The Eastern New Mexico News - Serving Clovis, Portales and the Surrounding Communities

Good day to remember first Clovis grad


May 22, 2019

More than 440 students were scheduled to graduate from Clovis High School last weekend.

That makes today a good day to remember CHS’ first high school graduate. Victor Bieler was also the only Clovis High graduate in 1910.

The history book “Curry County, New Mexico,” tells us there were 900 students enrolled in Clovis schools in 1910, one year after the town was incorporated.

They all attended classes in a two-story, nine-room brick building located at Seventh and Axtell streets.

Clovis city buses occupy the space today.

Bieler’s family moved to Clovis about the time the city was born, homesteading on property north of Clovis near the Grady highway.

Bieler’s father, Henry Bieler, was a Civil War veteran. Victor and his brother Charles played football on a Clovis town team in 1910. Future newspaper editor Jack Hull was the quarterback on that team, which “earned the respect of area opponents for their determined gridiron ability,” the Clovis News-Journal reported 50 years later.

Not a lot of details are known about the life of Victor Bieler, but here are a few gleaned from old newspapers:

• The Clovis News dated Nov. 27, 1913, reported “the young people of the Methodist Church met at the home of Mr. and Mrs. K.C. Childers Friday evening and perfected the organization of the Epworth League. Victor Bieler was selected as president ... A most delightful evening was spent. After the business was over, the young folks enjoyed the evening by playing parlor games.”

• On June 16, 1916, The Clovis News reported that J. H. Shepard was called to Causey to officiate at the wedding of Professor Victor Bieler and Miss Willie Belle Blakey.

• In the fall of 1940, the Clovis High alumni group was planning to print 3,000 copies of its annual alumni magazine in conjunction with homecoming activities.

“An invitation has been extended Victor Bieler, first graduate of Clovis High, Class of 1910, to attend the Homecoming festivities, to be held here Thanksgiving day,” the Clovis News-Journal reported.

“Bieler is now principal of the junior college at Redlands, Calif.”

John Victor Bieler died June 14, 1963, in Fresno County, California. He was 74. He’s buried in Belmont Memorial Park in Fresno.

David Stevens writes about regional history for Clovis Media Inc. Contact him at:

[email protected]


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