Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY
Series 19: STUDENTS
Nancy Jude, Student 1934-1938
Nancy J. Jude (1917 – ?)

Nancy Jude Student

Excerpt from Pine Cone photograph. May 1938, Vol. 5 No. 6. Page 01. “Class of ’38.” [1938_class_pmss2.jpg]

TAGS: Nancy Jude, PMSS boarding school student, Medical Fork student worker, Nancy Jude autobiography


PMSS Boarding School Student, 1934-1938
Graduating Class of 1938

The following autobiography of Nancy Jude has been given many “disguises” to keep the privacy of the family and associates. She gives herself the name of “Roaz” (Rosa Dale) in this biographical account of her life and her time at Pine Mountain Settlement School.

Nancy J. Jude was the child of Martha Kelly and Martha’s first husband, John Dale. She was born on July 31, 1917, in Harlan County, Kentucky.

Nancy’s mother, Martha Kelly, was born in 1895 in Kentucky, the daughter of William Jasper Kelly and Minta Kelly. By the time Martha and her twin sister Mary were 16 years old in 1910 there were eight children (including a stepchild) in the family.

Martha’s first husband, John Dale (aka John Rife), left her before Nancy Jude was born. According to the U.S. Census, by 1920 Martha and her then almost two-year-old daughter were living with Martha’s twin sister and brother-in-law, Custer Fields, and their two-year-old son Walter, in Klondike, KY. Martha later married Bill Dow and had two additional daughters, Deloras and Delane, the latter named after Bill’s mother.

TRANSCRIPTION: Nancy Jude Autobiography
[This narrative has been slightly edited for clarity.]

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Some over nineteen years ago Rosa Dale was born. The birthplace was In a large farm house. It was located on a beautiful green hill near a dense forest in the mountains of Southeastern Kentucky. The house consisted of two large dwelling rooms and a large log cabin that was disconnected from the other room that was used for a kitchen and dining room. This kitchen was very old and rugged. The inside was smoked black from the smoke and soot of the stove. It had no porch but instead there were large ladder steps in which to enter the room. About middle ways of the room was a long rectangular table that was used for dining as well as for pots and pans that had been used for cooking. This kitchen had no windows whatever. At the darkest corner was a step ladder that led to a port hole in which you could go into the dungeon of an attic. The attic came in very handy as for storage for all miscellaneous things as this was about the only place in those days to put old things that were not being used at the present time.

Some of the things that were kept In the attic were sheep’s wool, dried onions, bees wax and many other old things.

Martha Kelly, a twin and ranked second among the children of the family, was the mother of Rosy Dale [“Roaz”]. Martha had a very hard life working at home before her marriage to Roaz’s father. Martha had three brothers and four sisters all of which were younger than she excepting two and one was the same age as she.

Martha as well as all her other brothers and sisters had very little education. Any one of which had gone to schools more then she had. The father of Martha always looked upon her as the strongest of the family and he usually put the hardest burdens on her because she was more able to work hard than any [of] the others.

The twin mate to Martha was Mary. Martha and Mary resembled very little as far as appearance. Their personality was somewhat similar.

Martha was large built. She usually weighed about one-hundred-fifty pounds. She was about five feet and seven inches tall, was not fat but was big boned. She had a fair complexion and coal brown hair. Her eyes were of a yellowish-brown.

During the ‘teens of Martha’s she said the few days she did go to school she had only one dress to wear. It was woven by her mother at home. This being the only one she had to wear for all days soiled quite easily. At night she would wash it out after everyone had gone to bed and hang it up to dry. At arising time the next morning the dress would be ready for wearing again. There was no ironing or pressing necessary In those days. Clean and mended dresses were the rarest.

When Martha married she was twenty-two years old. At this time she had two sisters already married. Both married much younger than she. Martha never worried much about her love affairs. Maybe her shyness held her back to some extent but anyway they were not very romantic. So one day not knowing very much about John Dale nor even getting good acquaintance with him she and John were married.

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John was a traveling salesman and told Martha he had not been In the United States but a short time. Maybe he had been here six months but I am not sure. Think this Is far too much to say. After they had been married about one month John ventured to tell Martha that he was the victim of murdering a man and that he could not stay here very long. Martha’s heart was broken at his words. She said nothing but acknowledged him by nodding her head. Two or three weeks had passed by and nothing more was mentioned about him leaving, until one day he told her he was going early. His advise was wonderful to her. So today he left leaving a very few dollars with Martha for her own use. When he left he knew where he was going but didn’t tell anyone. He didn’t know what would become of Martha when he left but evidently he did not care. His farewell words to Martha did not ease her aching heart, because she knew she was pregnant and what would she do without him. He did not know that Martha would have a daughter or son in which she would well remember him.

John was a well educated man. His major occupation as for profession was business. His shorthand and typing was very good. During his reign with his wife he was very nice to her. She was treated by him like a gentlemen as should be toward their wife. He taught Martha some shorthand and also helped her about the chores and the house.

