Pine Mountain Settlement School
Dr. Ida Stapleton and Rev. Robert Stapleton
Line Fork 1927 – 1947
STAPLETON REPORT – August 1931
“Now we are all trying to save the apples that are such a bountiful crop …”
Line Fork Neighborhood News
Gilley, Ky, August 1931
Now we are all trying to save the apples that are such a bountiful crop. Nancy Ann says she has already eight bushels of dried apples and all her jars full of apple butter. She dried a lot for little Martha of the Eagle’s Nest as she wasn’t able to do much, expecting another baby which is her third to arrive in the full of the moon that I have assisted. I hated to go up Coyle Branch. It isn’t so bad up to the Crow’s Nest, but beyond that, it is just a rocky ravine. John, her husband said he worked three days to make it safer for the doctor and indeed it was much better than the first time I went over it. After I got out on the road I was really delighted to be once again out in such a brilliant night and Miss Baby arrived by sun up, so she just must be a child of light all rosy, like the dawn. Someone must have pranked five year old Bethel about giving [up] his little sister but he said quite decidedly “I’d not give her up if she was a hundred sisters”. John told Marthy she might choose between Mary Ann and Addie for a name and as Mary Anns are all too numerous in the valley Martha thought Addie would be nicer and suit well her sister’s name Gertie. So she is Addie and so very sweet and good. Martha stayed in bed five days then John had to go foddering and she was obliged to get up and wait on the young ‘uns. On the eighth day I found her canning peaches that had to be saved. Martha’s step-mother Zion of the golden hair, at the Falcon’s Nest is not agreeable to her step-children so she made no effort to be helpful at all. Mary was still at the Crow’s Nest so she washed two or three times for Martha but as Henry has a job of digging coal at Pine Mountain with her father they moved down near to her mother’s home. They now occupy the old shop where her sister Viola lived with her four. But when Mary Belle fell out with Charlie she took her dolls (baby) home to her mother’s house and Viola moved into that house on the hill behind the house so she could keep chickens without their being a nuisance to her mother’s garden. But when she got moved, Iry sent her only five dollars instead of ten so she couldn’t buy the chicks. She had already bargained for Mary Belle’s hens and paid a quarter down. On the other hand when Mary Belle arrived at her home her mother insisted that she bring her hens at least to help support her so the Cabin yet gets eggs now and then from Mary Belle. Rosie her niece who has been raised by her “Maw” brought eggs for a tablet and pencil and hadn’t I some used shoes so that she could keep on at school. She is a large girl so was able to use the one pair of used shoes that remained to be passed on. Two or three garments were added to the parcel that will serve her for at least three months. The sixteen [year old] Rosie is only now in the second reader.
Going back to apples – nearly every place has a small drying kiln with a protecting shed over it as the frequent rains are very detrimental to drying of apples. Some of us have to dry them on the roof and they are not so nice. Susie has a sixteen quart lard can full of apple butter. Grace has two hundred quarts of peaches. We had quite a few peaches from two trees that were set out five years ago. I canned some twenty quarts of them myself. The grapes promised well but when half grown began to turn brown and fall off. There are apple-paring parties at the various farms, the young folk carrying their own knives with them as no family has more than one or possibly two of their own. At one place I was offered a pan of peaches from which to select some to eat and the only knife available was the rusty stub of a carving knife.
Bert came one day to borrow a “kittle” in which to make apple butter as she had two hundred jars to fill. She would be very careful of it. The only one she had was always full of beans, cornfield string beans, for her family of ten. As Nancy was in school she brought the least one with her and even stopped at the Health House to see Neely with her new little son. It was quite a concession on Bert’s part who had told me very seriously that she might forgive Neely but she would never speak to her again. Neely had forgiven Bert so we feel that there has been a spirit of Love abroad that has brought about this friendly attitude.
Neely was worrying one day as to how she would manage when the time came so I told her she should come to the Health House and be a patient in the smallest hospital ever was. We gave Findley a weekly job in place of Neely doing our washing and told him we would not give Neely any more washing, that he could earn the same amount that had kept the wolf from the door all the time he was in prison. When the ordeal was on I made Finley clean up and cover his soiled and patched overalls with a nurse’s apron. He was my only attendant. He slept on a cot bed for three nights after the event and waited on her. Then he needs must go “sanging” and Neely stayed by herself two nights. By that time she was strong enough to go home and the baby is the best one of all the seven she has mothered. She asked for the washing again but we insisted that she had enough to do now with caring for her baby and the others. So she must let Finley do the earning. It was noon when she came to the Cabin and as there was plenty of hot water I made her take an all over bath in the tub, her first experience in a tub in all her forty-three years. She had such a quiet restful time in the Health House it was like a vacation to [be] away from the noisy household. She felt so well and strong I let her go home on the sixth day and loaned her the baby bed which she promised to use in the day-time at least as netting spread over the box would keep the flies from the baby.
