Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS
William Gus Howard (Billy), Student 1946-1949
William Gus Howard (b. 1931?)


40 Gus Howard photographs (restored). Gus Howard, PMSS Student 1948-1949. [howard_gus_photos_restor_002-1]

TAGS: William Gus Howard, Billy Howard, Gus Howard, Bill Howard, PMSS students, boarding school students, Boy’s House, Co-op Group, Conifer, The Pine Cone, student labor, farm, bridge work, William Hayes, Howard family

WILLIAM GUS HOWARD Student 1946-1949

William Gus Howard, a student at Pine Mountain Settlement School (PMSS) during the last years of the boarding school days, left with the School with an important collection of photographs he took of his classmates and support staff. Although many of the subjects remain unidentified, the photographs provide a glimpse of campus life in the late 1940s.

Only a sparse amount of information has been found in the PMSS Archives about William, (known as Billy or Bill during his schooldays) but may be uncovered in the future. Photographs in the Archives indicate that he lived in Boy’s House and was a member of the Co-op Group. A list of boarding school students indicate his years at Pine Mountain as 1946 through 1948 although he is not indicated as having graduated in 1948 or 1949. However, Billy Howard is listed among the “Students” in the CONIFER – 1949 May Supplement; the year “1949” is handwritten on some of his photographs of campus life. Also, he has submitted articles to the February 1949 student publication, The Pine Cone

The two Pine Cone articles reveal to some extent who William Gus Howard was as a student, as he describes his favorite work in the article “What We Enjoy Here” (page 3) and bridge work led by William Hayes in “Busy Scenes” (page 8).

What We Enjoy Here

The thing I like best about Pine Mountain is our work schedule. There are different crews such as the farm, shop, grounds, and so forth. The one I like best is the farm, because you don’t do the same things over and over. Almost every day you have a different job. All of the boys assigned to the farm meet at the Tool House and Mr. Hayes gives everyone a job. Some of the boys will be going into the woods, some will fix a fence, and others will be going down on the Sol Day farm to work. Mr. Hayes usually keeps a boy with him to do odd jobs for him, but he usually ends up walking around. If you go with Mr. Hayes, you need your running shoes on. When you want him and he isn’t around, don’t start hunting for him; just stand still and he will get to you a lot sooner.
–Bill Howard, Co-op

Busy Scenes 

Pine Mountain campus is a beautiful place, and at the present a lot of construction work is going on to make it even more beautiful. New bridges are being built, roads improved, and various other things done. Mr. Hayes is in charge of most of this work. He has ten or twelve boys under him, and most of their time is used on the roads and bridges. They all report to him in the morning and he assigns their work. These mornings are rather brisk and everyone moves fast. 

First, the ends of the bridges have to be filled in, and it takes rocks to do that. This means someone has to use the big sledge hammer, which we call Blue Monday. Everyone grabs a shovel or something so he won’t be called upon to use that hammer. Mr. Hayes asks the closest one to him if he is big enough to swing it, and the others are relieved to know they don’t have to break up the rocks. This work is especially hard on long and lanky fellows such as Fred Hall.

Then the boys begin work on the bridge and pretty soon it starts taking shape. The boards are nailed on and braces put where they are needed, and the job is done. Sometimes it takes longer to fix the foundation for the bridge than it does for the actual work on the bridge itself. The work that takes the time and means you have to swing Blue Monday is the work on the roads. This is the most dreaded task on the farm. This kind of work takes too much muscle and no brains.
–Bill Howard, Co-op


The HOWARD family is among a number of families which have lived for many generations in the Pine Mountain Settlement School area. Genevieve Howard’s listing as a student (1947-1949) along with Billy Howard may be a clue that the entry “Billy Gus Howard” in the 1940 U.S. Census was for the same person who later attended PMSS. If so, he was born in 1931 in Bell County, Kentucky. His parents were Cleo Howard, age 39, a coal loader in a coal mine, and Josephine Howard, age 30. At that time, he had one brother, Alfred (age 14) and two sisters, Mary Etheline (12) and Genevieve (6).


003a Boys House 1949 

First row: Carlos Banks, Walter Blackson, Ray Bird, Earl Brown, Ralph Scott, Rex Reynolds, Olen Rose, Emmitt Patterson.

Second row: Chester Lewis, Rufus Fugate, Fred Baker, Darwin Lewis, Harold Caudill, Bob Hall, Carl Whitehead, LeRoy Baker, Bill Howard, Ozal Caldwell, Clayton Sturgiel, Goble Thomas, Clarence Tolliver. 

005 Co-Op Class 1949

First row: Lois Skidmore, Glynn Cornett, Bobby Goode, Rex Reynolds, Lester Cornett, Fred Baker, Lois Collins.

Second row: Jackie Hyde, Genevieve Howard, Olen Rose, Fred Hall, Ruth Wilder, Alma Jean Couch, Allen Winstead, Bill Howard, Axie Jean Howard, Lila Ruth Reasor, Virginia Blake, Virginia Walker, Joyce Polly, Chloe Slusher, Sue Ellen Creech.

Title  William Gus Howard
Alt. Title  Billy Gus Howard ; Bill Howard ; William Howard ; Gus Howard ; 
Identifier https://pinemountainsettlement.net/?page_id=105364
Creator Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Alt. Creator Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;
Subject Keyword  William Gus Howard, Billy Gus Howard, Bill Howard, PMSS students, 
Subject LCSH Howard, William Gus,  — c. 1931 – 19??.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.
Date 2022-07-23 aae
Publisher Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.
Contributor n/a
Type Collections ; text ; image ;
Format Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet.
Source Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS
Language English
Relation Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Biography and Series 19: Students.
Coverage Temporal 1931-1949
Coverage Spatial Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ;  Bell County, KY ; 
Rights Any display, publication, or public use must credit the Pine Mountain Settlement School. Copyright retained by the creators of certain items in the collection, or their descendants, as stipulated by United States copyright law.
Donor n/a
Description Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of William Gus Howard ; clippings, photographs, books by or about William Gus Howard ;
Acquisition n/d
Citation “[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Series 09: Biography and Series 19: Students.Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. 
Processed By Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;
Last Updated  2023-10-23 aae ;
SOURCES “United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch (https://familysearch.org/ark:/61903/3:1:3QSQ-G9M1-SCD?cc=2000219&wc=QZXY-DFW%3A790105801%2C790519201%2C790118701%2C950931601 : accessed 23 July 2022), Kentucky > Bell > Magisterial District 3 > …citing Sixteenth Census of the United States, 1940, NARA digital publication T627. Records of the Bureau of the Census, 1790 – 2007, RG 29. Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012. Internet resource.

097 PHOTOGRAPHS Students 1930-1949 singles
PINE CONE 1949 February
Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

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WILLIAM GUS HOWARD Photographs 1947-1949