To John, his gun seemed to be a very faithful companion. He carried it all places with him. At night he would sleep with it under his pillow. A very strange noise he heard at night seemed to irritate him. He was very sensitive about the things he was not sure of.

Martha has told of seeing John take his money from the pouch many times and count It. She often wondered where he got It. He told her nothing of his former life except he killed a man and had come to the United States to keep away from the law. This was not all he told her either. He told her just before he left that his name was not John Dale but John Rife. Poor Martha, what could she do but face despair and disaster. Her life was very sad and lonely.

John had been gone about five months until Roaz Dale appeared. Martha loved her so much she really could not bring her up like she wished for her to be brought. Martha and Roaz lived by themselves for the first three years of Roaz’s life. Roaz was a very Independent girl. Even at her second birthday she could do lots to help herself. She would go out and play for hours without giving her mother any trouble.

Martha and her little daughter Roaz, lived happily together. At the time Roaz was three years old Martha was divorced and soon married again. John, her former husband had never been heard of by anyone so she married a second time, Bill Dow.

Bill was born and reared in the rugged mountains of Harlan County, Kentucky. They lived together as happily as any country people could expect. Their living was made by hard labor from both Martha and Bill. This is something that Martha did not have to look out for while the three months she lived with John. Bill was always gone away from home working at public works so it left Martha the farming to do and the home to care for. Martha with what little help she could get from the neighbors would have sometimes a cold lunch of bread and milk. At night she and Roaz would…

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…return to their three room frame house worn out, and “drowned” with prespiration [sic]. When going home sometimes at night Martha would pick up a load of kindling and carry out or would take the cows from the pasture so she would not have to make an extra trip to get them. Roaz would sometimes fall and cry then Martha would have to also carry her home.

When she would get home at night there would be looking her into the face the neglected house she had to leave undone at morning and go do other work that belonged to men.

Martha’s hard bitter days continued until about two years after her second marriage. Then Bill brought his father and mother home for Martha to care for. Bill was about thirty years old and was the younger of his brothers and sisters. He had nine brothers and sisters older. He being the baby of the family felt more responsible for his parents.

Regardless of Bill’s parents living with her she had an easier burden to bear than she had before. Now she didn’t have to go to the farm and work she got to stay at home and look after it in a way that any mother should. Bill had to come across with the finances and have the work done.

Bill liked his stepdaughter very much. He really cared and respected Roaz as if she was his own child. He would buy her things and tried to show a father’s love as one should. It was not so very long, probably within the coming year Martha’s second baby girl arrived. She was Christened Deloras. Bill, as well as Martha, adored her but Martha had two little girls to look for now so she could not do for one any more than she would do for the other. Even though they were half sisters she loved them both equal.

About this time Roaz was close [to] five years old. She loved her little sister and always wanted to be left alone with her to care for. When Martha had to be gone to the store or out milking she would leave Roaz with Deloras to care for. Martha did not dare leave them very Iong at one time. Roaz would go stand by the bed where Deloras was and shake the bed continually. Sometimes the shaking of the bed would irritate Deloras so much she would cry. When Deloras begun crying Roaz would cry also. The shaking of the bed never ceased. She would shake and cry. The two sisters were always glad to hear the voice of their mother stepping upon the porch and saying “I’m coming honey, don’t cry.”

Now the family moved to Chad, Kentucky, where Roaz started going to school at the age of seven. The parents were not with Bill now. They moved to live with another son and Martha still had less to do. Roaz would go about two miles to school every morning. One of the miles she had to come out of a black hollow that was not very pleasant when alone. The quietness of the trees, trickling of the mountain stream and the rumbling of the rocks under her bare feet seemed more bewildered than anything. The next mile before she reached the school was in the open. She had to cross railroads and sometimes when there would a be a long string of car boxes she would have to stand and wait for them to pass before she could get into the road again. When it was cold her bare feet would freeze from the frost on the ground. She could do nothing but stand and tramp around. The only way she had for warming her feet was to draw one leg up and stand on one foot a…

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…few minutes then she would change about. It was so far from anybody’s house Roaz thought it was wiser to freeze than go back.

She would be late for school one half of the time. She got many harsh punishments from the teacher because of it. Roaz was smart in her school work. She was ahead of some of them. She had several girl friends and her teacher admired her. She was shy and would never ask of the things when needed at school. For instance, to get a drink nor have a pencil sharpened. She suffered much for such things. While eating her lunch she always liked to isolate herself even from her best friends she thought they would make fun of what she had to eat.

One school year was all that Roaz spent at this place. From here the family moved to Clover Fork, Kentucky. Where they remain today. Here they lived on Martha’s father’s place. The home was of a two room log cabin in which they lived for one year. Now Martha had another little baby girl which is a family of three daughters.

