BILL DAWN Student Alumnus

Pine Mountain Settlement School
Series 09: BIOGRAPHY – Students
Series 19: STUDENTS
Bill Dawn, Student, 1925-1927
Supporter, Pine Mountain Association of Alumni and Friends, c. 1980s
Member, Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees, c. 1980s
William C. Dawn (1909-1986)

GOVERNANCE 1977-78 Philosophy of Pine Mountain Settlement School ; JAMES & CAROL URQUHART Directors ; BILL DAWN Student

1983 PMSS Homecoming newsletter, p. 14. “After the Sunday morning Chapel Service. Dr. W. Weatherford, the newly arrived co-directors, Carol and Jim Urquhart and Bill Dawn.”

TAGS: Bill Dawn, William C. “Bill” Dawn, Pine Mountain Settlement School students, Pine Mountain Settlement School staff, philanthropy, PMSS Advisory Council, Pine Mountain Association of Alumni & Friends, antique car collections


Student, 1925-1927
Supporter, Pine Mountain Association of Alumni and Friends, c. 1980s
Member, Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees, c. 1980s

Bill Dawn attended Pine Mountain Settlement School as a student in 1925 through 1927. Later in life, he made his fortune at Dawn & Co., a construction company in Knoxville, TN, and gave generously to the School. Here is his story in his own words, excerpted from the 1979 Homecoming brochure.

…If my memory serves me correctly, the Chapel was virtually completed when I arrived there in Fall of 1925. My small part was in cutting stone for supplementary details — rear porch steps, retaining walls, walks, etc.

A few years earlier a stone mason was found at Lynch, Ky., working on their new coke ovens. Pine Mountain needed someone to build a water reservoir and he came over for that job only. He was a recent immigrant, speaking broken English. He was a big, handsome, blond, blue-eyed Italian, very intelligent, very likable. This was Mr. Luigi Zande.

Instead of one job, he not only married the co-director, Miss [Ethel de Long, but within three or four years built the water supply system, the electric light system, the Chapel, overhauled the sawmill, etc. etc. He was a great cook too! Their baby was born soon after I came to the school.

Mr. Zande was a fine man — even a great man! He could do anything well. I counted it a privilege to be a “Zande” boy as against a farm boy and [we] thought of ourselves as an elite group. The Industrial Arts Building was built during my stay. There, in winter, we built furniture for the school buildings and dorms, even made coffee for local people. (I helped build the yellow poplar and walnut-trimmed coffin for Aunt “Sal” Creech — had to run five miles down Greasy Creek to the store and back for cotton padding and black satin lining for it.)

Mr. Zande personally taught me woodcarving — the extra money from which came in handy later at Berea.

A Miss [Bessie V.] Gaunt, school office secretary at that time, sort of adopted me. She lived at Boy’s House and several times helped keep me from being sent home — expelled from school. I was a typical, uncouth, Harlan town boy and always getting into trouble — at least the first year.

It was she who advised me to finish high school at an accredited school, for Pine Mt. at that time was not. So, as mentioned, I spent three years there, 1925-26-27 — the best years of my life. At any rate it changed me from a hillbilly brat to a fairly decent, well-mannered boy, who learned to love good books and music with some added culture.

My buddy and friend, Howard Burdine, entered the same year as I did. He stayed on the extra year to finish. He then came to Michigan and we both worked in Lansing and boarded at the same place. We later found work in Detroit — tried going to college there, but went broke. Times were getting tough — beginning of Great Depression years.

After scrambling around doing odd jobs, we finally got on — big money, 55 cents an hour — at Graham-Paige car makers (I see one occasionally, as an antique). I left him there, went on to Berea in 1929 for five years. Later got M.A. degree in Industrial Arts. Taught that in high school and college until World War II. After 3 1/2 years in Navy, started in construction in 1946, still at it.

What little success I have had in life and business, I owe it to Pine Mt. Probably the most important habit we learned was to work. In those days we worked every day, four hours, meaningful work; then on Saturdays, seven hours. and I, being an older boy, had usually to start milking at 5:30. So, it was rare to have over 1 1/2 hours free on Saturday. On Sunday, before Sunday School, we worked 2 1/2 hours. To earn money for clothes, I usually started — with three others — milking at 4:30 a.m. For this we got five cents extra. it was a rugged life, but we strangely thrived on it.

The following is made in a humble, modest, non-boasting manner: That, due to the work habits, study habits, and wonderful guidance at the school, and later at Berea, I have been able to give to Berea College in the last two years, more that $90,000 for Industrial Arts work, and other purposes.

