STAPLETON REPORT – September 1932 “I am sure you begin to wonder if we are yet on the map ….”

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Dr. Ida Stapleton and Rev. Robert Stapleton

Line Fork 1927 – 1947

STAPLETON REPORT – September 1932
“I am sure you begin to wonder if we are yet on the map ….”

TAGS: Dr. Ida S. Stapleton,Line Fork Medical Settlement report,Katherine Pettit,sailing on ocean liner to Europe,European tour,weaving,stories about people in the community,Labor Day picnic, funeralizing,preaching at Regular Baptist Church,Dr. Kenneth Gould



Gilley P O Ky 1932

Dear friends:-

I am sure you begin to wonder if we are yet on the map.  Perhaps you have been glad to have a vacation from OUR MOUNTAIN NEIGHBORS like we were.

Miss Pettit was glad enough to come and take charge for the Summer so on July Ist Mr S and I started for Michigan.  After a few days with our families I left for him to come on more leisurely while I hastened on to Rochester NY for three days with our daughter Elinor and family, then on to New York to have as long a time with Sibyl and her family.  As I had already written to Washington for a passport it was awaiting me in NY.  The next day after my arrival Sibyl and I went to the S S offices on lower Broadway and found a convenient sailing on the S S Pennland for July 16th.  It was exciting to be once more on an ocean liner bound for Europe and I was agreeably surprised to find the third class so desirable.    The cleanliness was perfect, the food all that could be desired.  There were three hundred passengers in the third class many of them teachers while two at my table were ladies about my own age and most agreeable.  For nine almost perfect days, I enjoyed the boundless deep and books as well as some of the passengers.  A good orchestra furnished music twice a day and on Sunday morning the Church of England service was read by the Captain attended by two officers.  I did not hear if he did the same for the first and second classes or not.  The little radio newspaper came out every day and besides the news it had interesting articles about the port of calling – Southampton, Harve [Le Harve] and Antwerp.

At Harve the train for Paris came to the door so it was quite easy to board it with others going the same way.  It was a great surprise to our old Russian friends of Erzroom Turkey now residing in Paris to have me call upon them in their neat little attic rooms.  So tiny were the rooms they could not possibly accommodate more than four around their table, but as Madam Vychinsky had been a shut-in for some months their Russian friends were calling on her so I saw several who had been connected with the consular service in Erzroom.  Three days with these friends and only half day given to the Bois de Bologne, the Champs Elysee when I went to the city to get my ticket for Russelsheim in Germany.  I found the train left at 7 am and to reach it I needs must leave the tiny hotel where I had a room at 60 cents a night by 6 am.  So I had the usual Parisian breakfast in the restaurant (coffee with milk and hard roll).  Some workmen came in for their tiny glasses of wine standing at the counter.

The third class compartment was comfortable enough and I was much interested in the people getting in here and there.  I noticed names of many towns as being those we got accustomed to see in the papers during the Great War.  On the border between France and Germany all the train officials changed from French to German and I had to show my passport and open my suitcase.  At seven in the evening I came to Mainz where Natalie and Peter were to meet me.  I waited half an hour, then as there was a train for Russelsheim I took it and actually reached 26 Wesser Strasse by myself to the intense chagrin of Natalie and Peter who arrived a half hour later.  That meeting was pure joy as I had not seen Natalie for four years nor Peter and the two little boys at all.  But we were soon acquainted and little Philip was calling me “Oma Ida” (Oma being the German for grandmother). Peter, a blond six footer, was very gracious and gallant treating “Oma” with much courtesy at all times.

Then there [were] excursions every day after Peter returned from his business as chief engineer at the Opal (sic) Motor Mfg Co in the “Blue Angel” as they call the car he had reconstructed.  To Wiesbaden, to Frankfort (sic), to Rothenberg and to Heidelberg on the Nekker [Neckar River].  From here I went alone by train to Switzerland for two days, one day motorbussing around Zurich and the next day by bus with a Swiss party over the Clausen Pass to Lucerne and back, where I saw glaciers, perpetual snow, the edelweiss flower that grows at the edge of the snow banks and in fact everything you read about concerning that country except the Peace Conference and a few other things.