Roaz and Deloras loved their baby sister so much they wanted to name her themselves. The two girls and their mothers help christened her Delane. She was named for Bill’s mother. Delane seemed to be worshiped more than any in the family. Her parents as well as her two older sisters always thought she was the pick among the three girls. It might have been because she the best looking one or it might have been that she was the smarter of the three girls. Regardless of her being the younger she always did things that were very attractive by all who knew her. When she was two or three years old she would be out playing by herself. While busy at her task she would be singing songs. She probably had heard her sisters or mother sing them before.

Delane’s life here was short. The very short life she lived seemed to be spent happily with her family and home. Delane had never been sick much during her life. She was a strong built child. She was about six years old when she died. Her family was left now to grieve over their lost beloved whom they loved above all.

Delane was a fair child, blue eyes and blonde hair.

The family remained living in the home where Delane spent her living years In this world. It was very hard for the family to live here without Delane. There was her empty place at the table. An extra place by the fireside at night was vacant. Her toys lay about where she always put them. Delane’s clothes were a heartbreaker also. She had a little red toy wagon that her father had bought her for a Christmas present. Where you saw the wagon while Delane was living you usually saw her pulling it with loads of toys in it. Because Delane loved her wagon so much while she was living the older girls took very good care with it. They always kept It In the same place Delane would put it when she got through playing with It. Today the wagon still stands where it always did. It looks as new as it did the day Delane died.

The coming year the family moved from here to a place near Robbins Store, Kentucky. Here the famlly lives today. Deloras started going to school regularly. They went three sessions straight without being tardy or missing a single day. Deloras did not like school so very well. Roaz, being a little older than she, kept her in good courage and forced her to stick it out. If Deloras was backward sometimes about wanting to go to school Roaz would always say, “Let’s don’t miss, Deloras. We have gone this far without missing any and let’s not stop.”

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Sometimes Martha would have to be gone from home all day. When she thought she would be gone she would let the two girls take a lunch with them stay at the school campus and eat.

Roaz, being older and larger than Deloras was in more activities of the school. In baseball and all games she was the favorite pick. When the characters were chosen for dramatics characters or pageants Roaz always was given the longest part. They all said it was because she could memorize so well.

While Roaz was in the eighth grade she had to memorize all poems, would have over night to learn them in and be ready to recite next morning in class. She always had hers ready regardless of’ the others in class. Some of the outstanding poems she still remembers today are “If” by Rudyard Kipling and “Paul Revere’s Ride” by H. W. Longfellow. Below are a few lines she can recall of “Paul’s Ride.”

[Text is missing]

That is all she can remember. She is not sure it is correct. She has probably left out some words or put in some extra ones where they should not be.

Roaz was left at home with Deloras to take care of the house sometimes. Martha would even leave her at night. She did not like the idea of staying with her stepfather and sister but was afraid to say she didn’t want to stay.

As Deloras grew older and her fourth and fifth year in school she was much more of a sport than Roaz had ever been. No matter what came along Deloras always tried to do it. Lots of times Roaz would tell Deloras to not be so smart that people would talk about how “fisty” she was. Deloras did not mind that. At home she would go out for horse back riding. She always did many things that Roaz would not do. Activities were the greatest part of her school life. Deloras got into more trouble in school than did Roaz. She really was a problem.

Today Doloras is fifteen years old and remains going to school at the same place where she first started. She is In the seventh grade and is doing very nicely. She sometimes writes letters to Roaz who is away going to school and tells her that they all think she can play ball better than anyone else In school. She said if both sides could not get her they would not play.

Now at this time Martha was having some trouble. She was being sick a lot not able to do much of her house work. She suffered much because she didn’t know what her trouble was. Finally she went to a local doctor. He told her the change of life had begun. Then she knew child bearing was over. At this time she was about thirty-five.

When Roaz was fourteen years old she began working for other people in order to get her own clothes. She felt like she was at the age now that she should not depend upon her mother any more than she had to. She never dared ask her stepfather for anything. Roaz would go early at morning and work until late in the evening. She would do any kind of work that was to be done. Even from cleaning house to planting and hoeing corn. She was paid anything that she was given and said nothing about it. Sometimes she was paid as high as a dollar per day. But it was seldom this much. Everyone liked her work and always talked what a nice girl she was. When the community…

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…people had to have a hired girl to work for them they always wanted to have Roaz. One reason she was a favorite was because she did her work well and next because she would stay at the house and never have any free time. She worked all the time.  When she was working for people she felt like she should stay and never go out on Saturday and Sunday afternoons like most girls did. She thought maybe her employer would think she was not doing what she should be.

Roaz was always worried when she would go to a new place to work. [She] was afraid she could not do the work as they expected it to be done. She thought she could not cook well enough to go. But regardless of all the temptations she had to face she seldom refused to take a job.

