Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 07: Directors
KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE 1911
[May], August – December
TAGS: Katherine Pettit ; Ethel de Long (Zande) ; Lewis Lyttle ; Lewis Turner ; general merchants ; Jane, KY ; Hindman, KY ; A.E. Boggs ; Kentweva Coal & Lumber Co. ; land donations ; Turner Family ; Charles S. Robb ; railroads ; WCTU Settlement School ; Miss May Stone ; C. Bascom Slemp ; Miss Eve Newman ; endowment ;
KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE My Dear Friend Letter May 27, 1911
The May 27th letter in KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE 1911 MY DEAR FRIEND LETTER was written following Katherine Pettit’s spring 1911 trip on horseback and wagon to four counties in Eastern Kentucky (Letcher, Perry, Leslie and Harlan) in the company of the Hindman nurse Harriet Butler. Miss Pettit reported on the trip in a letter addressed to “My Dear Friend.” It is in that letter that the seeds of Pine Mountain Settlement School were planted and planning for a school began very shortly after the trip.
The letter of May 27, 1911, addressed to “My Dear Friend,” is central to understanding the processes that Pettit engaged and the people who were responsible for the turning of an idea into a reality. An original copy of the May 27, 1911, letter is not held by Pine Mountain. However, from its surrogate [a typewritten transcription], we learn the details of her journey to Big Laurel and the first contact she made with the Creech and Lewis families.
Lewis Lyttle, whom Pettit knew from Hindman, where he had built the Baptist Church in 1909, lived on the head of Leatherwood on the same property as the Andy Shepherd family of thirteen children. To that family he added his own wife, two children and a “bastard” child. When his sister’s husband deserted her and her three children, he took them into his two-room house on the Shepherd farm. From that central location, Lyttle had built four more churches. One located at Big Leatherwood, the second on Little Leatherwood, the third at the mouth of Big Laurel on Greasy Creek in Harlan County, and the third, again in Harlan County on the Cumberland River. He preached at all four of the churches on a rotating basis.
Lyttle grew up in Harlan County and was a key player in the advocacy for a settlement school in the area. He accompanied Pettit on her some 29-mile journey into the four counties. Pettit was clearly enchanted by him and his stories. The other traveler with Pettit was Stephen Guilford, a worker at Hindman who monitored the wagon and its team.
KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE 1911 August – December
The correspondence throughout 1911 demonstrates the enormous force of Pettit’s will and organization. By November and December of 1911, the idea of the new School was beginning to take shape in land purchases, gifts, swaps and every sort of political string that Pettit could pull to gather sufficient cash to begin the school.
GALLERY: KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE
August – December 1911
CONTENTS: KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE
August 1911 – December 1911
[001-003] August 2, 1911. Handwritten by Lewis Turner, General Merchant, “Notions, Shoes & Candies”, Jane, KY to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY. Why the people want Pettit to create a good school; invites Pettit to return.
 August [date truncated]. Typewritten transcription of letter [001-003] from Lewis Turner, Jane, KY, to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY.
 October 6, 1911. Handwritten by A.E. Boggs, Jane, KY, on letterhead for “A.H. Nolen, Dealer in General Merchandise” to Miss Pettit. To meet with Pettit to promote new school; purchasing land from Kentweva Coal & Lumber Co.
 October 6, 1911. Typewritten transcription of letter  from A.E. Boggs, Jane, KY, to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY.
[008-010] October 16, 1911. Handwritten by Lewis Turner, General Merchant, “Notions, Shoes & Candies”, Jane, KY, to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY. Mr. A.B. Cornett and his company will donate land; meeting Pettit on Nov. 4; travel directions.
 October 6, 1911. Typewritten transcription of letter [008-010] from Lewis Turner, Jane, KY, to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY.
 November 13, 1911. Typewritten transcription of [missing] letter from A.E. Boggs, Jane, KY, to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY. Land at Big Laurel to be donated by his company and the Turners.
 November 27, 1911. Typewritten letter signed by Charles S. Robb, Elkins, W.Va., to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY. Available land for school; railroad development.
 November 27, 1911. Typewritten copy of letter  from Charles S. Robb, W.Va., to Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY.
[015-016] December 6, 1911. [unsigned]. Possibly Miss Pettit on “WCTU Settlement School, Hindman, KY” letterhead to Charles S. Robb, Elkins, W.Va. Her ideals for building a settlement school in the mts; description of Hindman; land donations; info about Misses Stone, de Long, and Pettit.
- [pettit_1911_015.jpg] “As we have investigated locations, the one at the head of Isaac’s Run has seemed as suitable as any for carrying out our ideals.” … We believe that the people here need more than the ordinary book learning and that they need to know how to live: to be taught homemaking and how to make the best use of their land.”
- [pettit_1911_016.jpg] “I have been in the mountains nearly eighteen years and as I have a small income I have been able to give my services.”
[017-018] Typewritten unsigned copy of letter [015-016] from possibly Miss Pettit, Hindman, KY, to Charles S. Robb, Elkins, W.Va.
[019-022] [n.d., 1911?] Typewritten copy of letter from C. B. [Bascom] Slemp*, House of Representatives, U.S. Committee on Expenditures in the Postoffice Dept, Washington, DC, to Miss Pettit, Lexington, KY. Miss [Eve] Newman’s visit; names of his contacts who will help with school land and endowment.
[*Campbell Bascom Slemp was born in Big Stone Gap, VA. His mother was Nancy (Nannie) Britain Cawood of Harlan Co., KY, born nearby. Slemp represented the 9th District of Virginia in Congress for fifteen years. As a Republican, he established a stronghold over a largely Democratic region and held on to that reign for some fifteen years. He also served as secretary to President Calvin Coolidge (1923). Slemp, recorded as one of the most influential Southern members of the Republican party, had large coal and timber holdings in Virginia, Kentucky and West Virginia which were the sources of his large fortune and, no doubt, added to his interest in Pettit and her new School, though most of his fortune went to projects in Virginia, he continued to contribute to education and other philanthropic causes until his death. (See: Hathorn, Guy. “B. C. Bascom Slemp — Virginia Republican Boss, 1907-1932.” in The Journal of Politics, Vol. 17, No. 2 (May, 1955), pp. 248-264.)]
KATHERINE PETTIT BIOGRAPHY
GUIDE TO KATHERINE PETTIT CORRESPONDENCE, 1911 – 1936
KATHERINE PETTIT PHOTOGRAPH ALBUM