Back again at Russelsheim with trips up the mountain where Peter and Natalie go skiing in the winter, and to a great ruin of a castle.  Another on the Rhine to see an age-old castle which had been restored and is now a museum most interesting (Konigstein).  One week end (Saturday & Sunday) we made an overnight trip driving to the Fulda where the conference of gliders was in progress.  It was amazing to see the great ungainly birds rise from the ground by being started with several men pulling while others pushed, then staying up even hours by the force of the wind.  One of the most successful had been made by a boy of eighteen years in three months.

We went thru many country villages. In that part of Germany one sees no isolated houses. The wheat harvest was in progress cutting mostly by sickles tho one or two binders were to be seen.  The grain is drawn to a place for threshing sometimes by horses, often by oxen or even cows.  The threshers seemed quite the same as ours.

Sunday is voting day in Germany and as we went thru village after village we saw the people in their best clothes strolling about or going to church.  We went to church for half an hour in the oldest church in that part of the land.  A warden in a long red coat and red hat carrying a staff walked about to see that no one disturbed the service.  Half of the large congregation were standing.  We sat for awhile and listened to the ritualistic services.  The place was so crowded with statuary, I was soon wearied with looking at it.  It was different later when I spent an hour in Cologne Cathedral just worshiping; altho I do not think I felt God’s presence any more in that magnificent creation of stone than I do right here in the green woods of old Kentucky.

The country certainly looked very peaceful and happy tho there was much talk of unemployment.

“The Rhine! The Rhine! The German Rhine!”  Everything I had ever read about it was there.  The Lorelei, Bingen, the mouse castle [Burg Maus], the vineyards (rows and rows of vines on narrow terraces) up and up to the top of the mountains on either side of the valley.  They are making some grape juice but the great majority of the people take their juice fermented.

And now the last long ride down the Rhine to Coblens where I take the train to Cologne.  From here it is a long day’s ride to Berlin.  A night and another day to Oslo in Norway thru Sweden.  In Oslo four days were spent with my old classmate of the medical school, a friend who had been for twenty-seven years a missionary in China now retired and so happily settled in a new little place overlooking the city of Oslo and harbor.  But it is becoming too long a story.  Now you see me back at the Cabin.  Mr S returned August 2nd and it was September 8th when at last I was back again.

Miss Pettit had got several women interested in carding a spinning wool.  One girl of Bear Branch had learned to weave on our loom in the Health House which has been renamed the Loom House.  She made three blankets and then Bert who had even earned some wool wove for herself a blanket and has yet enough warp to weave another.

The Hall Brothers made some interesting old things, a wooden canteen used in the civil war, trencher or bread tray, three-legged stools, round tops and others half round, water buckets called piggins or noggins with one handle, a milk bucket with a bail, a keeler or footbath without handles and even a delightful old cradle.  She also got the children interested in bringing “pretties” all sorts of queer stones, petrified bamboo, arrowheads, queer shaped gourds (trumpet & dipper) and even deep dishes or bowls.  One woman claimed hers was seventy years old and used for forty years to keep coffee in.  One of the quaintest conceits is a curious little gadget called a turkey-call used to lure the wild turkeys by hunters in the days when the birds could be found here.  Miss Pettit arranged for sewing bees and as many as thirty women made pretty percale stand covers and twenty young girls made attractive sun-bonnet and aprons.  I have one also in which I dress up now and then.

We had our labor day picnic a few days after I got back and such a nice clean looking lot of neighbors joined in making it a jolly time.  Mr S gave a little talk wearing his Russian blouse which had been sent by the friends I had visited in Paris.  The table was spread with the Russian hand-woven and decorated table-cloth we have used every year.  When the food was all spread out it looked very nice and appetizing especially the big plate of honey that had been freshly robbed from a beegum.  A few balloons made the place look gaily decorated for awhile.  At the end not more than six remained and they were given to the four-year-olds to take home.  One I know actually reached the home down by Gilley PO and there was destroyed by the pet pig.  Marlin was so exasperated he chased the pig back and forth till he was tired out in payment for the cruel deed.