She continued working, when she was called upon. When she was between fifteen and sixteen years old she begin (sic) working as a housemaid for Mr. A.C. Bailey squire. She worked about four months for this family. There were Mr. and Mrs. Bailey a(nd) son about eighteen years old.

Oscar was the son’s name. He was the baby of the family and the only child at home. Therefore he did whatever he wished to do. He was tall and rugged. He had a fair complexion and blonde hair. His eyes were a bluish green and were very sparkling. He worked in the coal mines at Coalbed, Kentucky, all the time. He never missed a day. Oscar’s bad fault was Mrs. Bailey could hardly get him out of bed at morning to go to work. He did not mean to be so sleepy. He just could not wake up. It seems as I can just hear Mrs. Bailey go to Oscar’s room and call “Oscar! Oscar! Get out. You’ll be late to work.” The awful many times that she has repeated calling him lingers with Roaz.

Mrs. Bailey had a high-blood pressure and was not available of aiding Roaz in the work very much. But regardless of her illness she helped when she should not have. The task was too great for Roaz to bear without some help from somebody. She could not bear to work over the hot stove.

Mr. Bailey was the Justice of [the] Peace. Somebody was always there getting warrants or trying to get one. The sheriff at Coalbed Camp would bring people here when they were drunk to have Mr. Bailey try them and give them a sentence or a fine. It was exciting to me to see the sheriff come leading some drunk colored or white man into the porch. This was the only work he did for an occupation.

The Bailey home was a very attractive one. It was a five room house with front and back porch. Two rooms had linoleum on the floors. Two had grass rugs and one didn’t have one at all on it. Roaz was kept busy all the time trying to keep the house half way decent but didn’t succeed in doing so very well and do all the other work that was before her.

It was in the middle of the hot summer days now. The kitchen of this home was very tiny and by the time Roaz would finish dishes at noon the presperation (sic) would have her wet from the belt to the top of her head. It would even drip from eyebrows, nose and chin while in this tiny hot kitchen. No fan was available and the stove was a large “home comfort” which seemed to make more heat than any other. The stove was very expensive and beautiful and Roaz tried to keep it in the way it was now.

Besides all the house cleaning, Roaz had to do the laundering and milking of two cows twice every day. They sold milk to the colored people in the camp at Coalbed. Roaz would have to sterilize bottles and get the milk ready for market immediately after milking it. In addition to selling sweet…

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…milk, buttermilk was also sold. Churning had to be done every day and jars prepared for the buttermilk.

The home was located at the head of a mining camp. The traffic and noise of the coal operations did not reach her. Sometimes the local [train] would bring the freight in and switch up here.

Two Robbins girls from Roaz’s neighborhood had gone to school at Pine Mountain Settlement School. They had told Roaz about it and she was becoming interesting (sic) in trying to get a place to go to Pine Mountain. She soon wrote to the Director, telling about the financial part and her wanting to come to Pine Mountain to try school for a while. She realized she was getting only two dollars a week for her work and she wondered how she could go to school and buy clothes in order to get started when school opened the first of September. She had only one month left now to do what she was going to [do].

In a few days she received a letter from Pine Mountain saying to send in ten dollars entrance fee and she would be expected at Pine Mountain September first. This made Roaz feel lots better. She knew she could pay the ten dollars if she had to do without other things. Roaz did not have ten dollars to start with; neither did she have any coming to her. The last cent in cash she had to start with was seven dollars. She sent it to Pine Mountain as a part of her entrance fee saying she would pay the balance when she arrived at school in September.

This last month before entering school she began getting her hat box and packing what few things she had as far as clothing was concerned. The new things she got were very few.

So September first she bid her mother, sister and friends good-bye, leaving them with tear-stained eyes but saying to her, “Stick it out Roaz. I know you have the ability to do so,.” Roaz’s going away to school was admired by the majority of the people who knew her. Some would say to her, “Don’t get over there and get to dancing. You are a better girl than that.” The ones that were against her fought strongly and tried to discourage her but she must of had her heart set for going to school so she did not heed their warning.

Roaz had a very nice boy friend at this time. She thought she cared more about him than she really did. He was the most respected boy in the community. Other girls (because of silliness) were jealous of Roaz. They thought Junior Witt (as he was called) thought more of Roaz that what he did of them. But the truth is he did not love her any better than he did any other girl but he was more interested in her than any other Robbins Store girl. He wanted her to go to school and do something great some day. He would always say to her, “You can be somebody and make something of yourself if you really want to.”

Roaz always wanted to leave her mother jolly and satisfied. So when she left home her mother was standing in the yard. Roaz hollowed (sic) back and said, “I’ll write you in a few days. Don’t worry I’ll be okay.” She went running to get in the car that was waiting for her in the road below the house.

Today Roaz and the two Robbins sisters arrived at school about one o’clock. Roaz knew deep in her heart that she would stick it. Even though if she did get homesick she would not let anyone know about.