I have a good business and probably the finest collection of antique cars in Tennessee — six Rolls Royces! plus others.

I mention the above gifts to Berea solely for this reason: That Pine Mt. and Berea, through devoted, selfless people, who had no ulterior motive for helping me, did instill or import to me the notion that a good citizen ought to try to give back to society some of the things given him or her.

Sorry to be so long-winded, but I wanted someone to know, who has connection with the school, that I shall always be eternally grateful to Pine Mountain Settlement School.
Bill Dawn


William “Bill” C. Dawn was born July 10, 1909. He married Mildred Faulkner (1913-2005) who was born in Berea, Kentucky, to James P. and Mildred Johnson Faulkner. She was a graduate of Berea College and Emory University and had worked as a medical librarian in Knoxville, Tennessee. They had one son, David H. Dawn of Albuquerque, New Mexico, and two daughters, Emily and Carol, both of Danville, Kentucky.


After Bill Dawn’s death on August 6, 1986, the 1986 Homecoming annual report was dedicated to his memory as “a friend who will be sorely missed.” In the same issue, Mattie Ellen and Paul Hayes‘ “A Farewell to Bill Dawn” stated the following:

It’s no secret that he was a most loyal supporter to our Alumni & Friends Association … He gave generously of his money and time to Pine Mountain. he was an active and outspoken member of our Association of Alumni & Friends, plus serving on the Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees. Life was excitement to Bill and although he was past retirement age, he never gave up and always kept his hand in things that were important to him…Bill and Mildred Dawn are the embodiment of the spirit of Pine Mountain, and we will always be eternally grateful to them. We will all miss our old friend and true “buddy.”

1986 Homecoming Annual Report, Bill Dawn memorial page. [1986_pmss_homecoming_002.jpg]


Bill Dawn

Alt. Title

William C. Dawn




Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY

Alt. Creator

Ann Angel Eberhardt ; Helen Hayes Wykle ;

Subject Keyword

Bill Dawn ; William C. Dawn ; Pine Mountain Settlement School ; William C. “Bill” Dawn ; Pine Mountain Association of Alumni and Friends ; PMSS students ; Dawn & Co. ; Luigi Zande ; Bessie V. Gaunt ; Howard Burdine ; Berea College ; antique car collections ; Mildred (Faulkner) Dawn ; Homecoming reports ; Advisory Council to the Board of Trustees ; U.S. Navy ; philanthropy ; Mattie Ellen Hayes ; Paul Hayes ;

Subject LCSH

Dawn, William C.,  — July 10, 1909 – August 6, 1986.
Pine Mountain Settlement School (Pine Mountain, Ky.) — History.
Harlan County (Ky.) — History.
Education — Kentucky — Harlan County.
Rural schools — Kentucky — History.
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: BIOGRAPHY ; Series 19: STUDENTS ; Series 20: ALUMNI RELATIONS ;




Is related to: Pine Mountain Settlement School Collections ; Series 09: BIOGRAPHY ; Series 19: STUDENTS ; Series 20: ALUMNI RELATIONS ;

Coverage Temporal

1909 – 1986

Coverage Spatial

Pine Mountain, KY ; Harlan County, KY ; Detroit, MI ; Berea, KY ; Knoxville, TN ;


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 William C. Dawn ; clippings, photographs, books by or about William C. Dawn ;




“[Identification of Item],” [Collection Name] [Series Number, if applicable]. Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. [Date of Access]

Processed By

Helen Hayes Wykle ; Ann Angel Eberhardt ;

Last Updated

2016-05-15 aae ; 2024-01-29 aae ;



“Bill Dawn,” Pine Mountain Settlement School Institutional Papers. Series 09: BIOGRAPHY ; Series 19: STUDENTS ; Series 20: ALUMNI RELATIONS. Pine Mountain Settlement School, Pine Mountain, KY. Internet resource.

Central Kentucky News collection of articles. accessed 2016-May-16. Internet resource.

“Find A Grave Index,” database, FamilySearch  ( : accessed 16 May 2016), William C. Dawn, 1986; Burial, Berea, Madison, Kentucky, United States of America, Berea Cemetery; citing record ID 8301244,Find a Grave, Internet resource.

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See Also:
ALUMNI RELATIONS 1979 Newsletter
ALUMNI RELATIONS 1981 Newsletter
ALUMNI RELATIONS 1986 Newsletter

HOWARD BURDINE Student Staff – Biography
HOWARD BURDINE Correspondence 1934-1937