Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Staff
Howard Burdine, 1925 Graduate
Farm Manager 1935-1937
Howard Burdine (b. 1910)


Working in the garden. [lynn_paul_comm_001b]

TAGS: Howard Burdine, farm managers, PMSS students, Berea (KY) College, agricultural degrees, Glyn Morris, Burdine Family, William Hayes, Edrye (Wilson) Burdine), hogs, Sol Day, lime kilns, root cellars, county agents, U.S. Department of Agriculture, vegetable growing, organic gardening, soil conservation


Student, Graduated in 1925
Farm Manager July 1935 – 1937

Howard Burdine, one of the early farm managers at Pine Mountain Settlement School, was a graduate of Pine Mountain Settlement School as were many of his seven siblings.

Howard was born c. 1910 in Kentucky where his father worked as a foreman on the railroad. His father, John W. Burdine, was born in Tennessee and his mother Josie (Josephine) was born in Virginia. 


Howard was the first in the family to attend PMSS. His siblings attended in the following order: Hubert 1932-1934 ; Irene 1925, 1930 ; Mary 1936 ; and Ruth in 1923. The family was a large one and included in total the following children: Ada, Irvine, Hubert G., Mary Lu, John Jr., Carson, and Winfred. Howard and his siblings were living in Cumberland, Harlan County, when they were admitted to Pine Mountain.


Following his graduation from Pine Mountain in 1925, Howard attended Berea (KY) College and completed an agricultural degree in 1935. He was then recruited by Director Glyn Morris to work as a farm manager at the School. Burdine accepted Morris’ offer, which was urgent following the injury of the previous farmer, Oscar Kneller, in a dynamite explosion at the campus. Howard proved to be a good choice.

When Morris invited Burdine to Pine Mountain, he was able to also recruit a much-needed housemother in the person of Edrye (Wilson) Burdine, who was Howard’s new wife. She also served as a teacher at Pine Mountain.

Howard was the oldest of the children and like many other students at Pine Mountain saw to it that his siblings were supported when they later came to Pine Mountain. He also was a mentor and a model for other boys recruited from the coal camps of Harlan County, including William Hayes whose first farming experiences were with Howard. William “Bill” Hayes learned his job well and followed Howard Burdine directly out of school at Pine Mountain. By 1939, after a short period of training at Berea College, Bill Hayes assumed the position of lead farmer at Pine Mountain School. 

Burdine was a very social and active student both at Pine Mountain and at Berea and an inventive and quick-witted farmer. Shortly after returning to Pine Mountain, Burdine reported the following incident to Glyn Morris, regarding the trouble he had been having with free-ranging hogs in the area of Pine Mountain:

I saw Sol Day at Putney and was telling him about his hogs tearing down the corn. I told him that we would shoot the hog and eat it and pay him for it what it was worth — no price was made but he said he would be reasonable about it. I told him also about the pig that was shot the other night which belonged to the sow and I told him we caught another last night. He said Ludie wanted two pigs to keep but I told him there would be only one because there were only two including the one we shot. He said go ahead and let justice take its course, or words to that effect. Howard Burdine [Personnel file, August 31, 1935].

Lime Kiln Construction 

Another example of Burdine’s contribution to Pine Mountain’s farming practice can be found in the following description of his work to use local natural resources to bolster the soil on the farm at the School. The February 1936 Pine Cone describes how Burdine and his crew constructed a lime kiln.

On the 15th of January, Mr. Burdine and his farm boys completed the construction of a lime kiln. On the mountain above the Chapel an excavation was made for the kiln to stand. The limestone was then put together in the form of a squat, block house, with two channels open at the bottom for the fire. The kiln, on the front side where the two fire holes are, is approximately ten feet high. the rear face of the kiln, is about four feet above the ground.

From the two front fire channels other passages carry the heat to the parts of the kiln. A wood fire is kept in the two channels for seven days at the least…. By that time, all the limestone that has been white hot all the way through should slake when water is poured on it.