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When she was registered at the office, a white card was given to her. On this card was written “Country Cottage” meaning she was to live there. She had heard about this cottage before. The Robbins girls told her all about it. Of course, she was going to like it. The girl took her to her cottage, and made her known to Miss Lora Don who was the housemother.

Roaz was the first one to arrive at the cottage to live. Lora gave her sheets to make her bed. Roaz thought the beds were very small. It was probably because she was accustomed to double beds. Lora asked Roaz to give her a list of all the clothing and other necessarily (sic) things she had brought with her. This embarrassed Roaz very much but she immediately began unpacking her hat box.

While she was getting her things put away another girl arrived. She was also coming to live at the cottage. She took practically the same method that Roaz did by making her bed and marking her clothes. About two hours had passed and no one else had come to live at the cottage. Roaz and Paula (the second girl at the cottage) went down to the infirmary to take a shower bath, as their cottage had no hot water nor bathtubs.

When things were done the two girls went walking down on the campus looking around. They seemed to be quite lonesome and blue. They soon returned to their cottage on the hill without much attention from anybody on the campus.

Here they found that three more girls had come to the cottage to live with them. This of course seemed like real home life to be with only five girls. The girls were Lotha, Farl and Dial.

The cottage was like a real modern home in the mountains. It consisted of only six rooms. It was located on a beautiful green dense hill above the county road. The infirmary is just below the road, facing the cottage. At this cottage the girls did their own cooking, laundry, housecleaning and all other things that are to be done in a home.

The kitchen was very attractive. It had a sink on the left side from the dining room. Cold water was also a convenience. It was supplied from the reservoir and was a hard pull to push water to the cottage. But regardless they always had plenty.

The living room was fairly small with an open fire place which was the only way for heating the room. The furniture was of an old type but very notable. It was all made at Pine Mountain in the shop by makers of the school.

Off from the living room was the housemother’s room. It was also furnished with home made furniture.

The dining room was a tiny one. The dining room table was a long rectangular (sic). It did not seem to fit in so very well with the other things of the house. It was varnished heavy and had a glossy shine that detracted from the walls. In one corner set a triangle cupboard that colored pottery and other dishes are kept. The cupboard had glass doors that opened like a case window.

The housemother’s room is also down stairs from the living room. The dormitory for the girls is up stairs. There was a tiny stair case at the side of the living room as you enter the door. You can follow…

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…these stairs and at the top the stairs divide and one goes into the left side of the dormitory and one goes to the right dormitory. The dressing and sleeping rooms are together. From two to three girls could live in each room.

Roaz, Letha and Farl lived in the left room over the living room. Roaz was always glad and immediately ready to do anything for her room mates although they did not seem to appreciate her goodness that she did for them. The other girls were pals of themselves but no attention was given to Roaz as far as being near pals. This made Roaz feel very out of place indeed. The girls were nice to her otherwise.

On Sunday afternoons the other girls would go down on the campus walking or go swimming. They would never invite Roaz to go with them. Sometimes she would sit on her bed and look out the cottage window and listen to the roaring of caterpillars on the mountain. The thoughts would make her sick at heart.

Six weeks passed and the girls that lived at the cottage moved down to other places on the campus. Roaz was sent to Far House where one of the Robbins sisters lived. The other girls that lived at Far House did not like her coming there to live. Nothing was said directly about her by anyone. Eventually the girls all got to counting her as a link among their friends. She remained at Far House until the end of the first semester.

Miss Koal, the dietitian, told Roaz that she was to remain at the school during the two weeks Christmas vacation and work on her tuition. Roaz did not mind staying, in fact she wanted to stay. Her work cooking in the kitchen seemed to be very satisfactory. Miss Koal said she did well.

On the day that the students were all coming back to school Roaz got sick. She was sent to the infirmary to stay. Examinations were made and the appendicitis was located. They did not seem to give her very much trouble so she got out the following day and went to her house to live. A new registration sent her to Laurel House to live the remaining of the school session.

She continually worked in the kitchen until one day in February Roaz felt sick. She was baking corn bread as every one had their turn at baking bread. Miss Koal was not in the kitchen at the time. She was out resting. Roaz had to give up the ghost. She sat down on a stool by the breeze of the window.

She said, “Girls, somebody finish my work and tell Miss Koal I’m sick.”

Soon Miss Koal came down and the story was told to her. She sent Roaz upstairs to drink a cup of warm water and go to bed. She did so and vomited beyond compare. She was weak and pale over her vomiting. She did not have any dinner but tried school in the afternoon. She went to school and had hardly had time to be seated in the study hall until she began to feel sick again. She felt the fainty (sic) chills of sick running over her face. She tried to get up and tell Mr. Konka (the teacher) that she had to leave school because she was too sick. She could not stand on her feet. She was too sick. One of the girls, who was Azey Itchel, took her books to the house and got another girl to help take Roaz to the infirmary. They took her but nearly had to carry her.

