top of page
On March 10, 1905, Mabel Hoggard was born Mabel in Pueblo, Colorado to parents Maybelle (Austin) and Marshall Welch. She had one younger brother Milton. Her early educational years were spent in Des Moines and Colfax, Iowa
with her grandparents. She also worked some summers in the family store in Colorado.
Family members report that Mabel always wanted to be a teacher. When she completed high school, her family sent her to study education at Bluefield State
Teachers College in West Virginia. She graduated cum laude with her degree in education and began teaching in West Virginia.
She was a teaching principal in Mingo County, West Virginia and Jenkins, Kentucky. During this time she was married to Irwin Wims, a World War I veteran and had one son Charles I. Wims who was born on June 13, 1925. Mabel also worked in a bakery owned by her mother Maybelle in West Virgina.
By 1946 Mabel was on her way to California and stopped off in Las Vegas to visit a family member who worked at the Boulder Dam. She had planned to continue on to California. However, she found a job at the USO ( United Service Organization) as a secretary supporting the troops at Nellis Air Force Base. She decided to stay in Las Vegas and in 1946 she was hired as a teacher. She became the first licensed Black educator in the state of Nevada. She went on to teach first and second grade for 24 years in the Clark County School District, retiring in 1970. On September 11, 1950 she earned a life long diploma Mabel was a master teacher and in 1968 received a Distinguished Service Award from Clark County Classroom Teachers Association. She was a lifetime member of the National Education Association.
Mabel married J. David Hoggard, a widower with two sons soon after she arrived in Las Vegas. David later became the Executive Director of the Economic Opportunity Board of Clark County. They both worked tirelessly for the community. She belonged to the Zion Methodist Church, was a member of the Women's Society of Christian Service and Church Women United. Their home at 711 Morgan Street was also a home away from home for many Black business people, government employees, entertainers and civil rights officials. This was before the Las Vegas Strip was integrated. Many people also tell stories about Mabel's wonderful meals, baked goods and peach cobbler made in her kitchen where she loved to entertain.
During her years in Las Vegas she was a community activist as well as a teacher. She was a member of the NAACP (National Association of Advancement of Colored People) for many years and served on the Executive Board. She also helped organize the Westside Council, a coalition of school teachers and administrators and worked to build community partnerships discussing new solutions for old problems in education. She was instrumental in encouraging the Clark County School District to begin a school lunch program. She and her husband David also helped start a "Project Savings" program with the Westside Federal Credit Union to encourage students to save and manage their money.
Mabel also volunteered many hours as secretary for the local chapter of the American Red Cross and was a member of the League of Women Voters. Due to her community service work, she was named Woman of the Year by many different groups.
Bonanza School was renamed Mabel Hoggard School in 1974 to honor Mabel's dedicated service to the community. On May 21st, 1977 The Board of Regents of UNLV awarded Mabel Hoggard the Distinguished Nevadan Service Award for advancement of education and community service.
After a suffering a stroke and years of declining health, Mabel Hoggard died on May 31, 1989 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
On February 3, 2001, Mabel Hoggard was proclaimed a 2001 Black Pioneer of Nevada by Congresswoman Shelley Berkeley.
According to the Congressional Record. Vol. 135, # 72 of Monday, June 5, 1989:
"Mabel W. Hoggard's achievements in the field of education, her dedication to children, her service to the School District, and her contributions to her profession and her community have been outstanding. This extraordinary woman has served her state and country with distinction, and her presence will certainly by missed in Nevada."
bottom of page