Mr. and Mrs. Peace donated the sum of $75,000.00 to build and equip the Peace Chapel, named in their honor, at Lakeview Methodist Assembly, near Palestine, Texas. This chapel is built of Texas granite and is a beautiful attraction. Mr. Peace passed his seventy-fifth birthday on January 27, 1966.
Copy by Harold A. Hansen