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Doctor F.W. Newer took some blood from the tip of one finger and discovered the appendix was much worse. Roaz was put in bed and the nurse prepared her for an operation soon. So in the afternoon about three o’clock she was doped and funny and nothing wearied her the least bit. She went laughing gaily into the operating room and helped fix herself on the table. The band around her head was the hardest to bear of it all. The ether mask came next. The first breath of the ether made her die away in silence. Roaz said the only thing she remembered when she was given the ether was that she could see stars and thought she was beginning to go straight up.

Well, the appendicitis operation was successfully done. About eight o’clock A.M. Roaz began to wake up. She was thirsty and it seemed as if her tongue was scortching (sic) with fire. Even a drop of warm water through a glass tube was a great relief. Roaz was as much trouble while she had her appendix out as a small baby would be. She would call for things that she could not have but was not conscious of it. Her awakening periods while ether was in her were very sane. She talked about things that were perfectly sensible. She had another ward partner now. Amaula Moire had an operation for appendicitis. Roaz was surprised and astonished but knew she would have company and would not feel so sick with somebody to kindly cheer her.

The two girls stayed at the infirmary and got along successfully together. Their stay was about two weeks and one Friday afternoon the girls got out and went to their homes very happy to be back with many friends who praised them.

The girls were sent to the weaving room to wind bobbins for the next six weeks. Roaz worked alone because she was a junior high school student. She wanted to learn to weave and kept asking her supervisor to let her try weaving. So Roaz learned plain weaving soon and wove many pieces while the time she worked at the weaving room.

The remaining of the school year Roaz worked in the kitchen. The following eight weeks after school was out Roaz stayed at the school and worked on her tuition. The last part of the vacation she went home and stayed about wo or three days. Then she went and worked for a cousin of hers until she was sent for to come back to school. She also took what they offered her and she was glad to get it.

Her second year at school was very usual. Nothing exciting happened worth mentioning excepting she was still backward about talking when she should. She usually said things when she should not have said them. The wrong place seemed to be the right one and the dark side of life always appealed to her. If she were behind in something her courage went dead too soon on her. She was down and out. I’m just here existing, that is all.

The summer vacation of nineteen-thirty-six was quite a busy one for Roaz. Seven weeks were spent again at Pine Mountain School. A studied schedule was planned and several students stayed to work short hours and have recreational activities. Roaz enjoyed this very much.

Swimming was something she wanted to do. Learn was in her head if there was any change (chance?). She was going to try any way. All the other girl would go swimming but Roaz could only sit and watch. She ventured to try one day. The try seemed to her like it was in vain. But she kept going and…

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…trying and no progress seemed to appear until once Mrs. Fainler helped her by going along and holding her up for a few strokes then let her go alone for some time. Roaz was so discouraged but did not slack up. She went in swimming every day until she could go across the pool which is about seventy by fifty-five feet. Swimming was something she counted as a great accomplishment during her even weeks work at Pine Mountain School.

The remaining of her vacation which was about seven or eight weeks were spent at the same Mr. and Mrs. Bailey’s that she worked for before coming to school at Pine Mountain. The amount she received was also very small, only two dollars the same as what was given her when she worked for the family before. She says she had rather not work for this family again this summer.

When Roaz arrived again at school in September nineteen-thirty-six she was sent again to Country Cottage to live. This time she liked it lots better than she did before. The reason was because she knew her housemother and had well acquainted companions to live with. She had spent three happy weeks at the Cottage until one day the Director asked her to go to Medical Fork to live with Miss Barta O’Neil. Barta was alone now and she needed somebody to do the housework while she carried on her social work.

Roaz first thought that she did not want to go to the Fork to live but she decided to go as she would get practical home economics. So one Saturday afternoon Roaz started for Medical Fork. She walked it in about one hour.

Medical Fork is down Greasy [Creek] about four miles from the school. The settlement is located on the right of the road as you go down. It is surrounded with beautiful evergreens. The house is a long straight house made of logs chinked with cement. The beautiful cabin is divided about the center with a dog trot that has an open fireplace which can be used summer or winter for cooking or making coffee. This dog trot is very convenient in warm weather for social parties or for a sleeping porch.

From the dog trot is an entrance to a comfortable looking living room. The living room is used for a dining hall also.

The most outstanding thing in the living room was an old desk that had books on it. They were for the Sunday School class. The desk was sitting under a window. On the desk was an old gourd. The gourd was a very long one nearly as long as the desk. The gourd had a long crooked neck. In the gourd was cut two holes and the seeds had been taken out. Glasses were put in the gourd and evergreens were kept in it all winter as well as summer. Roaz always liked to keep ivy and holly in it around Christmas time. She would even let the ivy run on the table and hang off the edges. Sometimes she would wind the ivy around the neck of the gourd and it looked as if it grew there.

