Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: Biography – Staff/Personnel
MARGUERITE BUTLER Letters 1969-1970
TAGS: Marguerite Butler Letters 1969-1970, Mary Rogers, Georg Bidstrup, John C. Campbell Folk School, Brasstown, NC, donations, Katherine Pettit, extension work, vaccinations, students, Open House, School House I
By 1969 Marguerite Butler had moved to Brasstown, NC, where she married Georg Bidstrup and was assisting in the management of the John C. Campbell Folk School. In Brasstown, Marguerite found a life much like that at Pine Mountain Settlement School. In the early 1970s, her later years, Marguerite continued to communicate with staff at Pine Mountain. In these letters she negotiates with Mary Rogers regarding the donation of her Pine Mountain letters and three letters from Katherine Pettit.
In the last letter she describes three letters she sent to Mary Rogers that were written by Katherine Pettit and represent the last three letters Marguerite received from Pettit before Pettit died. Marguerite notes that the letters still show “how eager she was to do something for many communities.” She then proceeds to describe for Mary how she began her extension work with Miss Pettit.
As Marguerite read all the letters, she says she re-lived her experiences at Pine Mountain and writes, “Again I realize how much Aunt Sal, Uncle Wm, Delia [Delia Creech], Henry [Henry Creech], etc. meant to me.”
Click here to read Marguerite Butler’s biography.
CONTENTS: Marguerite Butler Letters 1969-1970
1. 1969 LETTER 1 – November 16,1969 – “Dear Mary [Rogers] — Maybe you will regret you asked for more. I regret so many trivial things seem…” [but_1969-70_09_001 and 002]
re-living Pine Mountain days ; highlights ; smallpox scare ; vaccinations ; suppers at Delia’s and Aunt Sal’s ; loved the children ; Ethel McCullough ; Open House ;
2. 1969 LETTER 2 – Tuesday, November 18, 1969 – “Dear Mary (Rogers) — Thank you for your good letter which came today…. ” [but_1969-70_09_003 and 004]
confidence in Pine Mt’s future ; sending letters to Mary ; describes School House I ;
3. 1970 LETTER 3 – January 28,1970 – “Dear Mary — I think these are the last three letters of Miss Pettit’s. They show how eager she was…” [but_1969-70_09_005 and 006]
sending last of Miss Pettit’s letters ; Pettit’s extension center plans ; “rich memories” of the people she knew ;
TRANSCRIPTION: Marguerite Butler Letters 1969-1970
LETTER 1 – November 16,1969 – [but_1969-70_09_001]
From: Mrs. Georg Bidstrup
Brasstown, North Carolina 28902
Dear Mary [Rogers] — Maybe you will regret you asked for more. I regret so many trivial things seem to appear in every letter, but it was the only way to get necessities. Delete anything.
I’ve lived again my Pine Mountain days. “Midsummer Night’s Dream” was a high point. The school house fire and murder on Pine Mountain were tragic. A concern with smallpox scare. Under Dr. Huse’s directions I vaccinated and took care of seventy-five, from a two-year-old to Uncle John Shell, on Line Fork and Incline way.
How many suppers at Delia’s and Aunt Sal’s!! I especially enjoyed the old folks, but then I loved the children too and felt very close to some my own age, as Mary Ann Begley.
We were glad that Bun [McClain] brought Peter for our dance week-end. It was a good group.
I guess you know the Ethel to whom I refer was a McCullough from Cincinnati. Thru her I went to Vassar; Open House was built by Mary Rockwell Hook, Ethel and I. I’m glad she remembered Pine Mt. in her will.
Still more letters I have not read.
All good wishes to you and Burton [Rogers]. — Marguerite B.
LETTER 2 – Tuesday, November 18, 1969 – [but_1969-70_09_003 and 004]
Brasstown, North Carolina
Dear Mary (Rogers) — Thank you for your good letter which came today. With Pine Mountain’s history I have confidence it will wisely meet the future. It is exciting for me to have my two schools working closely together.
The enclosed envelopes were ready to go by Uncle Sam’s mail when I learned today that John, Pam & Stan will be on their way to you Thursday. I’ve just talked with John over the phone so they go in his care.
And there are still some waiting to be read. I can see what they meant to Mother, and I must say I’m enjoying reliving my pioneer days.
The fire [I] wrote about was not Laurel House but the big school house on the hill — classrooms farm offices, bedrooms for four staff, two sleeping porches for eighteen boys and off the third floor one large room (this is where Midsummer Night’s Dream was given) with storage closets along both sides. Three buildings took its place. I was not there when Laurel House burned.
Affectionate greetings to you and Burton. Marguerite
[P. S. See how ancient these clippings are.]
LETTER 3 – January 28,1970 – [but_1969-70_09_005 and 006]
Dear Mary — I think these are the last three letters of Miss Pettit’s. They show how eager she was to do something for many communities. Wonder if I ever told you how when I began the extension work K. P. [Katherine Pettit] said “Now in ten years we’ll have five centers.” Then, when I headed for Denmark in August, 1922, “Remember that in five years we are to have ten centers.” I reminded her that had not been the original plan – but it does show her energy and enthusiasm to help as many as possible — especially if the local community showed interest.
As I have read these letters I have relived all these experiences. Again I realize how much Aunt Sal, Uncle Wm., Delia, Henry, etc. meant to me. Well I remember being stung by a bee at Aunt Sal‘s when I saw my first robbing of the bee gum, and how Aunt Sal took a bottle of Japanese from the fireboard and said “I’ll fix ye, Margie, with this Jay-pan-ese oil.” That is how it sounded. And when I read of Lorraine Ritchie’s (a cousin of the Ritchie family and a character) and I climbed straight up Pine Mt. – behind Open House — and it was straight up— how I longed to even walk normally now. But I have many rich memories.
I’m sad we will be away when Burton (and maybe you) come in February. How I would love to have had you on our hilltop. February 9 we head for Florida — friends down the east coast, a two week’s cruise in Caribbean on Norwegian Line, “Bergens-fjord” and then several days coming up west coast — college friends, Brasstown folks, former students, etc. Georg and I both regret not being home for that meeting.
Always affectionate greetings to you, Burton and our Pine Mountain friends —