In making lime, the stone, in chemical terms, is calcium carbonate. This is burned, leaving calcium oxide and giving off carbon dioxide gas. When we put water on the oxide we get calcium hydroxide or slaked lime. This slaked lime is then used on the fields to prevent acid soil.

At first a tent and later a metal shelter was set up in front of the two fire channels which makes tending the fire a very comfortable job. Moreover, the farm boys know that, in producing the slaked lime, they are indirectly setting the tables for meals during the coming year. [PINE CONE, February 1936, page two.]

Root Cellar

The root cellar was a major storage facility for root crops at Pine Mountain and received considerable use by the farmer and his workers. By 1937 the cellar was in disrepair. The following describes the attempt to resurrect the cellar:

…The current storage for winter root crops had proved to be inadequate and Morris asked [Arthur] Dodd to “fix the vegetable cellar.” While the supervision of a construction job may have seemed far outside the scope of a school principal, Dodd took on the challenge with the help of the School’s farmer, Howard Burdine.

On June 15, 1937, Dodd wrote to Glyn Morris:

The vegetable cellar is finished all except the bottom. A terrific amount of work has gone into that thing. I don’t believe you realized what it entailed when you said “fix the vegetable cellar” …. about 25 loads of gravel and sand, to Middlesboro for steel, all mixed by hand, walls poured in one day — 12 ft by 24 ft. But you will have a vegetable cellar that ought to pay for itself
over a period of two or three years if it works properly.

Now, Howard [Burdine] wants his shelves or boxes in by July 1st. We have decided that boxes are better from every point of view (they can be made as cheaply and will stand on each other to the ceiling) so unless you have some other plan we will proceed to make them. Inter-Mountain and Nolan are bidding on the lumber. ….


Root Cellar, 2009. [rockwork_031_picnicgrounds_root cellar]

After Pine Mountain

The two-year stay at the School of the Burdine couple was a good one for both recent graduates, and their contributions were notable. Howard, however, had many ambitions and was, by all accounts, a social and entrepreneurial individual. He soon left Pine Mountain to become the County Agent for Martin County, Kentucky, where he promoted various programs, particularly fruit growing, that contributed to the agricultural enhancement of the community. In 1940 he was living in Inez, in Hardin County, Kentucky, where he also served as the County Agent.

Soil Conservation Service District Worker 1946

The following description of a meeting with Howard Burdine during a flood in Lawrence County, Ky. was published by the U.S. Department of Agriculture in 1946:

A PROSPECTIVE Soil Conservation Service cooperator and Farm Security Administration borrower was waiting beside the road with a rowboat during the January 1946 flood in Lawrence County, Ky., because he knew the SCS district workers, Howard Burdine and Richard Moore, and the FSA Supervisor, Coy M. Hibbard, would be there that day to work a farm plan. The backwater covered the road and made it necessary to ride in a boat across a big valley.

After the boat ride, the visitors had to take to the hills and to skirt another valley of floodwater to reach the farm. Yet, in spite of high water, the plan and loan were worked with this Big Sandy mountain farmer. Mutual respect and good cooperation were found in making a sound farm plan on the bank of the muddy Big Sandy, even though there were three pairs of wet feet and one wet seat (caused by carrying Moore, who was without boots, through a short cut of backwater, and by Burdine’s ability to sling water while trying to paddle.” — Coy M. Hibbard, FSA, Louisa, Ky.
Publisher: [Washington] : U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Governmental and Public Affairs, 1946, Volume 5.

See Also:
HOWARD BURDINE Correspondence


Howard Burdine

Alt. Title

Howard Burdine, Howard W. Burdine




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Howard Burdine ; Howard W. Burdine ; Edrye (Wilson) Burdine ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; sweet corn ; gardens ; farms ; farming ;  agriculture ; soils ; celery ; potatoes ; fertilizers ; vegetables ; vegetable varieties ; plant diseases ; organic gardening ; farm managers ; PMSS students ; Berea (KY) College ; agricultural degrees ; Glyn Morris ; Oscar Kneller ;  John W. Burdine ; Josie (Josephine) Burdine ; Burdine Family ; William Hayes ; Edrye (Wilson) Burdine) ; teachers ; hogs ; Sol Day ; lime kilns ; farm boys ; root cellars ; county agents ;  U.S. Department of Agriculture ;

Subject LCSH

Burdine, Howard, — b. 1910.
Burdine, Edrye (Wilson), — 10 Dec 1909 – 9 March 1989,
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
Agriculture — Kentucky.
Schools — Appalachian Region, Southern.