Roaz worked at the Medical Fork for about four months. Her supervisor said she was doing very satisfactory work. Her reports about Roaz were always good ones.

Barta O’Neil came from a very nice family in Fitchburg, Mass. Barty went to college at Boston University where she majored in social service work. She was the oldest and only girl in the family. She had three brothers younger than she. Her older brother Lauring majored in English and is now working on his master degree because he can’t find a job that appeals to him.

Barta’s second brother, about twenty-one years old and had appearance…

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…very much like she. Their personality and disposition were admired by anybody who knew them. Arthur J. O’Neil Jr. was his name. He came to Medical Fork to spend his vacation with his sister and Roaz. Roaz seemed to be very close related to Junior as far as acquaintance. He talked like a brother to her. His interest toward her seemed great. He is now going to school at the University of Kentucky at Lexington, Kentucky.

A baby brother of Barta’s, Stuart O’Neil, was sixteen years old at this time. He is a junior in high school and goes to school at his hometown in Massachusetts.

Because Barta was the only girl in the family, [she] seemed to be worshipped by her brothers as well as [her] parents. While she was at Medical Fork working, her parent came down to see her. They were very well pleased with the work she was doing. Good advice was awarded her in every letter she received from her mother.

Barta, maybe because of the absence of her brothers, began running around with a mountain boy on Greasy Creek. He lived very near her and she was with him a lot. She became too well-acquainted with him and found out she had fallen in love with him. Fall she surely must have; things happened that should not have.

She seemed to like Roaz very much. She treated her as a sister. Nothing was too good to do for her. Regardless of her devotion for Roaz she never told her anything of her personal affairs.

Roaz thought too much of Barta. She heard so much gossip about her that it nearly run her crazy. It was heartbreaking to stand and listen to things about her house companion who she trusted so much. Roaz would often say, “Could such things be true? It can’t be. Barta wouldn’t do that with all the training she has had in social work.” At night she would often think about Barta and her heart seemed to beat faster. She seemed to choke and smother her nerves and turn her face to the wall and say, “I can’t stand it much longer.”

It must have been true but it seems only a dream. One morning Barta left for a short vacation. This was her story to Roaz. She told her she did not know when she would be back but thought soon. So January first the rain was pouring down and the moon was shining very dim. Barta left early, long before day light, kissing Roaz good-bye, saying, “Be good. I’ll see you again.” But she didn’t come back and today she is not back.

Mrs. Lolus Awainer, a lady from New York who had spent the winter before at Medical Fork, was here at this time. She had come here to spend another winter and in spring return to her home. It was a very convenient situation to have her at this time. She, by what aid Roaz could give, tried to carry on the work as well as she could. But all things seemed a failure. Compared with the extra ordinary program that Barby had.

Roaz and Mis Awainer lived alone until about two weeks. Then a note was received from the Director telling Miss Awainer to get a neighbor girl to work for her as cheap as she could. Roaz was to come back to school. Her work [that] was planned for her had started. Roaz enjoyed her four months at Medical Fork. She really was sorry to leave but was anxious to get back to her friends at school.

So on the twenty-first day of January, nineteen-thirty-seven, Roaz arrived back at school. She went directly to class. It was nursing taught by Mrs. More. Roaz was put to making beds the first class they had. Her class con-…

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…sisted of four older girls and herself. The class was made of sociology, psychology, nursing, and personal cases. The aim of the class was to work in the community and connect the people up with the school so we will feel more close related.

The five girls with their nursing kits filled with equipment for first aid, as well as magazines, newspaper bags and games for the children started down Greasy Creek on the first of February. We had our routes planned where each one would go. We could all go together as far as Little Laurel. Here Ella and Nile would stop off. One would take the Little Laurel Creek and one upper Greasy. All of which had at least twelve or fifteen homes to visit. Leen, Gale and Roaz would go together on down as far as Big Laurel; here Leen would take Medical Fork section, Gale would go up Big Laurel Creek where she had to go left hand fork and right hand fork and all other isolated sections even though a rough narrow path in which to travel. Roaz would walk down Greasy about six or seven miles. Speaking of roads, there were not any to speak of. The only road ran in the creek bed. Narrow paths were traced around cliff ledges well as high clay banks opposite the bed of stones that was used for a road. On the coldest days, when ice was frozen on the cliff ledges, she would have to go around the top of the awful cliff. To go on top of it meant more time. It was quite a piece around it and it was very dangerous during a slippery time.

Regardless of the bad roads and cold days the girls always went out. Sometimes the snow would be blowing fast and the wind whistling, but they would force their faces down and venture through the fumes of a crystallized nation. The girls would usually get back about three o’clock P.M. By the time they walked about fourteen or sixteen miles they usually are tired by their returning time. They never slacked on their work regardless of being tired. They always had the good spirit and met the people in a pleasing manner.