For once the roughnecks who were wont to come fortified with corn liquor stayed away and the school children had games with stunts for which some simple prizes were given to winners.

The Cornett family had a funeralizing at Bear Branch school house one Saturday and Sunday in memory of the grandparents who passed on at least seven years ago.  The Holiness group who have recently been having regular services there another Sunday got up a basket dinner so they could continue their meeting later into the afternoon.  Miss Pettit and Mr S joined in with them which went for friendship and goodwill.

Then the Lewises also must have a preaching for old Uncle Will and Aunt Eliza members of the old regular Baptist so three preachers of that sect were invited for the last Saturday and Sunday of the month.  The two sons and daughters made every effort to make it a good time.  Jarrett and his sons along with some neighbor helpers worked on the road aided by some money from the county so that cars of the kinfolk might come up near the old Lewis cemetery more safely.  “Hen” & his sons cleared the cemetery of grass and weeds.  Then drawing some logs and lumber from the old place near-by where the youngest son’s family (Dave who shot himself three years ago) arranged seats in a convenient hollow under a spreading beech tree.  Mary, Sudie, Martha, Susie and Nancy made their homes neat with new papering from old magazines and catalogues.  They also scoured and scrubbed.  Mary borrowed the two kettles from the Cabin so she could prepare enough food for all kinfolk who might come to her home.  Altho her family of three sons and one daughter are our worst law breakers they were all present at the preaching to the last little grandchild all clean and as neat as one could wish.  First an obituary was read about the old people.  Then mention was made of a son and grandson who had come to their death because of their sins and scant hope of the life hereafter was given.  The babies who were then remembered had not died in sin, so were saved.

Mr Gilley the oldest preacher urged repentance and gave everyone a charge to depart from the error of his ways.  There were several “handshakings” during the course of the preaching some thus signifying a desire to be prayed for.  After two hours of this service we went to the cemetery and gathered around the graves of Uncle Will and Aunt Eliza.

All the children of God were urged to kneel which they did for twenty minutes while God was importuned for his blessing.  At one o’clock the preacher reckoned they had had enough tho it would have pleasured him to go on until sundown.  Then came the hour in the burying ground itself.  Had you been there, you would have seen nearly all the people about whom I have written in my former letters.  A new old Regular Baptist church was organized at Coyle Branch and Mr Gilley promises to come and preach the last Saturday and Sunday of each month.

All the songs were lined and sung by such quaint old quavering tunes that we cannot follow.  I was so hoping that Hen or his sister Susie would ask Mr S to sing “I know that my Redeemer liveth” or “He leadeth me”.   But perhaps the two styles of singing would not mix.  However he now has a chance to open the Holiness meetings each time at the Bear Branch school house nearly every Sunday.  If this group is away at another appointment then he is alone for the few who attend that week.

One of the woman members was very sick recently and a group crowded into her room to pray her well.  One reported that while they were calling aloud, one even rolling on the floor, she collapsed while sitting up in bed as she was.   Then her husband hurried over to Pine Mt for Dr [Kenneth] Gould.  He came and urged them to carry her over to the infirmary at once.  A brother came to the Cabin for a stretcher and the four men carried her the six miles tho the doctor feared they had waited too long.  She was unconscious for two days.  Then transfusion of blood from her husband’s arm to her jugular vein restored her to consciousness.  Tho looking like death itself she will probably recover.  I saw her for a few minutes and tho she could not so much as turn her head she hoped that her baby (nine months) was having plenty of fresh milk.  Her sister is caring for the five children and her own three.  Thus we help each other on Line Fork.  We have enough to eat but the great cry is for clothes to keep the children in school.  The Red Cross is distributing cloth now at our County-seat so I am urging all callers to go there and ask for it.

Sincerely yours,


**Transcription by Gretchen Rasch