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Elizabeth Thomas "Tommie" Nolley Goree (1845 – 5 September 1929) was an early Texas teacher, school administrator, and education advocate. She was also the wife of Confederate States Army veteran Capt. TJ Goree.


She taught at Tuscaloosa Female College in Tuscaloosa, Alabama and at Andrew Female College, Huntsville, Texas, in 1866. In 1867, Elizabeth took over as head of the school and remained so until 1868. In 1869, in Madison County, she opened a school that she operated from 1869 until 1873. In the later year, she and her family returned to Huntsville, and her husband joined in a law practice there. Elizabeth remained active in the community and with her growing family.

In 1877, Governor Richard B. Hubbard appointed her husband superintendent of the Texas State Penitentiary at Huntsville, at which post he served for the next fourteen years. Elizabeth worked with the prisoners in many capacities. She ran the prison Sunday school and learned Spanish so that she could teach the Mexican-American prisoners. According to one obituary, she also attended every funeral at the prison, often as the only mourner. In 1879, Sam Houston Normal Institute was established in Huntsville, replacing Andrew Female College. Elizabeth, a lifelong advocate of higher education, had promoted the new college. On the day of the formal opening, the Gorees entertained the school officials and the visiting dignitaries in their home. It was then, and at Elizabeth's arranging, that Oscar Henry Cooper and Governor Oran M. Roberts met and began finalizing plans for the University of Texas.

Personal life[]

She married Confederate veteran, Capt. TJ Goree on June 25, 1868. The Gorees had five children, of whom only two lived to adulthood. John and Sue Thomason had nine children, the eldest of whom was artist and author John W. Thomason, Jr. After her husband died in March 1905, Elizabeth moved to the Huntsville home of her daughter, Sue Hayes Thomason, and son-in-law, Dr. John W. Thomason.

Old age and death[]

Until her death in 1929, she lived with her children and their families, remained active in the community, and served as an advocate of education. TJ and Elizabeth Goree are buried in Oakwood Cemetery, Huntsville.


  1. Elisabeth Goree from the Handbook of Texas Online