The families are so isolated from the outside world they know nothing of it whatever. They receive the girls affectionately. It pleases them to have a visitor who sees life in a satisfactory way and encourages them to do so. They seem to appreciate any suggestions or compliments on their yards and terraces. Trial is always offered by the mother of the homes but when a financial situation raises they never seem to think they will ever reach that goal.

Most of the mothers down this neglected section seem to be noted for childbearing. They don’t live a happy life. How could they with seven or eight small children to care for? No income to speak of, only an average of a two-room shack to rear them in. They know of nothing but labor hard all day and return at night worn out and tired, go to bed early, rise early. What enjoyment can a family get out of life? And none, even the children, are accustomed to staying at home doing men’s work, never getting an outlet. The parents still have the primitive saying, “Them young-uns better get to work instead out there running and playing. They’ll get a leg or arm broke.”

This is one thing that is hard to do is for them to see the height side of life. They want to wake up. They seem to be asleep. The mothers at the age of twenty look to be thirty. Their life is spent bearing children. They are in the ruts so far they don’t seem to think one more will matter. They think, “Well, I’ve raised eight up and not lost any. I’ll do the best I can with one more.”

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The homes can’t be like they should be. The mothers have to go and work in the field and leave a very small girl at the house to care for the smaller children. What can be done? They don’t know the techniques of farming. It is pathetic to see an old man about fifty or sixty out on the steep hillside plowing an ox. The poor animal is trained to work by beating and whipping on it from his master. Understanding is lacking toward doing things of this sort.

Trying to handle the people in an approaching way is like beginning in elementary school with very young children. Life is far beyond their seeing. All they seem to care about is one meal ahead. If that is available nothing more is needed.

GALLERY: Nancy Jude Autobiography


**NOTE:  Nancy Jude’s autobiography was written when she was probably 19 years old. That would place the year of the narrative at c. 1937, the year before she graduated from Pine Mountain Settlement School. She reflects on her life to that point, particularly focusing on how she came to Pine Mountain to go to school and her experiences at “Medical Fork” as a student worker.


Nancy Jude

Alt. Title

Rosa (Rosy) Dale ; Roaz Dale ; Nancy J. Jude ;




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Nancy Jude ; Nancy J. Jude ; Rosa (Rosy) Dale ; Roaz Dale ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; autobiographies ; Martha Kelly ; Martha Kelly ; William Jasper Kelly ; Minta Kelly ; Mary Kelly (Fields) ; Custer Fields ; Walter Fields ; Medical Fork ; student workers ; Coalbed Camp ; mining camps ; housemothers ; Country Cottage ; Infirmary ; Reservoir ; furniture ; swimming ; Far House ; dietitians ; tuition ; appendicitis ; operations ; ether ; weaving ; swimming pool ; log cabins ; dog trots ; Greasy Creek ; nursing ; community relations ; road conditions ; Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Klondike, KY ; Chad, KY ; Clover Fork, KY ; Robbins Store, KY ; Fitchburg, MA ; Lexington, KY ;

Subject LCSH

Jude, Nancy, — July 31, 1917 – ?.
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 original 1920s-1940s
dates digital 2007-06-26 ; 2014-07-06


Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


Original and copies of documents and correspondence in file folders in filing cabinet


Series 19: Students




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 19: Students ; the Boarding School Graduating Class of 1938 ;

Coverage Temporal


Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Klondike, KY ; Chad, KY ; Clover Fork, KY ; Robbins Store, KY ; Fitchburg, MA ; Lexington, KY ;


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.




Core documents, correspondence, writings, and administrative papers of Nancy Jude ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Nancy Jude ; Her autobiography was probably written when Nancy Jude was about nineteen years old. She reflects on her life to that point, particularly focusing on how she came to Pine Mountain to go to school and her experiences at Big Laurel in the Extension Center as a student worker.




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY.

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2009-07-11 hhw ; 2014-07-06 hhw ; 2015-09-04 aae ; 2015-10-23 aae ; 2015-11-19 hhw ; 2024-02-07 aae ; 



“Jude, Nancy.” BOX 46 STUDENTS – Ju-Lewis, c. 1930-1949, ID# 1. Series 19: Students. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Archival files.

“Kentucky, Vital Record Indexes, 1911-1999,” database, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 September 2015), Nancy J Jude, 31 Jul 1917; citing Birth, Harlan, Kentucky, United States, Kentucky Department for Libraries and Archives, Frankfort.

“United States Census, 1920,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 September 2015), Nancy Jude in household of Custer Fields, Klondike, Harlan, Kentucky, United States; citing sheet 2A, family 22, NARA microfilm publication T625 (Washington D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,820,574.

“United States Census, 1910,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 5 September 2015), Martha Kelley in household of William Jasper Kelley, Upper Clover Fork, Harlan, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 81, sheet 5B, family 62, NARA microfilm publication T624 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, n.d.); FHL microfilm 1,374,490.

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