And now I have another patient in the Health House. His mother Rhoda brought little John – eleven from five miles distant on Little Laurel. An abscessed tonsil resulted in an infected face very swollen and painful, so I just said to his mother stay here and nurse him. We can take care of him better here than you could at home. He is a grandson of Uncle William who gave the land for Pine Mountain school.
Some four years ago a grand-father brought two orphan children whom he and their grand-mother had raised to ten and twelve years. When the grandmother died they came back to this section and he wanted to put the two into Pine Mountain School. But they had not been to school at all so had to be refused. Grandfather Sparkman died after a year or so and then Hazel and her brother lived here and there with relatives as they could all being rather poor. Hazel kept in school more or less and last year lived with a neighbor who had been taught in Hindman School. She proved a real mother to homeless Hazel and made her feel at home with her own children. She learned readily and this Fall asked again to go to Pine Mt School. As she came over to the Cabin her uncle gave her a dollar and promised me to get one dollar a month for her if he could get any work. Some friends have helped to get her a very modest outfit of clothes and she is beginning her home at Pine Mt in Big Log, the home of some sixteen girls with Gladys Hill as house-mother. Several other girls and boys from Leatherwood are now at Pine Mt this Fall but only two from Line Fork.
Earl and Katie with baby Eva came from Bee Hive Branch twelve miles distant to pay a call. The doctor had visited them a year ago when Earl had the influenza and was very sick. This was their first chance to say thank you with a call. He was very enthusiastic with his “Yes-Sirs” until I laughingly suggested to Katie that he might say Yes Marm to me. When he understood the joke he said “Yes sir” and blushed.
Della Browning had been treated for trachoma at the Federal hospital in Richmond Kentucky. For two years she has been quite free from the disease but a few days ago Buddie Shepherd her husband came to say she was very bad again and could she go to Richmond and take her little five months old baby as what could he do with “hit”? He had built a little cabin for her a mile from his father’s house. To-morrow I’ll take the pass for her and make a trip up Old House Branch making several calls on Big Leatherwood.
I forgot to say in the last paragraph that Earl’s and Katie’s clothing was much the worst for wear and I was glad to have some things to pass on.
We had our third annual Labor Day picnic at the Cabin last Monday when the children of the two schools came with their teachers. As they arrived each was served with lemonade. Quite a few of the parents were present. Mr Stapleton for a few minutes talked to them about the PEACE PACT and sang “We ain’t going to study war no more” and “O Happy World”. One teacher held the big flag and a dozen boys stood around him with small flags.
Then all were served a ham-sandwich and a cooky on a paper napkin. When these were disposed of they went to the big table and were helped to some of the good things their parents had brought – sweet taters, roasting “years”, biscuits, chicken dumplings, fried chicken, pie, cake’n everything. I served coffee in Miss Pettit’s big aluminium cups. Sara Jane served the dumplings. Nancy and other mothers helped the children and young people as they came to the table or they were invited to help themselves to the lemonade as long as it lasted. Miss Aimes the secretary at Pine Mountain came over on Saturday and greatly assisted in getting things ready Monday morning. Mr and Mrs Morris directors at Pine Mt made their first visit to this extension center together and met the neighbors gathered here. With bouncing balls and some stunts the young people were interested until three o’clock when all passed the doctor and were given a sweet good-bye with taffy-on-a-stick.
There were several who needs must see the doctor so these had to be seen while the picnic was going on.
Mr S continues his services on Sundays at Bear Branch school house. One alone was in attendance two weeks ago since there were several baptismal services at different points in other sections. But there have been a fair number at other times. He will preach in the Chapel at Pine Mt next Sunday.
Now we are looking forward to the fair at Pine Mt September 26th. I have two girls making a bit of crocheting and others sewing a garment to exhibit. There are hopes that some will be interested in showing some better baking or some of their canned fruit. Our zinnias and marigolds won a prize last year.
Ida S Stapleton
**Transcribed by Gretchen Rasch.