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY




Collections ; text ; image ;


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


Series 09: Staff/Personnel ; Series 11: Farm ; Series 19: Students ;




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections, Series 09: Staff/Personnel ; Series 11: Farm ; Series 19: Students ;

Coverage Temporal

1910 – 1939

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Tennessee ; Berea, KY ; Cumberland, KY ; Harlan Co., KY ; Martin Co., KY ; Inez, KY ; Hardin Co., KY ; Lawrence County, 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 Howard Burdine and Edrye (Wilson) Burdine ; clippings, photographs, books by or about Howard Burdine and Edrye (Wilson) Burdine ;




“[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

2015-09-21 aae ; 2015-09-24 hhw ; 2016-10-21 aae ; 2023-10-22 aae ;



“Howard Burdine ; Edrye (Wilson) Burdine.” Series 09: Staff/Personnel ; Series 11: Farm ; Series 19: Students. ; BOARDING SCHOOL STUDENTS – A – B and
GUIDE TO BOARDING STUDENTS – FULL LIST 1931-1949 [West Wind records] ; PINE CONE, February 1936. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

“A PROSPECTIVE Soil Conservation Service cooperator and Farm Security Administration borrower was waiting beside the road…” U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, Office of Governmental and Public Affairs, Washington, DC.
Vol. 5, 124 pages. [Possible copyright status: The contributing institution believes that this item is not in copyright.] Call number SER73922287. Digitizing sponsor & book contributor: U.S. Department of Agriculture, National Agricultural Library. Full catalog record MARCXML. Internet resource.

“United States Census, 1940,” database with images, FamilySearch ( : accessed 21 September 2015), Haward (sic) W Burdine, Magisterial District 1, Martin, Kentucky, United States; citing enumeration district (ED) 80-1A, sheet 10A, family 160, NARA digital publication T627 (Washington, D.C.: National Archives and Records Administration, 2012), roll 1339.


Celery Production on Organic Soils of South Florida by University of Florida (Book). 

1 edition published in 1973 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Radish response to phosphorus and potassium fertilizers on Everglades organic soil by Howard W Burdine. (Book).

1 edition published in 1967 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Water Table Management For Organic Soil Conservation and Crop Production in the Florida Everglades by University of Florida. (Book). 

1 edition published in 1979 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide.

Horticultural trials with sweet corn hybrids by V. L Guzman. (Book).

1 edition published in 1959 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Some changes in the celery plant with maturity by Howard W Burdine. (Book).

1 edition published in 1970 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

The development of pencil stripe in celery by Howard W Burdine. (Book).

1 edition published in 1972 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Sweet corn production on the organic and sandy soils of Florida(Book).

1 edition published in 1967 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Studies on the development of pith in Everglades celery by Howard W Burdine. (Book).

1 edition published in 1964 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Some soil pH effects on soil tests and growth of some vegetable crops on Everglades organic soil by Howard W Burdine. (Book).

1 edition published in 1968 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

Response of escarole to pH adjustment and some other nutritional factors on new sawgrass peat by Howard W Burdine. (Book) 

1 edition published in 1965 in English and held by 1 WorldCat member library worldwide

effect of plant spacing on yield and plant and ear …

Emil A. Wolf and Howard W. Burdine … Florida Agricultural Experiment Stations Journal. No. 668. … WOLF AND BURDINE: SWEET CORN EXPERIMENTS. 91.

BURDINE, HOWARD W. & GUZMAN, V. L. Horticultural trials with sweet corn hybrids, Spring 1958. Florida Everglades Report 59—28. May 8, 1959. 13 p.

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